Posts Tagged ‘PC Game’

Haven and Hearth is an multiplayer survival game with some basis in Slavic and Germanic folklore. The basic idea is that you start in the wilderness with a fire and some basic survival skills and as you gathering things and learn about the environment, you gain points which are used to increase your skills and learn new ones. There are a lot of skills and its takes a lot of effort to get all of them.

Along with learning new skills, there are some skills which can be improved by spending learning points. There are also base attributes which affect how the use of your various skills works. The world is huge, though sparsely populated. I live in a small hearthland with 4 other players, sharing the work of getting to the more advanced technology and skills. As you can probably guess from my character sheet and land, I’m the farmer. I also take care of some of the livestock.

There are some inherent problems with Haven & Hearth. Since every item is a node with a limited amount of an item, you might come across a really large mud flat with no clay or a tree with no branches. There is also a really serious lag problem stemming from their network setup.

Haven & Hearth has a lot going for it, with a wide variety of skills and ways to play the game. You can be a nomad, a thief, a farmer, a merchant, a village leader, pretty much anything you can imagine. There’s a lot to explore too. One of my favorite features is the Hearth Secret which allows people to come into the world in the same area as their friends instead of a random place in the world. Overall, it has a lot of potential and I can’t wait to see what it will be like when it finally come out of alpha. I award Haven & Hearth 4 out of 5 hearts. Handle that lag problem and you’ve got something awesome here.

4/5 Hearts

 

If you’re interested in playing Haven & Hearth, you can find it here and its completely free.

 

 

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make video games? Playing games leads to modding which leads to making your own, its a wonderful process that more people should experience. That’s why today I’m bringing you Stencyl. Stencyl is a development suite for creating Flash, iOS and Android games, and if you have the pro version you can also create Desktop Mac and PC games. The engine is designed for 2D games, but that’s what most people want in a Flash game, right? One of my favorite parts is that they include a feature called StencylForge which is an online hosting of various game assets such as characters, backgrounds, environment building tools and even pre-coded behaviors so that you can learn at your own pace. This is great for kids or people who want to get into game design but don’t have the strong programming background. It also includes example games so you can get an idea how a lot of classic mechanics are done.

One of the great features of Stencyl is the forums. There are tons of people on there willing to help out newbies. Another great thing is that it includes the Kongregate, Mochi and Newgrounds API so you can connect to their score boards and give achievements. Speaking of Kongregate, There are tons of tutorials and forum posts about Stencyl and how to use it. For some of those tutorials, you can go here:

Here’s a code block that handles two different types of collisions: the player with an enemy or the player with a coin pick-up. But you can also choose to write real code if you want to. The interface for building scenes is just as simple. They made everything very drag and drop and friendly.

If you’re interested in learning the concepts behind game design and even starting to make your own games that you can upload to a real gaming site and get feedback from people, you should consider trying out Stencyl. Stencyl is available for Linux, Mac and PC and can be downloaded here. I am thoroughly enjoying using it and can’t suggest it enough. I award Stencyl a 5 out of 5 hearts for wonderful software, community and game design teaching.

Dead Frontier

Posted: August 10, 2011 in 1 Heart
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The MMORPG is becoming a rapidly more popular game style. Its also becoming much more commonly made by low budget or independent developers. In this case, Dead Frontier is a zombie fighting game. You start out by making your survivor character. I was really impressed with the number of options available to choose between, and not just in the graphics of the character. There were a lot of different options for adjusting the base stats of your character as well.

The graphics for this game are pretty impressive as well, too. Especially given that this entire game runs in a browser. I wish I could explain the controls and combat mechanics and such to you, but to be perfectly honest, that one area of the screen is what I saw for a good 80% of the time I was playing.

This was the other 20%. Sadly, as gorgeous as Dead Frontier is, it seems to have serious lag issues and is quite probably just too big to be run in a browser effectively.

In light of this, I’m sad to say that Dead Frontier only gets a 1 out of 5 hearts. I wish I could have moved my avatar without Chrome crashing, but it never worked.

