GamerTalk: Sonic Forces Discussion And Review

Today on GamerTalk we are discussing the recently released Sonic the Hedgehog game Sonic Forces. This game is the latest in the Sonic series, created by the same team that did Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations. Cody Chaffins has been heavily researching the game for us, and we are curious as to what he has discovered.

Sonic Forces

NerdBeach: First of all, let’s see what you thought about the game. If you had to summarize it and give Sonic Forces a score out of 10, what would you give it?

Cody: I would say 7 out of 10.

NerdBeach: What do you feel is the game’s best asset?

Cody: I like the plot, it’s good. I also do like the custom character generator, it adds to the game.

NerdBeach: What would be your main criticism of the game?

Cody: The game is just too short. The average person could probably beat it in 4 hours or less. Even if you had a problem with your dominant hand you could beat it in under four hours. I’m not joking.  And why is classic sonic in the game after 80 percent of the game is already in 2D?

NerdBeach: So the levels are short?

Cody: Yes. Each level is only 1 to 2 minutes long.  You just start getting into the game and then the level’s over. It can be irritating. I still find that some of the levels are well designed but too short.

NerdBeach: So level design is good in Sonic Forces?

Cody: Well, some are, they can even be really good for what’s there. But at times the levels can feel flat and uninspired.

NerdBeach: I know that Sonic Forces mixes both 2D and 3D gaming styles. How did that seem to work?

Cody: I think there was too much 2D gameplay and not enough 3D. Which is sad, because the 3D that was there really worked, ti was really good. But there needed to be more of it,

NerdBeach: Are there any new features in the game that you liked?

Cody: I liked the custom characters. This is a feature where you can make your own custom characters based on animals. I found this to be a nice addition.

NerdBeach: How many characters can you actually play as in the game?

Cody: You can play as the two Sonic Characters and as your custom character you created.

NerdBeach: Do you like that Sonic Forces is a direct sequel to Sonic Mania?

Cody: Yes, I do like that, but the execution was off. It seems like they did it on purpose just so they could retconn some older games.

NerdBeach: The classic sonic levels, are there new levels?

Cody: Well, they keep bringing back the Green Hill and Chemical Plant levels. They did that before in the last game, Sonic Mania. And then they retconned Sonic Generations, so now Classic Sonic is not from the past but from another dimension. It can be confusing to longtime fans of the series.

NerdBeach: Are there any disappointments you have with the game?

Cody: Yes. The game was advertised to feature four main villains from previous Sonics – Shadow, Metal Sonic, Chaos, and another. I was looking forward to playing against these characters, it seemed to be a main game plot of the new game as it was portrayed. But then Chaos, in the second cutscene, gets killed off and you don’t even get a chance to fight him. This ticked me off since I was excited to see him in a Sonic game again. So, classic Sonic appears and just kicks him, so he’s dead. You don’t even fight Shadow, so there’s another great villain wasted. And another villain you kill off in the third level. So three of those four villains are dead in the first 20 minutes. And even then Metal Sonic is way too easy to kill only 30 minutes later, leaving none.

NerdBeach: Do you think the classic villains were more of a marketing tool than a crucial part of the game?

Cody: It did feel tacked on. And I liked Chaos a lot in the older game, so I really didn’t like him not being a bigger part of the game after the way it was advertised.

NerdBeach: How would you rank Sonic Forces with the other Sonic games?

Cody: It’s not in my top five. I still like it, it’s a good game overall and I always like a good sonic game, but it doesn’t live up to some of the previous games. Still, I would rate it as seven out of ten just as an overall Sonic game.

NerdBeach: Sonic Mania was more or less a fan project that became a real game. Now with Sonic Forces, we have the professional doing the more or less sequel, which gives a great comparison point. Which do you think did the better job?

Cody: The fan project (Sonic Mania) was better. It was almost as if Sega didn’t know what they were doing, and they tried too many things in the new title. Such things as three different gameplay styles instead of being consistent with each title. Some of the choices they made were poor, that’s all. The classic Sonic doesn’t control as it did in previous games, which is confusing.

