Spider-Man Miles Morales

In 2018, I played Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 and it was amazing. Swinging through NYC as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man allowed me to relive my previous vacation to the Big Apple. Superhero games can be great or terrible and I’m happy Marvel’s Spider-Man was the former. Once it was announced that Miles Morales would be featured in his own game, I knew I would play it as soon as it was released. My fiance bought my copy for me as a Christmas present and I installed it right away. This past weekend I finally finished the story, 100% all of the districts, and unlocked all the trophies I wanted to unlock. Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales was a genuinely fun gaming experience although I felt Miles didn’t get the same treatment as Peter Parker did.

Miles is on winter break which gives him time to finish his homework and train under Peter. Peter has to leave town for a while allowing Miles to be the main Spider-Man. Miles begins investigating Roxxon after a group called the Underground breaks into the main facility. Miles finds evidence that Roxxon’s energy invention, Nuform might be making people sick. Miles out of the goodness of his heart wants to bring Roxxon to justice, while the Underground wants to exact revenge and make them pay for their mistake. Miles is torn as he finds a personal connection to the Underground. Relatively inexperienced, Miles struggles with right and wrong while hiding his identity from his family.

The gameplay in Spider-Man Miles Morales is the same as the 2018 game. Why change a system that isn’t broken? One unique difference between Miles and Peter is Mile’s “Venom Blast” which is a bioelectrical charge that Miles can build up and blast enemies with. It’s extremely useful in combat situations and can be used to heal Miles if needed. The Venom punch is what I used most often in combat situations and helps push back powerful enemies.

I loved completing the side quests! They felt personable to Miles and his story. One side quest unlocked after completing the main story is collecting postcards. Mile’s mom hides postcards around the city and taped on the back of them were USB drives with messages from Mile’s dad. As a reminder, Mile’s dad was killed in the previous Spider-Man game. It allowed Miles to hear from his dad on his birthday. There’s another side quest where Miles has to locate a cat. After completing this side quest, Miles can unlock a suit with Spider-Cat! The orange tabby gets his mask and gets to hang out in Mile’s backpack as he glides throughout the city. Of course, this suit was my favorite to unlock.

Additionally, Spider-Man Miles Morales has a great soundtrack. The songs on the album embody Mile’s experience growing up in Brooklyn and moving to Harlem. The beat of each song has a resemblance to the diversity in Harlem and even the complexity of Mile’s identity. I have been listening to I’m Ready by Jaden and This is My Time by Lecrae on repeat.

Throughout playing Spider-Man Miles Morales, I found myself comparing it to the 2018 game. The Miles Morales game is short with the campaign taking gamers about 8 – 12 hours to beat. Marvel’s SpiderMan had a story lasting anywhere between 17 – 23 hours. Marvel’s Spider-Man was twice as long as the Miles Morales game. When playing through Miles Morales, I found myself thinking that this game didn’t take me as long to finish. Besides the length of the story, Miles Morales hasn’t been given any DLC unlike the three DLC stories for the 2018 game. When comparing the games, it’s clear the Miles Morales game wasn’t on the same level. It’s disappointing since so many fans were excited to see a Spider-Man that looked like them. It feels this game was made to make money along with setting up the sequel to the 2018 game which I find aggravating.

So what’s next for Miles? While writing my review, I looked to see if any DLC has been announced for the game and I didn’t see anything. The next Spider-Man game should be released in 2022. It seems Miles is a placeholder for fans until the sequel is released for Peter. I wish Insomniac Games would work on DLC for Miles as his story felt too short.

Vampire the Masquerade Shadows of New York

Vampire the Masquerade. The screenshot was taken by me.

Last year, I invited a couple of friends down to my apartment to play Vampire the Masquerade. Vampire the Masquerade is a roleplaying game released by White Wolf where players create their vampires and roam around a dark city. Vampire the Masquerade is one of my favorite role playing games as I love the dark aesthetic of the game. I found on Steam a variety of different Vampire the Masquerade video games and decided to try it on a whim. Overall, it’s a gritty gaming experience, although I was left wanting more.

