Vegan Recipes

Every now and then, someone tells me that they’re going to try the vegan thing and ask me for recipes. Now I will just link them here. Excuse the awful photos, I never intended them for show, but I wanted to try and illustrate an otherwise text heavy page.

Ultimate Chocolate Pie/Cheesecake

For pie:

1 cup flour

Vitalite

Some water

Method:

Sift flour

Start with a super heaped tbsp of Vitalite or other, non-dairy spread that’s suitable for cooking. Mix into the flour until you get breadcrumbs. If it gets too wet, add more flour.

Add water by the tbs until it forms a pastry.

Roll out pastry to about 3-5mm (depending on preference). Place in a greased pan. Blind bake on 180c until golden brown. Prolly about 10-20 mins, I don’t know eyeball it.

Alternatively, buy Just-Rol or other vegan pastry, save a fuckload of time, and it will have cooking instructions on the side =)

For cheesecake:

1 pack plain Hobnobs (Hobnobs = Success)

Some Vitalite or coconut oil, maybe some of each.

Method:

Eat 6-8 Hobnobs

Pour rest of packet into a bag or, if you’re nasty, just between some tea towels.

Beat the shit out of them with a rolling pin or bludgeoning weapon until they are oaty rubble, not too rubbly.

Lightly grease a pan and pour in the biscuit dust

Heat 2-3 tbs of the not-butter or oil in the microwave for 10-20 seconds

Pour it into the pan and mix up.

If it’s sticking together nicely then you’re good to spread it evenly over the base and pop it in the fridge to chill for 5-10 mins.

If not, lube that biscuit rubble up with more of the same until it is.

For the filling:

1 pack of silken tofu (sometimes called firm silken because people talk utter shite)

1 bar of super vegan dark chocolate.

2 heaped tbsp icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

A splash of non-dairy milk – pref soy as it plays well with the tofu (natch).

Method:

Drain the tofu, you don’t need to press it, just get the excess tofu water off of it.

Place in a blender (you could probably do it with a hand blender but it could get messy)

Turn it to paste.

Melt the chocolate, either short bursts in the microwave after you smash it up, or in a bowl, suspended in a pan of hot water.

Add chocolate, vanilla, 1tbs icing sugar to tofu and blend until smooth and evenly chocolatey.

Taste, if it’s too bitter, you may want the rest of the sugar. Add more to taste.

If it looks like you could turn the blender upside down and it wouldn’t move in a month, add a splash of the milk.

It should poor like golden syrup

Pour it into you your case/base and pop it in the fridge to set. Overnight is best but if you can’t wait, 1-2 hours will do.

In the meantime, enjoy licking all the things clean of chocolate and sugar. (this is an excellent way to flirt)

Delicious Foody Noms™

You’re poor. We’re all poor. Down with capitalism.

With that in mind. Here is cheap food you can add or remove bits of depending on how recently you got paid.

1-2 carrots

1 medium onion (can use onion powder if you’re strapped – pro tip, onion powder comes in huge bags on amazon for a couple of quid and will do you for onion flavour for over a year)

An amount of garlic relative to your taste (again, powder is an option. Your local asian supermarket probably has big ole bags for a couple of quid that will last ages).

1 tin/carton of chopped tomatoes (basics is just as good as branded stuff)

1-2 sticks of celery (optional)

1 bell pepper of your preferred colour (optional)

1 handful per person of dried soy chunks (asian supermarket will likely do big ole bags for about a fiver. This should last a month or so, even if you’re using it in every meal)

Some kind of gravy granules/seasoning powder. (eg all purpose seasoning, swiss bullion, etc. Heck, you can use worcestershire sauce some paprika, curry powder, liquid aminos, liquid smoke. Go fancy, go minimal if you’re skint. You do you).

Herbs if you have them.

1-2 tbsp of nutritional yeast if you have it

Method:

Boil kettle.

Add soy chunks to a measuring jug or bowl.

Cover with boiling water and stir.

Add a couple of teaspoons of gravy granules/seasoning powder/whatever flavouring you have.

Stir occasionally until soft.

Chop and fry any veg you have until softened and lightly brown.

Mix in tomatoes.

Add garlic if you have it.

If you’re doing this with something (rice/pasta/noodles/the last of your hopes and dreams) put this on now.

Bring to a light bubble and then put on a low heat for ~10 mins

Now add the flavoured soy chunks to the sauce and stir. You may wish to add some of the

flavouring water from these, to the sauce and simmer this down for added flavour.

Serve and enjoy.

Fancy this shit up:

So, you’re in the money or the supermarket had stuff on sale/expired discount/some jars are small and easily concealable (I’m not at all encouraging whatever you may think I’m suggesting there) and you want to make this a bit more spesh. Well, you could add some courgettes, sliced and fried until browned. Add some sun-dried tomato paste/sriracha/peri peri sauce to add some explosive flavour.

Whatever Curry

It’s totally not curry in the traditional sense, but it has nice flavours and smells amazing.

1-2 carrots chopped or cut into thin strips

1-2 sticks of celery finely chopped (optional)

1 red or yellow pepper diced

1 medium onion chopped

Like, a bulb of garlic. Garlic is the best. Add some, then add a load more.

1 tin/carton chopped tomatoes

2 cups of dried soy chunks

Herbs/Spices: Curry powder, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander, cumin. OR a pre-blended curry spice of some kind.

