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Multiplayer Game Reviews

March 13, 2011

Corporation Inc

Filed under: Free, Linux, Macintosh, Simulation, WindowsHeath @ 05:48

Excelsior

Corporation Inc.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to build a button pushing company from the ground to a multi-level, money earning machine. You do this by hiring, upgrading and not-sucking.

Gameplay

If you’ve played SimTower, this will seem familiar. However, there are some crucial differences. First, you place offices that are blank slates. Each office has 4 slots, each slot holds an employee. You click a certain employee from the menu and place him at a desk.

Your basic employee is a worker. A worker presses a button. At the base level, every time he presses a button, you get a dollar in revenue. Now, you can hire a supervisor who walks around, smacking workers in the head. After that the worker works harder. Now, if you want to leverage that money, then you can hire some accountants. Each one earns 5% more per push of each worker.

workworkworkworkworkwork

Would you imagine that getting hit on the head would improve moral? No, it doesn’t. You have to worry about your workers’ happiness. For every 20 employees, you get a cat. Cats improve happiness. You can also buy HR employees that do something or something.

You’ll also need to hire janitors and researchers. Janitors clean during the night so your employees don’t get mad. Researchers, well, research. The game technically ends when you have completed the tech tree. So, yeah, invest in reasearchers.

Technical

Beyond the placing of employees this is a pretty complex game. You can upgrade office space. On top of that you have to worry about transportation (you can install a firepole or a skyhook or even a vacuum tube). Unlike SimTower there isn’t a limited # of elevator shafts so go crazy. Seriously you can have tubes right next to each other. You can’t see anything though so I wouldn’t recommend that.

In the end, this game is all about balance. You can even show off your towers to other people. You know what I found out from that? All towers look alike and are boring.

Final Verdict

Great game. It has a pause button and you can change time so this really feels like you are god. Enjoy it because it makes businessing seem like it is really easy.

Corporation Inc

 ★★★★★ 

Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
{GAME COMMENT}

Game: Corporation Inc | Developer: JCooney

March 4, 2011

Secrets of the Magic Crystals

Filed under: Girl's Choice, Paid, Puzzle & Casual, Simulation, WindowsNina S. @ 06:33

Secrets of the Magic Crystals was a confusing game and I don’t just mean the game itself. The entire process of playing it was confusing by itself. I wish I could just scan my notes and have you guys see the confusion that was Nina S. while she was playing this game. As I doubt my bosses would be pleased with that I will do my best to explain how this went. {Editor’s Note – Actually I think it would have been kind of amusing.}

The first fifteen minutes of playing any game I usually just read the description, look at the screenshots, and kind of mentally prepare myself. If I’m about to play an action game I might listen to some pumping music or jump around like I’m gearing up for a fight. Yes, I realize this makes me a big dork but I don’t care, I get into my games! This was a family game, so I wasn’t really expecting much by action, so instead I kind of chilled out. I picked it because it has a Pegasus on the cover and I’m a sucker for Greek Mythology. Fine, wasn’t expecting much.

After about half an hour of playing I was ready to switch games and call this one a bust. The game tells you what you are doing. Constantly. It tells you that this is the Barn and that is where you take care of animals. It tells you that this is the Corral, and that is where you train your animals. Still, it doesn’t explain some of the more questionable aspects of the game. It doesn’t tell you how to increase your horses abilities. It doesn’t tell you what the POINT of buying items is, and it doesn’t tell you how to get items to make horse shoes. It stresses things that you could have figured out yourself and completely neglects things that needed to be explained. Bah.

About an hour in, I’d gotten over my initial annoyance and figured out some things. I was still rather annoyed by the process and I had no idea what the stupid timer to the left was for or what the weather changed, but whatever. I was playing with my Pegasus and my Unicorn and having a relatively good time. Even though it was monotonous and simple, I decided to give it another hour.

Two hours later I looked up and realized I was still playing this game. My husband came in and CHECKED on me. He was actually concerned. And he had a right to be. Now, I realize that a lot of casual games are built primarily to waste time, but my Goddess. Where did the time go?! I realized that I’d spent a disturbing amount of time repeating quests and grinding money, but I was happy. My horses were healthy and awesome and I kept pushing them to win races, find me items, and pull heavy objects.

Now, I don’t know if I would recommend this game. It was simple, annoying, and grindy, but…there was a certain magical charm about it. It WASN’T a GOOD game, but for what it is meant to be…it’s incredible. Does that make sense to you? Good, now we’re both confused.

