Strain Tactics (PC) Review

Developer/Publisher: Touch Dimensions Interactive || Overall: 6.0/10

Hey, you! Yeah, you! Get out a blender. We’re going to play a game. No, you won’t lose an arm or an iPad. It’ll be fin- IT’LL BE FINE, JUST DO IT.

Alright, grab an XCOM. Any one of them will do, we’re just going for basic themes here. Dump that in. Now, scoop up some Alien Swarm (it’s free) and plop that in there, too. Now, and this is important, add a dab of tower defense. Just a bit. Trust me: it’ll make some sense. Hit “blend” and watch those mix up. Take the pitcher of your rather interesting mix of genres and pour that shit into a phone and you’ve got Strain Tactics from Touch Dimensions Interactive.

Strain Tactics is a real-time strategy game that has just as many things in common with tactical squad games, like Rainbow 6 and Door Kickers, as it does with a traditional top-down shooter like Alien Breed. The player commands a squad of up to five soldiers of varying classes–each of which have varying skills and attributes–from their mobile helicopter base. Said squads are sent on missions on a campaign against the “strain,” each mission taking place on a contained map, with objectives ranging from “kill everything” to “rescue this guy.” Troops gain skills as they participate in combat, they can find, loot and equip items they find or purchase, and you’ll often lose troops (though not permanently, as they can be revived if you recover their bodies) in chaotic skirmishes with alien-zombie guys. Thus far, this sounds just like any other game where you deploy a group of soldiers to do a mission. However, there’s an extra degree of player interaction that I haven’t seen before for a single-player squad-based game, and that’s having full control over your team’s transport and air support.

Despite most of the game revolving around directly positioning your squad members and marking targets to shoot (though they engage automatically if enemies are in range), the squad’s helicopter is fully controllable at all points of gameplay. The helicopter acts as a storage locker for gear, a transport for players and NPCs, and fire support against visible targets on the ground, which gives the player immense amounts of control about how they deploy, what their troops are armed with and what their exit point will be. Your team begins each mission aboard the heli, and they don’t disembark until you’ve decided to. It’s a refreshing amount of choice in a genre that routinely grants you limited power despite your role as a “commander” or whatever. When was the last time you had the option of landing your squad near your target in XCOM rather than running a fucking marathon from your drop zone? Oh, never? What about using your dropship to blast the shit out of dangerous enemy units before they become a threat to your squad’s objectives? What?! Never?! What a shame! It’s okay, though: Strain Tactics lets you do that. Using a minigun, a small cannon, or even some big ass firebombs, the helicopter can lay waste to outside targets. While it’s not always a viable option, what with interior locations and the occasional heavy foliage area, it’s a rather interactive way to support your squad in a way that makes a ton of sense. Why this hasn’t been done before in mainstream titles is baffling to me, but Strain Tactics delivers this sort of engaging gameplay dynamic in a tight little package. I’d dare to say that it’s something you could make a franchise off of.

Because of this, even hand-crafted levels can be approached from various angles. You are never really forced to enter or exit the level from a specific point. Characters that aren’t suited for an encounter you’ve come across can be quickly refitted before picking a place to land, or left on the helicopter while the rest deploy. It seems like such a small detail or feature, but in the grand scheme of things it makes the standard gameplay loop really interesting. You can change tactics on the fly, including redistributing your team to split them up.

However, the honeymoon isn’t long. The game has problems, one so heinously rooted that I’m not entirely sure it can be easily fixed with patches: it’s a phone game.

This game was designed for touch interfaces, and it’s painfully obvious from the UI. Everything is rather big, from buttons to text. Item information and character stats are hidden behind an extra button, making quick comparisons between characters a tedious exchange that, in many cases, requires you to pause the game if you’re currently busy with alien-zombies. Inventory management is slow, requiring a click to select and another click to move it to another spot. Using stores or the locker is a tedious process, especially when you’re trying to clean house and organize. Information is usually somewhat vague, if it is even readable (some lower resolutions are just unreadable). I didn’t even realize there was a scroll bar in the mission debriefing, as everything is so huge I figured they were just using up space. While this is probably a really good phone game, it’s missing a lot of quality of life enhancements that I’d expect from a PC game in this day and age. It’s a real gear change compared to how gameplay flows outside of the UI.

