Multiplayer Hub Logo  
  Powered by Noble Master Games, http://www.noblemaster.com Multiplayer Dragon
  Forums Twitter Dev. Blog ⊕  
Home > Reviews

MultiplayerHub.com
» Forums|New Posts
» Twitter
» Dev. Blog
» About
» Contact Us
Submission

Categories
Archives
Search
Meta
Showcase
» Age of Conquest
» Demise of Nations
» Retro Commander

































Multiplayer Game Reviews

February 28, 2010

Abduction!

Filed under: Arcade & Retro, Free, WindowsIzz @ 06:14

Abduction!

I have no fingers, yet am able to pilot a flying saucer. Hah! Beat that, you with opposable digits!

Abduction!, brought to you by Oddity Games, is an arcade-style, 2D browser-based game.

You play a rabbit-eared alien piloting a flying saucer. The purpose of the game: abduct as many hillbillies and cows as you can within the time allotted. Once abducted they will be mulched up into the new alien delicacy, ‘Man in a Can.’

Gameplay

The controls are simple: use WASD or the arrow keys to move the ship across the map and press the left mouse button to turn on and turn off the abductor beam.

Watch out for the weapons flung by the hapless hillbillies below. If too many hit the spaceship, down it goes and all that hard work and hard-earned cash is lost.

Also watch out for the rocks. If you pick a rock up it can block the path into the mulcher and any humans picked up with it will be dropped harmlessly back to the ground. However, you can drop the rock onto people, sending giblets all over the place. Messy, but not to worry, pick the giblets up and they’ll go just fine in the can. A little bit of earth adds flavor.

Each human abducted gives you money. Use the money to upgrade the abilities of your ship (increase the beam speed or capacity, for example).

Ah, finally. A never-ending, renewable food source!

To progress to the next level you’ll need to perform a variety of tasks–a certain amount of abductions, money earned, even how many people you can spatter with rocks.

Upgrade your ship between missions. Make sure you're always harvesting at optimum.

The game is similar, but does get more challenging the further into it you get.

Technical

The graphics are sound. For some reason I’m reminded of the old Lemmings games, even though the gameplay is not even similar and the graphics are much better.

The best part of the game, I think, is the music. Much better than the typical electronic jangle that many indie java games have. It’s actually quite tuneful and moody.

There’s no multiplayer option for this game, and it’s hard to see how one could be incorporated, unless two spaceships were battling against each other for the most abductions.

Abduction!

 ★★★★☆ 

Gameplay:★★★¾☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
You’ve imagined what it’d be like to zoom around in a flying saucer abducting people, haven’t you? Yeah, thought so. Guess you’ll be wanting to play this game then, won’t you? Yeah, thought that’d be the case too.

Game: Abduction! | Developer: Oddity Games

February 27, 2010

Puzzle Pirates

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Free, Puzzle & Casual, WindowsIzz @ 13:56

Puzzle Pirates

Puzzle Pirates is a puzzle-based RPG produced by Three Rings Design and aimed at a younger age-group, but still playable if you’re no longer a kid.

The game is free to play but, like most of its kind, there is always an option to fast-track your development by parting with real cash.

Gameplay

The game experience is vast. The aim is to become the most powerful pirate in the land. You do this by completing missions and earning gold, and improving over time.

Yar! How ye be wanting to look, matey?

You start by designing your pirate, then you can head off to explore the island you’re washed up on and start off on the training missions. Over time you’ll be able to get furnishing for your house, acquire pets, get a job and so forth. If you get powerful enough you can even own and rule islands and captain ships and explore Atlantis.

There are twenty puzzles in all, most of them revolving around arranging objects in rows or patterns. Seven of these are multiplayer, and four of the multiplayer activities are card-games, which provide a nice change from putting things in rows. After a while the similarity of the puzzles might get tedious for an older gamer, but they’re sure to keep young ‘uns entertained.

Technical

The graphics are good, the musical score isn’t too bad, and the size of the world is impressive. In 2004 and 2005 Puzzle Pirates won several awards for playability.

And the game is definitely playable.

There are shortcuts to getting around the island so you don’t have to walk everywhere, a host of different activities you can try and a lot of different things you can buy.

A hefty download is required to begin. People on slower internet connections may find this takes a while. Also, it’s best to launch the game from Internet Explorer or Firefox, as some of the lesser used browsers (Chrome being an example) have trouble with validating passwords.

Multiplayer

The game quickly becomes boring just doing puzzles by yourself, as do most RPGs. But the games offers a lot of multiplayer activities. As well as puzzling against other people, you can also buy from and sell to them, join their crew, or get them to join yours, create alliances, have huge sea and land battles. All in all, a very solid MMORPG experience, and one parents might like to recommend to their younger kids.

This is a game that you can easily spend an hour or two playing and not realize the time has passed. However, that being said, adult gamers may find themselves bored after a while. Unless you’ve really got a thing for puzzles, that is.

Arr! This be a swordfight of sorts, with blocks. Puzzling.