Secrets of the Magic Crystals

 ★★½☆☆ 

Gameplay:★★★☆☆ 
Technical:★★☆☆☆ 
A simple confusion.

Game: Secrets of the Magic Crystals | Developer: Artery Games

February 24, 2011

Hacker Evolution

Filed under: Paid, Simulation, WindowsNina S. @ 08:01

I played Hacker Evolution for a few long, painful hours.

The game is a simulation of hacking. That’s pretty straight forward. I don’t think it was made to be easy, and it’s not. You have to remember a number of commands, which isn’t all that difficult, especially if you do what I did and just keep a list scribbled out on the desk next to you. Your mission is to stop some kind of global computer meltdown. I believe it’s a kind of Skynet problem, but honestly, even after the second hour I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. You hack into ATMs and the like in order to get money and upgrade your tech, which allows you to hack deeper without getting your Trace too high.

Now, I’m not a hacker. That much is obvious. Most days I can barely figure out how to install complex systems. It’s pretty sad, all in all, but I’m comfortable with my level of computer knowledge or lack there of. At the same time…I saw the Matrix. I thought Swordfish was an awesome movie, and so when I saw a game that promised to let me “learn” to be a hacker for a little bit, I was beyond excited. What I didn’t take into consideration was that hacking isn’t a game. It’s a skill that is developed slowly and carefully, one that is dangerous and not always rewarding. And that is exactly what this game is like.

Hacker Evolution looks good. It is a very pretty game, especially considering the fact that you’re staring at text for most of the time. Still, the color options are harsh on the eyes. Again, this isn’t something I would have nitpicked on, but when the entire game is all about staring at the screen and trying to remember a bunch of codes, it’s a bit of a problem. The music audio in the game isn’t anything too ear-catching, but I suppose it’s not supposed to be. You need to focus in order to be a hacker, after all.

The game allows you to make your own levels. This is usually a good thing, and can really take a fantastic game and stretch all that hot, gooey goodness to the max. Unfortunately, if you  have a lukewarm game play to begin with it just kind of…limps along.

This was a complex, interesting game but I wouldn’t recommend it, per say. It’s a good way to burn out a few hours, but it felt more like work and less like fun.

Hacker Evolution

 ★★☆☆☆ 

 
Gameplay:★★☆☆☆ 
Technical:★★☆☆☆ 
The truth about life as a hacker.

Game: Hacker Evolution | Developer: Exosyphen Studios

February 22, 2011

Don’t Be Nervous Talking to Girls

Filed under: Paid, Simulation, XBoxNina S. @ 06:20

Don’t Be Nervous Talking to Girls….this game isn’t as old as the ones I wanted to review for this set but honestly I had to give it a try. I was not expecting it to be helpful when it comes to conversation but I was expecting it to be mildly funny and something that was worth the dollar to waste my time one. Honestly, I was looking for something closer to a dating sim. Yeah, I mean the kind they have in Japan but the U.S.A. is filled with too many prudes and rules to release here. Even so, I was a little disappointed by the lack of…sense making.

Now, before I go further, I think it is only fair to tell you what this game is not. I have seen people playing it and expecting it to be an actual “this is how you go about talking to girls” lesson. It is not like that, it is a video game first of all, and second of all, all girls are different. Sorry to break it to you, gentlemen, but the only way to learn to speak to us is to do it. You might strike out your first couple of times and no one likes rejection, but eventually you will get the swing of it. Just be yourself (yeah, I said that crap. It is cheesy but it is true. Any girl who wants a fake version of you is obviously not, what you want in the first place) and you will find girls that are right for your type of personality.


Going back to the game: it is also not a game about skill. Some of the time, you can go with an answer that is completely right. I mean, right for the typical girl. The obvious answer, the polite, respectful, sweet answer might get you bear maced in the face in this game. There is not any method to the madness that I can see; maybe the girl you are trying to pick up in this game is just flippin’ insane. That seems likely.

Lack of sense making and humor aside the game does have an interesting idea. In which when you give an answer a real girl will respond to it. I liked the little clips of response even if she decided to call the cops on me for little reason. The ultimate goal here is to get this girls number, though she is kind of a jerk so I cannot imagine why any person would work so hard to get to know her. The game is not just two option questions, either. You will have to memorize phone numbers (I suggest writing it down), do math questions, and apparently learn to read the mind of a psycho.

Overall, I think this game could have benefited from a writer. If it had one, I think it could have benefited from a female, not trying to be a comical writer. The game misses the mark on “funny” and just drops into “annoyingly random” quickly. The only thing it is getting an A for is effort.

