It’s the Easter weekend, full of bank holidays and chocolate, so we’ll forgo our usual recommendation of a serious piece of games writing for you to read. Instead, hit the break to see what Our Week in Games has been all about.
I’ve decided to move on from the perennial Escape from Tarkov as my primary game and branch out into cold, scary, sometimes squishy world of ‘other games’.
Project Zomboid by The Indie Stone popped into my consciousness a few weeks ago, for whatever reason, and as such I’ve decided to give that a go. Project Zomboid is an isometric, pixel-ish zombie survival-simulator. It’s definitely lo-fi, but don’t mistake that for a lack of depth. It models injuries, real-world interactions (filling pans, boiling them and adding rags to make sterile bandages for example) and tasks you with just, well, surviving. Want to know if you’d be able to survive an actual zombie apocalypse? Then this isn’t a bad place to start.
The tutorial has set a good tone already.
It guides you through the basics of controlling your character and the (sometimes too many) windows and popups you need to navigate to ‘operate’ everything, culminating in tasking you to go outside and dispatch a lone Zed.
After bludgeoning the poor former-person to more-death a pop-up tells you that if you succumb to injuries you’ll turn into a zed yourself- so press Q to take the zombie cure.
You press ‘Q’.
Your character screams ‘I’m over here’. You then have just enough time to read the pop-up telling you that there’s no cure dummy- enjoy your death before you’re swarmed by hundreds of zombies.
I was just trolled by a tutorial.
I just shot a man for burning my eggs.
This week I’ve been trying out UBoat by Deep Water Studio. Best described as Silent Hunter meets FTL, it’s a WWII submarine simulator that takes an intense simulation of UBoat operations and adds an additional layer of crew management and morale to deal with. You might be an expert at hunting large cargo ships in the North Atlantic, but if you can’t deal with a crewman panicking himself into a heart attack at the same time as multiple compartments start to flood then you’re in for a shock. When things go wrong in UBoat, they go very, very wrong.
As our patrol wore on, the ship’s cook burned my scrambled eggs and I was given the option to discipline him. The severity of his punishment is entirely up to you, so you can give him a stern talking to or order him to clean out the toilets. Alternatively, you can do what I did, which was to give an angry lecture about the seriousness of his error and shoot him between the eyes.
There. Lesson learned. He won’t be burning my eggs again in a hurry, now will he?
When I haven’t been following Nick’s adventures with UBoat over on our Discord server, I’ve been continuing my adventures in Control. The deeper I venture through The Oldest House, the more the side-missions reveal themselves. I touched on it last week when I highlighted how refreshing it was to come across a side mission with some character drama. As I’ve progressed this week, I stumbled across a poor sod staring at a fridge. If he stopped staring, the fridge would do the types of weird and wonderful things that happen in Control.
Once I was able to attempt to save the Bureau employee, the fridge did what was expected of it….and I was into a boss fight. I pretty quickly figured out what was actually required to take the beast down, but due to some inept jumping and dodging, I kept dying a grizzly death. So, I looked at the options and found some in-built cheats. I checked the boxes to enable invulnerability and one-shot kills, and took that boss down.
I’ve since turned off the assists, but this is the kind of accessibility that I like to see from games. The warning message that enabling these options will lead you to playing the game in a way the developers didn’t originally imagine was welcomed, but beyond that there wasn’t any impact on Trophy unlocks or progression through the game. In games which are predominantly singleplayer, it would be great to have more options like this. Demon’s Souls, I might be thinking of you with this.