40 Games / 40 Nights: Week 2

October 25, 2020
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With the release of the PlayStation 5 on the horizon, I got to thinking about my enormous backlog of games on the current generation. Therefore, I thought I’d set myself a challenge. 40 games in 40 nights. Can I do it? I’m not sure. I’ll have fun trying though!

Welcome to Week 2 of 40 Games / 40 Nights — the one where I have definitely reached the point of wondering whether I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. The average has slipped again this week and I’m getting a little concerned that I’m not going to reach my goal by November 19th. However, we press on.

This week I added six new games to the list and have been playing as much as I can in co-op with my very understanding partner. This is in addition to putting a little more time into a playthrough of Life Is Strange whilst also scratching my head at Hitman: Go on occasion. I really want to beat those two by the deadline. Anyway, onto the new stuff:

The Flame in the Flood

I’ve wanted to play The Flame in the Flood for years — ever since it was launched on Kickstarter, in fact. Its eerie Tom Sawyer survival game vibe really appealed to me, as did the game’s soundtrack. It was, in fact, the involvement of Chuck Ragan & The Camaraderie that alerted me to its early existence. I’ve listened to the soundtrack plenty. I own it on vinyl. However, shamefully, I had never played the game. Until now.

The thing is, I’m really not good at survival-based games. So much so I was adverse to the concept entirely, truth be told. However, having now experienced a multitude of run-based games over the last twelve months (thanks, JDR!) I’m actually somewhat adept at The Flame in the Flood and its run-based gameplay. Sailing through a world destroyed by a great flood, gathering supplies, avoiding (or killing) dangerous beasts whilst trying to not die of hunger, thirst or suffer a variety of other fates on the way to each objective is actually rather fun. 

At the time of writing I’m about twelve miles deep and struggling. However, with each run procedurally generated and teaching me something new, I’m still having a great time. It’s quirky and weird in a Tim Burton sort of way and that soundtrack is just wonderful.


Super Time Force Ultra

A ridiculous time-based retro action game, Super Time Force Ultra is a nostalgic love letter to over the top 80s and 90s action movies, wonky but loveable video game plots, dinosaurs and anything else wonderfully over the top. On the surface it looks to be a ridiculous retro romp, however its time-bending mechanics add an extra mechanic to the mix that changes things completely. 

Developed by Capy Games — they of Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery fame – Super Time Force Ultra is a game I want to love, but its pausing and rewinding time mechanic makes my brain hurt. Having played through a small section of the game, I do want to go back to it if I have the chance. It’s more than deserving. Hopefully, I can get my head around it to truly master what is likely a very simple mechanic in the end.

Superhot


Staying within the ‘S’ section of the list, Superhot was next up. A game that I had only really thought of as a neat tech demo and nothing more, Derek's review of the sequel / add-on MIND CONTROL DELETE made me think I had missed something. And how I had. Lying beneath the surface of this very stylish and innovative shooter, was a simple but effective storytelling device that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since I finished it.

How I managed to avoid all knowledge of this until now is beyond me. However, I’m glad I did. If you like John Wick movies and the story from games like BioShock, then Superhot couldn’t be more for you. Even if that description doesn’t tickle your fancy, I implore you to play this game. It’ll take you about two hours and you’ll definitely be going back for more afterwards.

The gameplay is so satisfying. Time only moves if you do, so picking your next step is key and as each level passes by the difficulty ramps up. It’s ostensibly a puzzle game with lots of killing, and one that will make you feel incredibly cool whilst playing it. 


Fall Guys

Although it may have been slightly usurped by Among Us in the ‘most memed game of the year’ category of late, I still wanted to check out the phenomenon that is Fall Guys. It’s not an old game by any means. However, a February release at this point feels like five years ago. Time means nothing in 2020. 

Anyway, my brief time with Fall Guys was an absolute blast. A perfect pick up and play title that you can jump into very quickly, it’s as if Takeshi’s Castle had been overrun with colourful jelly bean minions. However, its cuteness soon wears off as I found myself swearing at the TV as I fell at the last hurdle again and again. And yet, I always wanted to go back. Maybe not immediately, but this one punctuated the entire week for me. Alas, I am still without a crown.


LEGO Marvel Superheroes

I could write about how I played this PlayStation 4 launch title for a little perspective. However, I dragged this game off my pile of shame to finally finish it because I thought it may be a good palate cleanser to Superhot. A mindless action platformer where the fan-service is front and centre, LEGO Marvel Superheroes is actually one hell of a game and holds up really well. Its story is decent, its cast of characters is ridiculously vast (par for the course in licensed LEGO games) and it was fun to run through in co-op.

And despite not going to this game looking for any kind of perspective, it actually showed me that, whilst these games are formulaic — but the good kind — they have evolved over the course of this generation. Seriously, the way this game handles its camera (especially in co-op) is a nightmare and whilst the huge LEGO New York City is a spectacle in itself, as a hub world it’s hugely overwhelming. That being said, if you’re a comic book fan and haven’t played this, you definitely should. It’s probably more fun that the most recent Avengers game, anyway.


Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Another throwback title, 2014’s Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a wonderfully presented puzzle game. These UbiArt titles really are a thing of beauty. The visual style has an impeccable hand-animated look to it, the minimalist voice acting is brilliant, I love the story and the historical facts that go alongside each section are a great addition too.

Looking like a children’s picture book but with the weight of a classic war film, Valiant Hearts takes place in Europe during World War I and tells the story of four characters pulled together as the war shifts. From the opening scenes I was hooked and will definitely be finishing this one in the week to come. 

Although I remember it being talked about a lot when this generation began, it now feels like a hidden gem. The puzzles (so far) are pretty straightforward and I love how the gameplay combines so many genres so well too. The story and the visuals are the standout though, so if if you’re a fan of great storytelling in games and incredible artwork, you should absolutely play this.

A game that would help while away time on public transport or whilst waiting in line, it’s definitely not as easy to sink time into when I’m sat on my couch staring at it on my TV and scratching my head. However, with the likelihood of me playing this game post-November 19th extremely minimal I feel like I need to finish this one.


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There we have it — six more games added to the list. This takes the two week total to eleven games played. I definitely need to up that average if I’m to hit the goal of 40. Still, time is still on my side. Here’s to a big week ahead.

If you’ve played any of these games, or want to recommend me anything to play, you can have your say in the comments. Have you attempted anything similar to the 40 / 40 challenge? Let us know!

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Ant Barlow

Started with the PlayStation, now I'm here... with a PlayStation. Once skipped school to play the Metal Gear Solid demo repeatedly. I love stories big and small. Trophy hunter. Recent VR convert. Probably a hipster.