It explains why there’s some inconsistencies with the quality of art and the somewhat clunky controls. It’s a great phone game, I’d even go so far to say it’s probably one of the better ones you could play. It’s just okay as a PC port, though. I can’t call it a bad game–it isn’t–but it’s rather disappointing that something so close to being sublime stumble at some rather uncommon problems (as well as some common problems, like mediocre plot and dialogue). I mean… it technically works; it functions as intended when you click around, but it’s far from efficient. It’s like using a spoon to serve soup instead of a ladle.

At this point, I feel like I’m taking a huge dump on this game, and I don’t want to give that impression considering how good of an idea the helicopter base thing is. So, Touch Dimensions Interactive, if you’re actually reading this: keep working at it. Seriously. You are so close to something that is very much worth sinking hours into. You just need some polish, some design changes, and maybe a writer (let’s be honest: you could use one, at least for the dialogue). If Strain Tactics 2 ever gets kicked around, or you plan on fixing the UI, I’ll be back to revisit.

 

Infestation World (PC) Early Beta Preview

Developer/Publisher: Electronics Extreme

Infest_World_Logo

Following in the footsteps of DayZ and other zombie survival MMOs, the developers at Electronics Extreme are looking to infect your computer with their latest iteration, Infestation World. Like any good zombie movie, the only goal in their sand-box is survival in a world overrun by the undead leaving the player to ultimately decide their fate. Though, invoking another zombie movie trope, it is not the zombies you should be afraid of, it’s the players. Player killing is not only legal but it seems to be somewhat encouraged as a way to grab free loot. More often than not, I’d be greeted by a bullet instead of a friendly hello, resulting in the player looting my body once everything was said and done. The type of world Infestation World takes place in isn’t a friendly one.

Infestation_BattleMode_SS (3)This is how social interaction works in Infestation World.

The gameplay in Infestation World is slow and relies on a more methodogical approach to survive. Running out with guns blazing is the quickest way to attract the attention of a few dozen zombies or the sniper bullet of an opportunistic player looking to score some loot. It pays to approach each situation with careful analysis to properly judge your chances of survival. This is doubly so when approaching other players. Getting a drop on them is almost essential to surviving the encounter.

 

While slow, steady and deadly wins the race in the open world portion of the game, the multiplayer battle modes are more of a mixed bag. Coming in two varieties, a standard Team Deathmatch that rewards the last ones standing, or the Time Attack option that focuses on racking up a kill count; these modes rely more on quick decisions and a twitchy trigger finger to get the job done. Caution is still rewarded, but being overly so can make you a sitting duck on the battlefield. These are the gameplay types to focus on if you are looking for a more standard shooter.

 

With all that being said, the game is in an early beta and could use some tweaks. Throughout my short adventure in the world, I found a few problems. Along with the general clipping and framerate issues, there were a few problems where I couldn’t seem to find a solution. Namely, the backpack didn’t seem to correctly judge the weight of each item. Even if my backpack could carry 50 lbs of supplies, it would seem to cap out at about 5 lbs when I attempted to equip my character on the menu screen. Furthermore, the lack of stats on the weapons and armor made it hard to decide which would be more effective than the other. Lastly, and probably the worse, the melee combat needs an upgrade. While grossly underpowered, they are also underwhelming to use on a zombie. The lifeless undead turned into a simple meat piñata for punishment whenever in melee combat. They hardly react, they don’t counterattack; they just stand there until you beat the infection right out of them for five or more hits. The whole process is wholly unsatisfying.

Infestation_BattleMode_SS (2)“Oh no! He talked about the games faults. Get him!”

If the idea of entering the deadly world of a zombie apocalypse interest you, the closed beta for Infestation World starts March 28th and the open beta begins April 6th. Till then, I hope I see you before you see me.

When not traversing a zombie infested wasteland as Unnamedhero, Eduardo Luquin can be reached at Unnamedheromk13@gmail.com.

