5th of February, 2021
Hello! Welcome back to a new regular feature where we write a little bit about some of the games we've found ourselves playing over the last few weeks. This time: Sin, bird-spotting and traffic jams. We are a "broad church".
Divinity: Original Sin 2, PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
I love returning to games a few years after they come out. I've bought a whole new PC in the time since Divinity: Original Sin 2 came out. And whereas Baldur's Gate 3 runs a bit funny on it, DOS2 runs gorgeously. And it is gorgeous - I wasn't expecting that. The intricate environments, the grooves in my rather charming dwarf's face. The fire. I can't stop looking at it, and it's a good thing too, given how often I see it!
But what really strikes me is the game's charisma. I expected it to feel a bit known, a bit less interesting, because it's been and gone now, a hasbeen. But it doesn't. From the off, this game is dense with detail and humour and life, and interactions I actually stick about to listen to.
Oh and there's a cavalier squirrel riding a skeletal cat, now, for some reason. Because that's another thing: Larian has added all this extra stuff since I last played, all these ways you can bend the rules to make it more fun. So somehow, it all feels fresh. And I'm falling in love all over again.
Mini Motorways, iOS
I neglect the games I have on my phone, for some reason - maybe because I'm not going anywhere and so have run up against a shortage of in between-time, the time before and after things, events, actually happen. Or maybe because it's all in between-time now and so I want to fill that big gap with an actual thing, an actual, sit-down event, less I feel the treasured gap's been wasted.
Anyway, Mini Motorways has been my little antidote to that: I have created events - Australian Married at First Sight, 7:30pm on E4 - so as to create in between-times, the 15 minutes after I finish dinner or some Zoom yoga or whatever and before I bed in for the night in front of the TV, to fill with Mini Motorways. It's a beautiful, pastel peach masterpiece of a game, this, its weirdly tactical mechanics everything I love - but I'm not really playing it for that. I'm playing to escape along a narrow, cluttered road to the Blue Factory, just for a little while. Just for 15 minutes, enough to collect my Dot and take it home.
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, PC, iOS
I am down to the final bird. I am generally the opposite of the completionist, unless we're talking about Agility Orbs. I do not have the collector gene or the collectibles gene. But here comes Alba, a game about bird-watching on a Spanish holiday, and I am hooked.
Snap pictures of all the animals. 60 pics to take. I have taken 59 of them. Now, as I crouch in the marshland, only the house martin is left, and the house martin is overhead, fast and small, making figure-8s or at least something with lots of loops.
They don't stay long enough to get a frame on them, which probably means that there is a trick to it - a specific angle, the right spot, the right time of day. But I am determined to treat this like real life rather than a game. The bird is right here, and I can't risk moving for a better chance.