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Multiplayer Game Reviews
June 30, 2010
Ultimate Chess is, well, a flash chess game. What sets it apart is not so much its robust AI (I am an intermediate on a very, very good day, and I won handily), but rather it’s neato animations between each kill that make the game.
Gameplay is like any flash chess game, no surprises. You click on the piece you want to move and then you click where you want it to go. It won’t let you make moves that aren’t allowed, which is very kind of it. The processor doesn’t take too long to think, which is also nice. One thing that bugs me is when a chess program takes forever to run and then still makes stupid moves.
You have the option to switch sides of the board, which I suppose you could do if you were one move away from checkmate, but you’re not that kind of player now are you?
If you really like losing at chess, open the way black does here.
What really sets this game apart though is the animated kill scenes. Yes, the developer animated a different kill for every possible scenario on the board. The queens are ninja assassins. Bishops have magic. And so on. I think in some weird way he wants you to try to watch all 50 of the animations, but I in no way had the patience for that.
Honestly I felt like the animations break up the flow of the game. Once you have watched the animation, you have the option of skipping it, but it really is a hassle when you know you are in the middle of a sweet combo, and you have to sit there watching two bishops blast each other with blue electricity.
If you feel like running over a cheap flash AI chess game, then this is the game for you. Otherwise, you’re better off playing a real game of chess. With people. Friends. Remember that? Remember the outside world?
Game: Ultimate Chess | Developer: Mo Fun Zone
June 29, 2010
At this point there are more than likely millions of chat rooms and chat sites out in the world of the internet. There are also millions of websites that are for casual gamers who just want to spend a few hours having fun. Maybe there are even thousands of websites that do both and try to cater to both of these audiences, but in all my years of lazily surfing the internet I have yet to find one that does it quite as well as Spogg.com.
Spogg.com hits the nail on the head, mostly in a seemingly effortless fashion. I’m not sure how they managed to create an atmosphere that is at once relaxing and entertaining but they have done just that. Spogg.com is filled with people who like to have fun, who are, for lack of a better word…nice. I know niceness over the net can be kind of a challenge to find. Too often you see people who get into a state of anonymous rudeness that spreads like a dark cloud over a chat room or game room. It’s so easy to be a jerk when you feel you won’t suffer any consequences from doing so. Still, here, in a tiny corner of the internet, there seems to be something in the virtual air surrounding Spogg.com that promotes a general sense of well being and respect.
Now, for the most part, Spogg.com is a game website. That’s what you see when you log on, and that’s how you spend most of your time, but that’s not all it is. There are easy to set up, in depth character profiles available for those individuals who want to communicate with other players. These profiles allow you not only to connect with people who like the same types of games and pastimes as you, it also lets you get to know your opponents.
Maybe it’s just me but for some reason I manage to be a lot calmer when I know who I’m playing against. There is also the added bonus of recognizing the different levels of skill between the players. Whatever their secret is, Spogg.com has a great bunch of people playing their games and the community is only growing. So, if you’re a laidback individual who likes to chat, play games, and make new friends I would strongly suggest making a profile and mingling a little. You’d be surprised how worth your time it can be.
Game: Spogg | Developer: Spogg
June 28, 2010
While lots of games you find that are like this are more of the speed and luck variety, Pop Out is a strategy game on a timer. Which is, surprisingly, not at all the same thing.
In the game you are given a screen filled with little creatures trapped in bubbles. These creatures are called spogglings. The entire point of the game is to set the spogglings free by matching up three or more spogglings of the same color. You can only do this horizontally or vertically and you do so by clicking a single bubble, which moves according to the direction most likely to get you a match up. The only thing is, you can only move those bubbles one space up, down, or right and left, and if the move isn’t going to free at least three spogglings it is invalid and thus doesn’t happen.
Now, Pop Out is on a timer, which is to be expected, otherwise the game would never end. That being said the fact that you have only a certain amount of time pushes you to make better decisions on what to move and how quickly you do so. Your score is accumulated not only by freeing spogglings but also but doing so in a timely manner. The faster and more spogglings you free within a certain amount of time, the higher your score will be.
Now, I liked Pop Out. It was a simple, thought invoking game that was basically played by your lonesome. The multiplayer bit comes at the end of the time limit and it’s a simple comparing of scores, which I’m fine with. You don’t have to rely on anyone else to play and in fact it’s fairly easy to find a room by yourself and play solo, which is what I did because we all know I’m sad and antisocial.
Mostly, this game is one of the more laid back ones on Spogg.com. There is competition but no real drive or push to play any better than you normally would do on your own, unless you’re into that. At the end of all my games I would look at the other players scores, see where I ranked and go “Huh.” I never felt bad for failing to reach as many points as they did but neither was I bored. I just played against my own scores and always shot for something a little higher.
Game: Pop Out | Developer: Spogg
June 27, 2010
I’m a sucker for poetry. Now, when I say that, I mean it, and not in the good way. I’m talking about the kind of sucker who falls for corny one liners and had pages upon pages of the darkest, most disturbing poetry you could ever imagine posted onto her walls all through high school. The kind of sucker who goes to poetry contests and bars where people snap instead of clap. I’ve read everything Mr. Poe has ever written and though I don’t like Shakespeare I am willing to admit that he did amazing things with rhymes. So when I say I’m a sucker for poetry, you guys should know I really mean it.
That gruesome little tidbit shared, you can imagine my delight when I found out that Spogg.com actually has a game called Poetry Panic. I jumped on this game like a starving man on a fillet mignon steak. I was there.
Poetry Panic is a game in which you are given a large amount of words on a “magnetic” board. Your goal is to move those words around a bit until they make a single line of “poetry.” After which, you and your fellow players each vote on the line they liked best and points are distributed based on how many votes the lines get.
Now, back to me. If you’ve followed my reviews up until this point you know I don’t play multiplayer games for one reason: people are stupid. Now, there have been exceptional games, many of them on Spogg.com, which have made me rethink my standing on that well accepted fact. Poetry Panic isn’t one of them.
Besides the fact that hardly anyone who plays this game actually KNOWS anything about poetry, most of them don’t stick to the topic, either. It’s a game comprised of what I can only assume are fourteen year old boys who have just found out what some of the more tawdry euphemisms mean.
I sigh here. I supposed if you just want to goof around and make funny lines that the game may entertain you for an amount of time. I think it’s actually against the rules to make blatantly sexual none relevant lines but I haven’t seen much by moderation. Still, unless the population or the way the game itself is graded changes, I won’t be back on this particular game anytime soon.
Game: Poetic Panic | Developer: Spogg
June 26, 2010
Ah, Scrabble. There have been many new games built around the fundamental greatness that is you. You forced people to broaden their vocabulary and develop some kind of strategic instincts. I love you, Scrabble. I love you a lot.
On Spogg.com Scrabble is called Crosswise, for obvious reasons if you’ve ever played on a Scrabble board. Now, I keep making reference to Scrabble but this game isn’t the exact same thing. As with many of the games on Spogg.com the people at Spogg have managed to take an old favorite and make it surprisingly even better. They continue to amaze me with this, people!
Okay, so, Crosswise is a lot like Scrabble but with a few twists. In their version once it’s your turn you place your tiles on the board but if you try to use a word that doesn’t exist there’s no flipping through the dictionary and arguing: you get penalized. The game isn’t exactly turn based. At any point in time if someone puts down a word that is worth more points than yours, your word basically disappears and that person gets the points.
It can be a very nerve wrecking experience but at the same time it illuminated the prospect of just throwing something down to get a few points when you want to change your tiles. Not in this game! Here you have to think of your every move and try your hardest to get the best out of every time you lay.
When I told my husband about this game (I was like…stupid excited) he said that sounded pretty boring. He played for all of three minutes before he was jumping up and down in his chair either yelling at someone who obviously couldn’t hear him or gloating because he did the same exact thing to them that he was just yelling at them for. Silly man.
Basically, Spogg.com has taken one of my favorite childhood games and made it fast paced and competitive. Don’t worry, you can adjust your level of roaring at the screen by choosing different games and rooms to play in but you get my drift. This game is an absolute must try. If you’re lucky you might even manage to snag a room by yourself where you can practice for a number of rather pathetic hours. Not that anyone here did that.