 

Squacklecast Episode 23 – “Episode 23.14159265359”

This entry is part 23 of 32 in the series The Squacklecast

Happy Pi/Pee Day, everyone.

There is this video that Billy was talking about, I don’t know why I even watched it as it was kind of terrible.

I go on a rant about month-long commemorative holidays, similar to an opinion article I wrote in the past.

Month long Zombie Awareness Month is this coming May 2015!  Also, Month-Long-Holiday Awareness Year starts this year and every year before and after.

We start talking about Star Trek and Star Wars all of a sudden, not sure why, which leads into Interstellar.  This is the video Billy talks about where the author of the book The Prestige says Chris Nolan only has a couple of good movies:

Then we go into the different movies Nolan has made and how he is as a general filmmaker nowadays.

Nolan’s Memento is similar in structure to Irreversible, according to Billy.

We finish out the Nolan discussion and then talk about Gotham a little bit.  Gotham pretty much jumped the shark the first episode.

fishmooneyspooning

Then we go into where Gotham is actually supposed to be located.  We talk about this map on comicvine, which may or may not be canon:

We also talk about Agent Carter, as well.  And then we go into the Superman movies and how Superman 2 was cut in two different ways.

For some reason I saw Da Hip Hop Witch before any of the Superman movies (yet to see) or probably even the Rocky movies.  We talk about Da Hip Hop Witch a little bit, too.

We talk about how crap movies like Da Hip Hop Witch is able to get on Netflix and inspect the process of actually getting on Netflix insofar as a Google Search can tell us.

Squackle: The Movie? I guess it would just be my YouTube channel

Pi ya’ll! See you in National Poetry Month!

 

Marmafluke, Where Are You?

(Marmafluke is a dog and speaks perfect English with a British accent and walks on two legs.  SLAGGY is Marmafluke’s best friend.  CRED, FELMA, and DAFTKNEE are his others.)

(Marmafluke sings the theme song in a Shakespearean manner:)

Marma-Marmafluke!
Where are you?
We’ve got some tea and crumpets
For you now…

Marma-Marmafluke!
Where are you?
We’ve got some weed
To do now!

We’ve got some mysteries to solve,
So, Marmafluke…
Be ready, you big ass
GREAT DANE
and don’t fucking be bisexual.

(A bunch of sweaty people run in and start freak dancing)

TITLE CARD: The Case of the Spiral Notebook

SLAGGY (voice over)
Today, Marmafluke meets Sonny and Cher!

(Fade out.  Fade in with Marmafluke and Slaggy drinking tea and eating crumpets.)

SLAGGY
So I says to Looby, “Let’s make like a spider and BUG OUTTA HERE!”

(Slaggy starts laughing hysterically.)
(Marmafluke is sitting with his legs crossed and he takes a sip of tea, seemingly unamused)

MARMAFLUKE
Hmm… yes… humorous…

(Marmafluke looks to the right, not laughing at all)
(Audience laughs, and as they drown out, you can hear one of them scream something)

AUDIENCE MEMBER 426
Marmafluke has a massive dong!

MARMAFLUKE
Now, that is totally uncalled for!

SLAGGY
He’s right, though, it’s almost touching the floor.

(Marmafluke throws his tea to the floor and dumps his tray of crumpets on Slaggy gathering up his dog dong, hiding it in his lap)

MARMAFLUKE
Well, it’s not my fault…!

(Marmafluke glares at the camera)

MARMAFLUKE
Can’t you go SOMEWHERE ELSE!?

(Scene cuts to DAFTKNEE and FELMA digging in the ground.  They’re really dirty and sweaty.  Their boobs are knocking around and its pretty hot, actually, both literally and figuratively.)
(CRED is sitting on a chair drinking some lemonade under an umbrella)

DAFTKNEE
CRED!  Why are WE doing all the work?

FELMA
Cred, this isn’t very fair.

CRED
My ascot is on too tight.  You know I can’t shovel out
large amount of dirt, because I’ll pass out.

