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What we've been playing

A few of the games that have us hooked at the moment.

4th of February, 2021

Hello! Welcome back to our regular feature where we write a little bit about some of the games we've found ourselves playing over the last few days. This time: survival, a very strange Sims game, and Clash Royale again.

If you fancy catching up on some of the older editions of What We've Been Playing, here's our archive.

The Forest

The Forest trailer.

Okay so this is the fairly horrid opening scenario: you are on an aircraft with your young son, who's around seven or eight years old and cuddled up to you, and then you hit some turbulence, which worsens, and you realise you're going to crash. For some reason your tray tables are down - rookie error - and so you bang around on them, maybe getting a face full of pasta and tomato sauce or whatever you were eating.

The next thing you know, as your eyes open in the dark, is that you're crawling on the floor of the aisle, and some half-naked, blood-covered muscle-man is carrying your son away. Then, blackout, and when you come to your senses it's daytime and you're up on your wobbly feet, exiting a ripped-apart fuselage and stumbling into a tropical forest beyond.

What's the first thing you would do given what I outlined above - the thing you'd instinctively do? Is it to flick through your handy survival guide, as the help prompt says, and learn how to make basic shelters and fires - to run around collecting sticks and rocks and chopping wood? Or is there something more pressing?

No? You silly sausage. It's a good job you've written it in your journal's to-do list. "Find Timmy." Honestly, you'd forget your head if it wasn't screwed on.

Tsk! Survival games eh? Too eager to show off their survival systems. Still, when you've been out for eight years like The Forest has, you've probably got some deep and impressive systems to boast about. Those 300,000 overwhelmingly positive Steam reviews can't all be wrong.


The Sims 4, PC

The Sims in simpler times.

Since Christmas, I've been engaged in an ongoing quest to beat some semblance of authentic life into The Sims 4's blandly sanitised distillation of human existence. If you're wondering why, let's just say it started with a search for a polygamy mod that got wildly out of hand.

One month on, you can barely move for freely flapping penises and vaginas; horny Sims will now down pants and screw each other's brains out as often as they say hello - no table, telephone pole, or tumble dryer has escaped their ceaseless humping unscathed. One of my Sims is a drug dealer; another has a cocaine habit; yet another has dropped out of college to start a lucrative career masturbating on webcam, and I'm pretty sure there's an actual serial killer on the loose. Sickness, disease, poverty, and alcoholism is rife (as is a fairly nasty case of crabs), and there's a cabal of nudists on my patio. It is, in short, delightful pandemonium.

Yet, in amongst all this madness, the mundane pleasures of existence still shine through: the gentle rewards of a job well done, a good book, a new love, an arresting view on an evening stroll. My Sims 4 is now a maelstrom of chaos: messy, ridiculous, vulgar, sad, tender, infuriating, and a journey of ceaseless surprises - quite a lot like real life then, which I'd call a job well done.

Matt Wales

Clash Royale, iOS

That Supercell logo sting haunts my dreams.

Apologies, even by my normal standards this is of interest to nobody, but I need to share it. I hit the Legendary Arena this week. Absolutely terrifying last match to get there, but it was all worth it. Sailed in and then won another match immediately. (I suspect they do that on purpose.)

Legendary means a lot of things - it's nowhere near the top of the ladder, despite the impressive name - but more than anything for me it means that I can collect the final card, Mother Witch, who turns attackers into pigs. This is important for me - I am so sorry for how this update is turning out! - because I have been trying to create an all-pig deck of late, to go along with my all-pig emote deck. I don't think going all-pig is possible with a battle deck, but this will certainly add to the piggy flavour overall.

You're never done, though. That's the thing about Clash Royale. There's all those other steps up the ladder, sure, but there's also the Champion cards that only unlock when you hit level 14 - and I only hit level 13 a few weeks back, so that's a bit of a grind I have ahead of me. I am still having fun though. My clan still put up with me, I still love a good 60 percent of my matches, and, yes, there's that all-pig battle deck dream to pursue.

Chris Donlan

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