Dream Pinball 3D, is it a dream review?

In the need of a pinball fix? Well I gave Dream Pinball 3D a play and have to say I wasn’t disappointed. It contains 6 tables published by Topware Interactive. I picked this game up for cheap on Amazon and after playing it would have been willing to pay more.

It’s a pinball game so there isn’t a lot that can be said about it. The physics seemed sound to me. The table layouts were interesting and reminded me of old-school tables, not like the tables you play in Zen Pinball or Pinball FX2. Not that I don’t like those tables, but you got to love that classic feel if you are are pinball fan.

The game consists of difficulties, but they really seemed to only effect the count of starting balls, and didn’t really change much else. Dream lets you upload your high scores to their site and if you managed to get an insane score it may actually displayed on the site.

As a special note one of the tables is also based on the Two Worlds game franchise. I’m not sure if I would consider that a selling point, but it was a good table to play on. In all honesty I can’t complain about any of the tables though.

My two complaints about the game would be its low screen resolution and lack of support for multiple monitors was frustrating and played havoc when trying to switch from the game without closing it and completely impossible to play it when two monitors were plugged in. The second complaint was the activation, which I found to be tedious, and annoying as all hell. I rarely come across a game that has an online activation as complicated and frustrating as this game.

All that aside I give this pinball dream a 3 of 5. This is definitely worth getting if you enjoy pinball.

Not So Strategic War in Europe Review

The Strategic War in Europe by Wastelands Interactive starts off seeming like a turn based WWII treat. Then you go through the tutorial, if you could call it one. So here is my review of this wonderful title.

Okay, I love turned based strategy games and this one had all the ear-marks of a good one. A building system that reminded me of Axis and Allies, terrain that affected speed movement and combat, all the pretty standard concepts of hex based strategy game combat… It even has a new system to navel warfare which makes it harder to find and battle enemy subs and ships instead of just going after the hex that you magically see them in. All this sounds great and really it was… at first.

Then it hit me. The tutorial was absolutely horrendous. It didn’t help me learn anything about the new features. So I turned to the manual… nope still nothing. Navel warfare – the major change that sets this game apart from so many other games of this genre and style – has no decent form of explanation. Sure I could have probably found a good answer to this issue on the forums, but come on. A full manual and a tutorial and it doesn’t tell me how to make an aquatic attack on an enemy city. Only how to move troops from one friendly port to another; and even that is a convoluted mess that takes more time to do than it does to just send them there via tracks.

Here is another one I loved. After reading on the game I was under the impression that while real events that took place will happen in the game – which is really cool – you could stop certain ones by not preforming the action that caused the event. Don’t attack Russia and they won’t attack you, the peace treaty will hold up. Yeah, sounds great in theory. In practice that didn’t happen. I was Germany in multiple games, and every time, as soon as Finland decided to join the Axis, Russia came stomping in like a bulldozer. How I broke the treaty I still don’t know, but I swear I never attacked them. In the end all these events kept turning my game from one I felt I had some control over into merely an altered variation of the original outcome.

Now if you can figure out the navel warfare and how to circumvent the default events, you may actually enjoy the game. The rest of it plays pretty basically with common, easy to understand mechanics. I had such high hopes for this game, really I did. I was so excited to play it, I tried multiple times with varying strategies. In the end I came to the conclusion that it is just really, really not the game I thought it would be, nor a strategy game that stands out enough to scream “Buy me over that other game.” Seriously, just pass on this one, I love historical strategic war games, but I don’t want to be played by them.

1 out of 5 because it did work, it just wasn’t any fun; and that had nothing to do with my repeated losing. I’m used to that, ask my wife.
Have a good day and I hope you come back for my next review, which has to be more positive.

Warriors Orochi 3: The Review

Yeah, yeah. I know it’s not an indie game. I don’t really care. I’ve wanted to write a review on it for a while and I will do just that. Who’s running this site anyway? Yeah, I know it’s been out for almost a year on Xbox 360. I don’t care. Okay now that my argument with myself is done, lets get this review on.

I’ll start by saying if you hate all the previous warrior games by Tecmo Koei, well keep on walking. I doubt the changes and upgrades to this game will be enough to make you really like it. Now if you have been on the fence about it, well then read on. As a heads up this review was done with a 360 copy with all DLC except the outfits. Alright I may have bought one of the cheaper ones.

So I’m not going to bore the ever living shit out of you with a crap load of details on this game. Just about every major reviewer out there alread has. So I’ll keep this simple light and fuzzy. The fuzzy is in like a bunny not your mental state of mind after reading this. I’ll start with the good and the bad list.

