The RPS Bargain Bucket: Symmetrical Beauty

By Lewie Procter on April 2nd, 2011 at 1:25 pm.


Want to play some new games, but have most of your liquid assets tied up in long term off shore hedge fund? With just a few pennies here you can get all sorts of new games. It’s the bargain bucket, where the games are cheap and the typos are free. For constant updates on which games are cheap at all times, get yourself over to SavyGamer.co.uk.

The Whispered World – £3.37/€3.81/$5.43
Apply coupon “SURVEY2010″.
John Euroviewed this back at release, and had this to say about it:

The Whispered World gets as much right as it does wrong, and for that it becomes sad for the wrong reasons. It’s so achingly pretty, and clearly so much love has gone into it. But the crappy puzzles and painful voices (not all are bad, most are dull, Sadwick’s is agony) do a huge disservice to a lovely world and some splendid writing.

Absolutely enormous, endlessly gorgeous, but maddening (especially in its final moment), The Whispered World is a muddled shame.

I reckon you can probably stomach a bit of ropey adventure game design in exchange for pretty pictures and a nice story, especially at this low price. RPS coverage here.

Peggle – £3.19/€3.61/$5.14
Apply coupon “HOTGAMES”.
Peggle! Bafflingly brilliant game about shooting a ball at pegs and then getting points. Success in Peggle is about 50% down to how good you are at the game, and 50% random chance. As Alec pointed out when telling us that Peggle is one of the most important games ever, Peggle’s true triumph was uniting the casuals and the proper gamers behind a brightly coloured rainbow banner. RPS coverage here.

Plants vs Zombies – £3.19/€3.61/$5.14
Apply coupon “HOTGAMES”.
Far from a one trick pony, Popcap won my heart all over again with PvZ, the garden-based tower defence. I am pretty confident that this is the only game to have ever compelled me to knowlingly follow a sub-optimal a strategy purely in the name of symmetrical beauty. You see, the garden has to be symmetrical or I freak out a bit. It’s a tower defence stays fresh by always throwing new things at you, and always having a new surprise waiting on the next level. The ending is actually properly amazing too, and one of my favourite gaming moments. RPS coverage here.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 & Legacy of Kain: Defiance – £4.98 each
Looks to be UK only as far as I can tell. I can only get a UK version of the page to load up anyway, let me know if you have any luck buying it from anywhere else. These are the third and fifth entries in the Legacy of Kain series. Why doesn’t Eidos want you to be able to buy any of the others? Dunno. These don’t seem to be available from any other DD outlet I checked, so this storewide Eidos 50% off sale is the best price for both of these that I can see. There’re fairly old games now, anyone had them running on a modern PC recently? What do we think folks, will we ever get another Legacy of Kain game, or are they done for good?

Deal of the week
The Potato Sack – £27.22/€34.47/$38.72
This is more like it, Valve. Here’s a bundle of thirteen indie games from the last couple of years, and in addition to the bundle discount each game has been discounted individually. Even better, if you already own any of the games already, you can buy the bundle and get an additional license to gift for each game you already own. Hopefully this will be a general policy going forward, rather than the exception to the rule. There have been bundles were you get additional gift licenses in the past, but not frequently, and I think only when the bundles involved just one publisher.
Includes (and individual pricing):
1… 2… 3… KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby) – £3.49/€4.49/$4.99
AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity – £3.49/€4.49/$4.99
Amnesia: The Dark Descent – £6.49/€7.49/$9.99
Audiosurf – £2.99/€4.99/$4.99
Bit.Trip.Beat – £3.49/€3.99/$4.99
Cogs – £3.49/€4.49/$4.99
Defense Grid – £3.49/€4.49/$4.99
Killing Floor – £7.49/€8.99/$9.99
Rush – £1.74/€2.24/$2.49
Super Meat Boy – £5.99/€6.99/$7.49
The Ball – £7.49/€8.99/$9.99
Toki Tori – £1.74/€2.24/$2.49
Wonderful End of the world – £2.99/€4.99/$4.99

Also of note:
Sword of the Stars [Complete Collection] – £5.24/€6.99/$6.99. Includes: Born of Blood, A Murder of Crows, Argos Naval Yard
Nimbus – £2.99/€4.99/$4.99
MiniOne Racing – Pay What you want
Rebellion promo

Remember to head to SavyGamer.co.uk for more cheap games across all formats.

__________________

« | »

.

157 Comments »

  1. SquareWheel says:

    Nimbus looks excellent, wish it were down a bit more in price though. I am a cheap bastard, you see.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Nimbus is very fun but hoo boy does it get difficult towards the end.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Nimbus is a very nice game.
      The first levels are more of a tutorial, so you might feel it a bit slow or not really passionating. But keep in mind that the following levels will require you to manage high speeds, avoiding obstacles, and in general feel much more dynamic.

      Levels are very nicely crafted, balancing puzzle and skill.

      At this price, you can’t go wrong with it. And there’s a demo on Steam is someone is hesitating.

    • Tacroy says:

      Nimbus is absolutely awesome and I have been physically unable to play anything else since I bought it.

      In my opinion, in fact, its level design puts even Super Meat Boy’s to shame – every once in a while you’ll just encounter something that makes you go “Oh you tricky bastards!” and spend the moments after you die reveling in how much thought went into the game.

      For instance, one level involves a race against a bunch of spiked balls. You need to get down to the bottom of the level before they do. However, the fact that it’s a race is not immediately obvious, and the path is fairly difficult – so the first thing you do is let the balls go on ahead, and saunter along at a slower speed, only to discover that the obvious exit has been blocked with spiky death.

      Okay, you say, I’ll go faster! So you start actually racing the spiked balls, cutting underneath them with moments to spare, and inevitably hitting a wall and losing your lead and dying.

      But eventually you make it! You’re at the very bottom of the level, triumphant about your skills, about to make your way down to the exit which has been taunting you for the last five minutes (or more, it’s hard to tell time while playing).

      Then suddenly, out of fucking nowhere, a giant-ass spiked ball comes flying out of a hole in the wall and kills you. The first time this happened to me, I just had to stop and say “You bastards“, but with a smile on my face.

