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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Exeter 03:26 PM -- Fri October 2, 2015  

Exeter

My Review: This movie really surprised me. It’s presented like it’s going to be a found-footage “bunch of kids go into an old asylum to party and ghosts get them” thing. It is not that. What it turns out to be is very nearly an Evil Dead movie, with cackling demons, ridiculous gore, and campy insanity. I’m not saying it’s Evil Dead quality, but it’s definitely inspired by it. Probably not really worth watching, but kind of a fun ride anyway.

My Rating: 3/5 Baby Bracelets.

My Movie Idea: So there’s this party at somebody’s house, the usual kind movie-teenagers (played by 20-somethings, of course) throw when their parents are out of town, where hundreds of people they apparently know all come pouring in and there’s kegs of beer and so on. You’ve seen it in a hundred movies. But on the way to the party, one group of guys had some beers early, and ended up hitting someone in their car. You don’t see who it is they hit, and neither do they, because they freak out and drive off, standard hit-and-run scenario. Then later at the party, I’m not quite sure how this gets introduced, but you realize eventually that one of the partygoers is the person they hit - and they’re dead. It’s a ghost (which in this movie can be solid), who is acting like a normal partygoer in order to stalk and kill the guys from that car, one by one.

After the first kill, the party’s kind of over, with everybody running around and trying to hide and figure out where the serial killer in the house might be, and of course a bunch of people are all hiding in one room together, some of which are the hit-and-run guys, and one of which is the ghost. But you still don’t know which one! The tension! The drama! Everybody thinks they’re all in danger, but after the second kill, the remaining hit-and-run guys figure out that they are the targets, but to cement their villainous nature, they make sure to convince everybody that they’re all in danger, so the other people can be human shields for them. And of course, the rest of the movie is them getting caught alone one way or another and murdered, and an eventual reveal of who the ghost is.
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Woman In Black 2 04:40 PM -- Thu October 1, 2015  

Welcome to another fine year of me watching a horror movie every night of October and attempting to justify it with a flimsy premise and sharing the experience with you! So, to date, we’ve done video reviews, written reviews, and even drawings based on the movies. So what is it this year? Well, I figure, why not jump into my own personality and share something inside me that just happens automatically when I watch a movie: For each movie we watch this month, I’m going to share the (usually totally different) movie that it inspires me to wish I had the skills/money/equipment/friends to make! In other words, every movie I watch makes me think of a different movie I would make if I could, so I will share a brief description of that movie with you, in addition to a little review of the movie I watched. Got it? Good luck figuring out the connection between the two!

The Woman In Black 2

My Review: Let’s start by pointing out I never saw The Woman In Black, so I lack the backstory here. Also, let’s add that I really didn’t pay enough attention while this was on, which definitely hampered the experience. So given all that, I have to tell you, I found this movie to be dull as dishwater. So boring, so slow, and though there was a mystery behind the ghost that tied into the characters (which is what I am after in a ghost movie!), it just was not exciting at all.

It also suffers from the very classic problem of 80% of ghost movies - the ghost has no specific set of powers, so it can kind of do anything, only it chooses not to do the worst things it could (like simply dropping a piano on you, or making the room you’re in have no exits at all and leave you there for eternity, or anything else, since it can do anything), just to keep the movie going. I would rather there were some logical consistency to what exactly the ghost was capable of, and it worked within that framework. I’m sure people would argue that the unknown is the scary thing, but I’m not even saying I need to know the set of powers the ghost has, it just needs to have one, and if this ghost could do the things it did at the end of the movie at the beginning, it could’ve accomplished its goals instantly without puttering about for 2 hours.

My Rating: 2/5 Cardboard Airplanes.

My Movie Idea: It’s a hundred years in the future, and we have cures for all forms of cancer, all major diseases, and even broken the code to make cells continue regenerating forever instead of shutting down (i.e. the end of aging). We all live forever, barring extreme physical harm (most of which can still be fixed with regrowing organs, etc). All very plausible future tech. Here’s the problem though (not overpopulation, that’s some other movie): with hardly anybody dying ever, Death is getting really bored and angry. He’s bored out of his mind, and given his line of work you can imagine he has a bit of a dark side, so he comes to earth and starts evening the scales, mano a mano with his big scythe.

