The funniest game you’ve (probably) never played

It may be coming up on being three years old but if anyone ever asks me for recommendations on something “light” or “fun” to play on PC, one of my go-to responses will likely always be “have you heard of West of Loathing?”

The initial sell may not be the catchiest – it’s an indie, stick-figure adventure RPG entirely in black and white – but the humour is what draws you in and keeps you there from the very moment you begin your journey into the Wild West.

Now, this is a game which is very much better enjoyed going in blind so I’ll do my best to avoid anything which could be considered a spoiler. The game sees you set off to seek your fortune – after saying farewell to your family, of course – but it has gameplay mechanics to go along with the jokes. Whether you choose to specialise in being a smooth-talking snakeoiler or a fist-first cow-puncher does genuinely affect your experience. And as you level up you can invest skill points into various attacks and abilities and tailor your cow-puncher (come on, we all know it’s the right choice to go with) to your own style.

Once you’re out of the tutorial area the map opens up and you’re free to wander to various locations as you discover them, though some of the game’s wide range of NPCs might give you a warning to steer clear of particular locations until you’ve levelled up a bit. And indeed, levelling up a lot can make the turn-based combat less than challenging, but whether they pose a threat or not, fighting demon cows in the Wild West will never get old.

I had worried that the humour might begin to tire after a while but I have to give credit to the writers, no matter how much I play it still makes me laugh. The humour is written into pretty much every aspect of the game to the extent that in every location you’ll be exploring every inch to see if there’s some hidden joke you might have missed.

It’s childish, silly and I played through the whole thing with a ridiculous grin on my face. If you need a break from improving your K/D or grinding for that perfect armour piece for your build, you will not regret spending a good seven to ten hours in the company of this charming game.

Oh, and one tip I’ll give you. Search every spittoon.

If you’re looking for a community of gamers whose humour level is about the same as that found in West of Loathing, then the Thumbs Up Discord is the place for you. We have never knowingly missed the opportunity to make a childish joke.

Free Game: Civilization VI

We all like free stuff. Especially when it comes to games, free games are great. And free games that are actually worth having are even better. Hot on the heels of the Epic Games Store offering the behemoth GTA V for free last week – a deal so popular it actually crashed their launcher as everyone scrambled to claim their copy – they are now giving away the daddy of the world-building genre, Civilization VI (maybe they just have a thing for games with Roman numerals).

Civ VI may have initially released back in 2016, but it’s no creaking relic as developer Firaxis Games is continuing support for the game. Having already dropped two major expansions in 2018 and 2019, they recently released a ‘season pass’ for content over the upcoming year, which will see six smaller content drops released every over month through to March 2021.

Obviously the ‘Frontier Pass’ as it has been named is not included in Epic’s free offering – instead selling that add-on content to the influx of new players is how Firaxis and publisher 2K Games will make their money on the endeavour. But getting a base game of the quality and polish of Civ VI is nothing to be sniffed at, whether you choose to just the standard version or go on to invest in the upcoming content.

My own journey with Civilization began back in computing class in high school, when a friend managed to sneakily install a copy of Civ II on a couple of the machines. We’d spend lessons trying to build up our worlds while still being able to switch quickly back to whatever work we were actually supposed to be doing if we sensed the presence of a teacher close by. I may not have put serious time into a game in the series since Civ IV, but thanks to this offer from Epic I’ll be jumping back into Sid Meier’s world and reliving the illicit joy of managing to play video games during school hours.

And if leaks are to be believed, this isn’t the last major offering that Epic has planned during their ‘mega sale’. Usually a collection of smaller, indie titles – many of which have nonetheless been very worthwhile picking up for the princely sum of £0 – Epic have swung big with GTA V and Civ VI. And over the coming weeks a Reddit leaker would have us believe that Borderlands: The Handsome Collection (which contains Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel) and Ark Survival Evolved will be next in line. So whether stylised looting or taming dinosaurs is your thing, it looks like there’s going to be plenty of good on offer over the next few weeks.

Civilization VI is free on the Epic Games Store until May 28th and if you’re looking for a group of like-minded gamers to discuss world domination strategy – or any other type of game – then join the Thumbs Up Gamers Discord.

New Release: Crucible 20/05/20

Later on today Amazon Games will be releasing their latest title, Crucible! Which was first announced at Twitchcon in 2014.