Puzzle Pirates

 ★★★¾☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★½☆ 
Multiplayer:★★★★☆ 
Ahoy, mateys. Be the most powerful piratical nuisance of the seas. But ye need to use your head more than your sword. Puzzle away, lads and lasses.

Game: Puzzle Pirates | Developer: Three Rings Design

February 26, 2010

Puzzles Riddled with Laughter!

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Paid, Puzzle & Casual, Strategy, WindowsNina S. @ 05:56

British humor, British humor, British humor, oh, did I mention British humor?

Time Gentlemen, Please! is a quirky, adventure/puzzle game that I cannot stress loving enough. Almost immediately you’re introduced to the main characters, a hilarious pair of men who are fighting to undo the harm done by their future-past selves. I know, the timeline is kind of wonky but it fits so perfectly with the storyline you really can’t help but to laugh over it.

The first thing I loved about Time Gentlemen, Please! would have to be the characters. Drawn in a charmingly crude fashion you almost immediately expect some golden cartoon violence from the get go. I mean, these guys look like they’re made for punishment! Close calls and disturbingly laughable puns set this game off right from the very beginning. With a complete disregard for the Fourth Wall the duo launch into a high scale attempt to save the now dead human race (which they happened to kill!) by going into the past.

The pair of heroes runs into obstacles you have to overcome with items you’ve gathered in their ridiculously large pockets, all the while trying to go back in time so that hangers won’t be invented. Once again, this doesn’t make a lot of sense but the pair manages to roll with it and even provide some twisted form of logic that will have you agreeing! The dialogue in Time Gentlemen, Please! is absolutely golden, riddled with some disturbingly wicked jokes that may end up with you being told to shut the heck up by your roommates….of course, I am not speaking from experience. No one had to come upstairs and ask me if I could please laugh a little quieter.

I feel it’s important to note that I got all of this from just the demo of Time Gentlemen, Please!, before actually buying the game. I loved the demo so much that I did indeed purchase the game (something that I try to do when a game gets a 10/10 from just the demo). If you enjoy laughter, charmingly alarming characters, and using your wits and one-plus-one-equals-eleven skills I would highly, highly recommend Time Gentlemen, Please!. It’s got the ingenuity to keep you on your toes and the humor to keep you guessing. A real pleasing mixture of trying to keep your brain working to solve puzzles and trying not to wet yourself from laughing so much.

Time Gentlemen, Please!

 ★★★★★ 

 
Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Charming, absolutely charming!

Game: Time Gentlemen, Please! | Developer: Zombie Cow

February 25, 2010

Bookworm Adventures

Filed under: Paid, Puzzle & Casual, WindowsIzz @ 05:56

Bookworm Adventures

Doesn’t sound like much of a game title, does it? Bookworm Adventures? Boooring.

Actually, that’s not the case. Bookworm Adventures is an addictive wee game developed by Oberon Media and Popcap Games and available from zone.msn.com for $19.95 or as little as $6.95 if you’re on one of the MSN Games Discount Program. Want to try before you buy? Download a free trial and have a look-see.

Gameplay

The aim of the game is fairly straightforward. Beat up the bad guys… by spelling words with the letter tiles provided on the 4×4 board beneath the battle. The longer the word, or the harder (as in, using difficult letters like x and z) the more damage dished out to your opponent. As you progress through the game your damage and health increases, you pick up objects that can give you advantages in certain areas and you earn different colored ‘jewel tiles’ that boost damage and dish out other benefits when used.

Smashed 'em, bro!

You play Lex, a green bookworm in the Great Library, called into action when Cassandra the Oracle, a famous figure of Greek mythology, sends a message through a book. She’s in trouble. Fortunately, Professor Codex, the guardian of the Great Library, has a magic pen that can transport Lex into the pages of the book so he can effect a rescue.

And so he does, or will do, with your help, across three different books, fighting a multitude of literary and historical figures, from Alexander the Great to Dracula.

The game is challenging, particularly as you begin to face higher level opponents. The majority of the game is turn-based, meaning you take a turn to spell a word and attack your opponent, then — if they’re still standing — it’s their turn. If you die you don’t have to start over completely; you just need to redo the level that you died on. At the end of each level there are bosses to battle against.

Within the game, at certain points in your journey you have the opportunity to play mini spelling games against a friendly opponent who rewards you with potions and jeweled tiles. The better you do the more you get. These little games are just as fun and challenging as the main game.

Technical

The graphics are excellent, as is the sound. The animations of Lex delivering a knockout blow are especially good. There’s a fair amount of humor throughout the game too.

There’s no multiplayer option, but there is a host of un-lockable features as you progress, including mini spelling games and, once the main game is completed, an arena battleground where you fight all the bosses you’ve faced. This is not turn-based, but time based. You have a certain amount of time to spell a word (or lots of words) before your opponent attacks. Rinse and repeat until you win, then it’s onto the next one.

An educational game that’s fun to play, and just as fun if you’re already educated.

There are other downloadable add-ons to the game, though none near as large and complex as the first. There are three, which are each chapters in an on-going saga. These will be reviewed all together at a later stage.

