Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Easing into Patch 4.2

Sometimes you just need to take some time to organize and clean out the old MMO inventory.

You know what I mean?

I’ve been playing FFXIV for over 4 years now. This means that things have been piling up, mostly on my main character. I’m one of those folks who refuses to buy extra retainers, so I’m constantly struggling with storage.

This patch fixes all of that struggle.

Revitalize. Reorganize.

Syn is out of town on a work trip until Thursday, and I always play story/dungeons with her for the first time. So, that gave me a few days to really ease into the patch… somewhat backwards.

Usually, I’m rushing right into the story and Expert roulette because that’s what everyone else is doing. And this time around, there’s new Omega Raids, including Savage tier.

But you know what? It was kinda nice to take some time to just sit down and reorganize everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.

The new Glamour Dresser (Commode) allowed me to toss in all those random pieces of gear I’ve held on to for years for whatever reason. Some of this was second tier AF armor from level 50. Some of it was just cool looking weapons or neat individual pieces I’ve been hoarding away forever.

Since you can’t pull anything out of the Commode once it goes in (yet), I didn’t put important things in there, such as Mogstation items. Or Amon’s Hat.

But that cleared a significant amount of space for me.

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Crafting Glamour Prisms!

Then, a bunch of sets, such as the Maid outfit, the Far East outfit, the random Amazon hats and the Yuna gear were finally able to go into our Armoire with this patch. This was close to, if not more than, 20 slots of inventory by itself. For every character on my account.

Then, we got Chocobo Saddlebags. This quickly became my fishing tackle storage and place for random things like Anima weapon crystals. Yeah, I still have a bunch of those crystals, and I’m not sure why.

Not to mention the game now allows things to stack to 999. I have incentive to go out gathering again!

So, I went through and just cleaned major house. This took a LONG time on my main character. But when I was done, it was so refreshing to have all my crafting mats organized and soooooo much storage space open.

I haven’t had this much space since I started playing. I’m not kidding.

Glamour Prism Problem

So, in order to put gear into the Glamour Commode, you have to spend one Glamour Prism per item. Considering you’d have to spend a Prism every time you changed your glamour with the previous system, this is actually saving resources. You just spend one up front and can apply the glamour as much as you want after that with no extra cost.

This was no sweat on my main, who can easily craft Prisms or just buy Prisms from the Grand Company. But, this was a roadblock for my significantly less-leveled group of alts in my private <<Alts>> Free Company.

Going through each alt inventory, I quickly realized that no one was at a proper rank in their Grand Company to buy Prisms. And I’d not leveled anyone’s crafting/gathering at all.

Since there’s still no way to transfer items to alts in this game (boo!), especially if they’re not in your FC, I had to decide on how to approach this. As always, I wanted to be able to do this on my own. So, crafting/gathering it was!

After mulling about it for a bit, I chose an alt – Zuri – and decided to put my nose to the grindstone. The Glamour Prism recipe unlocks at crafting level 15. And that’s not too terrible to get to. This required me to also level a gatherer in order to gather the materials required, since I wanted to be self-sufficient.

So, I made it my project last night to level Zuri’s Goldsmith to 15 and Miner to 21 (the level it takes to mine the Silver ore required for ingot). She didn’t have a lot of money on her (under 20k gil), but I found it easy enough to use materials she had on her retainer plus some she bought from the supplier to level her crafting.

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This low level crafting gear looks nice on Zuri.

Mining took a bit longer. But unlocking leves in Drybone shot me up from 15 to 21 pretty fast.

After I unlocked the recipe at 15, I realized there was a problem.

You see, the Glamour Prism recipe used to unlock at level 30 crafter. They recently moved it to level 15. But they never actually changed anything about the recipe. If you’re coming into the game brand new, you can’t craft it at 15. At least for Goldsmith. I can’t speak for others.

Not only do you have to craft Silver Ingot (level 23), but if you are gathering your own materials, Silver Ore is a level 25 gather.