The Good:
So many characters even the Monkey King’s Stick can’t be shaken at them all, but you can unlock him and try for yourself.
Beat a stage and you unlock extras to be used to meddle with those stages for slightly more entertaining replay of the stages.
The DLC stages really only add a bit of extra fun and not anything truly storyline like. They are more like little dream sequences. So you don’t need them to have fun.
It has online play! That is awesome.
Tons of weapons and a good selection of abilities to put on them.
Last of all, you get to play with 3 chars at once and they have a special attack that all three can use together for an even better super attack.

The Bad:
Trying to get the achievements is frustrating and time consuming to the point of just saying, “Screw them, I beat the game already.”
In stage creation/editing mode you sadly can’t change the objectives of the map to create your own scenarios. (That was really saddening).
Damn, online play, requires both players to have beat the stage on their own to play it online. So nope, you can’t help your friend get through that stage they got stuck on. That is a damn pity. I remember couch play on the older games allowed for a second player to come in and help (at the risk of botching the level if they died during it).
Bonds! I at first thought this was really cool. Quickly I began to see how much of a hassle it was to raise bonds and how it forced me to play teams I didn’t like and characters not fun to play in my own eyes.

The game is fun to play in that hack and slash sort of mild button mash way. The characters moves vary enough that even if they do use the same sword, you may play them differently. The story of the game is phenomenal.

Rating 4/5 If this is the last game of the Orochi series, I will be saddened since this is the only Warriors game that has a fictional story that can evolve, unlike the Dynasty Warriors Gundam and Fist of the North Star series which both follow previously written and animated stories.

The Temporary Hiatus

I should have wrote this a while ago; but well, I’ve been busy, stressed and about a dozen other things. Life has been hectic, financially, emotionally, and just about everything else. All of this has culminated in a state of burn out that has prevented me from focusing on reviews, game design, streaming and just about every fun activity I can think of. Since I am currently the sole writer/reviewer for this site it is obvious how it has suffered. So, I have been taking a long drawn out break from all the excess things, to center myself.

I will be reviewing again, just not yet. I will hopefully also start streaming and get back to working on my game, once a few of the wonderful life things are worked out.

So peace, and enjoy my previous reviews and I’ll see you around on twitter and such until I am back in reviewing action.

Paranormal Review

Okay so Paranormal has left Beta and been released. Not exactly bug free, but a game I enjoyed diving into. Matt Cohen has put together a game that combines elements we see in movies like Paranormal Activity and first person simulations with this horror jaunt. Sorry I’m excluding images from this article since I would hate to ruin the experience of witnessing any of the events in this game.

Using the simple FPS controls we’re all so familiar with Paranormal puts you in control of a guy living in a haunted house whose decided to film the haunting. Visually the game is good and definetly sets the mood well. Before you know it your creeping through the house to find any and every form of activity happening before the battery on your camera drops to low and you need to go to sleep for the night to recharge your camera battery.

You can find out what happens on your own if you choose to not recharge the battery before it dies. Either way one of Paranormals best selling points is the fact that all the events are random. Play and play and play through it all you like and the order and even whether an event even happens can change everytime. I find this great.

There is one horrible downside to this. When you are ready to jump back in you have to listen to the beginning everytime, without a way to skip it that I found. If there is, please let me know. It is not only exceedingly long, after about the 3rd time it starts to become annoying as well/hell (you take your pick on that one). Skipping this would be great so as to explore the game more quickly especially since each playthrough is not entirely long, and the game is built for multiple playthroughs. Heck even as I write this I’m thinking about jumping into another run of it just to see if I can get some events I haven’t seen yet.

I’ll wait for a particularly annoying bug to hopefully get fixed, before doing that again. It isn’t one that everyone gets and it might even be one specific to my pc, but it was an extremely tedious bug that caused the game to crash every time I finished a playthrough, instead of taking me back to any form of menu. This forced me to start the game up over and over again. Thankfully the issue was only a real problem after the end of a play through, and the developer was pretty quick to respond to my message about the issue and hopefully he’ll identify the cause and work it out.

Before I toss out a rating, I want to say few little things about the game. As a simulation the game doesn’t play out like most games play out. You really feel more like you are a character walking around in a movie at times. The game does a good job of emersing you in the environment and hopefully the developer will continue to add a few more rocking scenes to mix in with the rest, just to keep us on our toes.

Paranormal earns itself a 3.5 out of 5, but if the bugs are worked out this game can easily be a 4 out of 5. I think horror fans will love this game and just absorb it, but others might feel the game lacks control or enough ability to interact with your environment to be fun. Since you really are more of an observer to the environment around you. I can say without a doubt, watch a video of the game or play the demo.

Quick Candles Review

Candles is a free short horror game made by Lasse Westmark. It’s not really scary, but it does have some tense moments for such a short game.

First off the game uses the simple WASD controls with the mouse click being the candle lighter. The object of the game is simply to light all the candles in the house, then turn on the generator. The challenge is that the house is infested with a creature that hates the light and will kill you upon touch. This makes for a few tense moments as you dart for the candle or away from the creatures.

