Saturday
Jul182015

Kids Card Matching Review

Now I'm going to tell you right off the bat that this is a review for a children's game, so if you are looking for Blood Gore Crazy Death-fest, this isn't the review you are looking for.

Kids Card Matching is by Eggroll Games, and is a game that my son now affectionately calls "Colors". In this game you will be given a couple of choices, you can either play a matching game based on colors or on shapes. Now within each of these choices is a couple of game modes. The overarching game modes are memory or just matching, but there's a little bit more death to each style as well.

When you select colors you are given three choices:

  1. Colors with Colors
  2. Colors with Words (the text is also the color)
  3. Colors with Pictures (the pictures will be color coded)

When you select shapes you are going to be given three very similar choices:

  1. Shapes with Shapes
  2. Shapes with Pictures (the picture will be an object in that specific shape)
  3. Pictures with Pictures (they will be different objects but they will share the same shape)

As you can see there's a lot of room to learn and to have fun. Actually there is one more piece to any of the games that you choose to play and that is a celebratory pop the balloons piece that is sprinkled into the gameplay. Now it does count the balloons as you pop them, but there's no extra special stuff added into the game because you popped so many balloons. 

You'll also notice that as you play the game it ramps up, early on, from just a few cards to a good number. Now I'm not saying you're going to be matching 50 cards on the screen, this is a child's game, after all, but you can start off with 4 or 6 and then see 12 after a while.

As I've done in the past I'm not going to grade this game, but I will tell you this, if you are a parent of a pre-k child, you are going to want to give this game a spin, it is fun, and it very rewarding to look at success and concentration on your child's face as they get more proficient with the game.

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Sunday
Jul122015

The Detail Episode 2: From the Ashes Review

Welcome to the next chapter of The Detail, this time in From the Ashes, you will continue on as the head of the new major crimes task force. You will get the chance to deal out justice either following the law, or perhaps take some shortcuts here and there. The thing is you get to make the decisions, and it is through those decisions that the game will continue to take shape.

Once again my biggest gripe about this game is that it is dialogue heavy, but there is no voice acting. In my book if you are going to base almost the entirety of the game off of reading what is on the screen you've got to give me something to listen to. Sure there's this generic cop music playing in the background, but I really want more.

There are quite a few characters that you will be controlling as the game goes on, and each of them requires you to change your mindset. Are you going to be the cop who's known for cutting corners, are you going to be the cop that hides his past, are you going to be the ex-felon that falls right back into the life, or are you going to be the ex-felon that is doing what he can to protect those he loves.

There's something about the art style that I really like, and I also like the writing on this game. I think that the fact that I like the writing is why I'm so torn over the fact that there's no voice acting. I really want that extra step into the characters.

Now if you do get this game you do have to remember that this is only the second episode with more coming, when I don't know, but there's not going to be complete, or hell any closure at the end of this episode. This episode only takes about an hour and a half to play all the way through, so you might be yearning for more, but the great thing about this type of game is that you can make different decisions and see how much the story can change. I'm going to have to give this chapter the same as last, 7.4 out of 10.

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Monday
Jul062015

Serafina's Crown Review

Welcome back for the next chapter of the Serafina Saga. For better or worse you will not be taking on the role of Serafina, and you'll also notice that what decisions you made in the first chapter of this series holds no sway over how this chapter goes. 

In Serafina's Crown you will be taking on the role of Odell, an individual who just wants to be left alone, but has been dragged back to the kingdom that she left to be a part of a high ranking council to decide the fate of who will take the throne next. You see the Queen has just died, of a hunting accident (Game of Thrones anyone?) and it is up to all the high ranking houses to decide who gets to replace her. Will it be a Queen or a King, you are going to have to help decide the outcome. 

The thing is that there is a twist, and as it is revealed right off the bat I don't see it as too much of a spoiler... the Queen might have been murdered, and so you're going to need to stick around a little bit longer to help try to sort through all that happened leading up to that day.

Now this is just like the first one in that it is an interactive novel and it is through your choices that your story takes shape. So past the opening you'll probably have different experiences than I did. There is a new mechanic that gets introduced into the game early, and will be used throughout, and that is the debate system. At first I really didn't know how to win all the argument, which to be honest are a bit odd as you will select a number and either the highest or the lowest number will win, but no context is given between talking points, hell there are no talking points at all. You just choose a side for the argument and it is through rows of debate and getting points awarded or subtracted that you ultimately win or lose. No matter the outcome the effects on the story will change where the story is going, so be careful.