Crucible is a free-to-play online hero PvP team-based shooter which looks like it could have some good potential! At first glance I most definitely get an aesthetic vibe similar to Paragon, which was released in 2016, published by Epic Games and subsequently shut down in 2018. The game does look fantastic!

The game will go live on Steam at 8pm BST/12pm PT.

Hunters

On launch Crucible will have 10 playable hunters (which all look drastically different), which gives players plenty of choice in finding something that suits their play style. Additionally, although everyone starts at the same level in terms of gear/stats as per their chosen hunter, over the course of the game (similarly to a MOBA) the player can purchase upgrades to create a build to suit their needs during the game! Hunt, Level, Adapt!

Game Modes

  1. Heart of the Hives – in this game mode the teams (4v4) race between bosses in order to collect the bosses’ hearts, collect 3 hearts and you are victorious. Sounds simple enough, until you realize you’re going to be consistently fending off another team of hunters.
  2. Alpha Hunters – This is an interesting mode, adopting the battle royale format. The format consists of 8 squads of 2 (2v2v2v2v2v2v2v2; many 2’s!). No respawning, the last duo alive wins! Simple enough again, eh? Well, if you are a solo and you meet another solo, you can form an alliance and team up to increase your chances, however, the alliance can be broken at anytime, leaving some politics and I imagine some very salty players! If the alliance still stands when there are 3 remaining players, the alliance is automatically broken!
  3. Harvester Command – This is probably the most simple of the game modes (on paper at least), its an 8v8 control based game mode, which definitely sounds action packed!

Well, thats all for now, I am definitely looking forward to trying it out and should anyone want to give it a go make sure you hit up the ThumbsUp discord and maybe we can catch a few games together!

Indie Game Roundup – May

The current global situation has everybody spending a lot more time indoors and, naturally, a lot more time playing games. However, given the financial strain the pandemic has placed on many of us, buying new games may not be at the top of your list. Fear not though, there are still plenty of titles available to play for free, and in particular some indie gems available on Steam.

To help you while away a few hours, here are three short indie titles released on PC in May that are well worth taking a look at.

Outpost
Developed by Open Mid Interactive, Outpost is a roguelike survival game, something I hadn’t quite experienced before. You begin in a randomly generated environment and need to gather resources in order to defend a crystal which will be attacked during the night. Your means of defeating these attackers is by building automated turrets and a bow and arrow for yourself. 

The aim isn’t to survive indefinitely, instead more a case of delaying the inevitable end as long as possible. The longer you survive, the more XP you gain which you can then use on persistent upgrades to help you in future runs.

It’s a fairly simple but potentially engrossing gameplay loop that, should it hook you, will have you striving to survive a few nights longer each time, and you likely will as it rewards that XP grind more so than skill and strategy in your defence placement. The game is entirely free to play without – as far as I could see – any microtransactions, but if you do wish to support the developers you can purchase the soundtrack for £3.99.

Black Book: Prologue
If turn-based, point-and-click RPGs are your thing, then this taster for the upcoming title Black Book is definitely worth a look. You play as Visilisa, a young sorceress who is determined to bring the man she loved back from the depths of hell. To do so, she must break the seven seals in the titular black book, defeating various demons in card-based combat along the way.

The game leans heavily on atmosphere and Russian folklore and the prologue, though short, hints at more depth to come in the finished game. Your first battle against a demon is standard tutorial fare as you’re guided through the spell cards you can learn and use, but I expect that as the game progresses things will get much more difficult to master.

Helltaker
Last but by no means least, we have Helltaker. Developed solely by Łukasz Piskorz, this puzzle game with a seriously catchy backing track sees its protagonist attempting to fill a harem of demon girls.

The gameplay sees you with a set number of moves in which to negotiate a puzzle – mostly moving rocks, dodging traps and kicking skeletons around – with another demon girl at the end of each, waiting for you to either win their heart or to viciously murder you. 

The puzzles can be surprisingly tough – especially if you’re something of a 4head like me – and finishing them in the given number of moves you have takes plenty of trial and error. However, if any puzzle gets too tough, you do have the option in the menu of simply skipping it and heading straight to that level’s demon girl, so all isn’t too bad.

As with Outpost, the game is entirely free to play but should you wish you can buy a digital artbook and pancake recipe for £7.19.

