Tag Archives: but

NekoJonez: First Impression: Alice: Madness Returns (PC ~ Steam) – What Happened?

AliceMadnessReturnsWikipedia entry

(Warning, this article is written in a special way. I’m done quite fine, it’s written the theme of the game more.)

Dear readers. My fantasy might be real. 75 articles published by myself on the ButtonSmashers Blog. I don’t need a doctor about that. But the negative imagery is taking it’s toll on me. It’s hard as a writer to  see people you love and care about turn in these horrid monsters. Now that I’m back fighting in this land, it’s time to set things right. Or do I want to go back? I don’t know. I thought this wouldn’t be a pretty sight. That the game would suck. But as soon as I started playing it, it blew my mind. It’s actually good that I’m doing this. Maybe I have to let go. I have no clue. Maybe this game might provide the answers for me. Maybe, if I take a look into this madness I might find answers. Yeah, it will return… the madness. And feel free to comment on this, your opinion on it or on the game. Return… madness…

Bad cover hides a good game

AMR-03_SCREENDid the intro creep you out? Don’t worry, I won’t continue to write like that for the rest of the article. It would be too hard to talk about a game like that. But I thought it would make for a nice introduction.

The tale of Alice in Wonderland is most likely not a strange or a new one to you. Although, it might be that it has been quite some time since you have seen or heard of it. This game takes a rather interesting spin on it.

From what I can gather, after several years, Wonderland got corrupted. Alice gets visions from it and goes back to Wonderland. I haven’t gotten more into the story yet since I was more focused on the game then on the story. More on that later.

From what gather from the story, it’s quite unique. If I’m right and this game shows the scenario: “What would happen to wonderland if Alice went crazy?”… Well, then the story is doing quite well.

So, the title of the part is bad cover hides a good game. What I mean with that is that EA found it needed to have a “right in your face” protection for this game. With serial keys and verifying servers and all that lame stuff. Also, at first glance, the main menu gave me a bit of “meh” impression. But it gets better once you play the actual game.

Madness… MADNESS. THIS IS SP- nope. 

70846_screenshot_07I have to admit something. I can’t judge on the keyboard controls. I saw that this game supports a controller. And when I see that, I don’t think twice about using it. Honestly, I sometimes prefer playing with a controller. It might have to do with the fact that I had keys popping off my keyboards…

Anyways, from what I can tell, the controls are smooth. I did had to adjust the default settings a bit to have better sensitivity but hey, that’s why there are options.

In this game, Alice had various power-ups. You get them through the course of your adventure. Up until now, I got a shrink power-up and a special sort of gun. And then the madness begins. Oh yes. It does.

This game offers you multiple paths with one being the correct one. But if you explore the hidden paths, you find collectables. While I have no clue in what these will be used for, it’s adds to the replay value and it’s a good thing that they implemented this.

Talking back about the controls, they are good. Nearly each button has a different feature. But thankfully it’s so straight forward, you learn which button to press after some time of play.

The gameplay consists out of various platforming puzzles. You need to kill all the enemies or find something to activate platforms. You know, the usual stuff. What’s unusual though is the fact you can’t really die. Well, I’m not 100% sure about that. When you fall off cliffs, Alice bursts into butterflies and you get right back at the platform you died at to try again. This is rather neat.

So, why is the title of this part “Madness”? Well, because of the various collectables and the very variation in the gameplay… There might be too much things going on at once. And it works for this game.

Must finish?

Alice-VistaSCREENThe game has an automatic save-feature. Thank the lords. Lately, I’m getting used to the auto-saving feature. This avoids that you are broken out of your immersion with the game.

Since I recently finished some games I was playing, I can now focus on this game. I want to finish this game because it caught my attention. The last time a PC game did that was Alan Wake.

The game has an amazing design. While it’s not going for the most detailed graphics and over the top visuals, this game shows off an amazing art style that really fits the story they want to tell.

You truly feel that you’re in a corrupted fantasy world based on the story of Alice. The animation, no complaints. I think it’s really well done. Maybe some of the PC elite may say that I’m wrong but I find this game to be quite the eye candy.

To finish this article, let’s talk about the music. It has been playing in another tab while I was writing this article. And while I haven’t heard a lot of the soundtrack yet, the music I heard truly made my fantasy go wild. What’s going to happen to Alice? How are they going to continue this game? It’s a mystery to me but once I’m willing to solve.

The sounds are fitting too. But I have to pay closer attention to give a more detailed opinion about it.

So, that was my 75th article here on ButtonSmashers. While I could have written something more special, I think that 100 articles is more fitted for that. Anyways, thanks for reading my article. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. This game looks like an awful lot of fun and I can’t wait to see more.

