Archive for June, 2012

Strawhat Samurai

Posted: June 27, 2012 in 2 Hearts
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Strawhat Samurai is a flash game available on Kongregate. Its a combat adventure game with a simple storyline. The basic idea is that two warlords are at war in Feudal Japan and you’ve been called in as a Samurai to fight the opposing army to distract them until your allies get there. The level select map is the path you’re following to get north and has some interesting, though simplistic mechanics to it. Such as being unable to go out on to the road until you’ve dealt with a watch tower.

In order to fight other warriors, you use the mouse to draw the line you’re cutting with your katana. You can click on a location to walk there, or slash through it to run there. The archery system is interesting in that the player can toggle their bow at any time that they have arrows, and arrows must be gathered in a level. This seems a little odd, but it works. Why don’t arrows I don’t use in one level carry over to the next? One thing I do approve of is that you can’t shoot while moving like in a lot of games. The levels can be very difficult and periodically made no sense. At one point, I found myself fighting a catapult and the game text said to “hit it back in the balls”. Hitting the catapult stones appeared to do nothing, particularly since they usually disappeared on impact and I couldn’t actually hit the catapult.

The game certainly has a very samurai movie feel to it, with all the running around and the lone good guy with just his sword. Even the background music embraces the feel. The art only adds to it. I wish that the game play and puzzle design could have lived up to the rest of the game. Overall, I was underwhelmed. Though I do approve of the archery system. I award Strawhat Samurai 2 out of 5 hearts.

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

I have just returned to my domain from the far off land of Florida and I come bearing new games. Today is devoted to an interesting new game experience available only in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom called Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. In this game, you play the role of an apprentice sorcerer and defend the Magic Kingdom from Hades, Ursula, Governor Ratcliff, Maleficent and everyone else. To do this, you team up with the various good guys of Disney film history and use your spells to do battle.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is a trading card based roleplaying game that is free to play for any guests in the Magic Kingdom. To join, you can go to one of two stations and present your ticket. The stations are in Mainstreet USA and Liberty Square. When you join, you get two things, a sorcerer’s key which allows you to activate the portals around the kingdom and a pack of 5 cards. The cards are your spells and on the back of each card is the sorcerer’s crest which allows you to channel power directly. Periodically a mission will require you to do this. Speaking of missions, the basic idea is that Merlin has a powerful crystal known as the Crystal of the Magic Kingdom and it has been broken. The villains all want it. It is up to the player to protect the crystal. They do this at various portals around the kingdom, which can be found by looking for the sorcerer’s crest symbol on the ground. Nearby those symbols is a lock which can be activated using a sorcerer’s key. The portals are in shop windows, hidden in wanted posters or other kinds of places out of the way where people won’t see them unless they’re activated.

The whole system is quite well done. You get the collectible trading cards, the fun of battling Disney villains and its all wrapped up in a trip to the Magic Kingdom. The best part, in my opinion, was the cards. I loved going around and battling Disney villains, don’t get me wrong. But the cards are absolutely awesome. There are 70 different cards right now and you can get 5 new ones each day you’re in the Magic Kingdom. The packs are randomized and I’m pretty sure the lower number cards are more common because I got a couple of Belle. My one complaint is that the cards have all kinds of information on them that never gets explained to the players. I was told during the tutorial that you could play up to 3 cards at a time, but it wasn’t until another person saw me and my brother playing that we learned that there were special combos of cards that worked better together.

The sorcerer’s key is probably the coolest part of the whole game. I’m not even sure how it works, though I suspect RFID. The sorcerer’s key is set up to a specific person and records who they have faced, how the combat went, where they are in a story line, where they need to go next and all of that. You can take it to any portal and find out where you need to be to continue playing. The key is a card, but it seems to contain all of your information as a player. I saw people who had been playing longer than me who had a sorcerer rank. I suspect that comes after you’ve finished more than 3 or 4 missions.

