Overcooked

Xbox

Overcooked • Extinguish a burning kitchen • 50G • 74.06% of gamers unlocked this

You don’t often get a titular achievement so early in a game – they’re often reserved for the Xbox equivalent of a Platinum, or certainly for something far more significant than today’s achievement which is issued for, well, stuffing up. When I saw this achievement in the list I figured that I’d get it sooner or later, and then almost instantly I burned some soup on a pirate ship, and then had to rush to work out how to put out the fire.

The net result was two achievements and the completion of the level a few minutes later.

I remember Greg Miller talking quite a bit about Overcooked back in his prime podcasting days, but since Colin Moriarty left him to go and try his hand at being a right wing pundit (let’s face it, in the American political climate it’s actually quite enterprising), then I’ve pretty much missed anything that Kinda Funny produces. Nonetheless, the fact that it rings so prominent in my mind makes whatever product placement money that they paid to the Kinda Funny team (if any) probably worth it, even after all these years it’s encouraged me to give it a go, and give it a go I did.

Will I keep playing though? Emphatically ‘no’, but I want to explain why. I don’t think this is a good game for Xbox. Vita? Perhaps. Mobile? Yes. But peak loungeroom console gaming, I think not. In saying that, there is considerable scope for couch coop and multiplayer options, so in those instances, it could be worth a shot … but I think there’s more fun to be had passing the controller from friend-to-friend in a single player game rather than just play couch coop for the hell of it.

But, as they say, d’frent strokes …

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Coach Palmer’s Pride

Xbox

Laser League • Completed the Tutorial • 10G • 24.83% of gamers unlocked this

I was hoping for a bit more of a meatier achievement from the latest addition to the Xbox Game Pass, but after an inordinate amount of time waiting to get into an online game, I ended up just working my way through the tutorial just to make ‘some’ progress in an otherwise vanilla kind of game.

I don’t mean that as a cruel criticism of the game – I can see it’s potential – but without the online community behind it, it is doomed for a life of mediocrity and eventual shelving. Hell, even Cliff Bleszinski couldn’t get an online game going, so I suspect that a relatively unknown title is going to need a lot more to get over the line.

I have spent much of the afternoon about to fall asleep thanks to a combination of painkillers and a 4am child waking me up ‘for a drink’ so I’m about 30 seconds away from collapsing into bed and I am absolutely OK with that.

Dragon Slayer

PlayStation

God of War • Defeat the Dragon of The Mountain • Bronze Trophy • Rarity 65.1% (Common)

Well, in terms of big battles, this really tickled my tits. It’s what I want out of Dark Souls, but it offers a level of accessibility that far surpasses any of From Software’s catalogue. This was a big, meaty fight that let you learn and respond to attacks along the way, rather than punishing you from the first strike for failing to study up on a particular combatants techniques.

I guess this also gives you a placeholder in terms of where I’m up to in God of War. Kratos and Son have been working their way to the summit of the mountain, and found a new friend (with echoes from Game of Thrones and Fallout 3), and started their journey back to the witch in the forest.

You can begin to see why you hear whispers of so many ‘false endings.’ Even now I have become accustomed to not getting comfortable about my place in the narrative, so every session continues to surprise and delight me.

With a few more setpiece battles like this … it might even start to convince me that it deserves Game of the Year.

Mr. Sandman

Xbox

Minecraft: Story Mode • Completed Chapter 2 of Episode 6 • 15G • 7.73% of gamers unlocked this

A bit of an opportunity session this morning, and while I still had Minecraft: Story Mode on the recently-played / pinned list on the Xbox, I figured it was a good a chance as any to grab an achievement and liberate myself from trying to squeeze in a gaming session tonight. Because, to be honest, I could really go for a few more hours sleep.

Unlike yesterday, I actually sat and watched a bit of this episode. Not through any great desire to engage with the story, but more out of a sense of ‘nothing better to do’. The morning wasn’t entirely wasted, I still managed to get my son dressed while tapping whatever input I felt like at the time to keep the story going, and the lack of a huge combat scene helped … though Chapter 2 largely concentrated on the death of a character (that’s not a spoiler … we meet him for about 30 seconds), and the subsequent detective work that Jesse et. al. put in to learn ‘why’ he might have been killed.