Advertisements

Review #024: Super Kid Cannon (Android) ~ Thank You!

logo_skc

Official website

So, it happened. I can barely believe it myself. The guys over at SkyJoy asked me to review their Android game. Now let me be clear, I enjoy this interaction a lot. And in these moments I do my best to make it worthwhile their time and effort. I’m honest in all of my articles. I write my honest opinion. When I think a game is bad, I say so. But when a game is good, I praise it. Anyways, after testing and playing my review copy I’m finally ready to write my review of this game. I might not have finished it completely but that isn’t going to stop me from reviewing it. Since it’s still in development and from the level select it’s clear that this game isn’t completely finished. So, let’s dive right into this game. Feel free to leave a comment about your opinion of the game and or this article. 

First vertical game.

SKC_Bobby_Bubble_WheelSo, you might have played Doodle Jump. This game goes vertically. Or Kid Icarus, you go upwards a ton as well. But this game is different. It’s how they claim, the first game in it’s kind.

Let’s talk about the story first. Honestly, it’s a cliche story. Your girlfriend gets kidnapped. But this isn’t anything bad. It’s a mobile game and it’s a new genre. So, no harm done. Sadly enough, the trailer isn’t shown at the start of the game. Part of the trailer explains the characters and the story. Now they loose that. At the  other hand, the game loads faster now and the download is smaller. So, I understand why it’s not added. And that’s all I can talk about in the story.

This game takes Electronic Super Joy‘s approach of a menu. The level select with the option buttons at the bottom. And I think this is perfect for a mobile game like this. It makes the game more accessible and the screen is less cluttered.

One thing where this game truly shines is how it perfects the idea of lives compared to Candy Crush Saga (ugh, don’t get me started about that “game”.)! You get 5 tries in each level. And when they are all up, you can simply retry with those 5 lives. That’s mindblowing.

Negatives

SKC_DailyGiftLet’s change up the concept for this review. I find it pretty difficult to talk about mobile games in a normal style of review. That’s my excuse. So, let’s first talk about the negatives of this game.

First of all, there are microtransactions. I honestly have no big problem with them but they are a bit too much in your face. Everything costs money. A new skin, power-ups… all 1 buck. Thankfully there is a daily gift, which resets at midnight, so that’s a bit of relief.

Another negative is something they can easily fix. It’s not clear enough where a world ends. The banner is always in the middle and that’s pretty annoying. Why don’t you number your levels like “1-1” or “2-1”? Make a more clear separation between the worlds.

Also, there were some cheap deaths. I had a few moments where I kept rolling down and rolling down into pins. Or when I shoot upwards and the enemy decides to jump from platform to platform.

It’s 1-hit kill for you and the enemies. And you can only kill the enemies when they are standing on blocks with up arrows. This isn’t explained well enough and might frustrate casual players who barely play any other games outside of games on their mobile or tablet.

Another negative is how the game misses depth. At the moment of writing, the game’s goal is only getting up without dying. I miss honestly missions or a way to track points. I haven’t tried the Facebook connect out but I think it might be a leaderboard I miss. My advice to the developers is the add a sort of goal system. Like, try to be in every canon once or collect x amount of coins. Also guys, add time trails.

Also, I would like to be able to see my scores of past levels and how close I was to get it to the 3-star rating.

The final complaint is the music. There should be a bit more tracks. The few that are in the game can get repetitive for some gamers. While it didn’t annoy me too much, I can see it be an irritation to some.

Good game?

SKC_DiscoBall_StPatty_Yeti_Penguin_SkiLiftIs this game fun to play? Yes! While I might have a ton of complaints, the core gameplay is fun. The game can only improve from here.

The game might look easy to beat looking at the first few levels, it gets pretty challenging pretty fast.

Also, the visuals are pretty pleasing. They didn’t went for ultra HD in your face awesome graphics. Thank lords they didn’t do that. This makes the game run smooth on nearly every device. I had some minor flickering issues when the water bubbles where created but it didn’t bother me that much.

Also, the game is great on the battery. It isn’t a resource eater and doesn’t drain your battery like other games do.

And finally, a game where not everything is explained. No real hand-holding here. You get explained the core mechanics and after that, you are on your own. So, discovering things is much fun!

And that’s my review of the game. Let’s get on the conclusion. There are a few things I didn’t touch upon like the length, enemies and power-ups but I’ll leave that up to you to discover.

Conclusion

Final thoughts:

Huh, aren’t we skipping something? Yeah, my usual list of the good and bad. But I have written this article in a way that the 2nd part are the negatives and the third part are the positives. So no real reason to repeat it here.

Anyways, my final thoughts on this game are simple. It’s a game that is already fun but has so much potential to grow. I hope to see with the feature releases that the developers build on the core gameplay and not only add various new levels. Since that would make the game pretty repetitive and not fun.

So, for v0.8, the version I got as a review copy gets a score for that version. It might happen that I revisit this game and then the score will be different.

