First Impressions: Magicite

First Impressions: Magicite - Spawning with monsters right in front of you, pretty dangerous!

First Impressions: Magicite - A variety of biomes makes the game surprisingly pretty.

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for 8-bit, pixellated or voxel games. They tickle my nostalgia bone, and with focus being thrown away from graphics you can generally find some little gems with amazing gameplay. I picked up Magicite after seeing some screenshots from Jewel at Whimsical Zombie and knew immediately I needed to try this game.

Without really noticing, I’ve already clocked in almost 8 hours of this adorable little game. It’s fun, and ridiculous at the same time. At the weekend, we played as a group of three and the first thing I did was smack my friend round the head with my axe. Good job, self! I didn’t know that party-damage was on, so a few more smacks happened before we realised we were all damaging each other.

First Impressions: Magicite - Some of the monsters you encounter are a bit crazy. I mean, come on, a dinosaur?!

Magicite features procedurally generated dungeons, meaning you never see the same layout twice. The game features a variety of biomes each with their own set of nasties; little mushrooms armed with axes and shields, tiki-masked beasties firing little blue magic missiles at you, and even dinosaurs that cause giant green balls of…something to fall from the sky. The environment is pretty unforgivable. Somehow, despite how simple the concept of the game is, it’s insanely addictive, and fun whether you play with friends or alone. I find I generally get further by myself, or with one other person. At least then I’m not competing for resources and mourning the fact that my buddy has an iron pickaxe while I’m still beating rocks with a glorified stick.

First Impressions: Magicite - Something I see a little more often than I'd like to admit...

I definitely recommend this game to anyone looking for a fun, easy to pick up crafting adventure. Magicite is just €8.99 right now on Steam!

First Impressions: DayZ Standalone

First Impressions: DayZ Standalone - Running around, looking for wells, constantly thirsty.

I’ve been playing DayZ since shortly after the mod was first released, due to colleagues talking incessantly about their shenanigans and an awesome story I read online. I was hooked, despite the bugs. I even revelled in how the community moved from survival-focused to banditry-focused. Mostly because I became a bandit myself at that point. I killed indiscriminately.

So when my colleague came into work a few weeks ago and simply said, “Did you buy it?” I did. I bought it on the spot, sight unseen. I bought it for T. I encouraged our friend Andy to buy it. And we played it. So what did we think?

Well, it’s certainly buggy. Occasionally falling through walls and/or floors can cause some sticky situations. Zombies that chase you until you break line of sight…which never happens, because they can see through walls and, as if that wasn’t enough, walk through them. The hunger and thirst meters are weird at best, and annoying at worst, as you seem to start thirsty and it doesn’t get much better. Some of the guns bug out a little when you try to look through a scope you’ve equipped. Ladders can, occasionally, instantly kill you.

But, I do actually really enjoy it. It brings back the feeling of needing to survive, instead of it being just about shooting every guy you see. I’ve stopped feeling the instant urge to shoot people, and started waving at them instead. Last night, a guy approached me and shouted at me over mic, “Get down on your knees!” Seeing as I can’t take instructions in real life without being a stubborn ass, that didn’t go down so well, and I hit him in the face with the baseball bat I wasn’t planning on using. There’s a more tangible depth to the game that I hadn’t noticed in mod for a long time.

First Impressions: DayZ Standalone - Sporting a rather unfriendly looking Dallas (from Payday) mask.

It also brings a lot of great new features, like a quickbar for ease of weapon switching or using items, customisability of your character through the use of clothing and aesthetic items like masks, modular weapons, more buildings that you can enter and explore for loot, and clothing inventory on top of backpacks. Some features are yet to be implemented, such as vehicles, but DayZ standalone is well on its way to becoming an enjoyable game in its own right.

Two things I don’t like, aside from the bugs I mentioned, are the lack of combat logging prevention, and the public hive only approach taken to servers. The former is a huge problem; that guy I hit with a baseball bat after he threatened me with a gun? Yeah, he logged out as soon as I hit him, meaning I’m left feeling frustrated because he got away, even though he initiated the fight. This happens constantly. The latter, however, is merely an annoyance for two reasons – players will server hop to loot popular military spots to get guns and mods for their weapons, and for me, it’s a problem because I often play with friends but would like the option of running off on my own without abandoning them when they’re not around to play.

All in all, the game is in Alpha, so it will improve. If you’re looking for a large-scale multiplayer zombie survival game, it’s definitely fun, as long as you’re prepared for the fact that other players can and will shoot you. Or attack you with a fire extinguisher.

Pokémon X & Y: First impressions

Pokémon Amie is a new feature in X & Y that allows trainers to play games & build a relationship with their Pokémon.

It’s no secret that I’m a Pokémon fanatic. I’m not quite at the point of the Pokéfan NPC, dressing up my (non-existent) children as Pokémon in an attempt to surround myself with the adorable little creatures. That said, I still have fond memories of picking up Pokémon Red on release day, and locking myself in my childhood bedroom to play it on my Gameboy. I only stopped briefly to eat, and even then it was only because my mum told me I had to. I was quite content to play until my batteries died, back when charging handhelds wasn’t a “thing”.

I’ve played at least one, if not two or three, games in every generation since the games were released. I was an avid card collector and played the card game, even attending “Pokémon Club” at my local gaming store on a Saturday morning, beating “Gym Leaders” and earning real badges I put in my binder. I was even a certified coach, and I’m not even cringing at how cheesy at awful that is. So suffice to say, I was freaking out whenever Pokémon X & Y were announced. I bought a 3DS for that very reason (playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf was a pleasant distraction until release) and was dying to pick up the games. I was a bit late, but I decided to go with X and have invested a few hours into the game as of two days ago.

So far? I’m loving it. It feels a bit…easier than the previous games, with EXP Share — an item to allow experience earned to be shared amongst your party — being handed over after the first gym, a mere hour or so into the game. That said, I don’t feel like it’s a bad thing. I feel like I played Red “wrong”. I didn’t grind my Pokémon to make sure they were all high enough level for the next gym. I had a favourite Pokémon who ended up 20+ levels higher than the rest of my party, and kind of winged it the whole way through. I was young, I was foolish. When I learned people actually trained their Pokémon, switching them out to make sure their party was even, I realised I’d been wrong all along! Now that I’ve picked up the same tactic, it feels easier and less tedious. EXP Share being an early addition to my inventory certainly helps.

Aesthetically, the game is pretty. I love that I can change my character’s appearance a lot more than just choosing male or female (remember when even that wasn’t an option?) and can buy clothes. It’s a silly addition but somehow it fits, and I like it.

Pokémon from the original 151 being featured very frequently is also a welcome addition. For those of you who don’t know already, you get to select a second starter from the original selection — Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle. This is after already selecting your first starter from this new generation. It was very tough for me not to select two fire types. Charmander is my favourite evolutionary line of Pokémon, so that was a given! But the starters for X/Y are adorable, so luckily the water type was a nice addition to my team too. It evolves into a ninja frog! How cool is that?

Anyway, first impressions for me are very positive. I see myself investing a huge amount of time into this game, which is great! I’ll also likely do a few additional posts, including progress updates, naming conventions, and some tips and tricks.

Did you pick up one of the new games? Which one did you go for? Leave your friend codes below so we can battle/trade!

Friend Code: 3883-5227-2648