March to June 2017

Changes abound!

The most significant of those changes would definitely be the new personal website I put together earlier in the year. I looked at the new design (and reasoning for) extensively in Season of Change, which also resulted in newly updated pages here on Moggie @ WordPress. I’ve not talked about those yet. But, for the most part, I’m reorganising the pages (and updating their layout) so that everything has a level of consistency. Wherein things are now easier to find and are where you would expect them to be. Which is good for everyone!

I’ve also changed over to the new section titles on the Art page.

We’ve had some interesting creative content in the last three months, too. Corruption Collection started them off by bringing together several pieces that I’d been working on recently, followed not long after by To Ink a Deathclaw which showed digital art some love. I also talked about the joys (and woes) of spending money on art materials in Expensive Mistakes.

Mushroom Inspired did the best it could to help us appreciate mushrooms, watercolour paintings, and the alien landscapes of Morrowind. It’s a pretty mixed bag. Ambitious Acrylic celebrated the purchase of new brushes, but lamented my inability to use them towards the results I’ve been hoping for. While Melty Black Goo looked at a recurring subject matter for my work. That of weirdly deformed human anatomy combined with strange black tentacles. Surprisingly, that’s safe to read if you’re at work. I’ll happily admit that I had been hoping for slightly more creative content in this time, but I’ve answered some of the questions I’ve been asking. Which is all one can really hope for in the wake of a disappointment.

A considerable portion of the gaming content in the last three months has been looking at The Elder Scrolls Online. An MMORPG that promised quite a lot and delivered a decent amount of it, which is both enjoyable to play and interesting to get lost in when you’ve got several hours to spare. Or even if you don’t have several hours to spare. That’s what MMORPGs do- they get you when you least expect it! You can read that entire series of events either via the Gaming page or through its dedicated category.

We also spent some time in the SteamWorld universe.

Steam Assimilation looked at SteamWorld Dig, which followed the events of Rusty as he dug ever deeper into the mines below and the secrets hidden therein. While Space Cowbots looked at SteamWorld Heist, which took a surprising turn with mechanics but continued the story of that universe as you adventured with Piper Faraday and her crew.

We got to see what happened next in the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, too. A Neptune to the Past follows the events of the third instalment of that series (Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3 V Generation), which was, as always, a pleasure to experience and shows great evolution from earlier instalments. First Impressions of… Salt and Sanctuary exhausts the gaming content from the last three months, which (unsurprisingly) looks at the brutal ARPG Salt and Sanctuary that takes several cues but delivers something all its own. It’s not been a period of time focused on any one topic, but it’s definitely one that has delivered a range of different kinds of content be it gaming or creative.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

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Steam Assimilation

Further down we go.

SteamWorld Dig is a rather charming, interesting, and somewhat unique approach to a classic formula. Unlike other platforming titles you quite literally build the path downwards as you continue exploring. It’s an approach that can leave you stranded if you don’t make use of the ladders, lamps, and teleporters so generously provided by the townsfolk. But it’s also one that provides innumerable secrets as you unearth new ways to approach old locations. It’s not a particularly lengthy adventure, either.

So it’s quite enjoyable revisiting old locations frequently.

These secrets will award you with precious minerals and mysterious Orbs. Both are used to purchase upgrades to make Rusty more durable, carry more water, take more damage, or dig even faster. The later updates which are more technological (and thereby more powerful) have an additional Orb cost. But earlier iterations are easily affordable with gold.

It’s a neat progression system, too. As you’re introduced to the concept that this is a fading mining town and the money that you provide through your adventure revitalises it, which is evident when you see the town growing and more vendors appearing. You’ll also unlock paths back to town at each major location, which makes returning to town incredibly easy in a way that reminds me of the first Diablo. The immediate approach to returning to town is to use teleporters. These will be found at certain locations, but you can also purchase your own (for a small Orb cost) and place them wherever you like. You might be hesitant to spend Orbs to acquire them but I bought four-five and could still afford all of the upgrades.

I don’t think this is the confirmation that they wanted.

Alongside the aforementioned range of upgrades bought in town, there are key upgrades which you’ll find at certain locations in the caves that afford you entirely new abilities. Such as being able to propel yourself upwards with the power of steam. Or the classic double jump. Or even the ability to detect minerals. Of the available options, my personal favourite is the removal of fall damage. All fall damage. Forever. It’s so nice to be able to dart down large, open, excavated caverns without a care in the world.

I don’t believe it’s possible to miss those upgrades, either.

In this way, SteamWorld Dig is surprisingly content dense and enjoyable as a result of it. It’s not a massive, sprawling, open world but what there is to explore is crammed full of secrets and other goodies. It’s easy to miss it, too. Especially with the earlier secrets that require relatively late upgrades. It’s certainly a credit to the developers and their ambition, though.

I’ll be honest and admit that I bought this mostly in anticipation of SteamWorld Heist, but it has grown on me. It has a certain charm that reminds me of childhood days spent with the SNES and all of the adventures therein. Something that’s just fun to play. That’s interesting and enjoyable. That has controls which actually work and where every aspect feels intuitive. Those are not feelings that I generally get these days with many things I’ll play, but, for those reasons, I would highly recommend SteamWorld Dig to anyone looking for some good ol’ fashioned fun. The kind we had back in the day. Which I am almost old enough to say now. Which doesn’t concern me or fill me with thoughts of my own mortality in any way.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie