Bio
5 - A masterpiece

4.5
- A must play

4 - Really good. Recommended.

3.5
- Solid game. Worth a play.

3 - Fine at best, disappointing at worst. Skippable

2.5
- Some merit but probably not worth your time

2 - Bad but at least it was functional

1.5
- Bad and nearly unplayable

1 - Awful and pretty much irredeemable

0.5
- Starfield
Personal Ratings
1★
5★

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Favorite Games

A Short Hike
A Short Hike
Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64
Red Dead Redemption 2
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Mass Effect Legendary Edition
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354

Total Games Played

032

Played in 2024

000

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Recently Played See More

Casual Birder
Casual Birder

Jun 12

Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War
Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War

Jun 11

Star Dynasties
Star Dynasties

Jun 10

Master of Orion
Master of Orion

Jun 09

Great Houses of Calderia
Great Houses of Calderia

Jun 08

Recently Reviewed See More

I was very excited to get my Playdate when I bought it, but in the end only fumbled around with it a little before tossing it in a drawer and forgetting about it. I loved the idea of the little thing and it did fill me with a lot of glee when it first arrived, but I never much committed to giving it a real go when it finally did show up in my mailbox. Now that Mars After Midnight has released, I've decided I gotta pop it back open and really give it some time.

And with that, came me revisiting Casual Birder. It's short, very charming, some dorky writing and overall very reminiscent of Legend of Zelda style gameplay with some Undertale-ish dialogue. It's a little too try-hardy sometimes and a little too quirky for the sake of quirky at times. But it's still fun. It's certainly a shining star of Season One on the Playdate and one of the few free Season One games that attempts, and succeeds, at being a real full and complete game, rather than a gimmick or an activity of some sort.

I thought about giving a lower score. But felt maybe I was being stingy. It's not the longest or most complex or most innovative game. But it was fun, I will remember it, I did really enjoy it and I think anyone with a Playdate would score this amongst their favorite titles on the device. Simple shouldn't be a penalty for a game. Sometimes really good games can be really simple ones.

I've got an idea. What if you made a 4x game but with only 1 x? Welcome to Warhammer 40,000: Gladius where as always in the 41st (42nd now I guess) millennia there is only war.

There's an interesting quirk here in the end. 40k is all about war, it's a wargaming tabletop miniature game and its setting is pretty much always gory violent bloody splatterfest. Space Marines tearing xenos in twain and tyranids gobbling up humans and giant pus-filled nurglings vomiting shit onto sexy masturbating Drukharis.

Just is what it is. It's over the top and violent and crazy. So there's no room for diplomacy and turtling and science victories. Nope. You've got a 4x game that's hex-based with cities and buildings and wonders and strategic resources centered entirely around warfare. Pumping out unit after unit with buff after buff and bits of equipment designed to keep feeding the never ending war engine until you obliterate every other worthless xeno scum on the planet Gladius (or you're gross and you're playing as the xenos. Blech!)

And you get something odd but not at all surprising. The most in depth and tactically engaging warfare in any 4x game I've ever played. Something that absolutely torches Civ. But there's nothing in the way of interest for the other Xs of the 4x genre. Sure there's some things on the map and interestingly procedurally generated terrains and topographies to make fights deeper. But this is just producing military units to fight wars.

It's thematically fantastic. But gameplay wise it kinda doesn't deliver. This feels like a bad format for what's essentially a Total War style game. There just feels like better ways to make this. Something in the frame of Star Wars Empire at War could be better. But a game that materially functions a lot like Civ only to end up working like any other turn based war game. It's just square pegs and round holes.

Does it work? Sure. Kind of. It's different, and it's interesting. But it is a bit like watching a great movie on your TV instead of in the theater. Sure it's still good but this just isn't the best venue. There's better ways to make a combat focused game like this. Total War, XCom, Starcraft. There's just other tried and true formulas for this sort of thing. I can appreciate the desire to do things different but at some point this feels like being different for the sake of being different.

I've been playing lots of 'solid-but-not-great' games lately, and this is another to put on the pile.

Star Dynasties is like Crusader Kings II but with many less mechanics, and in space. The game is basically 100% event driven with some action points to spend per turn instead of turn based with substantial empire management like in CK2. You get some good and you get some bad.

There are, what feels like, more events. Entire game is spurred on my melodramatic feudal happenings. This is very engaging, and I think genuinely even better than Crusader Kings. But that's about where the 'better than Crusader Kings' compliments end. The menus are harder to navigate, it's easy to get stuck on or behind certain menus or have events that need decisions get buried in a maze of UI pop ups. There aren't enough hotkeys to simplify navigation. There just aren't enough options for deep family management and the screens don't pleasingly allow you to dig through them.

The empire management is just too threadbare. The systems don't even have actual planets or show planet views. They just elude to the idea that people live there somewhere. Giving the game far less character. At least in Crusader Kings you have cultures and a real world map so you know what these things and places look like. In Star Dynasties you have almost no lore on a generated map that gives you very little to sink your teeth into or to RP. There's just so very little set dressing.

It's not that Star Dynasties isn't good. I very much like the events and the purely event driven space soap opera. I just think the actual mechanics within are too thin. And then the lore, limited family sizes and poor UI really lessen the 'give a shit' factor.

If you are someone who likes the idea of Crusader Kings but finds it either too complicated or feudal Europe not interesting, Star Dynasties could very well be for you. It's certainly a far, far better attempt at the CK-like genre than Great Houses of Calderia.