Bookworm Adventures

 ★★★★☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Kick butt — with words. The bigger the better. Work that vocabulary

Game: Bookworm Adventures | Developer: Popcap Games

February 24, 2010

A Quarter Quantz

Filed under: Action & Shooter, Arcade & Retro, Paid, Puzzle & Casual, Strategy, WindowsNina S. @ 05:56

The first thing that struck me about Quantz was, hands down, the beautiful graphics. At one point I found myself literally exiting and reentering so that I could watch the play of colors and lights work across my screen like a set of fireworks. It was really inspiring and if I had anymore skill with a paintbrush than a two year old I would doubtlessly find myself tempted to put brush to canvas.

Quantz is an arcade-esque game that takes the bejeweled idea of matching up like colored shapes to get dazzling results and throws it up against a wall. Quantz, instead gives you a little magnetic cube, some shiny and often unreliable marbles, and tells you to attempt to match them up with rockets of light, charges, and gravity. It’s like working a rubix cube that never stops moving.

It’s exhilarating and non-stop and the levels have a nice pick up after the tutorial, letting you get used to the steady stream of information at a reasonable pace. The music kept you in the moments of working and you could easily find your own heart matching the dull throb of the atmosphere while you desperately turn your magnetic rubix cube this way and that in order to try to keep your marbles in a particular group.

While playing Quantz I expected to kind of sit back and use my mouse to work a little puzzle. There are actually, three ways to play the game itself, those being: action, puzzle, and strategy. I, of course, picked puzzle. That being said, even the most laid back option (in my opinion) was a considerable challenge. I found that pointing and clicking wasn’t going to cut it in this game and even without picking strategy each aspect of the game is going to require you to think out your moves accordingly.

That being discovered, I decided it would be best to veer away from my norm and try the other to categories as well and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. Though not usually my cup of tea I had the most fun in the action levels. With such a straight forward game you wouldn’t expect there to be so many different ways to enjoy it but Quantz really went above and beyond my expectations. I loved playing it and would recommend it to anyone who likes these kinds of games. It’s a real must see.

Quantz

 ★★★☆☆ 

Gameplay:★★★☆☆ 
Technical:★★★☆☆ 
A challange born of strategy and puzzles.

Game:

Quantz http://gamerizon.com/games/quantz/ | Developer: Gamerizon http://gamerizon.com/

February 23, 2010

Balloon in a Wasteland

Filed under: Action & Shooter, Free, Macintosh, Other, Windowsmhughes @ 05:56

The scene : You’re out for a pleasant balloon ride when something goes wrong.  Down goes your balloon straight into a wasteland of foul and dark creatures.  To escape, you must repair your balloon.  To repair your balloon, you must survive.

Quite a Pickle, Wouldn't You Say Old Boy?

This is Balloon in a Wasteland.  A simple, yet innovative and clever wave shooter game from Armor Games.  It offers a wide variety of options that add a spark of life that makes it stand above other basic shooter games.

The graphics are simple and monochromatic but that’s just what this game needs.  It sets the theme very well.  The bad guys are blobs of various sizes with some that fly.  Not a lot of variety, but it works.  A basic day/night cycle provides some variety.  Audio-wise, there’s not a lot to it.  Basic sounds and an fine, non-intrusive soundtrack.

You start off with a broken balloon, a top hat, and a simple pistol.  Like all wave shooters, destroying your enemies gives you money that you use to purchase new weapons.  This comes to you by way of a shop keeper that drives past every so often (why you don’t just hitch a ride…).  Other shop keepers bring Forts, Traps, and Turrets.

Forts are among the most important items to gather in BiaW.  It gives you a place to hide where the enemy can’t reach you.  This is both a blessing and a curse.  While in a fort, you can’t shoot but you can’t be damaged.  Take a nap and recover your stamina while letting your turrets do the work.

Shopping Made Fun

Every item can be upgraded as well – two upgrades for each weapon (faster reload, more damage, more clips, etc), three levels of forts, health stations, and repair stations and multiple additions to gun turrets.

Time management between enemy waves is key.  Do you pump up your balloon?  After all, you want to escape.  Or does your fort need repairing or did you get beat up during that last wave?  Might be time to heal.  You can place or move traps around.  Of course, all of this requires stamina so if you have to, a sleep option is available.

With all these options, you can make BiaW go quick (it’s possible to escape before the second day ends) or draw it out as long as you’d like.  There are plenty of achievements possible too.

BiaW’s greatest weakness is that it is simply not that difficult.

In playing it a dozen or more times, I failed only once.  That came when I made the mistake of purchasing a new fort just ahead of a massive wave of enemies.  The old fort was dismantled, leaving me without my turrets or a place to hide.

By the time you’ve gotten to the second row of weapons (especially the assault rifle or chain gun), opponents rarely get past the halfway point of the screen.  And with proper planning, you can easily get these weapons by an early point of the game.  The enemy rarely, if ever, attacked and damaged my fort.  It was an impervious place to hide.   This might change if you let the game play long enough, but I made it through 30+ waves without seeing too much.

