Category Archives: From The Armchair

From The Armchair: Accidental JRPG July

I only just found out about JRPG July, and it turns out I’m already participating in it – quite by accident.

The other week, after reading reviews of the just-released Valkyria Revolution, I decided to have a go on Valkyria Chronicles Remastered, the first game in the series. I got it for my birthday last year, but this is the first time I’ve played it. And whereas Valkyria Revolution has met with generally terrible reviews, Valkyria Chronicles is already shaping up to be one of my favourite games ever.

I was delighted to discover that it’s a tactical turn-based game, which happens to be my favourite genre – games like XCOM (review), Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars (review) and Fire Emblem are some of my most played. I was also delighted to find that Valkyria Chronicles stars Vyse and Aisha from Skies of Arcadia among its cast, which was a lovely throwback to that fantastic Dreamcast RPG. Seeing them again has made my yearning for a Skies sequel all the more keener.

I’ll post a full review of Valkyria Chronicles when I’m done – I’m over halfway through now, so I should be able to get it finished in time for the end of JRPG July. But it’s not the only JRPG I’ve been playing.

Valkyria Chronicles is astonishingly good.

I finally finished Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest the other day. To be honest, it was a bit of a slog after Birthright, thanks to its much greater difficulty – even playing on Casual, it got really tough towards the end. I’m glad I didn’t play it with permadeath on, like I did with Birthright, as I’d probably only have half a dozen characters left by the final level. I’m interested to play the third and final Fates game, Revelations, if only to fill in some of the plot holes, but I’ll leave it for a while – I’m a bit Fire Emblemed out right now.

I also started playing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. First impressions? Link is surely at his most beautiful in this game. What a handsome youth he is, in all his cel-shaded glory – the game seems to hit a perfect sweet spot between Toon Link and the more gritty Ocarina Link. But aesthetics aside, I’ve loved what I’ve played so far, particularly when the cook scolded me for breaking pots. Nice subversion of expectations there, Nintendo. I’m going to get straight back into it when Valkyria Chronicles is done and dusted.

So how about you lot? What have you been playing for JRPG July?

What a good-looking chap.

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The unheard message of The Witness

Today I’m going to talk to you about The Witness again. I spoke very briefly about it once before, but this time I’d like to take that analysis a few steps further, as well as discussing what it all means about why and how we play games, why this game has attained the dreaded label of “pretentious”, and how this all applies to our real lives.

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First, let’s talk about the “plot”. At this point I suppose I should warn you of impending spoilers, though I’m not sure if the idea of spoilers really applies to a game that has no direct story at all. In The Witness, the game simply begins with you in a tunnel with no explanation of who you are, where you are, who created this place, or what you’re supposed to be doing here. You follow the tunnel, open the door at the end, and emerge to find yourself on a strange island filled with mysterious puzzle panels, and that’s all there is to it. It seems obvious that someone, or many someones, took great care in creating this place, and so surely there must be a reason for its existence. There must be some point to you solving these hundreds of puzzles, musn’t there? If only you can solve the final puzzle in each area and unlock that mysterious door atop the mountain, then there must be an answer waiting for you at the end of it all, right? But there isn’t. After hours and hours of white-knuckle puzzling, you make your way through the final level and enter a strange little elevator which flies away, taking you on a tour of all the locations you visited, forcing you to helplessly watch as each area’s satisfyingly solved puzzles and devices are reset to their starting positions. The tour comes to a close when you’re deposited back in the tunnel you started in, and that’s it. The end.

Alternatively, there is a hidden extra ending that can be achieved by walking out of the tunnel again and activating a puzzle in the very first room that you never even realized was there. It’s funny, because it’s such a simple thing that was right there in front of your face from the beginning, but you hadn’t yet been introduced to the more abstract environment puzzles and so you just walk right by it, not even recognizing that it’s something you could have interacted with. This right here is one of central themes of the game and how you must play it to succeed (I mean, aside from just looking up the answer), but hold on, I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Back to the alternate ending, it offers no more real explanation to your situation than the previous one. Inside the secret door you’re taken through several rooms containing audio logs that serve as credits to the game, as well as a few personal messages from some of the developers, and at the end of the area you’re treated to a cryptic video that shows a first person view of an unknown person apparently “logging out” of the game as if it was all a virtual reality game. The person walks around looking at things in the real world in a seemingly bewildered manner, even trying to trace circular objects he sees, as if still in the game world. In the end, he finds the exit to the building, walks outside, looks around in amazement at his surroundings, and then lies down on a nearby bench and stares at the sky, and that’s it again. The end.

