For the week of February 5 through 11

Click here to see the games I played last week

So, I’ve managed now to go six full weeks of playing a different game for the first time and I’m starting to feel the challenge. I typically don’t have a schedule in mind. In most cases, I just try to find a game on that given day and play it. For this week, I only played one 2024 release. I’ve got a couple of games released in 2023 with the rest being titles that are at least five years old. It’s another mix of genres, so let me share what I played last week.

Your character in Owlboy removing a chest from the ground

Feb 5 – Owlboy

Owlboy is a game I’ve had in my collection for quite some time, I just never had the time to start it. I heard so many great things about this. It was one of the many “indie” titles that got a lot of strong buzz, so I bought it and only now started playing it. Unfortunately, I’m not quite seeing what that hype was all about.

The reason I feel that way is because the first parts of the game are not that strong or captivating. While I enjoy the flying/traversing, the combat is annoying. Your character can’t fight directly, so they need to ‘carry’ a character you can. If you get hit, both characters fall, which takes time to get back into the combat.

The puzzles are pretty easy to grasp, thus far. The story could be interesting, but at this point, I haven’t seen it open up yet. I wouldn’t mind giving this a bit more of a chance but it won’t be a priority.

The post-game win screen from Foamstars

Feb 6 – Foamstars

The big release this week for me was Foamstars from Square Enix. I’ve played a bit of Splatoon over the years but not enough to say I know the series very well. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Foamstars but so far, I’ve been pretty underwhelmed. The action is fine but feels very limited.

The one single-player mission I played was just a horde mode where you’re fending off waves of inflatable enemies. There might be a deeper story here but it doesn’t start on a strong footing. The one multiplayer match I played was fine and there were some fun moments, but again, I don’t see there being enough to keep most players engaged. It may have been a smart move to drop this as a “free” PlayStation+ title, but I don’t see there being enough to keep people playing long-term.

Your partner in Cassette Beasts making note of a nearby monster

Feb 7 – Cassette Beasts

As a long-time Pokemon enthusiast, Cassette Beasts interested me in its concept. It’s a pocket monster collection game, but the monsters are stored on cassettes. Also, you transform into the monsters as they battle. For this one, I didn’t get into the story but the combat is easy to grasp and I can see people wanting to see how much more powerful you can get. I’m also kind of curious about the other kinds of beasts you may encounter.

Longtime Pokemon fans might want to try this out, especially for its 80s/90s aesthetics. For me, it does tempt me to return to the world of Pokemon and finally play Scarlett/Violet, which I have yet to try.

My hero in Lost Castle about to fight against a boss character

Feb 8 – Lost Castle

The Epic Game Store released two free games this week, and I decided to play both of them. The first is Lost Castle. This is a rogue-like game similar to Rogue Legacy. You’re a random hero who enters a mysterious castle and must take on foes. When you die, you can improve your following character and try again.

This one has a multiplayer mode, but I only played the single-player. I managed to only get to the game’s first boss a few times, dying on each attempt. The weapons I tried were fine, so I can see this being a game you can easily return to. At the same time, this already has a sequel, so I’m curious what improvements were made to it.

A conversation featuring the four girls from Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!

Feb 9 – Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!

The other Epic Game Store free game this week is one that I already had in my collection on Steam. But, like so many other games, I just never got around to playing it. I was somewhat aware that the Doki Doki Literature Club was more than what it seemed. It gives off the vibes of a dating simulator/visual novel but there is a twist that takes the game in a very different direction.

I won’t go into that twist, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. Again, I was aware that the game wasn’t what it seemed. The change in tone goes in a really interesting direction and I couldn’t put this one down until I reached the game’s “end”.

After reaching the game’s actual ending, I learned that two other endings trigger depending on your earlier actions. I’m not sure I’d go back to see the other endings or to see the other events that I missed out on. In all, I’m glad I finally got to play this game, and strongly recommend you pick it up for free while you can.

Your character in Wheels of Aurelia mid-conversation with her passenger

Feb 10 – Wheels of Aurelia

Another visual novel I played this week was Wheels of Aurelia. In this one, you’re traveling through Italy on your way to France. Unfortunately, this is such a short game that it’s over before you think. Although you’ve got a destination in mind, the game ends long before you reach the French/Italian border.

Although there are a multitude of different characters you can interact with and detours you can take, the adventure ends after about 20-30 minutes every time. The first time through, I thought I had done something wrong, so I played it again. But when I reached the third destination, the game just ended in a similar way as the first. You get some small text-on-screen messages about the things that unfolded because of what you did on your road trip, but that’s about it.

I was hoping for a bit more. There are 16 endings, and I saw three of them. However, I don’t see much reason to go through the game 13 more times to unlock them all. While the look and feel of “driving” through parts of Italy were interesting, I wouldn’t recommend this to many people.

An early world section of Dune: Spice Wars

Feb 11 – Dune: Spice Wars

Admittedly, I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to the world of Dune. I’ve seen the David Lynch original and Denis Villenuve’s remake from a few years ago, but that’s about it. However, I do enjoy strategy games, even if I don’t play them as much as I used to. I bought Dune: Spice Wars when it was first made available through early access, but today was the first time I played it.

I’m still very early in my playthrough. I did the entire tutorial to better understand the game’s mechanics. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to grasp, but once you’re in the game, it becomes a whole different ball game. I put in a couple of hours and have begun to make progress but it’s at a much slower pace than I was expecting.

I’ve got the feeling that unless regularly play 4X real-time strategy games, then it might take a bit longer to fully grasp its mechanics and be successful. I want to fool around with it a bit more and see if I can make some meaningful progress. Even if I don’t quite understand the lore, I don’t think that takes away from the potential enjoyment.

I’ve been looking at the release calendar and quite a few games are coming out that I hope to feature in the next couple of weeks. I still have a lot of older games I also want to include, so expect a heavy dose of older content with a few newer games mixed in. Thanks again for joining me and I’ll see you in seven days.