First Impression: Fairune 2 (3DS) ~ A quick look.

maxresdefault.jpgA few years ago, I bought a game on the eShop. And with the money I had left over, I bought Fairune, a port of an iOS game. I enjoyed myself a whole lot with it. Last year, I noticed that a sequel came out on the 3DS. And today, I want to take a look at it. I have almost finished the game, but I couldn’t wait any longer to write about it. So, here is a quick look at the game Fairune 2. A game that didn’t get ported from the mobile market. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article in the comment section down below!

The positives

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If you played the original, this game will make you feel right at home. This game plays exactly the same as the original.

The gameplay is extremely fun. This is one of the best Zelda-inspired games I have played in a long time. Every detail on each screen is important.

 The music in this game is very enjoyable to listen to. It fits the atmosphere of the game quite well and it also has some elements from the original game.

The controls of this game are very responsive and I never had any problem with them. And the problems I had were because I didn’t use the controls in the correct way. Like trying to use an item while facing the wrong direction.

There are achievements in this game. They add to the replay value since I only noticed them after I almost finished this game. And shame on me for that, since they are right in your face in the main menu.

This game offers more than enough content to justify the price tag. Really, the length and content of this game… You get your monies worth.

The negatives

12-fairune-2-4.jpgThe game is sometimes too cryptic. I have gotten stuck several times because I overlooked one item or one puzzle. This is extremely annoying when you want to finish this game without a guide.

If you didn’t complete the map from the secret areas in the game, you can’t go back to them in the same playthrough. This is very disappointing since the original had the same flaw.

This game is a game with a lot of puzzles and exploring. There isn’t a battle system, deep and rich story or anything along those lines. So, this is a casual experience. This makes the game hard to recommend to gamers who don’t enjoy casual games. A shame, since this game is such a fun ride.

Conclusion

So, to wrap up this game quicky, I think that the final point I made in the negatives paragraph sums up my opinion about this game perfectly. Besides the puzzles and the exploration, there isn’t  anything else to do in this game.

If they make a new entry into this series, I would love to see a bit more depth. A more interesting battle system would be great for example.

Overall, I think this game is great and if you are a Zelda-fan, you should give it a look and play it if you are interested. If I have to give points now, I would give this game a 7/10. But, I haven’t finished the game, so I will give my final marks when I have beaten this game.

In any case, thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this. I hope to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

Preview: Ama’s Lullaby (PC) ~ Explore and Hack

AmasLullaby_Art_6.jpgKickstarter Page

Today I want to talk about a game that has still a Kickstarter running. The name of the game is Ama’s Lullaby and I have to thank the developer for notifying me about it since this game shows some great promise. This game is an adventure and puzzle game. But, enough stalling, let’s take a look at the currently released material. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article. 

 

What is this game?

AmasLullaby_Art_2.jpgAma’s Lullaby is a point-and-click adventure game taking place in a cyberpunk environment. In the shoes of Ama, a high potential teenager, you will explore an off-world colony created by machines. By using her laptop’s command-line based system you will be able to hack any network of the city. But every action will have consequences, and Ama will become an easy prey once her identity is unveiled.

That’s the 50-word description the developer gives. As a student in network engineering and a big fan of adventure games, this premise interests me a whole lot. I’m going to be honest, right away. I wish there was a demo of this game already. I want this game in my life, like right now.

From what I have seen in the trailer footage, this game has quite interesting gameplay. But I’m going more in-depth in the next section of my article.

My thoughts

7e97c0d6c91d53a54faee47ddaea309c_original.jpgThe game features very pretty pre-rendered environments. That was something that caught me off guard when I saw the teasers. If this is the alpha stage of the game, consider me hyped. This game is going to look amazing if it has the quality from the teasers throughout the game.

What amazes me more, is that this game is a one-man project. I have a lot of respect for people who create their own games and use mostly or all original assets and content. Speaking from own experience, it’s not easy to create a game from scratch. It requires a lot of work and a lot of dedication.

I admire the honesty of the creator on the Kickstarter. He tells the whole story of the development of the game. He admits trying to get this game from the ground once in the past, but he didn’t succeed. Admitting failure isn’t always easy to do, but the professional way he does it is worth its weight in gold.

In any case, let’s talk about the game again. Something that looks really interesting is the hacking mechanic. In this game, you can also get hacked. And that’s something that made me smile. That mechanic is going to make the game for me. Since it adds that dash of realism to the game that I miss in the hacking mini-games I played in the past.

This game is going to have dialogue trees. This is something I expect more in a RPG-game. But, it might give some interesting puzzles in this game. There are also going to be fight scenes. Here is me hoping that the game doesn’t rely on QTE (quick time events) for the battles.