Basically, it’s a Godzilla movie, but instead of a 4 story lizard, it’s a man-sized skeleton in a robe with a scythe plowing through downtown, knocking down buildings and cutting people in half. It’s maybe a black comedy since it’s a pretty darn silly premise. All the usual Godzilla stuff happens - national guard comes in to fire missiles at him to no avail (obviously, you can’t kill death), scientists try to figure it out (not much hope, Death personified is not very scientific), and... hmm.

The only real ending I could come up with is that once he’s killed enough people he walks away, deciding things are fair for now, but he’s gonna be back next year for more. That’s a pretty anti-climactic ending though, but I can’t really think of a reasonable way to defeat him. Maybe discover an alien civilization he can go manage death for, and leave us alone. Or here’s a bit of a twist: in a last-ditch effort, they nuke him. Obviously that has no effect, but since it kills hundreds of thousands of people who couldn’t get out of the city in time, he’s satisfied and leaves.
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  Hamumu Revumu: Platformines 04:26 PM -- Sun September 27, 2015  

Platformines

TL;DR: Mindless randomized platforming mayhem.

Gameplay Gist: You need to explore a randomly generated side-scrolling world, collecting tons of little trinkets and random weapons as you go, all in an effort to collect special guns you can only use in a special room to rebuild your mine machine to get out (yes, that's really weird). It's basic jumping and platforming, combined with a lot of shooting with 4 kinds of weapons at really strange and mostly harmless enemies.

Kombat Kuality: Not great. You just shoot in the four directions, and there's no real complexity or anything interesting. The guns aren't super exciting, you mostly just hop down into a space, fire a few shots, and then hop out before the enemy bullets get to you.

Story Stupid? No story. Your mining machine is here and broken, and the parts are scattered around the 'mine' just because, so go get them. Then you escape and there's nothing much for an ending.

Wrapid Wrap-Up: On the one hand, I played all the way through to victory (which didn't take super long, Steam says I have 4 hours played), so it compelled me on. On the other hand, it's the kind of game you're supposed to keep on playing on higher difficulties and I'm sure the 'pros' would say "that's where the game really starts!" Well, it didn't compel me that much. I can't say I recommend this very odd-looking and odd-playing game, but I had my fun with it for 4 hours!
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  Hamumu Revumu: Xeodrifter 08:12 PM -- Wed September 16, 2015  

Xeodrifter

TL;DR: A very short mini-metroidvania full of challenge and fun!

Gameplay Gist: There are 4 planets you can visit, and you visit each one multiple times as you gain your new powers that let you get to new parts of them. On each trip, your goal is to reach a boss (the same boss every time, but with more abilities), and kill him to suck a new power out of his corpse, which in turn lets you reach new places. There are also a lot of hidden powerups you find with these powers as well. One fundamental power you get is the ability to jump into the background of the game, where you are now teeny tiny (perspective!), which is really cool.

Kombat Kuality: This is a pure platformer: run, jump and shoot! It's well executed so the controls feel good. Your only attack (until much later when you gain a powerful but generally useless super-shot) is just a simple plink of a bullet. What's fun is you can upgrade it in 5 or 6 different ways and tweak it to the situation at hand. Wavey bullets are really useful in the levels, but not needed at all against the boss, so you can dump those wavey points into more damage or fire rate when you get to the boss. The controls just feel good, except the super-clunky way that you toggle between your normal gun and the super shot. There are plenty of unused buttons, it would've been no trouble to just put that on another button instead of having to pause the game to switch it on or off. Also, the boss does have one really annoying power where it turns invincible for a long period of time and you just have to dodge until that's over.

Story Stupid? This is definitely not a story game. Yes, the story is truly stupid. Your ship is stranded, and for some reason this monster has eaten? your warp core, so you have to fight it 7 or 8 times across these four worlds to get it to cough it up and you can travel again. Interestingly, there's no dialog and almost no text at all in the game, which works pretty well, but there's no story to be delivered, so I guess that's why.

