One Hour One Life – Review

One Hour One Life: I’m in trouble and I can’t remember any words I ever found. Even an Elite: Dangerous had seemed approachable to me without any particular obstacles other than that of the little time to devote to him. Here it is different; different in the sense that the work of Jason Rohrer lends itself to approaches and readings so stratified as to be something I had never met. I hear the sardonic comments of those who have seen some screenshots and are convinced that in 2018 such graphics can only accompany indie gameplay that is insufficient to satiate the hardcore gamer who lives inside him, but now I have accepted that these people should be given a copy of FIFA 19 or the last CoD to let them rest and not have them between the feet. I’m not one of the Grimm brothers and the frogs that live in my garden have kisses just for me.

SURVIVAL

I don’t know where to start, I swear. I spent two days reading the official forum and the One Hour One Life wiki discovering a complex ecosystem, made up of family trees, closed civilizations, gerontocracies, matriarchies, work planning, survival indices explained with graphs and functions but also pure experimentation and improvisation. I find myself in difficulty, I wrote, because while the game is part of the survival sandbox à la Minecraft, on the other hand, all the mechanics are based on the relationship between the players that populate the servers(and they are many), framing Roher’s work in the context of cooperative multiplayer. You are catapulted into a two-dimensional map with a newborn avatar, unable to feed and talk, destined for certain death within a few tens of seconds. Autonomy is achieved provided that a female character nurses us, warms us and gives us a name.

AUTONOMY IS ACHIEVED PROVIDED THAT A FEMALE CHARACTER NURSES US, WARMS US AND GIVES US A NAME

The first games are disarming: you can’t communicate, you don’t know where to go while everything around you moves almost frantically. If you are born on a fairly civilized map, there are roads, food stores, ever-burning fires and old men dressed from head to toe who, a few moments before they die, bequeath you an item of clothing. It soon turns out that survival is linked to life points that descend inexorably provided they don’t eat. Heat and cold, when extreme, increase energy consumption; in fact, each map has four zones with different climates where it is necessary to wear clothes, to remain naked or partially covered in order to keep the body temperature within an acceptable range to consume less “calories”. You can eat dozens of different foods, from those harvested to those grown, passing through those compounds, raw or cooked, and those of animal origin, whether hunted or bred. You can build buildings, tools, work tools; you can plow the fields, shear animals to get fur or weave clothes; it is possible to build internal combustion engines, extract black gold from the subsoil, melt metals,

TECH TREE

Each object is built according to a precise tree order with increasing complexity: if to obtain a sharp stone it is sufficient to collect a stone and smooth it against a harder stone, to already produce an ax requires that a branch of the measure is obtained with the sharp stone adapted from a larger stick, which weave roots and flexible barks like a thread and which assembles everything. I let you imagine what it takes to build an oven, keep it on and cook a dough of flour to make bread. I’m talking about a real universe of possibilities; a sort of crafting paradise aimed at the growth of civilization and clearly explained with precise instructions.

REINCARNATION IS THE KEY TO THE EVOLUTION OF CIVILIZATION

But how is it possible to do all this if a game lasts only sixty minutes? Well, continuing to reincarnate on the same server handing down to other tasks, goals, rules, equipment and progress because they will pass them on to you when the time has come to abandon an old body and be reborn. In the many, too many games I made I met other players who taught me how to communicate correctly when I was still in bed and I could only chat with a letter (ie “f for food”); others who dedicated half their life cycle to me only to teach me how to cultivate the land; still others who explicitly discussed my fate without me being able to intervene because there were not enough resources for other users and that the best thing to do was not to adopt me making me die so as to leave that room forever.

WHAT PRODEST?

One Hour One Life has something different; something that sets it apart from any other playful product I have ever experienced in thirty-five years of video games. I do not understand if this diversity is associated with the indispensable intelligence necessary for the players to cooperate prolifically or to the magnificence of the technological progression offered by the gameplay that requires planning and commitment, the fact remains that we are in the presence of a masterpiece of game design. On a technical level, the graphic stylization and the two-dimensionality make everything simple and immediate, with a control system linked exclusively to the mouse and a checkerboard map in which the superimposition of the elements is granted only when foreseen (ie a basket can contain tools or food, but two tools cannot be placed on the same box). The trailer and some videos show that the developer’s timetable foresees the introduction of increasingly complex machinery, reaching up to robots. This means that a player will be able to experience survival in faraway eras, going from the Stone Age to post-modernity, provided you dedicate yourself to it or have the luck to be catapulted onto the right server.

