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Multiplayer Game Reviews

April 7, 2011

Zen of Sudoku

Filed under: Girl's Choice, Other, Paid, Puzzle & Casual, WindowsNina S. @ 05:10

Zen of Sudoku is what all Sudoku games should be.

After writing that sentence I really wanted to pack this review in and call it a day but I didn’t think my bosses would like it. Seriously, though, it says everything you need to know about Zen of Sudoku. I suppose there’s a chance that you don’t know much about Sudoku in the first place, so I guess I’ll explain that and why this game is wonderful.

Sudoku is a game about lines and blocks. Take a look at the pictures on this review. You’ll see that there are nine squares big squares, which have nine smaller squares in them. Sudoku is a puzzle in which you are given some set numbers in those blocks and you have to fill in the rest. You fill them so that every line and larger block only has one of the available numbers, which are 1-9. You win the game when you have the entire board filled with numbers, with no repeats on any lines horizontally, in one big square, or vertically.

The game is meant to be a challenge but mostly, it’s relaxing. It’s a puzzle that kind of puts you in the mood for a nap, but in a good way. You’re using your mind, working that muscle but you’re also strengthening your mental capabilities.

Zen of Sudoku is everything you’d expect from a good Sudoku game because it’s calming at the same time as challenging. You play the game on a backdrop of soothing sounds and soft music. It sets you up to learn and expand your mind.

Obviously, this isn’t a game for anyone who doesn’t like Sudoku. That’s all it is, after all. On the other hand, if you do like it or are even just interested in trying it out, this is a cheap and easy way to learn. The game has several different levels and the learning curve is nice and realistic. There are even hints if you get stuck that will tell you what numbers you should be focusing on or if you have something down that isn’t correct. All in all, this is a great game. You can pick up a new, beneficial pastime and spend a few hours actually bettering your thinking abilities. Also, there are pretty pictures. And who doesn’t love pretty pictures when playing a video game for a few hours?

Zen of Sudoku

 ★★★★¾ 

 
Gameplay:★★★★½ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Stillness. Work.

Game: Zen of Sudoku | Developer: Unknown Worlds

April 1, 2011

Cityville

Filed under: Free, Girl's Choice, Macintosh, Other, Puzzle & Casual, WindowsNina S. @ 04:12

If you spend any time at all on Facebook I have no doubt that you’ve heard of Cityville. It’s an extremely popular game and if you’re not willing to block it you probably get tons of insistent invites from it. I like Facebook games. Well, I like to try them. I’m pretty picky and with the plethora of games offered I feel like I should only dedicate any of my time to the really good ones. If you’re like me you might not be willing to jump into the game head first. Well, here is a review to help you decide if Cityville is the kind of game you’d like.

Now, right from the beginning, let me go ahead and say this. Cityville has a lot of the faults that can be annoying with the typical Facebook game. You  have a set amount of energy and once it’s gone, you’re stuck. You have to wait for it to fill up or buy/accumulate energy packs to continue your game. There is a lot of lag in the game, though it’s manageable. Also, it’s one of those games where you really do need friends. You need them to send you crap, you need them to set up buildings, you need them for everything. This is my biggest complaint because I use my Facebook for family and friends. I don’t want to have to invite twenty strangers to our inner circles in order to play a game.

Even with that being said, of those kinds of games, this is probably one of the best. You’re not just sitting around pushing one button and “leveling up.” Instead, this game takes all of the best aspects of the bigger name social games and adds into one big game. You can farm, decorate, build up your city, and gather money. It has quests and is updated frequently. Besides that, if you’re not too annoyed by the system, there are millions of people playing this game. If it’s not in the top three played games I’d be surprised. So, there is a big pool of people to pull from, if you need more people in your game.

Cityville is a good game. I’ll say that. It’s a good place to go for a while every day and burn hours. It’s a game that’s easy to get addicted to, which may or may not be a good thing, but it’s fun. If you’re willing to look pass the standard annoyances, it’s the cream of the crop.