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So what does this all mean? There doesn’t seem to have been any point to all your hard puzzle work, does there? Where’s your satisfying conclusion? Where’s your ultimate reward? I’m afraid I have to ramble on a bit more before I can properly answer that. First, let’s go back to how the game forces you to approach it. The island is almost entirely open from the beginning. You can just wander to any given sub-section and start trying to solve its given puzzles, and while many of the puzzle mechanics are introduced and explained through simplified step-by-step sets of “guide” puzzles, eventually you’ll end up running into new puzzle types that haven’t been explained at all, and thus are almost certainly impassable until you can find out how they work. This can be pretty frustrating, but this is the game’s way of telling you to back off and do some more exploring. You don’t actually need to solve this puzzle right now. You’re perfectly free to wander off to other areas and solve other, easier puzzles, and eventually you will run into the guide puzzle that explains how the one you were stuck on works and you’ll be able to do all those kinds of puzzles afterwards.

The underlying message of all this would seem to be that putting all your focus in one direction may lead you to problems whose solutions lie outside your narrow field of view. Step back, take a deep breath, and search for answers elsewhere. It doesn’t mean that you’ve given up and it doesn’t mean that you’re not smart enough to figure it out, you simply haven’t attained the necessary knowledge yet. Once you know what to look for you can return to where you were stuck with a fresh perspective and breeze right through what was previously so elusive. You’ll see this at work in the optional environmental puzzles scattered around the island too, one of which opens the previously mentioned secret ending area door, where after you’ve realized what they are and how they work, you’ll be amazed to find that you’re suddenly seeing these symbols all over the place, and it becomes pretty easy to spot all these secrets that you probably walked right by several times before.

Throughout the game you’ll also find various audio and video logs that contain seemingly unrelated excerpts dealing with philosophy, religion, and science. These logs are all entirely optional and initially they don’t seem to have any relevance to your character’s situation, but they absolutely do, because it’s when you take the sentiments conveyed in these messages and apply them to the game world that it all suddenly starts to make a whole lot of sense. One video discusses things like the folly of searching for answers and personal purpose in works of art, because as beautifully complex and relatable as a work of art can be, it cannot give you solid answers about existence, it can ultimately only convey the relative perspective of its creator. Meanwhile, while empirical science may be able to provide you with more tangible answers regarding the inner workings of existence, and logic may be of great help in solving many problems you face in the world, they can’t answer the fundamental questions of life either. You know, like “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?”, “Who created this place?”, “What’s my purpose here?”. Sound familiar? In the end, this video suggests that all you can really do is continue to seek knowledge to the best of your ability.

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Another video gives dual lectures, one on the complex interconnected nature of all the various systems that make up our lives both physically and emotionally, and the following one returns to the topic of the search for purpose and answers, which goes on to suggest that while there are certainly some answers to be found, there is no ultimate, satisfyingly conclusive purpose to you or anything else’s existence to be found, but that that’s ok, it’s not something to be afraid of, it simply is what it is. There are several more examples, but I think these ones stood out as the most strongly and clearly relevant to the experience of The Witness.

So like I said earlier, simply take these ideas that you’ve been presented with and apply them to the game. The world of The Witness is full of amazing complexity and beauty, and when playing it we all automatically leap to the conclusion that there must be some secret purpose behind all this meticulous design and prevalent symbolism, yet the game never actually claims to offer any answers of any kind, it’s just something we assume because that’s just the way games usually are. It’s like the videos say, we feel more comfortable if there’s a story, if there’s some concrete reason for any given thing, because otherwise, why bother, right? That’s the thing though, The Witness never promises any answers and it never offers any. It never told you to walk out of that tunnel, it never told you to solve all those puzzles, it never claimed that there would be some grand reward waiting at the exit. We assumed all of those things and then proceeded to puzzle our way across the island for no real reason except that it was there and it was fun and beautiful, and that’s all there is to it. Is that really so bad?