ONE HOUR ONE LIFE CLEARLY REFLECTS THE PHILOSOPHY THAT ACCOMPANIES THE LIFE OF JASON ROHRER AND HIS FAMILY

Net of what has been written so far, One Hour One Life clearly reflects the philosophy that accompanies the life of Jason Rohrer and his family, devoted to the least waste of resources possible, to environmental sustainability, to finding a simplicity proper to poverty trying to coexist in harmony with neighbor and without luxuries. There would be many other things to write about his work and his career, but the risk of diverting attention from that which you have already read to the end of the page is too high and it is not worth distracting you with anything else. Buy One Hour One Life; take a day off, switch off the phone, prepare two sandwiches so as not to skip lunch and let yourself be taken back in time, praying to meet a mother who is still able to love you and offer you her breast.

One Hour One Life is a masterpiece of game design. You have read the vote and if you want the details there is a review that tries, without great success, to summarize what this “game” has to offer. There are only two reasons that could dissuade you from the immediate purchase and are the need for a constant connection to the internet and ignorance of the basic English with which you communicate between players and explain the steps necessary to build the hundreds of objects essential to survive and evolve. To be clear: if your ambition is to play with the pad by kicking a virtual ball “this is not the video game you are looking for” (semicit.), But watching some videos on YouTube to understand what it is possible to do today with video games would do you a lot of good.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends – War of the Alliances – Review

I played The Elder Scrolls: Legends since the beta, several months before the official launch two years ago, continuing to play for a long time even after the release, coming to collect cards from the first two expansions. Then I had to give up despite myself, mainly for reasons of time, also because I admit that I have some problems regulating myself when I am faced with card games (digital and otherwise). That’s the main reason why I quit Hearthstone before it could become a drug, and why I deliberately decided to ignore the Magic Arena when the closed beta ended: I’m aware of my weaknesses, and I know that once you fall into the tunnel it’s really hard to succeed to get out of it.

On the other hand, this is exactly what happened in the case of The Elder Scrolls: Legends: it took me a while to break away, but I don’t know how I managed to detox. It is a pity that our dear Mario Baccigalupi proposed me to review Alliance War, the latest expansion of the Bethesda and Sparkypants card game (a software house that took over from Dire Wolf Digital in the development of the game), and failed to say no. A little out of curiosity, to understand the direction taken by the new study, and a little because in me a small flame for TES Legends still burns.

BACKFIRE

The main dynamics that govern each game has remained completely unchanged, which is why I refer you to the review of the base game that we published a couple of years ago right on our virtual pages. You just need to know that, unlike what happens in most digital card games, in The Elder Scrolls: Legends the bridge is divided into two completely independent parts, inside which the creatures fight as if they were locked up in watertight compartments; while every five damage is taken (on a total of thirty life points) a card is drawn, with the possibility of triggering a Prophecy and immediately playing the drawn card without paying the Magicka cost (the equivalent of mana in the world of The Elder Scrolls).

That said, Alliance War does not make any changes to the very simple basic rules, but only introduces a hundred new cards, as well as a series of additional mechanics that manage to fit quite well into the game. In this regard, you need only know that, although I skipped a couple of expansions, my old decks are back immediately competitive after making some targeted changes in order to take advantage of some of the new dynamics created by Sparkypants. In particular, my deck focused entirely on equipment was able to count on the new Mobilita mechanics, which allows you to play objects even if there are no friendly creatures on the battlefield, going to create a 1/1 Recruit to equip the card with that ability. Then there are the creatures with Veteran, who gain additional skills after attacking for the first time, to which the pole cards with Specialty, which are improved every time actions are played, supports or objects. Finally, we have Upgrade, which improves cards with that ability when you attack your opponent during your turn.

CONFLICT WITH THREE COLORS

However, it has not ended here since the War of the Alliances takes up a concept already experimented in the House of Morrowind expansion, going to fetch the tricolor cards. You must know that initially the decks of The Elder Scrolls: Legends could count on a maximum of two colors among the five total (more obviously the colorless cards, playable everywhere). Casate di Morrowind broke this limitation for the first time by introducing “tricolor” cards, even if only of five of the ten possible combinations. Now it happens that War of the Covenants it fills this void by offering cards belonging to all the remaining combinations of attributes, thus giving form to as many factions, that is precisely those alliances cited in the name of the expansion.