You are going to be blessed with a secret weapon that will help you in the debates, especially when you are debating for the side of a house in which you have made favorable decisions for. So I recommend sticking with one house and on occasion side with the others just in case you don't get a favorable choice of allies for a debate.

As you might have noticed by this point when it comes to voice acting, either do it all the way, or not at all. In this game you'll notice that sometimes there are complete voiced sections, and then other times the developer has opted to have the character use one of a couple catch phrases, some of which I found were a little bit out of context with what they then said in their speech bubble.

This is definitely not going to be a game for action adventure loving gamers, but there is something about this game that if you're looking for political intrigue and maybe a little bit of love/lust, you might be interested to go through the game. 

I highly recommend that you play the first game before you attempt this one so that you are familiar with many of the characters that you'll be interacting with in this chapter, that being said I'm giving this chapter a 7.9 out of 10 (same as the first).

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Monday
Jul062015

Dex Review

Enter the world of a cyberpunk future as a girl named Dex, who in all outward appearance seems like your average person, but the shadow organization that truly rules the world has decided to try to take her out. You will have to use your hacker skills, fend off attackers with hand to hand combat as well as with guns.

In Dex, by Dreadlocks Ltd, you will find that through your experiences and how you deal with situations you will be given skill points that you can then distribute to fit your gaming style. Do you like to be a little bit more hardcore when it comes to hacking? Well put your skill points towards that. Do you want to be deadly with your hands and body when it comes to taking on opponents? Well put skill points into Melee. There's also so many more aspects that you can add your points towards. There's also the augmentation of your body with cybernetics to allow you to have more life, recover life over time, jump higher, become immune to electricity or poisonous gas, and much, much more.

Graphically I kind of digged the whole vibe of the game it is a side to side scroller, sure there are doors and areas that are in the background that you can enter into, but at all times you are going to be moving left to right in areas. There are load screens for each areas, but I kind of looked the other way because that's how the game saves.

Speaking of saving your game, and this is one of my biggest gripes about the game is that you can pull up the control menu and at the top of the screen it shows you want to hit to SAVE, but in reality its has nothing to do with saving, its actually where you would go to load your game. So BE WARNED, you might really piss yourself off with that one, that I did a couple of times.

There are definitely quite a few side-quests that you're going to want to take on, and many of them do fall in the category of go over there and get me this, but to be honest there's enough action going on when you actively take on the quest that I didn't really mind, there was a bit of story to it so it wasn't mindless.

One of my biggest issues with games is that when you have voice acting you half ass it, with this game, I'm happy to report that they did nothing of the sort. The voice acting definitely brought my closer in to the game, and it definitely enhances the experience. There might have been a little bit of stereotyping with at least one character (cough cough TONY), but other than that I had no issue with how the actors voiced their characters.

Now one of the things that is hard to do is to have a RPG that actually changes as you make choices, and there a couple of choices that can change the path of the game, some of the choices have a HUGE impact on how everything plays out, but I don't want to give anything away.

In all honesty this is a solid game, would I have like to do more hacking in the game? Absolutely. Would I have like a little bit of a more drawn out ending? Definitely. The thing is the overall game is good, and I enjoyed it. I did get my ass handed to me a couple of times in areas where the auto turrets became activated, but hey you live and learn. There are secrets in this game if you are willing to look for them, and I have to say that I am more than willing to recommend this game to you. This game gets an 8.5 out of 10.

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Friday
Jul032015

Detour Review

Take on the brutal world of transport trucking. Will you be able to take on your foes and make sure that your routes stay intact so that your trucks can meet their quota? Well that's what it takes in the game Detour, by Sandswept Studios. This real-time strategy game will have you on the edge of your seat trying to keep up with what is going on in the game as well as devising new plans to meet your goal.

Graphically this game isn't at the top of the food chain, but there's enough here to make you feel pulled into the game. Each level is on a grid based system and in those grids you can find opponent's roads, hills, mountains, protestors, rubble, buildings and more. You'll also notice that in every level there is one corner of the grid that has a checked flag pattern, that's your ultimate goal.

So lets get into what it is about this game, well there's definitely a good number of single player scenarios that you can take on, each one, of course, ramping up in difficulty, however, there were definitely some of the later stages that I breezed through in comparision to earlier ones. Now that might be because I got used to the flow of the game or perhaps luck. Either way I definitely was relieved when after a hard level I was able to breeze through the next one.

This is definitely an interesting game, but it definitely has some flaws and quirks. The first one has to do with the lack of voice acting, look I understand not everyone has the budget to do that, but at the same time if you're going to have a "Sims" voice do SOME of the dialogue, you're going to need it to do ALL of the dialogue. It was really odd when the first speech bubble has random yammering (aka Sims talk) and then the very next one greets you with silence.