Overall, Balloon in a Wasteland is a good game for an hour or two.  It does have a lot of potential and I look forward to seeing what can come of a sequel.

Balloon in a Wasteland

 ★★★☆☆ 

 
Gameplay:★★★☆☆ 
Technical:★★★☆☆ 
A fun game that is otherwise hampered by a lack of difficulty.

Game: Balloon in a Wasteland | Developer: Armor Games

February 22, 2010

Amazing Adventures — The Caribbean Secret

Filed under: Paid, Puzzle & Casual, WindowsIzz @ 14:02

Amazing Adventures — The Caribbean Secret

Amazing Adventures — The Caribbean Secret is the third game in the hidden object Amazing Adventures series, brought to you by Spintop Games. The plan: find a downed Spanish galleon and retrieve its treasure.

Try the game for free or purchase for as little as $6.95 from zone.msn.com, depending on whether or not you’re part of the Discount Program. (Aside: it’s a far better deal to purchase the game from the MSN Games site than directly from the developer’s site. Even without being a MSN Discount Program Member, you’ll still save at least $10.)

Gameplay

Before starting out you can choose which game mode you want to play, either Relaxed or Timed. You can also choose how many hints you’ll be allowed per level. And, if you want to, you can choose Unlimited. Beware, however, because if you use too many hints you’ll start losing points.

How puzzling!

To find the Spanish galleon you’ll need to progress through a whole lot of different settings. At each setting you’ll be given a list of objects to find. Some of the clues are just the names of the objects, but others aren’t so straightforward. Some are cryptic, ‘Opens with Key’ being one example, and some involve actions, ‘Feed the Jukebox’ being an example of that. The action clues require you to pick something up from the scene and deposit it into the other appropriate object. For instance, with the clue just above, I’d need to find a coin, click on it to pick it up and then find a jukebox and click on the jukebox to insert the coin into it.

The controls are simple. When you spot an item from the list, move your mouse cursor over it and click, and the item will be picked up and crossed off from your list. But don’t go around clicking randomly hoping to find stuff. If you click too many times without reward you’ll incur a penalty and lose some points.

Also be on the lookout for skulls on each level. There should be two on each (sometimes you’ll revisit the same level again later, but if you’ve already found the skulls there previously you don’t need to find them there again). Once you’ve found fifty, you’ll unlock two mini-games accessible from the main menu.

Each level has two stages. The first stage is finding all the items listed. The second involves a different type of puzzle. These puzzles range from word-finds to jigsaws to spot the differences (and others). This is a great addition, because it stops the game from becoming too repetitive.

Technical

The graphics are excellent. Each scene is vividly rendered with depth and vibrant color. The music is easy on the ears and there don’t appear to be any in-game glitches.

This is one of the better hidden object-type games I’ve played.

That's one messy ship

Amazing Adventures — The Caribbean Secret

 ★★★¾☆ 

Gameplay:★★★½☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
If you’re into hidden object games and enjoy other types of puzzles, then this one’s for you.

Game: Amazing Adventures — The Caribbean Secret | Developer: SpinTop Games

February 21, 2010

Mini Ninjas

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Other, Paid, Playstation, Windows, XBoxmhughes @ 05:13
Our Hero … Hiro

The story is as old as time – an Evil Warlord has arisen and is transforming the forest creatures into evil minions.  You play Hiro, a young Ninja tasked with saving the world and rescuing your Ninja companions who have gone before you.  Along the way, you’ll be aided in your quest by helpful animals and make use of a wide variety of special Ninja powers.

Coming from IO Interactive, Mini Ninjas is a sharp departure from the more realistic and gritty games the company has made in the past (i.e. Hitman series) but it’s fun and enjoyable.  It does a wonderful job of bringing the world of Japan to life for an audience that is both young and old.

The graphics and art style in Mini Ninjas are excellent.  In many places, it’s downright cute.  Even when kicking their butts, I enjoyed how the enemy samurai bounced around while letting out high pitch chirps and squeals. On occasion though, the camera will suddenly rotate and leave you feeling disoriented.  This didn’t happen too often, but when it did it was disconcerting.  The designers also did a great job in capturing the feel of Japan with the audio and music.

Controls in Mini Ninjas are simple and come down to button-mashing.  You can put together some combos and use Power Moves to vanquish your enemies.  Speaking of vanquishing, the violence is completely cartoon and family friendly.  Defeating your opponents reverts them back into the cute and fluffy wildlife creatures you’ve come to save.

Defeat Your Foes and Release the Forest Creatures

Hiro has a multitude of special powers.  These include Spirit Form which allows you to take possession of nearby animals.  Possessing some animals such as Boars or Bears give you different modes of attack.  Additional powers come in the form of being able to throw Fireballs or Lighting bolts at your enemy.

Along the way, you’ll find flowers and mushrooms that can be collected.  These can be turned into potions or other special items by purchasing recipes.  Crack open jugs and other containers in a Zelda-like fashion to find items such as coins, Smoke Bombs, and Healing Potions. Magical Shrines, hidden throughout the world, give you additional powers.  Need extra health?  Find an apple or cherry tree and shake it until the fruit falls down for you to eat.