Needless to say, this move opens the door to a universe of possibilities, offering players a variety of truly indifferent options. As for me, I’ve always been a lover of “Ramp” type decks, that is those aimed at accumulating as much magicka as possible in the early rounds to evoke the most powerful spells before the opponent, so I couldn’t resist the call of the Cyrodiil Empire, which thanks to that mix of Will, Agility and Resistance allowed me to set up a really bad deck using a combination of old and new cards, making me immediately competitive again. It must be said that I ran into a series of balancing problems that will have to be corrected as soon as possible by the developers, but this is, unfortunately, an inevitable aspect when a card game expansion is being processed. Anyhow, I was positively impressed by the work done by Sparkypants, and I will certainly continue to hang out on The Elder Scrolls: Legends’ servers in the future.

Project Warlock – Review

Do you remember DooM? You should. After all, it came out 25 years ago and, in these days, half the Internet is celebrating the anniversary waiting for John Carmack, his now legendary programmer, to release Sigil, a package of additional levels written for the occasion. DooM was a sort of watershed for the world of video games, the title that more than any other contributed to revolutionizing the paradigms of shooters, moving the view from 2D to the first person (better than the predecessor Wolfenstein 3D) and introducing a whole series of innovations that we now take for granted, such as netplay. Like all the beginnings, however, DooM also had its ingenuity, first of all a simple and very linear game scheme, where it was necessary to do substantially two things: look for the exit of the level (and eventually the keys to open it) and reach it after “frying” everything that moves on the screen.

BLESSED “IGNORANCE”

Carmack’s game gave birth to the FPS genre and inspired dozens, hundreds of games to follow. There is no first-person shooter that does not pay alien, in some way, to this brilliant precursor. However, as rightly happens with everything, even the FPS genre has evolved and refined over time, from the technical point of view and in terms of script complexity and gameplay, giving rise to a whole series of “branches” that go from the tactician to the eSport, from the mingling with the puzzles to the “ignorant shooter” of the old days, those in which it was enough to precisely shoot and carefully avoid enemy attacks to continue. Project Warlock stands halfway between the latter and a role play since we can make our protagonist evolve by spending all the experience we accumulate in increasing different abilities.

HOMAGE TO THE PAST, BUT NOT ONLY

Graphically speaking, Project Warlock can be considered the shooter equivalent of that point and click graphic adventures that, despite being programmed today, prefer to keep a pixel art graphic at unusual resolutions like 640 × 400 or even 320 × 200 points. Its author, 19-year-old Jakub Cislo, used the 3D Unity engine trying to reproduce the same behavior as the historic Doom Engine of iD Software, or its direct competitor BUILD of Apogee, engines that actually started with two-dimensional information to create the world of play.

19-YEAR-OLD JAKUB CISLO USED THE UNITY 3D ENGINE TRYING TO REPRODUCE THE SAME BEHAVIOR AS THE HISTORIC DOOM ENGINE OF ID SOFTWARE

Not only that, to make the tribute to the past more “realistic”, it also deliberately chose to use grainy textures, cubed characters, animations at the minimum wage of the frames, emphasizing as much as possible what we would later call aliasing. We must thus face monsters that always present themselves in the same place, always in the same way, always using the same attack strategies that, naturally, we must learn little by little to get out alive. And if all this “old stuff” was not enough to make the vintage maniac in us crying with nostalgia, among the graphics options there is one that allows you to use pixel shaders to add effects like the palette of Commodore 64 and the Spectrum (as well as a plethora of old 8-bit systems), or terrifying scanlines in motion, as seen only with the worst VHS video recorders.

WE SHOULD BE BORN!

Project Warlock is, therefore, a game of 2018 that pretends to be 1993. To face it we must recover all the ingenuity and all the patients we were endowed 25 years ago and, for the youngest, the challenge could be a compelling novelty.