I can kind of see what the intent behind Story Mode was. Almost like an episodic, monster-of-the-week style structure, that might have allowed it to continue in perpetuity. As Phil Spencer has alluded to in the past, the Xbox Game Pass is conducive to releasing episodic content like this, though I think it will take a different title to get me on-board after (and I know I’ve already whinged about this yesterday) the Story Mode season pass debacle.

With that in mind, there are plenty of fresh IPs waiting to be tapped, or even some older titles that could do with a reboot. If anyone has the sharp business mind needed to make it happen, it’s Phil Spencer.

In Phil We Trust.

Invitation to Die For

Xbox

Minecraft: Story Mode • Completed Episode 1 of Chapter 6 • 10G • 8.19% of gamers unlocked this

I think I’ve shared my deep-rooted disdain of Minecraft: Story Mode in the past. The bait-and-switch if the ‘season pass’ and needing to buy extra episodes to ‘complete the season’ and all the rigmarole associated with it still makes me bitter to this day – unknowing whether to be angry with Mojang/Microsoft or Telltale or both. Either way, a later sale meant that I was able to complete the collection, but it still stings and I’ll never be able to play Story Mode without feeling the slight sting of bile on the back of my tongue.

Alright, enough hyperbole. Tonight was all about an easy achievement. It was after training, I had two tired kids, and I had only a few minutes to spare between dinner and bedtime – so I tried to slam through the first chapter while I ate. Of course, some glitch required me to stuff around in the Microsoft Store, check the game files, and then eventually restart the game in order to begin the episode, but I got there in the end. I’m not sure how and why I got up to Episode 6, but I did a quick achievement check before I started to make sure I was on-track, and then kicked the episode off.

And then I ate my dinner, providing only the occasional button press for a combat scene, but leaving the dialogue pretty much on its own – particularly if there were viable silences to use. I pretty much do that for most of my Telltale games now, but the developer has smartly cottoned-on to attempts at set-and-forget gameplay, mixing movement scenes with terminal fights should you miss or miss-hit a button press.

In all honesty, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what’s going on with the Episode 6 Story. The team are breaking into a house, I know that, but really I’m completely oblivious to the big picture.

My guess is, at an 8% completion rate … so are a lot of other people.

Daub Stamper

Xbox

Microsoft Bingo 13_05_2018 6_10_36 PM

Microsoft Bingo • You have daubed 500 cells across multiple Bingo matches • 55G • 27.76% of gamers unlocked this

Firstly, Happy Mother’s Day to those who celebrate it, and my sincerest thoughts to those who might find today difficult for whatever reason.

Today’s achievement is another Windows one, but I elected to go with something a bit different today and locked in a Microsoft Bingo achievement. There’s probably a few other ‘achievable’ ones that I’ll be able to strive for in the future when I’m a bit pressed, but for now, I tapped out at the first opportunity to grab something for the day – and that one is Daub Stamper.

Microsoft Bingo 13_05_2018 5_26_42 PM

I have to say that I think daub is a terrible word. Surely they could simply use ‘marked’ or almost any other word to refer to putting a circle on the page that would mean the same thing – but I guess it is what it is.

And ‘daub’ is what it is.

I feel like a lot of these games – like Microsoft Solitaire or Majong – were developed at the height of the Windows 8 era, but hit their stride post-Surface. The UI is decisively built for a touch screen, but the Xbox integration and greater focus on the Windows Store means that they have found a bit of a niche life in the achievement-hunting community.

Anyway, I’ve locked this in for the night and I’m going to pack it in, ready for another week.

Thousand Throws

PlayStation

King Oddball • Throw a thousand projectiles • Bronze Trophy • Rarity 41.8% (Rare)

If you haven’t worked it out by now – I’ve spent a not-inconsiderable amount of time on a plane today. And when it comes to being on a plane, do you know what I love? A mindless game on my well-worn PlayStation Vita.