As stated earlier – freeing the other captured Ninjas allows you to play them.  One of these is Futo, Hiro’s best friend who carries an enormous hammer and the strength to wield it.  Can’t open a gate?  Try swapping to this brute and knocking down those doors.  Other rescued characters have their own powers and special moves.

Take advantage of Futo's strength for the big guys.

Certain areas will have hints available that you can easily access with the press of a Key.  If you’re feeling lost at any time, simply press E to mediate for guidance.  The method feels a lot smoother and more in-game than pulling up a world map.  Besides – guidance only tells you the direction, not quite how to get there.

There’s even a few mini-games including the ever popular Fishing.  This is done while sitting in your boat (which just so happens to be a large hat that you can paddle about) and using simple mouse controls.  Each time you catch a fish, it’s instantly transformed into Sushi.

Even a Ninja Needs a Break

Mini Ninjas is charming, fun, and family friendly. There’s no co-op play (which would knock this game out of the park) but that doesn’t take away from how much fun it is.  For it’s 8-10 hour length, the game is a bit pricey at thirty bucks, but if you’re looking for some wholesome entertainment, I’d say pick it up.

Mini Ninjas

 ★★★★☆ 

 
Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Charming and family friendly with great graphics and fun game play.

Game: Mini Ninjas | Developer: IO Interactive

February 20, 2010

A Day in the Life of Pollen…

Filed under: Girl's Choice, Other, Paid, Strategy, WindowsNina S. @ 05:02

When I first began Eufloria I must say that I wasn’t expecting much. Reading the synopsis you could be put off. I mean…you’re basically a bunch of pollen particles, trying to save plants in order to help the “growers.” Still, it was a visually pleasing game and it seemed simple enough so I decided to give it a try.

Boy, am I glad I did. Eufloria has so many great, appealing attributes I don’t know where to start. First off, the music is wonderful. It’s soothing but invigorating and I found myself starting up the game, minimizing it, and just listening to that slow strum and drum mixture. Eulforia seems like something you can start up, bang out, and be glad you played it. Fortunately it wasn’t as simple as I thought it would be. Your easy pollen-filled days aren’t as straight forward as you would think and after a few levels of expansion you find yourself with an adversary who can be deceptively cunning. Even if you don’t want to take the game seriously you’ll quickly find yourself doing so anyway. When those bad guys rush one of the colonies you worked so hard to build you’ll be hissing bullets at your computer screen while you work to get it back.

I mentioned before that it was a visually stimulating game and I meant it. It’s simple, straight forward, and it’s not too jammed pack with pointless clutter. I have a problem with graphics, I’m very sensitive and I get headaches and nauseous really quickly. This can be a bummer when I’m really into a game but just can’t handle it for more than fifteen minutes at a time. If you’re like me, never fret. Eufloria is one of those games that give us motion-sickies hope. It doesn’t force us to endure great amounts of dizzying information but at the same time doesn’t take away from the purely aesthetic.

Not only was the game a challenge but I found myself actually connecting with my little pollen pals. I was saddened when one of my colonies was overtaken and filled with the hot, sticky bloodlust that demands retribution. I started Eufloria with just the demo and was sucked in so completely and quickly that I had to buy the full version. I’ve never been happier. I would definitely recommend this to any one who played and enjoyed civilization. It’s something that can mellow you out as well as get you pumped up and I don’t get to claim that too often.

Eufloria

 ★★★★★ 

 
Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
A magical game of subtle conquest and pollenation.

Game: Eufloria http://www.eufloria-game.com/news.php | Developer:  Rudolf Kremers and Alex May

February 19, 2010

Risk

Filed under: Paid, Strategy, WindowsIzz @ 05:02

Feel like taking over the world today, friend?

Risk

The classic game of world domination I’m sure we all played as kids. Claim your territories, set up your armies, attack your neighbors. Games could take minutes or hours, depending on how cautious or aggressive the players were.

Now, Spintop Games, in a licensing agreement with Hasbro, have brought out a PC edition of the old classic, available for a small fee (it’s downloadable from a number of places, so check around for the best deal).

How does it stack up in comparison to the faithful board game?

Gameplay

To be honest, the only differences between this and the board game are the rousing musical score, made up of several battle marches, and the aristocratically British voice that applauds or commiserates your decisions.

And not having to worry about fiddling around with game pieces and laboriously counting your troops to make sure you can actually place a cannon where you think you can means the game moves a whole lot faster. The automatic rolling of the dice does take an element of suspense (and potential for sledging and other gamesmanship) away, but knocking off units from an attacking horde with a tiny defense force still gives a thrill.

I'm a winner!

For those unfamiliar with the board game a tutorial is available while you play, explaining the game process, which is a very simple one.

The computer generals you can choose to play against are given rankings. One star is not very good, four stars is excellent. It is up to you to choose which generals to play against before each game, which means you get to set the difficulty level you want, or even have a selection of great generals and useless generals.