On top of that, it requires Fire and Wind crystals. Not shards. Full crystals. These are mined from level 30 nodes, and the earliest you can access them is level 26.

So, after all that time spent leveling and gathering, I plunked down to start making the prism and realized I had no crystals. Ugh!

I was able to grab a few stacks cheap from the AH (Someone put up a stack of Wind Crystals for 1 gil each!! Thank you!). I usually don’t like buying crystals on the AH, but at that point, I wasn’t going to be making anything if I didn’t.

During all this, I was watching Zuri’s meager gil reserve drop further and further with the cost of upgrading gear from 1-20 for crafting and gathering jobs, buying mats, and then buying the clear glamour prisms on top of it.

So, I decided to throw a few prisms up on the AH. And what do you know? They were selling like crazy last night.

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Making that money back!

Makes sense. Everyone needs them right now. I also realized that the demand will drop once people finish filling out their Commode.

So, I rushed out to gather more silver and make more prisms to sell. In the end, I’m pretty sure I made back all the money I spent to level her, which makes me happy. I know that it’s not technically a lot of gil, but for a character who has very little, it was exciting to sell stuff on the market.

Not to mention, I also sold the stack of iron ore I mined up while I was grinding to level.

Zuri’s still not level 26 miner, so she can’t get her own crystals yet, but I’m going to work on that. I’m also leveling a retainer who can hopefully, eventually, bring resources back, since she’s going to become the sole source of glamour prisms for my whole personal Alt Brigade.

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun. It was random. It was relaxing. I threw on an audio book and just leveled.

I need to do this more often.

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Zuri graduated into the yellow version of the crafting outfit by the end of the night. 🙂
Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch: Cat Quest

Cute cats + fantasy RPG + Nintendo Switch = Win!

(Also on Steam and mobile devices if you don’t have a Switch.)

Yeah, I knew I was going to get Cat Quest the moment I saw the preview video. Sure, it has the look of a mobile game (and it somewhat is — it released on iOS right after releasing on PC/Mac), but don’t let that turn you off.

Cat Quest is a solid little action fantasy RPG where cats are the dominant race. This doesn’t stray into furry country though, so don’t worry. There are plenty of cat puns and Internet humor to go around.

While it has a few neat systems that feel fresh and new, it generally sticks to the classic RPG formula. This isn’t a bad thing, because the game is quite aware of this, and smartly never takes itself seriously. Instead, it heaps a bunch of charm, cat humor and pop culture references that make for many moments of lighthearted fun. The saving-at-an-inn animation is hilarious! 🙂

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The game itself has one main quest – which is rather cliche (and the game is happy to point this out from the very beginning, and laugh at itself in doing so). But, add to that a colorful world with lots of short-story-based quests, dungeon-caves, and an interesting action battle system, and there’s more than enough here for it to stand on its own.

The simplicity of the game works for itself, especially in a time of overly complex RPGS. You have two buttons – attack and dodge. You also can find and level up magic spells, which you assign to your top L, R, LZ, and RZ triggers. That’s all you need to know.

Even the weapon/armor system is easy. You find a base piece of gear. Then you find multiples of that piece, which levels the original up. There might be more to it (I’m still learning this game), but that’s the overall gist of it. Depending on what you equip, you can choose to play a more melee-based or magic-based character. So, there’s some flexibility there.

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These hungry NPC cats are kinda scary…

A few cons to mention: I’ve heard the overall game is somewhat short (about 8-10 hours), but there is a Mew Game + mode after you beat it. I’m only a few hours in, but I feel like there’s still lots to see and do.

Also, the NPC artwork is heavily reused for all villagers, which I’ve heard as a complaint. But I can’t think of too many classic RPGs that didn’t reuse their NPC sprites.

Neither of these are really sticking points for the cost of the game ($12.99). You can find it on sale from time to time in the eShop, too.

