Lambda Wars

Couple of important things to note-

-It’s a community-made RTS mod based in the Half Life universe which is free to download for anyone who owns Half Life 2 (which, if you have a Steam account, is probably you), so regardless of any other opinions expressed here I totally think you should check it out.

-It’s also currently in Beta and constantly being worked on and updated, so anything I mention here might well be outdated within a short space of time. Again, I encourage anyone remotely interested in the concept to give them an hour of your time and try it out.

With all that being said-

Ostensibly, I enjoy RTS games. I like building a base, managing resources, constructing an army, and combatting an enemy. The trouble is I’m pretty bloody awful at doing any of those things, and will struggle against even a low-difficulty enemy. The end result is that I feel like I’m enjoying a game only to be absolutely steamrolled and end up not actually having a good time at all.

It bears repeating- these posts are not reviews in the traditional sense. My failure to have a good time with a game is not necessarily indicative of how good the game is(n’t). I cannot and do not intend to be objective on this blog.

You’ve likely inferred what I’m getting at. I’m going to Bin this, but I don’t think it’s a bad game. I think I’m a bad player. I’ll mention some things I noticed that may or may not sway you towards or away from the game-

The tech tree is shallow, leading to a very rapid match pace. You’re already in position very early on to start building up your forces and running skirmishes. I prefer a slower pace, but YMMV.

There also isn’t much single player content to enjoy here- no campaign mode, just PvE matches against scalable AI opponents. I’m pretty much exclusively a single-player kind of person, which is another factor leading to my decision.

Fin or Bin:

After two rounds of skirmish against an AI, I’d given it all the time I needed to. Almost apologetically, I’m Binning it, but if RTS is your thing, throw them some attention. They’re working hard on it.


Pokemon Shield

I found it very hard to get excited about Sword and Shield in the run-up to their release. Not because of the whole National Dex silliness- although like 90% of my faves got cut (argh!). I just remember buying Moon on release and feeling super cheated when Ultra SuMo were announced like a week later. That left a long lasting burn and I couldn’t help worry it would just happen again next gen.

Then the leaks started happening, and Special Interest took over. I was still holding out until midgi decided she was just gonna go buy the game after work one day and I got to share her copy. So!:

Yep! It’s Pokemon. I don’t know that there’s really much to say beyond that- if you liked previous games, you’ll probably like this one too, and if you didn’t, this one wont change your mind.

Something I do want to talk about is the Wild Area, a free-roam expanse of land where a huge variety of pokemon can appear, including very high-level fully evolved pokemon who exist only to embarrass your baby team. It feels very Breath Of The Wild, and it also feels very cautiously done. I’m honestly surprised the game isn’t 99% Wild Area, considering how great it feels to just roam the countryside seeing hundreds of different pokemon and getting chased down by a Level One-Million Dusknoir.

Finneon or Binneon:

Oh, it’s going to absolutely consume my life. That was never in doubt. But since I’m sharing it with midgi and can’t play when she is, the rest of my backlog won’t have to wait for me to Finish this 200-hour behemoth.

Secret Of Mana

Right, story time-

I have fond memories playing through Seiken Densetsu 3 a loooong time ago, and introducing it to a friend. Fond memories that were dormant for a long time before I rediscovered its soundtrack a few months ago. Listening through it brought a lot of melancholy nostalgia to the forefront of my mind, and I thought about playing through it again. It’s considered by some to be the best SNES game of all time (they’re wrong, ‘cos that’s LTTP, but it’s definitely up there) but I was worried about the misleading qualities of nostalgia and wondered if it was best left in the past.

Three days after I started thinking about SD3 again, Squenix announced a remake of it at E3, and a Thing Of Mana bundle for Switch, with SD3 being rebranded as Trials Of Mana and packaged up with its two prequels.

So, you know. Serendipity and all. But since I got the other two games with it, I figured I should play those first. Through a logical process too convoluted to explain, I decided to put both of them on the backlog together, and the second game in the series came up first.

Secret Of Mana, then- it’s pretty janky! Feels quite prototypical of Trials, from what I remember. The combat is pretty wonky, with a lot of enemy moves taking control away completely. The knockback time is so offensively long that getting caught between two enemies is basically an instant game over as they keep me stunlocked.

Most perplexingly, my guy alternates between a wide swing and a narrow lunge of the sword seemingly at random and with no input on my part making a difference. It’s quite frustrating to have a group of enemies in front of me, ripe for slashing, only to watch my dude poke harmlessly at the air between them.

Fin or Bin:

It’s a classic of the genre despite its numerous rough edges and I feel like most of the issues I have at the moment will stop being a problem once I get other characters in my team to back me up. It’s a Fin, but a tentative one. I feel like I’m too biased towards the bin in my haste to get to Trials, so I’m swinging it the other way, but it’s close.

Super Mario Odyssey


I debated putting a post up for Odyssey at all. It’s obviously a Fin, and what can I say about the game that hasn’t already been said?

But it’s been over a month since my last post, during which time I have played and finished it (and also moved house, and also not played Wuppo at all oops), and it was on the backlog, so I thought I should at least write something.

Obviously, it’s good. It’s absolutely packed to the rafters full of moments that just make you smile, clever little extra puzzles within puzzles, and smart uses of the central mechanic.


For some reason, it never grabbed me. I played it a little when it came out, and then it languished on the backlog until about a year later, when I picked it up again for a couple of hours, then onto the backlog it went again. Only having rolled it for the BBLC did I stick with it- even though both of those other times I definitel enjoyed it and had all the same feelings and impressions.

I can’t really explain why I couldn’t get attached, but even this most recent time I had to remind myself I was playing Odyssey. I had thought it was due to our living arrangements (which sees the Switch being in our living room area which was midgi’s personal space) but that didn’t prevent me demolishing SSBU when that came out. I dunno.

Fin or Bin:

I already said it was a Fin, so I’ll use this space to note- finally, a game that rewards pretty much every single instance of ‘I need to check this corner just in case there’s something here’. In other games, that kind of obsessive exploration doesn’t pay off 99% of the time, but there’s always something in Odyssey- even in the places you’re obviously not supposed to go. Hugely impressive.