Game: Crosswise | Developer: Spogg
June 25, 2010
Of all the games on Spogg.com I’ve probably spent the most time in Ooze. A casual bubble popping game, it’s one of the most diverse games of its kind I’ve ever run into. By diverse I mean it brings out a lot of different versions of the gamer that I am with all the different ways to play it.
You see, Ooze can be played easy, medium, or hard. In Hard you are set up against a group of other Ooze players; much like you are in medium and easy but here you can inflict them with your own bubbles when you pop so many. This encourages players to be a little more competitive and it strikes up some interestingly aggressive, but still playful, conversation. At the same time, the easy option allows you to simply play the game and compare your score with other players at the end of the round. I, personally, spent the most time in the medium aspect of the game. In medium you pretty much play the same as you would in easy (without all the competition) but you move at a much more demanding speed, therefore you are challenged more and you typically end up with a higher score at the end…if you can keep up.
I’m not entirely certain if it’s because it’s the game that I spent the most time on or because Ooze is a particularly fun and easy game to master but this is the first one where I actually managed to reach a few of the mastery goals without even trying. They just sort of came the more I played which was extremely nice and rewarding. Still, the best part of Ooze has to be the fact that it was so relaxing. Granted, it can be a little stressful when you play it on Hard, but maybe that’s just because I’m an insane person who must, at all times, be the best at everything…yeah, that’s probably it. While playing on easy the game is slow yet rewarding, challenging but not yet frustrating. It’s all about the score and if you don’t manage to pop enough bubbles and your lines make it all the way to the top all you really miss out on is time and anything you would have gotten in that stack if you had been fast enough. There’s no game over, no real loss: it’s just your score that suffers.
This is a game anyone can play.
Game: http://www.spogg.com/| Developer: Spogg — http://www.spogg.com/pages/about.php
June 24, 2010
Planet Noevo is definitely a game you are going to want to play if you have too much free time on your hands or if you have called in sick for the day.
The game is a campaign style strategy game. You find yourself on an alien planet with some ammo and only the wide terrain giving you some mercy from the constant attack of alien life forms.
You can play this game in one of two ways. The campaign, or story mode, is much more long winded and requires you to complete various levels in set amounts of time over a certain number of days. The other way you can play is through arcade mode. This is simple a ‘see how long you can survive for’ setting.
Explore the complex terrain
You are well advised to pay attention to the tutorial at the start of the game. Unlike many games, Planet Noevo has about a million and one things on the screen that you need to pay attention to in order to be successful as you go through each level.
Controlling the game is actually quite simple because all you need to do is use the keyboard to move and the mouse to aim and fire. The trick is paying attention to everything else which is going on around you, and using the little resources you have to your advantage.
The soundtrack works for the game too. If you like a bit of upbeat and funky techno then you will definitely be into this. It keeps the game moving and may well make you play for a few extra minutes once you start to get a bit bored of your online gaming world.
There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this game and it’s enjoyable for much longer than many online games are. Don’t be fooled by the small spider like aliens in the early rounds because once you up the ante and the levels, there’s a surprise or two waiting.
Game: Planet Noevo http://www.addictinggames.com/planetnoevo.html | Developer: Armor Games http://armorgames.com/
June 23, 2010
If you read my Bad Pussy review you know that I like games like this one. You use the pause and play buttons to set up the board. Do you remember that old game Mouse Trap? Yeah, you have to create this little plastic fun town where everything is connected and affects one another in a way to close a trap around this poor little plastic mouse. Well that’s what you’ll be doing in this adventure down memory lane. Sound familiar? Well don’t get too hung up on the similarities. Eets is something completely new because of the way they implement all of the changes. Like having canned soup versus homemade…it’s got the same things in it but you can taste the difference.
At the very core of Eets it’s a strategy game. You use whales, emotions, and physics to basically create a machine that will capture your target puzzle piece. The puzzles themselves get harder at a nice gradual curve and you’re allowed to get use to every new piece of the puzzle before you are forced to use it practically.
The art style in Eets is wonderful. It’s playful and bright, as whimsical as it is practical. This is an upbeat kind of game and the music and art is exactly what you would expect for something like that. It makes you want to bounce in your chair, humming Nickelodeon songs. I hate Nickelodeon almost as much as I hate Nick Jr., but I was into this game.
