Showing posts with label blurbs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blurbs. Show all posts

Friday, March 14, 2014

New Adventure Games

Here's some new adventure games recommendations from my sister:

New Adventure Games

Adventure games, where you make choices or solve puzzles to make your way through a story, used to be one of the main genres of video games.  Though now most adventure games usually have other elements (either RPG/adventure or action/adventure), here's some classic-feeling games for those that still love adventure games.

Gemini Rue


If cyberpunk/mind-bending/noir would be one of your favorite Netflix genres, you definitely need to give Gemini Rue a try.  Its retro graphics feel a little austere at first, but the twisting story and evocative soundscape more than make up for the simple graphics.  Some of the puzzles are a little tricky, but that just adds to the old-school appeal.  ($5-10, PC, iOS, Android)

Detective Grimoire


This detective-adventure game incorporates deduction as part of the puzzles you solve in order to find a murderer at a remote swamp tourist attraction.  With dry humor, whimsical graphics, and plenty of interesting evidence to sift through, this is an entertaining mystery adventure.  The only downside?  At around 4 hours of gameplay, it’s a little short, but it’s also inexpensive.  ($4-7, PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android)

Zombies and Elephants


Expressive, suspenseful prose and haunting symbolism set this twine-based text adventure apart from the rest. Warning: Contains zombies and elephants. (Free, all platforms)

The Matter of the Great Red Dragondragon-screenshot.png

This post-post-post-modern Twine text adventure tale both examines and revels in the save-the-world fantasy tale. (Free, all platforms)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Android's best visual novels

It's hard to find good visual novels for Android. I know, because I've played some awful ones. Thankfully, my sister Andrea has picked out three of her favorites in another guest post:

Visual Novels for Android

Combining the prose of a novella with the decision-making of a game, these are some of the best visual novels I’ve played recently:

Days of the Divine

Set in an ancient Asian-fantasy setting, ancient gods waken and you mediate their conflicts as a shrine maiden. Three vastly different endings, plot twists, and solid characters are accompanied by beautiful art and soundtrack. Available for Win, Mac, Linux, Android.


From the same developers, but with a completely different tone and theme, this visual novel has you take the part of an MMO character who thinks the game world is real. Funny and sweet.  Available for Win, Mac, Linux, Android.

a2 ~a due~ 

Polished, poignant visual novel about a young woman who’s forced to manage her father’s orchestra, with themes of overcoming language barriers and parental expectations. Available for Win, Mac, Linux, Android.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Non-disappointing indie Android tablet games

While I have a lot of gaming devices, I don't own an Android tablet. My sister Andrea does though, and she's written up some blurbs of some familiar (and some new) games as they play on an Android tablet (her words below):

Since I purchased Humble Bundle 6 (not available anymore, sorry!) full of Android games, I thought I would see how my Nexus 7 functions as a gaming device. I was pleased to find some real gems; Android is a great platform for indie developers because anyone can develop for it and release games with no fees.  While there’s still plenty of ad-heavy, clicky, freemium “games” out there, the games below are all polished gems worth trying.  

Note: Though I played all these on Android, some are currently only available on Android with Humble Bundle 6.


Beautiful, relaxing game where you play as an ocean creature uncovering ancient magical powers. Spells are cast by playing various notes (similar to LOOM, though much less cumbersome), and are used both to fight monsters and solve puzzles. Available for Win, Mac (Android with HB 6)

Organ Trail

Rachel mentioned this one; I played it long enough to beat it and it is quite fun, especially if you played the original Oregon Trail as a kid. Expect to die your first time or two until you figure out the game. Unlike Oregon Trail, it has several different mini-games and more complex dynamics; you can upgrade your car, or learn combat skills; you can do jobs for money or brave the zombies to scavenge supplies. Available for every platform.


Simple, yet addictive rhythm game with hip chillout music. Available for iOS (Android with HB6).

Frozen Synapse

Turn-based strategy combat game with fascinating atmosphere and brutal AI. Available for Win, Mac Linux, iOS, Android.


A hip, hexagon puzzle game that is both challenging and relaxing. Available for PC, Mac, iOS (Android HB6).


A puzzle platformer where you roll a ball across a twilit landscape.  It has a beautiful atmosphere and can be quite challenging (sometimes frustrating?). Available for Windows on Steam (Android with HB 6).

