Reviews by TimothyD
A Rare Gem That Will Make You Think About Your Life.TimothyD | Nov. 14, 2013 | Review of Two Brothers
The story for this game, is, admittedly, deep, considering what you would consider this game to be like without playing it. While the art and sound style are both well executed in this game, the main point is the storyline, which is just as philosophical and deep as reading a full novel. The art style switches between to what can be called the visual style of playing an original gameboy, with black pixels over a tan background and a bright and colorful, however, pixelated, world of the afterlife. The funny part of this arrangement is that the gameplay reflects this, playing like an RPG adventure meant for a handheld. There are a huge number of side-quests included in the game, and the many alternative endings will keep you glued to seeing them all, in order to achieve the ending that you want. If you are looking for a game that will make you both feel and think, this is the game for you. This game well justifies it's 15 dollar asking price, and could possibly be worth more. If you're into the idea of a graphic novel with more involvement than something such as the Phoenix Wright or Trauma Center series, this is your game.
A Lot of Promise That Clearly Was Short-Lived.TimothyD | Nov. 14, 2013 | Review of Death to Spies: Gold Edition
The game itself plays like and looks like a carbon copy of a Hitman franchise game. You control a single player through areas, avoiding detection by hiding, killing off guards, dawning disguises, etc. It sometimes feels as if the team simply covered Hitman series models with their own meshes and then produced the game with them. The game is sometimes falls prey to unfair glitches and crashes, generally without any warning beforehand. In some cases, you'll find yourself caught in the graphics or able to walk through a wall or sink into the floor. While these moments are rare, they are game breaking in some cases, causing you to need to restart completely, or from your last save point. The AI NPCs also sometimes act as if they are lacking a few brain cells. They'll watch as your nearly about to run them down with a car, for example. In some cases they'll also "spot" you when in cover and you should not have been seen. It is this bounce between stupid and genius that makes dealing with the AI (a major portion of the game) frustrating. The sound scheme is alright for a game of this type, but you'll wish you did not have to listen to the voiceovers. They tend to be lifeless, as if they were reading from a particularly boring book rather than the script they were given to read the lines. The controls respond well enough, but the driving segments tend to get a bit infuriating when the vehicles will not obey any command given to them. In short, opt for a different game if given the chance. If you want a close experience without the same story, look into the Hitman series. You'll want to skip spending this thirty dollars.
Punchin' Pixels and Takin' Parts.TimothyD | Nov. 14, 2013 | Review of Megabyte Punch
I'm unsure as to what this game could be called a mixture of. A little RPG, a little platformer, a little brawler, all mixed into one delicious stew. You'll find yourself laughing as you are punched from platforms or knock an enemy out in this pixelated romp. The art style of retro-gone-bad paired with a jumpy electro soundtrack are paired perfectly together to draw you into the world of fighting and picking up parts. The character creation system is varied, and you will never run out of combinations to use as long as you play the game. Each part gives a new advantage over another, leaving the player up to pick the parts that will best work with their style. It makes for a sense of accomplishment as you look at your "finished" character, and then use them to whoop up on someone, only to get a new part that you like better, taking you back to square one. The controls respond well, which is a plus for a fighting game, and lag was not very much of a problem while playing the game. It all makes for one great experience, worthy of any fight-gamer's time. If you find yourself playing flash games on the internet, play this instead. It's worth the heavier asking price.
Bloody Good Time is Bloody Hillarious.TimothyD | Nov. 14, 2013 | Review of Bloody Good Time (NA)
This game, made by Outerlight, follows the same formula as their other game, The Ship. The mayhem, as in the original, continues. In it's own unique and hilarious over-the-top fashion. The wacky graphics of the game contribute to the almost Troma-like universe the game is set in. The characters are wild, and the settings elaborate and just as insane as the characters themselves. The sound scheme will have you laughing out loud from the crackle of flamethrowers to the crash of plates and flush of toilets. All aspects of the graphics, art and sound work together perfectly to produce laughs. You'll find that the game's loose storyline takes on a unique twist as you interact with the game, adding your own escapades to it. If you enjoy a great party game in the style of Team Fortress or The Ship, you'll delight in this game, especially if you are a fan of B-reel horror movies. You'll never find anything this interactive on the television at 2 in the morning. You will, however, be up playing this game.
A Turkey Shoot on Steroids.TimothyD | Nov. 13, 2013 | Review of Reload
However, there isn't a frozen turkey in it for you this time! The game itself is a day at the shooting range, put into a video game. Keeping you in the air conditioning and relative comfort of the indoors while enjoying the full shooting-range experience. The guns are varied and the controls respond well, and the sounds play accurately. The sets for each range are well-designed and entertaining to play, even on return. The graphics sometimes feel a bit dated, like something made from a casual games firm, but it does not affect the overall value of the game. The variation of sets, weapons, game modes, and the online leader board adds to the fun. As long as you're into the experience, it is a worthwhile purchase.