3 heaped tsps curry paste

1 tin coconut milk (can use low fat coconut milk, powdered coconut, that dehydrated coconut stuff that comes in the green packed that you add water to to make it more milk/creamy, if you’re making it rain, there’s always coconut cream.

Rice

Method:

Boil water.

Make up soy chunks in a measuring jug/bowl.

Add some of each of the spices to the water to add lots of that sweet curry flavour and get those good good smells going.

Fry all the veg in a little oil until softened and lightly browned.

Add curry paste and stir thoroughly.

Add garlic, tomatoes, coconut milk/cream/whatever you’re using.

1-2 tbsp of nutritional yeast if you have it

Your kitchen now smells amazing.

Give it a taste as the coconut may have nerfed the spice and other flavours somewhat.

Add spice/seasoning to power it back up to your taste.

Add in the soy chunks

Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 15-20 mins. (If you’re in a rush, give the curry 5 minutes and then add some veggie gravy granules to thicken it up and bring out the flavour.)

Get your rice going, add a little turmeric to the water to add colour and aroma to your rice, if you like.

Serves 4, or 1-2 ravenous curry monsters. Hey! Don’t judge me.

Something Resembling Lasagne

Guess what’s in this, can you? Prolly by now.

For red sauce:

1 medium onion – finely chopped

1 red or orange pepper – chopped

1-2 carrots – finely chopped

1-2 celery sticks – finely chopped (optional)

3 cups of dried soy mince (optional)

1-2 tins/cartons of chopped tomatoes

1-2 tbsp of nutritional yeast if you have it

6-7 metric tons of garlic, with additional garlic to taste.

Italian herbs. Lots of oregano.

For white sauce:

1 pack silken tofu

¼ cup of non-dairy milk (pref soy)

1-2 tbsp of nutritional yeast or cheese flavour sauce powder.

Grated gary (optional)

Other:

Grated gary to top (optional)

Lasagne sheets (there are squash lasagne sheets but not tried them myself. Plus pasta is awesome, why deny yourself that)

Method:

Fry veg until soft and lightly brown.

Add tomato and all the garlic in the world.

Add herbs, nooch, soy mince. If the soy mince dries everything else out. Add a little water to get it back to a proper consistency.

Heat on high until it start getting aggy and then turn to low for 5ish mins.

The sauce should be a little bit wetter than you’d like for bolognese as it needs that to soften the pasta while it’s cooking.

Tofu in blender, blitz.

Add all the other sauce stuff and a little black pepper if you have it.

Build the lasagne. Red sauce, pasta/veg sheets, white sauce x2/3 depending on the size of your lasagne dish.

Top with a little shredded gary if you have it. I’m told you can mash cornflakes or tortilla chips if you want to make the top have a bit of crunch to it.

Pop it in the oven on 180c for 40-50 mins.

Maybe time to make some garlic bread. (bread, butter, garlic, parsley (optional))

The Family Ginger Cake Recipe™

When I was little, my maternal parent used to make a magical cake. It was sweet and sticky and made me silly and sleepy and then pass out. It’s a Scooby Doo mystery =O

227 gram / ½ lb Self-raising flour.

227 gram / ½ lb Golden syrup.

85 gram / 3 oz Margarine.

57 gram / 2 oz Dark brown sugar (Demerara or Muscovado)

2 tsp Ground ginger (Level)

1/8 pt non-dairy milk

1 tbsp Cocoa

Enough VeganEgg to equal 1 egg.

Mysterious ingredient X

Method:

Preheat oven to 150c

Sift Ginger, Flour and Coco

Melt Margarine, Sugar,Syrup, that other thing (Don’t boil)

Beat VEgg and not-Milk

Mix all ingredients together until it is battery

Pour into greased cake tin.

Put in oven for 45 mins.

Pancakes

Aww yiss gotta have a delicious golden stack one morning.

1 cup plain flour

2 tbsp baking powder

2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup soy milk (vanilla soy milk is also good for this)

Method:

Sieve dry ingredients together

Add soy milk

Mix to a thick batter

Cook on a medium heat in a lightly oiled pan.

Flip when the edges firm up and the bubbling stops.

Peanut Butter Heroin

They vanish somehow. I know not where they go. These are some sweet sweet peanut butter cookies.

75g non-dairy spread

50g 100% peanut peanut butter

50g caster sugar

50g demerara sugar

100g plain flour

Handful of porridge oats

1 tsp almond essence (optional)

2 tbsp cacao nibs (optional)

Dark chocolate buttons to top (optional)

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 200c

Mix all dry ingredients together

Mix in the moist ingredients

Divide into 8 balls and flatten them to delicious disc shaped.

Add buttons if you’re going super fancy.

Bake for 20 mins.

Leave to cool on a rack for about 5-10 mins.

Blink and realise they’re all gone somehow.

How did this happen? My delicious cookies, Where did my delicious baked goods vanish off to.

Ignore feeling of fullness and suspicious crumbs.

Bake more cookies.

A Strong Dose Of Skoompurr

This week I finally gave in to the cute graphics and pointy eared chests that have attracted me at a couple of expos in the last year. And so, money spent, I hung out to the sound of cute mewing and slashing swords, in The Gentlebros’ action RPG, Cat Quest on Nintendo Switch.