Cityville

 ★★★¾☆ 

 
Gameplay:★★★½☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Facebook game, for better and worse.

Game: Cityville | Developer: Zynga

March 8, 2011

Uncharted Waters Online

I'm looking for a quest!

Uncharted Waters

If you are from East Asia, then you have probably heard of and lost your life to this game. If you are from the West, you have probably been waiting to dedicate your life to sailing around in a boat.

Gameplay

Uncharted Waters takes place during the Age of Exploration; when real men sewed jewels into their frocks, women were earthy and children had grease on their faces. In this game you can adventure, be a soldier or trade.

Although it’s boat based, there are sea-areas, land-areas and towns. You can also choose to be English, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese or Venician. You also get to choose whether they are adventurer, merchant or a soldier. These classes aren’t binding, but it’s going to be a hassle if you want to change them.

Like in Civilization, each nation has its own perks, I won’t go into them, but there is a fair amount of similarity between the real life versions and the on-line versions.

Better luck next time sucker!

You click where you want to move. Double clicking turns your ship in a certain direction. Like all good MMORPG’s there is an area where you can accept quests. Once you finish them, you report back and collect your reward. If you’re too far away, you can get a female to report back for you, which is suh-weeeeeet.

Technical

This game was first released in 1995 (the normal version) and has been On-line since 2005 in Asia. It is only this year that us stinking Americans had access to it. Honestly, you can’t tell that we’re half a decade behind. The arena is sprawling, and, although you can take quests and stuff, you’re on your own for most of it.

It’s smooth and the controls are super easy. Seriously, I am almost always stymied by basic controls, and I had no problem here. It’s not too bad to look at either.

Multiplayer

Yes, there is PVP. PVP is awesome. Seriously, it’s boat battles. You can outfit your boat to ram other people.

You can also trade, and there is a chat client that is pretty slick. You don’t really need to be on a team or be part of an alliance to make it in this game. Like a rake in the ages of yor, you can stake your claim in the open ocean, feel the wind in your hair and bask in the ethereal glow of pixelated piratical bliss.

Uncharted Waters Online

 ★★★★★ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Multiplayer:★★★★★ 
Boat MMORPG in the time of the Renaissance.

Game: Uncharted Waters Online | Developer: KOEI

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 14, 2011

Itzabitza

Filed under: Education, Girl's Choice, Other, Paid, WindowsNina S. @ 06:18

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.

Itzabitza

 ★★★★★ 

 
Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Fun for the whole family…for real, this time.

Game: Itzabitza | Developer: Sabi Games

February 8, 2011

Blade Kitten

Filed under: Action & Shooter, Girl's Choice, Other, Paid, WindowsNina S. @ 05:10

Blade Kitten is cute. I mean, common! It is one of the cutest games that I have ever played. One look at the neko main character with her big anime eyes and her fuzzy little ears and I was pretty much hooked from “meow!” Blade Kitten is riddled with all of the things that make an action game wonderful. Powerful characters that you actually care about, beautiful artwork, and impressive voice actors make this a real diamond in the rough.

Besides being cute, the game is wonderfully rendered. It is an action game so the controls and motion are very important. During a great portion of the game, you are fighting. There is nothing more annoying when playing a game than mashing a button and having the character refuse to move in response. For this game, those scenes are poetry in motion. From swirling blows to jumping across platforms, our neko friend delivers.

You play as a somewhat goofy cat girl named Kit. Our hero is a bounty hunter out for her next adventure with the help of her sidekick. It is a rather simple story that carries itself with a semi-humorous vibe that was at one engaging and relaxing. As I stated before the characters are well written. You care not only about the main character but also about her sidekick while playing.

