The Alienware name has always split opinions, with many viewing the company as overpriced while others see them as creating luxury products that are worth the extra money. Regardless of where you stand on the brand I think we can generally agree that they make solid machines, and I’ve gotten to review a few of them. I’m back again, this time with a chunky gaming laptop sporting an equally chunky asking price.
Lobotomy is not a small game by any means, dominating the table its placed upon after its lengthy and somewhat tiring setup process. Nor is it an easy game to enjoy at times. It’s fiddly with a myriad of individually simple rules that as a whole can be difficult to remember and constantly send you flicking through the poorly laid out rulebook. It would be easy to dismiss Lobotomy right there, but I’ve enjoyed fiddly games before. In fact one of the earliest board game reviews I did was on Arkham Horror, an intricate mess of mechanics, rules and dice rolling that takes ages to setup and that loves to make you reach for the rulebook. So I persevered. Was it worth it? Kind of.
Divinity: Original Sin was something of a surprise hit, the RPG managing to once again prove triple A developers wrong by crafting a game on a budget that went on to sell extremely well. It just goes to show that if you don’t try to please everyone, gear your product toward a certain market and be sensible with your budget you can create something amazing that turns a profit. Now Larian are back with a sequel, and man is it all kinds of awesome. Best RPG since The Witcher 3? Best RPG since The Witcher 3.
Catch the Moon does not waste time with its theme; you build a ponderous tower of ladders in order to catch the moon. It’s a simple, lofty goal, a hint of story in an abstract game you can learn in a minute and then giggle about for many happy hours. Grabbing my attention-span challenged niece, age 9, I sat her down and taught her the whole game in just a couple of minutes. Just a few minutes after that she was hooked.
Videogames don’t often affect me emotionally outside of making me annoyed or happy because I’m having fun. But The Last Day of June hit me in the feels. There weren’t any tears, yet I did walk away in a contemplative frame of mind. I was invested in the story it wanted to tell, a story of heartfelt love and terrible loss, of learning to accept, of sacrifice and of grief.
I’ve talked before about how some games can surprise you before in other reviews. Sure, it’s nice to be confident that a game is going to be good ahead of time and then to have your assumptions justified once you finally play it, but that never manages to capture the same sense of elation as a game coming out of nowhere and blowing you away can. That’s how I feel about Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock from Black Lab Games. I heard about it many moons ago, thought little of it and then was mildly surprised to get review code come through a few days before launch. I was even more surprised when I played it.
Oh little black box of witchcraft, how do you work? Despite how much I appreciate amazing audio the mechanics behind it all are akin to black magic in my eyes. All I know is that sound is something that often gets overlooked from a gaming and filmgoing perspective, and spending the money to get something deliver that sound can change that perspective. It’s not until you splurge on a good set of headphones or a speaker system that you can appreciate how much you weren’t hearing.