Posts Tagged ‘1.0’

Mini Golf Mundo Review

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Developer: EnsenaSoft
Publisher: EnsenaSoft
Platform: PC – Steam

After successful rounds of weird golfing in Golf With Your Friends, I decided to load up another mini golfing game from my Steam library. Unfortunately, this decision came before remembering the game was originally received as part of Bundle Star’s Dollar Mega Bundle. This bundle offered 28 games for $1…

Suffice it to say Mini Golf Mundo doesn’t hold up to Golf With Your Friends, or any other decent golfing game out there. There are only four stages to play with – each connected to a level of difficulty. Each features nearly the same grassy, idyllic locale with cabins and lakes surrounding the mini golf course.

The game ramps from super easy to super challenging over the course of these four courses with no real warning. You’re just suddenly faced with parts of the course disappearing and reappearing. Because you cannot “lock in” the strength of a hit, you’re forced to waste multiple swings hoping to match up the timing.

One neat bit is the final course which offers warp points. These almost add a bit of strategy to the gameplay, but quickly wear out their welcome. There’s absolutely no music in Mini Golf Mundo, either, which further reveals its failed cash grab status. Just don’t play this game.


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


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Kitty Cat: Jigsaw Puzzles Review

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Developer: EnsenaSoft
Publisher: EnsenaSoft
Platform: PC – Steam

Casual games are great. For me in particular, they grant an escape from playing other games which require more attention, strategy, and skill. Because of this habit, I’m increasingly aware of which games have serious effort into their releases versus those that are simply re-skinned releases.

Kitty Cat: Jigsaw Puzzles falls into the latter category. This developer has a handful of puzzle games and they all appear to vary purely by theme. That might not be so bad if not for the fact that the underlying mechanics and interface are totally lacking. There’s also no music! I’ll admit, it’s not quite as awful as the Pixel Puzzle series.

Kitty Cat Jigsaw Puzzles Featured

At the very start, it seems like Kitty Cat: Jigsaw Puzzles is painfully easy. You actually get to see outlines of all the puzzle pieces on the game board! These disappear after a few levels, though, leaving players to deal with the digital puzzle much like a real one. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be confusing to tell if a puzzle piece sticks to the board (meaning it is in the right position) or not.

There is also no easy means of organizing your puzzle pieces prior to solving the puzzle. Instead you must click and drag them to areas outside the board to organize them as you see fit. The margin is not large enough to make this particularly enjoyable, though.  The cat photos per puzzle are cute – and they don’t appear to be stolen wholesale from various sources. But that’s basically the only good thing about Kitty Cat: Jigsaw Puzzles.


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


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Barnyard Mahjong 3 Review

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Developer: EnsenaSoft
Publisher: EnsenaSoft
Platform: PC – Steam

“Mahjong” is a term which is typically used incorrectly in English-language games. Many use it to refer to the familiar tile-matching concept, which is not the same as traditional mahjong. Real mahjong is a much more strategic, multiplayer experience. In any case, Barnyard Mahjong 3 is of the matching variety.

As the name implies, everything is doused in a barn theme. This includes the backgrounds and the tiles themselves, which feature depictions of fruits, farmers, and farm animals. There are in fact so many different visuals that it often proves tough to quickly survey the screen for potential matches.

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Each level in Barnyard Mahjong 3 features a timer. The amount of time left on the clock determines what you’re graded once finished with a puzzle. These stars are meaningless, though, as even ending with no time left still unlocks the next stage. I appreciate the game’s supremely casual attitude.

What doesn’t work is that the experience is barely enjoyable. The widescreen presentation makes it tiring to click back and forth between different ends of the screen. It’s also quite easy to fail puzzles (the remaining tiles just reset) even on easy. The music is so droll that you barely even notice it exists, and effects are incredibly anemic. Presentation is a huge part of making a mahjong game stand out and Barnyard Mahjong 3 simply doesn’t.


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


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Hooters Road Trip Review

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Hooters Road Trip Box Art

Developer: Hoplite Research
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: PlayStation, PC

The PlayStation was the start of something amazing for console gamers. This system brought about fan-favorite franchises which continue to this day such Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and many others. Of course, tons of shovelware came alongside the classics. Enter Hooters Road Trip.