The game draws its inspiration from Bladerunner in a way. Fun fact, the game is going to be released in 2019. That’s the year the movie was set in too, in a similar ship. Also, taking inspiration from any movie with my favorite actor Harrison Ford is a plus in my book.

Kickstarter

So, at the moment of writing, the game’s Kickstarter is still running. In 12 days, the Kickstarter will be closed. So, if you are interested in seeing this game before everybody else OR supporting this game, go to the Kickstarter page right now!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1005143815/amas-lullaby-a-point-and-click-game-in-a-cyberpunk

 There are also a lot of updates written by the developer and more video’s to see the progress of the game. So, go and have a look to that! I’m keeping an eye on the game as well. Since this game looks really interesting. I can’t wait to see where this game goes. If there is interesting news, I’ll tweet it out! Here are the links to their social media:

Facebook & Twitter

If you still have any questions about the game, go to their social media and ask a question. The developer will reply to your question.

To wrap this article up, I think I have to say in conclusion that this game has a lot of potential. Since it’s a point-&-click adventure game. And those aren’t made often. I can’t wait to see more of this game. Since what I have seen so far, is really good. All the concept art and trailers are getting me hyped!

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this article. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article, but until then; take care and have a great rest of your day!

Game Quicky: Mini Metro (Android) ~ Transported Over There

header.jpgOfficial website

Mini Metro is a game I own twice. Once on Android and once on Steam. Truth to be told, I’m mostly playing the Android version. I play this game quite meta… Since I play this game mostly on the train to work. Yup, playing a public transport sim on public transport. But is it worth your time to play it yourself? Let’s take a look at this game in this game quicky. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the article and/or the game in the comment section down below.

Positives

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The game is so simple and easy to understand, there is no tutorial really needed. You need to draw lines between the stations so the right shaped dot can go to the right shaped station (the white and bigger figures in the screenshot).

The UI (user interface) is amazing! I love how the menu system is set-up as a sort of poster you find in the subway system.

The visuals of this game are kept really simple and clean. This way I can focus more on the gameplay. Also, I love there is a day mode and a night mode. There is only a visual difference between the two modes. It’s like the “dark theme” in various Android apps. Speaking of the visual design, you are able to “move” lines so you can make your network more visually pleasing.

The screenshot feature is lovely. This way you can make your own screenshots to share. Since the game is randomized each and every time, this is a fun way to share your most amazing moments in the game.

The game is really addictive to play. When I’m waiting for the doctor or the train, I play this game on my tablet. While this game could be played on phones, I think it’s more fun to play on a bigger screened phone or a tablet. This game is really challenging as well. I have almost finished all the maps, but I’m stuck at the last three maps.

At first, you think that 16 levels aren’t that much. But you can play each level in 3 modes. And not only that, you can keep playing these levels after you have beaten the goal to advance to the next level. Also, each gameplay mode offers a new style of playing. You have a normal mode and a hard mode. In the hard mode, you can’t erase tracks. And the 3rd and quite recently added mode is an endless mode.

This game gets bug fixes and new options very regularly. Oh, and before I forget this game got recently a new gameplay mode. The endless gameplay mode!

Negatives

Mini-Metro-4.jpgI have to go real nitpicky to find negatives for this game. So, here are the negatives of this game.

In some maps, I don’t like the color combination of the lines that much. Some colors don’t fit each other in my opinion. But, while playing, I don’t mind that much.

In the Android version, I miss a feature that’s present in the PC-version. And that’s a way to remove a line completely from the map to redraw it. That would be extremely handy.

When you have more than one line arriving in a station, it’s sometimes difficult to select the right line. In some cases, I had to try three or more times before I was able to pick the right line.

Sometimes, it’s confusing to understand why an empty train doesn’t pick up any passengers and rides to the end first. I have seen this happening more than once but it doesn’t happen all the time.

This game is way too cheap. Seriously, I see this as a negative. This game is worth more money than the developer is asking for it! I would gladly pay double to play this game on Android.

The only real negative in this game is the soundtrack. Maybe it’s just me, but the soundtrack in the Android version is nothing to write home about. I even think that there aren’t more than 3 tracks present in this game. And if I remember correctly, there is more music in the PC-version. Yet, the music present is pretty good and is nice to listen to. I think that more variation would help the game a lot.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a great time waster for a real cheap price, look no further than Mini Metro! It’s one of the best games I have ever played on Android.I can’t recommend this game enough.

The game is almost perfect in my eyes. The fact that I had to nitpick to find negatives for this game tells a lot. If you like puzzle games, you owe it to yourself to pick up this game and give it a try. Casual game fan? Play this game too! Seriously, it’s a fun game.

