May 29, 2019

Monster Prom - Game Review

While browsing Steam game suggestions, I happened upon something called Monster Prom. Monsters? Sure ok! Prom? Um...I guess?

Love interests
Monster Prom falls under the "dating sim" or "visual novel" style of game. And while that's not my usual thing, the fact that it features monsters and some fun cartoony art sold me on it.

Monster Prom allows you and up to 3 friends to walk the halls of Spooky High to try and woo a date for the prom. You start by selecting one of the four students, giving them a name and choosing your gender pronoun. You're not locked into gender roles here, monsters just love other monsters! You then answer a few questions that determine your initial stats like Smarts, Fun, and Charm. The only difference between the player characters is their looks so there's no reason to play one over another aside from personal preference.

You then click around the school having crazy experiences that can boost/drop your stat levels. You'll also encounter other students in pairs and it's up to you to settle what's going on with them, usually helping out your intended prom date.

Each "week" is broken into three stages: Morning, Lunch, and Evening. Morning and Evening let you pick where you want to visit on the map that turn. Lunch brings you to the cafeteria where the love interests are paired up at different tables so you can choose who you want to interact with.

The game is presented with no instructions so you may feel it's just a Choose Your Own Adventure type dating game. Not so! Your scores matter. The love interests will only go to prom with you if you meet minimum scores in specific stats. I played through a few times to get a feel for things. But of course, there is a Wiki if you want to peek behind the scenes.

You'll have the chance to buy weird items that will either change your stat scores or open up new story content if it's flagged as "event." Just be careful, you don't know how an item will change your stats before you buy it!

If you play you're cards right, your crush might go to prom with you! Or you may face crippling rejection. Either way, there's a fun little epilogue where you get to see what some of the students are up to post-school.

In the base game alone, there are 1472 possible outcomes! It's a lot of replay value but the more you play, you will see the same events again and know how best to handle them to drive towards your desired outcome.

The art style is cute but the dialog and writing would most definitely get this game an R rating for profanity and not-so-kid friendly subject matter. The humor is funny and occasionally crude but it gives this game its own vibe. Each of the love interests has their own quirky personality and you'll quickly figure out what they like to get on their good side.

I'm having a lot of fun with Monster Prom exploring the wacky stories and experimenting with playing characters in different ways. I can only imagine how crazy it would be with multiple people playing at the same time, especially if you're going after the same person!

This Valentine's Day saw the first DLC pack, Monster Prom: Second Term, release with 2 new love interests and plenty more events and secret endings. And if that's not enough monster antics, they're currently doing a Kickstarter for the sequel, Monster Prom 2: Holiday Season. This one sounds like a lot of fun too as it will have three mini-stories to pick from: Camp, Winter Retreat, and Roadtrip.
They are crushing the $36k goal as they close in on $400k!

May 22, 2019

Spring Cleaning with Steam

Okay I know it's almost Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of Summer, but it's never too late to do some Spring cleaning, right? Today I'm going to show you how to have fun with Steam this weekend!

Nah, not that kind of Steam.
This kind of Steam!

Over the years, I've picked up my fair share of Humble Bundles (discounted groups of video games) and I realized I have a lot of codes that I'll never use. So if you want a free game or two, here is what you'll need:

Windows PC
Steam account (it's free)

The only "tricky" bit to this is that it's on you to look up the titles to find out what they are and to make sure your system can run them. I don't think any of them are that beefy so they shouldn't require a hardcore gaming rig to run.

To claim a game, message me on Twitter, Instagram or leave a comment below (making sure your profile or comment has a way to contact you) with your choice and I'll send you a code to redeem on Steam. There's a lot of games and I know I don't have a ton of readers so feel free to pick a couple and/or send friends over.

They Bleed Pixels
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Lethal League
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Regency Solitaire
Super Time Force Ultra

1001 Spikes
Absolute Drift
Bulb Boy
Craft the World

Telltale Games
Poker Night at the Inventory
Puzzle Agent
Puzzle Agent2
Sam & Max: Devil's Playhouse
The Walking Dead: 400 Days
The Walking Dead: Season 1
The Wolf Among Us

Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space
Enforcer: Police Crime Action
Meridian: New World
Victory At Sea
Beware Planet Earth!
GoD Factory: Wingmen
Tooth and Nail?

May 15, 2019

Space Inavders Dice & Kickstarter

A couple weeks ago, I got an email from Miniature Market about their latest clearance sale. I always browse the sales but rarely buy anything. But when I saw this on sale for less than $10 I figured why not check it out.

Note: the invader does not come with the game, he just showed up for the photo shoot.
What you get in the box are a bunch of dice, a pad of score sheets, and a rule book. I have to say, the rule book could have been written better. This isn't a terribly complex game yet I couldn't find answers to a couple questions I had while playing. Thank the Internet gods there is! There I was able to find better clarification on the rules.

You get one UFO die, 3 fire dice, 8 attack dice, and a pad of score sheets (see below).
 One fan on Board Game Geek made up this sweet custom playing sheet.

I was going to break down how the game plays but decided I'd basically just be posting the rule book and most people don't want to read that. I am not most people. I, for some reason, really enjoy reading game rules and exploring their mechanics.

Here's a quick 4 minute video that covers how to play.

Despite have a couple questions that the rule book couldn't quite answer, I had a lot of fun when I played. I don't know if I'd say a surprising amount but it was definitely more fun that I was thinking it would be. I didn't get as high of a score as Matt here in the video but I did almost clear the board.