Absolute SteampunkeryTimothyD | Nov. 13, 2013 | Review of Ironclad Tactics
This game is a hybrid that works, in a time where most of the time, such combinations do not. The removal of micro-transactions from a game that could have made a killing gives itself a lot of speaking room. The game's story is interesting, but nothing that will win a movie or novel. It is the general Civil-war Steampunk variant that you would expect from a video game. Having said this, the game in and of itself is entertaining. The units are well drawn and designed, showing that the artists and concept-drawers spent hours on the characters and unit designs. The sounds-scape is standard and nothing to brag about, but does it's job well. The comic book style art that moves the story along is fitting for the art style and the game. The game itself feels as if a table-top card game has been spilled out and made electronic. Card gamers and board gamers alike will enjoy this game. In the end, it's entertaining, and worth a look, if your interest justifies the price. An interest in the Civil War or Steampunk culture is a plus for enjoying it.
An Interesting Little Artstyle History LessonTimothyD | Nov. 13, 2013 | Review of Type Rider
It is rare that games take on an educational perspective and remain entertaining. This game makes the point that it still can be done. While sometimes the software does itself in, the game is an overall positive experience with relatively few gripes. The art style is unique and feels almost barren, with a windy soundscsape and bleak visuals, that make it feel as if the game is rolling off a printing press. I'd describe it as the landscape inside of an ink pen. The level design is relevant to the material presented, and keeps you pulled inside of it. The gameplay is standard for any other platforming game, but, it offers new solutions to make it a little more interesting. The information presented does get a bit tedious, but the game allows you to skip the pages of text. All-in-all, a time-spender best used for a few levels at a time. If you like history, art or typography, it's interesting. If not, it's a pass for something more widely appealing.
Up, up, and away...TimothyD | July 29, 2013 | Review of Cities in Motion: Design Quirks
Do you like adding a little zest to the cityscape? Well, this DLC is the Julia Child of Cities in Motion. These odd new vehicles will add all sorts of spunk to your sprawling transit network systems. The price is cheap for what you get, the five items listed, and all of them are well animated and work perfectly with the game - there are no plugin issues here. All-in-all, it is a great addition to any Cities in Motion gamer's collection.
The springs are really hidden.TimothyD | May 31, 2013 | Review of The Sims 3: Hidden Springs (NA)
Hidden Springs is much more outdoors-y than previous town packs. However, a note: the designer forgot to place in the fountain of youth as promised in the town. You'll have to plop it down yourself using the town edit mode. (It's a rather good joke, if it is one. Hidden. They mean hidden in the buy mode!) Other than the slight mishap, the town is perfect for people that love their sims to be more in touch with the outdoors. The town is nice, but rather simple and more inclined toward the natural aspect of the area. The plant type and gardener sims will love this location for it's expanse of green. It is decent for the price, as long as you are interested in a more green location, and other than the fountain mishap.
The prisoners don't like you so much, Presidente...TimothyD | May 31, 2013 | Review of Tropico 4: Vigilante DLC
This DLC could best be described as Robin Hood and Zorro meets Tropico. The new mission, as all the other DLC missions are, is hilarious and well-written. The new prison camp is a good addition to the game, especially for the presidentes that don't tend to keep their populace very happy. At least you can get some cash crop money out of your prisoners now. The new trait, Alter Ego is particularly good to keep tourism up. Of course, the graphics continue to be the exact same, seeing as the DLC does not affect them. The new models are well designed are generally flawless. The soundtrack remains superb. An all-around good buy, especially for those that particularly enjoy being a masked avenger type.
Trains for transcendentalists.TimothyD | May 31, 2013 | Review of West Coast Main Line North Add-On
This DLC adds on more than enough free-roaming scenarios to provide hours of daydreaming and cruising the rails. Of course, the visuals are lush and beautiful enough to get transcendentally lost in it. The scenarios are also well executed and interesting from delivering lumber on a busy line to maintaining a timetable with a substitute engine. The new Class 86 diesel locomotive is beautiful as usual, and accurate. The intercity rail coaches are well detailed, accurate, and match the new engine well. While the coaches and engine are beautiful, this pack is mainly for the huge expanses of rail line that it opens. The lines are beautiful and well constructed, and well worth the purchase price.
