Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Sword of Fargoal

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Sword of Fargoal

This remake of the classic Commodore 64 Roguelike really plays well in short bursts on the iPhone. I’m a big fan of dungeon crawls and this one is no exception since the C64 was my computer of choice as a child, due to the great selection of games and the low barrier-to-entry (which here means, “rock-bottom price point”).

This translation may include the same old skool sid-chip sound effects, teleport traps, and buried treasure that you know and love, but what it adds is the real surprise. The developers have obviously put a significant amount of work into updating this to modern-ish standards. The artwork for the random dungeons is now in smooth 3D, the character art is much better (if you can believe it from the screenshot), they’ve added super-smooth fog-of-war, and also swipe controls (which act a little strange, but you get used to it).

What it has over similar games like NetHack is that it is very accessible. No pages and pages of cryptic commands, no ASCII graphics (*sobs*), and in turn, not as much depth. Still, it’s a really fun romp through a multi-level dungeon, as it always was, and its arrival on the iPhone is a pleasant surprise.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Tomena Sanner (US)

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Tomena Sanner (US)

Okay, this game is pure genius. The gameplay consists entirely of timing moves for your little man in a business suit to execute, WHILE BREAKDANCING, in order to keep his pace and reach the goal before the timer runs out. It is loaded with wacky Japanese goodness, including a rhythm section at the end of every level. The crazy factor most closely resembles that of a old playstation game I have called Incredible Crisis (which is a must-play); while the gameplay is completely different, the humor and style is similar. Over the course of the 9 game levels, you will accomplish all of the following important tasks:

  1. Moonwalk with Santa…on the moon
  2. Ski down a dinosaur’s back
  3. Disco-dance with a panda
  4. Play Baseball with a man in a Godzilla suit
  5. Get a kiss from a Swedish maid
  6. Line-dance with Japanese schoolgirls
  7. Slam dunk on a 20’ rim
  8. Do the robot…with a robot

    By the way, if you play through the whole game, you will be able to visit both heaven and hell. Buy this game and make Konami filthy rich.

    Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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    Beneath a Steel Sky: Remastered

    Monday, October 26th, 2009

    AWESOME. The best non-Lucasarts point-and-click adventure makes its way to the iPhone. The story, the environments, the characters are all deep and full of charm. This re-mastered version adds cut-scenes lovingly crafted by Dave Gibbons, of Watchmen fame, and better audio. The puzzle-solving is clever and varied. If you are a fan of the original, this is a great blast from the past, when games were simpler and teams could take risks. If you are a fan of adventure games, you haven’t played the original, and this is one of those moments where you think, “Hmm, hadn’t heard of this; wonder if I should give it a try?”, I strongly urge you to play it. I can’t stress enough what an excellent gameplay experience this game provides and it still holds up to this day.

    Rating: ★★★★★ icon
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    Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor

    Saturday, September 5th, 2009

    This is an innovative side-scroller with beautifully hand-drawn art and excellent controls. You are a teensy-weensy little spider, that must make his or her way across a variety of rooms in a old-style mansion. You move left and right by by tapping the screen, but can jump between obstacles by swiping. Swipe-jumps leave a single thread of spider web, but if you connect those threads, a full spider web appears. Do this in key spots and you will trap any number of other insects buzzing about the room. This is important, because it fuels future webs. It’s a brilliant mechanic and the controls are fluid. Just making your way through the manor is worth the price of admission, but added onto to that core game you also get to solve a mystery that spans almost 30 levels, participate in a few other game types, and gather a number of kewl achievements. Recommended.

    Update: THe game has been updated with 10 new levels, the much-needed level select, 24 new achievements, Hornet’s Nests, and new music. Rating increased by half a star.

    Rating: ★★★★½ icon

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    The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition

    Friday, August 7th, 2009

    The original is one of the best examples of humor in video games and it still holds up to this day. Now you can point-and-click your way through this classic adventure while driving! No, don’t do that. The voice acting is great, there is an old-skool VGA mode, and most of all, it’s hilarious. There are some control issues that can be maddening and it is not always obvious what you need to do, but it’s a puzzle game, get over it. The game also offers a tiered, shake-to-hint feature, for those hard to reach places. Really just an all-time classic ported lovingly to the iPhone.

    Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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    Dungeon Scroll

    Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

    This is a fascinating mash-up of Textropolis and a Dungeoncrawl, that most closely matches the gameplay of Popcap’s Bookworm Adventures (which is brilliant, BTW), if you’ve seen or played that game. The player is presented with a tray of letters and must tap them in the proper sequence to form words. A monster will attack from the inset dungeon room and the spelled words inflict an amount of damage that corresponds to the length of word spelled and the quality of tiles used. It’s quite fun, but it does end, unlike most of the competing word games that don’t include the monster mash elements.

    Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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    Jules Verne’s Return to Mysterious Island

    Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

    Jules Verne's Return to Mysterious Island

    This is an adventure game port, much like Myst, but with freelook (which actually adds a lot). The artwork and theme are quite nice, as are the ambient sounds. You collect seemingly useless objects, then combine them (if you’re lucky) to make less useless objects. Is it fun? Mmm, not so much, really. You usually end up with a huge inventory, cluttered with junk, but not the one piece of junk you need to progress to the next level. It is possible to lose the items needed to progress, with little feedback that this is the case. This can be quite frustrating.

    Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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    Dark Raider

    Sunday, March 29th, 2009

    Dark Raider

    Worst game icon I’ve seen…EVAR. It’s meant to be a hybrid between Zelda gameplay and Indiana Jones theme, I guess. You travel between 8 themed worlds (Egypt, Greece, Rome, etc.), each with 8 levels, collecting keys to gain entry to more secret tombs. There are a variety of monsters, traps, and puzzles. The game’s not bad, but it’s not really good either. The primary issue is the controls. I rarely felt like it was my fault when I died, which is a huge problem. It seems like it has depth, but you have to be willing to soldier through the control issues to experience it. Sometimes, a game just rubs you the wrong way and this is how I felt about Dark Raider; it just doesn’t do anything really well. /do not want

    Rating: ★★½☆☆ icon
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    Myst

    Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

    Myst

    Myst is one of, if not, the most famous point-and-click adventure games ever produced. While some criticize it for being “just a slideshow”, respectfully, I think they are missing the point…and click. For its time, it was a brand new way of telling a story, one that included interaction from the “reader”. The player clicks through beautifully-rendered visions of a mysterious island, many with latent clues as to what went on there and why. Clues are sometimes subtle and don’t always make sense until you’ve explored more of the world, but that’s what makes it a compelling mystery.

    Interaction consists of simple clicking and switch-pulling, in most cases, and while this level of interaction may seem limited (especially years later), it does serve its purpose to drive the story forward. While I don’t want to expose details of the story, I can tell you that the player enters various books that transports them to different “Ages”, each with their own riddles to solve.

    Myst marks a milestone in game development, in which the sibling development team at Cyan, discovered and created a new form of gameplay. While it may not have been the first game to realize that the player could point at a hotspot and click, they did firmly grasp how computers could usher in a new form of storytelling and gameplay, and for that, it deserves recognition.

    Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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    Car Jack Streets

    Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

    Car Jack Streets

    Think, top-down,  cell-shaded version of the original Grand Theft Auto, similar to Payback. Get missions to rub out competitors, steal cars, and various other shenanigans. It looks great. It’s shot from an overhead perspective city, with lots of details like bushes and crates, kewl cars like taxis an street-cleaners, and tiny little people that run for their lives before being flattened and smeared in bloodstains. Just like GTA, different radio stations even play depending on which cars you steal. The gameplay is good too; weapon upgrades, including rocket launcher and flamethrowers, diverse missions, and a variety of interesting characters. The controls can take a while to get used to, because they are vehicle-relative, meaning if I’m driving down-screen, pressing right turns me left. Get over it, it’s a good game.

    Update: This has nearly been made obsolete, now that Gangstar: West Coast Hustle and Grand Theft Auto have been released. Hence, the lowered rating.

    Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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