The Witness simply is what it is, a massive virtual art installation bursting with logic puzzles, that exists for no reason other than to be interacted with. There is no higher purpose to it, and that’s ok. Like life, you can enjoy it just fine without knowing all the whys and hows, and that nothing really has any real purpose except for what we ourselves attribute to it. After all, don’t we spend hours, every day that we can, playing video games? How many times has a parent or other member of the previous generation(s) seen you playing a game and asked “What’s the point of that?”, and how many times did you reply with a disapproving scoff, wondering how anyone could ask such a stupid question? What is the point though? There is no actual physical gain from saving the princess or the galaxy. We simply do it because it’s there to be explored and conquered, and because it’s fun. I would think that anyone that spent the 20-40 hours on clearing all the puzzles in The Witness must have been having fun to some degree to have continued spending that much of their free time on it, right? Stop and ask yourself, did any of that time you spent having fun really suddenly retroactively cease being fun simply because you felt the ending was unsatisfying? And if you did spend that much time doing something that you didn’t enjoy at all, that you weren’t even getting paid for, is that really the fault of the game you were playing, or do you need to stop and take a look at yourself and your unfortunate tendency towards forcing yourself to play games you don’t like?

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Now, let’s finally get back to that ugly label, “pretentious”. The word pretentious is defined as “attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed”. Let me also add that while not strictly in the various definitions of the word, the implications of it are that a thing that is pretentious is condescending to you and insulting your intelligence in some form. I’m at a loss as to how this word applies to a game like this. The Witness offers no direction or direct narration of any kind. It doesn’t claim anything about itself within its own confines and it doesn’t say anything about you at all. In fact, the game is all about prompting and promoting the use of logic, the search for knowledge and self-improvement, and directly suggests that not knowing something does not make you stupid, it just means that you haven’t yet attained the necessary knowledge to solve a given problem, and that you most likely are fully capable and intelligent enough to overcome any problem if you simply put your mind to work. It tries to teach you to look at things from different perspectives, to explore and question, and to not be afraid to look for answers elsewhere or ask for help. Now you tell me, does this seem like a self-important, condescending message to you? Because if this is pretentious, I don’t ever want to be unpretentious.

Now if you feel that the game didn’t communicate its message well enough or if you simply didn’t like the message itself for some reason, or maybe you just don’t enjoy puzzle games that much, that’s fine, that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it, but regardless, allow me to make this request of you. The next time you encounter a story, whether it’s a game, movie, novel, or comic book, and you find yourself feeling unsatisfied because you felt that the narrative was confusing and impenetrable, before you reach for that quick and easy reaction of “this is just pretentious nonsense”, just stop and take a breath and think on it. Think about what it could all mean, about what all those things you experienced could represent, and if it’s still not clear go ahead and look up theories and/or explanations online. Go ahead, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Actively seeking out information and knowledge, and asking for help, isn’t what stupid people do, it’s what intelligent people do. A challenging narrative can be just as fun to conquer as a challenging game, and it’s a lot more fun and satisfying to exercise your imagination to peel away the layers of a cryptic meta-narrative than it is to simply dismiss it and harbor feelings of frustration and resentment over it.

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From The Armchair: Stealth, How I Hate Thee

What ho, chums!

I’ve been thinking of giving my Xbox 360 the old heave ho for a while now. But before I let the old girl go, I wanted to sample some of the handful of games I’ve procured for it that I’ve yet to cast my critical eye over. I blew the dust out of the old dear’s vents and fired up the white 12GB beast. A quick look at my profile revealed it’s been a whole year since I last switched her on – how time flies.

Of all the unloved Xbox 360 games on The Mantelpiece, Metro 2033 was the one that most intrigued me, so that was the one I reached for. Based on a Russian novel, the game tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where the survivors of the disaster have formed a new society in the city’s metro system, safe from the radiation and mutant horrors above. But mutant attacks are on the increase, and new, mysterious entities known as ‘Dark Ones’ have appeared on the scene.

It’s an intriguing set-up, and it’s wonderful to see a post-apocalyptic game that – for once – isn’t set in America. In the sense that it features mutants and is set in an underground ‘bunker’ of sorts, Metro 2033 bears close similarity to Fallout 3. But the Russian setting really makes it feel different, and this is a much more linear adventure – a first-person shooter full of corridors rather than a full-blown RPG.