Overall, Cat Quest was exactly what I hoped it would be – a fun pick-up-and-play adventure RPG with cute cats and lots of humor. Two paws up! ❤

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Preliminary Patch 4.2 Notes Highlights

Preliminary patch notes for FFXIV Patch 4.2, which is releasing next Tuesday (Jan 30), were posted today. So it’s time for me to dive into them and give my thoughts on the “important” things. Like the fact they changed “glamour commode” to “glamour dresser.” Booooooo!

Continue reading “FFXIV: Preliminary Patch 4.2 Notes Highlights”

Posted in Gaming, Steam Challenge

Steam Challenge: What Remains of Edith Finch

Game: What Remains of Edith Finch
Time: 3 hours

I received this game as a Christmas gift, and finished back over Christmas holiday. I’d heard of this game before, and had wanted to try it out, so this gave me the excuse I needed to get that done.

I don’t want to say too much about it, because this is a game that’s very easy to spoil. I went in pretty blind, and suggest that if you’re interested in trying it out, you do the same.

What is It?

The Steam store page describes it as:

What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of strange tales about a family in Washington state. As Edith, you’ll explore the colossal Finch house, searching for stories as she explores her family history and tries to figure out why she’s the last one in her family left alive.

This is pretty much all you need to know to play.

The environment is very atmospheric, and while I thought at first this might be a spooky game, it didn’t turn out to be. Now, that being said, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that unsettle or make you feel uneasy. There’s plenty of that to be found in these stories.

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Generations of the Finch family have lived and died in this strange, winding house. Edith comes here as a young adult to revisit her childhood home and to find answers for herself. Almost every member of the family has a story about who they were and what led them to their demise.

As you experience these stories, you fill out a Finch family tree.

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Once you complete the game, and fill in the entire tree, you can come back here anytime to replay specific scenarios based on the family members. Some of these were disturbing enough the first time, however.

Some might call this a walking simulator. I feel the variations in the style of storytelling and mechanics you encounter between family members’ stories help to break up the feeling of the traditional walking simulator.

Again, I can’t really say a whole lot without giving much away. But there was a particular sequence that involved someone who worked in a fish factory that was especially brilliant. The overlap of gameplay and story really put me right in that character’s mindset in a frightening way.

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Anyhow, if there’s a nit to pick, it’s that the game is fairly short. While you can go back and replay stories, it only took me 3 hours of slow exploration to get through the game. For some people, this might be too short.

Looking back on it, I think forcing the game to be longer would have been detrimental. The game is compact for a purpose. It told the stories it wanted to tell, and left the rest to the player to figure out.

Also, the ending may not sit well with everyone. But that’s a call you’ll have to make for yourself.

Recommended?

yes

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch: Lost Sphear (Demo)

Lost Sphear just released on Nintendo Switch yesterday. It’s an RPG by Tokyo RPG Factory, the same folks who created I am Setsuna, which I own for the Switch, but haven’t played yet.

This game was on my radar based on the overall plot hook, which sounded very cool. You have a fantasy world where huge chunks are just vanishing, turning bright white. Cities. Mountains. People. All just gone.

And then there’s a character who can harness the memories of the world and can re-create those missing things. It has something to do with the moon. That’s all I know about it.

It sounded neat, so I picked up the demo.

Demo Impressions

The demo just tosses the player on an overworld map with no real idea of what the story of the world is. Who are these characters? What are they up to?

It kinda tries to explain these things, but I was not satisfied. If I didn’t have the knowledge of the backstory that I do, I’d probably have no clue why huge chunks of the map were white. Is it snow?

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The graphics and musical style are beautiful, as you can see. But I struggled with the feeling that everything, including the characters and their personalities, were so distant to the player.

Above, you can see how tiny the overworld characters are. I can understand that.

You get into an area and the characters are still really small and distant. The sprites don’t convey much emotion at all.

