Electronic Games - What have you played recently?


The Guvnor
Staff member
I’ve played a chunk of that (Steam tells me 12.7hrs…) and enjoyed it. I think it is a bit more non-linear than many other CRPGs, and you can certainly try your best for non-combat approaches to challenges. The Torment heritage is definitely there, and the system is a better fit for that kind of game than 2e D&D was IMO.
It's Cypher, right?
Just finished a run through of The Longing. Yes, it's the game you can start playing, close the window and come back 400 days later and it's finished. It actually took me about 20 days of real time as there is a way to speed up time in your 'home' (up to 55:1), although in most of the play area time is 1:1, and in one section time stops.

It's basically an idle game with some in-game activity available. However, I thought there could have been a lot more in-game activity, especially for the last half of the game; you spend a lot of time waiting for the in-game timer to count down. Once you have finished extending and decorating your 'home', collected all the books, explored all the accessible areas (and some inaccessible areas), that's basically it. You then have 5 choices:
  • Wait for day 0, wake the king, and the world ends
  • Wait for day 35, collect the green crystal when it appears, combine it with the pink and yellow crystals (if you've got both), and wake from your dream
  • Go to the surface by getting in the bucket when the people on the surface draw water:
    • If the old man is drawing the water, you get adopted by the old couple and turn into a human
    • If the young troll draws the water, your appearance is so frightening they drop the bucket down the well and you are killed
  • Commit suicide by jumping off the cliff
And that is basically it. As I said, not much happens in the game; there are some timed events, but it's a case of waiting for them sitting in your armchair reading books until the timer ticks over or you need to walk to where the event is going to happen (or has happened). It got to the stage that all I was doing was checking in a couple of times a day to check the timer, and then perhaps walking somewhere to check something or carry out an activity.

I did feel that ultimately it was quite futile; I know the idea of the game is to slow yourself down, but in the end it felt boring and I was pleased to complete it. However, I am very unlikely to replay it (theoretically you can't) because of the lack-lustre story. The other thing I found annoying was the need to actively tell the game to do something; so you can't set off walking and automatically pick up items, but the game engine will automatically climb or jump if you're walking to a saved location. To my mind, that's a bit of an odd choice - that you have to trigger picking up an item but you can automatically climb or jump. It would have been far less irritating to be able to trigger a 'walk' and pick up items as you go along; this would have been incredibly useful in the time-stop area as it would allow you to set off, and go away from the screen doing something else, before returning and and triggering the walk home.

Activity-wise, there's not much to do once you've mined out the areas you can - basically mostly extending your home. There are a few areas in the caves you can mine - usually to get something. In your home, you can read, draw pictures, light fires, grow mushrooms, weave carpets and build a bed. Once you've built the bed, you can go to sleep and have dreams. There are a few areas in the caves where you can grow mushrooms (necessary to access some areas), but there are limitations - until an event happens, you can't climb a web holding a mushroom, and you cannot take a mushroom through one of the opening doors. Odd that, as you pop the mushroom in your mouth to climb or jump, and when you pick up an item, it automatically goes into your home no matter where you are in the caves.

I would have liked the ability to do more in the caves - for example, there are some pitch black areas which even the glowing mushrooms don't light up; it would have been interesting to be able to plant the mushrooms there to try and light up the areas. Also, there are some tunnels you can't reach - but you could if can you grow giant mushrooms - but they are beyond the doors. Mining could have been extended too - there's some blocked areas, but you can't mine them. Having the ability to create short cuts would be neat too - you do spend an inordinate amount of time getting from A to B (and back home again).

Was it worth the money? I paid £12.99 on Steam, and in the end didn't really think it was value for money. The Myst series were more expensive and not really re-playable, but the sheer amount of playing time finishing any one title makes them worth the money, especially with the gorgeous graphics. The Spiderweb games I play are totally re-playable (even with the retro-graphic style), and (especially the earlier ones) are sufficiently non-linear to make each game different. To my mind, the graphics in this game were quirky, and suited the game, but didn't really make up for the lack-lustre story.

So if you want to give it a try, my recommendation would be to wait for a sale.
I picked up Age of Wonder 4 for PS5 as I don’t have a gaming PC. It is fantastic - so evocative of Master of Magic which was a brilliant game back-in-the-day. But with a healthy dose of modern 4X in the style of Civ 6 on top. I heartily recommend it based on initial impressions.

And it works fine on PS5. The controller scheme has been done effectively, you just need to go through a short learning curve for how that works (the learning curve for the games systems and economy mechanisms are much steeper and deeper, of course).