A train master's dream.TimothyD | May 31, 2013 | Review of Train Simulator 2013: US Bundle - Horseshoe Curve & F40PH add-ons
This bundle includes the wonderful base game, Train Simulator 2013, with astounding visual graphics and sound scheme to boot. It is worth the time of any train enthusiast. The extra loads of DLC content will ensure that you never get bored, and the railroad builder will allow you to build your own railroads to drive on. The Horseshoe Curve add-on is difficult to say the least, especially with large trains, but is well worth the challenge for it's visual beauty. The Pennsylvania railroad models are beautiful as usual, and bring a few new models to the game. The Zephyr Add-On is for any Amtrak enthusiast who enjoys the earlier train models of Amtrak. It is a real trip down memory lane.
The glory days of Amtrak re-lived.TimothyD | May 31, 2013 | Review of F40PH California Zephyr Add-On
Amtrak is still around, but is definitely no longer in it's glory days. This pack relives it. The engine is well designed and accurate, along with being able to use quick drive on it gives it extra value. The coaches are well done and there is a wealth of them for the price, considering what is included in some other packs for the series. Also, the five new scenarios for Donner Pass are a value for their quality. Everything about this pack is bang for the buck, in all truth. This pack is good for any true Amtrak enthusiast that wants to go back to the earlier years.
Exactly what is needed.TimothyD | May 31, 2013 | Review of Victoria II Songs of the Civil War DLC
If you've learned anything from my reviews, I am an audiophile when it comes down to video games. If the music and soundscheme are right, some things can be overlooked, and this is just the very same case. The music in this DLC is, of course, high quality and worth a listen perhaps even out of the game, if that is what floats your boat. The music is meant to augment the experience and put you into it, toning out the outside world and putting you into the game. This DLC does exactly that job, and a bit more. You'll enjoy the pack if you like period music.
Buzzing back onto the scene...TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Airline Tycoon 2: Honey Airlines
One noticeable missing portion of Airline Tycoon gameplay was the cargo side of the airline business. In this DLC, cargo is re-opened to the skies along with the re-introduction of Honey Airlines, a carry-over from the original series. The loveable Mario has returned, with two new campaign missions to take up your time. Part of the new fun comes from designing new cargo planes that were distinctly missing from the second installment up until now, and those features carry over to the original characters in the game. Again, this DLC is for those original players of Airline Tycoon who miss the series' original characters whom they fell in love with. For the sake of reliving old times, it is worth the money.
Guten tag, welcome aboard Falcon Lines.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Airline Tycoon 2: Falcon Airlines
Upon seeing that Airline Tycoon 2 was being released I was excited. I was disappointed when I found out that the original characters would not be returning. The two new campaign missions are original and interesting and fill that void where the character was originally missing. Also, the last minute counter makes a glorious return from the original series, and the addition of branch offices makes things definitely more interesting. The return of original characters back into the series is a refreshing change, and makes up for the spot where they should have been present originally. Green may fly the skies again. Watch out for the Falcon! Any person who misses the original characters from the first series will delight in this DLC.
It's strange, but, I like it.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People
Following my like for Telltale stemming from Sam and Max, I played this game, and it was a treat. Homestar Runner has it's own very... Unique brand of humor. The puzzles play much like Sam and Max with a little more interactivity in some portions. The story is well written, but the voice acting is a bit gruff a times, so I found that the subtitles were a necessity for being able to understand some of the dialogue sequences, but it overall adds to the hilarity of the series. The game accurately picks up and displays all of the characters from the Homestar Runner source material. It is a wholehearted, funny and complete adaptation that one would expect out of Telltale games.
Season 3? Yes please.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Sam & Max: Season 3
A monkey alien destroying the world. Stinky's redone into something out of a beach-side motel room nightmare. That is the opening of Sam and Max's glorious third season, and it lives up to all expectation. The writing, as in the first two seasons, is still worthy of a late-night comedy club, the way the series is meant to be. Telltale continues to astound. The graphics maintain the same as the rest of the series. In the gameplay department, the third season begins to drag on. While it maintains to be exciting and fun, the repetitive click'n'go puzzle style starts to drag, particularly in later episodes. They go from one to one to taking a week break until you begin the next one in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed with tedium and giving it up. The developers seem to have taken note and have begun throwing in other puzzles in order to keep it captivating. The series maintains it's charm throughout.
A masterpiece in it's own right.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Spellforce 2: Gold Edition
This game is a beautiful mix of oldschool style RTS and RPG gameplay. The campaign is well written and extremely long. It will provide you with endless hours as entertainment, especially when you get lost in the fun of base and army building. The graphics are good, especially on the buildings, which will make building expansive, impressive bases a rewarding task. Army units are detailed too, making large armies a sight to behold. The controls for the game can get a little wonky at times, but it is nothing that will ruin the experienced for a seasoned veteran or someone new to the genre. The story is well written and will pull you in to the point that you will want to play more just to unravel more of the story. The game will last you a long time between the campaign and scenario modes, and you will find yourself getting sucked into the experience and staying to play much longer than you really should.
