Posts Tagged ‘2008’

Mission Runway Review

Mission Runway Featured

Mission Runway Boxart

Developer: Virtual Playground
Publisher: ValuSoft
Platform: PC – Steam

Being a fashion designer is something I’ve never dreamed of, but for some reason I am still compelled to play any fashion-related game that comes into my hands. From Barbie Fashion Designer until now, I’ve been seeking the perfect fashion game. Nope, Mission Runway isn’t it, but it is better than some out there.

In Mission Runway you participate in a TV show competition (modeled no doubt after Project Runway). Each “week” the designers compete in a themed challenge, get their fashions judged by a panel of celebrity experts (Tyra Banks lookalike and all), and someone always gets sent home at the end of a show. Hopefully, you can become the contestant that wins big!

Mission Runway Featured

Like most mission-based fashion games you simply have to create designs that relate to the themes in question. If the contest is for business wear then you’d better not throw your model onto the stage with a ball gown. Similarly, beach outfits should not likely contain pants and a giant jacket. That said, you can still mess around with the different style types and clothing once you get a feel for how generous the grading is.

That’s one of my favorite things in these otherwise not particularly deep fashion titles. I love attempting to game the system by creating the strangest outfits that still succeed at their goal. Of course, there are times I try to make pretty outfits too but my eye for it is pretty poor. With that said, the game takes less than two hours to beat if you know what you’re doing and there are not enough outfit choices that look anything other than horrendous. Since Mission Runway is supposed to be all about fashion it would have been nice to see more on display.

Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas

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American McGee’s Grimm Review

American McGee's Grimm Featured

American McGee's Grimm Boxart

Developer: Spicy Horse
Publisher: Kiss Label
Platform: PC – GameTapGOG*

American McGee’s Grimm was an interesting experiment when it launched in 2008. The 23-part episodic series came out in three seasons and was presented by GameTap. It was part of their “original content” lineup, which I don’t think has seen much attention since. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem that the gaming world was quite ready for episodic games at the time. The product will hopefully get a second wind once it launches on Steam.

American McGee apparently really loves fairy tales. After all, his best known products are based on one (the Alice series). American McGee’s Grimm doesn’t focus on one story but a whole heaping bunch of them. Each episode tackles one from Grimm’s Fairy Tales’ expansive literary library. As a fan of fairy tales and their history, I was quite eager to give the game a shot.

As it turns out, the gameplay is very minimal. Mostly, you explore the worlds as a gross little gnome monster named Grimm. His goal is to change stories by dirtying them up. Because he is such a stinky, yucky fellow, all he has to do is wander over the fanciful landscape to turn it dark. Townsfolk and cute critters will attempt to clean the world as you do so, but once you have enough power even they are changed into disgusting/scary versions of themselves.

American McGee's Grimm Featured

Mainly all you have to do is walk and “paint” the world. The more things get turned, the stronger Grimm’s powers become. Eventually, he can transform everything around him. However, each stage usually just wants you to reach a certain level of yuckiness before proceeding on to the next area. Everything gets reset at that point and you go at it again.

If you don’t want to simply enjoy the landscape, stories, and ruckus caused by Grimm then this won’t be a fun game at all. However, if you like seeing fairy tales reverted to more crude and dangerous versions then it’s worth the time. Maybe. Playing through all three seasons takes over a dozen hours and there are points where the repetitive play is too much. American McGee’s Grimm looks great and offers an entertaining story to play along with.

Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas

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Kara no Shojo Review

Kara No Shojo Featured

Kara No Shojo Boxart

Developer: Innocent Grey
Publisher: MangaGamer
Platform: PC – MangaGamer*

Oftentimes, it is hard to get people to take visual novels seriously. The supposedly average gamer would much rather “play” games than read them. Of course, if they could just sit down with a few then they might realize how silly they were acting. However, even many visual novel fans are bothered or even angered by the presence of eroge. For the most part, I don’t mind. It’s when there is something that appears to have a compelling storyline that my interest is piqued. Kara no Shojo is one such game which is why I chose to give it a shot.

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Boogie Bunnies Review

Boogie Bunnies Featured

Boogie Bunnies Boxart

Developer: Artech Studios
Publisher: Sierra
Platform: PC, Xbox 360 – XBLA

If you’ve been playing games for any amount of time then chances are you’ve come across a match-3 game or two. The main goal in any of these puzzlers is simply to match three (or more) of the same colored object in some connected pattern. Games like these get skinned and re-skinned from Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine to Dr. Mario and even Lumines.

Boogie Bunnies is little more than your average match-3 game although it certainly tries to be more engaging. It mostly fails in this pursuit. Artech Studios sure seemed to have given the game their all though. This is evidenced by looking at the “match” objects which are all moving polygonal bunnies.

Boogie Bunnies Featured

The bunnies don’t move too much to cause confusion (most of the time). They simply do some idle animation and hop forward every once in a while to simulate the screen slowly being filled to capacity. If you’re doing well with matching, however, they will spontaneously begin a dance party. All the same, they never move out of their respective spots so it’s not too hectic.

If you let yourself get into it, Boogie Bunnies is a competent game. It’s just not what would be at the top of anyone’s list when they are looking for a good block matching game.

Score: 1.5

1  1/2 out of 5 alpacas

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Beat’n Groovy Review

Beat'n Groovy Featured

Beat'n Groovy Boxart

Developer: Voltex
Publisher: Konami
Platform: Xbox 360 – XBLA

Konami is the undisputed king when it comes to rhythm/music games as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately, outside of DDR, they have really squandered the Bemani label in the West. With tons of bankable properties, they instead continually release misguided versions of their classics to supposedly appeal to American tastes. They create awful, old-looking versions that no one is interested in.

Such is the case with Beat’n Groovy. The game itself is modeled strongly after the successful (and Japanese-only) Pop’n Music. Okay, Pop’n saw US release on Wii but it was one of those bastardized versions. This game is played by using a 3 or 5 button layout to hit keys as they fall down the screen. It’s easy enough, and the standard model for Beatmania as well.

Beat'n Groovy Featured

The problems come in when you look at the paltry songlist – only 9 tracks in all. There may be downloadable content available, but people would only be interested in buying that if the base property is sound. It isn’t. Sure, the play is still adequately Pop’n style, but the music they selected was extremely poor. Most of it sounds like the early days of Bemani, and some of the tracks (as far as I could tell) are legitimate Bemani properties. But if you’re trying to appeal to the US then you’ve got to make a “modern” tracklist that appeals to current tastes.

Check out the demo if you’re set on having a Western version of Pop’n but this is probably the worst version you could get. It’s a shame, because if Konami could ever have success via a non-DDR rhythm game then they might be willing to put actual effort into others.

Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas

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