Demon Turf – March 2023 Humble Choice

I like 3D platformers as a concept but, admittedly, I haven’t played a ton of them. Which is why I chose to take a look at Demon Turf for this month’s Humble Choice. It has an interesting ascetic and I thought it would provide a fresh gameplay experience. I played about two and a half hours and managed to get through the first set of levels and the boss fight.

The first thing to note is Demon Turf is a 3D platformer with 2D character models. It’s a weird juxtaposition that works better than you would think and gives the game unique style. The environments and the characters all look a little off kilter and the 2D/3D mix adds to that quite a bit. It’s not distracting or overly jarring but it did feel a little weird until I got used to it.

The game world has a cartoony style and almost a hand sketch look to it. I usually like this look for games but the muted colors throughout the hub world , Forktown, and the first zone make the game look dull and very, very, orange. I did check out the second zone and the color pallet is more what I was expecting with some nice and bright colors.

Demon Turf uses the familiar plaformer formula: A zone with a few levels in it, a few optional items hidden in each level to collect, and once you’ve completed enough levels you can take on the zone boss level to unlock the next zone. The levels are short but well designed. It’s fun hunting around for the optional sweets on each level before finishing it. They’re also short, at least in the first zone, which makes this perfect for the Steam Deck or as something to play when you don’t have a ton of time.

The mechanic that I’ve found the most interesting so far is the ability to place your own checkpoints. You’re given four checkpoint flags on each level to wherever you’d like, barring some seemingly arbitrary restricted zones. Most of the levels I’ve played only needed one or two flags placed to get through so there’s a few I’ve used in particularly tricky areas. The only downside is, once placed, they can’t be picked back up but it’s still a cool feature.

If there’s one thing that really shines in Demon Turf it’s the soundtrack. It’s weird and quirky but fits the whole theme of the game perfectly. It’s also feels like a tribute to some older 3D platformer soundtracks as well.

My favorite track so far. It’s some really fun boss fight music.

It’s worth mentioning that there is an alternative gameplay mode called the Tower which seems to take place after the main campaign but can be played at any time. In this mode, Beebz is hexed by the Jester an loses all of her powers. She has to take on a 50 floor tower where every few floors she gets some of her power back like double jumping and placing checkpoints. I tried the first few floors and with only a single jump it was challenging. It offers a fair bit more content if you want to put your platforming skills to the test.

So is Demon Turf worth picking up March’s Humble choice for?  I definitely think so. It’s a solid game that’s fun to play in short bursts. It might not be the most amazing 3D platformer experience you can have but it does 3D platforming very well, has some great level design, and a lot of content. It’s regularly priced at $24.99 so Humble Choice’s $12.99 price tag is a nice 50% discount as well.

Fallout 76 Frustrations – February 2023 Humble Choice

One of the reason’s I like Humble Choice is getting to try out games I wouldn’t have bought in the first place. I’ve found a couple games this way that, at first glance, didn’t look like my thing but turned out to be really fun. Sometimes those games just don’t click for me. Fallout 76 is one of those games this month.

I tend to reserve judgement on games that the wider internet labels as “bad” until I play them. I’ve found too many that have been fun for me over the years that didn’t appeal to the masses. I figured Fallout 76 would be one of those. I remember there being all sorts of drama around it’s launch 5 years ago and then the game seemed to fade away all together. No one I knew was playing it and I kind of just forgot about it until it appeared in this month’s choice. In the spirit of trying new things I decided to take this one for this month’s Blaugust community review.

Here’s my initial impressions after about 2 hours: If you want to play a Fallout game there are better options. If you want to play a survival game there are better options.If you want to play a multiplayer Fallout game this may be your only option.

I came away frustrated from those 2 hours of gameplay. For one, the game kept crashing on me. It crashed on startup, it crashed during character creation, it crashed to desktop while I was playing. Could it be something with my setup? Sure, but there sure was a lot of crashing going on. It didn’t make for a great experience.

Then there’s the inventory system. For a survival crafting game with a lot of materials and items to manage the inventory is beyond clunky. What I want for a survival game is to see my inventory at a glance and it is very hard to do that when your inventory is text based and in one long list. Not only that but in order to find anything you have to sort between the item category tabs. The keyboard and mouse controls don’t make that real intuitive. I get that a Fallout game needs the Pip-Boy in it but it just takes way to long to do anything in your inventory through that interface.