Technical

There’s nothing I can fault technically with the game. There are no fight animations save the dice-rolling, which is just fine, as enacted battle scenes for each dice roll would take up way too much time. Overall the graphics are good, as is the music, and the voice of your aide manages to be entertaining without actually saying anything funny.

Multiplayer

Yes, there is multiplayer capability, which is just chipper. After all, the fun we had playing the game as a kid usually revolved around the people we played it with.

Because Risk is a turn-based game, the multiplayer functionality reflects that. You only need one computer to play it on, and there’s no awkward split keyboard controls. You take your turn, then the next person takes theirs. The only tool needed is the mouse.

If there’s only two of you, no matter. Just add a couple of computer generals to provide some spice. You’d at least need to add one anyway, because the game requires a minimum of three players.

So how does this game stack up to the cardboard version? At least as good, if not better, in this reviewer’s opinion.

It's on. Oh man, it's on!

Risk

 ★★★★¼ 

Gameplay:★★★★½ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Multiplayer:★★★★½ 
Take over the world one country at a time in this computerized version of the classic board game

Game: Risk | Developer: Spintop Games

February 18, 2010

New Methods to an Old Game

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Free, Macintosh, WindowsNina S. @ 05:02

Now I know that I am too much on Playfish’s tail but I can’t help it. They’re an amazing company who really seems to care about their costumers and listens when they have complaints. I mean, just last week they implemented some stupid treants into their Country Story game and after only a day of complaints they removed them. Amazing! Do you know how long it takes some of these other people to remove something broken? A long freakin’ time!

But we’re not here to talk about treants, we’re here to talk about Gangster City. I told myself I wasn’t going to review anything else from Facebook applications but when I see something this amazing I feel it’s my duty to let you guys know about it so that’s what I’m doing. If you’ve ever played Mafia Wars, Vampire Wars, Castle Wars, or pretty much any of the Wars (which are good games, don’t get me wrong. I’m completely addicted to Vampire Wars) this is something you absolutely HAVE to try out.

Gangster City is a revamping of the old click and get idea. In the Wars category you can adventure by clicking on the set option and you get your prizes. Gangster City works under the same general concept but it’s spruced it up a little bit. The other games can get stale after a while if you’re not really into the overall accumulation of points and I believe that they get that crusty over-used feel to them because there’s no real goal. There’s no real storyline. Gangster City fixes that in a jiffy.

Gangster City provides you with an identity behind your daily grind. It still has the feel of a point and click adventure but here you have spiffy music, sound effects, and voice actors to brush away the tedium. You’re a mobster (which you’ve been before) who is out for revenge. The jobs you take aren’t just for the loot (though we all know the loot is pretty sweet) but it’s a step towards an overall goal. You getting your hands bloodied.

The game, though it does get rid of some of the boring same-ole same-old it still has its drawbacks. You still have to wait for your energy to refill but you don’t have to worry about your money getting ganked in those annoying fights. All in all, you get the same experience for less hassle and more enthrall. Sounds like a good trade off to me.

Gangster City

 ★★★★☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Multiplayer:★★★¼☆ 
A point and click game above the rest.

Game: Gangster City http://www.playfish.com/?page=game_gangster_city | Developer: Playfish http://www.playfish.com/

February 17, 2010

Bang! Howdy

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Free, WindowsIzz @ 05:06

Bang! Howdy

If you’re like me and a sucker for the old American Wild West, then you’ll likely love Bang! Howdy. Brought to you by Three Rings Design, this is a very slick Java-based game that features a roleplay style of gaming with semi-turn based missions.

There is multiplayer as well as AI play, and an extensive tutorial that I’d recommend playing before getting into the game proper.

This here's Frontier Town, your main base of operations

Gameplay

The game is, strangely enough, set in the Wild West. You have a chance to do everything from rustle steers to gather gold to fight over land. Once in a mission the aim is fairly simple. Use the units you’ve got to defeat your opponent at whatever the mission is, thus scoring more points than them. To do this involves a combination of killing your opponent’s units to accumulating more of whatever the mission objective is. If it’s a goldrush mission, for example, you’ll need to collect as many gold nuggets as you can, deposit them in your base and guard them from your opponent, while taking as many from him (either from his base or his units) as possible within the allotted time.

Units range from a Tactician to a Dirigible to a Sharpshooter, each with specific strengths and weaknesses. Missions are played in semi-realtime. Once you give a unit an order it will move or attack, but then a few seconds need to pass before the unit can move again. You can give it an order in advance though, which is good.

Death to a unit is only temporary, but it takes some time for them to respawn, so losing a powerful unit early in the mission can be a real setback.

Lookee, the General Store. Upgrade your duds and buy weapons and cards and what-not too

In town, you can visit the Barber’s to set up what your avatar will look like, then you can wander over to the General Store to buy equipment and goodies, if you’ve got enough scrip. After that you might want to head to the Corral to practice with various units, and from there to the Saloon to engage in multiplayer action and improve your ranking. At the Sheriff’s Office you can play against computer players and earn some scrip so you can upgrade your weapons and clothes.

