‘PC’

Vida Review

Vida Featured

Vida Boxart

Developer: Interactive Girls Club
Publisher: Interactive Girls Club
Platform: PC (DOS)

Wow, what can I say about this game? First off, I’m not even sure if the name is “Vida” or “Interactive Girls Club: Vida” or what. We’re just going to rule under the good faith that this FMV game is titled Vida. And boy, if it isn’t the worst game I’ve played all year – old or new.

Read more »

Castle of Dr. Brain Review

Castle of Dr. Brain Featured

Castle of Dr. Brain Boxart

Developer: Sierra On-Line
Publisher: Sierra On-Line
Platform: PC (DOS)

When I was younger I was a big proponent of computer-based video games. Of course, at the time, a great deal of my games were so-called edutainment. Some were fun, some were not so fun, and some barely qualified as educational at all. One game that always felt like the latter to me was The Lost Mind of Dr. Brain. It basically featured a lot of minigames with a few mind-working puzzles at times.

Because of that game, I figured I should give another Dr. Brain game a chance sometime. That’s where Castle of Dr. Brain comes in which is in fact a much older game. Unlike the one I experienced however this was a far more challenging experience. Despite being an adult, I found myself stumped at more than one point within the copious puzzles.

Castle of Dr. Brain Featured

The game is part of the Sierra Discovery Series which is certainly meant as a teaching tool. The only problem here is that a few of the puzzles seem way too intense for a child to solve. Either that, or I have really lost my way with logic puzzles. All the same, there was a great deal of variety between them that was much appreciated.

One of my favorite puzzles involved one that taught the basics of how binary octets turn into “numbers”. I’m always a big proponent of friendly methods of teaching children aspects of computer technology and language. Anyway, beyond that, there were some other neat brain teasers and relatively few pure minigames. Any child playing this today is probably a genius.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system

Solar 2 Review

Solar 2 Featured

Solar 2 Boxart

Developer: Murudai
Publisher: Murudai
Platform: PC

When thinking about video games dealing with space, I usually picture a 4X strategy title. That, or the Space Quest series. What I don’t tend to imagine is the player taking control of a star and growing into a planet or solar system. Of course, that’s exactly what Solar 2 is about.

Having never heard of the first Solar, this was a pretty big shock. By collecting asteroids or other planets, you can grow larger. Planets even gain their own defenses once you have grown large enough to sustain life. There are a lot of dangers out in space though, such as aliens and other solar systems attempting to expand.

Solar 2 Featured

I think the game is pretty fun for a while as you wander about trying to expand. It gets a bit hard with the missions though as they are not really locked out by difficulty. That means you might be a tiny little planet trying to handle a massive swarm of aliens. At the very least, the mission text has a snide sense of humor that was enjoyable.

If the game were easier I’d enjoy it more, but as it stands it’s a simple but creative title that some many really end up loving.


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system

Nation Red Review

Nation Red Featured

Nation Red Boxart

Developer: Diezel Power
Publisher: Diezel Power
Platform: PC

Nation Red is one of those games that is easy to ignore. With such a simple name and premise (shoot hordes of zombies), you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who opts to play that as opposed to more polished titles like Left 4 Dead. All the same, that doesn’t mean Deizel Power’s title is wholly unworthy of attention.

If all you’re looking for is something simple to pick up and play then that’s where Nation Red delivers. Each level contains heaping amounts of zombies and tasks you with shooting them down via a twin stick control method. Power ups drop every so often, as do new weapons. There are a great variety of these available, as well as special perks players get upon leveling up. These only last for a specific level and amount of time though, so don’t expect to take them with you to later stages.

Nation Red Featured

Both single and multiplayer modes are included although I stuck with single player. In this mode, there are 18 main stages to clear. It wasn’t particularly difficult to clear out, but then, I also had set the game to the lowest “normal” difficulty. The experience offered by Nation Red is extremely simple but there’s nothing wrong with simplicity. It just feels a bit bare-bones at times.