My hastily constructed base.

The whole game was clearly built for consoles and controllers in mind. The keyboard bindings are super weird without a lot of re-binds and even then they can still be awkward. The controls make the building system particularly clunky to use. Keyboard and mouse have awkward bindings and even with a controller it just feels like it takes forever to do anything. I’m not much of a builder in these games but I usually try to give it my best effort. This time I didn’t even attempt to make my base look nice.

It’s not all bad though. The few quests that I did had that signature Fallout style of writing. The combat feels solid and the exploration is fun. The map is large and it seems like a game with a lot to do if you can get past the awkward controls and interface. I can’t, or more accurately, I don’t want to so I’ll be leaving this one collecting dust in my library.

Is Fallout 76 worth buying this month’s choice for? It’s one of the “big” games this month after all. You can probably guess my answer…In my opinion, it’s not worth buying February’s Humble Choice for and, honestly, it’s not worth playing if you do pick up the bundle this month.

February 2023 Goals

January was all about Elite, Elite, Elite. I didn’t play much else and I defiantly did not write about anything else. Last month I started my career as a Commander, I took a trip out to the Eagle Nebula and found a prison colony, I talked about some third party tools I’ve been using, took a detour to on my way home and stopped at a few more nebulas, and supplied my home station with literal tons of landmines.

Top Played Games of January 2023

Game TitlePercent of Total Playtime
Elite: Dangerous80%
7 Days to Die13%
Pulsar Lost Colony2%

It’s not often that I fall down a gaming rabbit hole quite this hard. There’s just something about it that has captured my imagination in a way games haven’t in a long time. As I’ve gotten my bearings back and I’m getting more established in the game I feel that initial excitement plateauing but that was bound to happen. I don’t feel like I’ll be dropping it anytime soon but I may find some time to play something else this month just to switch it up.

I haven’t written to much about my ongoing 7 Days to Die game with Brother. We’re on Day 23 and are just becoming self sufficient on food and medical supplies. I can’t believe we’ve been playing every week since November and that I’m still having fun with it.

Pulsar Lost Colony

The squad decided to play Pulsar last weekend which I hadn’t played since February of last year. I forgot how much fun it is as a multiplayer game and we’re looking to play it again soon.

February 2023 Goals

Unlock the Engineered Detailed Surface Scanner: If I had posted this yesterday, getting the Engineered FSD would have been a goal too but I just unlocked that last night. The engineered detailed surface scanner is the last module I want before I go on another trip out into the galaxy. It increased the scanning radius per probe which will make mapping planets faster and more efficent. This should be a quick goal to complete. I only have a few more raw Niobium to gather before I’m able to unlock it.

Travel Outsided the Inner Orion Spur: The Inner Orion Spur is the region of the galaxy where Earth and the rest of the Bubble are located. There’s 42 regions in total but I don’t think I want to go too far from our home region. Maybe a region or two away to do some exploring. The only thing I still have to figure out is do I want to go towards the galactc core or away from it.

Participate in this month’s Humble Bundle Community Review: I kind of missed the ball on this one last month and forgot to sign up. I ended up picking up the bundle anyways because I’ve been wanting to play Grow: Song of the Evertree for a while now since it’s from the same developers as Yonder

Read Two Books: My interests between reading and gaming fluctuate every few months where one takes over the other. I feel like I’m in the middle of that interest transition where I want to do both and sometimes I just don’t have time to do that. February is a short month but I think between audiobooks and reading I can knock out two this month.

You Want How Many Landmines?

This week I’ve been hanging around my adopted home station, Aleksandrov Gateway, in LHS 115. It’s a small station in a small system with about 10.4 million inhabitants. However, it’s got a lot of ships available and modules available in one place so I’ve parked all of my ships here for the time being.

I’ve been working on gathering the materials I need for the pre-engineered FSD and DSS that are available at the human tech broker. The best way to do that seems to be running missions and taking the materials reward and using the material trader to convert materials I don’t need into materials I do.

When I returned home and handed in all of my explorarion/exobiology data I instantly became allied with the stations governing faction C.O.N.T.R.A.I.L which happens to be a player faction. I hadn’t run many missions out of Aleksandrov Gateway so I had very little reputation with the other factions. Better reputation leads to more missions with better rewards being available at any given time. I started taking missions from everyone but C.O.N.T.R.A.I.L to increase my reputation and expand the available missions so I had a chance of getting the materials I actually needed.