      Because, see, that ball didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s been flying out of the hole every single time you played the level. You know that ball intimately, in fact – it’s the one that ends up blocking your exit if you take too long. You’ve just been too busy trying to get ahead of it that you never realized, until just now, how exactly it starts blocking the hole: by getting launched out of the hole in the wall at high speed, hitting the opposite wall (which is the direction you’re coming from!), and rolling down the slope.

      The entire game is filled with moments like this. It’s totally worth it, especially at half off.

      Alternatively, you could watch the Steam trailer for the game. If the game’s for you, I think you’ll know almost immediately from watching the trailer. I know I did.

    • Barnaby says:

      I’m only hesitating because I have a crapload of other games to play and it will probably get shunned for quite a while.

      I’m surprised nobody has mentioned how much the levels look like Sonic the Hedgehog. Weren’t even the little booster things that you walk into then get shot out of in Sonic? Not a complaint, I just got that vibe from it.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Sonic and NiGHTS were my first thoughts actually. Might pick it up.

    • qrter says:

      It sounds horrible.

    • Wulf says:

      I’m going to chime in with my love for Nimbus. And more, I’m going to pull a quoth the sage here and say that anyone who doesn’t like it is very probably a wrong-faced buffoon. :p It actually surprised me. I didn’t know what it was when I got it, not a clue, it was just there, it was cheap, it was colourful, and it was cheery. So I thought… why not?

      The first thing to make me smile was the intro, which quite immediately made this appear to be a game about sentient little rocketships, the only thing I could think of when I saw this was Batteries Not Included. (It was a good film, shush!) So that got a smile out of me. Then the levels themselves were… well, another has covered that, clever. Very clever.

      Nimbus has a lot of the VVVVVV magic to it, a lot of it. It has nice, catchy music, it has colourful visuals, and it has the most FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUU level sections you’ll see for a while, but despite that, it is never, ever unfair to you. Some of the earlier challenges might seem a little tricky, but that’s because on top of the platforming style of play, you now have thrust and velocity to deal with.

      But eventually that’ll click, and you’ll go ohhhhh. And this will lead to some spectacular aerial acrobatics using all of thrust, dives, swoops, and air-braking. I like certain aerial games and some might have noticed this, I especially like those that let me show off in a very impressive way. This game lets me do just that, and it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside for the effort.

      This is like a less frustrating, more fair, and more fun, yet strangely more difficult version of that old Thrust game. (Was it called Thrust? I think it was called Thrust.) Or lander. Or something. You know, the one with the little ship that you had to fly around and land with thrust alone. This is that but a billion times better with VVVVVV style levels, and controls that actually work and are intuitive.

      If there’s one thing I’d say that Nimbus needs? (And I can only hope that the Nimbus developers read RPS.) It’s an unlockable rainbow trail for the ship. This must happen. It must.

      That is all.

    • Tacroy says:

      @Wulf: you just haven’t gotten enough coins yet I guess, I’ve definitely unlocked a rainbow trail and it’s been following me around for a while now – it’s the second one on the right all the way at the bottom in the trails area, right next to the dotted line trail (which IIRC is unlocked fairly early)

      I like that one especially because it’s really long but fades out to nothing every once in a while, so if I have to try a section multiple times it provides kind of a ghost for my current attempt.

      I guess it could look more rainbowy and not twist around, but it’s definitely a rainbow.

    • Wulf says:

      No, I’ve not gotten enough coins yet, I freely admit this. I’m still playing it. What amazes me though is that they anticipated my desire, therefore they must think at least a little bit like me. There’s nothing better for showing off with aerial acrobatics than a rainbow trail. I love these developers.

      Anyway! Another thing I love about Nimbus thus far that I forgot to mention is that every so often they’ll do Incredible Machine sorts of things with levels, you get your own companion sphere, so to speak, you’ll learn to love those spheres, as you work to do things to allow them to roll through the levels and do physics-y things which then, in turn, allow you to proceed.

      Nimbus is a great game.

    • MD says:

      I bought Nimbus in the sale and am enjoying it so far. From Tacroy and Wulf’s praise it sounds like the developers really made the best of the concept, which is wonderful to hear. I imagine it would have been pretty easy to make a good but relatively uninspired game out of the core mechanic.

  2. torchedEARTH says:

    Thank God April 1st is over, I can come back to RPS and read some articles again…

    • Teddy Leach says:

      You are a spoil-sport, my good man.

    • Vinraith says:

      It may not have been to my taste (I got a chuckle out of it, but after the initial “that’s clever!” the charm largely wore off) but let them have their fun. It doesn’t hurt you not to read an internet site for half a day, after all, and a lot of people clearly got a great deal of enjoyment out of the whole thing.

    • Gnoupi says:

      @Vinraith – actually that was more “not reading any Internet site during this day”, but that’s nothing really new.

    • Robert says:

      RPS’ April Fools was miles better than what other websites tend to do. It’s not even ‘fooling’ anymore. In my days, April Fools was funny because you did not expect it. Now, you should just not go on the internets at all, because everyone wants to be ‘funny’ and ‘fool’ you, wildly overshooting their intents.
      I was not fooled by it, but entertained, which is a lot more that I can say of ‘genuine’ April Tomfoolery.

    • MD says:

      For what it’s worth, I like the RPS style of April Fools joke. A lot of people use it as an excuse to be mean and confusing, or boring and unoriginal; RPS uses it as an excuse to make silly (and sometimes quite creative) jokes. I definitely prefer the latter.

    • sinister agent says:

      I agree with MD. I didn’t even realise it was an April Fool’s thing until I looked at the rest of the world and everyone else was being a spiteful little brat with pointlessly cruel ‘jokes’ that on any other day of the year would have them branded as scumbags for months. A few original ‘theme’ pieces on a site with the volume of output of RPS is fine by me.

  3. Man Raised by Puffins says:

    You missed the best bit about the potato sack:

    Plus, if you own all 13 of the games in this pack (or purchase this pack), get a special Team Fortress 2 potato hat. (Hat available after April 5th)

    Most, if not all, of the games also have some potato related weirdness going on (e.g. Defence Grid has potatoes flying around in the main menu and a new hidden level).

  4. tossrStu says:

    Esteemed Sir,

    Twenty-eight pounds for a single sack of potatoes? Considering I already own all the potatoes I am presently interested in, and have no wish to purchase surplus potatoes merely so I can provide alms to my acquaintances, I shall not be spending a single penny in Mr Newell Esq’s Steam-Driven Emporium of Delights and Curiosities. However I do believe that those who are currently potato-deprived may find virtue in this, and would heartily recommend these tubers to any gentleman who is in need of sustenance.