(The real reason is that Cred is looking at Daftknee and Felma’s bodily features and measuring them mentally… he was way off, though)
(Cred writes something in his notebook, saying it quietly aloud, as well)

CRED
Felma — Double D…

FELMA
WHAT!?!?

CRED
Oh!  Nothing!

(Fred closes his notebook)
(The scene cuts to a bathroom door, and there’s some grunting sounds in there)
(Slaggy is waiting next to the door, and looks at his wrist, as if there was a watch there, but there isn’t.)

SLAGGY
Come on, Marmafluke!
You’ve been in there for at least half an hour!
Looby never would make me wait
outside when he does his business.

(Little did he know, Looby’s business was jacking off)

(There’s a zipping sound behind the door, and Marmafluke walks outside wearing pants and shoes.  There’s a huge lump and a line trailing down his right pant leg.)

MARMAFLUKE
Well, now that certain piece of indecency has
been taken care of, shall we check on the other 3?

(cut to Cred, Daftknee, and Felma)

DEFTKNEE
I’m too tired to dig anymore.

CRED
Just think of what Looby would say if
he knew you were giving up on him.

(the camera cuts to a tombstone that reads:)

Here Lies Looby,
Not one brand, but three killed him.

(the camera cuts again and Felma is dragging Looby’s dead body toward the hole)

FELMA
I think it’s deep enough Deftknee.

(Felma lobs Looby into the grave and it lands on Daftknee)

DAFTKNEE
Oh shit!

(Daftknee falls down and Looby is on top of her.  3 types of lubricant drained/evacuated from Looby’s orifices.  Some is draining out of his nose, too.  It was a gruesome death for poor Looby)
(Daftknee is squealing like a pig under Looby)
(in the next spot, Cher is in front of Sonny’s grave)

CHER
Would you mind keeping it down in there?
Aren’t you — DO YOU BELIEVE — supposed to be
dead when you’re — IN LOVE!!? — in a grave??

FELMA
Wow!  It’s Sonny and Cher!

CHER
Sonny is dead.

CRED
That’s funny Cher, we all know that isn’t true.

CHER
I don’t know — DO YOU BELIEVE! – what you’re talking about.

(Cut to Slaggy and Marmafluke walking toward The History Machine)

MARMAFLUKE
I think I’ll drive, you had a little too much…
green tea…

(Slaggy is smoking a joint)

SLAGGY
I really have no idea what you’re talking about.
It was only 5 cups!

MARMAFLUKE
Right… shall we?

(Slaggy and Marmafluke drive over to the cemetery)

CHER
SUNNY IS — IN LOVE! — DEAD!!

FELMA
Sunny is in love?

CHER
NO!  He’s in the — AFTER LIFE!!

DAFTKNEE

(Daftknee is somehow out of the grave and finished shoveling the dirt into the grave)

MARMAFLUKE
Ah, I see you’ve finished unceremoniously burying my brother.

DAFTKNEE
Rest in piece, you piece of shit.

(Daftknee spits on his grave, but due to a sudden jet stream it lands on Sonny’s grave)

CHER
You — DO YOU BELIEVE! — BITCH!!!

(Cher and Daftknee get into a cat fight)

CRED
Oh baby!

(Cred writes into his notebook)

CRED (mouthing quietly)
Daftknee — purple underwear…

(Daftknee and Cher stop fighting for a second)

DAFTKNEE
WHAT the HELL!?

(Daftknee gets slapped hard, and she starts fighting with Cher again)
(Meanwhile, the spit on Sunny’s grave starts glowing)

MARMAFLUKE
My God!  You didn’t spit on a dead man’s grave, did you!?

DAFTKNEE
So what if I did!?

(Sonny pops out of the grave)

SONNY
Hey guys!  I’m alive!

MARMAFLUKE
Bloody hell!  A ZOMBIE!!

(Everyone screams then runs away.  Cred drops his notebook, and Marmafluke happens to trip over it.  Marmafluke grabs the notebook and runs away again)

SONNY
Where’d everybody go?  Hey, wait!