As a cat-starved cat lady, it seems perfect for me. You take the role of a brave cat who’s sister is kidnapped by a sinister looking white cat in some really snazzy headgear called Drakoth. Before I knew it, they’d blasted my tiny boat and left me adrift on a chunk of wood that genuinely didn’t have room for both me and Leo DiCatprio.

Next thing I knew, I was washed up on the shores of Felingard with Navi-wannabe, Spirry. Spirry the spirit guardian (real thoughtful there bros gentle) who is giving orders and instructing me how to grow my power and work towards saving my sister. My main complaint about this glowing guide, is that they continually refer to townsfolk as ‘peasants’. Well fuck you, you classist, twinkly bastard!

It’s quickly revealed that I bare the mark of the Dragonblood, the dragon slayers of long past. I’m not ashamed to admit that this had me immediately meowing the Skyrim theme and desperately trying to come up with related puns (Fus Ro Purr! I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I wubbed the belleh. Play along at home, if you like).

Soon enough the game opens up into a large, beautifully drawn, open world inhabited by a number of strange creatures. There’s some brown sheep things that hop around fairly harmlessly, bandit kitties, large floating fists, weird floating scorpion-tailed penis creatures, and a selection of dragons great and small to swipe your weapons at or cast powerful magics upon.

Throughout the world are a number of caves or ruins which can be investigated for experience, gold, and funky loot. Each of these areas is fairly short which is good for on the go/on the toilet play. Before entering, there is an opportunity to check the level against your own so you can tell how likely it is that you might be destroyed in a single hit. Loot comes in chests with adorable cat ears (that make me squee every time I see them, because I am kitty trash.) and could be weapons or armour. There’s plenty of fashionable hats and armour to collect and level up throughout your adventure. Items are levelled when you come across duplicates, meaning that you won’t necessarily have to change from your favourite wizard hat, it can grow with you.

In addition to the swords, maces, and knobbly staves that you’ll find, there’s a number of wizard towers dotted around the map where you can gain new magic spells and upgrade them. While there’s a good selection, to be gained, I spent most of the time just using the first spell. This Flame Purr creates a circle of fire damage around you in a good radius and never stops being useful as it also does decent damage over time. The other one of note is the freeze spell, which slows your enemy. Perfect for taking down the more mighty dragons with ease. You’ll encounter others including: lightning strikes, spike floors, and one of the most pathetic healing spells I’ve ever encountered in gaming.

As you travel across the land (searching far and wide. Da Da. Da-Dum.) you’ll come across towns and villages. Here you can chat to the locals for news, check the notice board for quests, or fall flat on your face in front of an inn, in order to rest up and save your progress. I’m not kidding, pressing the action button in front of the inn will see you just crash out harder than me after four pints of scrumpy on an empty stomach. Something that, like the adorable chests, never ceased to entertain me.

Once you’re all done with the main quest, you can go back through on new game + – which strips some of your plot-based powers, but leaves your sweet loot intact, or try mew game. Mew game mode lets you add meow-difiers, like forcing you to stay at level one, having only nine lives, or forcing you to play without armour. While I’m sure this would add something if you felt the game was short and too easy, I finished my initial run feeling like I’d had my fill of this catventure.

The soundtrack is a cheery and bouncy adventuring tune above ground and somewhat darker in the caves and ruins, but nothing really to write home about. I didn’t get annoyed with it, but it did tune out after a while.

Overall the game is basic, purrfect for short bursts of play, endearing, beautifully drawn, and suitably full of cat puns.

Pros:

Pretty
Punny
Entertaining

Cons:

Classist companion
Rather short unless you want to keep cycling through.
Twice the price on Switch that it is on mobile.

Final Score: 5/10

Cat Quest is out now on Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, macOS, Android, & iOS

Zombies Ate My PC Gamer Weekender

tl;dr get Basingstoke! Here’s a link

Image result for pcgamer weekender 2018

This past weekend I got the chance to visit the PC Gamer Weekender at London Olympia. Not a venue I’ve been to before, so it was nice to explore a bit. The door staff were helpful and pleasant; the lifts were huge, certainly enough room to not only get a couple of electric wheelchairs in, but to turn around easily too. On the event floor, there’s a cloak room café area, and toilets are well sign posted. A seating at one end for refreshments and a large tabletop gaming area near to stands selling collectable cards, general nerd merch  (including the legally required number of Funko Pop figures for such events), and a good selection or tabletop games (damn you Pandemic and your many tempting variants!). In addition there were two stages – quite close together – which hosted a number of panels for game reveals and tech talks that I largely missed. And Finally, the most important area, the bit most people came for: the glorious corridors of game stands *crowd makes excited oooooh sound*. Luckily, the event wasn’t too crowded, so it was easy ish to get to try things, and wasn’t too overwhelmingly peopley.

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Game I actually went to see – 2 Point Hospital.

I played a lot of Theme Hospital in my youth. Like, a loooooot of Theme Hospital. Its quirky humour, charming graphics, and involving gameplay kept me coming back for more, even though I wasn’t very good at it. It’s one I came back to again and again and had only recently been wishing that someone would update. So the recent announcement that some of the old Bullfrog team were getting 2 Point Studios [www.twopointstudios.com] together and would soon be releasing 2 Point Hospital, a spiritual successor to Theme Hospital. The panel introduced some members of the team and their mission statement.