Of course, the plane is really optional as you’ve probably gathered by my recent gaming habits, but this is probably the first uninhibited few hours of gaming I’ve had in ages, and I think I made the most of it playing this month’s PlayStation Plus title: King Oddball.

Perhaps, most importantly, is the fact that this game uses touch. The left stick on my Vita seems to be getting increasingly rogue, to the point at which I think I’m going to have to look at a repair. It still ‘works’ but the drift on it means that I’m constantly fighting with it to either stay still or remain in one place. Even some levels in this game were accidentally played as a result of my little bouncing head running away from where I want him to go. I have to play them all eventually – but golly gosh, I’ll do it on my terms, thanks.

My hours in the air meant that I was able to knock a few trophies on the head. It’s disappointing that there’s no platinum for this title, but I’ll endure. It’s a fun little game, and obviously built for a mobile audience, but it’s nice to have some trophies to show for it, regardless of their level. Among others I earned were for hitting yourself on the head with a rock and completing all of the grenade levels.

There’s a few novel concepts like this that will extend the life of the game, but (touch wood) I think it’s still a fairly simple title to knock over in a month. I’ll give it a red hot go either way.

‘Oct’oberfest (groan)

Xbox

Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey Remastered • Spelled 5 eight-letter words • 25G • 23.53% of gamers unlocked this

So, I’m in Sydney for the Intel Extreme Masters, but not before I knocked over this achievement around 4.30am. I had to be careful actually, it was very easy to settle in and play a few rounds, but I convinced myself it was better to get a coffee and get to the airport rather than play more games, and considering it was a fairly smooth process from home to boarding, I think I hit the timing sweet-spot.

Funnily enough, I am now playing Letter Quest on the Vita, my Xbox and the PS4 when the mood grabs me. From what I gather, I’m roughly at the same spot across all three platforms, and I don’t particularly have an attachment to any of them, but I thought it funny little word puzzler could be so ubiquitously fun.

I hope to write a bit more about IEM later today, likely on the flight home or in an airport coffee shop, so there’s a good chance that I’ll have a bit of a kink for Counter-Strike by the end of the day.

Well, Counter-Strike and Letter Quest.

Waypoint Series 1

Xbox

MX vs ATV Reflex • Place 3rd or higher in the Waypoint Series 1 in the MotoCareer • 15G • 48.96% of gamers unlocked this

I tried to grab a quick racing achievement this morning but it wasn’t happening for me, but it seemed like it only required a ‘little’ more effort, because as it turned out I only had to win one more race – but I suspect (it’s been a while since I last played) that I came in something other than the top three in the pivotal second race of the series in order to unlock this achievement.

As long as MX vs ATV continues to let me race without needing to master tricks and stuff, then we’re going to get along just fine. I understand that there’s a whole raft of SSX-style tricks and stuff to learn, but in all honesty, for a game that has fleeting appeal, I’m unlikely to want to fill my brain with a whole heap of tricky manoeuvres.

It’s good for today’s achievement though, and that’s what matters.

Man Made

Xbox

Portal Knights • Craft your first item • 15G • 62.22% of gamers unlocked this

I’ll be honest, this was a bit of an opportunistic grab as my wife jumped in the shower, my son wanted to play a game and I wanted to earn an achievement in the small space of 10 minutes between me arriving home from work and needing to leave for personal training.

Mission accomplished.

I skipped through all the guff at the start and I started looking at the achievement list to see what was possible. I couldn’t see anything off-hand, so I followed the tutorial prompts on screen as best I could – sure enough, this was the first achievement that unlocked, and with that I had grabbed my keys and was out the door. Not before making sure my son switched back to his own account first, of course.

With that in mind, I don’t feel like I’m well-positioned to give any great insight or assessment into Portal Knights. I think it’s something Minecraft-esque with its crafting and stuff, but I can’t really be sure without giving it a much more detailed go.

And, to be frank, I don’t think I’d be rushing to give it anything other than a ‘go’ – sans detailed – if my son hadn’t convinced me.

Anyway, it did it’s job for today, and for that I’m grateful.