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When characters speak, there’s no character portraits to let you know who is who. In fact, the only place you can go to see what your characters look like is the menu during battle and on the menu screen. And even there, the images are super tiny!

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The translation was a bit wonky. The dialogue that I saw was a bit stiff. The characters who seemed to have the most personality were often the NPCs — including a “mwahahah” general from the Empire.

Yeah. There’s even an evil Empire trope.

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Check out that talk box above. See how it’s just flopped near the character speaking it (can you tell which one? … I hardly can)? It’s just covering over all the other characters in your party.

Look at all the rest of the open screen this box could have used. Why is it right on top of the character sprites?

This really bugged me as a design choice. I kept wanting to click on the text box and move it somewhere else (though you couldn’t) because every time there was a conversation, the boxes just flopped right over top of people in your party… while the rest of the screen was vast open space.

Maybe if this had been a talk bubble shape, this would have been more acceptable. But even then, there was plenty of room to put it above the characters, rather than plaster it over the party.

Oh, and when the game started, it asked if you wanted to use voice overs. I was happy to see this, and clicked YES!

What do you know… they’re all in Japanese… and only during battle sequences (that I saw). I have nothing against the Japanese language! But the issue here is that the one thing that could have given me a better sense of who these characters were as individuals – what they say in battle – is completely lost since I don’t understand what they’re saying!

So, opportunity missed.

Oh, and I know this isn’t a demo-only thing because I’ve watched the full release play-through videos, and none of this was addressed.

So, the battle system. It seems like the devs put a lot of attention into it. It had some interesting options, like moving around the screen and setting up places where your characters could attack for hits on multiple enemies. It has a bit of RTS feel to it.

And then there’s the mecha element of Vulcosuits. So the demo drops the suit mechanic on you out of nowhere. You can use it to blow up rocks in your path. It also suggested that you use them for battle because cool combos!

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…but to beware not to use up all your VP points or you couldn’t battle anymore. They weren’t joking.

Well, I used all the VP up in the very first battle without really knowing it. I thought surely this would replenish between fights, right? Nope.

The suits were useless aside from blasting rocks for the rest of the demo.

And then, I get to what was sorta a boss encounter. I’d had no trouble fighting enemies up until this point. Heck, most the time, I killed them before they got a hit on me. Well, this boss just obliterated me.

She had an attack that charmed my characters, if she didn’t one-shot killed them… They weren’t that low on life, either. If she didn’t slaughter them, her pets did instead. They hit like a truck and had just as much HP. It wasn’t fun at all.

“And then all hope was lost from the world…”

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Wow. Okay.

That’s where my time with this demo ended.

I’m sure there’s probably more story to it (I watched the beginning in play-through videos, and still wasn’t impressed). I just couldn’t get a feel for any of the characters, so I found it hard to care what was going on. It’s a real shame.

Even the reviews have been pretty lukewarm for it. So I’m not the only one wishing this had more to offer:

Lost Sphear’s classically-styled RPG bones can scarcely bear the weight of its uninspired narrative.

CGM

Tokyo RPG Factory clearly wanted to build on every classic RPG all at once.

IGN

The writing is uneven, the music is generic, and the combat, even with a few new flourishes, just feels like I Am Setsuna redux. The characters are flat and boring, best described with archetypes like “heroic guy who lost his mother” and “spunky, irritating kid with a heart of gold.”

Kotaku

Have you tried this game and found it more engaging than I did? Let me know!

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch: Dragon Quest Builders (Demo)

Like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest (Dragon Warrior) is one of those series that started for me on my NES… with the very first game. I remember as a kid, owning that little Nintendo Power extra Dragon Warrior pull-out guide. It looked like this:

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Credit to Nintendo Wiki for an image from my childhood.

Dang. That was released 1989. Did I just date myself?

Anyhow, with its help, I made it all the way to the end of the game. That’s probably the only Dragon Warrior game I’ve finished, though I’ve played a few of the other NES games. I haven’t played any of the newer games in the series, however.