A Sorcerer’s Key

Overall, I love the game and the cards. I’m a little sad that I have to wait until we can go to Disney again to get more and to play again. But I suppose that’s the point. The great part is that it gets park guests to talk to each other about the game and the experiences they’ve had with it. And what could be better than that? I give Disney’s Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom a 4.5 out of 5 hearts. I loved playing and wish I lived closer to play more.

4.5 out of 5 zelda hearts

Going on Vacation

Posted: June 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

Sorry for the lack of post on Wednesday and the lack of real post today. I’m going on vacation for a few weeks. I’ll be back on the 24th, and you can expect new reviews starting around then.

Logic Puzzles

Posted: June 4, 2012 in 4 Hearts
Tags: ,

And here’s something completely out of left field. You know those puzzle books you can get for like $5 in the grocery store? They’re in the magazine aisle. They have these puzzles in them that a lot of people love called logic puzzles. These are actually a specific type of puzzle where you use some kind of chart and a list of clues and figure out what’s going on in the story. Usually they involve a lot of people doing fairly similar things, like buying plants or owning pets or both. The problem is that those books usually offer maybe 3 or 4 of those puzzles. I would love to find a book that is just those. So I went on the hunt. Turns out they exist online.

Logic puzzles are a time honored tradition for puzzle lovers. They involve a lot of thinking and, understandably, require logic. For those of you who have never played one before, tradition dictates that a circle is put where the answer is correct and an X where the answer is wrong and they are solved using the following kind of grid. The clues will also generally omit 1 item from each category of item. It can take a while to solve some of the puzzles, and for the harder ones you may have to take a guess in order to solve them.

The clues generally speaking look something like this.

Now then, to the specifics of the Puzzle Baron’s Logic Puzzles. You can register for the site and it keeps track of your scores on various puzzles and you can compete for the high score on each given puzzle. The puzzles themselves are randomly generated, and you can access puzzles you’ve tried before but didn’t finish on your scores page. The difficulty of puzzles is also randomly determined, so you may end up finding some really hard ones. I found the set up of the site to be very simple, but very nice. It was very easy to use and very enjoyable. I award the Puzzle Baron’s Logic Puzzles a 4 out of 5 hearts.

4/5 Hearts

If you would like to try out these logic puzzles, you can find them here.

Bubble Tanks 3 is yet another installment in the Bubble Tanks series by HeroInteractive. The basic idea of these games is that you’re controlling a tank made of bubbles and fighting other little bubbles for control of the big bubble territories that you live in. You kill other bubbles and absorb them to become bigger and more powerful, but if you get hit too much, you lose your upgrades until you have enough bubble stuff to get them again. The controls are simple enough, and pretty much standard. WASD to move around and mouse to aim and fire. What is nice is that if you don’t like that, the controls are customizable in the settings.

This tank here is reasonably advanced.

As you progress, fighting various types of tanks of various difficulties and slaughtering what appear to be unarmed bubbles, you can choose to either use of the pre-made tank upgrades or customize your own. The customization screen was a little confusing at first, but once you figure it out, it was quite nice to have that level of control over my tank’s appearance and weaponry. The main thing that confused me is the GP score, which stands for Gun Points (I’m pretty sure). GP is actually the current gun score of your tank, with max GP, the tiny text under it, being the amount of GP you can have. What this means is that you can keep adding guns until you hit the max GP value. I had assumed they were a type of upgrade points I had to spend that would go down. Once I figured that out, it made a lot more sense. My major complaint is that loading the tanks seemed to take an unbelievably long time, and my computer is not slow. However, I have been told that if you unselect all the download options and just use custom tanks, it moves much faster.

The game starts a little slowly, giving you some room to figure out the controls and get used to shooting, and to get some upgrades before you go after the bigger tanks. The fights get pretty hard as you get larger, because its harder to dodge their weapon fire.

Bubble Tanks 3 is a fun little top down shooter. I enjoyed playing it and suggest you try it out. It has a very nice level of customization. It has some lag issues due to the amount of content, but that is a normal enough trade off. I award Bubble Tanks 3 a 3.5 out of 5 hearts and suggest that you try it out.

If you would like to try out Bubble Tanks 3, you can find it here.