5th of August, 2022
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: exercise, werewolves, and escape rooms.
If you fancy catching up on some of the older editions of What We've Been Playing, here's our archive.
Ring Fit Adventure, Switch
I have now been part of the Eurogamer team for six wonderful months (woo). However, as a result of this new full-time position my physical activity levels have decreased somewhat (boo).
So, to rectify my increasingly stagnant stature, I have signed up for a half marathon, which takes place this October. There is nothing quite like some good old-fashioned extrinsic motivation mixed with a heavy dose of accountability to actually get me up and moving after the work day is done.
To prepare for this undertaking, which is actually not all that far away now I come to think about it (cue gulping in the style of Scooby Doo), I have dug out our copy of Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch. If I am going to play games, I may as well get my heartrate up at the same time. Well, at least until October, that is.
My latest foray into fitness, admittedly, could have gone more smoothly than it has done so far, as it turns out that while we kept the actual ring for the game, the leg strap to house the second joy-con was clearly cast aside when we moved at the end of last year.
As such, I have had to fashion a makeshift leg strap out of one of my daughter’s elasticated headbands to make the game playable.This is something that will have to be a short term fix, however, as it is both tight and loose at the same time.
With every squat, the circulation down my left leg is somewhat hampered as my thigh pushes the headband to its tightest extreme. Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, with every jogging motion that goes above a gentle trot, the joy-con can be found sliding its way down my leg at a rather jaunty angle.
But leg strap debacles aside, I am enjoying bopping and stretching my way through this virtual world in a bid to defeat the hench, bodybuilding, Dragaux. Who knows, I may yet even make a habit out of this exercise malarkey… once my new leg strap arrives, that is.
Escape Academy, Xbox
I've only played a bit of this, but I'm sort of in love. I've never tried an actual escape room, because the idea of it is terrifying, yet Escape Academy is delightful. Stop reading now if you don't want a very early spoiler.
The first area works as a sort of tutorial before you get to the full game itself, and it's set in a wonderfully shabby escape room - peeling wallpaper, junk scattered about, and the staff seem bored, at best. After a few minutes messing around I knew how to interact with things and go through my inventory. The first room itself is very easy to solve, and the second isn't much harder.
But after that it all gets a bit special. I'm lead underground into a more expansive, and mysterious location. The first areas felt like they took place in an industrial estate - suddenly I'm in what could be a castle.
There's an underground train, and it promises to whisk me off to the real game - and the setting will be much grander and more exciting. If they'd started there, I would have just accepted it. But by starting off in such lowly environments, I now can't wait to see what's next.
Sang-Froid - Tales of Werewolves, PC
Sang-Froid is a very special game to me. I love its unique blend of strategy and tactics, as by day you prepare your farm for the threat of werewolves who you will fight on foot every night. And I love its thick, musty atmosphere: Quebec in the 1800s. More than anything, though, it brings a store of specific memories. It's one of the first games I played when I became a proper PC player.
Sang-Froid must have been the second or third game I bought on Steam, after a lifetime of consoles and handhelds, and it's remained a sort of weathervane for me, speaking of everything PC games can be. It's the work of a distinctive imagination, and it's filled with fascinating and complex ideas that you can see being worked out as the game comes together. I swear it's one of the most inventive tactics games I've ever played, and one that exudes the kind of specific, hand-crafted atmosphere I wasn't getting on the machines under the telly.
I go back in now and then just to see if it's as good as I remember it being. Of course, it's always better. What I want to do now is convince other people to play - a game this good should not be a secret, even when it's such a lovely memory-rich secret.