  5. noobnob says:

    And this is the last week of the GamersGate 5th anniversary sale. There are some decent deals there (The Saboteur $11,98,King’s Bounty Crossworlds $7,98, Swords of the Stars Complete in the article) but most games there aren’t really worth a mention.

    • patricij says:

      I’m seriously falling asleep while browsing through their anniversary sale…but get The Saboteur, I loved it (even though I spent much less time with it than with Mercenaries 2 (30hrs vs 92hrs) and at that price you couldn’t go wrong
      *fixed*

    • Joshua says:

      Also, STALKER.

    • mod the world says:

      GamersGate really fails when it comes to announcing their more worthy deals.

    • Dominic White says:

      The Saboteur is a gem. One of Pandemics best games. It’s just typical that the moment it was released, they got shut down.

    • suibhne says:

      I continue to be amazed by GamersGate’s ability to put on sale dozens of games I’ve never heard of.

      Also, I may be spoiled by Steam sales, but $12 doesn’t seem that generous for The Saboteur at this point.

    • Colonel J says:

      That Saboteur deal is US only I think. It’s full price on the UK site.

    • Vague-rant says:

      I would advise against The Saboteur for those of you with ATI cards. I’m still having trouble despite the patch.

      (E.g. A giant hole in the middle of the road. I watched several cars drive into it, fall into the abyss, then my PC crashed.)

      I really wanted to like that game. Despite a lot of rough edges, I liked the possibilities the game offered, but the bugs combined with what I felt was a really confused plot (if not in terms of story, then tone) put me off.

    • Jason Lefkowitz says:

      Battlestations Midway and its sequel, Battlestations Pacific, are both good games included in the GamersGate sale, priced at around USD$8 each. The single player campaigns in both are good, and the multiplayer is/was fun as well, though these days you’re hard pressed to find anyone to play against, alas.

    • Oak says:

      I recommend Kane & Lynch 2 with the caveat that nobody else does.

    • SpakAttack says:

      Damn… I was just about to break out my debit card to buy Saboteur, but not available to purchase from the UK. We apparently have to pay £15 if we want it.

    • mwoody says:

      The Saboteur is easy to get for much cheaper than that, though. Like, it’s $9 at Amazon’s download service (which I’ve never used).

  6. Mithent says:

    The MiniOne racing Pay What You Want system is interesting, rewarding you for paying more at regular intervals (but, wow, that’s an expensive pencil sketch).

    No idea if the game is any good, though.

  7. NightKid says:

    Normal Shogun 2 Limited Edition (Just Hattori DLC) is also going for 17.85 quid at Zavvi.

  8. noclip says:

    Nice job spilling the beans about my offshore tax shelter, now I’m actually going to have to pay taxes.

  9. Vinraith says:

    How does 1…2…3 KICK IT compare to Aaaa(…)?
    I enjoyed the latter for perhaps a couple of hours but then kind of lost interest. The humor was great, but the game itself got pretty old pretty quickly despite being a fun little thing. I think the problem is that I’m not a high score chaser…

    • terry says:

      Kick It is interesting but highly underdeveloped as yet. I can see a good game in there but it’ll be a while in coming.

    • Sunjumper says:

      As far as I can 1… 2… 3… KICK IT isn’t even done yet. There seems to be the Alpha-2 version out and an Alpha-3 version is supposed to be released soon but the game is not done yet. It is a bit strange as Ichiro Lambe said on the Dejobaan site that the game is still work in progress while Steam seems to think that it is allready a finished product.

    • Xocrates says:

      Aye, Kick it is most definitely an alpha at this point, Dejobaan sent a mail yesterday saying that they would be releasing the pre-release version 3 soon, including on steam. I’m assuming the current steam version to be that or alpha 2 (more likely) (EDIT: It’s pre-release 3)

      As for the game itself: So far I don’t find it as good as AAAaa(etc…), but like I said, it’s still clearly alpha and the last version made several noticeable improvements.

      Here’s a video of me playing alpha 1 if you want an idea of how it plays: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4147CC8J-g

  10. CapeMonkey says:

    I love Legacy of Kain, so:
    the fourth game, Blood Omen 2, didn’t tie in directly to the plot of the other games, and in fact contradicted it at times (although that can be explained away with some of the time travel stuff from Soul Reaver 2). It also wasn’t as good of a game, although I still liked it.

    Running the first two games (Blood Omen and Soul Reaver) in modern Windows requires some unofficial patches, and that may not be a thing SquareEnix/Eidos wants to deal with. Blood Omen was also initially distributed by Activision, so Eidos may not be allowed to sell it. FWIW, they are both on PSN (at least in North America, listed as published by Sony) so they can be played on PSP or PlayStation 3.

    • Xocrates says:

      I actually found Blood Omen 2 to be extremely solid, and probably the best one from a gameplay point of view.

      That said, it’s nothing like the rest of the series and feels more than a bit tangential to it.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      I absolutely loved Blood Omen 2, but I hated the way it’d crash every few minutes.

    • Chizu says:

      Blood Omen 2 does fit in, but you have to play it after Soul Reaver 2 for it to make sense, as you are basically playing the new version of history created by the events at the end of Soul Reaver 2. 8D
      I love the LoK games, and despite Defiance having a kind of reasonable ending, I would still like more.
      Also, you can run all of the games on modern systems (supposedly), though I failed to get the first Soul Reaver to run recently, using some community made patches that are floating about on the net. (Assuming these copies on sale are the stock original releases)

      Also, though irrelevant to pc gaming, I wish Eidos would release a hd compilation thing for LoK, like the Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia ones on PS3. :’(

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Just to echo Chizu’s sentiments. I’d love more Legacy of Kain games. I missed Blood Omen & started on Soul Reaver on the PS1 then played Soul Reaver 2, Blood Omen 2 & Defiance on PS2.
      I came for the gameplay, I stayed for the excellent writing, characters & setting.

  11. Abe says:

    If anyone who bought the Potato Pack has a spare copy of Bit.Trip Beat or Super Meat Boy and no one to give it to, I’d be happy to receive it, please. Cheers.