In any case, thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this! I hope to be able to welcome you in another article, but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

Score: 90/100

Game Quicky: Sphetory (Android) ~ Ball Thrown

Sphetory_1024x500_4pda.pngDownload link from Google Play Store

This week, I had a cold during a heatwave. So, I didn’t play a lot of games this week. Yet, one Android game caught my eye. I played it several times. I found it strange since I rarely play Android games. The only time I play Android games is when I have to wait for the train or something along those lines. I haven’t gotten too far into the game but I still think it’s worth talking about it. If you are interested in this game, I personally recommend a tablet or a smartphone with a big screen. Since you will need it. In any case, enough rambling! As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

The bad

Sphetory_2.png

So, these are the reasons why you shouldn’t play this game:

The soundtrack is a bit lacking. I have only heard one song after three levels. While the song really helps to set the mood and atmosphere, I wish it had one more song to change it up here and there.

When I was in the options menu, I wasn’t able to adjust the sensitivity. It stayed at 4. Speaking of the option menu, you are unable to adjust the options when you aren’t in-game. You can change the language in the main menu, but not in the option menu.

Looking at the “Select Level” option, you will find out that this game is rather short. Honestly, I wish it had a bit more content. Since the potential is there.

The good

Sphetory_3.png

This game is a puzzle platformer. In the first level, you get a ball you can throw. It bounces around when it hits a wall. In the first level, this is used to hit switches so you can progress.

In the second level, a mechanic is introduced. When you throw the ball, you can press “B” at any time. Then you will move on the traveled path of the ball. As soon as you press B, the ball will stop traveling. So, you will have to time your throws so, you don’t press B when the ball left the platform. Since then, you fall to your doom.

Something that’s even more interesting is that the path stays. So, for example, you throw the ball in a straight line. When you press the B button after you landed, you don’t have to throw the ball again, since when you press the B button again, you travel on exactly the same path.

The punishment of failure is somewhere in between. When you fail a jump, you are sent back to the start of the puzzle. While I wish I wasn’t set back that far in certain sections, I wasn’t set back to the start of a level.

Also, in this game, you can slow down time. This is very handy to move over certain moving platforms.

I was able to quickly get used to the controls. When you press on the left-hand side of the screen, you move your character. When you press on the right-hand side of the screen, you move the camera. The A button throws the ball, the B button travels on the ball’s path, the clock button slows down time and the pause button… well take a wild guess.

Visually, this game looks amazing. I love the atmosphere in this game. It feels empty yet safe. It feels cold yet colorful and warm. And for those who are interested, I rarely experienced any lag or major slowdown in this game.

Also, surprisingly enough, this 3D game isn’t a big battery drain. It didn’t drain my battery too much. I only saw a decrease of 10% on my ASUS tablet.

One big amazing plus in this game is that this game is free of charge. And I didn’t find any annoying ads between gameplay!

The conclusion

This game contains a lot of trail and error. Yet, it feels very satisfying after you have beaten a level. I highly recommend this game for people who are looking for an interesting experience on Android.

While this game is playable on small screens, I don’t recommend it. Since it’s a big advantage when you see the whole room.

This game took me by surprise. Since this game is something that works very well on mobile devices.

While this game has some flaws, I think this game is really worth your time.

Anyways, I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. Feel free to drop by in another article, I’m looking forward to it. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Have a great rest of your day and take care!

Android Games #6: I haven’t forgotten.

androidplaygames-630x421.jpgI haven’t written an article in this series for quite a while. Once, I even thought about cancelling it. But hey, I think that won’t be such a smart idea. This blog is about my experiences with the games I play. And sometimes, I play games on my phone when I’m waiting on the train or when I’m waiting in the doctor’s office. So, let’s take a look at the Android games I’m currently playing. I’m not going to talk about them in depth, since there isn’t that much to write about when you compare it to for example a 3DS game. Enough stalling, let’s get tapping on that phone! And as usual in every one of my articles, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the content and/or games in this article. 

Wedding Escape

big-logo2.png

This game is what I look for in my match-3 games. Something special, something unique that hasn’t been done over and over again.

In this game, you have to turn over tiles to match 3 or more of the same. When you flip a silver coin, it becomes a gold coin. When you flip a diamond, it becomes a purple one. And this works the other way too.

The game gets pretty challenging after a few levels, but you get four pretty nice power-ups. Thank you FireBird Games to not make these microtransactions power-ups. You earn an use of the power-ups by matching a certain gem. Silver coins give you a bomb, gold coins give you a mine, purple gems give you a magnet and blue gems give you a “flip everything of this gem/coin”.

The characters you can unlock in this game are quite nice. The visuals and music are good as well.