Good news everybody, 2 Point Studios want to re-imagine sims and be the home of “little people games”. For those who loved Populous, Powermonger, Theme Park, and Theme Hospital, this is excellent news. Personally, I’ve felt the industry has been lacking good games in this genre for some time. From what the announcement trailer has shown, and the gameplay footage shown at the Weekender, the game is looking fantastic. The graphics are clean and colourful, looking great from a distant overview, right down to fully zoomed in; the interface is simple and clear; and for those familiar with TH, it’s looking like everything we would want from a successor.

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One of the main draws of TH for me was the wacky afflictions which patients could come in with. Bloaty head – a massively swollen head that needs to be popped and lightly re-inflated to normal size, slack tongue – a huge lolling tongue that personally I’d just learn to live with for… reasons, and invisibility to name a few. 2PH has new conditions all of its own. Including light headedness – waking up to find your head is now literally a lightbulb which will need to be unscrewed and replaced with a new head, and mummification – wandering, bandaged horrors that need to be popped into a casket, and have their coverings unwound. The devs announced that the final game will be filled more of these punny illnesses for you to cure with unusual and entertainingly animated equipment. Do try not to get embarrassed at people seeing your skeleton when passing through the x-ray machine.

I was excited before, seeing this at the Weekender and nothing I saw did anything to lessen that. It’s looking great and I’m very hype. Devs are not yet ready put an exact date for release, but my body is ready just as soon as they are ready to put it out.

2 Point Hospital will be available on Steam at some point in 2018.

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Pleasant surprise of the show – Guns of Icarus Alliance

I’ve not played GoI for some time. I got quite into it for a while, but I just didn’t have the time and too many other things that ran better on my PC (To be fair, the PC I was using at that time was junk and GoI just chugged on it).

This new game is very much more of the same first-person, steampunk/dieselpunk multiplayer, airship crew simulator. Take to the skies and battle rival crews in huge areas. Take the high road, or sink as low as you can and into clouds to avoid detection, then sneak up on your enemy. Take on specific roles as gunner, engineer or pilot – though anyone can do any job in a pinch even put out the occasional fire.  The original game featured 7 magnificent airships, with Alliance adding a further six to date. Each is differently manoeuvrable and having varying amounts of guns and armour.

Alliance adds more than just new ships and enhanced graphics to the original 2012 release. Developers, Muse Games are very excited that they have successfully integrated cross-platform play with Windows, Mac, Linux, and PS4. While your account can’t be moved from platform to platform, you can play with your friends, without problems, regardless of which system they’re using. Additionally, faction war gameplay lets crews to earn war effort for their faction, which in turn allows them to take over or defend pieces of land on the map. There’s time in lobby to strategize and plan for the war effort, but if that’s not your thing, you can always set up a private game and have it out with your friends.

Alliance also sees the game ported to a newer version of Unity, which has allowed them to improve enemy AI. Staff at the booth told me a great story about one of the devs loudly complaining, as they believed someone in the office was picking on them. It later turned out to be an AI player that they’d upset.

So gather your crew, inflate your balloon, and set sail to the skies to fight your enemy. For the good of [insert preferred faction] because you’re the best and most right, obviously.

Guns of Icarus Alliance is available on Steam and Humble Store

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Game of the Show – Basingstoke

I’ve played a few of Puppy Games creations. They’ve mostly been fun and engaging updates on classic games with a unique art style that is instantly recognisable if you’ve played any of their stuff. Even their most fearsome enemies have a certain adorable look about them. Like a hangry loved one on a rampage. Speaking of hangry, what monster encapsulates that idea better than zombies (phew, think I landed that segue with no problems). This brings us to Basingstoke. Well, it’s Basingstoke, but not as you know it. Unless you know it to be on fire and the residents to be rather bitey. In this case, I’m referring to, the terminally British isometric roguelike zombie survival game that makes me crave a strawberry Cornetto.

“But Jane, everyone’s tired of zombie games. They’re so dead.” Well friend, unless you sever the head or destroy the brain, only the crappy, asset flippy, BS zombie games are going to fall to something like market saturation (also, your pun is bad). On the other hand we have this, which is beautiful, charming, and wonderfully fun.

The graphics are typical for the studio, simple, stylish and cute, with excellent lighting effects.  It’s not often I get to see road signs, traffic cones, keep left bollards, and ridiculous helmeted police officers that match those I see every day, in the videogames I play. That’s because so many games are set in the US. However, it’s these simple pleasures that first drew my eye to this game.

Sneak around post-apocalyptic Basingstoke to gather all the materials you can, avoiding the cute and dopey looking enemies. Items can be crafted from the materials you find to either directly attack the shambling horde – like a pool cue or pepper spray. Other items, such as a kebab can be thrown to try and draw the attention these ghoulish creatures from your delicious bod (I’ve been out drinking in Croydon on a Friday night and can attest that this does in fact work).

Apart from the shambling undead, I got to see some of the fast and vicious monsters. And by “see” I mean, I ran away as fast as possible, flailing and hurling sausage rolls to try and distract them. They may be adorable but those teeth aren’t to be trifled with… unless there’s a trifle to be found or crafted somewhere and used to temporarily blind them. Then I would maybe consider that as a last resort.

Once you’ve looted everything that takes your fancy and found the key item, you can make your way to (temporary) safety at the exit to the area. The end of the first section allows you to escape to The Red Lion pub, and part of me hopes there will be an option to stay there and wait for it all to blow over, shoot some pool and listen to Queen on the jukebox like a super quick, waiting for the phone call to end, Far Cry 4 alternate ending.