A neat feature of the game is the card system. You find, and can buy, cards that offer improvements to units within a mission. For example, if you equip yourself with a Repair card and use it on your Tactician when his health gets low this’ll put him back to full strength. Other temporary improvements appear on the mission map too. Perhaps a horseshoe appears. Pick it up and the unit that does so will find his range increased until he dies.

There are two towns currently available in the game — Frontier Town and Indian Trading Post — and a third — Boom Town — on the way. These towns offer vastly different missions, units and equipment.

It’s very easy to lose yourself in this game. In fact, each time I’ve played it I’ve become so engrossed that I’ve forgotten to take screenshots. Fortunately the website has a very impressive array, of which I’ve pilfered a couple for this here review.

Technical

Technically the game is very sound. The graphics are excellent, the music and sound effects are good (you can actually purchase specific soundtracks from the General Store too) and there’s no discernable lag or bumps when playing.

Of tiny concern: Google Chrome isn’t fully supported as a browser. It’s possible to play, but not possible to log-in, as your password won’t be recognized. I’m not sure if this is a fault with the game or the browser, but I have noticed it elsewhere with Chrome as well.

Also, to get going you’ll need to download some stuff. This took about ten minutes on my connection, which is middle of the road as far as speed goes. If you’re on a slow connection it may cause problems.

But overall, the game is technically very impressive.

It's all on, pardners!

Multiplayer

This is the most important aspect of the game. To go up in rank, thus unlocking better equipment and personalization features, you’ll need to play against other human opponents. Not to worry, the game is popular so finding matchups in the Saloon shouldn’t be a problem.

You can play up to 4 opponents at a time across a variety of missions, which makes for interesting tactics, as the maps aren’t huge.

Like the rest of the game, there’s not much to fault here either.

Bang! Howdy

 ★★★★½ 

Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Multiplayer:★★★★½ 
Yeehaw! Steal gold from other prospectors, protect your cattle from rustlers, fight varmints just because they’re there. Good times!

Game: Bang! Howdy | Developer: Three Rings Design

February 16, 2010

Simplz: Zoo

Back in 2007, a company called Reflexive Entertainment released a little game called Airport Mania.  For me, the game sucked away many hours of otherwise productive time that I didn’t really miss.  It was that good of a game.  I’ve kept an eye on them, waiting to see what they’d release next.  The result was Simplz: Zoo.

Simplz: Zoo is a dual game of Match-3 puzzles and a zoo simulation.  It starts off quick with a letter saying you’ve inherited a zoo from your grandfather and a lofty goal : to make it the top zoo in the world.  You’ve got your work cut out for you.

The core of the game is the Match-3 puzzles.  It’s pretty simple – match 3 (or more) tokens in a row which allows that row to collapse in a Tetris-like fashion.  It might seem that completing puzzles would get tiresome and repetitious, but that’s not the case in Simplz: Zoo.   Reflexive solved this by merging the puzzles with the expansion and upkeep of your zoo.  Each month, your zoo requires a certain amount of Food and Personnel to operate.  This is based on the number of animals you have and the buildings you maintain.  In order to meet your needs, you have a goal of Food and Personnel matches in the puzzle.  Anything above that earns you extra money or lumber, which can be used to purchase more animals or different buildings to expand your zoo.

Match!

Each new building, in turn, grants you a perk to use in the puzzle.  Adding the Research Center causes a new token to appear in the puzzle – a question mark that when matched grants you research points which are used to research new animals.  Collecting multiple matches repeatedly in a short amount of time earns you Conservation Points.  These are put towards ‘purchasing’ rare animals to use in your exhibits. More animals means more visitors, and a higher zoo ranking.

As the game progresses, more goals are added such as collecting decorations, paths, or freeing animals that can be added to your zoo.  Obstacles are thrown in your way as well, but I won’t give away too much.  If the puzzle isn’t challenging enough, you’re given the option of turning on a timer.

Spending a day at the zoo.

Building the zoo is quite a bit of fun as well.  Laying it out, planning it, and watching people walk through it with little bubbles over their heads telling me their impressions and thoughts was enjoyable.  At the same time, the lack of interaction on this level was disappointing.  I wanted to do more than just build a zoo and stare at it.  I wanted to see my employees walking through the park, feeding animals, or maybe fixing problems that pop up.

The graphics are clean and crisp with a touch of cuteness and the music is light enough that it fades into the background.  It didn’t become annoying or too repetitious, though there is an option to disable it.

Overall, Simplz: Zoo is a great game that can be played by anyone in the family.  It’s addictive, light hearted, and good for plenty of hours of fun.  For only ten bucks, it’s worth picking up.

Simplz Zoo

 ★★★★☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Multiplayer:☆☆☆☆☆ 
Puzzles are fun and challenging with enough variation to keep going.  Building the zoo is a good break from the puzzles.

No multiplayer in the game, thus the 0 rating.