Vampire the Masquerade Shadows of New York tells the story of Julia who’s a reporter in NYC. The story she’s writing falls through and she’s swiftly fired from her job. On the subway home, she’s approached by a vampire where she’s “embraced” which is Vampire the Masquerade terminology for being turned into a vampire. As Julia gets comfortable with vampire society, she’s sent to investigate a murder of an older, more senior member of their clan. As she starts interviewing other vampires, she realizes the murder is only the beginning of a sinister plot set to unfold.

Downtown Time Square. Screenshot taken by me.

I loved the art in Shadows of New York, it was easily the highlight of playing this game. I felt each scene Julia was in had darker tones mixed with a dark purple which reminds me of the cover of the Vampire the Masquerade rulebook. The above screenshot is right when Julia was Embraced. She looks down at New York with sudden darkness she never had access to before. I also liked how each vampire had its style. Julia had a gothic look to her while Qadir, the sheriff of the region, was well dressed. Each vampire in the game had these beautiful golden eyes that felt unnatural to look at. Everything artistic about the game was aesthetically pleasing to look at.

Shadows of New York is described on Steam as a “visual novel” which is fitting to the game. There isn’t much interaction I had as the player, it was a lot of listening to the dialogue and choosing actions when prompted. There were times I felt slightly bored since there wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity for me to choose what Julia said at what times. The game prided itself on being able to sway the outcome of the story, however, there were only five “major” choices for Julia. I wish there was more. I don’t feel duped as this was a “visual novel” so it’s more viewing the story versus participating in the game, but I wish I was able to choose more outcomes in the game.

Besides the interaction piece, the game felt too short. According to Steam, I only played this game for five hours. There isn’t anything I need to replay since I finished the game twice and I have unlocked all the achievements. I do think it was worth it to replay this game twice to see both endings. Five hours for two full playthroughs of the game means each time I played a full game it was about two and a half hours apiece. The game itself is priced at $12.99 which I would say is fair for what I got. I wonder if DLC will get released for this because I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Vampire the Masquerade Shadows of New York was an enjoyable game, however, I wish there was more to the game. I want a game released similar to Shadows of New York, but make it more investigative. Let me as the player examine crime scenes and pick which mortal I can feed on. Let me customize my vampire, pick my faction, and change the appearance of my vampire. Once that game is released, I will be a happy, vampire camper.

Windpeaks – Summer Camp Themed Hidden Objects Game

Wind Peaks.

Last year, I played Hidden Through Time a hidden objects game available on Steam. Hidden Through Time was one of my favorite games I played in 2020. Steam had recommended to me Wind Peaks another hidden objects game centered around kids heading off to summer camp. The premise of Wind Peaks sounded promising, but I found myself comparing Wind Peaks to Hidden Through Time. When I did the comparison, Wind Peaks was nowhere near as good as Hidden Through Time.

Wind Peaks included a story with cut scenes in between each map. The story can be quickly summarized as kids heading off to summer camp in search of buried treasure. The treasure is buried somewhere within the camp and collecting these objects will aid in their search. I’m not sure why a story was introduced because I’m not sure if any of the kids were given names? I’m not sure what the significance is of the buried treasure? It’s mostly thrown into the game to make it memorable from other hidden objects games. I did like the overall aesthetic of Wind Peaks. The summer camp theme gave off a cozy, relaxing feel to the game.

I made it clear Wind Peaks is not on the same level as Hidden Through Time. One example of this is the hint system. To get a hint in Wind Peaks, you would click on the object. A countdown would begin and if the object wasn’t found in that time, the object was revealed on the map. That’s not a hint system. The game forced me to struggle throughout the map and then finally revealed the object instead of providing a hint. In Hidden Through Time, a hint is included above the object, so I could still find the object on my own without it being given away.

Additionally, I felt the maps in Wind Peaks were a bit too big. I couldn’t zoom out to view the map as a whole, so it took forever to visually scan the map looking for objects. I wished either the maps would have been smaller or the zoom function would have allowed me to view the whole map. I also can’t stand using “WASD” instead of the arrow keys. The arrow keys make sense, I’m not sure why I couldn’t have used them to move around the map.