This strange game has been sweeping the internet by storm for quite a while. The basic idea is that you are a homeowner in a zombie apocalypse and the only way to survive is by cultivating your garden of zombie destroying plants. If that doesn’t sound fun, I don’t know what does. What’s even better is you can now get a free trial of Plants Versus Zombies from the Chrome app store.

So, first I just have to say that I love the quirky sound effects and upbeat music that plays the entire time. The graphics are also adorable. One of the things I really liked about this game is just how much content there is. I have the trial version and I got 20 stages to play through and mini-games. And there’s way, way more in the full version. The mini-games that I have seen so far include a puzzle game where you have to break jars and you might get a plant to place or you might get a zombie and a bowling game. There was also one where you get a randomly generated list of plants coming, sort of like in Tetris, and you have to place them to combat the zombies. Another thing to be mentioned is that the environment changed, including fighting off zombies in the day or night or even on the roof.

I found the game play to be quite simple and the difficulty ramps up in a very natural curve. The levels always felt like they were right at the level of difficulty I should be at. The gameplay is completely made up of point and click mechanics but its very enjoyable and engaging.

Plants Versus Zombies is available for the following platforms: Xbox live arcade, iPhone, DS and DSi, Playstation, Android, PC, Mac, iPad and Chrome web app. According to their website, they won Game of the Year. This is a really stellar game and I suggest trying it out for yourself. I’ve enjoyed it thus far and it just keeps getting better. Every new plant or zombie type is just hilarious. I especially like the one zombie who is reading a newspaper. He gets very angry if anything happens to his paper. So, having really enjoyed this game, I feel that they have earned the 5 out of 5 hearts. I have no complaints. Any time the game started to feel even the slightest bit tedious, they would give me a mini-game or change the environmental variables. It was very well done.

If you are interested in finding Plants Versus Zombies, you can find it in any of the places I listed before or you can go here. The game is available free to try the demo or $19.95 for the full version.

Robin Hood

Posted: April 1, 2011 in 2 Hearts
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Robin Hood by Legacy Interactive is a point and click adventure telling the story of Robin Hood, the Merry Men and Maid Marien as they rob from the rich, give to the poor and try and get back King Richard the Lionheart. This happens through a combination of puzzle games, dialogue and mostly find the hidden object puzzles. I’m under the impression that that particular genre must be painfully easy to program, given the sheer number of them out there.

I played through the entire demo and I have to say, I’m not impressed. They dumbed down the story, and inserted puzzles arbitrarily to make it a game. The puzzles are all the type I’d expect to find in Highlights magazine and at about that difficulty. They’re billing it as a kid’s game, but I don’t honestly think this is going to keep the attention of any child. Especially not a child actually capable of reading the dialogue and instructions.
I will give them this, though, the art is really really nice to look at. The music is also soothing, though it repeats just a bit too often. It hits that point where you can feel the repeat and it becomes jarring. The art is mostly realistic and looks almost hand painted, which is really nice. I really enjoyed just looking through the worlds as I was playing.

The major thing that I didn’t like was the overall feel that the game gave me. I love the story of Robin of Locksley and I felt like this was honestly a less compelling, less interesting, less intelligent telling than the Disney version which involved small, furry animals.

That’s right, Marian, you heard me. Disney told it better with furry animals. Now stop looking so gratified. Its hard to do it worse than a $7 hidden object puzzle with a random story tacked on. It probably would have been better with animation on the dialogue scenes, or maybe some voice over. If there were voice overs for the characters, I’d be more willing to buy that its a kid’s game, but as it is, not only do I refuse to believe that a kid would bother to read the dialogue and be able to read it all, but Will Scarlett swore and I’m only an hour in. Sure, “damnit” isn’t the worst swear ever and I’m sure they’ve heard it, but you don’t bill a game as kid friendly and throw in something like that randomly. Being as how this is a random internet based game company, they didn’t get their game rated by the ESRB and there’s nothing on their site to show that the game contains swears. It doesn’t even have violence, other than the constant references to the gallows, at least not as far as I’ve gotten.

Wow…I ranted. Ok, anyway. I didn’t really like this game. It felt like I was trying to read a badly abridged book but someone kept throwing puzzles at me. If I told the puzzles to go away, they would with no penalty, which in a way just made it all worse. Sure, you can’t really change the story of Robin Hood…but at the same time, now I have no emotional involvement at all. So why exactly am I trying to find stray fish?