I've never been so annoyed by rocket launchers...TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Dollar Dash 4 Pack
If you are looking for a fair, balanced game to promote teamwork and friendship this is definitely not your title. It is anything but. This game is hectic, loud, and bright like a carnival on drugs. The art style is cartoonish and wild, like old hand-drawn MGM cartoons with strange environments like a cordoned bridge or a warehouse filled with moving conveyor belts. The characters are customizable and you can make them uniquely your own. The soundtrack is strange, mostly featuring big-band music that sounds like it came from the bowels of the world's strangest record store. The game is rather simple, get the most money and deposit it in a special area. However, you have a mass of other people chasing after you, armed with strange weapons such as rocket launchers. They will use them against you. You will loose the money you are carrying at the drop of a pin, and you will loose a lot of it, making for a chaotic experience that you likely won't forget, especially with friends.
And they're off!TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Pressure
This game is a colorful death-rally race, in no uncertain terms of the term. Your eyes will practically melt at the visuals which are explosive, bright, and heavily colorful. Things exploding all over the screen will draw you in and keep you. All of the designs are done well from the cars to the characters. The soundtrack is catchy and you might even find yourself tapping your foot along to the beat (in between firing your cars weapons). The game design is set up in levels, with you having to unlock each one as you go along. The environments along the track are completely destructible, and they will go down as you race along the track, avoiding enemies as you go. In order to assist with the destruction, your weapons can be upgraded for maximum damage. It is a less-serious death race worth the time of anyone who enjoys a decent racing game.
And it is off!TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of LNER Black Flying Scotsman Add-On
Yet another extension to the infamous Train Simulator series. A beautiful and accurate extension at that. The Flying Scotsman is an addition to any train gamer's library. However, to play the scenarios with the pack, it requires another expansion, making the experience more expensive if you want to play the full deal. The train itself is well detailed and accurate, and the sounds that come with it go well. The coaches included in the pack are beautiful also and look great with the engine in the pack. The graphics aren't anything new are astounding, they fit in with the looks of the series in general. The new scenarios are fun, given you have the route DLC needed to run it. My only complaint would be the high price simply for an engine pack.
What exactly did I just pay for?TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Impire: Black and White Demons DLC
This pack, is, well, in all truth - pointless. The only true change that the packs make is either dying the skin of the game's demon character, Baal, black, or white. Even for one dollar, it is a rip-off milking scheme that should have been simply put into the core game experience. That is like the Sims charging for changing a character's clothes, color, or hairstyle. A part of Impire is customizing Baal, so his skin color should simply be included in the base game, and not in a charge DLC pack. At best, it should be free. The skins are standard, just as they would be as recolors.
Release the gladiators!TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Grand Ages: Rome
This game radiates history. While being interesting to any history buff, it provides Settlers-esque strategy for any city building fan. The campaign is lengthy and interesting, posing you as a city builder moving across the Roman Empire. The graphics are on a grand scale, and set on high, look very good. While a few screens, like the maps and selection screens are bland, the core gameplay screens are beautiful. This is paired with a historically accurate soundtrack. The game is easy-enough to learn, and the learning curve pertains mostly to gaining a firm understanding of commanding your army units and which buildings are necessary to run certain production lines. The gameplay is well executed, and fairly free of any noticeable bugs. Overall, the game is a good piece of Roman-age life and city simulation. It maintains being interesting while also being a game leaning more toward an RTS and City Building audience.
Woof, Meow, *Gargle*TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of A Game of Dwarves: Pets DLC
The already amazing Game of Dwarves gets an entire host of pets to look after. Joy. The pets definitely bring a unique element to the game. Watching your slugs gloop or your canines run around is interesting, and adds a little more chaotic-mess to the world of the dwarves. With the pack comes a host of new objects to care for your pets including beds and toys, the essentials for having an animal in the house. The pets can be brought into any level, to jazz up the space. The pets can even be put to use in combating the various enemies that invade the lair, proving to be more useful than one would think. The graphics are standard, following the looks of the series from the pets to the objects. The sounds fit the needs of the pack. In short, it is a version of the Sims Pets for A Game of Dwarves. If you enjoy pets, this is the pack for you.