  12. sk2k says:

    Beep (a nice physics puzzle game) is on sale at Beamdog for $8.99. http://www.beamdog.com/products/beep

    MfG
    sk2k

  13. Giaddon says:

    Direct2Drive has thirty days of deals, in the US at least, starting with the medal of honor reboot for $7.50, becoming more like 6 after 20% off coupon “cag”

  14. Vandelay says:

    Fairly sorry week of deals, but a couple of Play.com deals posted by TheTallMan in the forum thread were quite good. The more interesting is The Thief Collection for £3.99. I remember seeing this a long time ago in GAME’s 3 for £10 deal, but after checking my local store and two near work recently, I don’t seem to be able to find it any more. This isn’t quite as good as that (or at least, if you can find two other games you would like to go with it in the selection,) but is still a great bargain.

    The other deal was Lost Planet 2 for £2.99. Not played it myself, but remember hearing a fair amount of good will towards it when it came out and this site followed the build up to it quite a bit.

  15. Potajito says:

    Do you have any clue for how long will the Potato Sack deal will be aviable?

  16. Navagon says:

    This is useless. In all the time that Lewie has done this weekly Bargain Bucket a potato sack is the closest I’ve found to a good deal on a bucket.

  17. Seniath says:

    With Amy Hennig happy at Naughty Dog and Tony Jay no longer with us, I dare say the chances of another LoK game are slim, and the chances of another GOOD LoK game are even slimmer still.

  18. Coren says:

    I’d be really interested in getting The Whispered World for the price of 3.81€ listed above, but the price on Impulse is 7.49€, which is still 6.74€ after the coupon discount. Am I doing something wrong? Has anyone been able to get the cheaper price?

    I’d probably still get it for 7€, but if I can get it for half that….

    • Lewie Procter says:

      With impulse I always have to guess the Euro price, because as far as I can tell there is no way to see it in the UK. The price I quoted is just the UK price converted, and I don’t think there is any way around the pricing restrictions.

    • madAzrael says:

      i can confirm this. EUR-Price for the whispered world is:

      Subtotal: 7,49 €
      Discounts ( SURVEY2010 ): 0,75 €
      Total: 6,74 € (EUR)

      i have mixed feelings about this one, but with this price i will no longer hesitate…

  19. GreatUncleBaal says:

    Have already grabbed Whispered World – have wanted this for a while, as despite John’s misgivings I felt the art style was wonderful, so I was waiting for a deal like this one. It’s only having started to play it that I’ve realised that I’ve not played a point and click adventure in quite some time (not counting ones I’d already completed years ago and replayed) – my skills have atrophied quite horribly, and I am currently unable to get off the first area – I refuse to look up a walkthrough, though – we didn’t have Gamefaqs back in the day, no sir.
    John was right about Sadwick’s voice though.

    • Wulf says:

      I actually liked his voice. The character was supposed to be something of an emo, depressed, and whiny brat, it was supposed to be a particularly grating, annoying voice. If he’d sounded like Patrick Stuart, then something would’ve been very wrong, there. Some voices we’re not supposed to like, but I don’t really necessarily think that that makes them bad voices, just apt, and skillfully done.

    • patricij says:

      I’m with Wulf on that one… I’ve also realized, couple of days ago while playing Far Cry 2, I’m not supposed to feel good killing all those dudes…to become numb to all those killings – they shout, they cry in agony, you feel kind of bad for causing all the pain as you should.

  20. Xanadu says:

    Tempted by the sack of spuds. Own about half of it already (Audiosurf, the Ball, SMB, Cogs and Toki Tori) but I’d been after Amnesia anyhow and I’m usually a sucker for cut price Indies. Is anything else in there worth a punt, or should I just go for half price Amnesia on its own?

    • Xocrates says:

      I’m a big fan of AAAAaaaa… myself.

    • airtekh says:

      Rush is a neat little puzzler (even if it does get a little tricky too quickly). Killing Floor is a solid coop zombie shooter, if you like that kind of thing.

      Amnesia and The Ball are my personal faves of the games that are in there though.

  21. Alphabet says:

    Anyone got strong views on Sword of the Stars? It’s tempting but I don’t know if I have the energy to buy and download it if it’s going to make me sad and disappointed.

    • Vinraith says:

      With all the expansions, it’s my favorite space 4X game, for what that’s worth. Good ship customization, good tech tree variety, really substantial differences between how the races play, strong AI, strong customization, and some truly magnificent B-scifi-movie atmosphere. I’ve never played a game of this sort where the map itself is such a character, the random encounters and non-player factions lend an enormous amount of flavor and fun to the proceedings.

      I can’t recommend it highly enough if you’re a 4X fan, or looking to get into the genre.

    • Hedgemonster says:

      @Alphabet:

      To offer a different opinion, I never managed to get into Sword of the Stars (and I bought the Complete Collection on Impulse back when it was first available). My main complaints focus on the interface. It is truly awful: the camera is always locked on something (so you can’t pan the starmap or the tactical view), the map doesn’t show names of systems at a glance unless you zoom in or select the system in question, the battle view is severly limited (no camera pan here either and some funtions have to be unlocked through research), etc. A lot of information is obfuscated, and some of the game mechanics are completely opaque from what I’ve seen.

      And the awful thing is that these issues were implemented by design and Cerberus has only reluctantly fixed some of them. It also doesn’t help that the developers come across as rather unlikable and patronising (e.g. no hitpoints are displayed in the battle mode because that would be an “unncessary” additional overlay, or whatever nonsense they spouted about that).

      The graphics are also awful. I’m usually not one to complain about that, but the visual style of the thing is dreadful, especially the 2D stuff: lots of gradients and portions that appear to have been worked over using the smudge tool. Characters are shown in a rather stilted fashion. The colours used also tend to be rather garish. Overall, the visual look is very amateurish in my opinion. I also didn’t like a lot of the 3D models, although the Liir were pretty nice (detailing is very simplistic on the ship models, though).

      So I never managed to enjoy the game because of the interface issues and how opaque it was, and I never bothered to really sink my teeth into it because it was hideous to look at, too. However, the two things that I did like were the detailed histories of the different alien species (which have no gameplay purpose aside from, basically, explaining why each species has a different kind of stardrive) and the ship design stuff. The latter is simple (you pick a hull size and then decide what command, mission, and propulsion segmentes to use), but very fun.

