Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Roads of Rome III

Posted: January 8, 2014 in 3.5 Hearts, Uncategorized

Roads of Rome III is a time management game where you play a general in the Roman army. Your task is to repair the infastructure of Rome so the barbarians hordes descending on the Empire can be defeated.

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 4.50.24 PMMy first thought as I was going through the opening story was that it was a bit more than the game really needed. I mean, context is great and all, but do I really need to know that the general’s wife is pregnant and his motivation for saving Rome is that he’s doing it for his unborn child? What about the glory of Rome? Senatus Populusque Romanus. Other than that, I liked the intro. The art for it was absolutely fantastic.

The game itself is controlled entirely with the mouse. There’s no need to scroll around the screen to see resources and objectives, which made me extremely happy since after the first level there are time limits. I tend to find that single player games where you need to move all over the map add needless difficulty unless the level timer really accounts for that. There are 7 different resources involved in the game. What you say? You only see 5 on the bar. Well, the 6th is your workers and the 7th is time. You start each level with a single worker and as the game progresses, it lets you upgrade your base camp more and more to get more workers. An hour in, I had 3 workers going at the same time. Each level has a set of goals that need to be achieved. These always include rebuilding the roads and generally include rebuilding other pieces of the infrastructure around but might involve gathering special resources or purifying a water source.

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 6.08.22 PMThe graphics in the game itself are simple, but well animated. I found them to be kind of adorable. One thing I rather liked is that periodically things in the terrain that might not look interactable but are will shimmer white to draw attention to them, especially if they are currently reachable. I also like the the mouse will have a little green check mark if you have a worker available but there’s a red X instead if you don’t.

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 4.55.15 PMThere are four different modes of play: hard, normal, easy and relaxed. I played through the entire 1 hour trial on normal and I have to say, it felt too easy. I played through a good chunk of levels before I ran out of time, only playing two twice to make sure I got expert times on all of them. If I didn’t manage an expert time the first play through, it was extremely easy to figure out how to optimize my approach for the next play through. Hopefully the difficulty increases after the first hour of play, but that sample leads me to believe that the normal difficulty is a bit too easy.

Overall, I enjoyed Roads of Rome III, but there were a few things I feel like could have been improved. With the story so involved in the beginning, I was sad that I didn’t hear any more, though that could have just been because the trial was only an hour long. I award Roads of Rome III a 3.5 out of a 5 hearts.

3.5 HeartsIf you would like to play Roads of Rome III, you can find it here on Big Fish Games. There is a 1 hour free trial or you can buy the full game for $9.99.

 

 

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Hey guys! So I found this Kickstarter project when I was looking around to see what kinds of neat things were available. I think you should all check it out.

Pulse Dice

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.

I might have mentioned that I’m a game design major. This implies that I know other game designers. And, I do! Some of them made some games (*gasp*) and here are a few of them. I’m going to be including a link in the arcade to all of their games, this is just a quick run down.

As a side note, these games were made using the Perlenspiel HTML5 engine, which explains the blocky graphics. If you would like to check out the engine, its right here.

Liquid Pixel Pixie Stix

It comes in both single player and multiplayer. Its like snake, only level based and involving the consumption of pixie stix.

 

Block Party

There are blocks, they want to be together, like an adventuring party. Gather them! You might also be murdering everyone, it depends on whether or not the sound is on.

Liquid Pixel Pixie Stix 2: Pixi’s Pixie Stick Factory

You’ve played diner dash games, but have you played a pixie stix factory game? Its the self-proclaimed obnoxiously sweet sequel to Liquid Pixel Pixie Stix.

 

Like I said, I’m going to be adding these to the Arcade. So be sure to check them out. You can either navigate to the Arcade or just go straight here.

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.

Entanglement

Posted: November 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Puzzle games were among the first development when computer gaming became a big thing, and no wonder since they are fairly easy to develop. Gopherwood Studios have created a lovely little puzzle game that is available freely in the Chrome app store. Its called Entanglement. The basic idea is that you form paths, trying to loop the red trail around without hitting a wall or the center or trapping yourself. In order to control the path, you rotate the pieces which are randomly dropped. The controls are extremely simple but the game is extremely challenging.

To control the orientation of the piece, you just click those little arrow images. The challenge is paying attention to where the path will lead.

The user interface is really simple. The score for your current game and your personal records are kept in the upper left hand corner of the screen. The menu is available on the bottom right hand corner in a little tab that you can pull out. The UI is really pleasing to the eye and doesn’t interfere with the game at all. I also really like the art style. It has a very distinctly asiatic feeling to it, which adds quite nicely to the overall zen feeling.

I find that playing Entanglement is extremely relaxing but also quite challenging. I particularly enjoy the fact that I start it and I’m immediately playing. There’s no loading or intro videos or anything like that, just start and go. And a play is pretty short. It only takes a few minutes. More puzzle games should have that feeling that you can jump in at any time and play for as long or short as you would like.

In conclusion, I really enjoy Entanglement. I was particularly pleased to find out that the developers work with HTML5, which is easily my favorite development tool. I love the art and the feel of the game. It really fills an important niche in my games collection. As a result of that, Entanglement earns the much sought after 5 out of 5 hearts. Well done!

If you’re interested in getting Entanglement, you can find it in the Chrome app store here or you can check out Gopherwood Studios’ own website here

Yes; Every System!

Posted: November 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Today, my friend Becky and I wrote a card game. It is strangely entertaining and confusing at the same time. The people who have played thus far have greatly enjoyed it. It might be designed to be played by a certain young and confused elf LARP character. She was challenged to prove that she knows how to play cards. This is my way of doing it. 🙂 Enjoy!

Yes; Every System!

Requires:

  1. A standard deck of 52 cards + both jokers
  2. scoring mechanism such as paper for counting tricks

Rules:

  1. Deal out hands of 5 cards to each player
  2. Play proceeds counter clockwise
  3. The game is comprised of rounds until a player has taken 13 tricks exactly
  4. On each round, each player has to make hands in as many card games as possible.
  5. The following rules are in effect:
    1. 8s are crazy (wild)
    2. Pair games are not allowed
    3. Once per turn, each player may invoke “Go Fish”
      1. If you invoke “Go Fish”, you must declare which card you are discarding or passing first
      2. To score “Go Fish”, you must have 4 of a card
    4. Black Jack must be 21, use of  black jack trumps
    5. War must be a card that was used in no other hands
    6. Cribbage must be 15 or 31 (neither trumps)
    7. Jokers:
      1. if a single joker is in your hand it is minus a single trick
      2. if both jokers are in your hand, they are a poker pair higher than aces
    8. Muggins:
      1. If you see a valid hand of cards in another player’s hand and call it for them, then you can claim the trick if they win it
  6. Each “game” they win is a trick
  7. If a player passes 13 tricks scored, they bust and are out of play
  8. Dealer passes counter clockwise each round

Rules for Taking Tricks
In order to take a trick, you must have a better hand in that game than the other players.

Valid Card Games
Valid card games should be announced at the beginning of the game. Some examples follow:

  1. Poker
  2. Crazy Eights
  3. Go Fish
  4. Black Jack
  5. Cribbage
  6. Old Maid (see also, single Joker)
  7. War (special rules)
If any of the rules are unclear, please feel free to leave a comment.