Wrapid Wrap-Up: This game feels like a really really good Ludum Dare entry, with a few weeks of extra polish added. It's exactly the kind of game you see in LD, and short enough to make sense there too. I recommend it, it was free with my PSN subscription this month, so yay for me! I plowed through it in an afternoon and couldn't quite stop until I won.
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  Hamumu Revumu: Of Orcs And Men 04:39 PM -- Sat August 22, 2015  

Of Orcs And Men

TL;DR: A linear action-strategy-RPG, with stealth action... yeah, it's different!

Gameplay Gist: This game surprised me multiple times. From the trailer videos that made me buy it, I expected a normal action-RPG: slash at the monsters with your sword. It is not that, the videos are lying. Rather, the combat is in real-time, but you can slow time waaaayyyy down to issue orders to your two guys. But that's not all. Before you get into a fight, you can sneak up on guys and backstab them in typical stealth-game style (avoid line-of-sight, avoid dogs since they can smell you, the usual things), so there are less guys to fight when you do reach a point where two guys are facing each other so you can't avoid being seen. The entire game is totally linear (minus the ability to take on a few side missions or not), you just play one level after another, where you traverse from one end to the other, killing everything on the way. But it is fun to do that!

Kombat Kuality: The fighting, once I actually understood it (which was not during the incredibly vague tutorial, but rather a few fights later as I pieced it together), is actually quite fun. There's hardly any variety to it, you'll pick a couple of things and really stick to them, but it's satisfying to have the big guy taunting everybody onto him and laying down AOE smacks while the little guy is tossing daggers at specific targets. Even more fun is that the big guy can throw the little guy at enemies for huge damage or to get him up to archers you can't otherwise reach. So, don't go in expecting a hack n' slash like I did, but if you expect a real-time tactical battle where you are giving orders to two different units, you should have fun with that.

Story Stupid? The story was alright. This is an extremely profane game. The writing was not done by a native English speaker, and it shows sometimes as they awkwardly insert F-bombs in places where they really don't belong, but boy do they like inserting them. In the end, I was compelled to find out what would happen. Like I said, it's totally linear so there's really not much to consider, you just sort of travel through this storybook, fighting the words on each page to get through. But it's a decent story, about Orcs having been enslaved for a long time and the underground among them fighting for freedom, and of course various political maneuvers. And it has a nice small, realistic feeling, story-wise. You don't travel the world seeking the parts of the Chalice Of Power to defeat a dark wizard, you really do a small enough thing that it's feasible that two guys could be doing it (and even then, you require the help of a lot of other people), and yet it does have international, possibly world-changing, repercussions. Pretty well-done now that I think about it.

Wrapid Wrap-Up: This is not a AAA game. It shows, with some clunky quality issues, but if you can respect the effort of the indies who made it, it's really actually well-done in many ways. It's almost too good to not be AAA, except it's definitely not good enough to be AAA. If that makes sense. All in all, in many ways, it's not what I expected for sure, but in the end I just kept going because I was having a lot of fun. It's also pretty short, which I totally appreciate. That's what I want in a game.
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  Hamumu Revumu: Wolfenstein 11:48 PM -- Thu August 13, 2015  

Wolfenstein: The New Order

TL;DR: Good nazi-shooting fun, pretty much normal FPS stuff.

Gameplay Gist: This is a story FPS. So you watch a cutscene, then you travel a (mostly) linear path killing everyone in the way, dive behind cover, throw grenades, collect ammo and oddly scraps of armor that you fuse to your body apparently to protect yourself, then you reach another cutscene, and the cycle continues. That's really it. There's a level-up element in the form of "perks" you unlock by accomplishing certain feats (like "kill 15 guys from cover with the pistol" to make your pistol hold more ammo). That's sorta fun, but there's not enough of it. You can pretty much ignore it completely and just play the game. There is a nice element of stealth here, where it's an action FPS so if you fail the stealth, you're totally fine - you're still capable of gunning down everyone in a 3-mile radius, and the stealth gameplay is nicely simplified. I enjoyed stealthing as much as I could and was very disappointed whenever it came to a point where stealth wasn't possible (which was often, towards the end of the game).

