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Multiplayer Game Reviews
February 14, 2011
This might be a strange title to review on this website because it is not really meant for adults. I mean, I played it for a while and I was generally impressed by the ingenuity of the game, but let us be honest here. It is a game that, from what I understand, is primarily purchased for children between five and eleven. Still, I am going to review it because it was fun. Do not judge me, review readers! The game was adorable and fun, like watching Blue’s Clues at three in the morning because I cannot sleep. Yes, I do realize after the first clue that Blue wants a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with her glass of milk but that does not mean it is not entertaining to watch Steve stumble around.
Anyhow, there are plenty of reasons that I liked this game. For the sole purpose of not seeming like a complete weirdo, I did play it with one of my friends children. She is three, so I was afraid the game would go over her head but I am constantly amazed at how smart children are. The game itself is set up so simply and vibrantly that it is easy enough for a three year old not only to follow it, but also to enjoy it.
The coolest feature about this game is that you get to draw with it. For instance, you are asked to draw a house. Now, that seems simple enough, you sketch a quick house and voila! It is on your screen. Not only that but it is not just a copy and pasted version of what you have done. The characters in the game actually change to interact with your drawings. Therefore, if you draw a tiny car the character will shrink in order to fit into it. Isn’t that awesome?
The game is not all fun and games, though (haha, see what I did there?!). It is also a great learning tool. After a few wonderful hours of playtime -which is a miracle in it of itself, since the only way you can usually get this little girl to sit down for an entire hour is to tape her to the chair. I watched in wide-eyed wonder as this girl slowly began to point out the right answers.
I suppose that ultimately this really is a children’s game. Still, I am going to call it a family game. It really is fun to watch the kids get a little brighter as they shout and point. This game makes drawing a joy.
Game: Itzabitza | Developer: Sabi Games
January 9, 2011
Kaleidoscope Reef is home to some weird-looking creatures.
Kaleidoscope Reef is a little Flash game with an interesting premise: you must help rebuild a coral reef that was destroyed in an oil spill. You plant coral, then try to feed it plankton so it grows big, strong, and pretty. However, you must bat away the predatory fish that want to eat your plankton and destroy your coral. You will see little bubble-like objects floating gently from above. Use your mouse to move these around and stick them to a rock so they can begin growing. Of course, some of the rocks are covered in oil and you must clean them off before any polyps will attach themselves.
Some polyps are very picky about what they’ll eat, so you’ll have to watch which color the plankton is. Some colors will be poisonous to certain polyps, while others will be full of plankton-nutrient goodness. But if you happen to be colorblind, there is no need to fret. There is an option that gives you shape-based hints to help you match the food with its proper consumer.
If this game teaches you one lesson, it's that floaty red skulls are bad.
You progress through a series of levels, each one increasing in difficulty. The final level has you battle a giant oil blob of a boss who will definitely be a problem for reef enthusiasts. And once you finish the story mode, you unlock aquarium mode, which is basically an endless battle against predatory fish and octopi while you try to see how far you can expand your own personal reef. If the regular game isn’t challenging enough for you, aquarium mode is probably more up your alley.
Kaleidoscope Reef was made by the same people who brought you Anika’s Odyssey, and there are a few similarities. The biggest one is the colorful and detailed artwork. While not quite as fantastical as Anika’s Odyssey, Kaleidoscope Reef still manages to maintain that signature look that made Anika’s Odyssey so much fun to look at.
Kaleidoscope Reef is a creative, coral-reef-saving piece of entertainment. While it may not challenge hardcore gamers, it’s definitely a fun way to kill an hour or two. And the aquarium mode may even keep you coming back. Let’s hope Trickysheep never stops making games!
This guy spews oil and belches poison. He's pretty much the wort possible thing for a coral reef.
Game: Kaleidoscope Reef | Developer: Trickysheep
September 19, 2010
OK, I can do this... Wait...
The sequel to light-Bot is finally here! (I reviewed the original a while back. You can read about it by clicking this link.) Lightbot 2.0 uses the exact same concept as its predecessor. You control a small robot by entering commands into a grid. You can use these commands to tell him to walk, jump, spin, or light up. The goal of the game is to illuminate every light-up space (they are darker blue when unlit, and glow yellow when lit) on the board. The problem is, you only have a certain amount of space on your command grid. Trying to turn on every light without maxing out your allotted number of moves will take some serious problem-solving skills. For repetitive commands you’ll want to use functions, separate chunks of code that can be activated from the main sequence.
The commands. You'll notice there are a few that weren't in the original game.
Lightbot 2.0 has added some new commands to the game for this round. There is now an option to change the color of each command, and your Lightbot won’t execute that command unless he is that specific color. In order to change his color, you must find a colored tile on the board and activate the light. Another new command is the lightning bolt-shaped icon, which can be used to stop a function. This comes in handy in Lightbot 2.0, since a lot of puzzles require the use of infinite function loops (you can do this by adding an F1 to the end of an F1 function… Trust me, this will make more sense once you play the game.)
