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November 30, 2010

Vertical Drop Heroes

Filed under: Action & Shooter, Adventure & RPG, Free, WindowsJosh @ 05:31

Should the thief rescue the mage, or just leave him be?

Vertical Drop Heroes is a game about falling. Unlike most other platformers, there’s only one way your character can travel, and that’s down. As long as you are going that direction, you may as well rescue prisoners, kill bad guys, and collect treasure. right? Of course!

The ultimate goal is to rescue five princesses. Each is in a cage at the bottom of a castle level, and is guarded by a deadly (but usually cute) boss. But don’t worry. You have plenty of help. The game features various classes (most of which will be familiar if you’ve ever played a Warcraft game.) There’s the Paladin, Mage, Ranger, Thief, and Barbarian. Every time you rescue a prisoner from a cage, you become whatever class that prisoner is. For example, a Thief that rescues a Mage will become a Mage. (You start each round as a generic “class-less” character.)

Each class has various relics that can be equipped togrant various abilities (and change the appearance of the characters) which are earned by completing levels. Even if you lose all three of your lives, these relics carry over from round to round. So the more you play, the more play-style options you have. And another cool little quirk is that you can collect masks, which are wearable by your starting character.

Cause I'm freeeeeeeee! Free fallin!

Vertical Drop Heroes features music and graphics which are completely adorable. However, it suffers from one flaw serious enough to knock its rating down a notch. The levels are randomly generated, which is a cool concept. But it means that often your character will get stuck in places that are literally impossible to get out of. For example, a few times I got stuck on bosses with my Paladin because he was unable to jump high enough to deal any damage. Other times, I found myself stuck in a U-shape alcove with my Barbarian, who couldn’t jump out. And once I even made it to the final princess only to find her cage covered by a spike block. There is a workaround, but it’s somewhat annoying. If you get stuck, you are allowed to exit the level without penalty.

There is a two-player cooperative mode, but it feels tacked on. And it’s annoying having to share a single keyboard between two players. Personally, I would have liked to see co-op mode function online instead of offline.

Vertical Drop Heroes is a phenomenal game that unfortunately suffers from one game-breaking flaw. If you can forgive the random impossible situations, then you’re in store for hours of fun.

Elf Ranger vs the Putrid Pig.

Vertical Drop Heroes


A free-falling adventure.

Game: Vertical Drop Heroes | Developer: Nerdook

November 29, 2010

MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction

Watch out for that Missile!

MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction

I am not usually a fan of playing ‘remixes’ of old classics. MAD is an exception. In short, you’re about to experience a slick ‘Missile Command’ upgrade with awesome graphics, music and a new upgrade system.


This is Missile Command. I am not going to tell you how to play it. In fact, there is a comprehensive tutorial that lasts all of two steps. That’s the mark of a great game. It is simple to explain.

As you blow up missiles, you get resources. These, naturally, can be spent on upgrades. What sort of upgrades? You ask. Well, see those buildings that surround you? They each have a special talent. Some provide extra firepower. Others provide time slowing capabilities.

On top of that, you can spend resources to upgrade your missile refresh rate or increase your shields. Spend your resources wisely. Things get hairy fast. Like your Mom.



The aesthetics have been drastically improved. First, I left the music on. It is awesome and really adds to the dystopian feel. It is orchestral with weird choral stuff over top of it. Yeah, it gets repeditive, but that is the whole point of this game. You have to get really good at doing the same thing over and over.

The graphics are swell too. The missiles are well rendered, and your buldings are really cool looking. Your HUD is very grungy but clean at the same time. That’s basically what the future is going to be like, basically.

Very clean, very pleasing to the eye. There’s no background in the sky, so all you have to worry about is blasting missiles out of the sky.

Final Verdict

There’s something about Missile Command. Old school games truly tested your skill. How? You got one simple task, and your job was to perform it perfectly. Many have called Missile Command ‘the perfect game’ because you must plan ahead by conserving ammo, but it also relies on your dexterity.

MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction


Missile Command 2.0

Game: Mutually Assured Destruction | Developer: Kongregate

November 28, 2010


Filed under: Other, Paid, Puzzle & Casual, XBoxNina S. @ 05:00

I am crazy for all things Japanese. Really, it is kind of sad and a lot of creepy according to my friends. So, when I saw a nifty game that promised to show me not only a little Japanese but to teach me how to tell the difference between various types of sushi, I jumped at the chance to play it.