Kombat Kuality: Great. As FPS shooting goes, this is perfectly good. The downside I would say is the weapons aren't super interesting. You do eventually get a couple interesting weapons, but 99% of your shooting is just a pistol or machine gun, standard bullet blasting. It's not Borderlands! You have a few tricks up your sleeve like slide kicks and the ability to shoot while sliding which I could never ever do, but for the most part it is point and shoot, well-implemented.

Story Stupid? The story is pretty good. I was interested. It's very silly, but in a way that takes itself so seriously that I don't know, I felt like I was missing a tongue somewhere in a cheek. But it definitely has a lot of characters you notice and pay attention to without really wasting excessive time with pointless dialogue or "journals" or whatever that you wouldn't care about. Or at least I didn't pay attention to those - there are indeed some articles and stuff you can find in the game, but I quickly stopped reading them. The story is quite insane, and it's ludicrous how your character is some kind of unkillable monster in human form, and that they send you personally to do everything, but hey, it works as videogame logic.

Wrapid Wrap-Up: I was happy to keep going in this game. I had fun all the way through... or I did, right up until the stupid final boss. Yep, like so many games of yore, this is a game that has to ramp it up beyond all reason (and far beyond any fun) with the final boss just to make sure you have a challenge, or that it's epic enough. Surely you can make a final boss feel epic without making it ten times harder than everything before it? Prior to the final boss, nothing in this game was hard at all (and that's hows I likes it!). I died a few times total in the entire campaign. But that boss was insanity. Anyway, good game, super melancholy tone totally at odds with the "shooting nazi robot dogs" gameplay, very enjoyable. Very adult as well, not recommended for children.

Super Score: 84/100 Kampfengrupferkriegpanzerdrakken.
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  Volleyball Dice! 03:04 PM -- Fri July 24, 2015  

Hey, it's time to learn a new game. This is a game I invented a couple weeks ago. It may or may not be good. It's a simple dice game, along the lines of Farkle or Yahtzee. It probably sounds a little confusing at first, but if you play a few rounds you will catch on:

Volleyball Dice

SETUP AND CONCEPT
This is a quick game for 2 players. Each player gets 6 dice, representing their 6 team members. A round is played until one player is out of dice. Then everybody gets their 6 dice back and the scoring player serves for the next round.

SERVE
One player serves by rolling their dice and lining them up in a row in front of them (keep your row nicely aligned - both players need to know which die is in which spot!)

FOOTWORK
The other player does footwork by rolling their dice. They put their dice into a line as well, and they decide which of their dice to match with which of the opponent's. The rules are:
  1. If the dice are equal, both stay.
  2. If one is higher than the other, the lower die is removed from play.
BUMPS
If the receiving player now has less than 6 dice, they can do up to 2 bumps before returning the ball. To bump, you roll one of your dice that are out of play. Put it back in your line anywhere that is unoccupied *provided* that it is equal to or higher than the opponent's die in that spot. If there is no spot it can go, that bump is a failure and the die remains out. You don't knock out the opponent's dice when bumping even if your new die is higher than theirs.

RETURN
Now this player returns the ball. They don't do anything - the dice they have in front of them is their return. The first player has to roll their remaining dice and do Footwork now, followed by Bumps, and then they Return it back, all following the rules above.

SCORE
When somebody runs out of dice, that means the ball has touched the ground on their side of the court, so the other team scores a point. The scoring team now serves, starting a new round with everybody back up to 6 dice.

Play to whatever number of points is appropriate!

OPTIONAL RULE
This is probably a good thing to add: If you roll 3 of a kind on a serve or footwork, it's an Ace or Spike respectively, and you win the round on the spot.

NASTY OPTIONAL RULE
Games going too long? Try this: if you fail a bump, just like in real volleyball, you've dropped the ball and thus the other team scores immediately. Now you're not going to bump unless you have a really good chance to place it!