The first installment in the Lightbot series was pretty easy. It got difficult toward the end, but there were only 12 stages, and at least the first 8 weren’t very hard. (I do admit that the last two were pretty frustrating though…) But Lightbot 2.0 is a different story. Like its predecessor, it starts out with some tutorial-based levels so you can get the hang of it. But once you get through the first part of the game, hand-holding time is over. You are on your own. And these puzzles get downright brutal. Even if you play through a lot of puzzle games like I do, your brain will be stretched to its limit. You may swear and break things when you get stuck, but completing one of the puzzles brings a huge sense of accomplishment. Especially once you get to the “Expert” levels.
And Lightbot 2.0 even includes a level editor and a link to player-built levels, which means you can play this thing for hours and hours and never get through all the content. Yeah, this game is incredible.
Game: Lightbot 2.0 | Developer: Coolio-Niato
August 7, 2010
Be a Doodle God. It's a tougher job than you might think.
Doodle God is an interesting concept for a game. You begin with the four basic elements (earth, water, air, and fire) and you combine them to make new elements. By this method, you must create the entire world.
There are 115 elements that you must create (well, actually 111, since you start out with 4) to complete this world. These elements are divided into fourteen categories to keep them better sorted. You have a counter at the top of the page that tells you how many elements and categories you’ve unlocked.
This may sound pretty straightforward, but it’s not. Not at all. I started this game thinking it would take maybe five minutes. An hour later I was about halfway done, running out of combinations to try, and losing my patience. Let me just say that this game is NOT easy. And let me explain why…
Four elements is just the beginning. You mix air and water to get steam. Now you have five elements. Which means the amount of possible combinations has increased. This number will continue to increase exponentially as you make more and more new elements until there is an overwhelming amount of combinations to try. Yeah, you’ll start feeling anxiety at about 50 elements. Maybe even sooner. Trust me.
Some of the combinations are fairly obvious, while others are just plain mind-boggling. Here’s an example: egg plus sand equals turtle. Sure, it makes a little bit of sense once you think about it for a little bit, but Doodle God expects you to come up with this on your own. You will definitely resort to trial and error very quickly.
And some of the elements are just bizarre. Like the entire supernatural beings category. You’ll wind up making strange things like vampires and zombies and dragons. (But really, what world would be complete without the occasional zombie?)
But don’t get discouraged. If you are at the end of your rope, you can ask for a hint once every four minutes. You will probably use this feature. A lot. And when you successfully get combinations that work, you are rewarded with tidbits of wisdom from philosophers, writers, and comedians.
Doodle God is a completely unique puzzler that is challenging enough to frustrate even geniuses. And I love that. Any puzzle game that’s worth its pixels should stretch your brain to the limit, and be interesting, and simple. Doodle God is all of these things and more.
I dare you to try this one. I triple dog dare you. Are you up to the challenge?
Pick elements from separate categories and combine them to make new elements.
Game: Doodle God | Developer: Elite Games
August 5, 2010
What The?! is a game show style game that is set in the 1970’s. As such, it has the overly cheerful host, the prizes that may have been cool then but are dorky now, and the out of nowhere questions you may remember from the game show network.
What The?! Is obviously a game that is meant for more than one person. If you want to just go through and see how much you know, you can. But the fun lies in completely obliterating the self esteem of someone near and dear to you. I know, that sounds awful, but if you’ve ever played a game like this, maybe Buzz or Trivial Pursuit, then you know how vicious they can get! It’s a game about proving that you know more than your fellow companions and sometimes you have to get a little down and dirty to do so!
The game makes an attempt to be funny. With ridiculous prizes and lukewarm voice acting the game is amusing but mostly you’re interested in the questions. It was funny enough that I understood it was written to amuse me but that’s all it did. We didn’t laugh out loud at the silly antics of the game so if you’re looking for that you might be a little disappointed. Still, though I wasn’t laughing, I was genuinely amused.
The questions are really the important thing of this game and I have to say they come in a wide variety of topics and ease. At the end of each game you are given statistics on your ability to answer. You get to see how many of which category and difficulty level you were able to answer, as well as how quickly.
There are also different round types in the game. I played the one without the time limit but I’m sure the more fast paced the game is, the more challenging for all.
I really think that this game would be great for parties. The questions are asked in a wide range of topics so you don’t have to be “smart” in order to play and win, you just have to know a little bit about something and be lucky enough to have your categories used. In the end I feel like this is a game for families. It may be a little mature for young children but if you have teenagers you guys should definitely think about trying this one out.
Game: What The?! | Developer: Social Loner Studios