Don’t Be Nervous Talking to Girls

 ★★½☆☆ 

Gameplay:★★☆☆☆ 
Technical:★★★☆☆ 
Lessons in speaking to crazy girls!

Game: Don’t Be Nervous Talking to Girls | Developer: Silver Dollar Games 1

February 13, 2011

Poker Night at the Inventory

Filed under: Macintosh, Other, Paid, Puzzle & Casual, Simulation, WindowsJosh @ 07:23

These are your opponents.

Say that someone asked you, “Would you want to sit down for some poker at a very exclusive club with Max from Sam & Max, Strong Bad from Homestar Runner, The Heavy Weapons Guy from Team Fortress 2, and Tycho Brahe from the Penny Arcade webcomic?” If your response was an enthusiastic “Yes!” then I have some good news for you.

Poker Night at the Inventory is a game that allows you to do just that. It begins with you buying into a high-stakes game of Texas Hold ‘Em, and doesn’t end until you either bust out or manage to win the whole shebang.

The characters’ poker playing styles tend to match their personalities. Max and Strong Bad are erratic, and commonly make huge bets for no apparent reason. Tycho often plays too conservatively, with a tendency to fold instead of placing risky bets. The Heavy Weapons Guy, or “the Heavy,” is much harder to read. Sometimes he’ll play aggressively, going all in with only a royal high card, yet other times he’ll fold when he has a fairly decent hand. I can’t tell if he doesn’t know what he’s doing, or if it’s some elaborate card shark fake-out. Looking at the guy, I would say the former, but considering the fact that he so often wins, I think he’s actually onto something.

Let's just say that Max is the wild card.

I’ve played plenty of poker games in my life, both real and video game versions, and I’ve noticed that on medium, I tend to wind up with an unrealistic amount of good hands. I’ve played straights and flushes more times than I can count, and full houses tend to pop up pretty regularly. In the early rounds of the game, I tend to win a lot. But hard difficulty is an entirely different experience. Hard feels a lot more like your opponents are actually thinking about what they’re doing, and you won’t be blessed with such “golden hands” all the time.

But playing poker isn’t really what this game is about. It’s really more of an excuse to hang out with all of these guys in one place. They constantly chatter back and forth and make comments on the way the game is progressing. In fact, it’s easy to get caught up in conversation and completely forget about the poker.

As an additional incentive to download this inexpensive title, you can play for bonuses that actually transfer to exclusive in-game items in Team Fortress 2.

Poker Night at the Inventory doesn’t really offer anything new other than the chance to hang out with some oddball video game (and comic strip) characters for a while, but it still manages to be a pretty enjoyable experience. It’s well worth the small price tag, especially if you own Team Fortress 2.

I can't tell if the Heavy is terrible at poker, or incredibly good at it.

Poker Night at the Inventory

 ★★★¾☆ 

Gameplay:★★★½☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
A game of poker against some celebrities of the video game scene.

Game: Poker Night at the Inventory | Developer: Telltale Games

February 9, 2011

Mud and Blood 2

Filed under: Free, Linux, Macintosh, Simulation, Strategy, WindowsHeath @ 06:24

Beginning of the Battle

Mud and Blood 2

If that isn’t one of the best names I have ever heard for a video game, then it at least has to be in the top 10. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to hold the Nazi advance. You are going to get overrun. Be prepared.

Gameplay

Although there are lots of actions tied to keystrokes, this is primarily done with your mouse. The first thing that happens is you create a character. You start off as a Second Lieutenant. The more and better you play, the higher in rank you go. The higher in rank you go, the better your starting choices are. When you start, you get a ragtag crew.

You start with some soldiers. Each soldier has a weapon, health and moral. Most soldiers have guns, but you can purchase guys with bazookas and can even get a rocket launcher. No joke, it is awesome.

The more Nazis you kill, and the longer you stay alive, you get Tactical Points. Tactical points can be exchanged for any number of things. You can call in for reinforcements, which is nice because then you can kill more Nazis. You can call in an engineer, which will build things for you. On top of that, you can buy certain maneuvers or upgrade your guys’ weapons.

End of a Battle. The Horror.

Technical

The game ends when you are overrun by 10 Nazis. Note that if a motorcycle with a sidecar passes by, that’s worth two. Also, there’s no pause button. So, once you deploy, you’re committed to playing for a while.

