Posts Tagged ‘2.5’

The Legend of Kyrandia Book One Review

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The Legend of Kyrandia Boxart

Developer: Westwood Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PC – GOG*
Review code provided

It’s a shame we don’t see more adventure games in the modern era. Before FPSes and 3D landscapes became de rigueur for games, the adventure genre flourished. Here was a genre that gave players a view of vast creative, beautiful, or even disturbing landscapes that they were free to explore! Many classics came from that era. The Legend of Kyrandia series is not one of the well-known highlights from that time, but instead stands as a hidden gem.

In The Legend of Kyrandia Book One you begin your journey unexpectedly. Your grandfather has just been turned to stone by the power-hungry jester Malcolm. As a young man named Brandon, you seek to get your grandfather back to normal. Along the way, you come across multiple citizens who point you in the right direction, usually alongside new puzzles.

Puzzles are the make or break aspect for most modern gamers who try out adventure titles. Most modern ones feature easier puzzles or hints, but The Legend of Kyrandia is hint system free! A handful of puzzles require you to cycle through multiple attempts to figure out the proper solution. However, you can save at any point so it’s not very painful to retry puzzles. And unlike some games, you can never be stranded without a necessary item later on. No matter what, items will respawn if destroyed or you can backtrack to find them again.

The Legend of Kyrandia Featured

With that said, there are aspects of the game that are pretty hard to figure out without help. If you pick up the GOG release it comes with a PDF of the old Prima strategy guide. Although it doesn’t give you a point by point breakdown, it does showcase all solutions. It’s pretty handy, although many online guides exist too, such as this excellent one.

The game is not quite as fanciful as others of the time period, and it shows. For example, there are multiple areas to explore, but their forests are visually identical. Brandon even makes a remark about this. Funny as it may be, it doesn’t help the player to differentiate the landscape. Basically, you’ll need to create a map or use one someone else has drafted.

The Legend of Kyrandia Book One is a short and sweet adventure game with creative puzzles. When it comes right down to it, those are all the requirements needed to make an acceptable adventure game. It deserves some credit for never leaving a player without all required items, but isn’t quite as inspired as other titles. If you’re an adventure lover who has played all the big names but missed out on Kyrandia then go give it a shot!


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Empires & Dungeons 2: The Sultanate Review

Empires & Dungeons 2 Featured

Empires & Dungeons 2 Boxart

Developer: Niels Bauer Games
Publisher: Niels Bauer Games
Platform: PC

This post is part of the Indie RPG Bundle review collection

RPGs have come a long way over the years. Most coming from Western publishers now seem to favor wide open fantasies with less interest in strategical planning. Still, others, mostly in the indie scene, cling to the minute specifics that made the genre so endearing to begin with. Empires & Dungeons 2: The Sultanate takes an interesting stance between the two. It is both “old school” but simplified for the modern player.

Players will first be greeted with a map of the current stage. It always shows the location of your castle, the enemy castle, the enemy themselves, and objects of interest on the field. These include resources (iron, wood, etc) as well as dungeon entrances. In this top-down world view you primarily seek out resources or dungeons while also keeping an eye on enemy movements. Resources are used to further strengthen your home base and help generate more, stronger armies.

Empires & Dungeons 2 Featured

Of course, if you want to get money and honor, you have to venture into dungeons alone. Dungeons are also shown from a top down view that is strangely confusing at first. Once you figure it out though, you can venture into different rooms within. Usually, there are enemies to fight although sometimes there are merchants and others willing to barter for items. Perhaps the best feature in this mode is that if you die there is little punishment. The gold won on that dungeon trip won’t be collected but that is the only result.

Perhaps Empires & Dungeons 2 could be considered too simplistic? Much of the play is simply devoted to clicking around the map for resources or spamming attacks in a dungeon. Although this is definitely a turn-based strategy RPG it is surprisingly light on strategy. The visuals are also like to be off-putting to many gamers. In fullscreen mode (the only option), the play screen takes up less than half of my 1920 x 1080 resolution screen. The frequent typos were also distracting. Still, there is some attractive gameplay worth looking past them for if you’d like to spend time with a less stressful RPG.


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse Review

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Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Platform: Game Gear, Genesis (Reviewed), Master System, Sega Saturn

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is a game that many players have held dear for years. Recently, Sega went back and re-envisioned the title to be suitable for modern gaming platforms. Having never played the original before, I decided to give it a go before trying the remake. How does it stand up for someone who doesn’t get nostalgic recalling the title?

The people at Sega certainly tried hard to make something special with the licensed character of Mickey Mouse. Honestly, it seems like we haven’t seen as many excellent licensed titles since the era of SNES and Genesis. The world is bright and colorful and Mickey looks just as expected. Levels are imaginative and mesh with a Disney aesthetic.

It seems the game shouldn’t be that difficult, but it still ended up being somewhat tough for me. The primary offender was that Mickey has a weirdly heavy jump. He can get up pretty high in the air, but it sometimes felt that he wasn’t responding as accurately as he should have to my button commands. This could be due to the controller or aged game, though. Who can say? I do know the remake suffers its own lag but that was obviously not purposeful.

Castle of Illusion Screenshot

Aside from that, the platforming is interesting. A mechanic showcased in an early level even allows the map to be flipped upside down/right side up. It seems a bit ghastly, though, considering each flip causes the enemies to fall down and die immediately. Well, they disappear rather than die, but the implication is the same. Mickey himself never dies but instead is given a handful of “tries” before a final game over. Considering this is a game primarily targeted to children why couldn’t there have been infinite tries?

All things considered, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is a pretty good platformer. It has all the aspects you expect of one, such as  great music and attractive visuals. Still, those controls were problematic. And then aside from some neat concepts, the game doesn’t do much to make it stand out above the rest when it should. After all, this is a Mickey Mouse game!


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Cloning Clyde Review

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Developer: NinjaBee in Association with J. Kenworthy Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox 360 – XBLA

The puzzle platformer genre is completely stuffed with awesome, decent, and poor titles. At least, it definitely seems to be that way now. How were things back in 2006? Although it wasn’t very long ago at all I feel like there were certainly less… Or at least it was around then that the so-called “indie game” saw itself rise from the corners of the internet. In any case, maybe when Cloning Clyde came out it was still something fairly unique.

All things considered, it does have some neat tricks. Cloning Clyde’s main feature is, well, cloning! You traverse around 2D levels and often need to reach new, higher areas, press buttons, or do various other tasks along the way. Some of these can be accomplished alone but others require you to clone yourself once or multiple times over. Cloning is accomplished at special machines so you can’t abuse it on the fly.

Cloning Clyde Featured

Levels aren’t tremendously long but they can become quite puzzling. Mainly you just need to get the Clyde you control through a level but there are more points awarded if you accomplish extra tasks. Each level has enemies to defeat, figures to collect, and you also get a bonus for saving the extraneous Clydes. There is also a feature to combine DNA between Clyde and animals/objects which yields pretty humorous results at times (as well as giving him new powers).

Cloning Clyde sure doesn’t look very good anymore, though. It’s quite a shock to find that it was actually published by Microsoft Studios considering the incredibly rough visuals. In any case, the gameplay still stands up as fairly fun – if simple. Finally, if you don’t like seeing Clyde’s bare butt in his hospital gown then you can turn on family friendly mode which gives him underwear.


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Solar 2 Review

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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


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Nation Red Review

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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


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