26th April 2015: Conquering More Skum
Late last year I started to play the fun but cheesy game Terraria along with Scoob and JIK. I'd seen footage of this a few times on the net and thought it had some promise, and thanks to GOG (again), we could now try it out for ourselves.
So we booted up the game and made a world, which we called Skum. Of course.
Best explained as a kind-of Minecraft clone, though from a side-scrolling perspective rather than in first person, this somewhat simple looking game is actually quite deep, with massive, randomly generated worlds to explore, things to build, and enemies to battle.
The main aim of the game is to continue to build up your strength and equipment so you can fight the next boss, which in turn usually unlocks some other resource or equipment you can find to help with the next boss. In order to help with this, you can build a base that NPC characters can move into, who then provide you with other resources or services.
Said base building can be slow and frustrating, and at first I had problems creating a layout that the NPCs would navigate properly. But I constantly found myself adding and tweaking over the weeks. I could easily see myself going mental and building something crazy, if I could find the time. Or be bothered.
The combat is very easy and simple, but if there's a lot of enemies on screen it can get a little difficult to follow what's going on, especially in boss fights. It also didn't help that I kept getting weird lag on my machine, during which other players, NPCs and enemies would jump all over the screen as the game caught up, making it hard to hit them or dodge away. I initially thought it was down to me hosting the server at the same time, as my much slower computers that were connecting to me had no such lag. In the end, this weird lag went away when I tweaked some of the video settings. I have no idea why the slower machines were fine, nor do I know which setting fixed it, as I'm not sure what I changed. But it worked.
There were also a bunch of weird bugs that only seemed to show up during multiplayer, which I didn't see when I was playing alone trying to build things or collect things. For example, sometimes we or the enemies would warp through solid walls, or the teleporters wouldn't work. It was annoying.
In one way I spoiled the game a bit by constantly referring to the wiki to see what we needed to collect next, and what we needed to do to face the next boss. However if I didn't do this, it would have taken hours of play to find things and figure things out, and I don't think we would have had the attention span to keep going.
And the hardest boss in the game, Duke Fishron, proved to be a bit too much of a challenge for us with the weapons we'd managed to build ourselves, and he killed us a bunch of times. So we had to (ahem) borrow some items to fight him on a more even footing. Even then, it took three attempts to learn how to beat him and finally take him down. How people solo that guy with crappy equipment I'll never know.