Image result for welcome to basingstoke game

For the event, they had all the current classes unlocked, with each character having varying starting equipment. I had a quick look at the office worker, police officer, and tourist – who gets a distracting polaroid camera and a GPS that guides you to the level exit. Each is beautifully designed, and I can’t wait to spend more time with them, waking up in strange toilets, in the middle of the zombie apocalypse.

Basingstoke’s areas are a mix of prefab and procedurally generated areas, to make for more variety and replayablity. I’ve only been to Basingstoke once, but if this game is accurate, I’ll have to go again, and be surprised it seems.

Not going to lie, of all the things that I’ve fallen in love with, the loading screen was the most surprising. It’s a set of temporary traffic lights and one of those “When red light shows wait here” signs, with an adorable zombie in a hard hat and hi-vis jacket. As the level loads, the lights change. I have no idea why this charms me so much, but there it is.

You can play it right now by supporting the Puppy Games Patreon for as little as $5.  Or wait until March 30th for the Steam release How’s that for a slice of fried gold? 

Shot In The Ghouleys

The great portening continues at strong pace. Many games are being tugged into Switch harbour at the moment, which is nice as it shows that devs are starting to see it less as Nintendo’s latest children’s toy and more the superb system it is. This time it’s Spooky Doorway’s The Darkside Detective – previously released on PC, Mac and, Linux in summer 2017 – a point and click adventure game that takes cues from the LucasArts SCUMM games.

You take on the role of the Detective Francis McQueen, the Spooky Mulder of Twin Lakes Police Department, ably assisted by Officer Dooley – who’s trying to bring down the system from the inside. Together they are the supernatural sleuths of the Darkside Department at TLPD.

The game is broken down into 6 pun-tastic chapters, or cases (I’m told by the dev that the Switch will be getting the bonus 7th chapter as a free update shortly so there’s a little more to look forward to) that will probably take around an hour each, on average. McQueen and Dooley bumble through such occult shenanigans as finding a child lost in another plane of existence, investigating a haunting at the library, a zombie invasion, and more.

Throughout the game you’ll find references to a number of other point & click games including Monkey Island 2, Full Throttle, Maniac Mansion, Simon the Sorcerer, and Discworld, so if you’re old like me, or just had a good education in these types of games, it’s quite the nostalgia fest. That’s not to say that the game doesn’t do its own humour very well. There’s plenty of bits that raised a smile as I went through, for instance, there’s a lot of interesting titles to borrow at the library, the darkside inhabitants have an interesting perspective on existence, and there’s a purple tentacle in a very convenient place, like, super convenient. I think that tentacle and I could be good friends. Really, good friends. How come I never find a tentacle that wriggly and moist in my bathroom? *slaps self* (“keep it together woman!”). Ahem.

When playing in TV mode, the left stick moves the cursor quickly over larger areas, the right is for more precise movement, and both sticks will move at high speed, though personally, I found even moving both sticks was a little slow for my liking. Other than that there’s just the A or B button to click. When switching to handheld mode, you can use the touch screen, which makes the whole thing a lot quicker. There’s no character movement to worry about as you can click on anything on screen to activate it, with key items and exits highlighted as you move over them.

Graphically it’s big chunky pixels, but still very easy to distinguish objects. The characters and backgrounds look very good and lighting effects add a lot the atmosphere. The music is very good, suitably atmospheric fare, as is to be expected from Ben Prunty of FTL: Faster Than Light fame. Definitely worth checking out the soundtrack, which is available on Bandcamp.

Overall the game is a lot of fun but kind of short for £10. Perhaps it needed maybe one or two more cases to make it worth that. Therefore I’m knocking a few points off of the final score.

Pros:

Pretty
Funny
Great soundtrack

Cons:

Short for the price
Control is a bit slow.

Final Score: 7/10

The Darkside Detective is out now on Switch, PC, Mac, & Linux. Available from the Switch eShop, Steam, GOG, Humble Store.

New & Improved Milkshake – Vostok Inc.

tl;dr 2.5/10. It’s bad and it should think about what it’s done.

First off, full disclosure, I was given a free code for this game on Switch. Therefore I took the effort to try and be at least a little objective about some parts of this game.

Vostok Inc by Nosebleed Interactive is, at its heart, a clicker game. You do a base thing in order to earn credit, use that to buy a thing that generates credit for you, other types of thing are more expensive, but generate more credit.

Here the base is an ok at best, space themed twin-stick shooter. The things that generate credit are mines, farms, housing, fast food restaurants, news organisations, megachurches, etc. Greed is good, fill every planet (even the gas giant’s somehow) with these buildings. Raping resources everywhere you go in several solar systems. Subdue the native population in the quest for more money. It’s a concept that is so far from my personal politics that it’s hard to understand how I kept going and I’m angry that I gave it so much time.

So why did I keep going? Simple answer. I’m an addict. I get addicted to all sorts of things. Once I start, I have to keep going, no matter how bad the game is. I played through Cookie Clicker about three or four times. I still do not know why. So when I got three hours into Vostok Inc, I saw the signs. I kept telling myself to stop. I was annoyed that I was losing sleep and being late for things. I did not stop until I hit around 20 hours of play and a congratulations screen.