Now, of course no game is perfect. This one comes close but there are some concerns that I need to mention. First of all, I will say the game is one that becomes a lot easier and more fun to play if you have the ability to hook up a controller to your computer. It is not required but it can make your adventure run quite a bit more smoothly. Another concern I had is that the game is a bit…stretched. It is a bit like a book that would have been fantastic if it had stopped at ten chapters but instead it went fifteen. It is not annoying enough to make the book awful but you can definitely tell they were scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Those concerns being voice I really did enjoy this game. It is cute, quirky fun and who doesn’t like cat girls? For that matter, who doesn’t like cute girls in awesome outfits kicking butt? That’s what I thought. Everyone wants to spend a few hours of their time following the life of something cuddly and lethal. That is what Blade Kitten offers.

Blade Kitten

 ★★★½☆ 

 
Gameplay:★★★☆☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Meow!

Game: Blade Kitten | Developer: Krome Studios

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

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

December 14, 2010

Fishing Girl

Filed under: Girl's Choice, Other, Paid, Puzzle & Casual, XBoxNina S. @ 05:36

Now, I wasn’t feeling very well so I wanted to play something relaxing and fun without being too complicated. I spent a little bit of time searching and ran into Fishing Girl, a simple ten minute game that consists mostly of a mini-game that enables you to…you guessed it, fish.

Fishing Girl has a little plot line to it. For a ten minute game I don’t think it does a bad job at all. The story here is that you’re one of two lovers separated by the ocean. You have to get them back together and the only way to do so is by casting your fishing line all the way to the opposite land mass and reeling it closer. A little far-fetched but hey, it’s a video game, we’re not going to be picky. Now, the question you find yourself asking is how can I get my tiny little fishing pole strong enough to reel in an entire island?

You can upgrade your fishing rod by catching fish. You have to get the strongest possible pole in order to complete the Herculean task of catching an island. The more and bigger fish you catch the stronger your pole becomes, more or less.


There are three sizes of fish. They come in small, medium, and large. They also come in three different levels of commonality. The first is common, the second is uncommon, and the last is rare. Lastly, they can be either ugly or beautiful, which can affect how much they are worth in the long run. If you add all of those possibilities you usually get a fish that is, for example: Medium Uncommon (Ugly). This lets you know how much the fish is worth.

To catch fish of a particular size you use a slightly smaller bait, just like with regular fishing in real life. If you want to catch a large fish you have to use a medium fish to draw it. If you want to catch a medium fish you have to us a small one. If you hook a fish kind that isn’t meant for your bait your line will break and you will have to begin the chain or catching process all over again.

The game play sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. Once you get into the game you’ll see it’s pretty much common sense. The art style is nice and calming as well as pleasing and the music fits right in. This is really a game that set the tone for relaxation and an easy while wasting time. I would recommend this to anyone who has ten minutes on their hands and wants that happy buzz after.

Fishing Girl

 ★★★★☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Quick, Simple, Fun.

Game: Fishing Girl | Developer: Errcw

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 6, 2010

Minecraft

Minecraft

I have not gotten any reasonable amount of work done in the past 48 hours. Why? There was a ‘free-to-play’ weekend on the minecraft servers. So, I spent my weekend/Monday building a dome, not getting killed by zombies and mining until I reached bedrock and then trying to to die in lava.

Gameplay

I’m going to get it out up front, this game will only scratch the surface of Minecraft. The premise is simple, you start off on an island, infinitely rendered with square blocks, and you have to make your own tools and not die. It seems like a lot of fun until nighttime comes (yes, there is an intricate system for day and night. You can literally watch the sun and the moon move across the sky).

Then the bad guys come out. They spawn wherever there is darkness, so you’d better hope that you have built yourself a rudimentary shelter. Oh and you need torches because if you don’t have light in you shelter, monsters will literally spawn while you back is turned.

Well gosh and golly! How do I get the tools I need to succeed? Crafting my friend. One of the central themes of Minecraft is that you MINE the materials you need and then CRAFT them into tools on your workbench. So, to dig, you need to chop down a tree, convert the wood into sticks and then make yourself a pickaxe. With that pickaxe you then harvest coal which you combine with sticks to make torches.

Awesome.