      So all in all, I wouldn’t recommend the game. I consider it a poor man’s Master of Orion (MOO), really. That game got the B-movie sci-fi feel down pat, had a great and user-friendly interface, offered clear and concise information on all elements of the game, and so forth. It did everything perfectly. MOO2 was also a good game, but I felt it added a lot of needless detail that bogged down the later stages (Sword of the Stars is firmly in the MOO1 camp by comparison, but with real-time battles). By the way (and no, I’m not getting paid for this!), you can buy a copy of MOO2 at gog.com if you haven’t got it, and they’ll throw in MOO1 as a bonus. That seems like a better deal to me than Sword of the Stars.

      Edit: grammar.

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t do much in the way of 4X games, but I played it due to a genuinely interesting story and some of the most compellingly brilliant aliens I’ve seen in a game. I’ve never been tempted to play a 4X game before Sword of the Stars, and unless another can do the same sorts of things that SotS did, I may never be compelled to try another again.

      I’m not supporting or denying either of the above viewpoints, I’m just leaving this here as my own thoughts. Take them as you will.

  22. Alphabet says:

    Thanks Vinraith, that’s enough for me to plonk down my $6.99. I do love 4x, GalCiv being my highlight to date, unless Alpha Centauri counts, in which case, that.

    • Alphabet says:

      Oops, reply fail. And purchase fail: they want me to receive an SMS message to verify who I am. Not having a cell phone, I can’t do that. Oh well, back to Civ 4.

    • Hedgemonster says:

      @Alphabet:

      Glad you were unable to buy the game while I was typing my excessively lengthy comment, above!

      I wanted to add that there’s a demo available for Sword of the Stars if you want to testdrive it first. I think it’s based on an earlier version of the game, but if the demo’s appealing to you, you’ll certainly like the complete edition. Unless you’re an idiot like me and you buy the game anyway after playing the demo and disliking it, because it was cheap. You can find the demo via Google easily.

    • Vinraith says:

      The demo is not representative of the game in its current state, it comes from the original version with no expansions, and I wouldn’t recommend that game.

      As to hedgemonsters other complaints, well, to each their own. I found the interface easy to use and the graphics charming, but clearly both of those are pure matters of opinion. As to “information being obscured,” as is always the case with strategy games your best source of information is from other players of the game. SotS has a brilliant wiki, maintained by the community, which will tell you most anything you need to know:

      http://sots.rorschach.net/Main_Page

      For the price they’re asking, I can hardly imagine a better purchase. I’ve gotten hundreds of hours of enjoyment out of SotS in both MP and SP, $7 is frankly a joke for a game of this quality.

      As to MoO2, if you spend some time with 4X games and their attendant discussion forums you’ll quickly learn that MoO games have a somewhat fanatical following, a group of rabid nostalgists who insist nothing that’s come since has ever compared. They are, like anyone, welcome to their opinion, but it’s not one I share or understand. By all means, if you haven’t played MoO2 pick it up from GOG or an abandonware site and have a look, but suspect you’ll find it dated and limited in comparison to more modern offerings. IMO, it wasn’t even the best space 4X of its own era (Ascendancy was), but that’s a whole different can of worms. :)

    • Vinraith says:

      P.S. Do be a bit careful with that wiki link, SotS is the only strategy game I can recall having played that could truly be said to have “spoilers,” in that many of the random encounters and galactic threats are best enjoyed the first time without knowing they exist.

    • Vesperan says:

      I’m kinda with Hedgemonster on this. I wanted to love SotS (complete version), but there were a few things that just stopped me.

      For me the big one was diplomacy. I must be a complete idiot, because I couldn’t work out.. if there was any worth mentioning. It seemed really lacking.

      And the battle scenes got majorly annoying!

      Galactic Civilizations is my favourite in the genre.

    • Archonsod says:

      It’s in there. It’s always had an issue with that initial difficulty curve though. Diplomacy is split between the chat/communications window and the political screen.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Vesperan

      Actually the diplo system is unusually clever in SotS. In order to use it, though, you do have to research the alien species language and culture. As you gain a greater understanding of their language and culture, more options become available to you. When you first meet a new species, you can’t talk to them at all.

      If the battle scenes didn’t interest you, just use auto-resolve. I tend to auto-resolve non-pivotal combat, and combat where the odds are overwhelmingly in my favor, and personally control the rest.

    • Alphabet says:

      Thanks both of you. I think I might wait for the next great 4x game, because they tend to eat my life :)

    • Hedgemonster says:

      As an aside, I recommend the “let’s play” videos by chirpy Canadian GetDaved at Youtube:

      http://www.youtube.com/user/GetDaved

      He has playthroughs for MOO, MOO2, GalCiv2, and Sword of the Stars. They’re all entertaining as well as informative (especially since he plays rather swiftly, which generates some, shall we say, interesting situations), so you should get a good idea of what to expect with each game.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Hedgemonster

      The Let’s Plays are a good idea (any idea if the SotS ones are recent enough to show the current form of the game, instead of the mediocre vanilla version?).

      @Alphabet

      Honestly, of Gal Civ 2, MoO, MoO2, and SotS, you can’t go wrong with any of them. Especially if you enjoy 4X space games, you’re doing yourself a disservice not giving all of them a try at one point or another. When you can find the time, that is! :)

    • Hedgemonster says:

      @Vinraith:

      The Sword of the Stars playthrough is recent, but doesn’t feature the Morrigi, if I recall correctly. I’m guessing he bought the original game and the first (two? I forget) expansion pack(s). The game he plays was fully patched, though, as far as I could tell.

    • Vinraith says:

      No Morrigi means no Murder of Crows or Argos Naval Yard, so he’s just got the base game and the first expansion. That’s a step up from the base game, but still missing a lot of the stuff the makes the game fun.

  23. Vesperan says:

    No love for Tropico 3: Gold over at Impulse?

    Applying the survey2010 coupon makes it about US$9.

    ..or for people who use real money, $16.68 New Zealand dollars!

    • Vinraith says:

      Trop 3 is a lot of fun (much like the original). It’s worth noting that Impulse has just been bought by Gamestop, though, and it’s unclear how the service will change. Since it’s client-based, your ability to access your own games is contingent on the future actions of the controlling company.