My first impression was that the game has a real authentic feel. It starts with a burst of Asian music that immediately puts you in the mood for sushi. Or sumo wrestling, one of the two. The art style is also very indicative of Asian art, which only furthers the feel of the game.

Game play itself is actually much like the first impression. You are presented with a particular person who has set likes for sushi. With the help of a hovering hand, you have to catch the kind of sushi that your costumer will like. There is also a set of sushi that the costumer asks for in particular. Each kind of sushi is worth so much money and getting the right kinds increases your costumer satisfaction.

In the end, your score is based on both the satisfaction and the money (or points) that you manage to rack up. The better your choices and your knowledge of sushi, the better your overall score.

The game comes with a list of sushi types. This can help you make your sushi choices better but it is not really all that necessary to play and enjoy the game. You can just play via trial and errors and still have a good time.

I enjoyed this game and could recommend it to anyone who liked games like Diner Dash or Speed. The game starts out slowly and as you get used to the pace it starts to speed up, offering different sushi choices as well as pickier costumers. It is the kind of game that is technically a one player but you can still play with a group of friends. A little shouting, a little pointing, and a few “you missed it!” accusations and this could be game night.



Sushi for the masses!

Game: Sushido | Developer: kohei

November 27, 2010

Neptune’s Pride

Filed under: Free, Linux, Macintosh, Strategy, WindowsHeath @ 05:32

Spheres of Influence

Neptune’s Pride

Pew pew pew! You’re in outer space! You have to take over stars! You get to build bases and upgrade sciences!


If you are in the market for some fast paced space blasting action, then this is not the game for you. If you want to test your notions of strategy, diplomacy and space battles, then definitely check this game out. It takes place in a galaxy, and it is your job to take over half of the stars.

It is supposedly takes place in real time, but it takes around 16 hours to get to the closest star, so you have that to worry about. It all takes place in a browser window, so you can check in several times a day and see how things are going.


Like with most of these things, you have several options to upgrade: Technology, Economy and Industry. Obviously the lower the level, the cheaper it is.

You move fleets to different planets. If there is an opposing fleet there, a battle ensues. Battles are heavily weighted towards defense. Keep that in mind.

That’s pretty much it.


There are a lot of these browser space adventure games out there, but this one is way better for a number of reasons. First, the graphics are awesome. It’s all point and click, and it looks great. Second, it’s easy to join. In the others, there’s a universe that has been around for like 10 years, and if you join the party late, well, you’d better hope you can find a good alliance.

Each game is played until the universe is over. This is great because you have something to work for.

Not only is this game technically flawless, it is constantly updated. I’ve only been playing it for about a week, but according to old people it is a completely different game since the beginning.


Seriously, this game is all about the diplomacy. You have to be a good negotiator to win this game. Message frequently. Message often. That, in my opinion, makes for a great multiplayer game.

Final Verdict

Awesome, awesome game. It will take over your life though. So be careful.

Neptune’s Pride


Command a Space Alliance!

Game: Neptune’s Pride | Developer: Ironhelmet

November 26, 2010

Final Ninja Zero

Filed under: Action & Shooter, Arcade & Retro, Free, WindowsJosh @ 07:49

If he didn't have stealth abilities, he wouldn't be a ninja, now would he?

Quite some time ago, I reviewed a game called Final Ninja. (If you never read the review, you can do so here.) It was a fantastic retro-style platformer with a lot of ninja action. Well, it appears there is a prequel. Final Ninja Zero takes place forty years before the events of the first game.

This round, Takeshi is fresh out of combat academy and is embarking on his first mission. Oh yeah, and apparently he works for a huge corporation. But I suppose he’s too young to know better.

This prequel uses the exact same control scheme as the original. This is actually a good thing; there’s no need to fix controls that aren’t broken. However, Takeshi has some new tricks up his sleeve (which oddly he must have forgotten about sometime during the forty years that take place between these two games.) Remember those nasty mines that floated around and exploded when you got too close to them? This time, Takeshi can take control of them. Yeah, that’s right, you get to fly giant explosive devices around, destroying generators and blowing your enemies to bits. It’s great fun! Another new trick is the ability to take on the appearance of mad scientists for twenty seconds at a time. You can just scoot on past all the lasers and bad guys; no one’s going to attack a mad scientist in his own lab!

Argh! Snipers!

Of course, the enemies have some new tricks as well. While the snipers in the first Final Ninja game weren’t all that tough, this time they are robotic. They have infrared sensors (so Takeshi can’t use stealth to dodge them) and they have a much improved range. These things will relentlessly follow you all the way through an entire level if you neglect to take them out right away.

All of these little extra touches ensure that you won’t feel like you are playing the same game over again.

And if you are worried about the difficulty level, don’t worry. Final Ninja Zero is at least almost as hard as the original. I still found myself swearing at my computer time and time again.

Final Ninja Zero takes the formula that works so well for its predecessor and adds some nifty bells and whistles. If you enjoyed Final Ninja, then this prequel is not to be missed.

What's worse than evil scientists? Clones of evil scientists!

Final Ninja Zero


A prequel to the sweet ninja action Flash game.

Game: Final Ninja Zero | Developer: Nitrome

November 25, 2010

Drunken Masters

Filed under: Free, Linux, Macintosh, Puzzle & Casual, Simulation, WindowsHeath @ 05:35

Is that George Bush?

Drunken Masters

Ever felt like being the bartender, but aren’t suave enough or you don’t have enough piercings? Well this game lets you experience it without the sticky floors but with all the angry patrons.


You will only need your mouse for this one. When you start, all you will see is the front of a bar. If this is your first time playing, some dude will help you out. Do not skip his advice. Also, major props to the guys who created the walkthrough because it is very difficult to skip over the necessary information, something I am very good at doing.

The crux of the game is that someone comes up to the bar and orders a drink. Then you have a limited amount of time to prepare the drink. You’ll know how much time you have because there’s a red bar. If you don’t get them the drink in time, you’ll have to comp them a VIP pass, of which you have two per round.

Love the clientele.

So how to prepare a drink? Well, you drag the constituent ingredients together. So, if someone orders a beer, you drag a beer into their hands. If someone orders a screwdriver, you have to drag orange juice and vodka together and then put it into the arms of your customer.

If you thought that this sounds like it could get very complicated, very quickly, you are correct. It taxes the mind and the body.


This game chews hardware. If you have a slower computer, you may have trouble. But, luck is on your side, because you can slow down the requirements. If your computer can handle it, man this is a smooth game. I mean any game that has intense mouse-only interface is going to be. There are lots of babes that want drinks, and you have to keep track of all the different types of booze.

Final Verdict

Fun game. Good soundtrack. Great graphics.

Drunken Masters


Serve Electronic Booze

Game: Drunken Masters| Developer: Danny Seven

November 24, 2010

U Want Cookie?

Filed under: Arcade & Retro, Paid, XBoxNina S. @ 05:35

Besides the obvious fact that I completely hate the title there’s really no reason for this game choice. I was drinking a glass of milk when I noticed it and thought to myself “Yeah, I would like a cookie.” Thus the magic that is me playing U Want Cookie? was created.

Now, U Want Cookie? is only a dollar on the Marketplace. Still, I wasn’t willing to put up some of my hard earned cash on it without a trial run. Sometimes I do, this wasn’t one of those times and I can’t really say I’ve revisited the decision. U Want Cookie? has a lot of good points. I asked my husband if the graphics were “8-bit” and he responded with a clever “Maybe not even that.” I hope that gives you an idea of the charmingly simple visuals for U Want Cookie? are. Not in a bad way, I thought it was nice.

The music in this game was pretty sweet too. It really fit in with the art style of the game, something simple but nice. Another nice thing about the game was the fact that it was pretty much self explanatory. You get cookies. You stay away from mines. It really wasn’t hard to understand.

Unfortunately that’s where the fun stopped. Now, maybe this game won’t be as frustrating to other players as it was for me but for whatever reason I just couldn’t seem to get it down. I kept being pushed into mines and being reminded of the fact that my hand-eye coordination is pitiable. I ended up with a huge headache and none of the warm fuzzies I usually have after playing a game.

In addition (as is my new usual motif) I have to say something to all of our light/color sensitive gamers. I’m not really sure what it was about this game but my eyes were really strained by it as well. Maybe it’s because of the black and white blocks, maybe it was the crying because it took me forever to get past level three. Whatever it was, be careful when you play it.