Now as I stated this game is challenging, but the issue that I have is that the challenge, for me was more so about trying to control the game, and not so much playing the game. You see developers definitely thought in depth about giving the player many different options to play around with in the game, the only issue is that getting to them is a PAIN. 

Here's the deal, you have four different sections of choices that you can play around with, each has at least 3 different options in it. Think of it as a menu bar. The problem is that if you try to go the mouse scroll wheel route not only is the y-axis flipped but scrolling will not only cause you to select each section but each choice within that section before going to the next section. 

There is an alternative, you can use the keyboard, which once again I found cumbersome. You see you're going to be using WASD to move around the grid to see what all there is to see, but you can use the arrow keys to select the sections, this time it will just select the sections, but once again the y-axis is flipped, which is beyond disorienting. 

Here's the deal every time I have to make a decision, especially if I have to change sections, I have to take myself out of the game and try to figure out how the hell I'm going to do what I need to do, and that takes away from what should be my main focus, the actual game. Perhaps they should have found a simpler way of making choices, or maybe remove some of those choices, but as of right now the controls are so cumbersome that this game isn't fun.

There's definitely something there, and you definitely need to bring your A game to really do well in this game, but with such a barrier as your choice of selections in the game and the inability to easily make choices, this game might need to be left alone for the time being. This game gets a 6.1 out of 10.

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Tuesday
Jun302015

Revolution Ace Review

Come take a trip back in time where the top down shooter was king, and jumping the pilot seat to take on waves upon waves of enemies as you try to fly your way through the campaign. Revolution Ace, by Laser Guided Games, takes you exactly there.

Graphically this game looks crisp but also feels like a lot of free assets went into the game, I might be totally wrong but some of what I found in the game looked very generic. Speaking of generic, the actual plane that you'll be flying is actually probably one of the weakest assets in the game.

I love the background music, it definitely fits in with the arcade theme feel that this game is going for. I do really wish that there was a little bit more sound outside of the background music, this actually makes the game feel a bit weird.

My biggest issue with the game has to be the random crashes. I'm not sure what causes this to happen but there's definitely something odd going on when you're in the middle of the level and the whole game shuts down.

Another issue that I see with this game is the armory/money system. I'm not a fan of the pricing in the game, and the whole store just doesn't feel all that right. Now that being said I was using a gamepad, as this is the type of game that I feel SCREAMS gamepad, but perhaps I might be wrong.

This is a valiant attempt at making a top down shooter that has challenging gameplay, interesting levels, and some cool power-ups, but there's just something missing from this game that makes me want to keep coming back. I just think that this game has this unfinished feel to it, and maybe there's a lot yet to come, but as of right now this is a game that unless you are a DIE-HARD top down shooter, have to have every top down shooter known to man, type of person, this is a game better off left alone. This game gets a 5.6 out of 10.

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Wednesday
Jun242015

Serafina's Saga Review

In this interactive novel you will be playing the part of Serafina, a girl who has been brought up in the jungle, away from civilization, with only her grandfather for company. One day a band of troops spots her grandfather and captures him. Serafina decides that she has to rescue her grandfather at any cost, and decides to go against her grandfather's wises. She approaches the camp of soldiers, and this is where the real story starts.

You are going to be tasked with decisions throughout this adventure, each on has it's own set of consequences and benefits. Each choice/decision will inch you closer to finding the whole truth about your grandfather and ultimately, yourself.

Graphically I do like the look of all the characters. They all give off a bit of personality which then allows the reader to get a little further into the character. Speaking of characters there's going to be many that you're going to interact with, all with a different look. I don't mean that one looks good and one looks terrible, but as you see in the real world there are people of all shapes and sizes, and in this story, the same thing applies. Although most if not all the characters are very fit, but that could just be a product of the environment in which the story takes place.

There is a little bit of romance in this story, and there's definitely some decisions to be made that stopped me dead in my tracks because I knew that it would definitely and completely affect the story that was going on. Speaking of story, this is not short, you're going to need some time to get through this, it's not tedious but there's definitely some substance to the adventure, and so you're not going to be able to get through it in one sitting, unless you have a lot of time on your hands.

So I guess the only thing left is to tell you that if you're looking for a story featuring a strong female lead in which decisions tend to matter, and you're set in a world of kings, swords, corruption, and more, you might want to check it out, and go through the story. This adventure gets a 7.9 out of 10.

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