    • Vesperan says:

      You can back up Impulse games as stand alone .exe files – won’t that remove the risk of being unable to play games should something bad happen to the service?

    • Vinraith says:

      The backup utility always gives me encrypted compressed files (7zips, I think) which require Impulse to reinstall. How do I get .exe’s?

    • Vesperan says:

      Ugh.

      I only did a couple of times years ago – in fact, it would have been under Stardock Central. Could’ve sworn it was an exe file at the time, but I must be wrong.

      Unfortunately at the time I copied those files to a dvd.. which I have no idea where it is. Ironically.

      Bit of a bugger. I’m having a shocking morning for the old memory!

    • Vinraith says:

      Ah, I see. I think under Stardock Central it WAS a .exe file, but under Impulse the mechanism has changed. Pity.

  24. Hedgemonster says:

    @Vinraith:

    I wouldn’t say I’m fanatical about MOO–the original game and the sequel are lauded for a reason, and I like both a lot (prefer the first, though), but I have also played and enjoyed lots of other 4X games, including Galactic Civilizations I and II and their expansions, Stars!, and the slow-paced RTS (rather than turn-based game that the others are) Sins of a Solar Empire.

    I am also of the opinion that you shouldn’t have to use an external wiki–even if it is a good wiki, I’ll glady admit that–to learn how to play a game. The game itself should offer a good amount of information itself so you don’t have to alt-tab to a browser before each move. The MOO and GalCiv games offered this feature, and you ultimately ended up going online (or buying the great MOO1 strategy guide) to hone your skills, perfect your strategies (or get to know new ones), rather than learn basic skills from scratch and obtaining basic data.

    What Vesperan said about the diplomacy is a good point: it’s rudimentary and doesn’t offer a great deal of options, aside from the fact that it’s rather befuddling at first. Diplomacy is a lot of fun in MOO, GalCiv, the regular Civ games, etc. It’s next to useless in Sword of the Stars, as it’s nearly exclusively focused on combat.

    • Hedgemonster says:

      Reply fail! This was intended to be shown two threads up.

    • Vinraith says:

      I’ve never seen another 4x game where your diplomatic stance with a newly met species was actually dependent on whether or not you fired on their vessel, because you couldn’t talk to them. There’s this glorious tension in tactical view when a new ship is encountered as you wait to see if they’ll fire on you, and wonder if you should fire on them.

      To each their own, I say again. I think SotS diplomacy is among the best I’ve ever seen in a 4X game precisely because it responds very sensibly to a wide variety of situations. Yes, its mostly about combat, because the game is mostly about combat, but managing and maintaining non-aggression pacts and alliances, securing surrenders, and breaking up agreements between opposing powers is far more satisfying here than in the other games you mention, if you ask me. The mere fact that you have the option to maintain, and even pamper, a conquered alien population if you have the right techs speaks volumes about the cleverness of the game IMO.

      As to external wiki’s being necessary, it’s not something I give a second thought. Most of the better strategy games of the last 10 years have evolved so rapidly that a good manual was impossible, and in game tutorials are inherently limited things. If I followed your rules, I would never have played the Europa Universalis games (or any other Pdox grand strategy game), never have played an AGEOD title, never have played AI War, never have played most of my favorite strategy games. It’s a perfectly valid stand to take, I suppose, but it seriously limits the horizons of one’s strategy gaming experience, and innately keeps one away from anything with a lot of depth and complexity, or a tendency to change and evolve rapidly. Of course, Gal Civ 2 is far more obtuse, in my opinion, than SotS, so perhaps it’s just a difference in what is and is not easy to understand for each of us. I love GC2, mind, but I couldn’t have made heads or tails of it without the wiki and the forums.

    • Vesperan says:

      Keep going Vinraith and at this rate you’ll have me installing SotS again..

    • Hedgemonster says:

      @Vinraith:

      I have no “rules” about never using a wiki–my point was that you shouldn’t have to use a wiki to get started with a game. Some basic information should be inthere already, and I think Sword of the Stars needlessly obfuscates a lot of data that is important, especially for beginning players. (They have made some improvements in that area with the more recent patches, though.) But once you sort of understand what you have to do, using a wiki is a great way of improving your skills, of mastering the game.

      It could be a personal difference, as you say. I don’t particularly grok what Cerberus were trying to do with Sword of the Stars–to me it seemed as if they wilfully went against certain conventions just be different. Not being able to pan the starmap is one example; the cumbersome 3D tech tree is another (why do I have to double-click a research item to learn more, and then zoom out again to select another research item?). That sort of stuff rubs me the wrong way, but obviously other people, like you, have no problem and enjoy the game just fine.

      Edit: by the way, Vinraith, it’s interesting that I never got into AI War, either. Unlike SotS, though, I never played enough of it to have an informed opinion on it. Our brains are clearly wired differently!

    • Vinraith says:

      @Hedgemonster

      Yes, I think we’re pretty clearly wired differently, it’s interesting that we both enjoyed Gal Civ 2 actually. Perhaps its the natural compromise between our two different mentalities?

      As to the map controls, panning doesn’t make a lot of sense on a 3D map. I find the focus, zoom in/out, and rotate controls very intuitive (reminiscent of one of my favorite astronomy programs, Celestia, oddly enough). I know the 3D starmap bugged a lot of people, but as an astronomer myself I really appreciate the feel of a genuinely 3d universe (another thing I liked about Ascendancy, come to think of it).

      The tech tree clicking IS a bit awkward, I’ll agree, but I am almost never bothered by user interfaces. In truth, it’s one of those criticisms I’ve learned to ignore completely from other people, as I find anything short of dwarf-fortress-level obtuseness to be just fine (and I can probably get bast DF’s, too, if I ever find the time to put into it). Again, clearly there’s a fundamental differences of taste there. It’s fortunate, then, that we both have good stuff to play within the same genre!

    • Hedgemonster says:

      @Vinraith:

      I think panning is useful in a 3D environment. I use it all the time in modelling programs like Lightwave and Blender, and I know that Star Ruler (yet another space game) allows you to focus on objects, pan, rotate, etc. It also worked just fine in Homeworld. I don’t think the argument that NOT giving the users the ability to pan somehow makes it more 3D is particularly strong. Incidentally, I also played a lot of Ascendancy, back in the day, but I don’t think it has aged as well as some other games.

