Something I had been anticipating finally happened a couple weeks ago – I got bored with playing the Mass Effect franchise. After an eight-month stint with Oblivion (which I was trying to plow through in preparation for Skyrim), I decided to blow through ME1 & 2 before the third game came out in March. To put in perspective how attached I got to those three games, I just now (two days ago) bought Skyrim. I played through ME1 once, and ME2 & 3 twice in about four months’ time. There were just so many options in the world, and in those 3 different ways you could go – and the third way, neutral, could go any thousands of ways depending on the personality/decisions of the person playing the games – that I found enough to keep me very interested through two almost complete play-throughs. I started that third play-through (Paragon) of 2 (I wanted to skip 1 and use the little genesis/creation comic instead) and almost immediately wanted to put down the controller and walk away. Luckily, since I own the games, I can come back to it anytime, and probably will one of these days!
The last few weeks have been hectic with getting everything together so I can blow the currently popcorn stand I’m inhabiting and move in with some of my two-and-four-legged buddies. In 5 days, that will become a crazy reality. To distract myself a little bit from the emotional fur flying around, and the stress of trying to make sure the packing and moving will go smoothly, I’ve been play testing some X-Box Live Arcade games to see if there’s anything that’s the right combination of relaxing and challenging for some light gaming. Instead of the usual immersive experience I seek out with games, I’ve been wanting something I can pick up, play for half an hour or forty five minutes and put back down.
SIDEBAR/ Weirdly, I’ve been seeking out the exact same thing in a book, in a sort of sideways way. I do have one Kindle book from the library that I’m almost done with, but mostly I’ve been re-reading some fantasy books I’ve owned forever, and have read at least 3 or 4 times. I really want to make no big commitments to anything until after I move, not even a book! Really, reading these books is like a big ol’ brain tranquilizer, not at all thought-provoking or challenging. /SIDEBAR
Anyway, here are some of the games I’ve been playing recently, and what I think about them. Maybe you’ll find a good little time-killing game for yourself!
1. Solar 2
Maybe someone out there remembers the first Solar game? If not, Google it, it’s a fun little browser game now, if you want to kill a few minutes. Both games were developed by Murudai, which does not seem to have done much else of note, but has made a good little game in Solar 2. Instead of me explaining the game to you in great detail, scope out this game play:
The game is essentially about the universe, from beginning (Big Bang!) to end (Black Holes!), and all the broad strokes in between. A die-hard astronomer will be pretty disappointed if they’re expecting detailed examinations of the science behind stars and asteroids and solar systems, or realistic physics. With a very soothing background soundtrack as your soporific lullabye, you zip around a seemingly endless open universe as an asteroid, star, and, eventually, black hole, alternately slamming into things or sucking them into your orbit in order to advance to the next state of being. An entire round can be played in about half an hour. Also, since every round is different, and there are many, many hidden “tasks” the snarky, invisible narrator has left around for you, replay value is pretty high. Plus, it’s only $5.oo on the arcade, so why not? You can also download on your computer, via Steam.