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Multiplayer Game Reviews

April 13, 2011

Sprout

Filed under: Android, Free, Macintosh, Puzzle & Casual, Windows — Tags: Josh @ 05:05

A little seed pod dreams of becoming a coconut. His goals are quite lofty for a seed pod, I would say.

Sprout is a puzzle game about a tiny seed pod. This little guy is pretty much the Mega Man of the seed world: he can take on the powers and abilities of other seeds he comes into contact with along his journey. There are four plants from which he gains these powers: coconuts allow him to roll down hills, dandelion seeds allow him to blow in the wind, beanstalks allow him to scale steep cliffs, and apples will attract wild animals. In order to progress through the game, players must decide which of these abilities will keep the little guy moving toward his goal. And what sort of goal could possibly motivate a seed pod? Well, the answer is simple: he wants to find the mighty oak tree and gain the power of the acorn.

This is such a simple concept, but it actually allows for some decent puzzles. In fact, there are a few places that will really force you to be creative in order to keep moving.

There's going to be a bird fight over these apples, I reckon.

Sprout has a hand-drawn look that puts players in the proper mood for enjoying this game, and the ambient water sounds seem to compliment this nicely. However, I feel like there could have been a soft instrumental music track that kicked in somewhere during the game to mix things up a bit. The game sounds fine as it is, mind you, but the right music could have possibly enhanced the experience.

Another small complaint I have is with one of the puzzles in particular – the bridge puzzle. The solution to this puzzle is to perform a certain set of actions four times in a row, yet there is no visual change until after the second time the player successfully completes these actions. This means that after the first time, it’s impossible for the player to tell that the correct sequence has been performed. This particular puzzle would be greatly improved if instead of having to perform these actions four times, the player was only required to perform them three times, each time resulting in a specific visual change letting players know they are on the right track.

Sprout is also very short. If you know all the right choices, you could easily finish the game in under five minutes. Yet some of the puzzles are difficult enough that it will most likely take quite a bit longer to get though. In fact, I would argue that the game is the perfect length: it has a fair variety of puzzles without becoming repetitive.

Despite its few small flaws, Sprout is a very clever point-and-click puzzler. And since you can take it on the go with the Kongregate Arcade app for Android devices, it’s the perfect way to kill some time while away from home.

There are four abilities to help this little guy on his voyage.

Sprout

 ★★★½☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★☆☆ 
Take on the role of a tiny little seed pod on a quest to find the mighty oak tree.

Game: Sprout | Developer: Custom Logic

March 10, 2011

Ninja Hamsters Vs Robots

Filed under: Action & Shooter, Android, Free, WindowsJosh @ 09:22

This hamster has some sweet upside-down ninja moves.

If you can read a game title like Ninja Hamsters Vs. Robots and not immediately do whatever it takes to get your hands on the game, I don’t know what kind of horrible person you are. Hamsters are cute, Ninjas are awesome, robots are just plain cool, and all of them together should be nothing short of incredible. Unfortunately, Ninja Hamsters Vs. Robots proves that even a formula doused with this much awesome sauce can yeild a slightly uninspired result.

Sure, this game has all the pieces you’ve come to expect from the genius called Nerdook: cute cartoony characters, a clever sense of humor, and music that may not be the greatest ever but is certainly catchy and sets the perfect mood. However, the gameplay is sadly shallow, especially after following I Am an Insane Rogue AI. I know Nerdook’s games are usually pretty simple, but this one feels even more stripped down than usual – to the point where it ceases to be interesting.

Robots require logical explanations every step of the way.

The basic premise is that the Insane Rogue AI (from I Am an Insane Rogue AI, in case it wasn’t immediately obvious) has already killed all the humans and taken over the world. The task of bringing it back under the control of non-AI beings falls into the hands of hamsters. Hamsters who are trained in the ninja arts.

Robots parachute from the sky, and by clicking them you send the little ninja hamster to attack. You earn points by collecting sushi, which you can spend on upgrades for your cute little guy, making him an even better ninja. At the end of each stage, after taking down a number of waves of bots – a number which increases every level – you must fight a boss that looks like a silhouette water tower with a single red eye.

Bottom line: had this been built by anyone else, I may have given it higher marks. But Nerdook generally puts out such awesome and addictive titles that Ninja Hamsters Vs. Robots set my expectations pretty high. It’s not a bad game by any means, but we all know that Nerdook can do better. Perhaps this game was designed specifically to be compatible with Kongregate’s new Android app, and that may have been stifling to its true potential. (To be honest, the game is actually more fun on an Android device than it is on a computer screen.) But don’t feel too badly about skipping this one, unless you absolutely must know how the whole Insane Rogue AI taking over the world thing ends.

Nerdook still holds a special place in my heart, though, and I eagerly look forward to his next masterpiece.

The Sushi Chef tries to inform you of the differences between reality and the video game world. This is so you don't send your pet hamster to a terrible death by dressing it up like a ninja and sending it after an army of killer robots.

Ninja Hamsters Vs Robots

 ★★½☆☆ 

Gameplay:★★★☆☆ 
Technical:★★☆☆☆ 
The game is called Ninja Hamsters Vs Robots. Seriously. What more do you need to know?

Game: Ninja Hamsters Vs Robots | Developer: Nerdook

January 23, 2011

Steambirds: Survival

Filed under: Android, Free, Linux, Macintosh, Strategy, WindowsHeath @ 05:31

Run!

Steambirds: Survival

The original Steambirds is a prime contender for ‘best flash game of 2010′. The creators heard our pleas to make the game bigger. And they did.

Gameplay

The basic functions of the game are the same. You click and drag where you want your plane to go during 1 turn. You can control speed and direction. The same ’special’ weapons are available from the last game. However the similarities end there.

For starters, there are no ‘levels’ like the last time. Instead you start with a plane which has a preset amount of special weapons, and you have to survive for as long as possible, hence the name. Trust me, you want to take out the bad guys as quickly as you can, because the waves aren’t determined by how many are remaining, it’s at a preset schedule.

The planes that come in waves are random, and you start off with 3-4 allies that usually take out the first two planes (this is very useful because you probably wouldn’t stand a chance).

GL!

Technical

One thing that’s cool, if not unbelievable, is that every enemy plane that goes down leaves behind a special weapon. While in the previous version, it was worth it to save your specials for just the right moment, in survival, it is in your interest to you use your specials often.

With each feat that you accomplish you get copper. You then trade in copper to get new planes. At some point you have to start using planes multiple times in order to make enough to upgrade. This gets kind of annoying, but you really start to learn how to use the different planes and their weapons.

Final Verdict

All told, I think this was a pretty great ‘upgrade’ of the new game. Although I wish you were allowed to control multiple allies, and I wish you could get into some serious battles. Also, there’s a multiplayer version for the Android OS, but I haven’t tried that out yet. That would be seriously swell.

Steambirds Survival

 ★★★★★ 

Gameplay: ★★★★★ 

Technical: ★★★★★ 

/xrrgroup]
Survive wave after wave of badguy airplanes.

Game: Steambirds: Survival | Developer: Radial Games



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