In order to support the base part of the game, you can power up weapons, armour, and abilities for your ship. Weapons range from basic machineguns, beam weapons, rockets, right up to firing off a volley of unicorns. This final option was my weapon of choice for the majority of the game. Powering your ship up will allow you to shoot asteroids better for more money, or make those asteroids worth more. In addition, there’s plenty of enemy ships that can also be blown up for funds. There are some enemies that, if not destroyed within a time limit, will freeze the screen and force you into an arena battle with a number of progressively more and stronger foes.

Each solar system contains the planets, a space station where you can power up your ship, a wormhole to travel between systems, and a boss. In order to make the boss enemy appear, you will need to have a certain amount of money. This led to some frustration towards the end of the game where I was just waiting for numbers to tick over so I could have a fight that I was massively overpowered for (e.g. the final boss, who I killed in under a second). A fight that was less difficult than fighting the general enemies that I’d been killing for the previous hour while drumming up funds to face it.

If shooting space rocks and ships gets tedious, there’s two options. Sit and wait for the money to tick up until you can afford things or play with your executives. Here and there you’ll find these capitalist wasters floating in space. While satisfying, leaving them to starve of oxygen in the void of space does not gain you any bonuses. Since I was angry at myself for wasting my own time playing this game, I felt it best to speed through as fast as possible so I could reach the ultimate goal of uninstalling it. To that end, execs were gathered as they arrived in my vicinity.

Executives will give you bonuses based on how happy they are. Cheer them up by collecting items and playing mini-games in the style of classic LCD handhelds. These range from very basic driving, to a higher or lower game, to an FPS so low res that it felt like playing a weak Doom clone on the on a Casio Fx-7000 series calculator. I never wanted to play any of these games for more than a few minutes so my execs were mostly drunk or coked off their tits and angry throughout my playthrough. Still, I kept collecting the human space flotsam because there was a chance of picking up an investor to gain a temporary bonus boost – think golden cookie in Cookie Clicker, or middle managers who would give a flat 3% bonus. As long as I could keep my ship from blowing up, these managers would sit in their squalid cubicles and make me more money #yaycapitalism =\

Would you like some positives? I do have a couple. I thought about it hard, because I got a free copy so felt I should try and sand off at least one of the corners from this review. Here goes: The graphics are nice, the controls work, and it never crashed on me. That’s not so much polishing a turd, as putting a nicely designed label on a suitably constructed bottle, that can be opened using the tab, but the bottle contains a cold diarrhoea and vomit milkshake (now new and improved, with added herpes sores).

There you go. That’s your lot. I’ve wasted enough of my life on this garbage.
Save yourselves, just like I couldn’t.

Pros:

  • The controls work.
  • It didn’t crash.
  • The graphics aren’t bad

Cons:

  • Pretty much everything else.
  • Addictive in a destructive way, not an “I stayed up all night playing Bust-A-Move 2 and had loads of fun” way.
  • Glamorizes capitalism (won’t someone think of the children, this sick filth shouldn’t be allowed).

Final Score: 2.5/10

Vostok Inc is available now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Playstation Vita, Xbox One, PC & NVidia Sheield

Entrapment

If you’re like everyone else in the world, you’ve probably never wondered what kind of traps they sell at the PolyArmoury.

Well, wonder even less than that, dear friends, for I present to you on this day –

The PolyArmoury Sales Catalogue

Lair, Wallow & Further – Classic Traps for the Modern Dungeon Master.

The Pointymatic floor mounted, foot penetration device. 1000g

This isn’t just any spike floor trap, this is a self-resetting, self-cleaning, floor trap. 30 gnome-crafted, diamond tipped, Stabbatier oblisk blades are deployed at in a mere .25 of a second and can be ready to fire again in as little as 30 seconds. Perfect for when you’re visited by a single adventurer or a larger party.

The Swingmaster 760 1500g

This 300 lb, expertly designed swinging ceiling axe is a modern take on a dungeon protection classic. With a trigger you’ll swear is invisible to even the most keen eyed adventurer. This fine Stabbatier blade will swing down and cleave your enemey like an expert butcher.
Clean up is a breeze thanks to it’s patented quick detach system.
Guaranteed sharp for over a thousand uses*

The Rustic Collection Rolling Ball 750g

We all remember the great dungeons of yesteryear with great fondness. Some traps are truely timeless, and The Rustic Collection truely delivers with this classic – The Rolling Ball.
Make a dungeon your ancesters would be proud of, with one of the greatest hits of years gone by.
Triggered by a simple floor tile that will blend in with any dungeon flooring and ready to roll down any hallway to your specifications.

The Rustic Collection Dungeon Alarm 10g

Who has time these days for fancy alarms and traps that need to be reset after any low-level ranger has bumbled in?
For the busy dungeon master on the go, we present The Rustic Collection Dungeon Alarm. Expertly twisted twine stretches across your hallway and is connected to hand picked metal cans capable of alerting your minions within 30-60 feet.
Why pay more when you can pay smart?

The Lair, Wallow & Further Vertical Displacement Device 250g

This is gnome engineering at it’s finest. Perfect for hallways, treasure rooms, and even throne rooms. The Vertical Displacement Device will drop away to the void, lava pit, or hungry warg pen of your choice**
This isn’t just any trap door, this is the latest and most well oiled trap door you’ve ever set foot on, or your money back***

The Lair, Wallow & Further Springy Thingy 800g

Laugh maniacally for hours as you watch helpless adventurers catapulted backwards down hallways or into pits, with this drow-designed, gnome-crafted artefact of pure entertainment. The Springy Thingy can lift up to 600lbs and fling it up to 30 feet. On top of that, it can be ready to fire again in as little as 25 seconds.
The perfect addition to any dungeon on the up.

