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Friday
Oct112019

Grobo Review

In this iOS game you will be playing as an adorable, yet lonely robot named Grobo. The name of the game is also the name of the main character (Grobo) and will test your puzzle solving skills as you traverse the seemingly empty world of Megatropolis. You will have to utilize your ability to change the direction of gravity all while trying to avoid obstacles, such as heavy crates that can squish you (if the gravity changes putting it above Grobo), stationary balls full of spikes (pretty self explanatory but spikes do hurt and will destroy Grobo), lasers (once again pretty self explanatory), short circuiting wires, and gravity pads which have the ability to redirect your path which if you’re not careful will push you right off the stage.

I have to say right off the bat that this game is going to challenge any who take it on, and to be honest that’s what one looks for in a puzzle game. Gamers want to feel smart for conquering something where the solution isn’t immediate, and this game deliveries several times over. You will control Grobo with a couple of different gestures to move him around. The first is the swipe which will change the flow of gravity in that direction (if you swipe down then everything will reorient itself to have everything fall downwards).  The second is to hold your finger on the screen in the direction you want to walk and Grobo will walk until he gets to an edge and will hang there wobbling on the edge, then he will drop in the direction of gravity (many a lost Grobo life will happen if you just go about falling off ledges). 

Each level has a predetermined number of steps to get three stars (full credit) for the level, but you can take as many steps as you’d like as long as you get Grobo to the computer console (exit of the level). There are also levels that have memory fragments in them that you will want to collect, if you want the full experience, however I will warn you that you not only have to collect that memory but you have to then successfully complete the level to get credit for it. If you are having a tough time taking on a level the level description might give you a hint of what direction you might want to take. I will warn you, though, there are going to be levels where even the hint is not going to help too much. 

After playing through a couple of chapters in this game I can tell you that this is not a game for everyone, there’s definitely frustration that surfaces, especially on smaller devices, or older devices where the touchscreens aren’t as precise. There will be plenty of accidentally changing gravity when you want to just walk, and on later levels that’s going to get really old as there are complicated timed moves that you’re going to need to do in order to complete the level. There’s also a storyline in this game, that tries to hint at the loneliness of Grobo, but to be honest it doesn’t really do anything to the game. After the first couple of levels I, unfortunately, stopped paying attention to the text appearing at the beginning of the levels as it really wasn’t going to make any difference to my gaming experience.  When all is said and done, I don’t really know which way to lean on this game. It’s going to be entertaining to some, and it's not going to be for others. 


 

Wednesday
Sep042019

Funko Pop Collection

Thursday
Aug222019

The House of da Vinci Review

The great inventor, Leonardo da Vinci, has called upon you, a trusted friend, to come help him at his residence. Something has gone terribly wrong, and he is fleeing for his life, but he’s going to need help. In The House of da Vinci you will have to navigate through different rooms of his house, solving intricate and complex puzzles. All of these are in place to make sure that you are the right person for the job to protect him. You will have a tool that will help you solve some of the puzzles. It is a glove that has two different lenses attached to it. One of the lenses will allow you to see hidden pieces of certain puzzles so that you can unlock, decode, and solve those puzzles. There’s also the lens that allows you to see back in time. There will be some puzzles that require you to put things in a certain order, or position in order to get the correct answer, you’ll have to use that lens to see what is needed to conquer that puzzle.


I’m always up for a challenging puzzle game and this game definitely fits the bill. The unfortunate thing is that sometimes the challenge is deciphering the hints that are presented to you after enough time has passed without you solving the next puzzle in a room. The reason for this is there will be times where the next step is not obvious at all, or it requires you to look at something from exactly the correct angle to click on a spot that is only visible at a very small moment in your locked in view. Speaking of locked in views you’re going to be clicking several times on a puzzle area to lock into it to solve it, the problem is that you might find the current angle of the camera doesn’t allow you to move the pieces, levels, buttons, the way you want to and so you’ll have to keep readjusting the angle. There’s also an awkward navigation issue when you’re pulling out from a puzzle (which you’ll do with the right click) if you click too fast you might find yourself being navigated across the room, and in some cases facing a completely different direction.


This game is just a tough one to really get a final feel on. There are parts of the game that I highly enjoyed, the way the puzzles made me think, and re-evaluate. There’s also the puzzles that have such vague connections to other things that its damn near impossible to solve them without getting lucky. There’s also the hint system, which I understand is supposed to be vague most of the time, but there are times where my progress came to a complete standstill while I feverishly clicked on every surface I could think of, or try every combination of a puzzle without success.


So in the end I think that this game has/had potential to be something amazing but there are just some pieces that are infuriating in a game flow sort of way that will stop many from sticking around to the very end. On a side-note, the one thing that ABSOLUTELY drove me nuts is the fact that you’re being pursued by someone and yet every time you open a door, or leave a room you leave your path WIDE OPEN. If you know someone is hot on your trail, why the hell wouldn’t you want to put something solid, say a door between the two of you. Actually I’m not 100% sure about that, you can only go forward in the game, you can’t return to previous rooms so maybe the ways are closing? I guess we’ll never know.



