Archive for the ‘2.5 Hearts’ Category

Board games. A social endeavor that many children encounter as some of their first games. They can be used to learn colors and counting and even just social skills. But as with many other kinds of games, there are the good, the bad and the ugly. Today I will discuss 5 of the classics from the “adult” category : Scrabble, Monopoly, Yahtzee, The Game of Life, and Sorry. When I say adult here, I mean not a game meant for preschoolers. Also, this Best of the Best will be a two parter. To find out which is truly the best of these 5, tune in Wednesday of next week.

Scrabble

First up, Scrabble. Scrabble is based on the idea of crossword puzzles, where you have words connected to other words in a grid pattern. The major difference is that instead of being given clues about the word, you just have letters and have to come up with the best word out of those letters that you can. So I suppose its more like a Fill-In puzzle without a word bank. Either way, each letter has a point value and certain squares on the board have bonuses to points. Scrabble is a great game for practicing spelling and really rewards people who know obscure words, especially if it has an X or a Z. The one major downside is that this tends to result in the adult players scoring way, way more points than the kids unless the kids have excellent vocabularies.

I’m a fan of Scrabble. The rules are simple and it rewards the player for being smart and creative. There’s a strategy to it and while there’s randomness to what letters you have, there is also a lot of skill involved. Scrabble gets a 4.5 out of 5 hearts.

4.5 out of 5 zelda hearts

Monopoly

Monopoly. How to explain my feelings towards Monopoly. We own something to the tune of six different versions of the game at my house, most of which date from when I was in elementary school or prior. I can’t really remember a game of Monopoly that didn’t end with flipped tables and tears, unless it was being played by my parents and grandparents. Even then, it got competitive to a terrifying level. The story of Monopoly is that you’re a real estate tycoon in the twenties (Read as landlord scumbag) and you’re trying to get a monopoly by putting the other players out of business. If you’re playing by the actual rules of Monopoly, there’s no trading and the items belonging to a player who has declared bankruptcy go up for auction. Monopoly is one of the most house-ruled games in existence.

You can probably guess that I think rather poorly of Monopoly. If there is one thing that the game really has going for it, it has to be that there is just so much history, so many people learn to play Monopoly as one of the first games they encounter. For that, it ends up getting 2.5 out of 5 hearts.

Creatures and Castles

Posted: December 30, 2011 in 2.5 Hearts, Uncategorized

As its name hints, Creatures & Castles by Hiive is a dungeon crawling puzzle game where you play a hero looking for treasure. In this game, you’re solving the puzzle of how to move around the room without getting attacked by a monsters. You plan a path to get through the room and then your character follows it. You can stop them again by clicking on them and start a new path from that point.

There are two possible player characters: one male and one female. The initial level pack available is the Middle Ages, but for 99¢ you can buy the Egyptian level pack. Its also quite the challenge to get through all the levels. The tutorial levels are extremely good, but the difficulty ramps up way too quickly after that. There are 64 levels in the middle ages path and that’s where I got stuck.

The graphics for Creatures & Castles are really cool and don’t get in the way of gameplay at all. The controls are simple to use, which is very nice. It plays nicely on the computer, despite feeling like it was designed for the iPhone.

Here’s one of those things that drive me crazy. The backstory of the game isn’t in the game. If you want to find out things like the names of the characters or why they’re running around in a castle, you need to look on the website. That makes absolutely no sense to me. If you’re going to bother writing a story for your game, put it in somewhere. Even if there’s just a button you can click to read the story or a one-time splash screen on loading. Their names are Timmy and Susie by the way.

In conclusion, Creatures & Castles is an entertaining but ridiculously hard puzzle game available for all the iPlatforms and the Chrome App store. The game is decent, the art is nice but the story isn’t included in the game. It could use to have a slightly better difficulty curve, though I’m sure that some people can make it through. The other thing that really got on my nerves is that I have no idea what the gold is for. You collect gold over time and it doesn’t seem to serve any purpose. Creatures & Castles gets a 2.5 out of 5 hearts. I just wasn’t impressed.