Anyways, thank you Skyjoy for giving me this chance and thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed your read and hopefully we meet again. Laters!

Score: 85/100

Rant #003: Tutorials ~ The games that hold your hand.

ds-game-reviewsIt’s extremely lovely how games now explain the things in game. Sadly enough you don’t have to look at the manual anymore. For that manuals start to disappear. As a game collector, this makes me sad. But there is one thing that makes me sad too. That’s how games now a days have tutorials. Even if the battle system is extremely simple, the developers feel like explaining the game mechanics to you. Is this needed? Each time you play the game? Well, I don’t think so. Game tutorials are overrated, big time. I’m not against them, but they are certainty overstaying their welcome now.

Want to play the game, here I will help you.

I was talking with a friend of mine over Skype earlier and I said that I was giving Call Of Duty a shot. (ha, bad pun.) And he said that past CoD 5 it isn’t worth a play, since the game actually “holds your hand”.

What I mean with this is that you barely have any challenge in trying. The button you need to press flashes on the screen way on beforehand and finishing the game is just as easy as pressing the button.

Don’t confuse these with quick time events. I actually kinda like quick time events, as long as they aren’t overdone in a game. Tomb Raider has the action broken up with quick time events.

A game that’s good with it’s tutorial is Devil May Cry 4. The first part is you having a tutorial of the basics, to refresh and check if your controls are properly set, and after that it’s up to you to play the game. When you get a new ability, the instructions flash on screen once and then it’s up to you to remember them.

That’s the big problem with games that flash the buttons on screen. Back in the day, I knew where the A and B buttons where on the gameboy. But now I don’t know where the buttons are located on my PSP, since the button is flashed on the screen and I quickly peek over or just memorize it for that game. That may be a personal nitpick but tutorials can be annoying as getting the trash out and the bag rips. The first time you might go through with it but the second time you want to say some curse words.

Where is the skip button?

I can understand tutorials to make the games accessible for everybody. But when a battle system is self-explanatory then why for the love of God do we need a tutorial. I’m looking at you Pokémon for example. Is it really needed to say that you can select attacks under “attack” and that your items are under “bag”? Well no, let me try to defeat my opponents Pokémon by trying to run away and let’s try to throw a Pokéball to a wild Pokémon with a Sand Attack.

One game managed to nearly boil my blood. The start of Devil May Cry 4 is a fixed tutorial. And when you don’t do the move or the action required, forget it, you won’t pass to the rest of the game. Lovely.

A game that got it right is Overlord for example. In this game, right after the opening, you get the basics explained but for the basic combat and such, you can take a route. But if you want to skip it, you can go right to the Throne Room. This is how I want my games to be! With a skip-able tutorial.  I don’t want to be reminded each time I restart the game how to play the game.

images (1)

A game that is a perfect example of how to do it, but make it extremely annoying is The Legend Of Zelda – Ocarina Of Time.

In this game, you have a fairy following you, acting as your tutorial in how to use weapons and your items. But the sound effect to remind you that she has something to say is “HEY LISTEN.” and you hear this phrase a least a million time in the game. It gets on people’s nerves extremely quickly. Luckily they fixed this in the sequel Majora’s Mask where the sound effect is just a tingle.

A game that has no tutorial is Minecraft. This game drops you in a random generated world and without prior knowledge, this game is pretty confusing. And this is the big fun of Minecraft. You get to learn the game by playing it and you feel rewarded if you kill that first Zombie or craft your first bow. Most recipes aren’t far fetched anyways.

Some games have in game menu’s where you can review certain combo’s or actions. I remember some games, and I’m sorry that I can’t bring an example at this moment… I think it might be Age of Mythology for the DS, have a separate tutorial button that you can take outside of the game. That’s also a great option.

I feel retard. 

images

Yes, I feel sometimes as a retard in a game. The game gets more like an interactive movie where you need to punch in the right button on the right time. There is no real skill involved anymore.

It’s like that coach at the side of a soccer game shouting at their players each and every move they need to do.

In complicated games, no issue, more power to you. But like I said, in a game like Kirby or Pokémon where the things are obvious how they work, it’s not needed. Just scrap that part and use the space for something decent like more levels.

Nintendo isn’t the only wrong do’er in this. I feel like tutorials now-a-days make a game way to easy. They flash the button you need to press or they can’t be skipped. What’s wrong with the challenge in a game. I once heard on a podcast that a developer needed to scrap a puzzle inside a game because there weren’t enough hints and you needed to use your common sense.

Oh, that’s another thing. Gamers don’t use a lot of common sense because of these tutorials. I wouldn’t be surprised if some gamer shouted at their game because “it wasn’t in the tutorial.”. Pathetic.

In conclusion, I think tutorials are welcome to aid the player get introduced in a game. But it’s annoying when you can’t skip it or when it explains extremely easy stuff that makes me go: “No shit sherlock.”.