The box says the game is for 1-4 players and the rules offer up some options for "multiplayer" but I really think the game will play best solo. In fact, I think this would be a pretty great mobile game to kill some time. That will likely never happen as the company that made this game, Turn One Gaming Supplies, has vanished into the virtual ether. Their former web address now brings you a sketchy site that wants to install something on your PC.

As of this post, Miniature Market still has the game on sale for $7 and I think it's totally worth it at that price if you're a Space Invader fan. They also have a set 6 regular dice with Space Invader graphics replacing the pips for just $3.

If you're looking for something a little meatier for your game night adventures, zip over to Kickstarter and check out the just launched campaign for Space Invaders - The Board Game.

It looks like it could be a good time! And if you've got an extra grand burning a hole in your pocket you can get a limited collectible art piece that is absolutely beautiful.

May 8, 2019

Dungeon Thief Figure (Spy Monkey Creations)

Spy Monkey Creations dropped a new wave of Battle Tribes a couple weeks ago. While they're pretty darn cool, I usually resist the urge to get one from every wave but this drop had a figure I couldn't pass up, the Dungeon Thief.

As usual, the figure comes with multiple heads and an assortment of equipment, like this punch knife and dagger. This one also comes with a belt which is a separate piece that can be removed. I call this head helmet dwarf. Original, right?

This here is mohawk dwarf with warhammer and spiky shield. I'm not a big fan of the shield piece. Because of the bulky design (more below) they never look like the character is holding it quite right. But where they are pretty genius in their design is the other way you can use them. A quick peg swap in the back of the shield...

And it becomes armor plating for your dino warrior dude!

I love this dino head! I'm no dinosaur-ologist but it reminds me of an Ankylosaurus which is one of my favorite extinct lizards. Note without a beard and the belt, you can see more of the torso graphics.

If you've been reading along and had something nagging at the back of your brain that something is familiar about this figure, you're not wrong.

This is what sold me on the figure. It's very much inspired by the classic LJN Dungeons & Dragons assassin figure Zarak!

They done this head before but I don't think it's ever had such a maniacal look. He's just itchin to get in some trouble!

The Dungeon Thief is still available at Spy Monkey's site along with many other Battle Tribes figures. And if you're a fan of the classic D&D figures, there's one based on the Dwarf

If you haven't dipped into the world of Battle Tribes yet, it's never too late. The figures really are a lot of fun because all the figure parts are interchangeable.

May 1, 2019

Monthly Movie Recap - April 2019

Here we are folks, we made it to Endgame! 
Don't worry if you haven't seen it, no spoilers here.

Shazam (2019, IMAX)
When the trailer came out, I thought DC might be over correcting for their previous Snyder-ness but this was actually the right amount of fun. It's got plenty of humor and heart and there's one unexpected scene that might scare the pants off very young kids. The animated end credits sequence is one of the best things DC has put on film.

Rating: 7/10

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009, Prime)
I'm no hardcore fan but I watched the cartoon and collected the comics and a few toys. That amount of fandom is why I'm having a hard time figuring out how I feel about this flick. If I had no clue about GI Joe going into this, it would have been good enough to get me interested. But knowing what I do, they did so many things wrong. Why does Snake Eyes' mask need a mouth?! It's a fun enough action flick with a dash of sci-tech that could probably be improved by removing a flashback or two or somehow writing them better into the flow.

Rating: 6.5/10, I just can't bring myself to a 7

Eighth Grade (2018, Prime)
No matter who we are, I think we were all Kayla at one point in our lives. There was no internet/social media when I was her age but I can only imagine it just makes figuring out who you are even more difficult. This movie completely embraces the awkwardness of being a young teen and that's what really gives it its heart. Even at my age now, it's still comforting to know everyone else was going through similar things. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up liking this movie. Give it a watch and I can almost guarantee you'll want to be Kayla's BFF.

Rating: 8/10

The Silence (2019, Netflix)
The novel this is based on was released a few years before A Quiet Place so naturally most people will think this is just a knock-off movie. Well, joke's on them because this movie is not great. Kiernan Shipka (Netflix's Sabrina) is the best part of this. The movie seems to take place over a couple weeks at the most and in that time things around them escalates to a weird place. If the movie isn't entertaining me enough where I start asking myself questions about the logic, you've done something wrong.

Rating: 4/10

Don't Knock Twice (2016, Netflix)
I initially passed by this on Netflix because the summary didn't grab me and then someone recommended it so I checked it out. It's a good horror flick with some genuinely creepy moments. I feel like it might want to be The Babadook but there's never that foreboding dread. Not to say that's bad because I really like the lore/urban legend aspect of the Big Bad and the fact that it's something a bit different than your standard horror movie.

Rating: 7/10

*Avengers: Infinity War (2018, Netflix)
Pre-game preparation.

Avengers: Endgame (2019, IMAX 3D)
It's impossible to objectively rate this. It's not a movie you can just watch without having invested a good chunk of time into watching what came before it. That said, it blew me away. There are just so many great moments that put it over the top. It made me laugh and cheer out loud, it might have even got me a little choked up. I was actually tense during the final fight because I didn't know what was going to happen.
On the other (gauntleted) hand, I'm a little mad at them for giving me a good reason for doing things the way they were and then making a mess anyway. All in all, it's a comic book movie, "logic" be damned! I think it's a perfect end to the first 10 years of the MCU. They could stop here and I'd be okay with it.

Rating: 9/10

As always, let me know what you've seen recently that was good, or bad! But please refrain from posting any Endgame spoilers to preserve it for those that haven't seen it yet. Everyone should get to enjoy it as much as I did going in.

New: Rewatch: 1

Year to Date
New: 27  Rewatch: 2