Fast forward.

I’ve heard about Dragon Quest Builders, and it sounded right up my alley. But seeing it’s only been released for Playstation systems, I couldn’t play it. That is, until now!

Dragon Quest Builders is coming to the Nintendo Switch on February 9th, and I couldn’t be more pleased! However, I wanted to make certain the game was really going to be what I hoped. From my understanding, it’s similar to Minecraft, but with a Dragon Quest bent and a guided city building aspect.

I downloaded the demo and got to dive into it last night for the first time.

Soon after, I stopped playing it.

Because… it’s so much fun, I didn’t want to spoil the actual release!

All That Dragon Quest!

DQ Builders (is that the proper way to shorten the name?) isn’t just a Minecraft game with a Dragon Quest skin over top. It’s got all the old skool vibes I was hoping to see. From the music on the intro screen, the menu screen, the overworld… I was instantly transported back to Dragon Warrior of my youth.

The art style oozes stylistic charm. You’ve got all the standard Dragon Quest monsters you know and love to beat up – especially the Slimes.

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What’s It About?

You come to Alefgard, where something dark has blighted the land, to figure out what’s going on… and rebuild it. Apparently, you’re a rare person who has remembered the old ways of Building. With a little guidance from an overly-patient goddess, you are sent out to put things right.

What actually surprised me was how much humor there is. It’s not always laugh out loud humor, but a kind of quirky out-of-the blue thing. It’s often poking fun at your character, and that was totally fine with me.

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The game does a lot of hand-holding for someone who is familiar with the mechanics of a Minecraft game. But for someone new, or someone who needs that kind of guidance in their sandboxes, I feel it had a good balance between exploration and questing.

DQ Builders puts a very clear purpose there for you — you want to rebuild your base as a town and attract people to it. The NPCs you attract appear to be a driving force for how the game unfolds.

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Like Minecraft, there is a day and night cycle where night becomes more dangerous. The game leads you to building a house and furnishing it with beds that you can sleep in to skip that dangerous time. It has a very exact definition of what makes up certain types of buildings – for example, complete walls of two blocks high, a door and a light source make up a room.

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What I thought was especially cool was the blueprint system. The NPCs sometimes give you a blueprint that you can place on the ground and use as a guide to build over. Once you meet all the requirements for that blueprint, it becomes a specialized location!

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I don’t have that much more to share, because I stopped playing the game the moment it gave me an exploration quest to do. I didn’t want to spoil what I can foresee as being a game that’s going to suck me in soon enough!

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Just you wait, Pippa!
Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Comments from the Duty Finder – Tuck It In! Or not.

Here’s a quickie post for the day – I have another post to write for our Nefol game dev blog, so just something short and funny. Or, at least, my FC found it funny at the time.

I’m not sure why our World of Darkness runs of Alliance Raid Roulette have blown up into messes several times this week. I’m talking a pure disregard for mechanics. Wipes. Very near-wipes. That sort of thing.

I have another post to tackle that topic, probably tomorrow. But for today, a bit of light amusement.

So, the Cerberus boss fight in WoD. It asks DPS to jump inside the boss and fight him from within his stomach. It’s gotten so fast to down the boss, however, that most DPS only do this the first phase, then burn the boss and ignore those mechanics the second time around.

If you happen to be inside Cerberus when he’s defeated, there’s a bit of lag time before the game expels you. It’s no big deal, but if you had never had it happen before, it might make you think you’re stuck momentarily.

This happened to one of our DPS on the run last night. During which he exclaimed:

amtuck

It took a moment, but as we were rushing to face the final raid boss, a cheeky alliance member retorted:

untuck

This had my FC rolling in laughter on Discord. It was just that perfect response to the you-had-to-be-there moment.

Have a great Monday!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Do You Want a Balloon?

Well you can’t have one!

