Archives for : Simulations

Euro Truck Simulator 2 Review

It’s time to grab your lorry and hit the European roads. I said lorry not loli and definitely not a loli named Lori. You sicko’s it means truck. Euro Truck Simulator 2 by SCS Software; the same devs who brought us 18 Wheels of Steel and other simulators, has gifted us with this for our simulator collection. Is it a gem or more gum on the motorway?

Why should I care about a truck simulator, well read on and you shall see.

Now as far as driving in Europe, well I’ve never done it nor have I driven a Semi either. What I can say is this game is Fun and that was with a capital F. The driving is a blast and while some routes can be long and a little too straight that you are just flying along, others are a really harrowing experience with more turns than any road should rightfully have.

The game offers you more experience, if you park it yourself or you can take the easy route and let them do that once you make it to the destination. So in some ways the difficulty is dependent on you. As you level up you gain new skills that open up more types of deliveries and higher bonuses for completing them. Making that 14 hr in-game drive really does feel like an accomplishment. Just don’t look at how much time it took in real life to make the trip.

The game boasts some neat features, a sleepy driver can cause you to lose control of the vehicle. You need to stop for gas. While the game isn’t extreemly complicated it is a simulator and does throw a lot of things at you. To name some things you can expect; speeding tickets, damage from hitting things, price of tolls, ferries, gas not to mention the need for sleep and one can never ever forget asshole drivers. Excuse my English.

As far as the business end is concerned. You can upgrade your starter garage and buy more trucks and hire more employees to start. You’ll need to take loans or some of this can take a really long time. You can even build garages in other cities as well and expand your empire. With the goal of having a trucking empire all the while you can manage your garage more choosing what traits your drivers will learn when they level up as well.

There are lots of customizations that can be made to the trucks from paint jobs to added lights, better engines down to even the door handle. So you can make your trucking fleet all look pretty as a peach. With multiple companies you can buy from depending on the truck dealers you have found and your current level you can purchase more types of trucks for your fleet.

I will say this, I can’t make more than a couple trips in a row without getting groggy-eyed as fun as this game is it is tiring at times. I don’t mean boring, I mean tiring like any long drive can get. Your watching the road and the next thing your pulling to the side and the guard rails way to close. So I take my break the whole time just wanting to get back in the game and make some more cash and pay off that nasty loan or hire another driver.

The good and bad of it all.

The good
1. so many trucks, routes and types of deliveries.
2. the business, once started runs itself allowing you to enjoy the driving simulator aspect, but also allows for more depth.
3. You level up with experience.
4. It’s got an easily accessible list of European radio stations to listen to while you play. (Not a huge deal, but definitely adds to the feel a lot).
5. It’s moddable. That is always a great feature.

The bad
1. It’s kinda hard to keep track of the speed limit in some areas.
2. The light of other cars at night is horrendous, you can’t see them (luckily there is a mod for this).
3. The AI of other drivers isn’t all there, but hey I am the one hitting the guard rail to squeeze past them in a traffic jam. So who am I to talk about their intelligence.

I give this a 4.5 out of 5. Keep on trucking, with this simulator that can be enjoyed by just about everyone.

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.

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.

Katawa Shoujo Review

Katawa Shoujo is a visual novel created by Four Leaf Studios, a group initially formed from the 4Chan forums.  For those of you who don’t know what a visual novel is, I let you in.  It is a sort of game that is mainly story over anything else. What Four Leaf Studios created was a very large and interesting VN. The name itself means Disability Girl and you would think that with that title coming from the 4Chan community it would be entirely depraved, but it really isn’t.

First off as a VN this is not a game for those who seek adventure or action packed gameplay. No, you are looking at a lot of reading, making some choices that will affect events, and watching the events unfold to create a story. I had never played a VN until Katawa Shoujo and it was a great introduction to the genre.

The idea of the game is you play a teen who has a heart attack and is sent to a school for disabled teens. The story tells how he comes to terms with his own weakness and that of others, all the while finding love. Although you can fail at getting the girl you are attempting to woo, and get a not so good ending. I found an ending that was the absolute worse possible while attempting to get on one of the girls’ path. Within Katawa Shoujo there are 5 girls you can attempt to have a relationship with; Emi, Hanako, Lilly, Rin, and Shizune each with their own story and endings.  This is a feature common in VN’s, giving you multiple paths and endings adding reply value to the game as you seek to see the story of the other girls.

Now don’t get me wrong as much as I enjoyed this game and have completed 3 of the 5 paths as of this moment, this is not a game I can see a large majority of people being interested in.  I should say it is a niche genre. If you like reading and those old choose your own adventure books this game has that feel to it. The animations, character art, and music are all well done.  I wasn’t a fan of the photograph backgrounds used for many scenes, but at least they fit the scenes well.

Katawa Shoujo is a free game, so if you’re mildly interested I really recommend giving it a go.  I rate this game a 4 out of 5 and only do so because it is a game that many would find hard to get into.

 

 

Acadamagia: The Making of a Mage Review

Black Chicken Studios’ Acadamagia: The Making of a Mage is a life simulation. You’re a first year student at Acadamagia and you’re going to be a mage. The game takes place during your first year of school. Future releases will continue the adventure of the 4 other years, but lets focus on just this game. Yes, there are similarities to this game and the Harry Potter series, but it is more than that.