All in all, I think this was a good enough game. It might have been a little too difficult for my level of gaming experience but it was still worth giving a try. If you like top down games this will make you happy. Well, that and if you just really, really like the virtual cookie.

U Want Cookie?


What we wouldn’t do for a cookie.

Game: U Want Cookie?| Developer: AxB

November 22, 2010

King of Shapes

Filed under: Free, Other, Puzzle & Casual, Strategy, WindowsJosh @ 05:14

Everyone seems so happy in this game. Those are fake smiles though. You don't want to upset the King of Shapes. He's a weird dude.

This guy looks nice, but he's actually a jerk. Screw the King.

King of Shapes is a puzzler in which you must perform tasks at the behest of the King of Shapes. And he’s into some really weird stuff. He wants you to place different colored shapes above a certain line. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, once your shapes are above the line for three seconds, this jerk suddenly wants them put into the dishes that correspond with their colors. Yeah, there’s definitely something a little off about the King of Shapes.

In order to complete your strange and pointless tasks, you are given an assortment of… wait for it… shapes! Some of these shapes are made of wood, and some are made of cement. You can click the wooden ones to make them disappear after the three seconds are up. Most of the puzzles require players to position the wooden pieces in such a manner that they can be removed to drop the colored shapes into the proper dishes. Sounds easy, right? Well it actually is. None of these puzzles are very hard. In fact, you’ll probably blow through all 25 puzzles in ten to fifteen minutes.

Normally I love these cheesy shape-based puzzlers. I mean, Red Remover was a game I got very excited about (and I reviewed it here.) But King of Shapes just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe it’s just the King himself. He’s such an enigma to me. What is his motivation? How did he acquire such a strange fetish for shape placement? These are the questions I’d like to see answered.

King of Shapes is sort of fun for maybe ten minutes or so. But it’s way too easy. And I’m extremely distracted by how pointless the objectives seem. Or maybe I just don’t appreciate being bossed around by a smiling purple pentagon. Yeah, a pentagon for crying out loud! He’s not even a normal shape like a square or a triangle or something. So try this one if you absolutely adore shape puzzlers. Otherwise, you’re not missing too much if you skip it.

Keep the shapes above the line for three seconds. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I messed this one up. Stupid King.

King of Shapes


Perform weird tasks to please the King of Shapes. He’s a bastard. Deal with it.

Game: King of Shapes | Developer:

November 21, 2010

Axel & Pixel

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Paid, Puzzle & Casual, WindowsNina S. @ 05:16

Every once in a while I’m so pleased by a game that as soon as I’m finished playing it I immediately turn around and play it again. It’s like reading a good book for me (and if any of you could see my library you would know how insanely awesome that is), it makes me feel good about life and fun and happiness. Axel & Pixel was one of these rare gems and I’m so glad that I have the chance to share my joy with you guys.

Axel & Pixel has an interesting story and you guys know how that gets me. It’s simple and you aren’t reminded of it with annoying frequency but you do get a feel for the fact that you are working towards a goal, no matter how obscure that goal may be. In Axel & Pixel you play as a painter and his dog who find themselves trapped in the gorgeous (and dangerous) world Axel has created with his artwork. This is really an artists game, beautiful and fun.

In addition to being a kind of adventure game this is also a puzzle game, which is why I wanted to play it in the first place. The puzzles range widely in their difficulties and while they’re challenging it’s not really the kind of game that is built to be AGAINST the player. You never get the sense that the puzzles are evil monsters trying to keep you from your goal. Instead they make sense and only add to the fun of the game.

Another great point to this game is that it’s got a funny feel. It’s not hilarious in the sense that it tries to hard but even when you’re not laughing out loud you feel cheered by having interacted with Axel and his furry companion. I personally found myself actually caring about them on a deeper sense than “I need this person not to die so I can make it to the end of the game.” I wanted him to get where he wanted to go.

All in all, I would recommend this game to just about anyone. It was fun, uplifting, and it made me happy with it’s lively characters, lovely artwork, and charm. It is most definitely worth the five bucks and honestly I probably would have paid more for the quality it offers. This game was just awesome.

Axel & Pixel


A picture perfect puzzle.