Broken Sword - Director’s Cut

Somehow I missed this adventure game when it originally came out in 1996. Full of mystery, conspiracies, templars, and artifacts, it’s a great point-and-click adventure, with remastered art, sound, new playable character, etc. Great fun for any adventure game fan. Available for iOS, Android, Mac, PC, DS, Wii.

Other Android Games


Speaking of point-and-click adventures, here’s another fantastic one. It deals with stolen memories, arcane rituals, and lost rites. The plot is well-paced, with delicious twists and poetic imagery. Mature content. Available for Win, Android.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An adorable adventure game you might not have played yet

I love how The Sea Will Claim Everything (TSWCE) looks homemade. It reminds me of the little mazes my older brother and I would draw during church. We drew little swords and shields to collect on your quest to the end to fight a static but scary boss. Other styles have their place, but Verena Kyratzes's illustration style is warm and inviting. The music makes me feel the same, like I've come home to something I can befriend.

TSWCE is a point-and-click adventure in a fantasy setting. Like in fantasy novels, circumstances mirror our own, like the financial ruin of governments and irresponsible leaders and stupid bureaucratic things. The home you start out in is a complex biological organism, and every mushroom and book is given a loving and humorous description that Terry Pratchett would be proud of.

We have so many games that are edgy and gritty and stupidly self-aware. This game provides the antidote to self-satisfied naval-gazing: a sincere story, warm, cute art, and characters who aren't either good or bad, but have opinions that you might agree or disagree with (unless they're the bad guys and well, yeah). Lana at Bit Creature wrote more eloquently than I of this game's loveableness.

I want you to play this game too. If you're not sure if you'd like it, try the free The Fabulous Screech, which has the same feel in a short-story game format. You can buy TSWCE for $10 and upvote it on Steam's Greenlight, if you like what you see. And if you do play it, let me know what you think! Part of the fun of playing games is discussing them.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer videogames!

Hello everyone! In gaming I find I tend to cycle between playing lots of games and then not playing games and writing about them a lot. Right now I've been playing lots of games! So here's some games I've been playing in the last month I've decided to start an Amazon affiliate* account, so many links will be to Amazon. Steam has good deals too! :-) Most indie games aren't sold on Amazon, but I'll still talk about them, cause they're also awesome:

Pro Games
Psychonauts -You explore other people's brains in this action RPG from 2005. I love the collection and exploration aspects. Getting different abilities and trying them out in the world is fun too! I want to make a backpack like Rasputin's. The PC port is terrible, but my handy USB xbox controller fixed this problem. There's a lot of superfans of this game, which kind of turned me off for a while, but then a game scriptwriter, Rhianna Pratchett said it was like her favorite game ever.

Catherine -A puzzle/dating sim... I really like the moving-block puzzles, but I find the boss levels kind of ugly and unfun. I kind of wish the story were more upbeat (it's about a man cheating on his girlfriend), but at least it's weird enough to be unpredictable, and the anime cutscenes look good too.

Persona 4 Arena -I suck at fighting games, but luckily visual novel mode (yep! visual novel + a few fights) is easy enough for even my frenzied button-mashing. Some of the writing is a little lame but the fighting system has plenty of depth if I'm willing to put in the time to learn it (I might not be). I admit that I just got this game because I want to be in on all the Persona fandom... though I have yet to beat Persona 3 (I'm in September now!).

Sound Shapes -Really cute rhythm platformer for the Vita. Okay, you don't really have to have any sense of rhythm to play it (mostly timing... does that count as different?), but it's themed around collecting notes in a song that plays as you play. You can build your own levels too! Reminds me a little of Mutant Space Blobs Attack only more arty.

Indie Games
Long Live the Queen -A time management stat-cruncher! I loved the idea but I found it wasn't as flexible as Princess Maker 2 because it had kind of a story. I really liked how stats affects how you reacted to things, and how some of the classes (like foreign policy, a subcategory of history) seemed to be... really relevant for a queen-in-training. I might give it another go; the mood bonus system for learning actually requires quite a bit of planning.

The Sea Will Claim Everything -I've just been playing the generous demo but the free The Fabulous Screech will give you a good idea of the unique art style, point-and-click mechanics, and zany, Pratchett-like humor in a short, browser-based game. I love reading through the book names for gems like The Importance of Puns in the Release of Magical Energies, by Magister Erasmus of Zauberberg and The Voyage of the Darwin by Peter S. Beagle. Lana Polansky has played more of it and wrote a review praising its slower pace and political commentary.

