As frequently mentioned in the rant for this comic, I do play rather a lot of games in the time between work and art. I thought I’d share my thoughts on a couple of games I’ve been playing recently!

South Park: The Stick of Truth.

There are two words I can use to summarise this game: Friggin hilarious. The Stick of Truth is by and far one of the funniest games I have played in a long time, and I include the Deadpool game in that list. SoT has the benefit of having creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker overseeing the operation, and it shows. The entire game is jam-packed full of the show’s trademark humour, delightful little references to the continuity of the show, and delightfully endearing tributes to childhood make-believe (if your childhood make-believe involved flaming flatulence and slugging your friends in the face with crap-smeared lead pipes). The game itself is quite short, especially for the price: I paid £40 for it on Steam, and got 15 hours of play-through from start to finish. However, I so thoroughly enjoyed the journey from start to finish that I immediately started playing it again as a different class, making different choices along the way. Once you’ve mastered the game’s combat system, which is constructed almost entirely of quicktime events (your mileage may vary on whether that’s a complete turn-off or not), it becomes almost laughably easy. Again, this is more than countered by the sheer hilarity of what happens in-game, and the incredibly stupid or outright horrendous things you yourself can do. My verdict? If you enjoy South Park, get this IMMEDIATELY; you will not regret it. If you’re not a massive fan, I’d probably wait for it to drop in price first.

Influent

When I was growing up in the 90s (yes, I’m very aware that I’m barely grown up mentally now, let’s just pretend I grew up at some point) one of the big pieces of multimedia software around was Rosetta Stone, a foreign language learning program. While I remember it fondly, I don’t think it really taught me all that much; all I recall from it is that the German for airport is ‘flugzeug’. Recently, however, a kickstarter project to publish a new edutainment game from the University of Tsukabasa was successful, resulting in the worldwide release of ‘Influent’. Influent is a kind of object-finding game, framing its vocabulary tuition in a memory-game style. There’s a story there somewhere, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not important at all; much more useful are the learning features, where native speakers pronounce words for you, and you can toggle between english rendering and (say) Chinese/English text representations. Yeah, it sounds fairly standard, but the execution’s quite addictive; I’ve learned a few new words in Mandarin already, although my rudimentary Cantonese knowledge has probably helped in that. I’m looking forward to getting confident enough to move onto the DLC languages I purchased, namely Korean, Japanese, and German! I’d say the pros of Influent are the following: You learn at your own pace, the challenge of playing the memory game is pretty fun and helps reinforce your learning, and it can be played in short sessions so pick-up play between other tasks is very do-able. Cons: So far as I’ve seen, it’s just a vocabulary builder – you may still have to find another resource to learn the grammar of the language, the player avatar in the 3D world looks like a Wallace and Grommit nightmare, and the interface is a tiny bit clunky from time-to-time. So, my verdict on Influent is that if you’re in the market for a casual way of learning some more words in a language you’re interested in, come on down! It’s £7 for the main game and a couple of quid for each DLC language, of which there are plenty. It won’t teach you everything, but it’ll help increase your confidence in the language!

Right, I’d best be off. Enjoy todays page, and toodlepip until Friday!

M.