Hooters Road Trip is supposedly about traveling between various Hooters restaurants across the United States for no good reason. This manifests as an OutRun-style racing game. As such, the different courses link together, meaning that each race brings with it different state-themed backdrops. It’s rather blurry, though, and the draw distance on the PS1 version leaves much to be desired.

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The racing itself is miserable. Until you unlock the final vehicles (or cheat your way to them), the controls are outrageously slippery. Instead of racing you’ll be careening across the road like a pinball. Suffice it to say this doesn’t work well with aiming for first place. You can’t even do the full road trip right off the bat! Instead, players must run partial trips five times beforehand because the developers wanted to artificially extend their awful gameplay or something.

It’s not all bad. Apparently, Hooters Road Trip launched at $9.99 making it bargain bin trash from the get go. The only enjoyment comes from watching the FMV sequences with Hooters waitresses who all seem to slyly be making fun of the camera person/player. Here’s hoping Hooters never lends their brand to a game again.


Score: 11 out of 5 alpacas


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Armikrog Review

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Developer: Pencil Test Studios
Publisher: Versus Evil
Platform: PC – Steam, GOG, Direct2Drive, Green Man Gaming, Nuuvem, Wii U

The Neverhood is a very important game to me. It was one of the first games that I ever played. It was a game that my dad and I played together and beat together. The Neverhood certainly has its fair share of problems and might not be the best game in the world, but it’s just such an interesting game that I can forgive those issues.

When Armikrog was announced, I was on cloud nine. A modern-day spiritual successor to one of my favorite childhood games? Sign me up. My dad and I eagerly pledged a good amount of dough to Armikrog‘s Kickstarter campaign and patiently waited for the day it would finally release. It was delayed quite a few times, but that was okay, because that would help make it a better game. Right?

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Unfortunately, that isn’t the case at all. I dove straight into Armikrog expecting a similarly wonderful and strange experience as I had with The Neverhood. Instead, all I got was disappointment.

Immediately upon starting Armikrog, I was greeted with what is supposed to be a whacky, upbeat intro. Which it is, aside from the fact that the audio sounds like it was recorded in a closet with tin cans. I should have taken that as a sign of the awfulness that was to come, but I was blinded by excitement and continued on to play the game.

As I progressed through Armikrog, I began to notice more and more problems. Clicking on objects didn’t register half the time. The music liked to disappear every so often. Subtitles didn’t match what was being said and usually didn’t even pop up at the correct moment. Some puzzles were completely nonsensical and expected you to magically know things that weren’t previously made apparent. Not to mention there were bugs and glitches abound (there have been a few patches since I initially played and finished Armikrog; who knows how well they fix things, though).

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And those are just the gameplay and technical parts of Armikrog. While the graphics and music were fantastic (what music would actually play when it didn’t stop for no reason, anyway), the story, writing, and characters were barely there. I was hopeful considering the hilarious introduction with Tommynaut and Beak-Beak (our two heroes). However, what you see in the beginning is pretty much the most interaction you’ll see between the two throughout the entire game.

As for the story, there is actually a very interesting premise set up during an early part of Armikrog that you are able to read on a literal wall of text (if you played The Neverhood, it is reminiscent of the infamous Hall of Records). It’s probably the most enjoyable part of the game and got me pumped to see how it was going to play out. But, as you might have guessed, not too much happens after that and the ending is extremely anticlimactic and rushed. There’s also a villain, but he may as well not have even been included in Armikrog as he barely does anything.

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I could go on and on about my heart has been ripped into tiny pieces because of how very wrong Armikrog has turned out. I almost want to pretend that it doesn’t exist at all. Sure, you could say I set my expectations way too high or that patches have since fixed most of the problems (which doesn’t excuse the many delays before release or the lackluster story and characters). The fact of the matter is that Armikrog is incredibly disappointing and should be avoided if it all possible.


