Archive for January, 2012

Sugar, Sugar

Posted: January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Do you like sugar in your coffee or tea? How precise are you on how much you put in? If you like exactly 100 grains of sugar, then you will definitely like this game. Sugar, Sugar is a flash-based puzzle game that can be found on Kongregate. The basic idea is that you have to get sugar into the appropriate cups by drawing lines on the screen. Sometimes that involves changing gravity or using filters to change the color of the sugar. There are 30 different levels and a freeplay mode that can be unlocked.

The interface is really simple and quite cool. I particularly like watching the little bits of sugar fall. Its kind of mesmerizing. The controls are simple, you just need to click and drag to draw a line. My only complaint (echoed by some of the commenters on Kongregate) is that it would be quite nice if there was a tool to draw a straight line.

The difficulty of the puzzles ramps up at a very nice rate, with no level being too hard for the player to beat after a little thought and effort. One of my favorite random things about this game is that all the text and any buttons on the screen count as in game objects and sugar can pile up on them. I also really like the color filters. In later levels, they make things very interesting and challenging.

Sugar, Sugar is a very fun game. I definitely suggest giving it a try. The concept is interesting and the style of it is very professional. I award Sugar, Sugar a 4 out of 5 hearts. It would have scored higher but there are times when the player has the proper solution but because of issues with the line drawing, it doesn’t end up working properly.

4/5 Hearts

If you’re interested in playing Sugar, Sugar, you can find it here.

Super SOPA Bros

Posted: January 25, 2012 in Uncategorized
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You’ve probably heard about the proposed SOPA act around the internet. I know I’ve been hearing about it for quite some time. You’re probably wondering why I’m talking about it since this is about gaming, not politics. The answer to that is extremely simple. I found a game about it. Its called Super SOPA Bros. I’ve talked about the premise of serious games before, particularly those that are educational. There are also the socio-political ones. These kinds of games try to sway the player to believe something that the designer wants them to believe. That’s what this is. The basic idea is that its Super Mario Bros but with all the things that make it distinct censored out with black bars. It was created for the Ludum Dare Stop SOPA Game Jam.

As you could probably guess, the developers were attempting to convince people to stand up against SOPA. It shows their views of what the internet would be like if SOPA were to pass: a place so censored that there is nothing beyond the bare functionality of it left. Interesting, isn’t it?

The game is extremely short and ends with everything fading into black since the rest was “censored out”, but the shortness really adds to the impact of the game.

This is a very well made protest game. It makes its point plain, even through its use of ironic support. The graphics are simple and help convey the meaning. By using a familiar platform, they ease the players into their beliefs in a more personal way. I thoroughly approve of their design. I award Super SOPA Bros 4 out of 5 hearts. Way better than that last socio-political game I reviewed for you.

4/5 Hearts

Favimon

Posted: January 18, 2012 in 4 Hearts
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Have you every found a game and been like OH MAN! That’s kind of what I was like today when I found this one. The basic idea is that you encounter favicons of various websites either by random battles or by entering the URL of a page that you want to try to capture.

Gotta catch ’em all, Favimon!

As you can probably tell, Favimon is based largely on Pokemon. It goes so far as to include the rare and elusive shiny Favimon types. As you can see, I have an interesting assortment of Favimon in my party. I captured YouTube after this particular battle. I really like this game. Its absolutely brilliant and hilarious.

I’m particularly please because I captured a shiny WordPress. Also, the attacks of the various Favimon are loosely based on the type of website it is, except for websites that are particularly well known in which case their attacks are straight up references to the page.

The one thing I don’t much like about it is that there isn’t a Favimon center or anything like that so you can only heal your Favimon while in combat, and only if they have an ability that heals. As you can see, WordPress here doesn’t have one of those.

In conclusion, Favimon is a hilarious little game. You can find it at Favimon.com. I suggest you go check it out as soon as possible and capture some websites. The internet is big and you gotta catch them all! I’m awarding Favimon with a 4 out of 5 hearts. If they add a healing center when they come out of BETA, then I will love them forever.

4/5 Hearts

Sumon

Posted: January 13, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Sumon is a game out from Ideateca Games (or Ludei, their site is quite confusing) using my absolute favorite HTML5 and teaching mathematical concepts. How cool is that? The basic idea is that you take squares with numbers on them and you have a goal number. You are trying to create the goal number by selecting squares to add together. The more squares you use, the higher the score you get for them.

There are three different play modes: classic, progressive and respawn. Classic mode is just a big square of numbers each level. Progressive mode starts with a small amount of squares and the number of squares increases every level. In respawn mode, more blocks get added periodically. In all of the modes, the goal is to clear the screen of blocks.

The art style in this game is very nice. It has a certain feeling of homemade which makes it welcoming. The music is overwhelmingly annoying. It is less easy to notice that the music is a very short loop while you’re playing because of all the sound effects, but if you leave it sitting on a menu for any amount of time, you will realize just how short the repeat loop is.