Game: Simplz: Zoo | Developer: Reflexive Inc

February 15, 2010

Crunchball 3000

Filed under: Free, Sport & Racing, WindowsIzz @ 05:37

Crunchball 3000

A cross between ice hockey, American football, rugby and soccer, but with armor.

That pretty much sums up Crunchball 3000, a free java-game developed by Ben Olding Games.

This is very reminiscent of a game called Speedball that used to be available on Amiga. In fact, the developer of this game specifically credits Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe as his inspiration.

The game is set in a future where all forms of sport are outlawed. However, Crunchball gains a huge underground following because people are yearning for the physical sports that used to be played, so the government, in an effort to avoid civil unrest, sponsors a Crunchball League.

Cue our entrance.

Let's break some bones

Gameplay

Crunchball is easy enough to pick up, and the controls are changeable. The aim of the game is to score more goals than your opponent. You do this by chucking a metal ball in the opposition goal. To prevent the other team from doing so you need to tackle them, either by running into them or, when you’re close, pressing the tackle button. If the tackle — an elbow jab or a barge — is successful the player will fall down and lose possession.

Long may the Peacelovers sit atop the table

The action isn’t limited to single games, however. You can play a campaign, where you start off as a Division Four team and attempt to work your way up to champions of Division One. Along the way you’ll be able to spend your winnings to improve your players, both in ability and equipment, and eventually have a force that can fight with any team. You can also buy better players at the end of each season. And unlike today’s sports, drug cheating doesn’t appear to be frowned on. Neither is bribery. Well, actually, if you get caught doing either of those things there’s a stiff penalty, but if you can get away with it… Hey, maybe it’s not much different from today’s sports after all.

Like the old Amiga game, this is surprisingly addictive. Nothing quite like the rush of jarring somebody’s bones, is there?

Technical

The graphics are slick and a nice homage to the particular style of the old Amiga game. The sound gets annoying after a while, but is definitely retro.

Being able to change the controls is a big bonus, and there is also a download available so this game can be played with a joypad.

You are a winner!

The physics are also surprisingly realistic. It’s very difficult to turn on a dime and sometimes when you run into someone wrong you’re the one who ends up on your back. Players have ratings for speed, tackling and passing and these are reflected in the way they carry out these actions.

Apparently, the developer mentions, the game is best played in Firefox.

Multiplayer

While the game does have a multiplayer option, it is limited to two people sharing a keyboard (or, with the download plug-in, two joypads). Unfortunately this means everything’s a little cramped, and exuberant play might end up with you actually elbowing your playing partner. An added touch of realism, perhaps?

But overall, this game is solid, easy to play and a lot of fun.

Crunchball 3000

 ★★★★☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★½ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Multiplayer:★★★½☆ 
Score goals. And hurt your opponents too while you’re at it.

Game: Crunchball 3000 | Developer: Ben Olding Games

February 14, 2010

I don’t mean to burst your bubble…oh wait, yes I do.

Filed under: Arcade & Retro, Paid, Strategy, WindowsNina S. @ 06:36

Osmos strikes me as the kind of game I would have spent roll after quarter roll on in an arcade. It’s simple, straight-forward and wonderfully addictive. With entrancing music, a calming visual scheme, and enough of a challenge to keep me coming back without making me tear my hair out, it’s definitely a game I would recommend to other people.

Also, it fills my monthly quota for cartoon violence, as every time I smash into another bubble and claim its strength as my own I feel a little like Napoleon must have. I have even tilted my head back and let loose an evil laugh once or twice while playing.

In theory the idea behind Osmos can be a little drawing. You basically play as a tiny little lone space bubble. Your goal is to absorb as many smaller bubbles as you can without getting absorbed yourself by an opponent who is bigger than you. I’ll be the first to say that I’m a big fan of casual games. I don’t want anything that’s a breeze, otherwise why waste my time. At the same time I don’t want anything that’s so hard I’ll end up punching a hole in my wall (I’m a terrible rager. It’s not a pretty sight.) Osmos is a perfect example of what that balance should be.

The challenge lies in the game play itself. While you would think it would be fairly easy to push a pretty little bubble around in space you may quickly rethink your opinion. The bubble itself moves as if it’s on ice. It slides coolly, waiting for you to redirect its actions. What makes matters worse, the more you direct your bubble the more of you own precious conquered air pockets you have to let go of. So, if you’re trying to chase down a particularly shiny little morsel you can easily try running it down only to realize halfway there that you’ve become so small that if you collide with it you’ll be absorbed yourself.

All in all this is a game that calls out to you and is easy to get hooked on. It’s got all of the classic elements one needs in order to sit down, start playing, and arise hours later as a starved game zombie wondering what happened. That’s always one of the best ways to know if you’re playing a good game. After all, time flies when you’re having fun, right?

Osmos

 ★★★★½ 

Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Do NOT forget to turn up your speakers here. This game has beautiful music.

Game: Osmos http://www.hemispheregames.com/osmos/ | Developer: Hemisphere Games http://www.hemispheregames.com/

Older Posts »

Home  |  Forums  |  Twitter  |  Dev. Blog  |  About  |  Contact