What game am I playing, again?TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Cities in Motion 2
The original Cities in Motion was great on it's own standard, and this revamped new sequel simply builds on what was already great to create something new and even better. The cities now change on their own, building themselves around your transportation networks, reminiscent of Locomotion or A-Train. Night and day cycle through, effecting the amount of people moving around the city at a given time. The game has also added in great multiplayer features, along with an interesting new campaign while still handling the old beloved sandbox mode. This game is significantly easier, giving new users a better walk up the learning curve than the first game. With the new graphics and night/day timetable system, the cities feel genuinely alive and gives you all-the-more of a reason to build up the transportation networks. The new systems for building and managing are thorough and intuitive without being too overwhelming.
Clang, clang, went the trolley, bye, bye, bye went my time.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Cities in Motion
City transportation networks are a part of everyday life. We all take the bus, ride the tram, and whatever else to get around to where we need to go. This game puts us in control of building and maintaining these lifeblood networks of city life. The scenario mode is challenging, but offers no time limit, and the sandbox mode leaves you free to manage the city of choice for years (game time, of course) on end. It offers something for every type of player. The graphics are superb for the time it was created, rivaling those of the modern Tropico series, of Simcity. The sound is well done, and reflects the environments you are put into. The game has a learning curb, but the game naturally keeps things on the interesting end of the spectrum to make learning feel like playing. This game is one that you'll improve at as you play. You will fail many times in the beginning, but, if you keep at it you'll find yourself designing city networks better than some professionals.
With a little polish and trimming, it is grand.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of SimCity (NA)
Simcity, on release, was a hot mess. Server crashes, bug problems in-game and more slapped fans of the series in the face and pushed them down. (If they weren't already down there tinkering with internet cables) Upon the writing of this review, the connection problems have been solved and updates are coming faster than the filming of Modern Family episodes. While there was admittedly a mountain of complaints about bugs in the beginning, these bugs are being weeded out to make a truly fun experience. There are constant bug patches coming from the developers, including repairing traffic, which was the top-most concern when the game was released. City sizes are still relatively small, causing mayors to downscale what their cities could possibly be, and the specializations are restricted due to this due to their generally large sizes. With a larger map patch and an offline mode in the future as the game becomes less popular, (If that has to come from Maxis or an online group is yet to be seen) will turn it into a great game, worthy of challenging Simcity 4 for players.
A cheap e-vacation.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Simcity Double City Pack (NA)
These city-style DLCs for SimCity are interesting and paint your cities with a different sort of flare than the traditional city style can bring. For the discount price, it is worth picking up for the sake of going on a cheap e-vacation in Simcity. It is undeniable that the graphics are amazing with the DLC packs. The scent of cologne and street-coffee will practically float out of your CPU fan. Adding in the French police station and the British double-decker bus station changes up the usual in your city services, and slathers more onto the already unique flavor that your cities will have with Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower. A necessity for any mayor with a taste for international travel or architecture.
It will hang you upside down and spin you around.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of SimCity Amusement Park Pack (NA)
Simcity (2013) is the first of it's kind to offer specializations for cities from casinos to mining. Tourism is fun, but lacked a certain flare until this DLC came along. The amusement park brings in a new menu of tourism extensions for mayors to look over. It's pure fun. The system for building amusement parks is simple, plopping down the entrance and using the general expansion system used for parks and buildings like hospitals. While a person could speculate this DLC would be a milking for cash from mayors, this DLC seems to have had a lot of work go into it, which is surprising for people suspicious of EA products. The animations are well done, and the sound-schemes are perfect. You'll hear circus music and guests chattering now intermixed with the noise of the nearby highway and the far-off ambulances. The building brings in the real fun, bringing in a mini-game to the grand scheme of things. A miniature Roller Coaster Tycoon, if you will. A good purchase for people looking to extend the fun of the tourism specialization, and people who love the Roller Coaster Tycoon franchise.
Not the World's Fair, but, close enough.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of SimCity French City Set (NA)
This third DLC pack for Simcity (2013) provides the Eiffel Tower to plop into your cities for a tourism boost, along with changing your city into a Parisian Van Gogh dreamscape. The sandstone buildings and blue rooftops of your new city will be a nice thing to look at, but serve as nothing more than a ruse to what your city really is, just like the other DLC packs. This DLC comes with a stylized French police station that looks like somewhere Inspector Clouseau would reside. This DLC stands in line with the other two, British and German. A nice addition to give your cities a distinct flavor that will be interesting to look at, but they offer no noticeable addition to the gameplay core mechanics.
Welcome to Manchester! Wait... This is Simcity.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of SimCity British City Set (NA)
Big Ben is infamous around the world. Now, with this DLC pack, you can bring it into your city. Just as the other two DLC city style packs, the ploppable Big Ben creates a wave of change through your cities, changing them into British style brick row houses, with miles of chimney poking upward into the city skyline. Also you get the double-decker bus station, bringing the iconic red two-level busses of the UK to your transportation system. It gives your transportation a new taste of red flare, and a flash of color that any city can overlook in the urban sprawl. This pack, like the other DLCs, brings some interesting new looks to the game, but no real gameplay improvement other than being something new to look at. It makes you into a tourist in your own game.