Wednesday
Aug142019

Let's Talk Violence and Video Games

I have been trying really hard, and I MEAN REALLY HARD, to not rage about the ignorance of people with a large platform (ie. government officials), but ENOUGH is ENOUGH... AGAIN. Why can't we just do some research or reach out to experts in a certain field to find out what is true and what is purely false/propaganda. It's really not all that hard, hell I don't have a politicians budget but I somehow avoid most knee jerk reactions when it comes to blaming something for something else that happened. Sure we're all at fault for letting some things going out of control and find out later that it was all a lie, but I think in the case of Video Games causing mass violence, we should probably be past this now. Here is a fun little graphic that says it best, I think...

 

Isn't that odd? The US isn't even the biggest consumer of video game products and yet somehow we're all a bunch of homicidal lunatics. Could it possible that there's another factor that we're ignoring? I could point the finger at the effort or lack of effort it takes to get a gun, but there's more to it than that. Making it more difficult to get a gun will slow things down, but there's other factors that are in play here. There's definitely a certain mindset that is required to plan and execute an act of violence on this level. 

There are too many instances where people have ignored what they saw/heard, or maybe simply didn't take what they saw/heard seriously enough. Sure you might come off as a complete dick if you run to the authorities when confronted with unsettling actions observed in another, but if it saves a life or 40, I think it should be done. Here's the thing, if the person gets pissed off at you what's the worse that happens? You lose a friend? If that person was going to actually conduct an act of violence, do you really want to be their friend? I know it may feel like an act of betrayal, but there are those out there who are trying to reach out, and there are times that doing so means acting out. Save a life today... Now don't get me wrong, we do need to look back over gun laws, what guns can be sold, owned, and maybe add some more steps to how to obtain a gun.

So if there's one think to take away from this rambling rant it is do your damn homework before you start pointing figures, I know its tough to do, but I, personally, believe you can do it. Also if you are looking to really change gun laws you're going to have to be as vigilant as the NRA is about attending public meetings talking about guns.

Wednesday
Aug072019

Dark Quest II Review

 

Many gamers out there might not remember a board game called HeroQuest, but let me tell you that there was many an hour spent playing this game. The game had a set of characters which 2 - 5 players would take control of and move around on a grid-based board. There was a quest instruction book that gave the Dungeon Master the needed information to setup the board so that the adventure could begin. Well it turns out that there has been a digital attempt to recreate my fond memories of this game in the guise of Dark Quest II.


Dark Quest II centers around an evil wizard who has seized power and you playing anywhere from 1 to 3 characters to try to defeat him. The journey will be long, and there will be many obstacles, monsters, and twist that you’ll have to overcome, but if you can survive through it all you will be able to come out victorious.


The game takes place over 26 different areas, however you don’t have to take on all the areas as the path splits and doesn’t require the completion of EVERY level, however I would HIGHLY recommend that you take on all the levels. You want to be a strong as possible when it comes to the end game. Each area will have a quest requirement needed to succeed, and sometimes the odds will be heavily stacked against you, so you’re going to have to utilize some serious strategy. I do want to point out that if your party does wipe you will go back to town and for a small price (20% of your gold) you can resurrect each member of your party.


Speaking of the town, it is your base of operations. You will come back to it after each completed/failed area. In the town you will find a place to forge items (you can only create one of each item), a place to increase the power of your skills (you’ll need blue potions that you can gather through each area), a place to sell extra items (most of it will be junk you found while exploring), a place to create potions that can enhance or heal your character(s) (you will have 2 item slots for each character to use), of course a place to resurrect your characters, a place to give you temporary stat boosts (it’s a brothel), and the place where you will gain access to the area map and can choose where to go next.


At this point you are probably to the point of wonder what kind of characters you will have access to well you’ll have access to the following and each comes with its own unique skill set.

  • Barbarian

  • Wizard

  • Dwarf

  • Healer Knight

  • Dark Monk

  • Archer

Personally I’m the type of gamer that builds a party of the max size and then keeps with those characters throughout the entire game, so for me it was the Barbarian, Dwarf, and Archer. Honestly by focusing on just those three I was able to max out their skills as well as get the best items/equipment you have access to.


After covering all the basics I think it is only right to give you my thoughts on the game’s shortcomings. The first thing, and this is a game design that comes from the source material (HeroQuest), it’s the fact that you have access to one copy of the equipment. What that does is it makes it so that the player has to truly weigh the ups and downs of items equipped to one character over another. Sure it would make the game a lot easier to have multiple copies so that you can outfit your characters in a way to make them almost untouchable, but a gamer can dream (right?). The next qualm that I have for this game is that because the game is isometric (basically a grid that is turned 45 degrees) trying to navigate around the grid gets a bit disorienting and tricky. You then couple that with the fact that the move selector does allow you to move off the traversable area and it sometimes does become a struggle to find your way back to areas that you can actually move to. There’s also the fact that the move indicator doesn’t always start where you think it should be when moving from room to room, so you’ll have to go find it on occasion.


At the end of the day this game did its job, it gave me nostalgia, sure there were some bumps in the road, and sure I’ve been spoiled by the way RPGs have simplified rules and restrictions in comparison to HeroQuest (released in 1989, by the way). This might not be for everyone, but this is a game that I threw myself into and made damn sure that I completed EVERY level to make sure I could get the task done.