Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tiny Barbarian

Tiny Barbarian is simple game about a sword carrying barbarian chasing a unwilling love interest. He does this through a icy wasteland, fighting golems (if I had to guess), wolves, and even some ice giants; And occasionally dodging some hurtled projectiles from your love interest.

The game is quite simple, very short, and somewhat replay oriented. As you play, your score, time, and collectables are recorded, all of which are used only as bragging rights. `The game is played with only the jump and attack actions and without even a double (or more) jump or any combos. And that is really the extent of the game, can I cannot think of anything useful left to say, it i that simple of a game.

Hints and Tips for Boss Fight:
Because I think that the hints given by the Tiny Barbarian team are wrong, and lacking in some areas I have decided to give you my own ideas, since the end boss fight is rather challenging.

Instead of going to the far left while dodging, I found it easier (and better to counter attack after it ended) to stay in the centre. wait for one of them to launch a low projectile attack and then run in the opposite direction and when clear of any high projectile attacks jump over the low attack.

But I would say that the hardest part is after you have killed one of them. So try to distribute the damage. And when their is only one left I found attacking him once when he lands and then running like hell in the opposite direction and dodging his projectiles to be the the only way to go about it.


System Requirements:

Friday, January 28, 2011

City of Doom

City of Doom is a recently released Action 52 remake. It is a 2D top-down shooter with black and green graphics. The game is quite slow paced, as you cannot shoot and move at the same time. You are armed with a few different weapons, and fight many different types of enemies and unique bosses. In the game you are climbing up a building; fighting off monsters of many different varieties; and collecting ammo, new devastating weapons, and extra lives. But sometimes it is the details that make a game; and City of Doom is quite polished. Among some of the coolest things done I enjoyed the side-paths to extra loot and being able to change the side of the building you are climbing on, at indicated locations.

Dracula 2: The Last Sanctuary

Just finished playing Dracula: The Last Sanctuary (AKA Dracula 2) and I guess I am playing the series in reverse order. I have already played and reviewed Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon, which is a good game that did really well with its new developer Kheops; And while it was completely separate story wise The Last Sanctuary contained a few Kheopian elements of its own, so it was completely believable to me to progress to playing a Kheops game for the sequel. Talking about sequels, apparently the Dracula series is getting a fourth title, but I cannot find out much about it.

So if you have not figured it out already Dracula The Last Sanctuary is a point and click adventure game. Additionally, it is node based, quite long and filled with tons of content, has a long interesting story containing many interesting characters showcased with numerous graphically impressive cutscenes, and features gameplay comprised of many different puzzles types and quite a few action sequences.

The graphics, while always setting a great horrific atmosphere, are all over the spectrum in terms of both technical merit and stylish good looks. While the cinematics always look great, with a few small technical glitches being the only problem, the in-game graphics vary quite allot. These graphics go from moderately low resolution but still great looking too extremely grainy looking and everything in between. For the most part it is quite good, sometimes great, and only once or twice did I ever notice a location looked bad.

The one thing that I found moderately distracting about the whole presentation was the character script, particularly Dracula’s. It was often somewhat corny and always executed with far too many and too dramatic hand gestures. I do not know what the animators were thinking, sometimes it is almost funny with the otherwise serious characters waving their arms around like lunatics. I also found the item interface very unpolished. In the inventory all you are given is a picture of the item, which more often then you would like leaves you with no idea of what you have. And in game the item you are currently holding does not even show up unless you are looking at something it can be used with; I found this very unintuitive, and was quite confused about how the game worked for quite awhile because of this. But other then that the presentation is fantastic. The OST is enjoyable and only adds to the scary atmosphere, and at times was very well done.

So now to the meat of it, the gameplay; And their are a huge range of puzzles types and challenges to talk about. Their are the action sequences that for the most part give you a limited amount of time to deal with a enemy. These serve to advance the story and add a sense of action to the overall feeling; Which is good, but they are not done all that well so do not expect any interesting gameplay or cinematics out of them. Other then that their are tons of logic and inventory puzzles. The biggest difference from other games being that the information and items used to solve some of these puzzles are often found far away from the puzzle(s) they are used on. The one noteworthy issue I had was with using the vampire glasses, which are used to see magic. These glasses are used like any other item, but since they are used to see something invisible you have no idea where you are supposed to aim them, or that you are even supposed to use them at times. I often found it hard even after looking up the solution to a puzzle using the glasses and telling me the general location to point them at to find it. This ambiguity is seen throughout the entire game in different guises, but never at bad as with the glasses.