For those reasons alone I would say this is also a game that would be wonderful for children. It’s a wonderful example of cause and effect, there’s a valuable lesson to be learned here about how your actions change the outcome of everything else. You’re working on some kind of goal and you have to physically connect the dots.
All in all, I enjoyed this game even though I’m sort of saying that it’s a good match for children. I suppose I should be saying instead that it’s a good family game. It’s for one player, but I suppose if you wanted to you could figure out a way to play it as a group. It would make a great addition to family game night and if you’re just a lover of puzzle games it is good for that too! Either way, enjoy yourself. I did.
Game: Eets – http://www.eetsgame.com/news/index.php | Developer: Klei Entertainment — http://kleientertainment.com/
June 22, 2010
HQ. Go ahead. Buy something!
Do you like Warhammer 40k? Do you like strategy games but you like to take it step by step? Well Chroma Wars may just be the game for you. Chroma Wars takes place in a dystopian future where mech warriors and warlocks fight side by side.
You are a guy in charge of a bunch of mercenaries. In your home screen you can purchase new guys, upgrade and revive your old guys and prepare for your next mission. The missions are where the game is played.
You will be using your mouse almost exclusively for this game. Each guy you have has a chance to move and then attack. Some guys have hand to hand attacks, some have ranged. There is also magic, which can be used to attack, and you can also heal with it as well. After you take your turn, then the enemies take their turn. Who goes first is determined by initiative. I have no idea how that is calculated. But, there are some times when it is better for the other guys to attack first.
You get money and “chroma” (I guess this is another form of money), that allows you to upgrade your units once you have finished the mission. What is also cool is that you are given primary and secondary objectives, where you finish the mission by completing the primary objectives, but you get more moneys if you complete the secondary objectives.
This is a very well designed game. There were a couple glitches. For example if you want to view your objectives during a mission, you cannot scroll. Also, I had to redo a really tough level because the game froze when I was trying to save. Major pain.
However, all told this game has incredible aesthetics. I don’t really get the scale of the pieces though. In the map, the mountains are as big as the pieces. Oh well. However, the whole thing has that whole grungy, Fallout-esque feel to it.
Make sure you have time to kill when you start this game. I got addicted, and it started to take over my brain as I had to constantly re-evaluate my strategy.
Game: Chroma Wars | Developer: Age Of Games
June 20, 2010
Enter this creepy temple and put your puzzle-solving skills to the test.
Magic Orbs is an adventure puzzler that has you take the role of an aged monk-looking dude whilst exploring a creepy temple and collecting glowy spherical things. Orbs, to be exact, and they’re magical. Grabbing an orb from a pedestal will cause some doors in the temple to open and some to shut (these doors are marked with the color of the orb that activates them.) There is a catch here: your monk, or wizard, or whatever he is only has two hands, so he can only hold two orbs at a time. You will have to decide which orbs to pick up, and where to place them down your hands are full.
You had better solve these puzzles quickly or else you'll end up like Mr. Skeleton over here.
It seems like such a simple formula would result in a very limited and repetitive experience, but Magic Orbs manages to mix it up enough to bring a solid amount of levels that continue to feel fresh as you progress through the game. Some of these levels will keep you scratching your head for quite a while before you finally figure out how to get to the end. And sometimes a level will contain a treasure chest that you can loot, which will usually require you to go out of your way and work your brain even more.
The creepy-ish music adds a lot to this experience; it has a cartoony, almost Casper the Friendly Ghost vibe to it. It compliments the visuals perfectly.
And visuals. Let’s talk about these. This game has a look sort of similar to Wild Arms, that old PlayStation 1 RPG. And I loved that game. So I was drawn into the world of Magic Orbs from the minute I started playing. I really like the old school look, detailed with bookshelves, weird tables full of glowing potions, and the occasional skeleton of a poor soul who didn’t quite make it to the end.
Magic Orbs is an experience full of puzzles, old school visuals, and, of course, orbs that are magical. It has enough levels and is challenging enough that you won’t just breeze right through this one.
Some levels have bonus treasure chests to loot.
