‘Running through Russia” is a joke of a game…

Or rather, it’s a “joke game”.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a fan of Steam, the PC gaming “platform”, for want of a better word. I’ve made no secrets about it, leading to many a good long argument with old work colleagues (“DOWN WITH STEAM!”), however, there was one game that caught my eye, thanks to an article that popped up on some facebook group, and as you should have worked out by now, it’s name is “running through Russia”

Firstly, onto the gameplay…. Jump. Avoid bears. Collect bottles.

Secondly…. er, everything else. At the start, I mentioned it’s a joke game, because that’s exactly what it is, and the author actually states this in the opening screen. It feel like it’s been knocked up in half an hour, as the first tutorial in some really badly written game editor. No effort has been spared with this one.

Maybe it’s a two-fingers up at Steam’s policy on indie games or achievements, I don’t know, but it’ll be difficult to find a game where you unlock so many achievements (4,096 of them) for doing so little.

Every time you jump, (which is the whole premise of the game), you unlock an achievement. Jump 10 times, 10 achievements. as you can see from the screenshot above, they were streaming in. All you need to do is jump over 4,000 times, and you’ve unlocked the achievements.

The game has progressed since its initial release to add some “skill” element (collect 10 bottles in 1 run, etc). Not sure why these were added, as they’re also extremely easy, and if you do decide to play to unlock all of the achievements, you’ll inevitably get them anyway.

In conclusion…

Is it worth the 63p I paid for it? No.
Would I recommend buying it? Unless you like watching steam achievements pop up every second, no.
Do I feel like I’ve wasted 102 minutes of my life unlocking all of the achievements? Absolutely. But then, I spent 117 minutes of my life watching Ant-man at the pictures.

The Steam Easter Indie sale. My purchases.

EDIT MARCH 2017: No doubt there’ll be a steam sale in the next month or so, and in the off-chance someone finds this during the same, here’s my update on what I still think of these games…

So, for a few more days, Steam are having what they’re calling their “Indie” sale. These are games what are written by individuals, or small independent companies. My love for them dates back to the days where another word for them was “public domain”. and the games were on the Amiga. I would save up what little pocket money I had, and rush down to the now defunct “Peak Computers” in York Road. to pick up 3.5″ floppies, with some of the latest “PD” games on them.

Fast forward almost 20 years, and my love for the independent developer has not died, and as this is a sale, I thought I’d buy a few. I’m brassic for the next 5 weeks, so this couldn’t have came at a worse time, but I’ve still picked up a couple up.

First up… “Thomas Was Alone”, in the sale for £2.99.

This obviously comes out of the “Less Is More” stable of graphics, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Movement is fluid, as you’d expect from 4-sided polygons, music is perfectly acceptable, but the highlight of the game is strangely the narration, and the fact that each block has its own story. Narration is provided by Danny Wallace, someone who I have actually heard of. As with all of these types of games, you’ll think you’re stuck on a level, then get fed up and quit, only for you to sit there for the next 20 minutes, staring at your desktop, working out how to do this. You eventually have an idea, you load it straight back up, you complete the level, and the circle of life is complete.

MARCH 2017: I don’t really play this one anymore. It’d been a good 18 months since I last gave it a blast, but I do remember getting into it slightly. Probably worth getting if it appears cheaper.

Hokay… next up… “Garry’s Mod”, which set me back a whopping £1.49

I… I just don’t get it. It seems insanely popular, but I just can’t seem to be able to do anything at all with it, and where’s the fun in that? I spawned some balloons, which I popped. Some crows and seagulls, which I shot. A table, which I threw about a bit, and that’s practically been it. Maybe I’m just reading too much into a sandbox game which is many years old, but I can’t see the point in it? Is there any point? There’s even Steam achievements that claim “2 hours of your life wasted”. Maybe I’m just too old for this shit? See, now if I was 4 when this game was released, the little-me would have embraced it with open arms. The 33-years-old me keeps thinking “Well, I really could be doing the pots right now. Or getting myself a life”. naaah, the latter will never happen.

Well, I really hated this one, as I couldn’t get anything to work as it was supposed to. Currently uninstalled, and I don’t geel any great need to ever go back to it.

And so… onto “Super Hexagon”…

Well, this one set me back a silly amount of money. 67p. to put that into context, a can of coke out of the vendy at “Newest Employment Palace” sets me back 70p. therefore, if I can get 30 seconds worth of enjoyment out of this game, then it’s been worth it. And you, know what, I haven’t managed to get any more than what’s stated above – 24 seconds! Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily! It is very, very difficult. For me, anyway. If you’ve got the hand-eye co-ordination of a nettle, you’re going to struggle with this. And that’s its beauty, as strange as it may seem.