Guten tag, mein herr.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of SimCity German City Set (NA)
Tudor-style buildings will spring forth alongside your city streets, under the shadow of the impressive Brandenburg Gate. Just like the other two city style DLC packs, the style is impressive and will give your city a unique feel all-to its own. This set also comes with a high-speed rail station that will bring in European TGVs, something that any train fanatic will love. The graphics bring out the beauty of Simcity, making your city look like something out of a fairytale or St. Mystere from Professor Layton and the Curious village. The sea of steepled red roofs and flash of the orange TGV trains rocketing in are a nice break from the monochrome cityscape generally attributed to the Simcity franchise.
Santa, Easter Island Heads, Satan, oh my.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Sam & Max: Season Two
Re-runs are for TVland. Sam and Max are here for a second season, and pack a punch as usual. Once again, the crackshot writers at Telltale games pulled through in producing an episodic game series that succeeds not only in making the player laugh, but also making them think with interesting new puzzles. However, the formula does begin to get stale as the series goes further into new episodes, without much variation in the standard combine-item puzzle style. The best similarity is a two-day stale cookie. It is still sweet, fun, and satisfying, but it grows to be a bit tedious and stale as time drags on.
If they were real detectives, we would all be in trouble.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Sam & Max: Season One
Sam and Max made their glorious return from the LucasArts years in this first modern adaption and extension of their story. It is well worth the wait. Telltale did a perfect job in writing the story for season one, making Sam and Max the Arrested Development of adventure-puzzle games. The story, given where it is coming from, is strange, (War! What is it good for?) but that is the glue that holds the series together. It's hilarious and outrageous from the kid-gang sodapoppers to the strange and airy Hugh Bliss. Each episode brings a different scenario, but small pieces of each episode lead up to the ending, using every character as they go. The series needs to be played episode by episode to get the most laughs and entertainment pertaining to the story, but that is no problem seeing that every episode is original, entertaining and a pleasure to play.
This is madness, Presidente!TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Tropico 3: Gold Edition
Tropico has finally received a modern reboot worth it's namesake. It was worth the wait. The campaign is full, and lasts across multiple islands, giving off the true island-empire feel as you move from island to island, completing your missions. These missions are fun and varied from setting up and island to grow fruit for a food conglomerate, to building a tourist destination on a rebelling island. The avatar creation is unique and one of a kind, making you feel as if you are there in person. You customize everything from clothes down to how they came to power. These decisions influence what kind of leader your presidente is. The city construction is in semi-Simcity style, using ploppable buildings and roads you draw by hand. It makes for an atmosphere of accomplishment as you gaze upon your sprawling island metropolis. The graphics are superb and colorful from the jungle surroundings to the buildings that practically drip neon lead paint. The world is colorful, and accompanied by the salsa-island soundtrack and humorous comments from your radio announcer. It makes for a regal display worthy of a tropical art museum. The art and soundscapes combine perfectly. The perfect (and well patched) gameplay with such a grand art and sound style, combined in this particular package with DLC, makes for a must-have for any gamer with a heavy hand for management and city building.
It's pure gold, Presidente!TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Tropico 4: Megalopolis DLC
Tropico 4 is a god in the temple of city building games, but DLC missions make the game that much sweeter. The premise is simple enough: You, presidente, are out to build the "greatest city in the world" and the climb is steep. While this DLC adds on fairly minimal new content (Although there is a rather astounding mayor costume for your presidente), the mission is long and entertaining enough to keep you hooked until the end. Of course, the writing is grand, and you'll find yourself laughing at the cut-scenes and dialogues between you and your advisors just as much as plopping down new state housing blocks. A definite purchase for any Tropico 4 fan.
If Simcity were a flashy puzzle franchise...TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Simcity Societies: Ultimate Collection (NA)
This game, despite it's branding of the Simcity catalog of games, is almost nothing like it's brother in name other than the fact is has to do with roads and buildings. Simcity Societies is a more casual variant to the Simcity 4 it was going up against at it's time of release. Before the release of Simcity (2013) the series was much more in depth, and it scared away some players. Simcity Societies brought these players in with it's unique formula. Simcity Societies plays with a unique formula of societal values that create a unique entity of a community through what buildings have been placed in the city. The looks of your cities change with these values, from gingerbread houses and candycane lanes to authoritarian television-billboards and re-education centers. It is defiantly a unique upside-down spin on the standard cities in counterpart Simcity games. Zoning also went under a fundamental change. In Simcity Socieites, you no longer zone for buildings, but instead place them down puzzle-style, with no need for zoning. There is no need for laying power lines, no need for producing water or garbage utilities. It is all about your societal energy flow. While it is an acceptable pause from the Simcity series, any serious play-urban planner will need to go to Simcity 4 or Simcity (2013) to fulfill their dreams of urban sprawl.