There are plenty of indie titles being released on Steam all the time and I heartily recommend checking some of them out as a break from your latest AAA grind.  I’ll be doing a monthly round up of some of the best here on Thumbs Up Gamers, so if you spot any gems then make sure to give me a shout. 

Our Discord
If you’re looking for a community of like-minded gamers, the Thumbs Up Community is open to anybody who wants to talk about games, play games, or just needs somewhere to post memes.

Deep Rock Galactic

Do you love angry, scottish, dwarves? 

Do you love wearing fabulous hats?

This week we threw ourselves into the unknown world of Deep Rock Galactic. My first thoughts of it were that it was simply another space-farming game such as Astroneer; you collect minerals, ore and objects and craft. But boy, was I wrong. 

Deep Rock Galactic is far more than just a mining simulator where you do objectives for the sake of fulfilling a quest that doesn’t really feel all that rewarding. Before you do anything you spawn mid-mission, the intent is to teach you the basics of what the game is all about. You fulfill the quest, you fight waves of monsters and then you escape by the skin of your teeth, anxiety high as you race for your lift out the deepest corners of space. 

Who are the dwarves?

You’re offered a choice of four unique classes; a digger, a scout, an engineer & the gunner. Each class is unique, and none are more favourable than the other. I picked the digger mainly because of the mining suit that was customisable later in the game. 

Each class had their own types of abilities that enabled them to get around the map, fuck as making platforms or zip-lines. The digger used destruction, carving a way through everything in its path to claim victory to the sought after minerals. 

10/10 would bury my robot again

So, What makes this game so different? 

I realised after a few hours of gameplay that it wasn’t as simple as jumping into mission after mission to grind those character upgrades or the fancy cosmetics. I often found myself running around the ship enjoying myself – there’s a minigame, a jukebox that makes your dwarves dance like they’re about to get their first win in Fortnite, and even a good ol’ pub. 

I even began mocking Skiin’s choice in facial hair, as if my dwarves mutton-chops were the latest fashion trend, ginger of course, accompanied by a Witch hat.

While you can jump into mission after mission and it still is enjoyable, the work they put into the hub for your dwarves breaks up the gameplay and offers a cooldown period from menial grinding. 

Deep Rock Galactic is a promising, fun game that has extremely rewarding gameplay. Combined with an amazing procedural map generation and diverse classes, Deep Rock Galactic is shaping up to be an extremely enjoyable game to play with friends. 

Our Discord

Looking for somebody to embark on the most adventurous, adventure that ever did venture? Thumbs Up Community is open to anybody who wants to talk, play games, or simply just lurk and wait for somebody to do something dumb.

RUST – A SURVIVAL TITAN

I’m sure you can tell by the servers ThumbsUp have been hosting, we’re quite the fan of the Survival genre. Well over the past few days the community have been getting stuck into Facepunch Studio’s Rust!

The re-birthed love for Rust has spontaneously inspired us to boot up a Community Rust server which followed in the Community giving away TWO copies of the game via our Twitter. Congratulations to Velociphile and Furrybubble!

Server Details: ThumbsUp Official Community Server – All Welcome IP: 37.187.254.181:7040

What can you expect?

In short form…. death, lots and lots of death. Whether its at the hands of players, wolves, boars, bears, fall damage (FurryBubble), radiation, drowning, stupidity, starvation, scientists… okay, we get it, everything is out to get us.

You start by waking up on a beach, and the map is your oyster! The general premise of the game is to build a base, gather materials and research to obtain better crafting recipes and make the map your own, by clearing out the scientists and lets not forget those pesky Community members!

The Game

The game has always held a place in my heart, having been a very big fan of the original release back in December 2013. Although, it was a fraction of the game it is today, you basically just farmed zombies and bears then shot at each other. The developers then decided zombies were boring, and they wanted to do better. The game was ported over to the unreleased new Unity 5 engine after almost a year of live development.

One look at Facepunch Studio’s YouTube channel will show you the dedication to the game, production of content and the amount of transparency they provide to their players. Amazing work!

Console!?

During Microsoft’s X019 a trailer was displayed announcing Rust will be coming to console in 2020 with no official release date. Due to such a lively development process I would be surprised if cross play was added anytime near the beginning but we can hope! Definitely good news for both Playstation and Xbox owners!