      GalCiv might be a compromise; I think the fact that it is similar not just to games like MOO, but also Civ (with units moving freely across a flat map, rather than hopping from star to star), makes it a lot more accessible. Or something like that.

    • Vinraith says:

      To be clear, I’m not arguing that you shouldn’t be able to pan, or that not being able to pan makes it “more 3d,” merely that I never even noticed the lack of panning because that’s not a control I typically use or find useful in 3d environments.

      And yeah, Ascendancy hasn’t aged well. Honestly, the AI was always dumb as a rock as it was (even with the aggressor patch), but the game itself was absolutely freaking brilliant IMO.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      In defence of SotS (or to attack GalCivII) I couldn’t get into GalCivII until I downloaded the fan-made “Galactopedia” app as there’s not enough information in the game to know what you’re doing. That’s a bigger hurdle than simply looking stuff up on a wiki using a browser (I had to do much searching to find that).

      The SotS wiki has plenty of information but both these games should have this sort of stuff available in-game & not have to rely on the players to fill in the blanks. If Microprose could do it 20 years ago with Civilization on the Amiga there’s no excuse why modern games in similar mould don’t. I haven’t played my copy of Sins of a Solar Empire but I hear it’s been addressed in that & will be similarly addressed in GalCiv3 (one can only hope SotS 2 follows suit).

  25. Vinraith says:

    @Vesperan

    It sounds like you kind of bounced off it the first time, which is totally understandable. I actually did the same thing. The wiki is invaluable, as is the (hugely responseive) community. Like a lot of great strategy games, it’s not great at presenting information. If you can find a path into it, though, it really is one of the best of its kind (IMO), so needless to say I think it’s well worth the effort.

    Speaking of which, I forgot the single best tool for learning how to play SotS, Rorschachs’ video series:

    http://www.kerberos-productions.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8117

    Along with AI War it is, without question, one of my two favorite space strategy games of all time. I hope you end up enjoying it too.

  26. Hideous says:

    Hot damn, I want the potato sack.

  27. Meat Circus says:

    I bought the sack, and then realised I already owned all the games. I am such an indieslag.

    Who wants my spare copies? Dance for me. DANCE.

    • Baris345 says:

      Being a white man, the only dances I can do are the bus driver and the chicken dance. However, I will dance the shit out of that chicken for Super Meat Boy, Killing Floor or Amnesia (honestly, any one of them would be fantastic).

    • Camerooni says:

      /flashdance :p

      Would kill for RUSH, Amnesia or the The Ball.. they’re all pretty cheap but in the process of moving and the old cards are getting friendly with that max fellow..

    • Miker says:

      Ooh, I’d like a copy of Bit Trip.Beat. *shuffles awkwardly to the Charleston, doffs hat* Ta-da!

    • Hideous says:

      I will perform a sloppy jig for a copy of The Ball.

    • Urthman says:

      Meat Circus, if you’ve got an extra copy of the Wonderful End of the World, I could do a really annoying hamster dance and then stop at your command so you wouldn’t be annoyed any more.

      Or I could do it to annoy someone else…

    • The Army of None says:

      \o\ |o| /o/ \o/
      Do the little pixel dance for Audiosurf, pixel man!

    • tomeoftom says:

      I /can/ dance, trust me on this, but taking a video of yourself doing such in front of your brother would be very hard to explain. Instead, I wrote you a movie script:
      self-titled introduction
      act 1: in which Al Green is congratulated, then dies
      act 2: in which the meaning of highly obscure words is discussed whimsically and publically, and irrevokably altered in the process – given both the change in public usage that resulted from the discussion and the fluid nature of natural languages
      act 3: in which time passes, but only briefly
      act 4: in which eight people are brutally massaged, then thrown off a bridge
      post-wrap: chicken sandwich
      There we go. If you’re not especially enamoured of Bit Trip.Beat or Kick It, I’ll gladly relieve you of either!

    • Mccy_McFlinn says:

      I’ll gladly perform the clockwork-robot for a copy of Cogs. And a spinning-bird-kick inspired jaunt for the Ball if it’s still up for grabs.

    • _StingRay_ says:

      /me dances

      If it’s still available, I would dance some more for Defense Grid, as I’ve been meaning to toy with it for some time and never have quite gotten around to doing so.

  28. Uglycat says:

    Gamersgate has the complete East India Company set for only 3.30 pounds. I’m enjoying it.

  29. Wulf says:

    Right then! I picked up the indie sack and some of the games have already gone to friends who wanted them. But I still have the following to give away…

    Aaaa[...] – Falling game with a rather interesting intro.
    Audiosurf – Klax has a child with Guitar Hero and wipEout.
    Killing Floor – Zombies. Blargh.
    Portal – Which I’m going to toss into this list, too, since I do have it to give away.

    This’ll be on a first come, first served basis, just state the game you want and your email address, one per person. (This provides everyone with a chance to get the specific game they want, rather than someone being greedy and grabbing the lot.)

    • tomeoftom says:

      NA NA NA NA NA N- oh, true. WEotW, ploz! tom[dot]kenny2 [at] gmail.com

    • Mccy_McFlinn says:

      damn you man that’s the only one I’d not got in that list. Oh, if only Firefoxhad remembered my login it could have been mine.

    • Wulf says:

      @tomeoftom: Hopefully you just received The Wonderful End of the World.

    • tomeoftom says:

      YES! Very much appreciated, Wulf! Thank you kindly, sir! I never got a chance to play Katamari despite hearing so much about it, and none of my friends own any Playstations (which is odd, now that I think about it). Thankyouthankyouthankyou!

    • Wulf says:

      No worries! Enjoy. And it is pretty fun. It’s going to be ten times more fun if you’ve never played a Katamari game to compare it against. It’s so close to being a damned good Katamari game, but not quite, yet still if you’ve never had the chance to experience Katamari… you’re going to have a lot of fun.

    • tomeoftom says:

      Dope! Cheers again. There really needs to be more absurdist games.

    • mral says:

      I keep meaning to try out the Toki Tori demo, and then forgetting to. But based on your description, it sounds wonderful. If you’ve still got a copy to give away, I’ would really appreciate it. My account name is mralston.

