Archive for January, 2010

Doodle Army

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Doodle Army

This game owns. Your soldier enters Boot Camp, with nothing but a government issue pistol, and is asked to face an onslaught of hundreds. Hundreds of helmeted stickmen, that is. Don’t worry, along the way you’ll receive a generous portion of life power-ups and a Rambo-grade arsenal of weapons. Traversing the side-scrolling battlefields has you hopping over barbed wired, stacks of tires, and various scaffolding-style obstacles. This no simple affair, either; Boot Camp itself is 1000m long and is peppered liberally with hotzones. There is real decision-making and tactics needed, as well, so be prepared to learn which weapons pwn in which encounters and to conserve ammo. Believe it or not, the game actually models real-world weapons pretty effectively, noticeable both by their silohuette and their firing characteristics. This game has great pacing, hilarious style, and solid gameplay. It is so rewarding to hear the little stickmen scream. Dewd, there’s blood and heads everywhere; just buy the game!

Rating: ★★★★½ icon
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Mondrian

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Mondrian

Based loosely on the works of the famous De Stijl artist, Piet Mondrian, this unique puzzle game has the player creating symbolic representations of these rectilinear masterpieces in as few moves as possible. The components of each painting are broken down into colored squares that must be swiped into position in a set number of moves. The player is then rewarded with money, based on the number of moves used and the time it took to solve. This money, in turn, allows access to new areas of a geographical map that display where other paintings have been “hidden”. This is the only way to advance, which may present a problem for some players, because the puzzles can be quite challenging. By challenging, I mean stuff-your-head-in-a-blender challenging. Die-hard puzzlemeisters will love this to death, but I think it would have been accessible to a greater audience, if the difficult curve would have been flattened a bit (although an opt-in hint system midigates this issue somewhat). Several types of special blocks are present on the painting to help or hinder your progress. Static black blocks allow to maneuver your pieces into place, counter blocks have a counter that displays the exact number moves that must be obeyed, and fiendish grey blocks switch to the color they last touched, just to tax your brain even further. The graphical presentation is very clean, just like the artwork it is derived from, which is quite impressive. There are humorous cut-scenes shown between locations, spoken by a lively representation of Mondrian himself. The whole package is clever, polished, and very challenging; a true brain-burner.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 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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    Imp or Oaf?

    Monday, January 18th, 2010

    Imp or Oaf

    What first must be said about Imp or Oaf? is that the artwork, sense of style, music, and voice acting are absolutely superb. Playing Imp or Oaf? with my 3-year-old daughter is truly a delightful experience. The premise of the game is that there exists a pair of archetypes known only as the Imp and the Oaf. After starting a 10, 20, or 50 round game, a severely zoomed-in picture of one of these characters is displayed and the player must simply assertain whether an Imp or Oaf is being shown. Tapping the screen will zoom out a little, which will most likely not show you a recognizable portion of either fellow, so you may have to tap again. Be careful, though, because if you zoom out too much, you lose your opportunity to make a guess. This is all that you do for rounds and rounds. I imagine if I was playing this by myself, I would be shouting explitives within seconds, because it can be quite frustrating to determine the nature of the filthy little creature. Luckily, my daughter couldn’t care less whether we guess correctly, or whether it’s a “good game”, or whether we could be doing roughly 1300 more important things. Instead, she is captivated by it and her laughter makes this game worth every penny.

    Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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    Train Conductor

    Sunday, January 17th, 2010

    Train Conductor

    This game fits loosely into the line-drawing/route-building genre and is more fun than a description of the gameplay probably elicits. A number of tracks run horizontally across the screen, numbering 5 at the most. When a tunnel exit lights up with a number, it means a train is about to emerge, which needs to be quickly routed to the corresponding tunnel entrance on the opposite side of the field. One does this simply by touching the train and dragging it to the appropriate track, which automagically places a track at the angle drawn. This can get hectic, when there are multiple trains coming from multiple location, so the player can always tap a train to temporarily hold it in place. Managing all this simultaneously and preventing collisions is gameplay and it’s fun. For everyday time track, there is also a corresponding nighttime, with a somewhat different set of rules. You see at night, only ghost trains appear which means they cannot collide, but they still need to be routed properly and the night time pacing and frequency of trains is much faster. There are online leaderboards and such, but the one disappointment is that there are only 4 locations, each with a day and night version, that need to be mastered and then the game is simply one of bettering your scores, unfortunately. Still good, though, and one hopes the developers will see fit to release some new levels either free or DLC. Rating may go up when new levels are introduced.

    Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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    BloodnGuns

    Saturday, January 16th, 2010

    Blood n Guns

    Another dual-stick zombie shooter, but this time, they took it over the top with gore…which we all want desperately, of course. They may have taken it a just a wee bit too far, in fact, because not only does the blood not disappear in 2 seconds as we’ve all become accustomed to, but it stays on the ground from game to game! As you can see, it turns into a red carpet that makes the enemies nearly indistinguishable from the gore. We applaud the effort though, especially since the tuning is immaculate. You remember how we were all hyped for MiniGore, but when it released it didn’t like it delivered on its promise? Well this game is just has frantic and it keeps the player engaged, wave after wave, because the weapons and powerups that drop are diverse and are well-suited to the task of dispatching a wide variety of oncoming enemies, each with their own discernible strong and weak points. After playing through each of the six game modes, I came away feeling it was a worthwhile buy, even though the modes primarily consisted of “shoot stuff”. In the end, the developers gave us exactly what they promised us, Blood ‘n Guns.

    Update: OMG, this is hilarious! Tons of people were posting complaints like the following:

    “I cant beat the chickens. Only have the pistols and could hold shy of 200 kills before being overwhelmed. How to unlock more weapons and progresss? How do i play the other game modes?”

    “Hi I can’t seem to get past the first level. I’m too slow. Only a pistol. Too many chickens. Any help with that? Suggestions?”

    The developers built and playtested an anti-piracy level; only punks that pirated the game get that level, and only that level, and it can’t be beaten. That is the second coolest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

    Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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