This game is polished and pretty well designed. Apart from the extreme harsh difficulty in the later levels (in my opinion), a better way to select the character you want to play as, the colorbind mode that only changes one gem and the strange way a gem/coin becomes usable to use power-ups on, this game is nearly a perfect casual game!

Score: 4/5

Vlogger Go Viral

vloggergoviral.pngHonestly, I brought this Android games series back because I wanted to talk about this game. This game is the perfect game when you are waiting for a few minutes to board your train or when you are waiting on your turn at the doctor’s office.

But this is directly also it’s main issue. This is a clicker game, where you can speed up the waiting by tapping. Apart from that, it’s a bit lacking.

This game has so much unused potential in v1.1 (Released on 21 december 2015), it’s a shame. It would be fun if the audience of your vlog channel gets tired if you make too much videos about one topic or you loose viewers that came to your channel for a certain topic.

The money to earn and spend on upgrades are in my eyes rather useless. Apart from some visual changes to the studio, I don’t see how it influences anything in the game. When I compare it to a similar game I honestly like, Bitcoin Millionaire, it feels less fleshed out.

Also, the animation is something I have some minor issues with. For researching, recording, writing and editing a video … The game uses the same animation.

This game can get boring quick. This game needs to have some more things to do when you are waiting for a video to finish. Or maybe I’m too harsh on this game. Since it’s the game I play when I have nothing to do for a few minutes.

The presentation is rather cute and stylish. And the whole idea behind the game is what got me interested in the first place. I just wished it had some more gameplay elements to make it more fun. Oh, and the microtransaction part seriously needs to less intrusive. Like in Bitcoin Billionaire.

Score: 3,5/5

Brain Dots

brain-dots-02-535x535

This game can be rather cruel at times by some puzzles. But I’m getting ahead of myself. In this game you play the role of a pencil that has to draw a line to connect two balls together.

You win the level as soon as the two circles touch each other. Even when they would fall to their doom a second later, when they touch, you win.

This game has a very interesting social feature. You can share your solution over social networks. When you solve a level, it takes a screenshot of the game that you can share.

The game design in this game is really good for an Android game. It teaches you the mechanic first before the actual puzzles with that mechanic are going to challenge you. Another good system is the hint system. It makes the game really forgiving when you don’t find the solution.

The only negative I have is that your lines don’t always properly draw. If you move your finger a bit too much down or up, the game gets confused. But it’s a minor annoyance, since the recent updates, I’m not getting it as much.

Score: 4/5

Wrapping up

So, that are three games I’m currently playing on my phone while I’m waiting for my train to go to work. Lately, I’m playing less and less on my phone since I … well, burned out on them.

That’s one of the main reasons I didn’t write an Android article for over almost a year. In any case, I hope you enjoyed my look into these games as much as I enjoyed writing this article. Also, feel free to leave your suggestions of Android games I should try out in the comments. I’m looking for games you can play on the side. It needs to be fun and keep you from boredom while waiting on … a train to go to work. The fewer microtransactions, the better.

I’m curious for the suggestion. Anyways, I’m rambling on now. Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your day! Game on, friends! Game on!

Game Nostalgia: My past with casual games

Arpegi BackWhen I was younger, I used to try and recreate popular games. I made a Pac-Man clone and a BreakOut-clone is a sort of drag-and-drop engine. It was rather easy and required almost no programming knowledge. I was inspired by the various games I played from Popcap, GameHouse or Reflexive Entertainment. Yeah, I played casual games and enjoyed them a lot. Being a gamer doesn’t mean you need to play hardcore games all day. Today, I almost spent the whole day watching my favorite TV-series and playing casual games. So, let’s dig up a few games off my past and let’s talk about them. Are they any good or are they just games for the gamers who take gaming not that seriously? Let’s dive in! And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion about the games and/or content of the article. 

Casual games aren’t real games.

Let me be clear on one thing. The games I played in the past where games from the developers of Peggle, Plants vs Zombies, Dinner Dash, Cubis 2, Luxor and others. The issue with these games are that they can be produced rather quickly. I’m not saying that they can be created without a lot of effort, but when I saw how quick some publishers could publish the games… It was kinda scary. Once I saw a game becoming really popular in the summer and the sequel dropped around the holidays at the end of the year.

I think the crowd for these games is a different crowd then the games I play now-a-days. But there is one thing that these games do that other studios should take a lesson from. They created a version of the game that you could play for 60 minutes. When your 60 minutes where over, you got a screen where you had to purchase the game. The big thing here was, you were allowed to play the full game without any major restrictions. This is how you should create a demo for these kind of games.