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system

R.I.P. Review

RIP

RIP Boxart
Developer:
Elephant Games
Publisher:
Meridian4
Platform:
PC

When I first encountered RIP it was while installing various games from my Steam catalog. I’d never actually heard of the game before, nor did I remember buying it. Regardless, the name seemed interesting to me and as such I decided to give it a shot.

RIP is a very retro-styled game. While playing, it felt like the game was actually from the early 90s. As it turns out though it came out in 2006. Either way, it’s a top-down shooter with a focus on throwing as many enemies at you as possible. Unlike other shooters of this type though you are unable to move. Instead you’re basically an upgradeable turret which can shoot 360 degrees around itself.

RIP

There are forty levels and nothing really changes aside from the backdrop as well as the configuration of explosive barrels around the area. Otherwise, you’re going to be playing dozens of same-y levels. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though as some people really dig this sort of gameplay. It’s not my thing, but I enjoyed it all the same. On easy, the game is manageable but is probably more infuriating if you try for harder difficulties.

The game isn’t particularly recommended unless you are in dire need of top-down shooters. There are currently two other games in the series, RIP 2: Strike Back and RIP 3: The Last Hero, which are probably better investments anyway.


Score: 1

1  out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system

Water Closet: The Forbidden Chamber Review

Water Closet Featured

Water Closet Boxart

Developer: Will
Publisher: Peach Princess
Platform: PC

For all the great games that arrive in North America there are always hundreds (or thousands?) others that are relegated to Japanese-exclusive launches. Western game fans have long since lamented this state of affairs and sometimes even import titles they wish to play most. It’s possible that someone in America really wanted to play Water Closet: The Forbidden Chamber, but it definitely isn’t on most collectors’ radar.

Read more »

Dinner Date Review

Dinner Date Featured

Dinner Date boxart

Developer: Stout Games
Publisher: Stout Games
Platform: PC

Have you ever felt yourself worrying that you’ve been stood up on a date? If so, then this is likely a game you can relate to. If not, then it shows a pretty depressing example of how worrying the whole process of waiting for a date to arrive can be.

As the name implies, you engage in the preparations and waiting for a date to have dinner with. The dinner is intimate, with a single candle and wine, despite being in the protagonist’s cramped kitchen. You can look at the clock – again and again, as well as interact with the objects nearby.

Dinner Date Featured

This is not any sort of typical game focused on gameplay. Instead, you mostly soak up the internal diegetic of the protagonist while waiting for your date’s arrival. There’s nothing wrong with exploring narrative over actual play in games, but have that expectation in mind beforehand. Dinner Date is a neat, if very brief, experience. I just would have liked to see the idea expanded further.


Score: 2

2 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system

Dysfunctional Systems Episode 1 Review

Dysfunctional Systems Featured

Dysfunctional Systems

Developer: Dischan Media
Publisher: Dischan Media
Platform: PC

Visual novels are one of the most disrespected genres of gaming out there. Thanks to a real lack of understanding of dating sims and games which are primarily text, you see few mainstream attention drawn to them. Of course, this all denies the previous success of companies like Infocom who attracted PC gamers in the 80s with their text adventures.

Either way, if you’re still new to the whole visual novel world then Dysfunctional Systems seems to be a good starting point. The game, so far, appears to not be a dating sim and features a story not pulled straight from some silly anime series.

Dysfunctional Systems Featured

You play as a teenager named Winter who has a new job. She doesn’t work as a waitress or anything though but instead must try to resolve conflicts on other planets. It’s a tough position and one she isn’t even sure she’s ready to fulfill. All the same, she studies (and gets a little too close) to the subject in Episode 1: Learning to Manage Chaos.

I’m not particularly a fan of episodic games but so far this looks like quite the game. The story is surprisingly focused on sociopolitical topics which is rare for visual novels, let alone gaming as a whole. This brave move deserves attention, but it’s unknown yet whether Dysfunctional Systems will attract tons of players. I hope so, as I would love to see this series continue and the only way that will happen is with more purchases.


Score 3:5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system