Wind Peaks was an enjoyable, cozy, cabin hidden objects game. The gameplay in my opinion could have been better, but it didn’t take away from the experience. The way Wind Peaks ended left open the potential of new maps being added to the game. I would play through the new maps in Wind Peaks although I hope the hint system is overhauled. Hidden object games are a nice distraction from the console games I’m currently playing through. I would rate Wind Peaks a 6.5 / 10.

Marvel’s Avengers

I had high hopes for Marvel’s Avengers. As written in a previous post, superhero games can either be well made or unplayable. From everything I had read regarding Marvel’s Avengers, I thought this game had potential. I didn’t buy the game immediately after it was released which is something I usually never do. However, my fiance brought it home for me one day since he knew I wanted to play it. Marvel’s Avengers is a mediocre, and disappointing superhero game.

The game opens with a celebration titled A-Day. A-Day launched the new HQ in San Francisco along with a helicarrier powered by a Terrigen Crystal. The Avengers have pulled away from A-Day celebrations after an attack by Taskmaster. Unfortunately, the helicarrier is destroyed leaving the surrounding citizens in San Francisco being exposed to the Terrigen mist. The Avengers were blamed and were forced to disband. Kamala Khan was exposed to the Terrigen mist and has been hiding her powers. Five years after A-Day, Kamala starts to investigate “AIM” the replacement for the Avengers, and discovers some incriminating evidence against them. She’s on the run to protect her family and bring the Avengers back together.

Marvel’s Avengers claims to be an “Avengers” game when really it’s centered around Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel. I loved playing as Kamala. She’s a character I didn’t know much about and her positivity helped bring back the Avengers. I do believe the game wasn’t marketed as well as it could have been. The title of the game is Marvel’s Avengers, so I went into playing this game believing I would be playing an Avengers game. Kamala is on the cover, although a lot of the gameplay is her story. Besides Kamala, the Avengers do sound like the characters they are supposed to represent. I thought the voice acting was spot on and the way the characters were designed felt true to the comics.

In my opening paragraph, I stated how Marvel’s Avengers is a mediocre game. This game could have been so much better. I hated how I couldn’t switch heroes in a mission. The heroes have various abilities that allow for collecting resources. Resources are used to level up the Avengers. For example, if I played as the Hulk on a level, there might be a collectible to unlock as Black Widow, but since I can’t switch hero mid-mission, I’m not able to unlock this collectible. It’s annoying! I don’t understand why there couldn’t have been a button on the controller allowing me to switch between the heroes.

Let’s talk about the missions. There are the main campaign missions contributing to finishing the main story along with side missions. I found the missions were repetitive. If I played a side mission on one map, it was often repeated in the campaign. It seems Marvel’s Avengers used repeat maps to try and finish the game faster. It’s lazy to create missions as side quests only to replay them in the main campaign.

Finally, I disliked how the Avenger’s health worked. As an Avenger loses health, one of the few ways to regain health was to punch green boxes on the maps. This would allow an Avenger to heal. It seems odd that a god of Thunder doesn’t regenerate health, isn’t he a god? Doesn’t Captain America’s super-soldier serum allow him to regenerate health automatically? The health system could have been designed better to be unique to the specific Avenger I was playing as.

Overall, Marvel’s Avengers was a fun game. It could have been amazing if the game was tweaked. I must not be the only gamer who feels this way because Square Enix lost $105 million from this game. To bring life back to the game, Square Enix is introducing Kate Bishop and Hawkeye as DLC. I’m afraid it’s a bit too late. I’m undecided if I would invest more money into the game or pick up the game again. I give Marvel’s Avengers a 6/10.

Superheroes Needing Video Games

Superhero video games are either fantastic or terrible, there doesn’t seem to be anything in between. Batman Arkham Asylum is one of my all-time favorite video games. Rocksteady took the Batman universe and melded it into an enjoyable gaming experience. I’m playing through Marvel’s Avengers now and while I’m having a fun time, it’s a heavily flawed game. I was thinking the other day regarding which superheroes deserve the “Arkham Asylum” treatment which led me to create this post.

Aww he looks cute now, but just you wait. Image from Pixabay.