*In no way guaranteed.
**Void, lava pit, or hungry warg pen not included.
***Should you survive having set foot on it we in no way guarantee your money back.


Merkin the Aggy Wizard – Magical solutions to keep those filthy adventurers off your land.

MTAW Sticking Point 300g

We carve the finest binding runes into custom designed stone, to match your dungeon flooring. Once triggered it will hold a creature or adventurer of up to size “Giant” for up to 60 years.
Watch the filthy trespassers wither and die or torture them for as long as they live, in safety and comfort.
The Sticking Point is magic holding circle of choice for a new generation of dungeon owners.

MTAW Blow Off 450g

Who has time to cast gust of wind themselves? It requires concentration and beans. Let the magical artificers of Merkin The Aggy Wizard take care of that for you. Simply load legumes into the hopper and when triggered it will blast out a 60 foot x 10 foot blast of wind you don’t even have to think about.
Go on, blow your enemies today!

MTAW Eyes On The Prize 800g (includes 1 ball and mirror, additional balls 500g)

Whether you need to keep an eye on light fingered minions or watch for adventurers on the pillage, the Merkin The Aggy Wizard Eyes On The Prize crystal security ball is the arcane artefact for you.
Up to 64 can be connected to a beautifully designed magic mirror that would look at home in any throne room.
Simple gesture controlls allow you to switch views, zoom, or pan.
(Mirror available in silver plate or onyx effect finish)

MTAW Anti-magic Field 275g

Sometimes the best magical defence is denying them the use of magic at all.
Merkin The Aggy Wizard has you covered. These runes will block any magic use within 45 feet and mean you can get on with the business of a more martial disposal of your wand waggling enemies.
Simple to set up and available from stock today.

MTAW’s AWOL Wall 1750g

Never mind trapdoors, pits, prisons, or torture rooms. Merkin The Aggy Wizard presents: The AWOL Wall. Fitting seamlessly across any section of hallway, this one way portal to the deepest depths of the abyssal realm. An eternity of chaotic insanity awaits them beyond the veil, and they won’t even see it coming.
Say goodbye forever to all that annoy you and thanks to our new patented Fuckyoustaythere Runes(TM), you can be sure that nothing nasty will be slithering out of there or your money back*


Gruumch Praiser Designs – by Alestar the Quirky.

Behead-U-Well 1450g
Big spinny blade wheel does a cutting.
Chop chop, much blood. You like.
Do a buy. We make good trap, yes!
Such trap, very decapitate, wow!

Floor Jaws 1270g

Gnash gnash. Like big doggo.
Take their hecking legs clean off.
Hahahaha. So much blood. Cut a troll even. You not believe, but true.
Do a test, you see. Maybe not do test yourself. Use minion.
Hahahaha. Blood make Gruumch happy.
Hail Gruumch!


Squirtytronics – Spray the prey away.

Squirtytronics have been making wall mounted spray traps for over 700 years. We pride ourselves on our fine heritage of producing only the best in professional dungeon protection devices. They may come a little expensive, but you can rest safe in the knowledge that you’ve got the highest level of protection where you need it most.

The complete Squirtytronics range includes:

The Dragon’s Throat 2000g

A 30 foot blast of scortching fire that will leave your enemy a charred mess and reset in under 40 seconds.

Nature’s Vomit 1700g

Up to 20 foot coverage of poisoned mist leaves even the hardiest of adventurers incapacitated in as little as three actions.

Tundra Breath 1950g

Feel the chill wind of this icy aperture. Can freeze even a dwarf solid in under 2 seconds and is ready for action again in another 60.

The Bile Duct 1700g

The finest acid ready to melt the skin off a troll at 35 feet. This is the connoisseur’s choice in spray trap technology.


Jilted Goblin – Precision, Style, Elegance.

AG724 Multiple Arrow Deployment Device 3500g

The AG724 is the finest, arrow wall defence mechanism known to the planner universe.
A precision engineered duplication device replicates 40 arrows in 25 seconds.
Gnome engineered, platinum grade clockwork micro-ballistas launch them up to 47.5 feet and automatically reset and reload to fire again.
Master wizards craft each sensory crystal to be sure that nothing can get by undetected or un-pierced.

CB6000 Adventure Flattening Device 5750g

The most highly skilled gnome craftsmen, trained for 50 years to produce the platinum grade clockwork mechanisms used to fashion this truly breathtaking dungeon defence device.
Only the finest materials are employed in the construction of the CB6000, to ensure that your enemies aren’t merely crushed, but cold-pressed under extreme pressure, to keep in all their nutrients.
When it’s decent is complete, it rises seamlessly back into a hand-crafted ceiling recess that is undetectable by all but the most critically observant.
Guaranteed to last as long as your dungeon should stand.


Eldritch Farms

Eldritch Farms have been the choice discerning dungeon masters for years.
Our hand reared mimics are some of the most perfectly formed and vicious killers that money can buy.
Available in three sizes:

The Jewellery Box 500g

Perfect for taking off a finger or two.