    • Wulf says:

      I’ll happily gift you Toki Tori, but could you give me an email address to do so with? It appears to be much easier, that way. Just obscure it like tomeoftom did.

      *updates his original post.*

    • mral says:

      Oh, no worries! mralston [at] gmaildotcom :)

    • Wulf says:

      There you go, Mral! You should hopefully have received Toki Tori.

    • mral says:

      Success, thanks very much, Wulf! I’m too tired to do much of anything tonight, but tomorrow is an essay-writing day and I’m already planning to spend a large chunk of it cheering myself up with Toki Tori and Nimbus. Thanks again.

      Incidentally, I still have gift copies of HL2 and Episode 1, in case there is someone in the world who hasn’t played them yet and would like to. If anyone does want them, just leave your details here and I’ll hopefully remember to check this thread in the morning.

    • Samuel Erikson says:

      @Mccy_McFlinn

      If you’re still interested, I also have an extra copy of The World Ends with You. Send me your address and you’ll be happily playing not-Katamari in no time.

    • Delusibeta says:

      @Wulf: If you’re still interested, can I have a copy of Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa[etc.] or Sword of the Stars (assuming you’re giving that away)?
      E-mail: lol[AT]spammers[DOT]foiled
      (obviously not my e-mail address, removed to prevent spammers getting at it)
      GG username: Delusibeta

    • Mccy_McFlinn says:

      @Samuel Erikson

      That’s painfully generous of you. Thanks a million.

      My address is alex [dot] forrest [at] medhurst-it [dot] com

    • Lemeza says:

      @wulf
      Could I possibly have Killing Floor?
      edit: I decided to buy the sack instead, so someone else can have Killing Floor.
      I do, however have a spare copy of Portal (hint).

    • _StingRay_ says:

      @mral
      I’m going to make the embarrassing claim of never having played either of those games; I have played parts, yet never actually in total.
      And you sir are a fantastically generous fellow – thank you!
      @wulf
      If that copy of Killing Floor hasn’t been claimed yet, I would also greatly appreciate that. You guys are great!
      blahdeblah [at] blah [dot] blah
      (edited for posterity’s sake)

    • Samuel Erikson says:

      @Mccy_McFlinn

      You’re welcome. Hope you enjoy it.

    • Wulf says:

      Yikes! Sorry I wasn’t paying attention to this, I sort of got caught up in yakking since this is yet another interesting discussion thread that I’m having a lot of fun with. Whee.

      Right! I’ll get Killing Floor and Aaa[...] out to the first to claim them ASAP!

      As for Sword of the Stars, unfortunately I can’t give that away, however – I still have a crapload of blue coins left over, if I can use those to purchase a gift, then I’ll happily gift a copy of that. Would you be okay with accepting it knowing that it’s from my blue coin stash? I’d be more than happy to get another SotS out there. I’m asking because I know that this makes some people uncomfortable and checking is the considerate thing to do, yeah?

    • _StingRay_ says:

      @wulf

      Thanks so much! The generosity of the internet never fails to amaze.

    • Wulf says:

      Crap! I accidentally sent a gift to _StingRay_ for Aaa[...] after I sent it to Delusibeta, the reason for this is that when I clicked Killing Floor, the click didn’t take, and due to poor sight I hadn’t noticed. So _StingRay_, don’t claim that if you would be so kind, you should have Killing Floor on the way to you. Sorry about the mix up! Hopefully the right games will get to the right people!

      (Maybe it won’t even take since I’d already sent the gift to Delusibeta, I can only hope. Again, sorry about the mix up.)

    • _StingRay_ says:

      @wulf
      I figured it was an accident, and so Delusibeta should properly receive Aaa[...]; thanks again!

    • Wulf says:

      You’re awesome, _StingRay_, thank you! Curse my poor sight. Yeah, I didn’t realise that the click hadn’t taken until it was too late. Blargh.

    • Delusibeta says:

      @Wulf Getting “gift has been revoked” errors when I’m trying to get my gift of Aaaaa! Presumably Steam revoked my gift when you sent it out a second time.
      Don’t worry about SotS, I was just speculating (and I’m not greedy enough to ask for two games). As for Killing Floor, I’ve already got a copy of it, which could be an explanation as to why your click “bounced” (for want of a better word).

    • Wulf says:

      @Delusibeta

      I just sent out another gift email, it says that it successfully sent, and hopefully I haven’t messed this up this time. Whoops! Again, sorry about that to both you and _StingRay_.

    • Delusibeta says:

      @Wulf: Got it, thanks very much for your kindness.

    • mral says:

      Sent them both _StingRay_, enjoy the gravity gun! (And the rest of the game I guess, but the gravity gun is especially excellent.) Let me know if they don’t show up — knowing me, there’s a fair chance I copy-pasted the wrong email address or something.

    • _StingRay_ says:

      @mral
      Thanks so much! Hopefully I shall have time to tinker with these new toys soon. Both successfully showed up (as the gratitude may have given away), and HL2 is presently downloading.
      Once again, thanks very much!

  30. noom says:

    EDIT: posted about problems with Impulse but they seem to have resolved themselves. Whoops.

  31. Wulf says:

    Annnd I just used some of my leftover 20,000 something blue coins from a refund to pick up Sword of the Stars again. I know one sale more likely won’t make a huge amount of difference, especially with SotS II just around the corner, but I wanted to show my support for any developer that can create races as diverse as those in SotS.

    And I’m still completely in love with the Liir.

  32. Wulf says:

    For those who happen to have both and haven’t tried it yet…

    3 – 2 – 1 Kick It + The Argon Refinery track from the official Shatter album.

    Do it.

    You must.

  33. mwoody says:

    Ghost Master for $1.50 at Gamersgate. Hell, at that price, it’d be worth it even if the game WASN’T awesome, just to sit in the haunted mansion and listen to the music.

    • mwoody says:

      And $5 off Sims Medieval – is RPS going to weigh in on this one? Early reviews are… better than expected. If I’m going to buy it, it has to be before the inevitable DLC comes out, so I don’t feel like I’m playing half a game.

  34. sidhellfire says:

    Did I saw somewhere Dawn of War anthology for a ridiculous price?

  35. noom says:

    Anybody who owns defense grid should have a look at it since the potato sack offer came on. Curiouser and curiouser.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>