At first, I was tasked with running data to other stations, picking up food for the station, and delivering goods that the station produced. As my reputation increased, I started getting missions to source minerals and raw materials, presumably whatever industry needed in the station to make goods. It was like this for a few days but at some point things started to take a darker turn. The factions started feeling more comfortable asking me to get some military gear. Where I was sourcing and returning consumer appliances now I was asked to source some armor or non-lethal weapons. I didn’t think much of it as these requests were from the military faction on the station. Maybe they were serving as the stations security force.

Welcome to Ferreira Control where the only thing they sell is guns, landmines, and hydrogen fuel!

Then I noticed non-military factions started wanting things like personal weapons brought in. They offered materials I needed in return so of course I’d go source them some guns. They may not be legal on the station, strictly speaking, but I had a great relationship with the guys in charge so a few fines wouldn’t be a big deal if I got caught.

Now that I’m friendly with almost every faction on the station they all want one thing and that’s landmines. Why? You might ask. Landmines don’t seem like something you would want to use on a space station. Probably not even something you want on a space station and yet it seems to be the number one requested item to import into our little station. It’s not just one faction either, it’s all of them, they all want landmines and they’re able to pay with high grade materials for them.

We’re not just talking about a few either. Cargo capacity is measured in tons so when someone asks me to source 107 landmines that’s 107 tons of land mines. I don’t know how much your typical landmine weights but that seems like a lot of landmines. But like I said, they pay with high grade materials and the factories that produce the landmines are only a jump away. So the runs are quick and the materials flow in and so far I haven’t been caught smuggling them in.

At this point, the station may have more landmines on board than people.

Back to the Bubble

The trip back to the Bubble included a bit more sight seeing along the way. It did take quite a bit less time though, mostly because I wasn’t stopping at every biological signal I found. With the credits I made from my trip out I had more than enough.  Still I made a point to only stop and scan systems that either weren’t fully scanned by Canonn or logged in the Elite Dangerous Star Map. I still stopped at planets that potentially had biologic signals I had not seen before

On the way back I stopped by the Triford Nebula (above left) and the Lagoon Nebula (above right).  As it turns out, once you’ve seen one cloud of space dust you’ve pretty much seen the rest. Still, they were good stop overs to break up the journey back.

One of my current goals is unlocking the pre-engineered size 5 FSD which boosts jump range. To unlock it, I need to turn in a bunch of materials to a Human Tech Broker. One of the materials required is Tellurium which can be found surface mining on planets with the SRV. As I made my way back, I tried to stop at some planets that had geologic signals and more had a composition of more that 1% tellurium. This type of planet can contain Needle Crystals which can be mined for tellurium. However, I never found any of these in my few hours of scouring planets. I did find some metallic meteorite and Mesoiderite nodes but they were few and far between. Before I abandoned my search I was able to scrounge up 3 units of tellurium over about as many hours. I later learned there are Crystal Shard forests in HIP 336601 where I can fill up on tellurium and other raw materials rather quickly. It’s 1600 light years from the Bubble so once I gather all of the manufactured materials in the Bubble that I need I’ll head out there. Now that I’m back, I’ll have to figure out the best way to do that.

If nothing else, exploring in Elite leads to some awesome screenshot opportunities. I’ll leave you with some shots from my adventure:

Essential Third Party Tools for Elite: Dangerous

Essential third party tools may seem like a misnomer. Surely, an eight year old game has everything it needs baked in to it at this point but that’s just not the case. While there are plenty of in-game tools they just don’t offer the level of information that you would expect. For example, the trade map will show you the types of goods trading between systems but for systems that you’ve visited. With 20,000 systems in the Bubble that are also constantly changing you’ll never get a full picture. And good luck if you’re trying to find a system that sells a ship or modules you’re looking for. That info doesn’t appear to be findable with in game tools alone which, as you would imagine, is very inconvenient. To fill in these types of gaps in information, the Elite: Dangerous community has produced a wealth of third party tools.