THE MOST FASCINATING ASPECT OF THIS GAME IS THE AGE OF ITS DEVELOPER

But the most fascinating aspect of this game is precisely the age of its developer, significantly lower than that of the cornerstones from which it has drawn inspiration: it is decidedly obtuse to observe the analytical capacity with which Jakub Cislo has faced, studied, assimilated and synthesized, without having been able to walk the evolutionary path that led to their conception in the Nineties. It is a bit like a young 20-year-old director trying his hand in the remake of a 1919 film, trying to reproduce – with today’s machines and knowledge – the results of techniques and machinery that were used at that time. And the beauty is that this strange operation has had a resounding success: Project Warlock’s a frustrating but compelling game, old but new, “ignorant” but reasoned and, above all, cheap but fun!

To the face of all the historical evolution of shooters, without paying any attention to the softness of today and without a shred of plot or motivation behind it, Project Warlock takes us back to childhood like that with all its load of rambism, of ultraviolence, of festering splatter explosions, but adding a touch of modernity with the possibility of evolving one’s avatar. The operation is successful: the game is immediate and fun, damn challenging but able to provoke the famous “one more game and then enough” syndrome with which many of us, in the 1980s, became impoverished by hunting coins inside the coin op. It costs only 12 euros and nothing more, you want to leave it there!?

Fortnite iOS – Tested

The iOS version of Fortnite has been available for a few days (the Android version will follow in a few months), which substantially repeats the Epic game that has been popular on PCs and consoles for months, and following up from PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds as the most played game of this period. The client can be downloaded for free from the App Store, but only accounts that have received an invitation from Epic are allowed to access it (and that carries three additional invitations to turn to their friends with compatible Apple devices). The software house wants to emphasize, and after having tried it we can confirm it, that the mobile version of Fortniteit is not a sort of “loser cousin” of the game on consoles and PCs, but it is identical for gameplay, map, contents and even in step with weekly updates.

Fortnite on iOS only hosts the Battle Royale mode (and besides, it wouldn’t have made much sense to do otherwise); once the account is authorized within the application, your character is automatically imported, with progress and equipment already unlocked available and ready for use, as well as any currencies and in-game items .

The entire Fortnite experience on iOS is identical to that experienced on PCs and consoles, from the lobby to waiting for the bus, from the gliding flight on the game map to the actual battle.


From the aesthetic point of view, the typical cartoon and low-poly art direction have helped a de facto porting indistinguishable from the “larger” versions, where the greater power of the mobile device allows a better graphic detail. We have played a few games on an iPhone 7 Plus, with truly excellent results to be seen, combined with always excellent fluidity. To be taken into account, like any “important” gaming application, a certain kind of heating of the device and an important consumption of the battery.

If the gameplay is absolutely identical, in all respects, to the original game, the controls have been adapted to the touch screens and, with all the limitations of the case, they manage quite well (the basic “continuous pickaxe” has also been replicated ); the virtual sticks to control with the thumbs simulate those of the pad, you shoot with a “tap” on the screen, in the right part of the monitor there are – at your fingertips – the commands for jumping, crouch and aiming with weapons, while the lower part allows access to the inventory and switch to construction mode.

THE VIRTUAL CONTROLS ON THE TOUCH SCREEN WORK WELL, BUT THE PACE OF PLAY COMES OUT A LITTLE SLOWED ANYWAY

The general rhythm is affected by the limitations to the control system, which inevitably requires some time to get used to it, and in any case it does not guarantee the readiness and flow of a traditional pad, for example in the construction mode. Do not be surprised, in short, if you should attend – or live in person – battles that are a bit ridiculous and awkward. But there is an important addition, in the user interface of the mobile version, and it is the presence of visual indicators that indicate the direction and intensity of the steps and of the enemy fire.; on the one hand, such a choice probably derives from the fact that on the move it is more difficult to maintain concentration – or even silence – required by a battle royale; on the other hand, these on-screen “aids” tend to make players less cautious in the movement, and in general a little less tactical games (which, I repeat again, does not clash with mobile use).

With the arrival of the iOS version of the game, Fortnite supports cross-play between consoles (for now only PlayStation 4, Xbox One will be coming soon), PC and mobile devices, which still works quite roughly, is a social function limited to friends, and is still optional. In any case, also for this reason, we are reasonably sure that the support for the MFI pads will be added as soon as possible. Fortnite mobile is available for devices with iOS 11 (iPhone 6S / SE and later, iPad Mini 4, iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad 2017), with the Android version coming in the coming months. For more information, log on to fortnite.com/mobile.