In my eyes, they are real games that we can play when we feel like playing a game but don’t feel like playing a big budget game. Or in-between releases. I’m even happy to see that some games hit mainstream and got accepted by the hardcore community. As a personal sidenote, I feel I float somewhere in that middle zone. I play a lot of different kind of games. The main thing I care about is to have fun with my games. They deliver on that without any doubts. In any case, I think I made my point. Now, let’s take a look at 2 of these games I played in the past and I’ll tell you why I think they are worth playing.

Games, games and more games.

Dream Chronicles

Dream_Chronicles_1_LogoBack when I still made YouTube videos I played this gem of an adventure game called Dream Chronicles. When I discovered this game, I was highly into dreams and their meanings. I believe that a dream can try to tell you a story. It can also be a tool to help you process an argument or something else (un)pleasant that happened on that day.

The story in this game is what took me off guard. It started out like a “already heard, already done” story at first, but nearing the middle of the first game and certainly in the sequel, that completely changed.

This game series is one of my favorite games in the casual adventure games genre. I highly recommend this game to anyone who wants to play a relaxing adventure game with interesting puzzles and a thrilling story.

One negative, one huge flaw in this game is that KatStudio’s and PlayFirst (the developers and publishers of this game) … well, it went a bit bad. It’s not exactly clear why but the ending of the 5th game became rushed and awkward. It opens up so many doors to a 6th game but it got cancelled.

Puzzle Inlay

puzzleinlay_lrg3

This game is created by a few people. It was created in a puzzle lab. In this game you have to fill a figure with certain blocks. You get them at the bottom. The fuller the that bottom becomes, the worse it is for you. You get a few powerups like a hammer or a wand that changes all/several blocks to usable blocks.

I got hooked on this game a lot, so I played the sequels and spin-offs. The two I played the post were Adventure Inlay and Magic Inlay. These games offered a bit more then the original. Puzzle Lab did a really good job with those.

In Magic Inlay, you have final bosses. Most of them mess with your tray or with your already placed blocks which made for some quick thinking moments.

In Adventure Inlay, the game offers a bunch of different game modes that change up the gameplay quite a lot.

Honestly, I recommend Puzzle Inlay to the big puzzle fans. If you love puzzle games, this is one you should really check out, it’s a relaxing puzzle game that will entertain you when you are waiting for that next big puzzle game to play.

Conclusion

Well, I have a bunch of games I still want to talk about. But because I haven’t played them in such a long time, I didn’t include them in this article. So, I’m not planning to write a sequel on this article but rather take a look at the games I still want to talk about in a game quicky. I want to take a more in-depth look to Magic Inlay and Adventure Inlay even.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this look in my past. I would love to hear from you guys which casual games you tried. Did you enjoy your experience? Did you compare them to the big budget games? Actually, that’s an idea for another article. How “good” are casual games compared to the big budget games.

In any case, I hope to welcome you in another article on my blog. But until then, have an amazing day!

Game Quicky: Cubis 2 (PC) ~ Puzzle Game

49146489.mumbo-jumbo-cubis-2-pcOfficial website

On my Twitter I said, I felt uninspired tonight. So, this week’s article will be a rather short one. At first I was doubting to even write an article at all. But then I found this game again. Cubis 2. A game that was on various platforms back in the day. A causal puzzle game from a very unknown studio. In the USA, it was released by Mumbo Jumbo. Here in Europe, it was released by Easy Interactive. The European publisher is unknown to me. I barely find information about it. In any case, let’s take a look to this game. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this article and/or the game.

Gameplay

shotSo, the goal of this game is rather easy. Get rid of the cubes. You can shoot cubes from the bottom or the right side. You can stack a max of three blocks.

When a block falls, it cracks. A cracked block disappears when you shoot a block through it. A half block can slide under other blocks while full blocks just push the block away.

When three cubes of the same color meet, they disappear. If any blocks besides that have the same color, the suffer the same fate. Star blocks are worth more points.

There is one other block I’m forgetting. That is the ghost block. This block can change the color of the block it touches. The other details of the gameplay, well… If it interests you, a version of this game is easy to find and play.

In the puzzle mode, your goal is to get rid of all star blocks before the time runs out. In arcade mode, your goal is the same but you don’t need to remove all the stars from the board, you need to get rid of a certain amount of blocks.

The positive

FG_Cubis2_Screenshot_2The visual presentation of this game is rather good. You have various visual styles you can easily switch between. (While a change in visuals require a reboot of the game. 😦 )

The game plays nicely and barely requires a tutorial. Once you got the hang of it, you can play it for hours.

While 50 levels might sound limited, you have a level creator. There the sky is the limit. Well, your creativity actually.

The interface is informative and displays everything in an orderly fashion. No big complaints there.

The music and sound effects are neat. The suit the game quite nicely. While I would think that the game could have used a bit more music tracks… I don’t mind it that much.

Since this game is based on color puzzles, I find it a really nice touch that they included an option for colorblinds.