This can get gruesome. If a grenadier lands one in your trench, you will be seeing blood, guts and bones. Your guys will lose moral, and you’re pretty much screwed. For a while you’ll be thinking that you’re doing fine, and then all of a sudden your line is crawling with Nazis.

The Mise en scene impressed me greatly. It’s bleak. On top of that is the depth of the game. You follow the career of your character. The small decisions you make on the battlefield will affect the things you can do later on.

Final Verdict

This game is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, it’s called ‘Mud and Blood’. It is an emotional and temporal commitment. However, if you are looking for an intense, browser-based WWII wargame, then this is the game for you.

Blood and Mud 2

 ★★★★★ 

Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Don’t let the Nazis take over your position.

Game: Blood and Mud 2 | Developer: Blood and Mud 2

January 26, 2011

Dungeon Developer

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Free, Simulation, Strategy, WindowsJosh @ 04:24

This dungeon might be scary if it wasn't so darned cute.

Nerdook strikes again with Dungeon Developer. This game allows you to run through a dungeon, collect treasure, and ultimately slay the Red Dragon. But here’s the catch: you get to build the dungeon.

You start out with a single floor with an entrance, an exit, and various obstacles scattered about. You have a limited amount of gold to spend on tiles to connect the entrance to the exit, and it’s completely up to you whether you want to try to bypass the obstacles or run your path directly through them. Once you are done building, you get to send a group of explorers through your creation. As this band of heroes progresses through the dungeon, you earn more gold, which you can spend purchasing additional floors and expanding your current floorplans.

You must carefully plan ahead, deciding which obstacles your adventurers pass through and which ones to avoid. If an adventurer passes through a monster, he will engage it in combat. If he wins, he will get additional gold and experience. But if he loses, he will be sent out of the dungeon and will lose gold. There are also traps that just take away HP and money. But the good news is that some tiles contain gems that increase your treasure horde, and chests that contain equip-able items. Getting through the dungeon in the least amount of time requires knowing which obstacles to hit and which ones to avoid. Unfortunately, in later dungeons hitting traps is inevitable.

There are 15 floors in all, and on the 15th is the Red Dragon. You win the game by slaying this dragon. Since every time your heroes run through the dungeon counts as one day, you want to get through in the least amount of days possible. Defeating the dragon in 25 days or less gives you a platinum score.

Of course, the game doesn’t just end when the dragon dies. Once you finish, you are rewarded with a catchy, Nerdook-style song, and an additional game mode: Dungeon Crawl. In this mode, you control a single adventurer who starts at level 0 and gets to explore the dungeon you already built. Your goal is to see how much gold you can collect before you are defeated. Of course, in Dungeon Crawl mode you can’t build anything, because that just wouldn’t be fair.

You can also export your dungeon online to allow other players to send their warriors through it, or import other dungeons and see if you can handle them. True adventurers can beat any dungeon!

Dungeon Developer is just one more amazing game in Nerdook’s ever-expanding universe. If you are already a Nerdook fan, then this game is a must-play. And if you aren’t yet, Dungeon Developer could very well win you over.

It's dragon-slayin' time!

Dungeon Developer

 ★★★★¼ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Multiplayer:★★★★★ 
A dungeon crawler that lets you build the dungeons.

Game: Dungeon Developer | Developer: Nerdook

January 18, 2011

Spirited Heart

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Free, Girl's Choice, Simulation, WindowsNina S. @ 05:05

The people who make Spirited Heart makes a lot of different kind of games. Most of them are Dating Sims in one way or another but the man difference comes in the themes that they do. They have ones that are set in Fantasy worlds, some that are set in futuristic worlds, and such. They really enjoy upping the anty and each one of their games is different than the other, though it’s the same overall concept a lot of times.

Spirited Heart is one of their most popular titles. In it you are given the option of playing as one of three different kinds of woman (human, demon, and elf) and you’re also able to decide how you sepnt your life as a child pre game. The choices you make while you’re setting up your characters have an impact on the stats you have to start with and thus which ones you will have to work on to get where you want to be later in the game.

Spirited Heart offers you a lot of different choices, not only in the men you seduce but in the way you spend your time. The game feels a lot less about grinding out stats and a great deal more about making your character as strong as possible and spending your time wisely. You get to see a lot of different aspects of your character (by which I mean she wears a lot of different outifts –which is always a sure fire way to make ME happy, at least) and you can really costumize the way she grows and learns, just by making your own choices.