The characterization and atmosphere are simply excellent. Each station is dripping in detail, packed full of eye-catching posters and NPCs going about their daily business of survival. I spent a good while just listening in on their conversations and taking in the lore of this subterranean world. Individual societies have sprung up at each station, and traders trek back and forth between them. Some have been taken over by communist or fascist ideology, and have started wars with their neighbours. It’s a fascinating world to take a glimpse into.

The gameplay, too, is clever. Bullets are scarce, and the weapons you find are often cobbled together from spare parts. Cleverly, the currency of the metro is military-grade bullets that have survived from before the war – which are really too valuable to fire. Instead, you mostly have to rely on weak ammunition that’s been fabricated in makeshift factories across the underground. I love the fact that there’s no HUD to speak of, too – things like objectives can be found on a clipboard that you hold in front of you, using a lighter to illuminate it.

So, a great game then. Or perhaps not.

It all fell down at the point when my companion Bourbon was incarcerated by bandits. I started the level in the air vents, as a guard walked by whistling on a set patrol pattern. “Shit,” I thought, “It’s a bloody stealth level.”

And it was all going so well, too.

I hate stealth games. I simply don’t have the patience for them, which is odd because I’m usually a very patient person when it comes to pretty much everything else. Perhaps it’s because I play games for escapism, for the feeling of exploring exiting new worlds, discovering fascinating stories or embodying an all-powerful avatar. Not skulking about in the dark and hiding in drains.

I’ve always felt like this. I remember playing Metal Gear Solid for the first time (on the Dreamcast, interestingly enough, thanks to Bleemcast), and just wondering what the fuss was all about. I found the game thoroughly irritating with its endless monologues and boring sneaking, and gave up on it after no more than a couple of hours.

I found Deus Ex: Human Revolution similarly frustrating. Thankfully though, that game at least let you beef up your weapons to the point where by the end I pretty much ignored stealth tactics in favour of going in guns blazing. It was a similar story with Dishonored – the game gave you the option to focus on sneaking or all-out warfare, and I unfailingly chose the latter. Sure, I might start off being a bit stealthy, but by the end of a level I’d always be relying on brute force to finish off my objective.

Sadly, the brute force method is highly unreliable in Metro 2033. After about 12 attempts, I finally managed to get to Bourbon by mowing down all the guards in the way, but it was very tricky. Artyom, your character, can’t take many hits before buying the farm, so it took a long time to carefully work my way through and eliminate all the guards without dying myself.

Still, I finally did it, and the next level was a treat. One of the things I really like about this game is that it’s not just mutants you face – there’s all sorts of really weird paranormal shenanigans going on too, and no-one really knows what’s causing it. I lapped up all the bizarre phenomena, and when that ended, I found myself on the front lines of a war between Nazis and Communists.

And then there was another f***ing stealth level.

This time, the ‘non-stealth’ route was practically impossible. Faced against a legion of armoured Nazi guards with shotguns, I died continually. Eventually, enough was enough. I turned off the Xbox and vowed never to play Metro 2033 again.

It’s a real shame, because it’s a beautiful game (if you can call a post-apocalyptic subway beautiful), and it does a superb job of conjuring atmosphere. But unlike Dishonored (and to a lesser extent Deus Ex), stealth is pretty much required, rather than an option.

F***ing stealth.

I think I’ll just read the book instead.

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From The Armchair: Fire Emblem FTW

What ho, chums!

First of all, a big thanks to everyone who has contacted me about writing for A Most Agreeable Pastime, it’s great to hear from you. Sorry for my lack of replies so far – I’ve been hugely busy over the past couple of weeks, but I will get back you all eventually. There are exciting times ahead in The Manor, watch this space!

Last week I wrote about The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, as The Year of Zelda got off to a cracking start. I actually finished that game quite a few weeks ago, and I fully intended to slide straight into Oracle of Ages – but Fire Emblem leapt into my face like a barking Chiahuahua with ADHD and insisted that I play with it.