X-Men: Open World or a Super Smash Bros Brawl

I could see the X-Men having one of two different game designs. An open- world X-Men game would be great. Having a story mode with plenty of side quests would allow you to unlock various members of the X-Men. Another intriguing game concept would be to do a “Super Smash Bros” style game playing as the X-Men. I think gamers would fight over who gets to play as Wolverine, but still, I think this concept could work.

The possibilities!! Photo taken by me.

The Defenders

The Defenders would be similar to Spider-Man in the sense it would be an open-world game based in New York. I could imagine this game turning New York into a darker version similar to Gotham. It would feature stories allowing you to play as Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist. Additionally, let’s introduce Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson in the movies), Hellcat, and Silver Surfer. Can someone please make this??

Photo taken by me.

Birds of Prey

My ideal Birds of Prey would be an older Oracle being the head of the organization. Black Canary would be the main playable hero with Helena Bertinelli on stand by. I’m imagining if Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey run was turned into a video game. The possibilities!

The Sinister Six + Black Cat because why not?

Sinister Six Meets GTA

Hear me out. The Sinister Six somehow get the upper hand, Spider-Man is supposedly killed and New York is in chaos. Being able to rotate which Sinister Six character you play as while roaming around New York and blasting everything to bits. I could see halfway through we learn Spider-Man is alive and works with the Avengers to take New York back.

I wish more game companies would take on superhero-based games. As mentioned in my opening paragraph, it can be a big undertaking to make a superhero game. Square Enix lost a lot of money making this game. I think if game companies are willing to put in the work of understanding these characters and creating a fun game, these games can be profitable. If you’re unsure, why don’t you ask Rocksteady?

Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure

Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure. Photo screenshot taken by me.

I’m back to writing regular posts! After hosting a Halloween party followed by the US election, I wanted to take a week off from writing posts. I can’t believe Halloween is already over and Thanksgiving is a couple of weeks away. I wanted to write a post about one of the Spooky games I played leading into Halloween this year. This was one of the games I mentioned in my “Spooky Steam Haul” post. Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure is a spooky inspired, point and click game with a magical talking cat.

Buzz and Kitteh.

The story focuses on two major characters. Detective Don R Ketype is a PI tasked with recovering the Necronomicon. For those unfamiliar with Lovecraft’s writings, the Necronomicon is an evil book filled with spells destined to bring the world to its end. Don visits the library and meets Buzz Kerwin, a broke college student. An explosion occurs leaving Don kidnapped and Buzz finding the Necronomicon. Buzz takes the book back to his apartment and repeats a spell allowing his Kitteh to speak in words versus meows. Both Don and Buzz need to find out who’s after the Necronomicon and return Kitteh to her normal kitty state.

Buzz and Kitteh!

Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure was made by Romanian game developer Stuck in the Attic. Although the game was backed by a Kickstarter campaign in 2016, it was released on Steam three years later in August of 2019. As I took the time to research this game and the developer, I discovered Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure was translated into twelve languages.

I adored this game. I liked playing as Don and Buzz although Buzz was my favorite since he had Kitteh with him. The game was well designed and never glitched on me. The game had enough of a challenge where certain levels took me a bit of time because I would get stuck on what I’m supposed to do next. The game itself was incredibly well made and crafted. Being a fan of Lovecraft’s work, there were several references to his work throughout the game.

As far as replayability, I ended up playing this game twice through. The first time to complete the game and the second time to unlock all the Steam achievements. There are story-based achievements and missable achievements. The missable achievements were slightly annoying at times because you can’t go back and play a level. If you miss the achievement, you would have to play the entire game over to get that achievement. According to Steam, I played this game for 13.9 hours. This is with two full playthroughs of the game. It’s safe to say this game will take 6 hours to complete.

Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure is a fun Spooky game perfect for any cat lover or HP Lovecraft fan. Gibbous A Cthulhu Adventure can be purchased on Steam for $19.99.

Spooky Steam Haul

It’s Spooky Season! This is the time where I hang Halloween decorations, read Horror books, watch scary movies, and play themed video games. To get into the mood of the season, I purchased a couple of new video games on Steam. I wanted to share my Halloween themed gaming haul.

Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure

I discovered Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure completely on accident after typing Cthulhu into the Steam search bar. I’m a Lovecraftian fan and will immediately play anything with Cthulhu in the title. Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure begins with Detective Don Ketype as he tries to track down the infamous Necronomicon. Ketype crosses paths with struggling college student, Buzz Kerwan who winds up with the Necronomicon and accidentally sets off a spell which leads to his kitty (named Kitteh) being able to talk. The trio team up to stop the cultists from performing a horrific ritual.

I’m about halfway through this and I’m loving every second of it.

Nancy Drew Danger by Design & Nancy Drew Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake

I’m determined to play more of the Nancy Drew games by Her Interactive. The first game I played was endless in the number of jump scares, so I’m hoping this could be extended to the other games in the series. Based on reviews off of Steam, I purchased both Danger by Design and Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake. I plan on playing both of these games next after I finish playing Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure.

Vampire the Masquerade: Shadows of New York

I first played Vampire the Masquerade RPG at Gen Con in 2019. Vampire the Masquerade: Shadows of New York is a game inspired by the RPG. This game stars Julia Sowinski a reporter who’s “Embraced” (Vampire the Masquerade term for being turned into a Vampire) and is asked to investigate the murder of Anarch Baron Callihan. This game is described to be a visual novel that changes as the main character makes several crucial decisions.

Vampire the Masquerade is one of my favorite RPGs I have ever played. It’s a dark, gritty, and violent RPG I wouldn’t recommend for everyone. I cannot wait to play this.

Later Alligator

Later Alligator isn’t necessarily a Spooky game, but it’s a game I had on my Steam wishlist for far too long. Later Alligator as the title states stars an alligator named Pat. Unfortunately for Pat, he’s involved in a huge conspiracy that leads him into danger. Can the player save Pat before the clock runs out?

The majority of reviews on Steam list Later Alligator as overwhelmingly positive. I plan on playing Later Alligator after all of the other Spooky games I purchased.

Nothing gets me excited about being in Quarantine like having new video games to play. Let me know in the comments which Spooky video games you’re playing this month!

Casting Spells in Hocus Pocus The Game

For my birthday, my friend bought me the Hocus Pocus board game. I was skeptical at first because it seemed the game was catered to kids. As we played a couple of rounds of the game, we learned how challenging this game was and how it stuck to the source material. Since my first time playing, I still have yet to win a game against the trio of witches.

Hocus Pocus is a collaborative game in which players must stun the Sanderson witches three times before the sun rises. If the sun rises before this is completed, the players lose along with running out of potion ingredients to draw. This seems to be a simple explanation, however the game is more challenging than that.

Missing all the ingredients we needed!

The challenging part comes from the lack of visibility of available ingredients. Cards in a player’s hand are kept secret. To begin a turn, I would ask a question to my friend to determine what color or ingredient type she has in her hand. The only way to see her hand entirely is to play an ingredient with Binx the cat on it. This allows one player to reveal their whole hand. It’s difficult to collaborate when you can’t actively speak to each other.

Binx is here to save us!

There are three ways to stun a witch. An example of stun is to have five different potion ingredients, but they’re the same color. The same witch can be stunned three times in a row. Besides being unable to speak with other players, it’s difficult to coordinate the ingredients to align with the stun for a witch. In multiple games, we were missing an ingredient and weren’t able to draw the ingredient we needed, so we lost the game.

I’m impressed with the Hocus Pocus game. The game is easy to learn and each game takes anywhere between 30 – 45 minutes. The game says it’s for six-year-old kids, but as a twenty six-year-old who’s obsessed with Halloween, I loved every second of playing this game. Hocus Pocus has a lot of childhood memories for me and it was awesome to be able to relive them. Additionally, I like how this is a collaborative game. It’s a great way to teach younger kids the importance of working with others.

Hocus Pocus is a fun, spooky game that’s family-friendly or the game to bring out during the Spooky season. I still haven’t managed to win this game, but the challenge has been accepted.