Now, that doesn’t mean that Spirited Heart is without it’s downfalls. The game is rather annoying in the sense that some of the gameplay options can frustrate you. Everything you make money wise is taxed for starters. I’m sure the makers wanted to add a little difficulty to the game with this but ultimately it’s just annoying. In addition (and this is not unusual for games like this), there is a stress addition here. Meaning if you have a bad week or day you become stressed and your character won’t be able to perform her duties. This is usually not so bad in these games but in this one it’s a major teeth grinder. The “jobs” you can do are based on an entirely random roll of the dice (a game of chance) and if you fail you’re just nice and screwed. This could have been done better.

Overall, this is a great game. For women, for sure, but a  good way to spend a couple hours of your life.

Spirited Heart

 ★★★¾☆ 

Gameplay:★★★½☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
A Fantastic Fantasy.

Game: Spirited Heart | Developer: Tycoon Games

January 9, 2011

Kaleidoscope Reef

Filed under: Arcade & Retro, Education, Free, Other, Puzzle & Casual, Simulation, WindowsJosh @ 09:16

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.

Kaleidoscope Reef

 ★★★½☆ 

Gameplay:★★★☆☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Regrow the coral reef to push back the oil spill.

Game: Kaleidoscope Reef | Developer: Trickysheep

December 30, 2010

Ripples

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Free, Girl's Choice, Simulation, WindowsNina S. @ 05:07

Ripples is another game from the new genre I’m trying not to become addicted to. Of course, I’m failing horribly but that isn’t really the point.

The real point here is that I am indeed falling in love with these games and the reason being is simple: they’re awesome. Now, to be fair Ripples isn’t exactly a Dating Sim. Instead it’s classified as a Visual Novel, which is often placed in the same category because of the similarities between the game play styles. The difference being that Visual Novels are more like reading a book (I know, go figure). You make very limited choices in conversations and actions which can affect the end of the game but ultimately you’re more the passanger on a journey as opposed to a player. It’s not for everyone but I don’t mind the style.

Still, even by Visual Novel standards this isn’t a very long game. In fact, it’s probably the shortest game I’ve ever played. It took me about fifteen minutes to finish it completely but I didn’t mind the limited length. Nor did I mind the fact that you play the game from the viewpoint of a man. The game runs for somewhere between three days and ultimately doesn’t give you any choices to change the story one way or the other.

Still, if you’re just getting started in the genre this isn’t a bad place to pick up. The “game” is very relaxing and offers and interesting story that makes you want to know what happens, makes you want to stick around and play other games like it. The art is beautiful, the music is sweet and mellowing and this one has voice actors.

Now, it’s my understanding that this game was thrown together fairly quickly so I wasn’t expecting much from the actors but they really didn’t do a bad job. They spoke with passion and direction which always adds to the feel and overall enjoyment of the game.

Once again I have to label this game a Ladies Choice. The reason being isn’t because I don’t think males would enjoy it, but rather there’s no typical male action in it. No one dies or gets bloodied, so I’m not sure how interested a male would be in sitting down and just relaxing with a nice, short story. Still, I hope that this is one that anyone will take a look at. It’s short, sweet, and sure to brighten your day.

Ripples

 ★★★★☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
A Short Story

Game: Ripples | Developer: Sake Visual

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.

Gameplay

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.

Technical

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

 ★★★★☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Serve Electronic Booze

Game: Drunken Masters| Developer: Danny Seven

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

 ★★★★★ 

Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Multiplayer:★★★★★ 
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  http://www.eveonline.com/ | Developer: CCP http://www.ccpgames.com/en/home.aspx

November 13, 2010

Insaniquarium

Filed under: Free, Girl's Choice, Linux, Macintosh, Simulation, WindowsHeath @ 05:59

That snail helps by picking up coins

Insaniquarium

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this yet. Insaniquarium is one of my favorite flash games of all time. It’s like Fish Store Tycoon or whatever, without being stupid.

Gameplay

You own a fish tank and you start off with two guppies. You feed them by clicking food particles into the tank. If they are hungry, they eat. If they  are really hungry, they’ll turn yellow and if you don’t feed them then, well, they die. Also, when they eat, they grow. When they grow, they poop coins that you can use to buy upgrades.

That's not a turd, it's a food nugget.

One of the upgrades that you can buy is a piece of an egg. Once you have all 3 pieces, then you get a full egg. Inside this egg is a creature that helps you in one way or another. Some of them pick up dropped coins. Others drop pieces of food. Still others defend against enemies.

Oh yeah. Every once and a while your tank gets invaded by something that looks like the alien from the eponymous movie series. You have to click on it until it goes away. If it touches any of your guppies (or Piranhas, another animal you can buy) then you lose it.