It all started with Fire Emblem Heroes, that gacha-style mobile game that, to all intents and purposes, is a sort of ‘Fire Emblem Lite’ with added gambling. I was sceptical of its tiny maps and lack of permadeath at first, but it soon had its quasi-medieval tendrils hooked into me. In fact, I’ve been playing it every single day, often multiple times – the tiny maps and constantly refreshing quests are perfect for quick five-minute breaks during the working day. I’ve been tending to my ‘A’ team of Lucina, Ephraim, Camilla and Setsuma like a digital shepherd with an overly fond and possibly questionable appreciation of his flock.

And as sure as soft drugs lead to hard drugs and The Beatles led to dance music (FACT: without ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ there would be no Chemical Brothers), my time with FEH spurred me into buying Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, and now I can’t put the damn thing down.

I’m still not sure whether it’s better or worse than Fire Emblem: Awakening, but I’m certain that it’s damn good fun. The story is compelling, the little support vignettes between the characters are almost always endearing, and the swoopy 3D of the battles genuinely made me gasp the first time I saw it. I also liked the fact that they’ve done away with weapon durability – swords, axes and lances are now effectively unbreakable – but I miss moving characters over the map world, as it’s hard to get the same sense of progression.

Anyway, I’m almost done with Birthright now, but I’ve already downloaded its companion game, Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, and I’m keen to see the conflict from the other side. Not only that, you wouldn’t believe the number of hours I’ve been putting into Xenoblade Chronicles X… but more on that another time.

All in all, it means that The Year of Zelda has been put on hold briefly – at least until I can liberate the residents of Nohr/Hoshido and New Los Angeles, that is.

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From The Armchair: Old Man Lucius

ArmchairWhat ho, chums!

Friends, I’m growing old. As I near the end of my fourth decade on this planet, my listening predilections are veering from rock and roll towards radio plays, and my shoes are getting comfier and less fashionable with every passing year. I’m wholeheartedly embracing it – bring on the grey hairs, I say. I now actively look forward to receiving new socks and slippers for Christmas.

One change I’ve noticed is that my choice of games is getting more sedate as my body withers into middle-aged podginess. My extended time with No Man’s Sky has been so relaxing because that game is essentially an enormous galactic toolshed, and I’ve been pottering around it happily while avoiding doing the dishes. One of my biggest regrets so far in life is that I don’t own a shed of my own, but thankfully gaming can fill the void with virtual sheds like this one, in which I can make useless things and let my mind wander freely.

No Man's Sky is essentially a space shed.

No Man’s Sky is essentially a space shed.

I’ve also been playing a lot of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones on the Wii U, a Virtual Console version of the old Game Boy Advance game. (God knows why they didn’t release this portable game on the 3DS as well, Nintendo works in mysterious ways sometimes.) I think turn-based strategy games are probably my all-time favourite game genre, simply because they give me the space to sit and ruminate on what I want to do next. It’s truly relaxing, and these days that’s what I really play games for – to take a break, and lose myself in another realm. Or shed.

Which brings me to Bayonetta 2. I finally finished the game this week, and I think it’s brilliant – right up there with the first one, and between them they represent the absolute pinnacle of the hack ‘n’ slash genre. Superbly crafted, ambitious in scope, incomparable in depth and simply gorgeous to look at. But quite often I found I was simply too exhausted to play it.

Bayonetta 2: exhausting.

Bayonetta 2: exhausting.

I’d often fire up the Wii U and thrash through a level or two, only to turn it off about an hour  and play something a bit less taxing on the old thumbs and fingers. Bayonetta 2 is a game that demands lightning reflexes and constant attention, and my ageing brain is far too addled with years of coffee and biscuit abuse to take that kind of strain for long. An hour is about the limit before my failing cortex demands a game that has in-built coffee breaks – i.e. turn-based strategy.

I’m already glancing through my game collection and mentally discarding titles that look like they might be a bit too much like hard work. Crysis 2 seems like it might require too much running around. Child of Eden is basically a headache inducer. Zone of the Enders needs to just slow down and smell the roses once in a while.

Phew, all this typing is hard work. I think I’ll just close my eyes for a few minutes…

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From The Armchair: The No Man’s Sky Plateau

ArmchairWhat ho, chums!

I’ve finally reached what I suppose is the No Man’s Sky plateau: I’ve maxed out the slots in my exosuit and multitool, I’ve almost maxed out my spaceship, and I’m starting to notice a fair bit of repetition in the planets I’ve been visiting. After my initial fever of exploration, it feels like the game is winding down into the all-too-familiar.