Technical

Technically, this game is a marvel. Let’s start with the map. It is procedurally generated. This means that the game makes it up as you go along. The maximum size for a map is 8 times the surface of the earth. Yeah, there are limits up and down, but I have dug to the very bottom. It is crazy.

The interface is very straightforward. You have an inventory and you aim with the mouse and move with the keyboard. If you die, you drop your items and go to your original spawn point.

A lot of people have issue with the graphics, but man, I don’t mind. The game comes up with some seriously beautiful stuff. You have to see it to believe it.

Multiplayer

Yes, there is a multiplayer. It is stupid how easy it is to make a multiplayer server. If it takes you more than 5 minutes, you are doing something wrong.

Multiplayer is a blast. The better part of this game is spent thinking of awesome things to build, and with friends it becomes double the fun.

Final Verdict

If there is one game that you buy this year (okay, after Civ V, which was released the weekend before I wrote this) make it Minecraft. Seriously it’s $13.00 and you will get endless hours of fun out of it. Stop what you are doing, and pick this up. I’m going to put all the pictures at the end of the post because there is just so much awesome. Also I’m starting with a fanmade video that you should seriously check out.

This took a lot of time.

Okay, definitely watch this video to get an idea of how beautiful these blocks can be:


Minecraft.

 ★★★★★ 

Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Multiplayer:★★★★★ 
Mine. Craft. No, seriously. Craft some things. Then mine.

Game: Minecraft | Developer: Marcus Persson

November 1, 2010

Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Girl's Choice, Paid, WindowsNina S. @ 07:33

One thing about me that annoys my husband is that I’m absolutely addicted to cute things. I guess that kind of makes me a stereotypical female but I just can’t seem to help myself. When I see something cuddly or adorable I lose all conscious control of my body and must either smother it with affection or purchase it, take it home, and make it a home. That’s what I do. I saw Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale on Steam and bought it without even reading the description. Yes, that’s how bad it is with me. It was cute, I bought it, end.

What I did not expect from the game I bought completely on a whim was for it to good.

The game is about an item shop, if you didn’t already get that from the title. In it you have a wealth of options as to how you want to spend your time. I was blown away by the comprehensive controls as well as the fun, engaging story. This game is definitely high quality.

Now, I know that it’s not always the best option to describe a game by comparing it to another but that’s what I’m about to do. If any of you have ever played Rune Factory or Harvest Moon (come on, guys, you know they’re awesome) and enjoyed them you should give this game a try. It’s a trade game that incorporates a lot of RPG elements into it. Just like in Rune Factory, you can spend time working on your products and selling what you make or you can go out and battle monsters, again to help your overall business.

What could be more awesome than mingling a little dungeon crawling with bright characters and the pressing need to do well in business?

I had a bit of a hard time deciding how to categorize this game for the review. It’s very well balanced and you never feel as if you’re dragging on with one aspect while secretly waiting to get to the next. Instead each aspect is presented in a fun and easy way that draws you into actually caring about what happens.

Now, I added this game to the “ladies choice” category but that was mostly because it’s so adorable I could die just looking at it. That doesn’t, by any means, mean that I don’t think that men could enjoy it as well. There’s plenty of fighting and aggression to keep you guys entertained as well so I don’t see why both groups won’t want to give this one a try. Go get it, it’s worth it.

Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale

 ★★★★★ 

Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
The Story of an NPC!

Game: Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale | Developer: EasyGameStation

September 27, 2010

Pirates Ahoy!

Filed under: Free, Girl's Choice, Puzzle & Casual, WindowsNina S. @ 04:07

Somewhere there is dramatic music playing. People in black and white are holding their hands to their faces, mouths wide with a perverted mixture of fear and anticipation. The sky behind them opens up like angry palms, thrusting fistfuls of heavy rain to the earth while lightning dances with dangerous glee in the background. The suspense is as thick as the pea soup fog rolling in.

Here is where I come in. Slowly I make my way to the stage. I tap the microphone and clear my throat. There is a hushed, bated breath while I scan my audience. Finally, finally I open my mouth…the breathy whisper I let out is laced with a single sentence. “…Playfish has a new game.”