Sumon is a very nice game. I really enjoyed it, though I would have liked for it to be a tad harder. It should be great for kids. In light of all that, I award Sumon a 4 out of 5 hearts. Could have been higher if it wasn’t for the music driving me a little batty.

4/5 Hearts

Sumon is available on several platforms including the iPhone, Android and Chrome browser. If you would like to try it out, check out the info page here.

Panda Poet

Posted: January 6, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Who doesn’t love pandas? Alright, anyone who just raised your hands can just leave because you have no heart.

 PandaBaby9911 588x457 30 Adorable Baby Pandas

You made him sad, you heartless person you!

On a slightly more serious note, I found a word game with a panda theme. As a panda lover, I jumped to play it immediately. The basic idea is that its a two-player word forming game where along with trying to form better words than your opponent, you’re alright trying to make giant pandas. You’re probably wondering how you can use words to make giant pandas, but its pretty simple. If you make at least a 2×2 box of letters and then you get a panda. If you can get all the letters on a side of that panda, it grows in that direction.

The one major downside this game has is that it being online, you frequently find yourself waiting for your opponent to make their move. I keep finding myself doing something else while I wait for my turn to happen. That isn’t always a bad thing depending on the kind of game you’re looking for. So, lets grade this on the basis that its a very casual game that you might play over the course of hours. This is probably a fair bet since they just recently added a patch so that you auto-matically resign after 10 days. Also, on the main menu screen, you can see all the games you currently have going and recently played games. Current games are sorted by who’s turn it is. You can also set it up to email you when its your turn, or leave it to the default setting which is that it emails you once a day if its your turn on any game you have going.

I love the art. Its nice and simple. It makes it very clear exactly what is happening. The background music is calm and soothing, which is a plus. I’m in love with the cute little pandas. Here’s a bigger view of the play screen while the game is in progress.

At first I was just playing for them and really wasn’t too big on the game itself. Its really laid back and I’m not normally that kind of gamer. But it really is very nicely done and enjoyable. In light of that, I give Panda Poet a 3.5 out of 5 hearts. It would have been a 4, but I’m a stickler for rating, image and audience and sadly as I was writing this last paragraph, my opponent played a rather inappropriate word and it was accepted. 

If you’re interested in trying out Panda Poet, you can find it in the Chrome App store.

Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels

Posted: January 4, 2012 in 2 Hearts
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Before I launch into this review, I should say that I’m generally not fond of the fighting game genre. I have a tendency to view them as victory through button mashing with no real skill or experience required. Moving on from there, I was not the primary player in our household this game was intended for. We actually rented this (despite its T for Teen rating) for my 9 year old brother. He’s a big Star Wars fan.

Beginning my research on this game, I made my own play file and started in. I was a bit horrified when I told it to play free play and then didn’t even give me the option of a tutorial. So there I am floundering my way through the character selection interface with no idea what I’m doing and no idea how the controls work. I then was launched into a fight against a Sith who was wielding not one but two lightsabers and I couldn’t even figure out which of the combination of buttons and frantic waving of the Wiimote was actually causing me to swing my lightsaber at her. The box says “Wield your Wiimote like a Lightsaber!”. I hate to say it, but I did no such thing. I wiggled it around and beat down some Sith. My little brother is quoted as saying “I don’t even know which one I am!” If that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with this game, then I don’t know what does.

There are three different play modes: campaign, free play and challenge. Campaign is the story line of the game. The storyline faithfully follows the Clone Wars movie, which is a definite plus when compared to a lot of movies turned video game. Free play is just that, a single match either between two players or one player and a computer controlled character. Each match is comprised by at least two parts, each a separate fight. A match is a best 2 out of 3 fight for victory. The same match style is used in the campaign mode, meaning that losing a single fight doesn’t keep you from moving forward. Challenge mode lets you pick a fight with one of the characters and keeps track of your performance so you can see how you’re improving.

The art style in Lightsaber Duels is exactly the same as in the Clone Wars animated episodes, making it a natural transition for the kids who have been watching it. Aside from the detail where the game is rated T for Teen and the show is watched by elementary schoolers everywhere.

For one last little nit-picky thing. When I was playing one of the challenges, it was me as Anakin Skywalker versus Obi-Wan. We’re going along fighting and the characters are randomly bantering like they do. Suddenly, Obi-Wan says something like “I’m glad Qui-Gon isn’t here to see you.” and the voice actor pronounces it “Ki-gon”. I’m sorry…what? You can’t pronounce Qui-Gon’s name? I’ve seen the movies all of once and I can pronounce it. You lose serious points for that.

In conclusion, the art, tone and game rating don’t jive. The controls are hard to use and silly. They made advertising claims on the package that contradict earlier press releases and the game itself. I don’t even know what to say. But I award The Clone Wars : Lightsaber Duels a grand total of 2 out of 5 hearts.