EXAMPLE ROUND
P1 rolls to serve. They get 5, 3, 1, 6, 4, 2.
P2 rolls for footwork. They get 2, 1, 4, 3, 1, 1. (sad!)
P2 decides to line their dice up as follows:

P1: 5 3 1 6 4 2
P2: 2 4 1 3 1 1


This was actually a bad play (P2's 3 should've been played against the 2 or 1, where it would win, but that would make this example really long!). As a result, some dice have been knocked out:

P1: 5 x 1 6 4 2
P2: x 4 1 x x x


So now P2 tries to bump to get those dice back. The first bump is a 1. That can't be placed in any open spot (it'd have to beat a 2, 4, 5 or 6), so it's no good. P2 bumps again and gets a 4. Hooray! They can put it up against either the 2 or 4. It doesn't matter which because bumps don't knock out the other player's dice.

P1: 5 x 1 6 4 2
P2: 4 4 1 x x x


P2 is now returning the ball (they don't roll, their return is just their existing dice), so P1 rolls their 5 remaining dice for their Footwork, getting 3, 1, 5, 5, 1. They place them like this:

P1: 5 5 3 1 1 x
P2: 4 4 1 x x x


This is a knockout blow! All 3 of P2's dice are gone, and P1 has won this round. Looks like P2 must have hit it into the net. P1 will serve next round and everybody has 6 dice again.

So that's Volleyball Dice. Give it a try with your friends!
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  Hamumu Revumu: Enslaved 03:08 PM -- Sat July 18, 2015  

Enslaved: Odyssey To The West

TL;DR: Don't bother.

Gameplay Gist: It's a 100% linear action-adventure game. You get to level up and apply points to a skill tree, but not in any way that matters. It's basically a movie you have to play through. There's a cut-scene, then a specific setup of enemies you have to 'solve', then the next cut-scene. No exploring, no choice of path. There is platforming stuff too, super simple.

Kombat Kuality: No. The fighting is bad. You fight with a staff and you have weak and strong attacks. But you don't mix them up in wacky combinations, you do weak, weak, weak, strong. And that is IT. You never do anything else. You CAN, but it doesn't do anything special, it's just individual attacks if you don't follow the basic combo. Aside from that, you can shoot laser beams at guys, but there's limited ammo for that, so you never do it outside of specific scenarios because you never know when you'll get more ammo. And since there's no re-visiting areas, or exploring, there is a fixed ammo supply. I hate that.

Story Stupid? Meh. Mediocre. Very very sexist story to be sure with the damsel in distress who constantly screws everything up, but otherwise semi-sorta-interesting. What's strange is that there is kind of a big twist to the story, but the entire twist is contained in the final cutscene. They really needed some stuff to build up to this twist (well, there are these flashes you get, and you wonder why, but that never builds up towards anything, it's just a total mystery until the final scene explains it bluntly). It felt weird. It seemed like any other game would have peppered in clues, and then had the revelation happen over the course of the final level in pieces, to make the final showdown meaningful. In fact, the 'final boss' in this game is basically the usual second-to-last boss of a game. Sort of a big showdown to get you into the throne room, where you would normally have an ultimate battle. Only in this one, there's no battle in there, just the last cut-scene. Last remark: the ending also kind of cuts itself off - it seems like it should have a big choice between one ending and another, but then it just picks one, and you never know what could've happened.

Wrapid Wrap-Up: I kept playing this game to the end. I didn't really want to, as the leveling-up is pointless, and the gameplay was never quite fun, but it was never bad enough that I didn't want to reach the conclusion. It did manage to pull me on with the mystery - I wanted to know what was going on. I was tempted to go to Youtube to find out, but finding the 'solution' to each battle was just barely interesting enough to keep me playing (the most helpful thing was looking in a FAQ to see how many chapters there were, so I kept thinking I was close enough I might as well finish). Not a terrible game but truly truly a mediocre one.