The Petite Chest 1000g

Looks perfectly at home in the more demure treasure room.
Can comfortably eat an entire nothic, with room for goblin after.

The Casket Deluxe 2725g

This perfect specimen is raised to the highest standards and the perfect accompaniment for the most magnificent loot hordes across the underdark.
Very little would be left of even the sturdiest of ogres.

Myxomatosis Rex – Overgrowth

Overgrowth is a third-person action game by Wolfire Games and is available now. In this sequel to similarly styled 2005 game Lugaru – by the same developer – you play Turner, an anthropomorphic rabbit with some pretty sweet fighting moves. The game takes place in a pre-industrial world, populated by anthro rabbits, rats, dogs, wolves, and cats.

I’ll be honest up-front and say that I got a review copy so it’s bound to have swayed me to add a point to the final score (It’s 2/10. There, I saved you the pain of what happens next). With that in mind, here goes.

Overgrowth began development in 2008 and was released on Steam Early Access in 2013. January 2017 saw the game’s official update to beta, before the bunny burst into a full release 16 October the same year. There’s been a good amount of playtesting done by the community and I’ve seen videos of the game running well on YouTube, so it can be made to run well, it did not manage that on my system. Instead it coughed, wheezed and waddled along like an elderly asthmatic badger. As such, it somewhat killed my interest very early on. Still, I can only review what I experience. Curiously I found that changing the graphics settings did nothing to the speed it ran at, but did make the graphics a little more attractive and detailed. Woo, shiny garbage!

Visually Overgrowth looks all of it’s 9 years, and not in a good way. Despite heavy grass cover of some of the more pastoral sections, the world does feel rather empty. Townships feel lifeless, bar a few bits of foliage, some stacked boxes, and – for some reason – rugs in the streets. “Gosh, this town of endlessly repeating cobblestone texture is looking a bit bland. I wonder what I can do to spice it up? Ah, fuck it. I’ll just shove down a few rugs, it worked in the living room, right.” Bless the dev, I know I couldn’t make anything even remotely this good, or good looking, but I’m not the one selling this game.

The screen is usually found uncluttered by things like useful information of any sort. Turner’s health is best determined by how smeared with ketchup they look at any moment. Only the occasional button prompt near the beginning advising of the controls and some minor tips upon your death. These are presented in fairly plain white text that feel a little place-holdery. Considering the amount of time spent on this game, it’s a shame that there are these presentation hiccups that leave a sour taste in the mouth.

According to the product description, Turner is a lightning-fast acrobatic ninja rabbit. According to me, they’re a wobbly rag-doll that falls to a pathetic physics heap on contact with enemies and is prone to sliding for hundreds of feet if not impeded by a handy building or rock. Choose to go in all… er… feet blazing, or stealthily sneak up to your enemies, choke them out and deposit them off the edge of a nearby cliff.

There may be no loading time if you die and need to restart a section, but there are some fairly extensive loads between levels that do rather drag on in the early sections of the game. Here’s a village, kill that bunny and mayyyyybe that bun over there. LOADING TIME (one last call for alcohol…), plot, plot, plot, kill 2 enemies, MOAR LOADING, “look yonder, a random structure with a fire and some boxes nearby”, you may now kill 5 enemies, “one order of loading, extra plot, hold the mushrooms”, next up jumping puzzle. Stop it. I can only get so moist. No seriously, the excitement is just too much. Help me, I’m drowning in my own knickers.

Controls are ok. I went with my 360 pad for this review as I just prefer third-person games with a pad. For some reason most of the controls are on the shoulder buttons/triggers. Attacks on right trigger, right bumper to jump, and the left side for grapple and roll. Sadly, the game only offers partial controller support, so you can pause but you’ll need the mouse to navigate menus.

Now fine, Turner is a rabbit, so sure, they jump high. I get you. However, the physics are comedic in their low gravity nature. It’s not quite Goat Simulator, but it often feels like your character is one heavy gym session away from getting aggy at a passing sparrow and just headbutting it (stay tuned for the third instalment in this series where a steroid-fuelled Turner leaps out of the atmosphere and freezes to death in the void due to an argument with a pigeon, expected 2045). I perhaps spent more time that necessary performing kicks and somersaults off of flights of stairs, while still getting a safe landing. At which point, it was more like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + parkour + furries, and actually, I feel like that would have been a better game. There was also fun to be had carrying fallen enemies to the nearest cliff and kicking them off. Pro tip there, if you ever end up getting this accidentally in a bundle and figure you’ll try it out anyway, one very bored Thursday lunchtime when you’re off sick with a cold (*cough cough* comedown *cough*).

There’s community mods apparently, and I think it’s telling that the one I see advertised most is for optimising the grass and promising to restore a minimum of 15fps *audience make a collective “oooooooooOOOOOHH”*.

There you go, I can’t bare to think game about this anymore.

Pros:

  • It’s not entirely ugly.
  • There’s fun to be had fly kicking enemies in the face from half a mile away.
  • It’s got bunnies, and that means bunny ears *wistful sigh*.
  • It uninstalls, fairly quickly.

Cons:

  • The screaming in my head that happens whenever I think of this now.
  • World feels rather empty.
  • Textures aren’t great.
  • Feels rushed to release.

Final score: 2/10

Overgrowth is now available on PC, Mac & Linux.

Available from the Humble Store.