Archive for the ‘4.5 Hearts’ Category

Hexagon

Posted: October 5, 2012 in 4.5 Hearts

Sometimes you encounter a game and can’t help but thinking that it ran away from an arcade in the 80s and that time changed irrevocably because it wasn’t there. Hexagon is one of those games. The controls are very simple, employing only the arrow or WASD keys to control the player. The player is an arrow that can orbit around the center of the screen. The object is to dodge the the lines that are moving in towards the center.

The levels go from point to line, all the way up to forming a hexagon. In order to get to line you need to last 10 seconds and the time goes up from there. Remember the good old days of arcade fun where a game was short and you could just keep hitting restart until you had to go do something else? We’re talking on the scale of a minute is winning. I love games that I can use to fill in the gaps in my day, just for a little fun before going back to the day to day.

The graphics are simple and visually appealing. Even the sound makes it feel like you’re in an arcade. It remembers your best time and also displays how much longer you need in order to make it to the next level.

I really enjoy playing Hexagon. Its simple fun and well made. It loads quickly and you can immediately jump right in and play. That right there is one feature of games that I look for. I highly suggest you check out Hexagon. It is very good, very well made and very fun. I award Hexagon 4.5 out of 5 hearts.

4.5 out of 5 zelda hearts

 

If you’re interested in playing Hexagon, you can find it here on Kongregate.

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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.

Pheus and Mor

Posted: September 24, 2012 in 4.5 Hearts
Tags: , , ,

Ah, the puzzle platformer, a truly wonderful genre. A puzzle platformer is any game where getting to the other side of the level involves more than just jumping on your enemies, usually involving complex puzzles, levers and such. In Pheus and Mor, the player controls a boy named Pheus and his dog, Mor. In each level the player has to get both of them to the door. The controls are simple enough, WASD for one character and the arrows for the other. The puzzles, storyline and graphics are what make this game truly awesome.

The graphics are really clean and crisp, simple and cute. In the first set of levels, everything is really bright and fun, then things started to get dark. I’m only about half way through, but I’m starting to suspect that the main character might be dead. Its a really crazy feeling. I love the difficulty of the levels, but also that I can go slowly and really think about how its all playing out. Every 4 levels or so, you get another panel in the comic that is the story of the game, letting you slowly fill the pieces in.

One of the hardest things about Pheus and Mor is navigating the puzzles while controlling two characters. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, for example Pheus is very light and can’t break things and Mor can’t jump. My only complaint so far is that I’ve figured out I need to collect the keys to open the big door in the middle of the room, and I can’t go back to re-try the level where I didn’t get the key but know there is one. Hopefully when I finish the others, I can go back and get it.

Over all, this is a very well made game with an excellent way of slowly revealing the plot and a wonderful mechanic. The art style really adds to the entire experience. I’m absolutely hooked and just want to keep playing. I expect to be sad when its done. I award Pheus and Mor 4.5 out of 5 hearts.

4.5 out of 5 zelda hearts

If you’re interested in playing Pheus and Mor, you can find it here on Kongregate.

Bloons Tower Defense 5

Posted: September 19, 2012 in 4.5 Hearts
Tags: ,

Hey guys! I know I totally dropped off the face of the earth for a while there. I graduated from college and have been spending my time trying desperately to get a job. There was also a period of about 2 weeks where I lacked internet and that made it really hard to get back into the routine. But I’m back and ready to go. To get back into the swing of things, I’ll be talking about a game in a series I absolutely love. I love tower defense games with a passion, particularly Ninja Kiwi’s Bloons Tower Defense series. With the 5th in the series available on Kongregate, I figured I should tell everyone about it.

As with other games in the Bloons Tower Defense series, the story line is that you’re helping the monkeys fight the bloons which are tying to invade their land. To do this, you have an arsenal of darts at your disposal, and a few other more interesting weapons too. In Version 5, there are some new towers, Special Agents and a way to upgrade one type of tower outside of a map. Some of the new towers include the ninja and the sniper monkey. They also tweaked the upgrade method to have two distinct paths of 4 upgrades. You can only get all 4 upgrades in one of the two paths and 2 in the other, but its up to you to pick. The towers also have to be used in order to make all the upgrades available.

Special Agents are a truly new aspect of this game. The basic idea is that you use Monkey Money to purchase Special Agents which are special towers or effects that can help you with a map. Monkey Money can be gained either by opening the chest on the menu screen daily or by beating maps on various difficulties. Completely challenges also rewards Monkey Money. Another use for Monkey Money is specialty buildings which allow you to have permanent upgrades for your towers.

As with every time they make a new Bloons Tower Defense, the graphics improve wonderfully. The graphics are a lot crisper and their style is very coherent. I really like the look of everything, it looks very professional. I mean, compare that to the picture below from one of the older games.