As the scathing criticism that the game has received from some reveals, it’s clearly not for everyone. Even our own Sir Gaulian bounced off the game hard. But I’ve found it to be right up my street. It’s just so relaxing – I’m essentially pottering around space, doing whatever I feel like and satisfying my insatiable curiosity about what’s around the next corner. It’s wonderful. I can happily spend hours just pootling around planets and scanning weird animals.

But sadly, the returns I’m getting from it are getting weaker and weaker. The animal scanning is getting less and less rewarding as I notice the same creature parts recycled again and again. But even so, occasionally the game will throw up something truly odd that demands my attention. Just the other night, I came across these huge bear-like things that fluttered around on utterly tiny wings – something truly unlike anything I’d seen before. Yet these kinds of discoveries are becoming rarer and rarer.

It was a bit like this thing, but without the weird legs and face...

It was a bit like this thing, but without the weird legs and face…

It’s time to start winding down and aiming to put this thing to bed. I’m still eons away from the centre of the universe, but before I committed to gathering the necessary resources to head there, I thought I’d check to see whether it’s worth my time. It turns out it probably isn’t. So instead I’ve rejoined the Atlas Path, and already my game has been reinvigorated by a few all-new sights and encounters. It helps that I’ve already maxed out most of my exploration stats, so I can speed through the path to something that acts as a conclusion of sorts.

It’s been a fun ride.

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From The Armchair: Getting Mobile

ArmchairOne consequence of getting sucked in by Pokemon Go is that I’ve ‘rediscovered’ mobile gaming, to an extent – just as Eurogamer predicted. Bar the odd game of Threes, I’d pretty much given up on mobile games before this summer, but the Pokemania earlier this year prompted me to see what else the App Store had to offer.

I’d been put off before by various scrounging free-to-play games that constantly needled me for money. Plants vs. Zombies 2 was a prime offender in this category. I absolutely adored the first game, but the sequel switched to free to play and consequently walled off the more interesting stuff behind microtransactions – a sure way to kill all the enjoyment. Pokemon Go, for its sins, also adopts the free-to-play model, but in a much more acceptable way – everything is available to everyone, but those who choose to pay can get it a little quicker. Still not as satisfying as a one-off fee, but a decent compromise.

Thank heavens, then, for Square Enix’s ‘Go’ series – not to be confused with Pokemon Go, which cheekily seems to have ripped off the ‘Go’ suffix. (The first in the series, Hitman Go, came out back in 2014, so it pre-dates Pokemon Go by at least 2 years. But I presume that it was too difficult to copyright the word ‘go’, as King found out when they tried to copyright the word ‘saga’, as in Candy Crush Saga.) Lara Croft Go and Hitman Go were recently bundled together and put on sale on the App Store, so I quickly snapped them up. One price, everything included – lovely.

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I’ve yet to play Hitman Go, but Lara Croft Go has been an absolute delight. I wasn’t sure how well Tomb Raider would translate to a slow-paced puzzle game, but it’s managed to keep the feel of the series intact while offering an interesting new style of gameplay. Each level gradually introduces a new puzzle element – salamanders that follow you around, for example, or torches that repel monsters – and these elements neatly combine and intertwine as the game goes on, so by the end there are some real head scratchers to solve. On the strength of this, I can’t wait to play through Hitman Go – and I’ll almost certainly pick up Deus Ex Go, the latest in the series.

I’ve also been playing Really Bad Chess, which I sought out on the strength of this recommendation. It’s free to play with adverts, but you can pay to get rid of them – again, a good compromise, and much better than locking away content for cash. The game itself is a very basic representation of chess, but with the twist that you have a seemingly random mix of pieces. For example, on my first game I found I had four queens, while the computer opponent had 5 knights.

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As a result of this simple change, the games are enjoyably chaotic, and it made me completely rethink how I approached the game. Interestingly, despite having four queens, I still lost that opening game – it turns out that having a phalanx of knights is awesome for defence if they’re arrayed together. The game also progresses pleasingly, just like Lara Croft Go – as your rank increases, the computer starts off with better and better pieces, while your own pieces get progressively worse.

If you’ve played any amazing mobile games recently, let me know!

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