NerdBeach: With that said, would you play another Sonic game if it came out?

Cody: Of course. I love playing Sonic games.

Microtransactions Are All In For GTA Publisher Take-Two

Back in the old days, before mobile gaming and its always-on connection was the hot ticket, people simply bought a game title and played it until it was ragged. But today we are finding more and more publishers are shifting to microtransactions for their revenue model. Now it appears that Take-Two, publisher of popular titles such as the infamous Grand Theft Auto gaming series, will incorporate it in all future releases.

Gaming Microtransactions

According to CEO Strauss Zelnick, recurrent in-game spending provided over 42 percent of Take-Two’s earnings in the last quarter.  Going forward, it will be even a bigger piece of its revenue model. As Zelnick explains,

We aim to have recurrent consumer spending opportunities for every title that we put out at this company. It may not always be an online model, it probably won’t always be a virtual currency model, but there will be some ability to engage in an ongoing basis with our titles after release across the board

This change in Take-Two’s business model is in line with other changes we have seen of late. The case for a title to be an ongoing revenue stream is a strong one, and it can be argued that this could be a way to keep players engaged for the life of a game while paying for new development.  Zelnick sees this as the case for Take-Two as he says,

The business, once upon a time, was a big chunky opportunity to engage for tens of hours, or perhaps a hundred hours. That has turned into ongoing engagement. Day after day, week after week. You fall in love with these titles, and they become part of your daily life.

Now, with that description, it sounds like Take-Two would be better off with a regular subscription model. But perhaps their research shows that people were more apt to pay for loot boxes and other forms of microtransactions than they were to shell out for a paid subscription. This may make sense, especially if they take the model of a paid game up front with ongoing microtransactions.

The decision to embrace microtransactions by one of gaming’s most popular publishers would certainly seem to be a death knell to the previous gaming model, where you bought the title outright at the start. But when you consider that most large titles have offered paid downloadable content (DLC)  for some time now, perhaps it is not that much of a change. One thing is certain – the days of simply buying a game to play without an ongoing cost to fully explore it are changing.

Nintendo Switch – Is This The Future of Consoles? Users Seem To Think So

Nintendo’s newest gaming console, the Switch, is unique among the other entries in the market in that it can be used either as a mobile gaming system or as the family room gaming console. And, as it turns out, this may fit today’s gamers perfectly.

 

Chart source: Nintendo

 

Nintendo recently released a chart showing how their Switch console was being used, and the stats are showing (as one would suspect) that gamers want access to their games wherever they happen to be. To be more exact, over 50 percent of Switch owners used their device in both stationary and mobile modes, as compared with only about 30 percent who used it only as a mobile device. And only about 18 percent used it primarily as a home console, as one would with the Xbox One or Playstation 4.

The sales numbers are strong with the Switch, and with the majority of owners using the console in both modes it is living up to its name. But more importantly, it may show that the Switch represents a growing segment of the market where people don’t want to have to invest in both home and mobile consoles, along with two different versions of their gaming titles, just to be able to play at home and mobile. In that regard it would seem that the Nintendo Switch adds a solid value to those who want both.

Microsoft and Sony don’t have a device to compete directly with the Switch at this time, but it would seem that they may want to consider their next generation product to incorporate just such a design. Otherwise they could lose a large segment of the gamer market, where mobility is probably just as much a factor as is the screen dynamics. In fact, I am already asking myself the question, “Why can’t I take it with me?”

Star Fluxx Tips and Tricks

The Fluxx series of card games by Looney Labs are card games that challenge the players in a fast paced, ever changing game format. And while there are several titles available in the series, the team at NerdBeach have found our favorite niche – and it should not be a surprise that we like Star Fluxx.