There are a ton additional tools out there with varying degrees of specialization. In this post, I want to point out a few that I’ve found helpful and that can be useful for any play style. I also wanted to leave myself a list to come back to in case I decide to take another long break.

Essential Tools

Elite Dangerous Data Network (EDDN)

EDDN is the backbone of many third party tools that provide information about the galaxy, systems, and stations. The data is gathered by the community running tools that gather and send the data along side the game. There are a number of tools that do this listed on EDDN’s Github. My preferred tool is EDMC.

Elite Dangerous Market Connector (EDMC)

This is a light weight application that runs along side game that utilizes the Frontier Companion web API and the games journal files to send data to EDDN and various third party sites that utilize EDDN’s data. If you’re playing on PC and using sites like Inara, EDDB, or EDSM consider running EDMC, the more data we can send the more up to date everything else will be.

EDMC also has a bunch of plugins that can be used to display more data in the app or add additional funtionality. Shoutout to the EDMC – Screenshot tool which automatically converts your screenshots to PNG format. Useful for taking high resolution screenshots and compressing them down so they don’t take up as much space.


Need to find a station with the ship or module you’re looking to find? Want to find the best place to sell your mining haul? Looking to find a lucrative trade route? Want to find the faction states and influence of your favorite minor faction? Look no farther than Inara, your one stop shop for system and station data. If you link your Frontier account to the site it will also track a whole bunch of stats for your commander in an easily readable format as well.

In addition, Inara serves as a social hub as well. You can find Squadron recruitment here, read other commander’s personal logbooks, and keep up to date on Galnet News too.

Elite Dangerous Database (EDDB)

This site presents the same data as Inara but in a different way. I prefer Inara’s layout but it’s always good to have options!


These sites allow you to experiment with ship builds without having to buy the ship or the parts.


EDCodex is is a website that maintains a list of third party tools for Elite Dangerous. If you’re looking for something specific, it’s a great resource to have on hand.

Nice to have Tools

Elite Dangerous HUD Mod

The orange and blue HUD colors in Elite are certainly a choice. Last time I played, I found out there was a way to change them by tweaking a xml file in the graphics folder and never looked back. While this changed the HUD colors it also changed the colors of the portraits of people and made some things harder to see in general. This time around I discovered EDHM which allows a finer control of the HUD color changes. Most importantly for me, it doesn’t change the portrait colors. There are templates created by others that you can apply or create your own though the mods customizer.

VoiceAttack + HCS Voicepack

VoiceAttack is a program that lets you map hotkeys to voice commands. This is recommended a lot to people who play Elite in VR but is also very useful outside of VR as well. On it’s own, it’s a cool program you can offload some buttons to that you might not use often. However, add an HCS Voicepack to it and you’ve got your own ship computer who will respond to your voice commands. The voice pack comes with the added benefit of already having scripts made for all sorts of things like request docking at a station or get clear of an area and jump to the next system. It adds a whole level of immersion to the game that I think is worth the extra money. Both have the added benefit of working for other space games as well including No Man’s Sky, Star Citizen, and Star Wars: Squadrons.

Into the Black

Last week, I started my first long trip out of the Bubble to the Eagle Nebula which is about 6,000 light years outside of civilized space. It’s a trip I had planned to take back in 2018 and made it about halfway before turning around to rush back to the Bubble when some friends wanted to try out Elite. I used to work at a museum with beautiful murals if he “Pillars of Creation” which inspired the trip in the first place.With the current jump range on my Diamondback Explorer the trip is just over 200 jumps. While plotting my route I was surprised to see there was a system with an economy right in the middle of the nebula which means there’s stations with people. Even more of a reason to see what’s going on over there.

In preparation for the journey I took a couple shorter trips about 1000 light years out to figure out the Exobiology activity added with the Odyssey expansion. I needed an Artemis Suite first which was easy to find at a nearby stations. Then it was off to find some planets with biological signals.

Scanning some space grass.

There’s currently a bit of a gold rush going on for Exobiology. In a recent update, all of the prices for each complete scan were increased ranging from 1 million to 19 million credits depending on the type and species. There also a five times multiplier if your the first person to turn in the data from a specific planet. Since the updated prices are pretty recent there are a ton of systems close to the Bubble that no one has landed at and scanned the biological yet. Which leads to some impressively quick cash. With only a few samples in hand after my little trip I boosted my credit balance from 30 million to 300 million. More than enough to get my DBX outfitted for the longer trip. Modules installed, I set off for the Eagle Nebula and settled in for the long journey.

