Welcome to Boon Hill: A Graveyard Simulator

Welcome to Boon Hill is a graveyard simulator by indie developer Matthew Ritter and team 14 Hours Productions.. a story of epitaphs and the legacy that people leave behind when they die.

Boon Hill

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Trine

I picked Frozenbyte‘s Trine up in the Humble Bundle a few days back, and although I’d seen the name before, I had no idea what the game really was beyond “puzzle action”.

So when the game launched, I wasn’t expecting something quite so pretty and well-polished..

The story is told by a Narrator with an awesome voice, with some rather nice graphics to illustrate the decline of a magical kingdom beset by evil, with the dead rising from their graves until it was abandoned..

This is where the Thief came in.. like all thieves she wants treasure, and having learned of an ancient object hidden within the Astral Academy.. here she is!  The Thief is an acrobatic, agile character, equipped with a bow for ranged combat, and a grapple hook to get around.  Finding the treasure itself served as the tutorial..

On entering the Shrine and touching the object within, she was frozen..

The next character introduced was the Wizard, who wanted to escape the armies of the Undead.. but he saw a light from within the Shrine, and entered..

The Wizard has the ability to move objects, using the right mouse button, as well as create boxes by drawing them using the left mouse button.  This allows him to create a way of climbing up onto high ledges, or interacting with puzzles to clear a path or gather experience bottles which appeared during this level.  He eventually made his way to where the Thief was trapped.. and ended up touching the object and being frozen too!

The third character was the Knight.. he had been training to fight the Undead so he could join the King’s Army.  He also noticed the light within the Shrine, and headed on in.  The Knight is a more offensive character, and on his run to the Shrine I met some Undead skeletons to try my sword out on 🙂

Eventually he made his way to the object, and touched it too..

This then caused the three characters’ souls to be joined together by the object.. the Trine!

From here, you make your way through the Academy, playing as one of the three characters at any time.  You can switch between the characters as you want or need them by pressing 1, 2 or 3 for Wizard, Thief or Knight.

For travelling around, I preferred the Thief.. the grappling hook allows for fast movement and getting over large gaps, and just feels rather nice to use..

Her bow is great for ranged attack, so long as you power up the shot, but for any real combat I preferred to switch to the Knight.. he has the added ability of being able block damage with his shield, whereas the Thief is just too vulnerable at close quarters.

The Wizard has no direct offensive capability, although he can conjure a box in just the right place to land on an enemy and squish him!  I’ve only done that on single enemies so far.. mainly to see if it would work! 🙂

The characters have their own health and energy bars, and it is possible for the active character to die if they take too much damage.  If this happens, you can carry on with your remaining characters till you get to a checkpoint, where they return to life and all characters receive a health and energy boost.  Health is also dropped by some enemies, but first you have to kill them 😉

It appears that you can manage for a short while without one of your characters, as most puzzles can be dealt with by jumping, grappling, or climbing on conjured boxes.. but I wouldn’t like to try taking on waves of Skeletons without the Knight, and the Thief is the only one who can grapple over long jumps, so there will be some places where you’d have to go back to the last checkpoint.

The first boss I met was a giant Skeleton!

I used the Knight almost exclusively here, as the Skeleton moved too quickly for ranged attacks, and hacked through conjured boxes too easily to use them as a barricade.

The three characters are constantly gathering experience, and when they level up you can improve an ability or purchase a new one.  The improvement for the Wizard’s conjure skill allows him to have two boxes at a time.. and later he’ll be able to conjure boards and bridges!  I also found some pieces of equipment such as the Necklace of Life, which improves maximum health points and therefore went to the Knight, and the Ring of Spellcaster, giving the Wizard an energy boost.. this character is the only one who I’ve managed to run out of energy so far.

I might not have completed the game, but I’ve already discovered that it has a local co-op mode allowing two or even three people to play, though apparently it requires game controllers and some configuring.  This allows each player to take control of a character, with all player-characters active at once.. easier in terms of combat, but more difficult as all need to be able to get through the puzzles.  When I’ve completed the game, I might just have to grab someone to try this! 🙂

Minecraft: The Adventure Update!

Minecraft has now been improved with The Adventure Update.. adding new biomes, ravines, NPC villages, more, and bigger, dungeons, and abandoned mines..

This last is maybe a bad thing where I’m concerned, because when I find a dungeon I want to explore the whole thing, and tend to get stuck down there for weeks.. but what I’ve seen so far has been rather interesting, and certainly an improvement to the game.

Another pair of additions are the food meter and the experience bar.  I wasn’t too sure about the food meter when I saw it at the weekend.. I don’t really want to have to eat in a game.. but I think it’s added an extra, minor challenge, as well as a use for all that food.  Food also has the unfortunate effect of making it look as though your character is vomiting, though not from your own point of view.  Experience hasn’t been added properly to the game yet, so while you can gather little glowing blobs of XP from mobs you kill, it doesn’t do anything.

I went exploring with a friend tonight, looking for an abandoned mine.   The abandoned mines also have small wooden structures and track, and I’ve been digging that up as I find it.. I plan to link up my latest base, ‘Wolvesholme’, with the rest of the explored world.

We found one of the many huge chasms first, and I was taught a slightly cheeky trick of using water for a fast descent to the bottom, rather than the slow staircase I’d have built.

There are now spiderwebs in the caves, which make it feel a bit more sinister.. especially when you hear the spiders scratching around above you..

I suffered at the hands of the mobs tonight, especially the creepers, and had to make several long runs back from ‘Silver Bay’ as that’s where I’d last used a bed.  Tomorrow’s job will be building some kind of outpost to save these long runs back!