Pink Score: 1
1 out of 5 alpacas


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Pixel Puzzles: Japan Review

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Developer: Decaying Logic
Publisher: KISS ltd
Platform: PC – Steam

Back in the day I used to really be into jigsaw puzzles. At one point, it even morphed into an interest in those 3D puzzles before realizing those were completely out of my league. Still, 1,000+ piece puzzles were a great way to unwind and build toward something over a few weeks. Pixel Puzzles: Japan is a digital jigsaw puzzle collection themed around Japan. Each puzzle has a nice Japanese vista, soft background music, and puzzles which increase from small sizes to larger.

Pixel Puzzles: Japan offers 21 puzzles (unlocked by playing from easiest to hardest). Unfortunately, gameplay issues become more apparent as you engage in more difficult puzzles. The main problem is that all puzzle pieces float around in a pond prior to being placed in the puzzle space. Instead of organizing pieces by color as you see fit, you’ll need to do so within the puzzle space (but that small area is quickly filled up and inconvenient).

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Letting pieces drift about is annoying because you may need to search a long time for that “one piece” you know you need. Big blobs of puzzle pieces cluster together as they move, making it harder to find the right thing. Similarly, even after you spot the required piece it’s often challenging to actually grab it – Pixel Puzzles: Japan regularly selects a nearby, but incorrect, piece. Frustration doesn’t even begin to describe my reaction to these common incidents.

And, really, when you’re trying to relax with a jigsaw puzzle frustration should be the last thing on your mind. Pixel Puzzles: Japan is an excellent concept but its execution adds too much unneeded “gameplay” into the picture. I’ve yet to play other Pixel Puzzles games (Birds, UndeadZ) but hopefully future renditions provide more enjoyment.


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


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Personal Nightmare Review

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Personal Nightmare Boxart

Developer: Horrorsoft
Publisher: Horrorsoft
Platform: PC – Amiga, Atari ST, DOS, GOG*

Personal Nightmare is a great name for a horror game. And heck, there are definitely some horrifying moments in the title. However, this 1989 horror title is steeped with so much antiquated adventure gaming conventions that it is extremely hard to come back to today. It seems this is the case with most of Horrorsoft/Adventure Soft’s catalog (see Waxworks).

The best aspect of Personal Nightmare are the graphics. Pixel art has moved away from the “painterly” style that became prominent before 3D graphics took over so this all looks very refreshing. In particular, death scenes (which you’ll come across frequently) are super grisly. Rooms look distinct as well-meaning you won’t get lost in a maze of samey-looking sections. Of course, the map itself is huge meaning you can still get lost for other reasons.

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This game uses a parser-based system with some graphical elements. A list of verbs is always present on the right side of the screen. Clicking on one helps fill out the text parser, although you can just as easily type out a full command by hand. Thankfully the inventory has a fully graphical representation although it has a max capacity. Weirdly, your briefcase within inventory provides a secondary inventory which is massive. So, start stuffing objects in there, although this might mess you up on later puzzles.

Speaking of puzzles, they’re where Personal Nightmare gets everything wrong. Not only are you required to carefully inspect every item, but many require inspection before a certain time. Time plays an integral role in the game meaning you can miss a necessary item thanks to dawdling. It’s unforgivable puzzle design as far as I’m concerned because only the most hardened adventure fans will give that a pass. Combine that with some finicky inventory management as well as clunky controls and it just becomes a huge annoyance. Personal Nightmare  is aptly named, but for all the wrong reasons.


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


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Waxworks Review

Waxworks Featured

Waxworks Boxart

Developer: Horrorsoft
Publisher: Accolade, Adventure Soft
Platform: PC – Amiga, DOS, GOG*

The early 90s were a scary time for adventure game developers. Horrorsoft, who began with text parser games, created Waxworks as an attempt to bridge that gaming gap. Instead of being a dull adventure game it utilized dungeon-crawler elements to offer copious fights. Of course, it still maintained that classic adventure core by requiring players to lug a heft inventory around.

Unfortunately, the implementation of action elements in Waxworks leaves much to be desired. The game does start off creepily enough, at least. You enter into a wax museum after being ushered there by your Uncle. According to him there’s a curse on your family and your brother will be lost forever if it isn’t removed. Destroying said curse requires entering different wax exhibits which transport players to different planes of existence.