I took my time scanning each system I visited, looking for biologics to collect samples from, and taking screenshots. Lots and lots of screenshots. It turns out, life is pretty common in the Elite Dangerous galaxy. Some systems had upwards of 10 or more biological signals. But not so common there is life to find in every system. Sometimes I would go a dozen or more jumps without finding any signals.

Only a few jumps away from the Eagle Nebula

In all, it took me about a week to arrive at my destination. It was cool to see the nebula gradually getting bigger and closer ever jump. At the center, there was a whole system with an asteroid station and multiple on planet settlements. There were only three factions present: The Colonia Council, the loose government organization of the second Bubble, the Eagle Guards, and the Eagle Inmates. Apparently the Eagle Nebula holds some sort of prison complex for Colonia. I was surprised to find missions there too. That would be quite a distance to run missions to and from.

The asteroid base had a Vista Genomics office to sell my exobiology data. With the fist discovery bonus, I handed in 2.5 billion credits worth of data. I shouldn’t have to worry about credits for a while!

A Commander Once More

It’s been a long time since I was this engaged with Elite: Dangerous. In fact, it’s been about 5 years since I’ve posted about it which is probably the last time I was playing.I made a few attempts to play in VR earlier last year and, while it looked amazing, re-learing all of the controls with the headset strapped to my face left me uncomfortable and frustrated. But on a whim a few weeks before the holidays I fired it up and I’ve been playing every day since.

Earlier last year, in my infinite wisdom, I deleted my old profile to start fresh. I thought it would be easier to learn the game from scratch after being away so long. I didn’t play very long so I came back to a profile with a Sidewinder (starting ship) and a handful of credits. In retrospect, I should have just kept my old profile. After a few hours it was all coming back to me and I missed my stable of ships. I also missed being called by my call sign. When you enter some stations, the control tower operators will address you by the first three letters of your name. I got so used to hearing “Juliet Echo X-ray” when docking at stations that it didn’t feel right being called anything else. So I restarted my profile again, and recreated my old commander, Jexi Tomlin.

I started my career as a glorified space mailman. Taking on data courier missions to nearby systems delivering everything from poll data to secret missives. They didn’t pay much but they got me back in to the swing of things and gave me much needed docking practice.

Every once and a while I would find a mission to deliver commodities from one station to another. These tended to pay more but the Sidewinder’s cargo capacity is pretty small. There were fewer missions with small hauls but I took them when I saw them.

After a few hours of space trucking I made enough credits to upgrade to a Cobra MK III aka the bigger Sidewinder. Even with stock modules it’s quite an upgrade and is a great all around ship for activities in the Bubble. Most importantly for me was the option to add a whole lot more cargo space to take on higher paying delivery missions. I also started taking on sourcing missions where the goal is to find a certain commodity and return it.

I tried my hand at mining, which is something I used to enjoy once I could afford the proper modules. While mining was still fun and brought in decent profit I had a nagging desire to get back in to exploration. I ended up buying a Diamondback Explorer, a ship I had never flown before, and outfitted it for a journey and set off in to the black.

My Diamondback Explorer “The Blazing Rochester”

Take Me to Space

This weekend, I found myself with an intense desire to play a space game. Maybe it’s because I just finished Ghost Song and wanted to continue with the scif-fi theme. Or maybe it’s because I’ve finished two very long games over the past couple months and wanted to play something different. Maybe it’s just a whim of interest that my brain has latched on to. Either way, I wanted to play something in space! I have a fair few games in my library that fit that bill and so I set out trying out different ones to see what peaked my interest the most.

First up was Empyrion – Galactic Survival, a game I got from last year’s Yogcast Jingle Jam bundle and have been meaning to try out. Prior to the bundle, I had been eying the game for a number of years but never pulled the trigger as it seemed to be in a state of perpetual early access. Since I’ve been into 7 Days to Die lately, a sci-fi survival game sounded right up my ally.