Game: Axel & Pixel | Developer: Silverwish Games

November 20, 2010

Balloons Super Monkey

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Free, Macintosh, Other, Windowslewiscsdoe @ 05:19

Few games on the internet are admired for their sheer madness and ability to make you smile. I feel like Balloons Super Monkey is one of these games.

There is no sensible pattern behind the game or strategy over how to play it. It’s just pure fun on your screen for as long as you care to play the game. It really is quite simple, pop as many of the balloons as you can in as short a time as possible.

The control is easy. You just have to use your mouse. Move the mouse around to pop different balloons and slowly get all of the bonuses, which will unlock a whole host of cool features.

Madness on a screen

These bonuses will give you extra objects, which will help you to pop more balloons. The more balloons you pop the more stages you complete and eventually it will mean you are king of the, well, a balloon filled sky.

This game has so much going for it. It does not appear boring. The colours and madness of it draw you in from the very first time you start to play the game. You become transfixed by the task of having to pop the balloons.

This quickly helps you to forget how illogical the game actually is. By this time though, you don’t really care. You will be off and running, trying to beat the high scores and your own personal records.

Pick up random items for special bonuses

There is even a pretty decent soundtrack put over the top of the game. It illustrates everything in the game perfectly. This could so easily have gone wrong because if the music and the game clash, it would have just made it awkward.

This is a very good game and keep an eye on it. It may well result in a second attempt, which is likely to be even madder than this version is. The developers have done well and this could become a cult hit.

The only slight draw back of the game is that it can get a little boring once you have got the hang of the game and what’s going on. If there is a second attempt, the developers have to throw something unexpected in to keep gamers fixed on the on screen activities.

Bloons Super Monkey


Gameplay: ★★★★★ 

Technical: ★★★☆☆ 

One of the weirdest and maddest games you’ll come across.

Game: Bloons Super Monkey | Developer: Ninja Kiwi

November 18, 2010

Fruit Bash

Filed under: Paid, Puzzle & Casual, XBoxNina S. @ 05:27

There really wasn’t much to the next game I played. It was called Fruit bash and for the most part it was just like any other casual bubble of jewel game I’ve played in the past. I mean, when you’re playing it the rules are the same, the mechanics are all the same, and the general feel isn’t changed much. You start out with a screen full of squares and those squares are quickly filled with little colorful fruit bits. You click one piece of fruit and then another one close to it (horizontal or vertical) and they switch. You clear fruits by matching three or more together at once.

On the other hand, it did have brightly colored, if not simple artwork and a change in overall goal. In Fruit Bash your objective is actually to clear a board in as few moves as possible. You do this by switching pairs of fruits (fruit that, in case you haven’t noticed, looks like Runts candy) in every square on the board.

The game is pretty decent if you want to lose a few hours doing nothing. The multiplayer was even fun, especially if you’re used to these kinds of games and you enjoy beating your husband for once. Yeah, I sure did.

There are different modes to play Fruit Bash. They’re both plenty self explanatory and allow you to play the game however you’re comfortable with these kinds of games. I didn’t mind the bright colors or the simplicity of the game itself, though I wasn’t really impressed either.

One thing about Fruit Bash that confused me was actually the choice of music. It’s not completely distracting but it did cause me to raise my eyebrow when the game first started up. Other than that I don’t really have any complaints or concerns. The game has a decent rating, and I don’t think it overreaches in what it was trying to do. It’s a straightforward title that doesn’t really disappoint.

All in all, I think this is a great time wasting game. It would be great for children, as it’s so brightly colored, but mostly it’s for anyone who wants to take a load off and enjoy something simple. The perfect game for shooting the breeze.

Fruit Bash


A Fruity Favorite!

Game: Fruit Bash | Developer: Z-Software

November 17, 2010

EVE Online Tyrannis

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Macintosh, Paid, Simulation, WindowsNate @ 05:38

EVE online is a space simulation massively multiplayer online game by CCP which is available for PC and mac. In this game, players take the roles of immortalized “capsuleers” across four factions who command space vessels with the goal to survive, prosper, and dominate. Players make their own friends and enemies. There are pirate NPC factions in the game, but there aren’t really any dedicated evil persons. Much of  everything that happens is player controlled, including the economy.  The game uses a single large server and  is subject to the “butterfly effect.”