You control a pointer on the screen, which you rotate by the cursor keys, and you have to avoid hitting the bright lines. Seems simple enough, except the screen is constantly spinning, and the playfield is spinning in the opposite direction. The screen pulsates to the sound of the music, and everything gets faster, at more of an angle the further you get into it. I’d say, the average game length for me is 12 seconds. It’s something I can’t describe in text.

Before I loaded it up tonight to get the screenshots, I was going to put it in the “This is shit” pile, but then I broke my record by a few seconds, then a few seconds more, and those small time differences actually gave me a sense of achievement. Last time I felt that good after 20 seconds of action, I was [insert sexually explicit joke here]

MARCH 2017: Worth every single penny of what I paid. I decided to tackle the hardest levels first, then work back, as it made the easy levels so much simpler. Up to about 75 seconds on the easy level now. Get it, if it reappears.

Last, but not least, “Puddle”.

I do like my physics games. I’d put them up there with driving games as one of my favourite types of game. the premise is simple. you control fluid, you tell it where to go by rotating the game screen using the cursor keys. The more fluid you get to the exit, the better your score. If fluid leaves the screen, for instance, it gets caught somewhere, and it disappears off the top of the board, you lose it. Each level requires you to finish with a certain amount of fluid. Go below this, and it’s game over. Naturally, there are also obstacles that will evaporate fluid, making it just that little more tricky.

There’s plenty of worlds to explore, and the graphics are the best out of the bunch I’ve purchased of the last couple of days. Despite it being pretty much a physics engine simulation, it just feels too linear. You can only turn the board to a certain angle, which invariably leaves you with large smatterings of stuff everywhere, which naturally disappears off the top of the screen. I might just be in the early stages of the game. I don’t know if I can be bothered getting much further.

MARCH 2017: Got bored of this one really easily too. Not for me, I’m afraid.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Get these while they’re hot. Or cheap.

THE BINDING OF ISAAC

Have I mentioned this before? If not, get it. Now. 99p. This game is huge, yet you’ll actually struggle to see much of it. Think “Atic Atac”, but with poo jokes and random maps. I bought this ages ago, and have never been able to take screenshots from it. Odd.

MARCH 2017: Yeeeeeeah, it’s still OK I suppose. I could never get anywhere wit it, and it gets repetitive very quickly, even though the maps are different each time.

10,000,000

I would love this, but it falls into the all-too-obvious trap of getting easier and easier the more you play it. It’s not that you actually get better, it’s that the items you unlock just make the game easier. I’ve not played it for a while though, as I know I’m literally a couple of playthroughs off getting 10,000,000 points to complete the game (hence its name). I’d completely write it off, if it wasn;’t for the fact one of the tunes in the game is remarkably similar to “Monday“, one of my favourite Amiga chiptunes of all time. Also, this one, known as “intro33.mod“>. I’m posting it here, as it’s taken me 20 years to find out its actual name. I just knew it as the jolly little tune that played when I inserted my Project X disk, with its blue handwritten label, and the “Future Zone” logo emblazoned on the disk shutter. I digress.

MARCH 2017: I still really enjoy this game, and thankfully it’s still available on Steam, so if there’s a similar sale in 2017, I’d recommend getting it..

I was going to put a couple more in, but there’s no point. All I have to say is that everyone on the planet, whether, to mis-quote Johnny Mathis, you’re white, brown, yellow, it doesn’t matter. you just have to own Audiosurf, Chime or Beat Hazard.

An update on my Steam purchases

Wow, I never thought, that at any point, I’d turn part of this site into some type of games review. I’ve never had time for them. I’d buy the odd game, and then never play it. I still have games I bought years ago, still wrapped in their plastic. Armed and Dangerous, anyone? I have that. On my shelf, still sealed.

Since my discovery of Steam a while ago, I’ve purchased many games. Quite a few of them cheap “indie” games, but a couple of full-price ones too.

You may remember my post a few months ago regarding my recent purchases from the afore-mentioned software distribution site… well, there’s been more since then.

Altitude – £3.49

I’d previously downloaded the demo, but didn’t rate it, probbaly because you couldn’t do much. Back then, it just looked like a cartoony shoot-em-up involving planes, with a bit of a dodgy control system.