I appreciate a game that let’s me shoot dinosaurs with laser guns

I had some difficulty getting it to run and actually load in to a game but eventually I was able to go through the tutorial. Unfortunately, Empyrion seems to be more of a sci-fi building game with some survival elements instead of a survival game with some building elements. It was also giving me some Entropia Universe vibes. I don’t know if it’s the look of the game world or the UI but I couldn’t help thinking about my time in EU while I was going through the tutorial. This wasn’t scratching the itch so I loaded up the next game.

No Man’s Sky is always good for some interesting screenshots.

No Man’s Sky is one of those games I’ve always wanted to get in to but after 10 hours or so I’m over it. It could be because I always start over when I come back to it. There’s usually months in between play sessions and I don’t remember all of the controls so a restart always seems best. This means doing the tutorial and retreading the same ground again and again.

I thought this time for sure I was in a place where I would stick with it. I jet packed around hoovering up all the materials to fix my equipment, started building a base, gathered all the materials to launch the ship, and took off for the nearest space port. As I was flying, I knew this was not the time I was going to get hooked on No Man’s Sky.I knew exactly what I wanted to play and this wasn’t it.

Elite: Dangerous was calling my name. The rest of the weekend was spent installing and updating the game, rebinding keys on my HOTAS, setting up VoiceAttack, and figuring out if the other third party tools I used to use were still relevant. I’ll admit, I did very little playing but now that everything is set up, I’m excited to get back in to it.

A Look at Blade Assault

Blade Assault is 2D, action rouge-lite, platformer with an emphasis on action. It’s available in this month’s Humble Choice and it’s the game I’ve taken for a spin for UnwiseOwl’s communal monthly Humble Choice Review.

The first thing that drew me to Blade Assault was the flashy, fast paced combat featured in the trailer. The combat turned out to be just as satisfying as it looked and has kept me playing for five hours now. The main character, Kil, has three weapons to choose from before each run There are three other unique characters to unlock, each with their own weapon, which keeps things fresh between runs. So far, I’ve mainly played Kil but I’ve tried them all. I enjoyed the few run’s I’ve spent with Zett who has a shield and is much tankier than the other characters making things more forgiving.

Each run consists of a series of stages and bosses. The bosses appear to be in the same order every time with only the stages changing layouts between each run. Each stage consists of two waves of enemies to fight and a third wave, usually with stronger enemies, at the end of the stage. This third wave starts to fill up the threat meter depending on how long it takes to finish the wave. Each time the threat meter is filled up, the difficulty level increases and enemies get fun new modifiers to kill you with.

During the stages you’ll find chests to open that contain gear which applies passive bonuses. At the end of every stage, a core can be upgraded which adds different elemental effects to your primary weapon, sub-weapon, and dash. There are also some that provide passive bonuses like damage reduction, sheilds, crit damage and more. There are others that will enhance or add new effects to a characters active skill as well. The gear and cores are what you’ll make your build around each run. With the difficulty always increasing I’ve found there’s a fine balance between increasing your damage to deal with tankier enemies while also managing your damage reduction, health stat, and MP stat along the way.

Of course, with Blade Assault being a rouge-lite, each time you die you’re sent back to the beginning with currency you’ve obtained along the way to purchase permanent upgrades. There are three types of permanent currency that carry over from run to run, coins, chips, and dice. The coins are used for the character upgrade system. This allows you to purchase passive effects that make your character stronger from run to run. As your character levels up there are additional tiers of passive abilities that open up. I was surprised to find that there is one tree for all four characters so you don’t need to level them up individually. The chips are used to level up the passive abilities on your weapons and also purchase drones that provide additional benefits. The dice are used to increase your Friendship level with the various characters you’ll find throughout the world. These allow you to unlock the three additional characters, buy items from vendors at a cheaper cost, and add characters to your base that will provide more effects before each run. I’ve always liked this style of meta progression. It makes each run a learning experience with the added benefit of providing a reward of some sort every time you die.

I’ve been enjoying Blade Assault in short bursts. I’ve only made it as far as the third boss but each attempt only takes 15-20 minutes. This would be the perfect game to play on the Steam Deck but the text is just a bit too small where I’m straining my eyes to read each item’d description. Once I become familiar with all the items by their icons this will be an easy one to boot up on the Deck when I’m short on time.

So, is Blade Assault worth buying December’s Humble Choice for? Not on it’s own, as seems to be the case for most of the games I pick. Greedfall and Wasteland 3 sold me on this month’s choice but Blade Assault is a welcome addition.