The end-raid boss of the new Omega in patch 4.2 is Kefka. And he don’t give no balloons.

I woke up to a one word text today from Syn. Knowing we have a Live Letter today, I had a feeling I knew what it meant, but I still asked for clarification.

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I mean, it’s not every morning you wake up to “Kefka” on your phone. And yes, come to find out, it’s exactly what I thought. The new lineup for 4.2’s Omega bosses.

Oh, and it looks like there are going to be fights on the Phantom Train (rumors that it is the first boss). They dropped a hint that we’d see a Phantom Train battle back during The Rising anniversary celebration in 2015. Seriously. They hinted this two and a half years ago. And I didn’t forget about it… what does that say about me?

FF6 is probably my third favorite Final Fantasy ever, and one I have very fond memories of back when it first came out during my teen years. So while I’m usually not easily excited about raids, this appeals to me in every way possible.

I’m just a tad sad that FF4, my favorite game of all time, got passed over again. But it makes sense to do a FF5 -> FF6 -> FF7 progression. I mean… Sephiroth raid boss should get lots of fans hyped.

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The Live Letter is still going on at this point, so the English 4.2 trailer hasn’t been released just yet. I’ll post it when it shows up, probably later today!

Also… housing changes. 😉

Posted in Gaming, Steam Challenge

Steam Challenge: Planet Coaster

Game: Planet Coaster
Time: 5.4 hours

Last year, I played Roller Coaster Tycoon for the first time ever. I loved it! And while I appreciated it for everything it was, I couldn’t help feel the itch of what-if. What if these mechanics were implemented into a more modern game engine?

That’s what I found in Planet Coaster.

Now, I’m not going to say that the two games are exactly alike — there are a lot of minor differences. But the feeling Planet Coaster gave me – one of building my amusement park and watching little virtual people pickpocket enjoy it — was very similar.

I’ve wanted to try it out, but the normal price deterred me. I saw it on major sale during the Steam Winter Sale ($12) and snapped it up.

What Is It?

It’s a roller coaster and amusement park building sim with tycoon elements thrown in.

The game describes itself as:

Planet Coaster® – the future of coaster park simulation games has arrived! Surprise, delight and thrill incredible crowds as you build your coaster park empire – let your imagination run wild, and share your success with the world.

Just a bit of PR speak for “amusement park tycoon game.”

I’ve read that some people had issues with performance in the past, and while I’ve not yet made a huge park, I’ve also not had issues with this game so far. I also haven’t really jumped into the coaster building aspect, but part of the amazing thing of this game is the massive creativity the players put into it.

On the lobby page, you’re greeted with avatars of Steam friends who also own the game (which is neat) as well as top Workshop creators. You can check out their cool stuff, and download it to your game if you like.

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While I haven’t really played around with the Workshop yet, I really like that it’s so up front and highlighted. Similar to The Sims, when you start appealing to the creative players to make content for your game, you establish a game that can last a long(er) time.

While I’m no wiz at tycoon games, I didn’t have any problem jumping into the first scenarios, even without seeing any sort of tutorial. The game felt familiar, immediately bringing back Roller Coaster Tycoon vibes, and I got the jist of it quickly. Like any sim-building game, I did have a few issues (mostly with food stands and paths) that I had to figure out.

Also, why are there so many thieves in all of my parks? Sheesh. I could hire nothing but security and I’d never get a happy balance!

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I didn’t get into building my own coaster yet, as this is generally not my favorite part of these kinds of games. So, I’ve yet to see if it’s more intuitive than Roller Coaster Tycoon was in this aspect. I know you can make some really amazing rides, but I always just had trouble making a basic functioning coaster. XD

This is a game I could totally lose hours and hours in, and I spent some time with it during my Christmas holiday. I’d love to return to it sometime, but there’s just too many games on my list right now!

Check out these themed coasters below to see how amazing and creative some of the players are!

Recommended:

yes