Saturday, 22 October 2016

Mixed Up Fairy Tales - Final Rating

Written by Aperama

Mixed Up Fairy Tales is a game I had quite a bit of fun with. Admittedly, I did augment my experience somewhat by using it as an introduction for my far-too young daughter to watch an adventure game being played, but that's not to say I couldn't have had fun with it solo. The issue with the game, even if I'm to ignore the fact that it was designed for a younger audience and the other things that will doubtlessly be explored in the actual rating, was the way it was designed for 'classroom' play. This is to say that I feel the relatively simple design may have had a double purpose (and I invite Corey to dispute or confirm as necessary). If you have a game that really has lots of finicky interactions, you're going to have a single player hogging the computer for a huge degree of time. Sure, there's still the definite sense of exploration in this game, but there's always the option to go back to Bookwyrm for puzzle solutions and there's never a puzzle that requires more than one item to solve. Whilst this would no doubt infuriate a veteran adventure gamer in their twenties who spent large amounts on this game (I tried to get an RRP for its release but couldn't find one), it'd be considered a boon to a game that an entire classroom of youths would want to get through. This before they were giving iPads to individual kids as they started school, anyhow.

The game design lends itself to being played by lots of different people, not so much the same person/family over and over again

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Star Trek - Pirates of the Federation

Written by Joe Pranevich

Space pirates!

In our last episode, Captain Kirk and his crew saved a group of colonists from shape-changing robots guarding an ancient sleeping race. It was a fun adventure even though the space combat was tricky on modern laptops and I struggled with the eclipse puzzle. As the curtain closes on that episode, it’s time start another: “Hijacked!”

The story opens as usual with an assignment from Starfleet: the USS Masada failed to report in as scheduled. We are to travel to the Beta Myamid system, investigate the delay, and take whatever actions we deem necessary. It seems like another rescue mission, but this time we are looking for a ship. Once in the system (after passing the requisite copy protection), we are greeted by an “Elasi” captain. He’s a surly sort and tells us that we have to leave immediately because we are interfering with their affairs. Moments later, he arms weapons and raises shields; we have no choice but to fight.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Mixed Up Fairy Tales - Malia in Wonderland (Won!)

Written by Aperama

I know – one play post and we're already to the end. This is not a typo or a trick. Unfortunately, the truth is that this game is simply.. well, simple. It's not like I didn't enjoy it! I enjoyed reading Game of Thrones, but I don't need every novel to go several hundred pages. That said, I can't really pad it further I feel. Outside perhaps of giving more detailed synopses of the stories contained than the games actually give, as they're all told from the first person of an outsider in-game? This makes it far more interactive to a player, yet does remove certain intricacies that we can gain from having either multiple points of view or a tale being told from afar. When you're the one getting the magic beans, unless there's something noteworthy which happens during the journey to do so, there's really not a lot to say about Jack's quest up the beanstalk. Why? Because Jack is still the one climbing, not the player. King's Quest 1 takes the opposite approach, knocking out Jack and putting you in his shoes, where this is very much about the story of origin first.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Missed Classic: Dungeon - Frigid River Rafting

Written by Joe Pranevich


Last week, I deepened my descent into the Great Underground Empire and returned ten treasures to the trophy case. I defeated a troll, was trounced by a cyclops, and was killed by magic cutlery. I was stumped by a wall of ice and a giant’s well. I even saw a vampire bat hold its nose to keep away the smell of garlic. It’s been an experience but judging from my map and score, I barely scratched the surface.

Although the game is huge, there does not yet seem to be a lot of logical progression. Why is the Bank of Zork connected to an artist’s studio? Why is a coal mine tucked behind a magic mirror? As I fill in more of the map, I hope to get a better sense of the internal geography but for now I will continue to describe discrete regions as I find them. As before, I will simplify my narrative a bit. While I will describe the puzzles that I solved in order, I switched back and forth constantly between areas as I searched for solutions. I hope I have struck a good balance between step-by-step narration and readability.

I ended last post just after locating an air pump to go with my inflatable raft. It’s time to pack my camping gear and explore the Frigid River!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Star Trek - The Devil Went Down to Pollux V

Written by Joe Pranevich

Star Trekkin’ across the universe...

“Space… the final frontier…” Star Trek: 25th Anniversary begins exactly where it should: with the famous introductory lines and a computer version of the opening theme. It’s a nice way to get us in the Star Trek mindset. The game itself opens on the bridge of the Enterprise just as Captain Kirk receives orders to participate in a readiness drill. Captain Patterson and the USS Republic are here to engage with us with mock combat. Uhura receives a message that our opponent is in position. Spock suggests that we raise our shields and arm our weapons. The game is on!

Or… it would be if I knew how to do either of these things. We start in a ship-to-ship combat mode and moving the mouse steers rather than allowing me to talk to any of my bridge crew and ask them to get ready for the battle. I pause the game and look through the manual. As I alluded to last week, there are a lot of keyboard shortcuts. In this case, we have to press “S” to raise shields and then “W” to arm the weapons. It’s a good thing this is a training fight because a firefight is not the right time to be learning the controls...