Probably the only real drawback of the entire experience is the extreme linearity of it. Individual locations are quite small and very linear themselves and the player cannot go between these locations at will and can only follow a strict story progression through them. Thankfully this does not seem to exist in any other games of the series; As Dracula 3 is moderately open world and not more linear then normal, and probably a little less; And Dracula 1, from what I have seen, is very open world as well and starts you off in a huge open town.

Long and definitely not rushed, their is simply tons of content in all aspect of the game: cinematic, locations, puzzles, and story.
Some of the puzzles can be quite ambiguous.
A more then decent game in a more then decent series.
Wanadoo Edition
Canal+ Multimedia
Cryo Interactive
Release Date:
System Requirements:
Windows or PlayStation

Friday, January 21, 2011


Aurora is a little RTS released a few days ago. At the time, and for 24 hours afterwards, it was free, but now costs $5 for the full version. Which is an interesting way to promote a game, though I am not sure if it is a good way. My first though was that being featured on the indie games blog, while still free, might actually doom the game to low sales. As who, interested in indies games, does not check that blog a few times a day? Personally I do not understand why anyone would not, but then I do not think that most people follow over 100 (mostly indie game related) feeds, so what do I know about what the average gamer does.

Anyways, back to the review. By little I mean simple and short, it should only take about one hour to beat all the levels and from the start all of them are available. It is separated into three difficulty levels, though I could not tell the difference between them. And each can be played both in Speed Mode and normal (quite slow) mode. All levels are simply an arrangement of stars with you, and two AI enemies, starting with a single un-upgraded star.

The gameplay is extremely simple: you win when you are the only surviving player, you attack by moving troops to occupy the same space as the enemy, and you produce troops by controlling stars. All stars start un-upgraded, but many can be upgraded (to produce troops faster) by sacrificing troops to it them. These upgraded stars are the only real strategy point of the entire game, as they produce troops faster, but take the same number of troops to take (which reduces the star back to level 1) making hit and run tactics a good strategy. Overall it is not too unique of a game, and is very similar to game such as Phage Wars with the main difference being the complete open world where you can send your troops anywhere (if only the AI would do this, or even just respond to this strategy).

I am rather divided on how to rate this game. While I ended up enjoying it quite a lot and finding it surprisingly addicting it is really overly simplified in my opinion. It is very low on content and is not very strategy oriented; What you see in the very first level is pretty much the entire experience.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Personal Update and Bill Jemas is a hack

Been, and will remain for a few more days, unusually busy, so will be a little slow in writing articles. I have been moving my books from my university house back to my parents place. We are creating a library out of my old room, and as part of this I want to catalogue all of my books and the few that my parents own. So far I have gotten a little over a hundred catalogued and am probably about 1/10th finished.

I have been reading my first comic book recently (Ultimate Spider-Man), because a friend recommended and lent them to me. And the writing is atrocious; Not only is is just generally bad all the time, but their are grammatical mistakes, typing mistakes, and nonsensical sentences. The nonsensical sentences are quite frequent and make so little sense that the only reasonable explanation is that it was translated from another language with no one familiar with English every reading the translated version. I blame Bill Jemas (President, Marvel Enterprises) because he is the only name I could find in the comic, and the writing in the afterwards (which he wrote and signed) seems to be almost as bad the the writing in the comic, and containes a grammatical mistake in the very first sentence.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Universal Hint System (UHS)

A few years ago, while looking for some information on a game secret, I came across this very interesting site, the Universal Hint System, and ever since then I use it as much as possible. The general idea is that the site provides walkthroughs for games, but it does it better then all of the competition. For one, and least importantly in my opinion, they are all laid out in the same professional format; Which of course makes using it a lot more enjoyable and efficient. Secondly, the information is laid out in such a way as to easily allow you to use it for a specific puzzle or challenge, instead of the regular step by step guide for the entire game with the steps for any individual puzzle separated and distributed over many pages. Lastly, and most uniquely, instead of just giving you answers and direct instructions all solutions start off by giving you a series of hints until outright telling you the answer. As you might imagine, I love using this website for adventure games in particular and I would credit it for making the genre as a whole better and more playable.

In addition to the walkthroughs, the site does offer a few game reviews, a program that will download the hints and allow offline viewing, and will even pay anyone who writes new walkthroughs for them. It definitely does not have walkthroughs for all games, but it is surprising how often a game I am playing will be one that they have. That is all I have to say about the site myself, but I will leave you with a quotation from the site describing itself.

“The Universal Hint System gives you just the hints you need to solve hundreds of computer games. Unlike traditional walkthroughs, the UHS lets you select specific questions and view only as much information as you want -- from subtle nudges to full answers -- so you can have more fun solving the game on your own. Most of our available hints can be viewed with your web browser or can be downloaded and viewed later with the use of a UHS Reader.”