Bloons TD

Bloons TD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I really love Tower Defense games and this series has a long tradition of being excellent. They’ve added a ton of new things and kept everything about the series that I like. Well done, Ninja Kiwi, well done indeed. I award Bloons tower Defense 5 a 4.5 out of 5 hearts.

4.5 out of 5 zelda heartsIf you’re interested in playing Bloons Tower Defense 5, you can find it here on Kongregate or here on the Ninja Kiwi website.

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

Blood typing was an important discovery in medical history. Karl Landsteiner discovered the major blood type groups while doing research into transfusions, without which many of the surgeries we take for granted these days would not be possible. He also won a Nobel Prize for his discoveries, which is why this game exists, but more on that later. I learned about blood types back in 10th grade biology and then again in Anatomy and Physiology in college, but lets face it, I don’t remember most of it because I barely applied it, if at all. That all changes now. Nobelprize.org brings us The Blood Typing Game, a hands on learning experience where the player is taking on the role of an emergency room doctor doing blood typing tests and transfusions.

The purpose of The Blood Typing Game is to teach younger people about the important of blood typing and is one of many new games on the Nobel Prize website. It also just happens to be a very nicely made serious game. The best part is that you can either read the 3 pages of information before the game starts which teach all about blood typing and the importance of getting it right for transfusions, or you can just jump right in and learn by doing. I chose the latter, just to see if it could be done. It walks you through the process quite nicely, and the messages telling you what to do stay there, but are easily ignored once you don’t need them any more.

One of the things I really liked is that while the game is hands on and scientifically accurate, its not overly bloody. I’m actually really squeamish about blood and I could play this with absolutely no problems. That alone gives them high marks in my book. I suspect that that may be a large part of why the graphics are the way the are. Everything is just slightly cartoony, not quite real. Just enough off from reality that anyone can play without getting grossed out or triggering phobias.

You can also see deeper into what’s going on at any time, which really helps with understanding the material being presented. The feedback presented is really good, and actually startled me a few times. After your patient screams once because you screwed up doing a transfusion, you never want to make a mistake ever again.

My one issue with The Blood Typing Game is that there are only 6 missions. The end of the last mission strongly implies that you can get new patients, but I followed their instructions and got the same batch I had already solved. This does seriously reduce the replayability of the game, which hinders learning to a degree. But overall, its a very well made game and it succeeds at its educational goals. I award The Blood Typing Game a 4.5 out of 5 hearts. Well done!

4.5 out of 5 zelda hearts

If you’re interested in playing The Blood Typing Game, you can find it here.

Paladog

Posted: May 18, 2012 in 4.5 Hearts
Tags: ,

Wow, I’ve been absent for a while. Sorry about that folks, but I’ve been working on finishing up my undergraduate degree. With that officially done, I’m back in the blogosphere while I throw resumes into the void, as I like to call the job hunt. In order to jump right back in, I found a flash game on Kongregate that couldn’t help but grab my attention: Paladog. Particularly because the icon for the game is a little doggy wearing a plate helmet.

The storyline behind Paladog is an interesting one. The basic idea is that human beings have done so much damage to the earth through war and stuff that the gods got angry and destroyed them. So then the gods decided to make the critters of the world be the new dominant society. Well, apparently the new denizens of Critterland are so good and pure that the devils can’t find any evil minds to corrupt, so they decide to attack with an undead army instead. That’s where you come in as Paladog. You lead the forces of animal kind against the undead hordes.

The game play is pretty simple. You control Paladog as he moves back and forth on the screen, summon his woodland allies and use one of his three weapons to use various abilities. There are also periodically stages where the normal rules get thrown out the window and you’re suddenly working with the same basic ideas but totally new mechanics, such as an escort mission happening instead of a target to kill or you get to use powers as they come down a track rather than waiting for mana to regenerate. Normally speaking, you have two bars to worry about: mana and food. Mana is used for Paladog’s special weapon abilities and food is used to summon his allies. The controls are keyboard or mouse driven and you can choose to use a combination of types of controls if you would like. I personally found that using entirely the keyboard worked quite well, since the controls stay either on the a-l line or the number line.

The storyline is adorable, the graphics are adorable and the controls are really simple. It has a nice level of complexity to the strategy of the game, with the resource management and choosing which troops to send out and which weapons to use. You can upgrade your individual units, equip your paladin and buy more advanced units. This adds in a whole new level of complexity as decisions have to be made about which troops to upgrade or whether to just save everything to buy new troop types.

Overall, I loved this game. Paladog is absolutely adorable and eye catching. The graphics have a really fun quality to them and the game is very enjoyable. I strongly recommend trying it out. Best of all, you can have 3 save files at a time, so you can play around with different ways of playing and see how they go. I award Paladog with 4.5 hearts of out 5. Very well done.

4.5 out of 5 zelda hearts

If you want to try out Paladog, you can find it here.