Why Star Fluxx

 

Star Fluxx Card Game

 

I mean, what is there not to like about the game? From the Expendable Crewman to the Captain, and from the potentially evil computer to that weird small moon, there are twists and turns that keeps the game challenging and fresh. And we play a lot of Star Fluxx. In fact, we are on our second deck from just the wear and tear of playing. Just to prove that we do play a lot, the images are from the current card deck.  That faded look is from many fun games won and lost, Keeper fortunes claimed can cast, and sneaky tricks played to sweet victory.

Star Fluxx can be a very strategic game, and clever playing can often win the hand. So, I thought it might be good to share some of the tips and tricks that we have discovered during our Star Fluxx adventures. We are assuming that you know about the game and how to play it. If not, don’t let that stop you – it is quick to learn and fun to master. Then you can put some of our strategies into play while you develop your own. Now let’s look at some tips and tricks for the card game.

 

Exchange Instead of Stealing Cards

 

When it comes to stealing a prized Keeper someone has laid in front of them, it would seem that the best approach would be to use the trusty “Steal a Keeper” card. And while that works, your intended victim can respond with the It’s a Trap surprise card, which not only stops your attack, but it also lets them take one of your favorite played Keepers. This is not good.

Star Fluxx Card Game Star Fluxx Card Game

Instead, consider using the Exchange Keepers card. Since you are technically not stealing, they cannot play the trap card. So go ahead, trade that Small Moon for the Holographic Projector – they are are going to love you for it.

 

Star Fluxx Card Game

 

Use The Redshirt With The Captain

 

The token redshirt card (don’t you love the Star Trek reference?) is a sacrificial lamb for all of your other Keepers. Whenever someone steals or otherwise takes one, they must take this card instead, saving your more valuable cards. But if you have the Captain, you can steal it back on your next turn.  This turns your opponent’s master move to remove your protection into a vain effort of wasted cards. Just remember to smile as you take back your protection.

Star Fluxx Card Game Star Fluxx Card Game

But, let’s have one word of caution – they could have the It’s a Trap card in wait, so taking back the Expendable Crewman could be a costly mistake. But there is protection against that as well…

 

Remember, Surprise Cards Can Cancel Other Surprise Cards

 

There are several Surprise cards to be played, but one detail that sometimes gets overlooked is that one surprise card can cancel out another. This works great when you are stealing a Keeper and they try to counter with the It’s a Trap card. Of course, you will lose your Surprise card in the process, but if the prize is worth it this can be a very handy tool to keep in mind.

 

Star Fluxx Card Game

 

 

Send Their Characters To The Shredder

 

This is probably one of our favorite strategies, and one that always hurts when you get caught in it yourself. This is especially true if you have all the personnel cards, such as the Captain, Doctor, Engineer, Expendable Crewman, and Scientist. For the setup, play the “Hand Limit 1” rule card. This limits the total number of cards a player can hold to only 1 card. Then play the Beam Us Up card. The trap has now been sprung.

The poor player will have to now pick up all of their “brain” characters and choose which one to keep, casting the rest to the discard pile. The smugness of playing this combination cannot be underestimated.

 

Star Fluxx Card Game Star Fluxx Card Game

 

Infect The Doctor With Brain Parasites

 

The Doctor card has the unique ability to cure the Creeper known as Brain Parasites.  But unfortunately he cannot cure himself (physician – heal thyself – not!). So, when you have the Creeper Reassignment card and this particular creeper handy, don’t hesitate to help out a fellow player by giving their Doctor an incurable malady. I’m sure they will be glad to return the favor.

 

Star Fluxx Card Game Star Fluxx Card Game

 

Break Your Opponent’s Favorite Toys

 

The Holographic Projector and the Computer are two of the most powerful cards in the game, and their abilities can easily help to cinch a win. However, they are mechanical devices, and they can break down.

You can help this along if you have the Creeper Reassignment card and the Malfunction Creeper. Just keep the reassignment card in your hand and bide your time. When they play the right Keeper, pounce and break it. While it doesn’t send their powerful keeper to the discard pile, it does render it useless. But if that isn’t enough for you, read on to the next tip…

Star Fluxx Card Game Star Fluxx Card Game

 

Tag Them And Destroy Them

 

The Laser Pistol has a unique ability in that it can reach out and destroy another player’s Keeper that has a Creeper attached. This works out even sweeter if you have just tagged a powerful Keeper with a Malfunction card. Their elation of having a powerful card goes from disappointment (it’s broken) to sadness (it’s gone) in a wonderful two step process.