Football was on the television the other day, and I needed something interesting to do. There was a “free weekend” of Altitude, where you got the full game for a weekend. It’s not a powerful game, so I was able to install it on my laptop. Even better was the fact it actually supported the Xbox 360 controller, meaning that my previous worries about the control system were solved.

I played through the training levels, and found myself actually enjoying the game. I connected online for the first time, and found myself enjoying the game even more. The more I played, the more I killed and unlocked new planes. A small sense of achievement was… erm, achieved, each time a plane fell out of the sky thanks to my gunfire.

Longevity is a bit of a question with this one, though. Will I still play it in a months time?

Just Cause 2 – £18.44 (inc. DLC)

No multiplayer in this one, but as a question of longevity… why, yes, I’ll still be playing it in a month. I’ll probably still play it in a year. It’s one of the best games I’ve played.

There’s no point going into the storyline. I could do, but I’d be here for literally minutes. The storyline, to me anyway is… blow shit up and kill the guys in uniform. And there’s a lot of shit to blow up. This game is absolutely massive. For some reason, it was half-price on Steam, and I really shouldn’t have bbought it. The demo ran awfully on my machine. It wasn’t until I’d clicked the “purchase” button that I realised how bad it run. Despite uttering “fuckshitpiss” for the entire length of the download process, I ran the game and found that yes, it also ran awfully. 30 seconds later, after adjusting the graphics settings accordingly, I had a working game!

This one suited mouse/keyboard controls, so I was able to get into it pretty quickly.

I’ve never experienced a time-eating game, but a few weeks ago, while Daddykins was away, I literally lost an entire day. The house was empty, so I didn’t bother getting dressed. I sat in my computer chair, naked, at approximately 8AM. Next time I looked at the clock, it was 4PM, and I was still naked. None of you needed to know that, I just thought I’d add the “cannot be unseen” element to this post.

You can also get mods for it, apparently.

I’ve just realised I’ve not described the gameplay at all in these few paragraphs. never mind, eh?

Chime – £3.99

Literally, a new release, coming out on September 6th, I bought this, oddly without downloading any demo, or knowing anything about the game, except the fact I knew I would like it. My instinct was spot on, I love it.

Gameplay is hard to describe without referring to Tetris, and a little-known arcade game called “Block Hole”, released by Konami in 1989. The premise of *that* game was to make quadrangles of any size – partial shapes would fall down, and you’d fill them in to make quadrangles.

Chime is similar in that you have to make quadrangles, enough to fill a large grid the size of the screen. Each piece you lay is 5 grid blocks in size. Make a quadrangle over some of the squares, those grid blocks are filled in. Ultimately, create a quadrangle on each block of the grid, you complete the level.

Obviously, it’s not as simple as that. You have 6 tracks of different tempo to choose from, each with its unique speed, grid shape, and block shape. Certain elements are controlled by a visible white bar that sweeps across the grid.

As I mentioned, each block is 5 grid sizes in length. If you complete a quadrangle, you get a certain amount of time to add pieces to it, building your score. After that time, if you fail to add to the quadrangle, you score the points, and you can’t add any more blocks to those grid locations until the white bar passes over them. You then get a limited amount of passes of the white bar before you lose your multiplier bonuses, and the pieces disappear.

Thankfully, the white bar also does good. If you have an active quadrangle, you will get an extra sample of music, adding to whichever track you’re playing. Sometimes this is a good thing, fitting in perfectly, but sometimes, it can sound like, as someone else described it, “a baby hitting a keyboard”.

Some of the music is pretty awesome. Now, I know that coming from me, that’s a bad sign, but I really mean it. Tracks are included by some well known artists, such as Moby, Philip Glass, and one of the guys from Orbital, Paul Hartnoll. The latter is my personal favourite track.

A lot of you will remember the “bonus” track featured in the PC version… “Still Alive” by Jonathan Coulton. I’m a bit amazed to notice that my version of Audiosurf also came with this track, which I’ve only just noticed a few seconds ago. Anyway, you should remember this was the end music in the original Portal. I’m shit at that game, so I’ll probably never complete it.

If I’ve not explained any of the above very well, then tough. Buy it. It’s simple to get into, and infuringatingly difficult to master, and some of your money will go to childrens charities. 5% of it… which works out at.. 20p?

Actually, speaking of Portal…

Portal – £0.00

Well, I got it free, and got up to level 15, then found it too hard. Still, I can listen to the important part of the soundtrack in two other games, so there’s no incentive to complete it.