Run -This experimental game has a soundtrack that's still running through my head! The story is a little weird, but I like that developers are messing around with how minigames can connect to each other.

What games are you playing this summer? Did you really hate a game I liked? Let me know in the comments!

*The deal with Amazon Affiliate links is that if you click an affiliate link, I'll get a 4% commission of anything you buy in the next 24 hours. I have no idea if it will make me any money, but I think it's worth a shot.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sky Island is a difficult game that looks like Fez

I was poking around for good Christmas games (so far Sufjan Stevens' game is the only one worth mentioning) and I found Sky Island. Quite honestly, it looks like a prototype or clone of Fez (that one game from Indie Game: The Movie that still hasn't come out yet). Basically, you can only move in 2D space, but you can rotate this space. It is kind of mind-blowingly difficult for me. I think the concept of moving your camera and changing the landscape is cool, but so far I haven't been impressed with the game's teaching me how to navigate space.

I admit, most of the time if I get frustrated with a game I usually put it down. I like the idea of games gradually getting more difficult and teaching me to get better, though I concede that the whole Dark Souls difficulty discussion makes me wish I cared enough to persist through abusive games (oh, excuse me... games with a "Darwinian learning curve"). I think players need to feel some sort of attachment to a game before it throws something really difficult out there, which probably explains the whole boss-battle cycle. Anyway, some games are hard and I just give up.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

List of indie games at Minecon

I've been searching the internet for a list to links of the indie games that were on display at Minecon, but I'm coming up empty-handed. So to make things easier for the world, I'll make my own list (I'll work off the indie theater schedule from the agenda, but I'm not sure if all the games were in it? And not all the games showing at the indie theater had displays, so, confusing). So, here's a buncha blurbs about indie games featured at Minecon.

The ones I saw/played:
Code Hero: A game that teaches you how to code. I love the idea; the game is still in development.
3D VVVVVV: Still difficult as heck.

At A Distance: I didn't get a chance to play it, and I couldn't really figure out what was going on by watching. Lots of abstract shapes and two players having to work together to do... something.
No Time to Explain: Kind of a silly, cartoony platformer. I admit, I was kind of put off by the art style.
Catapult for Hire: Looked like a pretty straightforward 3D physics puzzler (but maybe everyone was playing tutorial levels?). I think it gets cooler later on with story and adventure elements.
Dragon Fantasy: JRPG in a retro style for iOS, kinda like Cthulu Saves the World.
A Valley Without Wind: A metroid-like with procedurally generated levels.
Retro/Grade: A rhythm shooter compatible with guitar hero guitars where you can go back in time.

All the others:
Snapshot by RetroAffect: upcoming game about taking photos which looks cute.
Octodad: 3rd-person adventure about being a dad? I'm downloading it now.
Here Comes Launchman: retro-styled platformer with things you can stick to and throw, maybe?
Airmech by Carbon games: some kind of 3rd person shoot 'em up
Influence: another one of these zen games where you build up your little sphere to consume all other things.
Incredibots: A machine building game.
Retro City Rampage: retro-styled action parody game.
Frozen Synapse: A tactical game that has been pretty popular and was featured in the last indie bundle.
Zombie Grinder: I think the title sums it up.
Jesus vs. Dinosaurs: Make cars with tetris pieces, then run them together to see who wins. Oh and the playable characters are Darwin and God. I can't tell if I should be offended or not.

If you had a game at Minecon, leave a comment and I can add it to the list. Also, if you'd like me to review your game, feel free to e-mail me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Top Five Cutest Console Games

One of the things I value in a game is cuteness. Looking lifelike is great, but I want a game with its own style and I prefer that style to have some cute things in it.

Kirby's Epic Yarn

Sure, you might feel like a 5-year-old playing this game, thanks to a cheesy narrator, but the fabric textures and whimsical creatures put this in my top five cutest games. Even the sound effects are cute.

Little Big Planet 1 & 2
Not only is your character basically a knit stuffed animal, but you can make him have expressions and dress him (or her, I guess?) up in more cute clothes. Personally I think there should be more games where you can dress up and then do awesome platforming, or shooting or whatever. 

A boy with a magic notebook conjures up anything he can write down. The cartoony style is consistent throughout the game, and even scary things like witches, dragons, and the devil take on an aura of cuteness. It makes sense that they'd be somewhat helpless, given that you can throw away things you make at any time.