Our Discord

With the boot up of the server, I have been playing around with the plugins, we currently have a integrated chat with the game server and the Discord channel #rust-server! So even if you don’t have the game and fancy being alerted and making fun of the people struggling to survive in the harsh (but pretty!) wasteland of Rust, make sure you jump in and check it out!

Well that’s it from us! Hope to see you in the server soon!

Steam Summer Sale

We all loves games right? And we all love a bargain also yeah?

There are or were a few sources on the inter web thingy that have posted data that the Steam Summer Sale has been leaked and will be live from;

June 25th until July 9th – a whole two weeks of savings.

The sources I saw were on twitter and both were spotted last night, when I have looked this morning they were gone.

The fact that one was a data miner and the other just some dude but both came up with the same dates maybe reveals that the dates are correct, even if Steam have not verified the information (yet)

On top of that:

The Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition will run June 9-12th, offering “time-limited demos or short playable experiences” for upcoming games, developer interviews and more.

Like previous Steam Game Festivals, but now happening in the week E3 was due to fill.

This is entirely separate to E3, to be clear, just conveniently claiming its spot.

E3 organisers , are not planning to hold an alternative, though it seems many publishers will still go ahead with announcements and more on their own live streams during the E3 dates.

Creator Spotlight

Here at ThumbsUp Gamers we are all about promoting content creators and sharing their content to help them grow and improve.

Today we launch the first in a series of videos doing just that.

We are very happy to introduce Furry Bubble, the video explains all and is well worth a listen in a podcast style.

Furry will be the first content creator to join ThumbsUp Gamers and you can look forward to seeing content here on the site and also across on our YouTube & FurryBubble’s channel too.

Please drop in his channel and drop him a subscription to support his content creation.

If you would like to be featured in future then please get in touch with us here or contact us via twitter

ThumbsUp Creator Programme

So you may have seen some tweets across on twitter and be wondering what this is all about, in short we are looking to promote content creators and support them with their journey.

That has been our focus since inception and is a topic that we are all passionate about.

Supporting others and celebrating their success and growth.

We are launching a programme that will offer an incentive to content creators who want to add a little more exposure to their brand.

Shortly we will be introducing the very first content creator to join us and we are very happy to see this persons content journey grow and see the content that will be delivered both here on the site and also on various YouTube channels.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Ubisoft dropped the “game play” trailer as a premier and after watching it I would not characterise it as being full of game play.

The real version is that it is a trailer of more cinematic footage from the game engine with the usual pre-order hook at the end of the video.

The scenes we can see in the video are scenes the player may encounter during the course of playing the game and this is a very clever marketing move by the Ubisoft team.

This swerves any trade description litigation and would leave those who pre order now and face disappointment later down the path with no real avenue other than to suck it up.

The footage is nice, don’t get me wrong but I want to see actual game play before I make a commitment to a pre order for the game.

It could be an amazing product, it could be a bad apple, only time will show on that one.

I have learnt from my own experience that pre ordering from Ubisoft is not the path for me anymore.

The Division 2, Ghost Recon Wildlands, both turned out (for me) to be a disappointment, whilst many still enjoy those two titles my own feeling is that development on them both has stalled in order to push and develop new titles.

They’ve got to make the money somehow right?

What did I like in the video?

Well I did love the look of the dual wielding axes

And whilst I know I would thoroughly enjoy mashing up enemies and indeed team mates with two axes, there was no footage of it, the video showed it in the cinematic and I can only hope that it will be a feature in the game and is not just a marketing tool.

Potential Sieges

I did notice the battering ram with the ram shaped head on it and thought that this was a cool looking feature.

Again as with the dual axes, there is no way of knowing at this point if this will be a feature of the game or if it will be just a cinematic that the player can watch as part of the narrative.

Ships

Being a man of naval experience the ships are a bit of a geek attraction for me, these looked great in the video and the development team have actually spoken more about using waterways and rivers to navigate the country so hopefully the ships will feature a heck of a lot and will have a host of features to modify and upgrade.

I would love the ability in game to sail silently into enemy territory and beach the ship in preparation for attack.

What I actually mean by that is someone who is a better helmsman than me to pilot the boat, my driving in games is atrocious.

Let us know your thoughts on the game play trailer and what you are most hyped about for the game.

Also be sure to check out our very own LowSodiumSalt video about AC Valhalla, drop her a like and sub in the channel to support her content.