(Stupid music plays as Sonny is chasing everyone around, and somehow they’re in a place with millions of doors and are going in one and coming out the other over and over.  A few times, two of them come out of different doors, etc etc)
(Daftknee and Marmafluke find a closet)

MARMAFLUKE
Daftknee!  Look what I found!

(Daftknee takes the book from Marmafluke and opens it)

DAFTKNEE
This is Cred’s!  I wonder what he was writing in here…

(The notebook stated the following:)

DAFTKNEE
C-cup
Purple underwear
10 inch-wide ass

FELMA
DD-cup
No underwear
Nice skirt
Allows anal sex

MY MOM
Experienced
Can have threesome w/Slaggy
Gives good BJs

MARMAFLUKE
British accent (hot!)
Extremely large dong

(Daftknee and Marmafluke look at each other after reading it)

DAFTKNEE
Oh my God!  That PERV!
He didn’t even get any of this information right!
I am TOTALLY into anal sex.

(Daftknee looks weird at Marmafluke)

MARMAFLUKE
Well, I can’t help it if I’m the object of everyone’s desire…

(Daftknee eyes Marmafluke’s pants)(Scene cuts to the castle with a million doors)
(Daftknee bursts out of a closet with a shotgun)

DAFTKNEE
Cred!  YOU’RE DEAD!

(Cred stops chasing Felma trying to grab her ass just as she runs into another door.  He looks over to Daftknee)

CRED
Oh, shit.  She found the notebook.

(Cred jumps into the air and runs away with Daftknee chasing after him)(Sonny and Cher have been making out the whole time.  Not by normal kissing, but Eskimo kissing.  Their noses are practically falling off)

CHER
I love — IN LOVE! — you.

(Then they both get shot from stray fire from Daftknee’s shotgun)
(Cred jumps on top of them and then jumps away, running again)

CHER
I’m going to the — AFTER LIFE!! — light!

SONNY
Me too, again…

MARMAFLUKE
Man, you wankers sure are annoying.

(End)

 

Squacklecast Episode 8 – “Wait Till We Do a Number 9”

This entry is part 8 of 32 in the series The Squacklecast

We have a guest this week!  It’s Daniel, the guy that went to the strawberry festival last week.  We put him on the grill and insult his decision for going to the strawberry festival along with his weird two-headed friend, Lucy the Two-Headed Goosey.

Did you have a half naked wannabe Hulk running around during your visit to the theater during The Avengers?  Did he look as bad as this guy who used industrial paint and had to take 20 baths in two days to try to get it off?

Wannabehulk

http://www.strawberryfestival.org/

What have we become? A never ending http://www.strawberryfestival.org/ ad for the http://www.strawberryfestival.org/ Strawberry Festival? http://www.strawberryfestival.org/

In honor of the Zombie Apocalypse, AMC is starting a new show called…

AMC Bath Salts

Zombie Apocalypse 2012:

Guy eating someone’s face off in Florida.

Guy eating his roommates brain in Maryland.

Get off my computer, Jamie Oliver.  You’re not a chemist.  You’re just an asshole.

Silly Jaime Oliver, we shouldn’t be throwing away perfectly edible food.  We should at least ship it off to Africa!

McDonalds used to be a value.  Now they try to sell you everything in bulk so that there is the same perceived value as what was once known as the Dollar Menu.

100 McNuggets

Only 20 bucks!

That new Coldplay song is pretty bad.  It doesn’t even sound like a Coldplay song.

Rihanna looks dumb.  Please remove her from my music and movies.

Rihanna Looks Dumb

Carly Rae Jepsen?  Who stepped in what?  Yet another terrible song for your listening pleasure:

The Sky Is The Limit must be gay code for anal sex.  So is “funnel cake.”

#1 – Piss

#2 – Poo

#3 – Poop and Pee at the same time.

#4 – Poo, Pee, and a Yak (a barf).  Mostly done by bulimics and people who don’t feel very good.

#5 – Opening up your intestine and chopping up parts and throwing it at police (Zombies gotta poop somehow)

The newer Dawn of the Dead introduced running zombies.  Is it really that much weirder than the idea of zombies in the first place?

