Reviews by TerenaKalir

90

Give in to the dark side...

TerenaKalir | March 28, 2013 | Review of Overlord

At this price, you'd be mad to miss out on this absolute gem. If you've ever played Pikmin, you'll find something similar here, but with a unique and somewhat dark sense of humour.

The gameplay mostly involves directing your minions to do your bidding, whether it be collecting items for your evil lair, or murdering enemies/innocent bystanders/pumpkins. You can join in the action yourself, lobbing spell from a distance, or getting into melee. I don't recommend the latter until you get some upgrades - you're quite squishy to begin with. Later you get different minions for different tasks, adding a puzzlely element to the action.

The biggest appeal for me was the humour throughout - it never fails to amuse me when my minions put pumpkins on their heads. It was also nice to have some choice in whether to be a benevolent dictator, or a evil despot. I generally picked whichever option was most amusing at the time. ;)

90

Excellent puzzles, intriguing story

TerenaKalir | July 31, 2012 | Review of Return to Mysterious Island

This is the first Kheops Studio game I played, and I believe it best showcases their talents. A common feature of the adventure games they produce is the focus on inventory - being able to combine and disassemble items in order to solve puzzles. And it works perfectly for this Robinson Crusoe style game.

Mina is stranded on this (Mysterious) island, and her first concern is food, water.The innovative puzzle system comes to the fore straight away, letting you use that stick to construct a fishing rod, then taking it apart to use for a knife handle instead. Nor do you need to use that particular stick either. Multiple solutions are not confined to the inventory though, there are several throughout the game which can be solved in different ways.

As you get your strength back and begin to explore the island, the story is presented to you in a style much like Myst - reading journals from previous inhabitants and looking at (and using) the devices they left behind. It fits quite well with the setting and is sure to delight fans of Jules Verne.

This is an excellent game for adventure fans. Great puzzles, well integrated into the story, with a host of alternate solutions. There are a few timed puzzles, but the game usually quick saves just before letting you retry easily. The prerendered graphics are still quite pretty considering the game's age, and the atmospheric sounds really draw you in to the world. I highly recommend it!

75

Great but dated restaurant sim

TerenaKalir | July 23, 2012 | Review of Restaurant Empire

I've played a lot of sim games, and I can say without a doubt, that I've not seen a better restaurant management sim than this. That's not to say it doesn't have it's downsides though.

The graphics don't look too bad when you're managing your restaurant, but during character conversations, you will be wondering what these hideous creatures are. ;) If you can get past the dated graphics, there is a sim with a great deal of depth waiting for you.

The tutorials ease you into the restaurant business, not throwing too much at you at once, but as you progress you'll discover a huge amount of options to tweak which can make or break your business. Later levels are nightmarish with the amount of micromanagement you need to do, and it's so easy to drive your restaurant into the ground and have to start from scratch. It does give you the option of restarting a level with lower goals to reach, which I had to do on occasion, but it's pretty painful starting over after putting hours into your restaurant.

Even with the punishing difficulty curve, it's a surprisingly addictive game. Later levels had me tweaking recipes and redesigning my menu, reorganising the furniture and a million other things to keep my restaurant profitable.

I do recommend it for those who enjoy a challenging management sim, but I would suggest buying Restaurant Empire 2 instead as it includes the campaign from this game.

80

Usual Kheops fare

TerenaKalir | July 20, 2012 | Review of Nostradamus: The Last Prophecy

Nostradamus: The Last Prophecy was developed by Kheops Studio among others, and it's the usual Kheops fare. If you've already played some of their previous games, you'll know what to expect here. i.e. light on story, but excellent puzzles.

If you're looking strong story telling and vibrant characters, you won't find it here. The story is little more than a vehicle for the puzzles, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The puzzles are where the game shines. Like many of Kheops' previous games, there is a huge focus on being able to combine and deconstruct items to solve puzzles, and on alternate solutions. There are also various interesting apparatus in Nostradmus' workshop for you to figure out and use. The Madeline/Cesar gameplay element doesn't really add much to the game though, it's little more than a toggle needing to be switched back and forth to progress.

Overall it's a great puzzler with a weak story. If you love your puzzles, I highly recommend it!

60

Not what I was expecting...

TerenaKalir | July 13, 2012 | Review of Dark Fall: Lights Out

Firstly, you do not need to have played the original Dark Fall to play this game, as the plots are largely unrelated. Though quite frankly, I'd recommend playing the original instead.

Dark Fall 2 is a fairly standard Myst clone - first person, node based movement, click to interact with things. The pre rendered backgrounds are pretty to look at, but there's not a lot to do with them! There's plenty of things to look at and read, but very little in the way of actual puzzles. I found it rather frustrating making copious notes only to find that I didn't need them.

I found the story hard to follow, and was frequently wandering around wondering what I was meant to be doing and why. I found myself resorting to a walkthrough, not to solve puzzles, but to figure out what I was meant to be doing! The finale was quite bewildering to put it mildly.

I will say that what put me off this game was the expectations created by its predecessor. It failed to capture the eerie atmosphere and mystery of the first game, and took a completely different direction in terms of plot and setting. If you take it as a standalone game, it's a decent adventure that could use a bit of polish with regard to puzzles and plot.

If you're looking for a Myst style adventure game, it's worth taking a look. If you've played the original game and are looking for more of the same, give this a miss and get Dark Fall: Lost Souls.

90

City builder heaven

TerenaKalir | July 13, 2012 | Review of Tropico Reloaded Cap

Do you miss the golden age of Sierra's city builder games (Caesar, Pharaoh etc)? No longer! Tropico will definitely scratch that itch for you.

I personally find the scenarios of the original a little too open ended, but the style and execution of the game is still excellent. Not only do you need to balance your finances and expand your settlement, you need to keep your subjects happy (or afraid) or you'll soon find yourself out of office. I find this extra layer of management adds a lot to the challenge and enjoyment of the game. Especially since you can either take the approach of trying to keep everyone happy, or fixing elections and assassinating rebels.

Tropico 2 takes a more mission based approach, and takes on a pirate theme. Regardless of outward looks, it's still quite similar in gameplay - manage your resources, expand your settlement, and keep your pirates happy.

At this price, it's a bargain. If you love management sims, particularly the likes of Caesar, you will love this game.