Katamari Damacy franchise
 You know this game... go around rolling small things up into your Katamari (or "clump") so you can roll up even bigger things, even the moon, even the universe! Part of the charm is that every object has a name, and your prince avatar has a bunch of cousins you can trade places with.

Taiko Drummaster
This rhythm game is adorable. I picked up the DS version in Japan and my only regret is not also buying the Wii version (which has multiplayer and mini-games). How did they make a taiko drum so cute? The Japanese voice clips sound like a little drum just dying to play, but somehow it just sounds cheesy in English. 

I don't think Animal Crossing and Nintendogs are all that cute. Certain Pokemon are very cute, but inevitably grow into something ugly (Scraggy, for example, is immensly cute, and the grows into some punk with a mohawk). Other cute games I considered (thanks, Casual Girl Gamer): Costume QuestGlitchGameDevStory, all the Grow gamesLevelUpLittle WheelHome Sheep Home, and Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure, and World of Goo. Mechinarium is definitely artistic, and I think it has some cute points too. I hear that 3d Dot Game Heroes, Cut the Rope, and Obaku are pretty cute, but I haven't played them yet. What game do you think is the cutest?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Glitch has me hooked!

Glitch is an MMORPG with all the fun things like cooking and crafting and without combat. It's an environment to figure out and play around in, milk butterflies and petting trees along the way, all from within your browser. The art style is cute and funny, paper trees talk in haikus, and every once in a while giant crows called rooks attack, and little glitches fight back with the power of their imaginations and donations to the giants (gods). You can play music for other players, as well as hug and splank them (it's what it sounds like).

To learn skills, your familiar and pet rock reads them for you. Even when you're logged out, the timer to learn skills keeps ticking. Instead of being tied to level, your skills are limited by how long you've been playing and adding skills. Level affects other things, like... hit points? You get money and favor with the giants for leveling, so it's a good thing. It sounds really weird, but trust me, it's fun! It is, however, highly addicting for the procrastination-prone like me. I have one more invite, so let me know if you want to join!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Utah Indie Game Night September 2011, part 3: Completed Games

For the last part of these series of posts covering indie game night, here's a quick rundown of the finished games I saw and played a little at home:

-Cardwood is a short experimental game Vazor made in two days. I played through it, and I'm not sure if I understand everything that's going on, but I like it. I like clicking on the buttons while I'm reading and trying to figure it out.

-Tile Factory, over on Kongregate, is a machine-building game with a factory theme. You have machines that duplicate tiles, conveyor belts, barriers, spray-painters, etc. It has a good tutorial and also tons of things that people who are really into building games like sandbox mode. Jon's working on a sequel which will have user-generated levels (and he's looking for an artist). Here's a screenshot:

-Frayed Nights: The Skull of S'makh-Daon is a first-person party-based RPG in 3D. From the little I've played, I'm impressed with the depth of the combat (your rogue can disappear for a while and surprise the enemy) and the humor (to restore MP you can take an insta-nap potion). The game has an interesting mechanic where progressing through a dungeon gets you star points that can be used to regain health etc., but these points go away if you exit the game and load it later--incentive for a longer play session. I also like how your party members are actual characters who talk to each other, and their character designs reflect their personality. Also, battle seems to be dice-based, kind of like D&D? It's the accumulation of years of work by Rampant Coyote, and it's for sale over at his site, along with a free demo. Go play the demo and see if you like it! Here's a screenshot; the pus golems are the first monsters you meet in the temple to the god of acne and boils:

-Link REALMS is an isometric MMORPG in open beta, also a game that has been a long time coming. I believe I saw it last October and I can tell you that the enemy AI system is really cool and ridiculously complex. It has an Oblivion-like leveling system, so you choose your specialties based on what you do, not some arbitrary race or class. I like that kind of system but it does have the drawback of being somewhat grindy (okay, this spell has to fail how many times before I get to level 5?). I haven't been able to fully explore the world yet, but it looks like there are cooking and animal husbandry systems along with magic and mauling and clairvoyance (!). Take a look at their wiki to see if they implement your favorite skills. The click and drag system of inventory leaves me feeling a bit disorganized, but it works. They're still working out a few bugs, but it's highly playable as long as you can figure out the double-clicking and targeting stuff.
all I want to know is if I will be punished for killing that puppy
There you go! Two browser-based games for playing on your work break and two bigger games for multiple-hours-investment-fun, made right here in Utah.