Habitual Mood

What I'm playing

Haven't been able to play games lately owing to ongoing joint issues, but in the last week I've been dipping back in.

Ghost of Tsushima (PS5)

I played through this a few years ago, but since the PS5 version is currently included with my PS Plus sub, I thought I'd check it out. What was already a beautiful game is now absolutely stunning, and I played through the opening section flipping back and forth between the default graphics and "Kurosawa mode", which remains a glorious innovation. Not sure I want to play further at the moment, but it was worth a look.

Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS4)

I missed the PS3 generation, and haven't played any of the games in the Arkham series. I'm only a couple of hours in and it's fun, although Batman's 'roided up appearance is kind of distracting. Dude barely fits through doorways.

Islanders (PS4)

A game I spend a lot of time with every so often. In theory I like a city builder, but I hate the management part. (I'm a small government conservative when it comes to Sims. Solve your own damn problems.) Islanders is a puzzle game rather than a management sim: you build your city using themed "packs" of buildings, with each building you place giving you a score. Reach a certain points threshold and you can zip off to a new island and repeat the process. The trick is that each type of building has simpatico structures that it "likes" being placed near, providing a greater score. Conversely, each type of building "dislikes" certain other buildings, and poor placement is heavily penalised.

There's a fair bit of strategy involved. Certain high value buildings only become available late in the round, but to maximise their potential you need to start thinking about their placement early. RNG plays a (possibly outsized) role, in that the scoring potential of the procedurally generated islands varies. It can also be a bit finicky, as buildings don't snap to a grid like they would in a more traditional city builder. For me, that's part of the game's rickety charm - you have to learn how to make use of the space you're given with the various building types and shapes - but it takes some getting used to.

Even when things go wrong Islanders isn't stressful or frustrating. The impermanence of the islands is built into the game. When you lose you can just hit the button and get yourself a new island to play with.