EVE is quite the graphical threat. From it’s release in 2003, CCP has improved the game’s engine to satisfy even the most demanding graphics junkies. Planets and structures are large and greatly detailed, and ship designs are crisp and intimidating. It’s quite fascinating watching your ship warp from place to place rushing past planets and stars.

Warp drive active...

The control scheme is click-based. You’ll click around several menus to perform tasks. With practice, you can easily get the hang of things. The first tip would be to start memorizing keyboard shortcuts. Weapons and modules are placed in a hot-bar at the bottom of the screen.

Players start off in a “rookie” ship and can choose to follow the tutorial or set out into space. I’d highly suggest taking the tutorials; while the game lets you do anything you want within your abilities from the moment you create your character, you will be undoubtedly lost without help.

From the tutorials, players have the option to set out on missions, integrate with the economy, join a corporation and/or get involved in some serious warfare (though they might not be inclined to go to war in a rookie ship). The game could get quite tedious rolling solo, so it would be good to get into a good corporation or fleet up with some friends.

Unlike the typical grind-fest MMO, players build their skills using skill books which train in the background. The trade off is that a skill can take anywhere from 10 minutes to over 50 days depending on the skill being trained and the level it’s being trained to. Each skill has 5 levels to train. Skills are required to fly the ships and use them effectively. As players complete more skills, they will have access to more ships, modules, and perks. Fortunately these skills can be trained whether you are logged in or not. So it definitely favors those who play games more casually. This also means that your status in the game could significantly determined by how much time you’ve been subscribed and training.

PVP is completely open in EVE and relies on a little micromanagement.  A fight can start anywhere, anytime, for any reason. A player’s safety is threatened for the time they aren’t in a station and logged off. Newer players normally start out in systems with higher security ratings, where the security response time is quick. Each of the 10 security levels from 0.1 to 1.0 have their own security policies that players will ultimately have to remember in order to take proper advantage of them. A system with a security level of 0.0 has no laws. These types of systems can be controlled by player corporations. Combat outcomes can depend on your ship’s fitting, and your fleet’s composition.

A duel between two ships.

In the event that a player’s ship is destroyed, they will emerge as a small egg-shaped pod. This is essentially the character. If the pod is destroyed, your character dies. Naturally players will need to purchase a clone in advance. Dying without an adequate clone will result in the loss of  precious skill points.

Do you see the little egg-shaped thing in the center? That's your character's pod.

The EVE client can be downloaded for free, or purchased at a retailer for $19.99. The game has a 14 day trial. After that,there’s a monthly fee of $14.95. Paying for the game is possible with a large sum of in-game currency though.

The game isn’t for the average WoW player, but definitely worth it if you enjoy complex games with a heavy dose of  sci-fi influences.

EVE Online Tyranis


It’s a solid non-linear sci-fi MMO with a large community, thriving economy, big ships, and plenty of “pew pew”… need I say more?

Game: EVE Online | Developer: CCP

November 16, 2010

Gateway II

Filed under: Free, Puzzle & Casual, WindowsJosh @ 05:18

This game is riddled with soap opera dialogue.

Those of you who read my review of the original Gateway (and if you didn’t, you can catch up here) know that I had a few complaints. I was mainly dissatisfied that the game seemed to be heading somewhere, but never really took us there. It was like a buildup to absolutely nothing — anticlimactic at best.

But Gateway II offers quite a bit more than its predecessor. It takes the original concept (which was actually pretty cool) and varies it, and then throws a plot on top of it. And to make things even more complex, there is a heap of character development. In the first game, you pretty much felt like some sort of creeper watching a bunch of robot-creatures doing boring things. In Part 2, you watch video footage of these creatures, which is admittedly still creepy, only this time they are in the middle of a mysterious conflict.

This is getting messed up...

Yeah, there is a whole slew of soap opera style dialogue, but it’s properly placed amongst a creepy soundtrack and an enigmatic storyline.  In fact, you might just find yourself a little weirded out by some of the things that go on.

Because things happen in Gateway II. Things you won’t always expect. The kinds of things you wanted to see in Gateway I but you never did. And you get to know these robot-people. You even get to delve right into the psyche of one of them, helping her untangle the emotional mess she’s been left with over the course of her life.

The puzzles are even more creative than they were in the first installment. There are eerie, foreboding clues and brain challenges that almost stand up to the original Myst. Yeah, that clever! And that’s not a compliment I would ever dish out lightly. (Don’t believe me? Wait til you see the telephone puzzles. The second set of telephone puzzles. Those are pure puzzle-making genius!)