In conclusion, this is a beautiful environment to go searching for objects, but I have no idea why I’m doing it. There’s nothing that makes me want to keep going. To be perfectly honest, they drained the joy out of hearing the story. The controls are simple to use and friendly, but there’s no reason to play on an emotional level. I award this game with a 2 out of 5 hearts. They were saved by their art team on this one.

If you’re interested in checking this game out, you can find it at Legacy Interactive’s website here for $7 or play the free demo.

WolfQuest

Posted: January 24, 2011 in 3.5 Hearts
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WolfQuest is a serious game devoted to educating people about the plight of the wolf in the wild and just how hard it is for a wolf to survive and form a family. It also teaches about wolves in general, demonstrating things like pack hunting behaviors and communication methods. The basic concept of the game is that you’re a dispersal wolf seeking a mate so that you can start your own pack. In my case, I was playing a black and brown female named Runt. The wolf you play is highly customized which is a really nice touch. The graphics are quite nice and I felt very immersed in the wolf’s habitat and life. The controls are for the most part very simple to use and understand, though I’ve yet to get the hang of hunting elk. The wolf interaction scenes are very neat, with the same sort of dialogue choices that most RPGs have.

Now, I get to start my complaints. Periodically, I’m getting stuck in “conversation mode” when there aren’t any other wolves around or when there is, but I have no dialogue options. I’ve had to load from save repeatedly because of this. Save early save often, while a fabulous motto in programming, should not be the way to play a video game. While that is my only real complaint, its a problem that is really hindering game play. I actually beat the first episode but couldn’t save because I got stuck in conversation mode and 5 tries later I haven’t been able to find a dispersal male since.

Overall, this game does a very good job in teaching the things it seeks to teach, and subtly enough that it isn’t annoying. Its a very good game along with being educational. It has some programming flaws that make play hard at times, but hopefully these bugs can be fixed in a later version. I’ll give WolfQuest a 3.5 out of 5 hearts. Its very good, but fix that bug!

If you’re interested in playing WolfQuest and learning about the wolves and their natural habitat, check it out for free at wolfquest.org.

Atlantis and Lusternia

Posted: January 19, 2011 in 3.5 Hearts, 4 Hearts
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First up, in the this double feature episode, I’ll be talking about the Atlantis MUD client. A MUD, or multi user dungeon, is a long standing tradition in geeky gaming. At first, these text based role-playing adventure games were the only multiplayer online games available but over the years, we’ve moved up in the world and developed graphics. But that doesn’t mean that the MUD is dead. Far from it, in fact. These games can be played in several ways, including through command line magic, portals made by the game’s developers or through clients like Atlantis. The Atlantis client is fairly bare bones compared to other MUD clients out there, but I like it because it does what I need it to. It has an address book for the MUD servers that you want to keep track of and allows you to be connected to multiple MUD servers at once, notifying you if something happens in one of the other games while you aren’t looking. Certainly, it doesn’t have on screen maps or hotkeys like some MUD clients, but I don’t really need those. I have the in-game map and I like to type out the commands. Granted, some people might like that sort of thing.Second up in the double feature is Lusternia. Lusternia is a MUD which is fantasy based. I play Lara, a wiccan in training, who is part of the Serenwilde Commune. The game is very detailed and also very user friendly. I’ve played other MUDs before where I couldn’t figure out in the slightest what I was supposed to be doing and the combat system completely eluded me. This one is fairly straight forward. Quite a few of the quests are layed fetch and carry quests, but its entertaining at the very least. I’ve only really explored a very small amount of this game, being only level 16. You don’t even get out of being a novice until you’re level 21. I suggest that you try it out.

So the scores. First up, the Atlantis MUD client. Simple to use and stores the bare minimum of information you need to play. Its functional and simple to use. Some other clients have more frills, though. In total, it get a 3.5 out of 5 hearts.

And Lusternia. A very entertaining MUD, well done and user friendly. From what I’ve played so far, I give it a 4 out of 5 hearts.

4/5 Hearts