Every month, Team Unwinnable puts together short lists of recommended music, books and games. These lists originally appeared in Unwinnable Monthly 91. If you enjoy what you read, please buy the issue or subscribe.
“Firebirds,” by Clutch
“Bricolage Music,” by Shugo Tokumaru
“Party on Apocalypse,” by New Found Glory
“Time to Wake Up,” by Carpenter Brut
“New Year’s Eve,” by Mal Blum
“Condition Oakland,” by Jawbreaker
“Sleepy Tea,” by Chon
“The Wind,” by PJ Harvey
“The Good In Everyone,” by Sloan
“New Dawn Fades,” by Moby
“Rocket 88,” by His Delta Cats & Jackie Brenston
“Grimspound,” Big Big Train.
“On Melancholy Hill,” by Gorillaz
“Dog Days are Over,” by Florence & the Machine
Selected by Stu Horvath, Jeremy Voss, Erik Weinbrecht, Matt Sayer, Melissa King, Austin Price, Khee Hoon Chan, Sara Clemens, Gavin Craig, Ken Lucas, Ian Gonzales, Don Becker, Taylor Hidalgo, Amanda Hudgins
Starr Creek, by Nathan Carlson
The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
IT, by Stephen King
The Doctor, by Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki
Decapitation: Kubikiri Cycle, by Nisioisin
The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher
Romeo and/or Juliet, by Ryan North
Superman: Miracle Monday, by Elliot S! Maggin
Mustache Shenanigans: Making Super Troopers and Other Adventures
in Comedy, by Jay Chandrasekhar
The Black Lung Captain, by Chris Wooding
Selected by Stu Horvath, Jeremy Voss, Erik Weinbrecht, Matt Sayer, Austin Price, Sara Clemens, Gavin Craig, Ian Gonzales, Don Becker, Taylor Hidalgo
Time Stories – Time Stories went from the most intriguing board game my group has played in a while to the most reviled, in the course of three short weeks. The idea is that we’re time agents sent back to a specific moment to solve a mystery, sort of like Quantum Leap but without Dean Stockwell. The game is well designed for plugging in new stories (told through decks of cards), but the success of a given deck is down to the quality of the story. While the starter game – Asylum – started off strong, the narrative wound up being flimsy and the final puzzle was total bullshit. I already bought the first expansion deck, so we’ll give it another crack, but right now Time Stories is on . . . borrowed time. Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.
Graceful Explosion Machine – I finished pretty much all of the main stuff in Breath of the Wild and it was extremely rewarding, but exhausting all the same. Taking a break from such an experience, I wanted something mindless and was turned onto this through the “Nintindies.” It’s a multidirectional side scrolling space shooter with killer music, berating levels of difficulty, great visuals and awesome use of the HD Rumble. Should keep me distracted well enough until Zelda’s DLC comes out later this summer.
Mass Effect: Andromeda – I mean, everyone has given their take on this game, but this is honestly all I’ve played besides Persona 5, which I mentioned last month. So, my take: It just feels like another BioWare game and a logical next step from the original trilogy and Dragon Age: Inquisition. I think a lot of the disappointment stems from both BioWare and fans overhyping things. Plus, Vetra’s a babe, so.
Darksiders – I got surprisingly pumped by the announcement of Darksiders III, despite not having played the first two in the series, so I decided to catch up. I think my excitement has something to do with DIII’s female protagonist being named after a common motivating force in my own life. That, and her reticulated razor whip.
Wasted – Made by a single guy, Wasted is a wacky FPS roguelike with a wicked sense of humor. As you descend into nuclear bunkers in search of a solution to the world’s woes, you’ll face raiders, mutants and the minigun-wielding S.O.B. enforcers. Chugging booze will get you out of tricky situations, but you’ll be left with an almighty hangover on your next run – a neat trade-off, that. Coupled with a charming cel-shaded art style, Wasted is a delightfully fresh take on the post-apocalypse.
MatchLand – A weird little RPG/match-3/shopkeeper hybrid that I’m spending waaaaay too much time with.
Nier: Automata – I ain’t made a damn lick of progress in this thing since last time. Somebody, please, come destroy this city . . .
Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt – A short, hour-long bullet hell title with Atari 2600-esque visuals, the game is about a plucky princess who, upon graduating from medical school, just wants to heal the world and make it a better place. She does this by combating all manners of venom-spitting viruses with rapid fire weapons and flask grenades. Eventually, her journey brings her to the very ill Prince Hingst, who is suffering from the vilest combination of ailments possible. Princess Remedy’s light-hearted atmosphere, however, belies a sobering message on darker subjects like pain and sadness. Truly a poignant, emotional experience. Get it for free – now! – on Steam.
(Khee Hoon Chan)
Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 – Let it be said with certainty, if not a great deal of surprise, that the Lego media tie-in videogames don’t handle death very well.
Pro Wrestling – After spending quite some time assembling my portable Retropie emulator and loading tons of games on it, I find myself going back to the well on one of my all-time favorite games, Pro Wrestling. As simple as this game is next to the last 30 years of wrestling games, I still find it fun and a bit challenging.
Sega Bass Fishing – Getting my Dreamcast hooked up again has put me into a time warp. Miraculously, despite not having played this game since 2000, I am better at it now than I was then.
Dark Souls 3 – When I am not galavanting all over God’s green earth I’m playing Dark Souls 3 – the Herald is a great starting class.
Zombies, Run! – Humanity is ruined, life as we understand it has ceased and the small community of Abel Township is the only thing that keeps me safe from the shambling death around me. My mind is a quagmire of darkness and void, brought along by depression. Once free of the confines of reality, there is a catharsis that the deadly zombies bring with them as I discover narrative moments in the zombie apocalypse. For just a few minutes, humanity is ruined, by my legs and mind are free. The peace I get stays with me for a while, as if the supplies I’m bringing home digitally are sustaining me materially. Then, in a few days, I may need another run yet. But together, we’re keeping the darkness at bay
Ballz – Every description of Ballz should start with an apology for that name, for you having to read a clear joke about “hehe balls” but also with that Z and it’s the worst. It’s really and truly the worst. And I’m not even sure that the game is particularly good, just that it’s something that I can’t seem to stop playing. Sitting and watching another movie? Guess I’m playing Ballz. It doesn’t even feel challenging anymore, slowly rising to 399 levels and then just chilling there on the most boring mountaintop.