Note: I was not paid, propositioned, or otherwise encouraged to make this post, have the views that I do about the UHS website, or have any expectation of benefiting from the success of the site other then more quality game hints.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tale of Tales: FATALE Free Today Only

If you have been interested in or enjoyed any of Tale of Tales work in the past, like art games, or simply like free games you should check out FATALE today as they are giving it away today only.

From what I can ascertain it is a short interactive art game, which has some mixed reviews. Here is one that gave it a 7/10.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Descent is the first in the series of games set in the Abyss. It has many similarities and differences from the other two games. One similarity is the setting, while certain allowances had to be made because it is a completely open world game, it is still very consistent to the overall feel of the abyss. The main difference is with the gameplay, which is in the style of a free form platforming game.

The main feature that really makes it seem like an Abyss game is the ever present, and creepy as always, Evil. While overall the story is quite lacking in content Evil's constant comments do a wonderful job of adding some story and the proper tone while never interrupting the gameplay. Which I think was a wonderful choice, because any more invasive techniques of story telling would of interrupted the flow of the game and deteriorated the wonderful feel of the gameplay.

The gameplay is very fun, addicting, intense, and very hard. After a leisurely trip down a cave system you encounter rising lava and have to race back up as quickly as you can. I never was able to beat the game, but got pretty close and even found a secret shortcut along the way, which really helped. It is a very short game, probably only taking about 5 minutes from start to finish if you do not make any mistakes, But it was designed to be played over and over again before you could possibly beat it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Off Site Posts

Just finished a simple page to showcase all of the off site posts I do. It can be reached though this link, or from the link in my sidebar.

As far as I can tell their is no way to get notified of updates from this page, but you should be able to use a simple tool like Update Scanner, a Firefox add-on.

suteF - Review

suteF is the direct sequel (once called a remake) to Fetus, and is the third game that tells the tale of Aramas in the Abyss. Like Fetus it revolves around him and his dead self Bob talking revenge upon Fetus, I assume for bringing him to the Abyss, by killing him. This time around the visuals, puzzles, story, horror atmosphere, and mechanics have been expanded and improved. Another aspect of the game that I saw as an improvement over Fetus is the number of denizens of the Abyss that you interact with, and all of them interesting and unique characters. The game is advertised to take about two hours to complete, which I think if anything is more of a minimum which could grow to be somewhat longer if you get stuck for long periods of time on any of the puzzles.

One of the best improvements over Fetus is the gameplay. The added abilities really lead to better and more challenging puzzles, and some real brain teasers. In suteF you still have the ability to wrap around the screen when you move off of it, change gravity's direction when stepping on the special platforms, and move boxes around to block lasers and activate buttons. Additionally, you have gained the ability to jump/climb up platforms directly beside and one to two levels up, and even to grapple boxes and walls to pull then to you or you to them up too three squares away. These two new abilities actually come and go with the loss and the gaining of the grapple and with the breaking of your leg in a fall for the jumping, which prevents jumping two squares up but leaves the single square height still attainable. And some aspects of the world are even different, for example some puzzles will change while you move around; Which might seem like it could make the puzzles simply impossible, but it seems like a lot of care and thought was given to make then still completely possible and yet still complicated and fun.

One of the most interesting aspects of the game to me were the interactions with the various different incarnation of yourself; Whether they were from the past, the future, or simply alternative presents I do not know, but they added a lot more depth to the story, and added a level of cooperation and partnership and to an otherwise empty and hostile environment. These incarnations also manage to add an additional level of horror to the game. Because instead of simply seeing corpses, in suteF you are often show the death of a fellow incarnation and even get to interact with an incarnation of yourself that has been driven mad by the Abyss.

The gameplay is very similar to Fetus, but with the noted additions. It is at its core a physics platformer, were the goal is to make it to the single large TV (visionometor) to be transported to the next area, while sometimes having to turn off the smaller TVs along the way. This is accomplished for the most part by using the wrap around effect of the edges of the screen and by switching the direction of gravity for you and any other objects you push into the area of the gravity switchers. Additionally, their are lasers you have to avoid and buttons to turn on and off platforms.

All in all I think it is a great game. It takes the great atmosphere from Fetus and fully realizes it. It takes the already good puzzles from Fetus and just ups enjoyment and the challenge. It takes the already great minimalistic graphics and makes them better. And most of all it takes an interesting, although convoluted, plot and characters and adds more depth. So for all of these reasons, and a few others, I will say that suteF is hands and feet above Fetus, an already good game, and well worth a play-through.

suteF can be downloaded here.