The negative

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So, this game has some flaws. You can’t share your level creations easily. That’s a first major flaw in this game.

Also, when I visited the creator’s website, Google Chrome actually blocked it.

What ever game mode you click in the main menu… It’s irrelevant. Since you get sent to another menu to select your level and such. Where you can switch game modes again. The main menu and level select menu could have been merged into one.

Also, the two game modes are just too similar in my opinion. This is a real bummer, since you can get very creative with this gameplay style.

But the biggest flaw in this game is that no matter if you play the puzzle or the arcade mode.. You play the same levels. That’s lazy in my opinion.

Alright, I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. Let’s get to the conclusion.

Conclusion

This is a casual game that is okay. If I would score it, I think I would give it a 65/100. It’s a small game that went somewhat big. It has some major flaws that my inner critic can’t overlook. Yet, this game can be fun to play.

A funny fact, my anti-virus actually stopped me from installing this game. It matched some signatures. I sent them a mail to report this false positive. I didn’t had any replies yet.

So, I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. I hoped you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this. I hope to meet you at another article. But until then, take care!

First Impression: Boom Blox (Wii) ~ Demolishing with Strategy.

BoomBlox_EAwii_TfrontWikipedia entry

If you haven’t noticed by my nickname (NekoJonez), I’m a huge fan of Indiana Jones. When I found out that the director of that movie series had his hand in a puzzle game, I was interested. I started searching for it, but everywhere I found it… It was a bit too expensive to my taste. And when I found it cheap second hand, the disc was too damaged to play the game. Yet, everything changed when my sister called me a few days ago. She found a copy on a yard sale for 10€ (~ 11.5 USD) She called me up and I said she could buy it for me. When she came home, I popped it in my Wii and started playing it. So, what did I think of it? That’s the reason why I wrote this article. And as usual, feel free to write a comment with your thoughts on this game and/or the content of this article. 

More than just destroying

351309-boom-blox-wii-screenshot-try-to-knock-down-all-these-gem-bloxThis game has a story mode. When I started playing this game and came across the story mode, I was surprised. The story isn’t over the top or just dumb, it’s silly and it works perfectly for a causal game of this kind.

I won’t talk about the story that much since I haven’t played it enough to give a proper comment on it.

What I love the most is that the gameplay is extremely simple, yet very addictive. Other reviewers describe it as “try to get a structure to fall over”. Which is only half of it. Some levels in this game are more a puzzle where you need to pull blocks out carefully so that some blocks don’t fall to the ground.

Some blocks give you negative points and they are extremely nicely placed in certain puzzles. This game can be extremely difficult and will be challenging. Thankfully, this game teaches you the ropes before it gets too difficult.

You have so many different modes in this game, it pleases me. From you tossing a block around with a sticky hand or throwing balls… It’s all great fun. Each mode has its own challenges. But the game can get “nasty” on you. In one level I had to defend a castle and they surrounded spawn points with bomb blocks which were close to the castle I had to defend in the first place.

Presentation

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If the designers of this game reads this article, you guys and/or girls deserve a pat on the back. This game is eye candy and it’s extremely charming. The actual attention to detail is well done.

Also, I love it when you miss a throw and the blow continues flying in the background… well, the audience will jump away from the ball. Or when you manage to hit an audience member, they will do the same animation as a single block being hit.

The animation of this game, well, that’s a hard one. There isn’t that much animation in the game when you compare it to different games. The falling and flying of the blocks is really well done, it would be a shame if it wasn’t.

I have only one complaint with the presentation. It might also be with the controls. The button to advance the menus has a function in game. It caused some accidental throws.

Also, during my playthroughs, I missed an option to bring up how many throws would give you gold, silver or bronze.

So, now that we moved on to controls; well they are pretty good. Apart from not registered throws, I didn’t have any game breaking issues with it.

Multiplayer

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Some modes I haven’t tried out yet. There is a multiplayer mode in this game, which makes the game that more interesting. Without looking it up or anything like that, I guess it’s either random mini-games or you trying to compete in puzzles to get the highest score.

The other modes I haven’t tried out yet are some puzzle modes. Since I was mostly interested in the sticky hand one and the one where you had portal blocks that disappeared when you hit them.

Like the coluorful and happy visuals, the soundtrack and sound effects are happy and enjoyable. They put you in a really amusing mood and really help to set a nice and light-hearted atmosphere.

I didn’t want to say this, but I think I have to mention it. Did you guys know that this game was made by EA? I don’t play a lot of EA games since most of the games they produce aren’t in my genres I play often. Yet, I beg you EA, bring this series back one day. It’s underrated and it should be more in the spotlight.

