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Sometimes life gets in the way of the important things–the important things being playing video games. Recently this has caused me to spend a lot of time stuck on trains, and not enough time playing video games. So I have taken to playing mobile games. I’ve never really been a big mobile gamer, as I have always had phones with awful battery lives, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Train Games reviews will focus on three main criteria: battery life, internet connectivity and whether or not it can keep my interest for at least 30 minutes. All games are played on a Sony Xperia Z2.

Train games will be rated as follows:
✔: Suitable train game
✖: Unsuitable train game
–: Okay train game

If you have any train game recommendations for me, send me a tweet at @BrittA2211.

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Okhlos

I’d imagine that deciding on a name for a video game would be an arduous task; the single most important image element of a product that has taken years of devotion; the first impression; the ultimate reduction of the entire experience into a single phrase. I don’t know how developer Coffee Powered Machine were inspired, but their upcoming title Okhlos has nailed the game-naming game. Okhlos is a Greek word. It’s English translation is “mob”. That one word is introduction enough for the self-described “angry Greek mob simulator” Okhlos, in all of its ridiculousness, chaos and charm.

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Inside

In a world of greyscale, a child stands alone. Their silent surroundings hint at the terrors that lurk both in the shadows and right in front of their eyes, but despite their fear, they are unshaken. A hint of red in their otherwise unremarkable outfit breaks through the black and white and shows the viewer that their story is one of importance. No, I’m not talking about Schindler’s List. No, I’m not describing Limbo, another game that would easily fit those first two sentences of the description. Instead, this is the beginning of Limbo developer Playdead’s second black and white dystopian platformer–but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a repeat of their last success story. Inside has its own story to tell, and boy is it one heck of a story.

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“To The Lighthouse”: How Pokémon GO created community in Wollongong

The Lighthouse was then a silvery, misty-looking tower with a yellow eye, that opened suddenly, and softly in the evening. Now—
James looked at the Lighthouse. He could see the white-washed rocks; the tower, stark and straight; he could see that it was barred with black and white; he could see windows in it; he could even see washing spread on the rocks to dry. So that was the Lighthouse, was it?
No, the other was also the Lighthouse. For nothing was simply one thing. The other Lighthouse was true too.
– Virginia Woolf

Pokemon GO has been available in Australia for just a little over two weeks now, but at time of writing it’s hard to remember what life was like before its release. In these two weeks the augmented reality game has surpassed the download rate of apps like Tinder. New friendships have been forged. Introverts have ventured cautiously outside. Thousands of think pieces and hot takes have been written as the country – and the world – grapples with the new social and cultural paradigms being constructed in the wake of Pokemon GO. For myself, it has meant investing in a robust spare battery pack (the likes of which have been flying off the shelves) and spending most of my afternoons and evenings at the lighthouse in Wollongong.

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Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

I first played Mirror’s Edge in 2009. My friend bought it for PC when it came out and I borrowed it off him a couple of weeks later–this was before the age of Steamworks or Origin activation. Since then, I must’ve played it at least twice a year. It was a short, refreshing campaign that, despite having its fair share of flaws, stood out as an entirely unique experience compared to what else was being released from AAA studios around that time. I challenged myself to complete what I’ve since learnt is known as the “Test of Faith” achievement, in which you finish the game without shooting at an enemy (it’s the way it was meant to be played). It’s one of the very few non-Nintendo games I’d place in a hypothetical top 10 games list. I fell in love with Mirror’s Edge in 2009. For seven years, Mirror’s Edge has helped me through countless tough times and has held a special place in my heart since I first ran across the rooftops of Glass. And, for seven years, I’ve been waiting patiently to see where the franchise would go next. I honestly thought I’d never see the day. But here we are, and Mirror’s Edge has been rebooted–no, it’s not a sequel–as an open-world freerunner, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst.

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Some of the set pieces are rather breathtaking (and super over-the-top).

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Atelier Sophie: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book

Femininity isn’t something mainstream games tend to embrace. Masculine, ‘tough girl’ tropes? Sure, Tomb Raider is kind of a thing. Sexualized femininity? Hoo boy, do videogames have that covered. But it’s almost never that we have a game celebrating femininity for its own sake – as a virtue or as a strength. However, one game series that has done a consistently excellent job bucking this trend is Gust’s Atelier games. Atelier Sophie: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book marks the 17th entry in the long running series, and is the series’ first venture on to the Playstation 4 console. But after so many installations in this JRPG franchise, has Atelier Sophie still got the magic touch?

Atelier Sophie ~The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book~_20160610223305

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Life Goes On: Done to Death

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Death has always been used a core mechanic in gaming, typically as punishment and a definitive indication that yes, you sure did miss that jump. This is not always a Game Over scenario; upon death in platformers like Super Meat Boy, you quickly spawn back in and try again. The entire survival horror genre, and the rise of the Dark Souls series, are based on nigh-inevitable death. A small group of Canadian indie devs have taken another approach, and used the deaths of a battalion’s worth of adorable, misled and forsaken knights as the sole tool in the toolbox for players to solve their puzzler, Life Goes On: Done to Death. This irreverent release is light on story and far from morbid, and proposes some interesting puzzling situations. It’s somehow both simple, and not.

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