Suicide Squad + Gotham Knights

One of my beloved games of all time is Batman Arkham Asylum. This game was released in 2009 when I was a nerdy and awkward freshman in high school. This game helped me get through my toughest moments in high school. Rocksteady is a company where as soon as I find out they’re making another game, I pre-order it instantaneously. Rocksteady is making a Suicide Squad Game while Warner Brothers is making a Gotham Knights game My heart is exploding with excitement. I’m going to briefly discuss each game along with linking the trailers.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

Suicide Squad trailer

From the trailer, it looks like Superman has turned evil and it’s up to the ragtag team to save Metropolis. Harley Quinn’s look in this game is flawless. She is stylish, not overtly sexual and the game captures her personality in the short four-minute glimpse of the trailer. Besides Harley Quinn, I like Deadshot’s new suit. This game also features both Killer Shark and Captain Boomerang. The music playing through the trailer is hip and fits the overall theme of the Suicide Squad.

I’m curious how the mission set up will be. Will certain missions be played by certain characters, or will I get to pick who I want to be? Both options would work as long as I have equal gameplay between all four characters.

From the trailer, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will be released in 2022.

Gotham Knights

Bruce Wayne is dead along with Detective Gordon. Gotham is in flames and someone has to step up to avenge Bruce and save Gotham. It’s about time the Bat-Family is introduced into this series of games. In Batman: Arkham Knight, there is limited gameplay of Nightwing and Tim Drake, but this game takes this to a whole new level.

Batgirl is seen throughout the trailer dive-bombing into alleyways. Batgirl is the best female heroine in DC Comics. This game has adopted her best look which is the yellow combat boots and the zipped up purple jumpsuit. Red Hood even makes an appearance. He’s a nice addition considering most of the characters are sneaky and Red Hood can go into a fight scene with his guns raised.

Gotham Knights will be released in 2021.

Before ending this post, I do want to discuss how Rocksteady is under fire for sexual harassment. The gaming industry is notoriously toxic to women, women of color, and non-binary or gender non-conforming folks. It’s a reminder of how the gaming industry still needs to be upfront with these issues and resolve to do better.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and Gotham Knights are incredible. Rocksteady knows how to make decent DC games. I’m anxiously awaiting the day I can play as Batgirl.

Hidden Through Time Review

Hidden Through Time

Hidden Through Time was a game I purchased in my latest Steam haul. Every review I read for this game was positive. I wanted a chill game to play during the week after I got off of work. Hidden Through Time didn’t dissatisfy as it was a well-made and challenging hidden objects game.

There isn’t an actual story to Hidden Through Time. There are a series of maps under one theme in history. In these maps, there is a select group of objects to find. I was a perfectionist meaning I wouldn’t move on to the next map until I found every single object. However, the next map unlocks after a certain quota of objects was met. If I was truly stuck, I could move onto the next map without finding all the objects. As mentioned above, I didn’t do that because I was focused in completing each level before moving on.

Ancient Egypt Map. Screenshot taken by me during gameplay.

This game interested my fiance too. I would be playing this on our couch while he watched the nightly news. He would look at my screen and help me find the objects. Hidden Through Time isn’t a two-player game, but now and then my fiance became intrigued and would sit and help me locate the objects.

Hidden Through Time is a challenging game. Some of the levels went quicker, where some levels took at least fourty five minutes to complete. I never felt Hidden Through Time was “too hard” or the objects were placed in a way where I would have never found them on my own. If I hover my mouse over the objects themselves, there are cleverly written hints pointing to where the object might be. The hints don’t give away the object’s location, but it gave me an idea as to where the object is.

As far as replayability, the levels can be replayed. There is an online version to Hidden Through Time where players have made their own maps. I played a couple of them. The online play is mostly positive. There was one castle map which took me and my fiance forever to complete. Other maps were clearly made to be extremely easy. It added another hour or so of extra game play to play through the online maps.

Hidden Through Time is a game that helped me unwind after work. It served the purpose of being a game where I didn’t have to put all of my energy into playing. It was rewarding finding an object I was stuck on and couldn’t find. There is a Vikings DLC expansion to the game probably including more maps. I would purchase this DLC in a heartbeat. Hidden Through Time is available for purchase on Steam.