Star Fluxx Card Game

 

Use the Time Traveler With The Time Portal

 

The Time Portal card has a great ability – it allows you to dig through the deck or discard pile and pick the card of your choice. While your turn ends immediately after playing, you end up with your desired card gently snuggled into your hand.

 

Star Fluxx Card Game Star Fluxx Card Game

But if you have played the Time Traveler Keeper, the Time Portal card does not go into the discard pile. Instead it goes back into your hand, ready for another retrieval deployment. This can be a great strategy to use when there are multiple play card rules in effect, since you can save it for your last turn and still do other actions.

But what if your opponent has played the Time Portal card? Well, there is something you can do that turns it to your favor…

 

Trade Hands After A Time Portal Has Played

 

So, your opponent has just played the Time Portal card, and now has that Holographic Projector or Captain ready for playing on their next turn. What’s more, if they had the Time Traveler Keeper in play they may even have the Time Portal card as well, making it a valuable hand to possess. But what can you do?

 

Star Fluxx Card Game

Well, if you have come across the Trade Hands Action Card and have it handy, now would be a great time to play it. Sure, they get your collection of currently useless goals, but you score a prized Keeper that they hand picked from all of the available cards. Plus you get anything else they may have had “handy”.

 

Use The Transporter To Collect All The Brain Character Keepers

 

While the Beam Us Up card can be put to delicious use with a Hand Limit 1 card, it can also be used quite effectively to steal all of the currently in play Keepers that  have brains (including the Captain, Expendable Crewman, Doctor, and more). All you need to make this work is to have the Teleporter Keeper in play.

 

Star Fluxx Card Game

When you have the Teleporter, all Keepers go to your hand when the Beam Us Up card is played. It’s like shopping, only with your opponent’s Keepers.

 

Play A Draw Card, Then Trash It

 

So, you would like some extra cards, but don’t want to share with your opponents? Consider playing a Draw 5 Rule card, then follow up with the Trash A New Rule Action card. Obviously this will work only when play multiple card rules are in effect, but it can give you a quick boost in your current hand. Plus it always delights your opponents if they had been excited about the new Draw 5 card, only to see it snatched away before their turn hits.

 

Star Fluxx Card Game

This strategy also works great for removing cards from player’s hands instead of putting cards in yours. All you have to do is to play a Hand Limit 1 card, which must be done immediately by all players except the current player, and then trash the rule. Master players may choose to play both a Hand Limit 1 card and a Draw 5 before doing a Rules Reset, which can definitely change the balance of resources in a tight game.

 

Conclusion

 

There are many other strategy tips and tricks that we can discuss for the game Star Fluxx, and perhaps there will be a follow up to this article. But the important thing is to develop your own secret moves to beat friends and influence losing. The game is unique enough in its variations that you can often discover new strategies`.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go play another few hands before we have to break out the next new deck of Star Fluxx.

 

Firefly Fluxx Card Game Adds To The Growing Fluxx Stable

20160309_FireflyFluxx

If there is one card game that we have been playing a lot at the NerdBeach home base, it is Star Fluxx. The game, with its quick turns and endless strategy, has become the game of choice. In fact, there have been major escalations over just the interpretation of the rules, and to the winner goes the spoils of bragging rights.

But now there is a new Fluxx game on the horizon, and it too has a SciFi focus. This one is Firefly Fluxx, based on everyone’s SciFi western mashup that got canceled all too soon. But all the gang’s here, including Mal, Wash, Zoe, Inara, Kaylee, Jayne, Simon, River, and Book. And with art by Adam Levermore, this fast paced, constantly changing game will probably be fun for fans of Fluxx and Firefly when it launches on March 18th.