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It sounds fine until you realize that every ounce of gameplay is a pain. The adventure trope of clicking on and collecting everything is in full force. Alongside that are constant swarms of enemies to slow progress and chip away at the health meter. Then there are maze-like areas that are far more frustrating than they are fun (especially as more enemies spawn as you try to find a proper path). It’s terribly un-fun.

Waxworks does have some grotesquely detailed artwork and a suitably creepy soundtrack. Had gameplay actually passed muster such aspects would be icing on the cake. As is, these are the only high points most players are likely to find. Only the most determined of horror connoisseurs should seek out this game.


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


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Postal 2 Complete Review

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Postal 2 Boxart

Developer: Running With Scissors
Publisher: Running With Scissors
Platform: PC – Desura, DirectGOG*, Green Man Gaming, Steam

For better or for worse, Postal 2 is one of the games that people know about even if they’ve never played it. The original postal aroused suspicion and excitement in the gaming community, but not nearly as much as its sequel would. With an ad campaign proclaiming it was only “as violent as you want to be” it was pretty hard to ignore.

Postal 2 tells the story of Postal Dude’s life from Monday to Friday (and Saturday/Sunday if you play Apocalypse Weekend). He’s got the same problems that we all do. He has to run go to work (and get fired), cash a check (with a long line at the bank), and simply make it through the week without, well, going postal. Apparently you can actually make it through the week as a complete pacifist, but every step of the way the game is trying to make you act violently.

The best method of completing it is also through violence. Otherwise, it just seems an increasingly difficult experience. After completing any task, gun wielding NPCs always come charging in for no apparent reason. Firefights like these are tough to survive without taking down enemies yourself. In any case, the experience is all rather simplistic. Each day you will walk to locations, complete a task, get attacked, and then proceed forward. What Running With Scissors hoped to accomplish was keeping players entertained thanks to the wacky world and characters.

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Paradise, Arizona is anything but its namesake. Instead, it takes on all the worst facets of American culture. Outward racism, extreme violence, homophobia, and more hang around every corner. Quite frankly, it’s incredibly off-putting to me and probably would be to many other modern players. Seeing a shop plainly labelled “Queers”, men in turbans who wreak havoc on a church, and everything else is incredibly disconcerting. In a way, Postal 2 perfectly lampoons how screwed up America can be with hate, but seems to have too much fun glorifying the issues. Jokes pertaining to O.J. Simpson, hanging chads, and Heaven’s Gate are also (expectedly) dated.

Gameplay certainly functions but it’s tougher than you might expect. Honestly, I’d suggest going the cheat code route if you really want to enjoy the game. Otherwise it is quite the chore. Postal 2 Complete offers the Share the Pain multiplayer expansion but good luck finding a multitude of players to use it with. Apocalypse Weekend is a worthwhile expansion if you need more days with Postal Dude. Postal 2 serves mostly as an example of a very strange point in gaming history.


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


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Construction Bob Escapes from Hell Review

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Developer: OSP Enr.
Publisher: OSP Enr.
Platform: PC – Direct

Construction Bob Escapes from Hell is a game that grabbed my attention purely because of the name. How could you not want to play something with a title like this? Jumping right in, I found that the game was not entirely what I expected, but an interesting shareware title from the time period.

Basically, it offers three arcade-like stages which repeat over a series of levels. Levels themselves increase the difficulty each time, meaning that getting all the way to ten is tough. Getting past the thirty stages included with a purchase seems outright impossible.

The first stage is like a vertical Frogger. Mine carts run across a series of tracks above Bob and he must jump safely past them to exit at the top of the screen. Hitting mine carts does not kill Bob, but instead makes him fall down to the lower platform. The lowest one is just a steady stream of lava – and that kills you. Second is a side-scrolling stage where you ride a mine cart across broken tracks. Jump the cart over these gaps or rocks to survive. Finally is a sequence of walking across a bridge without letting (what appears to be) water droplets hit Bob.

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After that, the whole thing repeats again just with faster objects and trickier platforms. As you only get three lives to start, it can be tough to progress far. A save/load feature lets you return to the start of a new level at any time. Finally, and most interestingly, a 360 gamepad totally works to control Bob, if you so choose.

Playing Construction Bob Escapes from Hell is an incredibly simple experience. This game is more of an odd footnote of shareware history than a worthwhile waste of time.


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


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