Before I forget to talk about it, the physics engine is the star of this game. Since I learned how to write some basic code, I am always amazed by how games like this work under the hood. How gravity is programmed into the game. The gravity in this game is really well implemented. I wish I could see this game with Wii Motion Plus, but alas. This game was released before that.

So, that was everything I wanted to talk about in this first impression. While it’s a bit shorter then usual, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to welcome you in another article, but until then, take care~ Jonez.

Review: Papo & Yo – Artsy Fartsy?

A while back, this game I had never heard of came with the monthly games you receive as a PlayStation Plus member. I played it for half an hour then, but I put down the controller and removed it at that time. I decided to give it another try and I just felt like I had to discuss it.

Because it’s good? No. Maybe. Hard to say. It was fun enough that I played through it, but it didn’t need to be much longer. The game wrapped up in just under four hours for me, but then again, I’m a slow gamer. In wanting to write a review about this, I decided to do a second play-through to gather all 25 collectibles and got halfway in just an hour. Knowing how to solve the puzzles makes it incredibly easy.

So what is the game about? You’re a little kid being transported to a slightly peculiar world, where you meet a little girl who taunts you and runs away. You decide to follow her. Later, you encounter a monster that follows you along the way.

It’s a little hard to explain what his part in all this is, but he’s a part of puzzles. You need to use fruit to lure him somewhere in order to progress, or have him fall asleep so you can jump on his belly. It sounds a little ridiculous, and it almost feels that way at times.

The puzzles themselves are okay. They’re not great or even good, but at least they’re not infuriating. The most difficult – and perhaps aggravating – puzzles are those where the monster is angry, because he ate a frog. Then, it will chase you and throw you around. You need rotten fruit to calm him down again. Yes, really. I’m not making this up.

Graphically, what can I say? It’s an Unreal Engine 3 game. It doesn’t look impressive, and is bugged by frame rate dips and tearing, but overall it’s fine. Just that. Fine. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons uses the same engine and, while plagued by tearing as well at times, looks far more impressive than Papo & Yo does. Especially the worldbuilding and environments.

The controls are good, though. I rarely missed a jump and that’s not always a given in 3D-platforming games, so kudos for that.

My main problem lies with the story. Mind you, I will go into spoilers here, but if you have half a brain, the intro of the game basically tells you everything you need to know. Now if it were a much simpler story, I’d be fine with it. Perhaps a story of a boy trapped in a fantasy world, trying to escape. Think The Unfinished Swan. It wouldn’t need much rewriting either. Or perhaps the girl took something from you and you need to get it back.

The problem is that, to me, it felt like the creators wanted to make a game with storytelling similar to Shadow of the Colossus, but failed. It’s easy to criticise, I know, but it feels like the kind of story a first year student of film school would come up with.

There’s not much dialogue in the game, and what’s being said does not sound like any language I ever heard. Speech bubbles do appear next to the characters when they say something.

Now brace yourselves, because you will not see this one coming. Especially not after the intro, and the first flashback about an hour into the game where you see yourself sitting in the back of a car being driven by an adult male. Oh, and there’s a quote, from the game director himself, saying: “To my mother, brothers and sisters with whom I survived the monster in my father”, right when you start the game. The monster is your father, the frogs represent his alcohol abuse and the girl was the person you father hit with his car.

I had a suspicion this game was fairly personal, from the director’s own experience. Looking up some information about the game confirms this. I don’t mine a personal story done well, but I just feel like this game is laying it on thick. It feels like they’re trying to be subtle and use metaphors, but it’s so blatant.

I feel like I’m being really harsh on the game, but in all honesty, it’s not terrible. I’m just very sensitive when it comes to metaphors and artsy fartsy storytelling. Would I recommend it?Perhaps. I know of people who have very much enjoyed this game, so who am I to take that away from them?

What does strike me as odd is that most outlets give this a positive review. The only major outlet that gave it a bad one, was IGN. “The on-paper premise of a traumatic childhood brought to life as a playable short story is brilliant, but the wounded execution can’t quite sell the emotional expression.”, is what they had to say and I tend to agree a little.

I guess it’s a decent game if you like that kind of story, but if you’re looking for interesting puzzles, you’d better look elsewhere. It’s also an easy game for completionists and trophy/achievement hunters, as my two playthroughs gave me a lot of trophies in a total playtime of around six hours.

Gamer’s Thoughts: Pokémon Spin-Offs

Ipokemonspinoffs-header own and have played a lot of Pokémon spin offs. When I was browsing the Nintendo 3DS eShop earlier today, I thought it would be a fun idea if I wrote an article about them. Since I keep my articles around a 1000 – 1500 words, I might write more then one article. So, let’s get started talking about the Pokémon spin-offs. Also, I’m not talking about rom hacks. Since I wrote an article about those in the past. And as usual feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the games and or the content of this article. 