Now my last note on the game is well the visuals and sounds. The game has a great ambiance to it and looks good, except in one case. The creatures are absolutely horrid. I don’t mean that in a oh my god, they are so scary or gross. I mean they just look kinda bad in comparison to the rest of the game. Luckily this is not to bad an issue and although the game fails to be scary it does get tense at a few points. It’s only bad issue is sometimes it’s buggy and the creatures don’t do what they are supposed to do.

I would rate this game a 2 out of 5, but if you like the horror/survival style games and are looking for something free to play give this a shot. What do you have to lose other than about 30 minutes.

B M S Ludum Dare Post Mortem

Well, now that Ludum Dare 48 #24 is done and the voting is almost over, I figured I would go over how I felt it went. First I’d say I was happy that I was able to produce a finished game, even though it lacked a lot of what I wanted in it as a final product.  I started the event by getting sick right off the bat and fighting an illness the entire time, this set me back a lot.

Here is what I did accomplish:
Completed the story for the game.
Completed the code and multiple paths and ways to lose.

Here is what I wanted in the game, that didn’t make it in the initial release:
Background Music — I had tools to do it, but didn’t know how to properly use them.
Sound Effects — Once again I had the tools, but lacked the knowledge.
Background Art — This was a big one. I had planned to hand draw all the backgrounds and scan them in.
Saturday morning the scanner fell and broke, leaving me at an impasse as I didn’t know how to draw well enough directly in Paint.Net

What I learned from the experience:
1. Expect the unexpected. Be prepared for illness, The loss of a type of toolset and any number of other things that could and probably will disrupt you.
2. Know your tools, having them available isn’t enough, if you have to fumble around with them to figure them out. With only a short time span you just don’t have that sort of time.
3. Have a back-up plan for any set of tools/hardware. If you plan on using a scanner for hand drawn art, plan on the possibility that you will need to go another route and be prepared for that outcome.

How I feel about the experience in general, is great. I managed to produce something instead of just thinking about it. I am sure in the future I can make much better games without the time constraint. So I plan to do just that, LD48 was the kick in the pants I needed to start developing myself.

Where does B M S go from here:
Well, I enjoyed the project and decided that I would add the things that I wanted in and release a 2.0 version.
I have added the music, as well as one of the many backgrounds.  I also have begun fixing grammar and spelling errors within the original story.
I plan to add a few extra scenes and lengthen the game, beyond what it is currently.

Here is a link to the Work in Progress version of BMS 2.0

Extra Life 2012 Is Closing In

On Oct 20th 2012, The Extra Life gaming marathon to raise money for local Children’s Miracle Network hospitals will begin. So the fund raising has begun. I am participating again this year, in the previous years I’ve managed to raise around 400.00 dollars. Let’s see if we can beat that goal. So I set my heights just a little higher at 500.00, I know we can do it. Donations through my Extra Life page will go to Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Remember this is for a good cause. If you can’t donate maybe you can participate and help raise money.

Like last year I will tweet my progress through the event, so you can know what games I’m playing and in some cases help me decide what to play next. If you have suggestions ahead of time for games to play, let me know in the comments below. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. So lets help some kids in hospitals and make this a great experience like it has been in previous years.  I want to thank everyone in advance for your donations or participation in the event.

To Donate click here

To Participate click here

Cinders Review

MoaCube’s Cinders is an interesting visual novel, based on the fairy tale Cinderella. Cinders artwork is really well done.

Cinders main gameplay aspect is the development of Cinders by the choices you make. Whether you choose to follow the fairy tale story or exact revenge on your wicked sisters and stepmother the choice is yours. The game isn’t incredibly long but has reason for multiple playthroughs, with 4 main types of endings but multiple variations to each of those 4 endings. This allows for endings that are very similar, but with interesting differences based on your choices.

The main thing that really stands out is the artwork. It really is well done and sets the scene well.  There are some grammar issues, but not many. The music is nice and fits the game, but after the second playthrough you will probably no longer want to hear it. Cinders also has trophies you can unlock for accomplishing certain events in game. Some of these are really hard to figure out.

After playing the game multiple times through I would say the one thing in the game that bothered me the most was the language. It didn’t feel like it really fit the time frame that the story seems to impart.  Which made it a little off putting. Another thing that I really didn’t like was in some scenes the characters mouths move when they speak but it just looked odd.

In the end I would rate this visual novel a 3 out of 5, if you like twists on fairy tales or vn’s you would probably like this game.  If those aren’t your thing this game isn’t the one to change your mind.

#LD48 Updated game.

So I’m still working on the story as planned, but it is farther along and a little more of what is going on being explained.  if you are playing this as it is updated feel free to comment.  I just overwrote the previous version so the link is the same.

Download B M S here