Acadamagia is an interesting text based indie game. Yeah there are pictures in the game and music as well (you can turn the music off if you want to listen to your own and probably will once you’ve played it as long as me). Both the images and music are nice and fit the game well, but there isn’t much in the matter of outstanding in this case. What Acadamagia boils down to is more of a choose your own adventure sort of deal.

There are set events as well as random events. Not to mention adventures you unlock and can choose to take as you go along. In all events/adventures there are usually multiple skills that can allow the successful completion of the mission. Making any mission completable by virtually any type of student. Yes, there are exceptions where you will have none of the skills needed to complete. That is why you make friends.

The game also supports the creating of your own clique and making friends with students then inviting them into your group when they are high enough with you. Once you have a clique going, be careful to not bring in someone the rest of the group doesn’t like. I did this and my group broke in half. The purpose of these friends is that during an adventure you can use them to perform a part that you can’t do. Say you need to perform a musical feat but you have a music skill of 0 or 1 but a friend has an 8, ask them to do it for you and you could beat that part. This is an option you must use wisely since you can’t use them again, at least not in the recent future.

Now the kicker is going on adventures, making friends, studying, training skills, and going to classes all must be juggled in your weekly schedule. Skip too many classes and you will get a detention. While you may learn new skills in detention from the teacher that you may not have learned otherwise it does take up future time slots. Get into too much trouble and you could be forced to lose part of your Saturdays.

All of this makes for a great game in my eyes. You do need to like reading, because that is what you will be doing  constantly in this game. The game is great for the casual gamer, the reader, and has a lot of little things for more in-depth and serious play. While most choices may not seem to matter for the outcome of this game finishing certain adventures in this game is said to have an effect on future games. Yes you will be able to carry over your first year students into the next game, or start new ones. This one features plenty of free DLC and updates including adding new familiars to the base game as well as adventures and events.

Overall this game is a fantastic text game with plenty of paths and choices creating a rich story for any character you create and has great replay value. With so many adventures and random events your sure to see new things each time you play. Not to mention so many different spells and actions that become available throughout your play.

I can’t stress enough how much I liked this game. I give it a 5 out of 5 personally, but I know this game will be hard for action gamers to really get into.

Family Farm Review

I know what your thinking, kiddie farm game. I know the title just screams it, but it’s really not. Family Farm by Hammerware is a surprisingly fun farm simulation for the PC published by Iceburg Interactive. This isn’t like Sim Farm where everything was horrendously serious and complicated though. This has more the feel of The Sims if it was played on a farm instead of a house.

When you start this game you set up a profile and as you play you gain experience that increases your game rank and allows you access to more variety as well as more difficult stages. The game is divided into Story modes and a Custom Mode. Story mode is 10 preset scenarios; 4 easy, 3 medium and 3 hard. Within each story you have a goal to complete the story, as well as a harder goal to earn a gold trophy. Each year there will be a simple goal to complete that helps you earn extra cash and experience to your rank. Not to mention that everything you do helps to increase your rank.

Custom Mode, allows you to set up a free mode of your own choosing to do whatever you please using whatever you have already unlocked. You set the time limit, the house, the map, and family size and you’re ready to start your game. One of the nice things about Custom Mode is once you’ve unlocked the first house and map at rank 5 you can use custom mode to increase your rank more if you don’t feel like playing any scenarios. Allowing you to test out the various plants and animals on your farm to see methods to make money faster all the while increasing your rank to allow for the use of other aspects in the scenarios without the pressure of a goal to accomplish within in a set time. A relaxing change of pace.

I’ve played the heck out of this game, and found that it balances the weight of a farm simulation game and a relaxing game well. Even in the story modes you may feel a little pressure to beat the scenario to get the gold Trophy or just the satisfaction of beating the scenario, but it never feels overwhelming. I found this a refreshing aspect to the game. While this game features a nice set of aspects as well. Such as raising a family, characters who grow in skill individually based on the tasks you set before them. Not to mention the ability to hire on extra hands when you need to accomplish more than your family can do on it’s own. It allows you to take out a loan, but as you start receiving money back it goes straight into paying off your debt.

In this game you won’t be worrying about buying new equipment for your farms. It’s more about having a functional and happy family running the farm. Push them to hard and they will get tired wait to long to get food ready and they will work slower. Increase your house size to allow your family to have a baby who will eventually join the rest of the family in maintaining the farm. Plant flowers and place decorations around the farm land to increase the moral of the hired help as well as the family. This does help increase their productivity. The game has a lot of little things you can do and it can be important to use the right family member to do certain tasks to be more affective.

The game allows you to zoom out for a wider view or in so you can get a good look at the family as they work. As the farm expands I found myself rarely zooming in since I had so many hands, both family and hired that I needed to keep moving. Sadly they don’t just go and do the next nearest job when they complete one. They instead will sit down and relax or if they are close enough to food they will go and eat if they are hungry.

With all this game has to offer and the hours of playtime, I have to give it a 4.5 out of 5. It’s not a five, but I think any gamer of any age can enjoy this game to some degree. It’s worth looking into and I am glad I played it. This is just one of those games you know you will come back to again and again when you want a little lighthearted fun.