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon

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If you watched the first season of the Pokémon anime, you might remember that emotional scene where Ash decides to leave Pikachu behind with other Pikachu’s. That feeling of leaving a friend behind is the exact feeling each and every ending gave me in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series.

While the games aren’t perfect if you compare them to other similar games, I think they are the best spin-off games in the Pokémon series. I wish that this series got a bit more love. If you want proof that I love this game series, you might want to read my quite in-depth review of the “Gates to Infinity” entry.

So, if anybody from ChunSoft or Nintendo is reading this article, please make more Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games. How you are currently making them, they are nearly perfect. Anyways, I think I better stop talking about this series since I wanted to write this article mostly to give some other spin-offs some time to shine on my blog.

Pokémon Pinball

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When I was young, my mom took me to a clothing store. As a young child, I would usually bring my gameboy along. Yet, in that store there was a pinball machine that kids could play FOR FREE. Yes, you read it right, no coins or anything, it was a free pinball machine.

When I got home, I started to look through my gameboy games and found this game back. I rarely played it but since I saw that free pinball machine I wanted to play it at home as well. In the Pokémon Pinball series, there are only two entries. Which is quite a shame. But they aren’t the only Nintendo-themed pinball games. There is also one of Mario, Kirby and even Metroid.

If you have the chance, I would pick this one up. If you play it on the Super Gameboy, a SNES addon, the blue board will actually appear red. I used to have a picture of that, but I think it was taken with a potato, so I will spare you the cruelty of it.

Pokémon Ranger

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I have talked about this series in the past. I have written an article about the first game in the series. I had a lot of fun with that game, and honestly I still have. It has been quite some time since Nintendo released a new entry of this series.

At first, you might think that this game is nothing more then simply drawing circles, but it’s more then that. It’s a puzzle game and it makes you look in a different angle to Pokémon. Now they are actual helpers to finish your quest instead of helpers in battle.

I mentioned most of my complaints in my first impression article, so I won’t give a long explanation here. It can be repetitive yet it’s so much fun to play. Also, when you look at the later games in the series, you see it clearly evolve into an amazing game. The latest game in the series is one of the best entries ever.

I advice people who where on the fence for this series to give it a try. Read some articles about it. I enjoyed myself with it. The difficulty can be a bit off, but hey, at least it’s something different from the main Pokémon formula.

Pokémon Trozei

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The biggest issue this game suffers from is that the story just seems so well, created just for the sake of having a story.

This game/series is actually a sequel to the gameboy color game: Pokémon Puzzle Challenge. It’s a Pokémon styled Puzzle Quest game. Pokémon Puzzle Quest was more Bejeweled kind of game.

While I’m totally not a fan of the latest free game that they released, I think the puzzle Pokemon games where all pretty amazing. When I’m bored, I sometimes start playing these games. And the time flies by. It’s one of those games that “one more round” really applies.

A big negative of this game is that you are expected to know which Pokémon has which type. If you have that knowledge, some bosses are way more easy to defeat.

A big positive in this game is that when fighting a boss-Pokémon, it will come inside your playing flied and remove some columns. You will have to adapt a new strategy and quickly, since those attacks can hurt quite a lot.

I wouldn’t recommend this game or this series to anyone. I would recommend it to hardcore Pokémon fans, casual gamers and puzzle game fans. Otherwise, this game is a safe one to pass. I’m not saying that these games are bad in any meaning of the word, but they aren’t for everyone.

PokePark Wii

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I almost forgot about this series. While I was about to write the closure to this article, I saw this game sitting on my shelve. These games are quite something.

This game is a more relaxing Pokémon game where you need to make friends with the Pokémon of an area before you can progress to the next one. The way you can befriend a Pokémon is by a race, hide-and-seek, quiz, quest or a battle.

During your adventure, you will get different Pokémon in your party that have different abilities in battle and in exploration. Also, the party games make for quite a nice time.

If you have a young child that loves Pokémon, I urge you to buy this game for them, I’m quite sure they will enjoy this one. I’m still playing the sequel of this game and it’s a lot of fun. When I am in the mood again to play on my Wii, I’ll most likely try to finish PokePark 2.

Closing the article.

Well, I have talked about most of the spin-offs I played. It’s quite clear that I haven’t played some big ones, but I’m planning to change that in the future. I hope you found some new Pokémon spin-offs that seem interesting to you or maybe you enjoyed reading my opinion about a Pokémon spin-off you played.

In any case, I might write a sequel to this article if I played some other Pokémon spin-offs that I find worthy to be talked about on my blog. I hope you enjoyed reading this article and I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog. Until then, take care!