Super Score: 57/100 Illogical Technologies.
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  Steam Summer Gaming 02:45 PM -- Sat July 18, 2015  

So, the Steam Summer Sale came again (in the summer!). As always, I stocked up on insanely cheap games and lamented the death of the game industry. But I got a lot less than I used to, because with a backlog of well over a hundred games in my Steam account, and maybe an hour a day to game, I realized it's time to get picky. So I went in with a mission: I wanted action-RPG (or 'action adventure') games with skill trees and leveling up. That's the kind of thing that absolutely hooks me, so why waste my time with lesser games?

Of course, in the end, I found very few such games I didn't own! It was kind of depressing. And yeah, I got more than a few games of other sorts, but I did manage to keep it way down from my usual.

But then I took another step - I spent an hour or more going through my Steam list and breaking it down into categories! Oh how I love organizing data. So here it is. "Favorites" are games I'm currently actively playing (Clicker Heroes isn't exactly a game, but I do load it up every day, which I should stop doing because it's stupid....), "Active Fiddling" are ones I'm not really playing, but I'm theoretically coming back to every so often to peck at a little more.

"Big To-Play" is where it's at - these are the 'big games' that I'm planning to play through to completion in one fell swoop, one at a time. This list is bigger than I had expected, currently at 61 games. Odds are I won't actually play them all, and many I will try out and quit because they are terrible, but I am glad to have this handy list of monster games that intrigue me. Without such a list, I'd probably just spend the rest of my life opening that "Borderlands" category exclusively, and that's not good for me!

After that self-explanatory "Borderlands" category, there's "Check Out" which are games that intrigued me enough to buy them, but I don't know if they're really worth playing, or in some cases, I don't even know what they really are. So I hope to open those up and eventually move them to another category.

And then it goes on with other specific categories in case I want to pop open a fighting game or a puzzle game someday when I am in the mood. But my main goal is to crank through those Big To-Play games. I really enjoy immersing myself in a fun action-RPG and figuring out what skills I want to pick up in it, so away I go!

I've started this process already, a few weeks ago (when the summer sale happened!), and I'm actually a few games into it at this point. I plan to bring you reviews as I go. Stay tuned for your first review, up next!
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  I'm a celebrity! 08:27 PM -- Tue July 14, 2015  

It has been a few minutes since my last journal entry. Perhaps time for another.

The other day, I was playing Wolfenstein (The New Order, fun) when suddenly my computer died. And I mean DIED. I've never seen this happen before. It just flicked off and went silent, nothing functioning at all, except my UPS which was screaming in agony. After a bunch of random flipping of switches and plugging of plugs, I discovered that my UPS was fine, which is bad news, because it means my power supply was dead.

For the first time in my life, I figured it was best to have a professional check this out - I knew I could buy a replacement power supply and I knew I could install it (I built my previous computer), but since I wasn't computery enough to be sure the power supply was the problem, I might've wasted a few hundred bucks and a couple days of computer usage waiting for it to arrive.

So I headed down to the local computer repair shop, and the guy there took my computer, and collected some information from me. When he got to my email address, which I always spell out because there's no point in trying to say it, he said, "H-A-M... Hamumu? Like the software company?" I was shocked. This was a new experience. Well, he quickly explained how he had heard of me - it turns out he went to school with someone else famous, someone you may have heard of who goes by the name of SpaceManiac! He said SpaceManiac had given him all my demos, but made sure not to give him the full versions, so thumbs up on that. Plus, he said he felt like he was meeting a celebrity, so that makes me one. And I was wearing my "Robot Got Kitty!" shirt too.

So okay, maybe I'm not actually a celebrity, but it sure felt funny to walk in somewhere and be 'recognized'. If not a measure of my immense popularity, at least it was a nice demonstration of epic coincidence. Yelp returned about 5 computer shops within a few miles of me, and I picked the one where SpaceManiac's buddy worked.

Dramatic epilogue: they fixed my computer in a few hours, and as a bonus it was a lot cheaper than if I had fixed, because it turns out I didn't need anywhere near as powerful of a power supply as I had. So I got a much weaker one, which clearly is still running all my stuff just fine (and quieter too), for about a third of the price. All in all, a successful adventure.
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