What is Icrontic playing? Beginning of 2019 edition
Everybody knows what I'm playing, but the new expansion of World of Warcraft, Battle for Azeroth, has kind of sapped a lot of energy out of the game for a lot of people. It doesn't seem to be a very popular expansion, and many people I talk to have been playing a lot less as it has failed to grab people. Our raiding guild is kind of falling apart and we aren't really able to scrape enough people together to raid anymore so enthusiasm has been low.
But, on the bright side: that has given me more time for some other games. I bought and played through the goofy Donut County recently, it only took me about 2 hours to play through it but it's a very compelling type of game: sort of like an inverse Katamari: You're a hole. You move a hole around on the ground and drop objects in, and the more you consume, the larger you get. There are some very elementary physics puzzles but for the most part it's a no-brain, colorful, fun game with a satisfying mechanic and a cute, kind of lulz backstory about trash pandas (raccoons) ruining everything.
Another game I've started playing is Sundered. In general I am turned off by hand-drawn games as they tend to feel just a bit "too" Indie for my tastes, but this game blows that preconception out of the water. The artwork is beautiful but not in a distracting sense; the art direction is good enough that the classic discipline of sprite differentiation from the backgrounds is skillfully executed here: You have no trouble telling what's you, what's an enemy, and what's a background object... and that's a great thing because this game gets hectic, with frenzied bursts of enemy activity, surprise waves of attacks, room dangers, and lots of little spammy things thrown at you.
It's okay though: you are powerful. The sense of impact, fluid movement, and graceful attacks is what vaults Sundered from merely good to truly excellent. The massive skill tree keeps you engaged, and every small upgrade makes you feel more and more powerful. That is to say, the scaling feels very well designed. In classic Metroidvania style, the sense of accomplishment as you return to a previously-inaccessible area only to vault into new zones with ease is truly satisfying.
This is a fantastic game, with gorgeous artwork, fluid controls, solid and impactful fighting, and a well-thought-out difficulty curve. The cherry on top is the excellently crafted fantasy language that the narrator uses. It sounds exactly like what you would expect an eldritch, ancient language to sound like.
Sundered is good stuff.
What are you playing?