Yes, that is right! You heard me! My beloved Playfish has a new game out, and of course I had to take a look. I was surprised but not unpleasantly so. If you love casual games as much as I do, you are in for a different kind of world with Pirates Ahoy!

Let us start by talking about what is the same. Playfish has a particular kind of art and graphic style, which is not lost here. The game is cute and playful with music that really goes with the theme. As with many Facebook games, there is a profound encouragement to draw your friends in as well. It can be annoying but thus far Pirates Ahoy! does not make the mistake of requiring friends to play. It would probably make your adventures easier but it is not needed.

Now, if you played Gangster City (a Mafia Wars type game) you know that Playfish has already used the “energy” prospect before. In Pirates Ahoy! you have so much energy that refills steadily. You can buy things to refill it manually, but mostly you are waiting for it to fill on its own. Usually, this hinders your gaming. You can only do so much before you are forced to wait until tomorrow.

While Pirates Ahoy! imparts with the same method of use, you do not need energy for all the things you may want to do. When you cannot fight sea creatures or dig for buried treasure, you can still spend time customizing your ship or simply exploring.

There are many things to do in Pirates Ahoy! Honestly, it seems like Playfish has taken many of the different aspects from their other games and folded it into one. They have done this while being careful to make improvements where they failed. The money earned vs. cost of shinies is balanced much better in this game and there is a lot more to do. It also seems to have something for both sexes, while some of their games could be seen as overtly feminine.

I know I am a fan girl but you should still check out this game. It is easy to learn, engaging, and fun for all kinds of people! What more could you ask for?

Pirates Ahoy!

 ★★★★¾ 

Gameplay:★★★★½ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Yo-ho!

Game: Pirates Ahoy! | Developer: PlayFish

September 25, 2010

Duck Life 2

Duck Life 2

You're still a failure.

I reviewed Duck Life a while back. Go ahead and read it. Please. Now what do you think the sequel will be like? Right. It sucks. This game basically is a way of wasting your time. Again you have a duckling that you want to train for duckling races. If you win the title you get a crown and a bunch of super secret stuff.

To train for the races you have to upgrade your guy by completing training levels of running, swimming, flying and climbing. The climbing is a new addition. Then you race your guy. The races are on autopilot, which means you just sit back and watch your guy hop around.

This game takes so little skill it is not even funny. I don’t usually like to go off on rants or talk bad about a game, but I will explain point by point why this is a bad game.

See those locks at the bottom? You can unlock them if you beat the game!!!!!111 Hooray!

First is the training. There is virtually no evolution to them. In most other games, you have to beat a level to get exp. Yes, in most you can fail the levels, but you still get a modicum of exp, but the real money comes when you beat it. In this one there is absolutely no incentive to get any more skilled. When you die, you can press spacebar twice and still keep earning exp.

Second is the races. You are on autopilot. Compare this to other ‘gain coins and exp and upgrade games’. Yes, you get significant benefits from upgrading your guy. However, it is meaningful because it helps you perform better. Consider the last level of DF2. Obviously the reason you win is because all your levels are at 150 and the computers are at 149. Is this how a game should be played? No. The upgrades should work with your own development of skill.

On top of this, once you get to the upper levels of training, there are tons of glitches. The climbing game is completely full of bugs, and the running training is simply unplayable. Flying is still sweet and the only limit to swimming is your endurance.

I could be fighting the wrong battle, as this is obviously a children’s game. However we can still have standards. I was thinking that I would offer some suggestions for the next iteration of “Duck Life” but really I feel like the best thing, for everyone, would be to give up the franchise and start over with a game that pits skill versus the electric genius of the computer.

Duck Life 2

 ★☆☆☆☆ 

Gameplay:★☆☆☆☆ 
Technical:★☆☆☆☆ 
Train your duckling.

Game: Duck Life 2 | Developer: BubbleBox

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