Excuse me, waiter, I can't quite tell if I like this or not.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Restaurant Empire 2
The restaurant business is an interesting one, to say the least, with an entire world of tastes to pull from an a nearly endless consumer base. This game accurately portrays that while also tossing in the flavor of a storyline to lace it all together like an expensive pair of shoes. The game is what you would expect, along with the story. You inherit, in one campaign story, and buy, in the other, a restaurant or coffee-shop. You set up tables, decorate the joint, create the menu, pick out the drinks, hire staff, compete in cooking contests, and more. It's like living Food Network without the risk of foreclosure or bad reviews on Yelp. The tutorial is detailed and helpful, along with being completely voice-acted for that extra garnish of class to pull the price of the dish up five dollars. It gives you the full introduction into restaurant management while guiding you through the first missions. The game gives you missions to be completed in certain amounts of time. It isn't a secret after a few missions that they aren't easy to pull off. Early in the game customers will complain constantly. Constantly is an understatement. This is due to a fact that the game will not allow you to train your staff until later in the game, which is strange, but true. The storyline is driven by conversations with patrons that come into your restaurant. Other NPC customers will offer to sell you ingredients or recipes to dishes to fetch a better price. None of them are cheap. You'll find yourself running low on money quite a bit during the first stages of the game, and the lofty, difficult mission goals won't help. However, if you fail, the game allows you to retry the mission again with easier goals. The restaurants are lively and unique, especially when completely decorated by the player, giving the satisfaction of having decorated the entire joint sims-style over the course of the missions. You'll be decorating both the inside of the restaurant from picking toilet stalls and flowers for the tables to the outside including awnings and lanterns at the front door. The menu system is interesting, allowing you to create it on your own, choosing what dishes and drinks to serve, along with what ingredients go into them. As in reality, the more quality ingredients that go into it, the better the rating and the more expensive it will be. It will sell like hotcakes. The story is fair enough, short of the awkwardness of the mention of a prostate condition. (The writers could have picked something... Less... Awkward) Hardcore simulation and management fans will find this game to be a full three-course five star meal that will satisfy them fully. The degree of micromanagement would drive an obsessive-compulsive to madness. Casual gamers will need to avoid this game like food poisoning. It will quickly chew you up and spit you up, just as fast as you will be giving up due to the frankly difficult goals set by the game.
My heart leapt at the finding, then fell out onto the floor.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Impire
The game is a melted snowcone, in the terms of original gameplay and scriptwriting. There is the mushy paper barrier in your hand, separating it from a pool of off-colored water that looks like the runoff from a paint factory. The mushy paper cone is the hope of a new Dungeon Keeper. It quickly dissolves, even into the tutorial level. Hopefully you weren't wearing good shoes, because the mess is all over you now. The colorful rainbow mess is what is left of the game. The construction of your dungeon relies only on digging out halls and corridors. The building layouts for rooms are all in linear sizes and shapes that never change. The only challenge to building is how to turn your rooms to make them fit certain corridors. A glorified functioning puzzle. Your monsters are simply conjured up from a barracks style room and put into control groups, where they can be easily managed using the number keys. The creatures are just about as smart as Sims without free-will turned on. They become stronger when they eat, but will only eat when instructed, for example, even though the AI could easily direct them to a kitchen to eat. Your missions stem from underground and above-ground missions. The above-ground missions are bland, consisting of only a map with icons to indicate missions. Your minions disappear onto this bland map, then eventually return to your dungeon with no degree of entertainment involved. The underground missions are more fun, with digging out tunnels and the such, but isn't the biggest stretch. Most of them consist of reaching into a dungeon area filled with enemies and clearing it out, pretty standard material. Impire feels like it was rushed in production, and could have been much better than it's current form, patch or no patch. While the premise is interesting, the jokes fall flat and the experience falls flat. It is a flat soft drink. So much promise, but no fix to leave you want more.