Game: Magic Orbs | Developer: iLegendary
June 19, 2010
Glory of Fellowland
Glory of Fellowland is an online MMO that is broswer-based. Set in a middle-ages like area, you build up your village into (hopefully) an empire, by any means necessary.
The development portion of this game is pretty straightforward, if a bit slow. You cultivate various areas of resource production, while expanding your population. At some point, you build an army, but that is complicated.
You have 3 different races that you can choose from (definitely go with human for your first run, definitely), each with their own characteristics. What is really cool about this game is how the game guides you through your first couple days. With most other browser based games, you are on your own to dig up a guide or something like that, but in this, like in Travian, it tells you what you should be doing the first couple days, and gives you prizes when you accomplish them.
Your experience is somewhat guided by taking on quests, but again, after you have developed your village to a certain point, it’s up to you.
Nice Dragon, where did you get it?
I really thought this game was clunky at first. But then I got over it. Because it is unbelievable how many options this game has. Fighting is part of it. Diplomacy is part of it. SPYING is part of it. Trading is part of it. There are so many paths you can choose, it really sets itself apart from other MMO’s that focus on fighting and diplomacy.
Co-operation is critical to success in this game. In fact, the game is set up so that if you want, you can have your friends make decisions on your behalf while you are gone. This game is pretty slow to start off with. For example, in AstroEmpires, you would build your first building in ten minutes. In Glory of the Fellowland, it takes an hour. However, you don’t have to build nearly as many buildings.
This game may set a new standard for browser-based MMO’s. It is slowly paced enough in the beginning so that it is easily digestable, and it does not slow down for even the most experienced player. It’s free for the basics, but then you have to pay to upgrade to the higher level buildings and units. There’s no one path to victory. Choose your own destiny to become a historical figure.
Game: Glory of the Fellowland | Developer: Feeltainment Ltd.
June 18, 2010
Now, I know I’m a little behind in the times (a little, ha!) so forgive this review. I’m actually going to review all three of them, just in case there are people like me out there who have indeed been living under a rock.
So, this is the third of three reviews I will title “The Rooms.” Many of you probably already know what I’m talking about based on the simple fact that I love these kinds of games and didn’t even realize these existed, but no matter.
My first thought when I started up White Chamber was…wow, music! I thought for sure that this game would be a little more upbeat than the last two. I was enjoying myself but my brain was throbbing from all the thinking required to beat the last two!
My second impression was sort of a…”huh.” I have to admit, the mechanics for the game were much of the same but at the same time they were presented in a more high tech, clean line fashion. I was a little unnerved when a guy stuck his head out from the window but other than that, so far I was flying high.
Now, unlike with the other games I wasn’t really sure of what I was supposed to be doing until the very end. Instead of trying to get out of a room or to help a skeleton person the goal of this game is to fix a motorcycle to enable your escape. I’m not sure if you guys can tell from my writing, but this game really didn’t impress me as much as the last two.
I just found out that these games are called “logic” games. That’s a nice term for it, better than what I usually call them anyway. The thing is…there’s really not much logic to this game. You have this weird bike and these clues that don’t make any sense as well as solutions that don’t make sense. They give you information and then it does a flip flop and that information is no longer good.
I don’t know, it’s just…meh. I liked the game, it was alright, and I would say play it if you want to, but don’t expect to be as wowed by this one as you were the last two. It was nice but kind of a let down in comparison.
Game: The White Chamber | Developer: Fasco
June 17, 2010
Now, I know I’m a little behind in the times (a little, ha!) so forgive this review. I’m actually going to review all three of them, just in case there are people like me out there who have indeed been living under a rock.
So, this is the second of three reviews I will title “The Rooms.” Many of you probably already know what I’m talking about based on the simple fact that I love these kinds of games and didn’t even realize these existed, but no matter.
Now carrying the shiny new title of “Escaper” you are moved from one room to the other. If you thought you were free when you escaped the Crimson room you were wrong. Now you are stuck in the Viridian Room!
I was…wary, while I was playing the Crimson Room. Besides the sudden bursts of sound when you found something the heavy silence was probably the scariest part of the game. That being said my first reaction to the Viridian Room was that it was much creepier. The music was somehow heavier and more ominous. The creepy skeleton didn’t help matters in the slightest.