Bottom line: we need there to be a Gateway III. I’m dying to find out what happened to Mike (the blue guy in the first screenshot). You hear me, Cockraoch Inc.? Gateway III, pronto!

This does not look good...

Gateway II


A mind-bending puzzler with an unusually deep plot and a lot of character development.

Game: Gateway II | Developer: Cockraoch Inc.

November 15, 2010

Battle Formation

Filed under: Linux, Macintosh, Strategy, WindowsHeath @ 08:15

Placing a formation. How do you think this will work?

Battle Formation

Taking place in the medieval times, it is up to you to raise an army and out-manoeuvre your opponent. This is a game where how you place your armies matters just as much as how many you have, and of what quality they are.


You start on the battlefield. Your opponents formation is already revealed. Then you place your guys. Your main piece is the pikeman, who is very stabby. Your guys move directly forward if there is an available space. Then, they attack the weakest adjacent enemy. It’s as simple as that.

Trust me, the devil is in the formation. You can get as many of the strongest guys as you want, but it doesn’t matter unless you set them up in the correct formation.

There is an upgrade system, and you get new units as the storyline progresses. Also, the narrator is pretty sassy, so that livens things up a bit. It really is kind of harrowing, not knowing what the enemy is going to play next. I can honestly say that before this there has not been a game I have played recently where I did not know from stage to stage what things were going to be like.


Yes, I'd say it would.

There are some definite weaknesses in the interface. For example, placing the units is extremely counter-intuitive. You have to click on the space where you want units, click some arrows until the correct unit comes up, and then you have to click the number it wants.

On top of this, the mouse pointer is a sword, and is very laggy.

Then, during the actual battles, if you want to have the characters animated, it takes forever. If you turn the animations off, you can’t really tell what’s going. So, some middle ground would be pleasant. However, the effect of all these problems is that it causes you to slow down and think about the moves you are making. So, the problem is kind a solution to itself.

Final Verdict

Great, great game. It is you outthinking the creater of the game. Seriously, he throws everything he can at you, and really it is just you and your wits verse him.

Battle Formation


This is one of those games where the title kind of explains itself.

Game: Battle Formation | Developer: Age of Games

November 14, 2010

Winter Voices

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Other, Paid, WindowsNina S. @ 05:38

I was a little wary about buying this game right off the bat. When I looked it up I found the company webpage was in French, so I was worried about quite a few things, based simply on the fact that I’ve played Japanese Indie games that had been translated to English…poorly, to say the least. Still, I decided what the heck. The game didn’t have a demo and I genuinely wanted to play it so I gave it a shot.

Now, let me just start off by saying that overall I did kind of enjoy the game. It’s got beautiful artwork, some interesting music and it was –for the most part– fun to play. That doesn’t, however, mean that the game itself was perfect.

In Winter Voices: Avalanche you play the first of what is supposed to be seven games. It’s a turn based RPG, which is not my favorite kind of game but isn’t my least favorite either. The opening scene to the game was a little long, but again, I’m not marking it down completely for it.

There is also the problem with distance. I understand that the creators of the game probably wanted to show us what it would really be like to walk around in the snow. You’re cold, your body is stiff, you’re not going to be skipping along the road. That’s fine. But the character moved so painfully slow and everything was so far apart it quickly became annoying.

Also, I really need to focus on the writing in the game. Being a writer myself (of course, when I’m not sitting in front of screen), plot and narration is very important to me when I play a game. Heck, I imagine it’s important to everyone, but it’s the first thing I notice and usually has the hardest impact on me. A game can look like a two year old drew it, but a solid storyline will usually get it good marks in my book.

Unfortunately, Winter Voices: Avalanche is….let’s say depressing. The voice actress for the heroine sounds like she took a sleeping pill before her recording. The writing itself can only be described as “emo” and “hella boring.” Oh, and repetitive. I feel like they repeated what was going on so often mostly because they figured players would be falling asleep while trying to grasp the purpose….and I was.

I’m still not entirely sure what this game was about, beyond the fact that there is snow. And her father died.

Winter Voices


A trek through a dark snow.

Game: Winter Voices | Developer: Beyond The Pillars

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