A questionable clone, a mini-cousin, instead of mini-me.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Dungeons: Gold Edition
This review is based on the experience of the game, and not a comparison to it's supposed inspiration, the legendary Dungeon Keeper series. As mentioned in the title, the game is a questionable cousin to Dungeon Keeper, at least once removed, at best. While the spirit leans close to it's inspiration, the direction takes it to another family tree. While the game bases itself on being an RTS/RPG, it in truth is a 95% RPG with a very small sliver of RTS components. The amount of dungeon micromanaging is left to placing 'summoning circles' for beasts, and setting up an incredibly small pool of rooms, consisting of furniture you place directly into the dungeon. The room-building is bland at best. The remainder of the micromanaging goes to decorating the halls with lamps and decorations, used to raise various atmosphere levels. The main part of the game, the RPG component is devoted to drawing in heroes and getting them lost in your lair by pulling them in with monsters, leaving them alive as long as possible in order to max-out their enjoyment and bring it to a climax, when you can butcher them in order to squeeze it out of them like juice. A very interesting idea, but the execution causes it to fall as flat as Marie Antoinette's heart-rate after the guillotine. The game is like a cologne-sniffing card at a shopping mall. You can take it and rub it on you, but you are going to walk away wanting more of the original. If you are on the market for a dungeon-crawling RPG with a role-reversal, this is the game for you. If you crave a Dungeon Keeper remake, you'd better delve deeper into the halls.
Get your top hat, cane, and a pair of headphones.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Industry Giant 2 Gold
Everyone, to some degree, deep in their soul, right beside finding their true love, is the greedy self-need to be rich and famous. For the people well in touch with this, this is their game. The simulation is firm, and to be quite honest, addicting. It is a bit transport tycoon mixed with the standard factory building in any business simulation game. There is a little something for everyone from the greasemonkeys loving early 1900's trucks, to the coal-shoveling enthusiasts that love steam engines. People that have interest in games like Railroad Tycoon and Transport Tycoon are going to find most of their time spent in setting up extensive rail, road, air, and sea networks. Admittedly, this concept makes up over half of the game. You'll need your sprawling spider-legged networks to connect your factories that will be naturally spaced out all over the map like Lucille II in Arrested Development. You've connected your resources and your factories and you have crates of goods ready to go. What's next? Well, the tycoon element goes even further. It is also your duty to set up stores in cities and towns to sell your goods. You have to match your markets to bring in the most income while doing the least work, like any good manager does. For example, to set up basic milk production you'll need a wheat farm to produce wheat, a dairy, and a grocery store. That will need a connection to take wheat to the dairy, and the milk to the store to be sold. The game has story scenarios and free-play to suit everyone's tastes, and a soundtrack that is a pleasure to listen to. You'll want a pair of good headphones to lean back and listen to the sounds of industry, accompanied by relaxing house music. The signals are green for the express to enjoyment-ville for any tycoon gamer.
The master is pleased.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Overlord II
Overlord, on it's release, was a hidden gem in it's own roundabout way. A diamond in the rough for every pikmin-loving dungeon master hiding behind their cold, hard, lifeless computer screens. It's sequel, easily enough, Overlord II, is no different story. The story picks up where the original game left off, with the young overlord, offspring of the first game's commander. Gnarl, grumpy and barb-tounged as ever, joins alongside his previous master's son for more mayhem. This sequel expands on the original game, while keeping every part of the original that made it great. Now, minions are still expendable, but you may resurrect your higher-level minions for a high fee. The overlord feel is slathered on like nutella on toast for a sugar-addict in this extension of the series. Nothing is more pleasing than crushing platoons of Roman-esque legionaires and conquering cities. The city conquering is unique and fun in the respect that you choose rather to enslave the populace for tax income, or destroy the town and kill the inhabitants in order to get instantaneous weaponry and goods. The decision is satisfying either way. The locations and soundtrack are lush and well written, including environment puzzles that must be conquered with your minions. They aren't easy, and give a decent puzzle flavor to the series, with being in-no-way overbearing. In the long and short of the sword of opinion, for any Overlord series fan, this game is a must. New players can also fall in love with the series from this platform, an effect from good scriptwriting.
A fairytale that falls short on laughs, but maintains being fun.TimothyD | May 30, 2013 | Review of Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim
The way the writers designed the storyline of the game did a good job of transporting this new revamp of the series into the modern video-gaming realm. Without too much study, the story fits into the flow of time from the past game years earlier, and requires no knowledge to continue the story, other than figuring out that you are a king, and you have an old codger of an adviser. The gameplay sticks true to it's roots, a sims-esque control scheme where you, as king, must plop out, manage, and upgrade the buildings in your territory, and trick your heroes out onto quests to achieve your aims through hefty gold rewards. It's a formula almost never seen in gaming. If you are looking for something new on the table to rejuvenate the stagnated formula of click'n'go, this is it. The game was worth a purchase at full market price. It is inexcusable to let this gem slip by, at it's new price. A certain buy for anyone that enjoys a decent laugh and unique strategy-sim games.