Even worse was the terrifying warped message you get when you try to leave the Viridian Room. Now, I know I’m a little bit of a pansy but I can’t be the only one who had to take a little break after that. That was probably the creepiest thing I’ve ever heard.
At first I worried if this game, like so many amazing games from Japan, would lose something in the translation. Some of the first things you find are Japanese characters on papers and I, being someone too lazy to actually learn Japanese, worried I would miss out because I didn’t know what they said.
I will say this. Escape the Crimson Room was a challenge. This game, however, was all but impossible. The creators of the game really stepped it up here. I was amazed at how long it took me to get everything and how complicated the traps and tricks were. I’m very impressed.
Game: Viridian Room | Developer: Fasco
June 16, 2010
A common battlefield.
In Pixel Legions you are locked in battle against a mass of pixels. You also control pixels. Throughout 20 levels you have to outmaneuver your opponents to control the playing field. It’s pretty simple really.
You have a home base. You win when your home base is the last one standing. You lose when your home base is destroyed. Here’s a fun fact that took me a while to realize, you can move your home base. Your base outputs a certain number of pixels every couple of seconds, which you can then control.
Control is pretty easy. You click on the mass of pixels that you want to move and then you click where you want them to move. In addition, you can hold down the mouse and draw a line and the mass will follow the line that you have just made. Pretty cool.
There are a number of power ups that you can run into. These are level specific. For example, some of them are portals. Some of them increase the attack power of your pixels.
My guys will follow that line to the ends of the ... screen.
What I really like about this game is how you are on an equal playing field with the computer opponents. Your home base pumps the same amount of pixels out at the same rate as the other guy. Your pixels are in no way stronger or weaker than the other guys’. The only thing that separates you from victory is your ability to outmanoeuvre and overwhelm the opponent’s home base.
There are definitely tactics to this game. You generally want to put yourself in a situation where you can always be outflanking the opponent. Also, if there are multiple bad guys on the field, just let them duke it out until you can come in and clean up the scraps.
If there was one thing that I didn’t so much care for, it is that if you left the game, but you came back to it, you can’t just replay the last level that you lost. You have to replay the last one that you won and then you can advance to the next level. This can be a hassle if you are constantly closing the window where you are supposed to be working.
Really fun game. The AI is decent, and there were some times where I was really just taken over by the enemy. This is mouse heavy, so if you have a trackpad, this may not be the game for you. Definitely good brain exercise though. Thinking is just as important as reflexes.
Game: Pixel Legions | Developer: Fast Games
June 15, 2010
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Cobra City is one of the more upbeat little shooting games you are likely to find on the internet.
This game has a lot going for it, starting with its pure simplicity, which could have equally worked against it. The game sees you controlling a helicopter, which slowly floats over a certain area. All you have to do is aim your mouse at each enemy and click to fire away.
The control is remarkably good, which you may not expect from a game so simple. Fortunately there are no confusing keyboard controls, you literally just have to move your mouse around and fire.
Upgrade at the end of each level
As you complete each level, more and more enemies will start appearing to make your life much more difficult. You will get hit from all sides but you have to be aware of this and use the mouse to dodge accordingly.
There is the handy feature of being able to upgrade various components of your helicopter after you have reached the end of each level. Upgrading the engine will allow you to dart around more quickly while upgraded the weapons will allow you to shoot more intensely.
If you’re looking for a quick way to pass the time then it’s difficult to find anything wrong with this game. There is a mute button in the bottom left hand corner so you can turn off the soundtrack if you find it annoying.
Use the environment around you as help
The only slight drawback I found with this game is the fact that it takes a while for your target cursor to reposition if you try and move it very quickly. This is very annoying in the later rounds when you are trying to blast multiple enemies at once.
However, there is a way around this. All you have to do in the later rounds is take out aspects of the environment, which will help you to eliminate more than one target at a time. Once you have got the hang of that you will be flying through the later levels like there’s no tomorrow.
A great little game and one to keep an eye on. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if there will be a second version.
Game: Cobra City http://www.addictinggames.com/cobra-city-game.html | Developer: Addicting Games http://www.addictinggames.com/index.html