Technical

A lot of  clicking in this game. Although it is possible to play with a trackpad, I wouldn’t suggest it. Seriously, I don’t know why I have so much fun with this game. It is kind of tedious, but I like playing with animals, and electronic ones don’t smell as bad.

Part of the fun comes from choosing the right combination of ’special animals’ to have in your tank. Every couple ‘levels’ or so you’ll get to step back and choose which ones you want. You can only have 3. I won’t tell you my secret combo, because I don’t want you to steal it.

Final Verdict

Great game. It’s like real life but with invading aliens, poop coins and fake friends!

Insaniquarium

 ★★★★★ 

Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Pretend Fish Tank!

Game: Insaniquarium | Developer: Freshpulp

November 8, 2010

Re: Alister++

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Free, Girl's Choice, Simulation, WindowsNina S. @ 05:37

Re: Alister++ is part of a new genre of game I’m trying not to become addicted to. Of course, I’m failing horribly but that isn’t really the point.

The real point here is that I am indeed falling in love with these games and the reason being is simple: they’re awesome. Re: Alister++ is the first Dating Sim I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing and let me just say this: wow.

By some standards this isn’t really a long game. I’ve played shorter ones but by Dating Sim average, or rather by Indie Dating Sim average, it’s a pretty average length. Game play lasts for a little over a month and the pace is quick and even. You don’t get the feeling that you’re just grinding out stats (even though that’s a big part of the game) but at the same time you know you’re getting something accomplished.

Now, Re: Alister++ is a girl game. Meaning, you play as a female with three male options. The plot is fairly straight forward but it’s not typical. That’s always a good thing. That way you aren’t bored. There aren’t any voice actors in this game but the music is still nice and interesting. The artwork is top notch and really professional looking. The main character is pretty and likable.

As with any Dating Sim there are guys I liked and some I didn’t, which tells me that there’s someone for every girl here.  The guys I did end up playing ( I skipped the “bad boy, oh look, I’m a player” guy because…well, I tend to find them obnoxious) were sweet and charming with good, romantic endings. The CG’s (like 25 cut scenes for Dating Sims) were nice and interesting, ranging from funny to slightly sexy. This isn’t a hentai game so anyone can enjoy the mild flirting without worries of raunchy content popping up randomly where you don’t want it.

All in all, I think any girl out there would enjoy this game. I’d say any person but let’s be honest here, I couldn’t get my husband to play, no matter how cute I thought the characters were. Highly recommended for a couple hours of fluffy fun.

Re: Alister++

 ★★★★★ 

 
Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Fluffy Fun!

Game: Re: Alister++ | Developer: Sake Visual

November 5, 2010

The Graveyard

Filed under: Paid, Simulation, WindowsNina S. @ 05:57

The opening to The Graveyard was so beautiful and expertly seamless I was immediately sucked in. The sound quality for the game is so realistic it feels like you are right there with the old lady that you “walk with.” I usually don’t even like black and white pictures (I’m too much of a fan of brilliant colors) but this was incredible. You really feel like you’re a part of the story, and the black and white only enhances the stunning detail. I know I shouldn’t be such a sucker for graphics when there are so many other important facts that make up a good game but this had my jaw dropping.

Another thing that I believe should be mentioned, even though it’s probably on the same line of thinking as before, but…I’ve never been an old lady. What I mean to say is, I’m still pretty young so I wouldn’t understand the care and gait of an older woman but with this game you really do see how difficult walking at all is for a woman of this age. Again, the attention to detail is wonderful.

That being said…I know you’re walking through a graveyard and all but the game didn’t have much of a creepy vibe until the song started playing. I won’t tell you any of the lyrics in case you want to see for yourself but man, oh man. That wonderful sounds quality I was talking about was not my friend during this portion of The Graveyard. Don’t get me wrong, the song itself was beautiful but the lyrics…wow.

After playing that little bit I really don’t know what to say about this game. It’s beautiful, breath taking really, and you can explore a great deal of space when you buy the game. It’s one of the shortest ones I’ve ever played but I have to say it was worth it, I think. The Demo and the real game are actually a lot alike, except for one thing. In the purchased version the old lady you play as can die. It’s…yeah. I mean, I’m not even sure how to categorize this game but it was strangely relaxing and pleasing to the eyes so I say play it if you’re just looking for something pretty to look at. There are worse ways to spend five bucks.

The Graveyard

 ★★★★☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
A stroll in the park.

Game: Tale of Tales | Developer: The Graveyard

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