[Rec] was a “demonic infestation” sort of zombie thing rather than a virus or reanimated corpses due to magic/radiation.   By the way, that was a spoiler.

Want to hire screamers with 13 dB yells or higher to make movies seem more scary than they are.  Apply at the offices of William Castle.

Screamer

Facebook and Mark Zuckerburg jokes are so funny.

The real #5 – Peeing inside someone.  A whole #1, while penetrating them.

#6 – Same thing as #5 but taking a shit on them instead.

#7 – Forced ejaculation

#8 – Vegetables in orifices, coming out.

The #1 (pun intended) defense against Zombies is making a house out of sugary treats.

GingerBread House

#9 – You don’t even need a can opener.  You just peel it back and drop that shit in, then you turn it to medium heat and stir it.

#10 – Strawberry sauce/Period Juice on your Hot Dog.

#11 – “Painting the porta potty.”  The paintbrush is your dick and the porta potty is a person’s ass.

X Squared – all of the above

Boy that was a great one, huh, guys?  Who knows what’s going to happen next week!

 

Squacklecast Episode 7 – “FUCK the Strawberry Festival!”

This entry is part 7 of 32 in the series The Squacklecast

This week we watched Chernobyl Diaries, a movie about a bunch of college kids going to Russia to dick around and take Instagrams of ruined buildings and put them in meaningless filters so that they can show off to their friends.  They also bring their crazy knife-wielding soccer coach along for the lulz.

Chernobyl Diaries has an old zombie lady masturbating in a closet in an attic of one of the buildings.  Gross!

Too much Carrie Underwood and Colbie Caillat in Chernobyl Diaries for my taste.  It’s almost like a boring wedding video.

This is the knife that the soccer coach had.

Cool Knife

Why does Will Smith like making sequels to movies 10 years after the fact?  It’s not like he was doing anything that important in the mean time between movies.  If he’s going to make a shitty movie, he might as well make it while it is still relevant.

Bad Boys (1995) -> Bad Boys II (2003) = 8 years

Men in Black II (2002) -> Men In Black III (2012) = 10 years

I, Robot (2004) -> I, Robot 2 (currently 2015) = ~11 years

Hologram Tupac takes the forefront in Men In Black III, don’t be fooled by the trailers.  They’re pulling a Metal Gear Solid 2 on us.

Ali 2 will be Will Smith walking around with Parkinson’s until he either cures it or dies from it, made in 2018.

Independence Day 2 or even 3?  Welcome to URF again in 10 years!

 

Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith shitting on their White House and blowing up alien landmarks.  How do you like that, mother fuckers!?  Aliens getting shit on all the time!

Kind of sounds like Avatar

Avatar 2 is gonna be at the bottom of the ocean.  Or something.  You heard it here first, Jeff Goldblum is in Avatar 2.

On the flip side of things, Prometheus looks like it’ll be a good movie.

AVP and AVP 2 are no bueno.

Mortal Kombat: Legacy was terrible.  You should watch it.  It was directed by that guy that did Fame.

Street Fighter and The Legend of Chun-Li had it right — only have a story about one character, not 35 million characters at the same time.  That’s about the only thing they did right, and the rest of it was so wrong it was right.

Paul W.S. Anderson is the poor man’s Michael Bay.  And obviously not as good looking.

Dead Or Alive is one of Paul W.S. Anderson’s travesties.  But at least that is better than any of Uwe Boll‘s movies.

The Island is a less classy version of Never Let Me Go.

George Lucas would probably go back into the Star Wars movies and remove Ewan MacGregor’s beauty marks just so that it is consistent through all of the movies.

Kind of something like this:

Ewan MacGregor After George Lucas Had His Way With Him

Ewan MacGregor After George Lucas Had His Way With Him

 

And most of all, FUCK THE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL!

Did you hear they banned plastic bags in LA?  Fuck that shit!  How am I supposed to line my little trash cans?

Everything is going to be made from the blood of trees now.

The Middle East is just a big fucking desert, who cares what happens to the environment there.  No one freakin lives there anyway.  So let’s toss all of our unused plastic bags into it.

Gobi Plastic Desert

See you guys next week! :licky: