Posts Tagged ‘puzzle’

Stick It To The Man! Vita Review

Stick It To The Man Featured

Stick It To The Man Logo

Developer: Zoink!
Publisher: Ripstone
Platform: PC – Steam PSN – PS3, Vita

“Stick it to the man” is a phrase I don’t think I’ve ever heard used in a serious context. The Man, of course, is meant to be big government or any sort of authority figure. In the case of Stick It To The Man!, there is actually someone called The Man and he’s coming for Ray. Ray’s story begins on the way home from work. Everything is going fine until a secret government weapon flying overhead crashes directly on top of him. Ray doesn’t die but he does end up with this weird thing lodged in his brain. Now, Ray has got a noodly pink arm coming out of his head and it can read people’s minds.

As you might have already guessed, this is quite the silly game. Ray isn’t particularly adept at anything himself. Instead, the hand is used to interact with the world. After reading thoughts, puzzles are revealed. Sometimes, people even conjure up images in their mind for Ray to take in the form of a sticker. Here’s where the name mainly comes in, as these stickers must then be used to solve other people’s troubles. Removing and applying stickers is the main goal, although there are “stealth” sections as well.

Stick It To The Man Screenshot

There are times when The Man’s goons are on patrol on platforms. Your goal is to make it through without getting nabbed along the way. Although it seems simple enough, there is a lot of room for failure. On the Vita, you are supposed to be able to touch strategically placed pins so the hand will grab them and drag Ray safely along. Perfect timing is necessary because these areas are often cramped, meaning bad guys might be only an arm’s length away. Unfortunately, more often than not I found myself pressing the touch screen directly over a pin but the touch wouldn’t register. This caused many frustrating deaths. Although there are ways to make these sections easier (via sticker usage) I still found them harder due to technical troubles.

If you ignore those sections though there is definitely a lot to dig about Stick It To The Man! First, there is the world. Everything is done up to look like cardboard cutouts. Buildings and other features look simply like sharpie drawings and it is very cool. On the Vita the graphics shine and it seems they look even better on PS3. Stages have their own style and it’s a lot of fun to see what the world has in store for you.

Then there’s the writing. I won’t say the story is fantastic, because it’s still a pretty simple “go from point Y to Z – oh, and save your girlfriend” affair. What does stand out is the script for all the characters Ray comes across in the game. Each expresses their problems mentally with ridiculous candor. There were a multitude of times that I just had to stifle laughs at something a character had said. Many games try to be funny, but it’s hard to actually find one that is.

Stick It To The Man Featured

Of course, not everything is perfect. One of the strangest aspects of Stick It To The Man! is how much of a dark comedy it turns out to be. Despite having stickers and a pink noodly appendage on his head, Ray meets with primarily unhappy individuals. Many begrudge their horrendous life circumstances, poor jobs, lost loves, and more. Sure, many characters have positive conclusions, but the path to them can be quite awkward.

All in all, Stick It To The Man! is a fairly fun, but flawed experience. The weird sometimes non-functioning of the Vita touchpad is the biggest strike against it. Even so, some have complained about the PS3 version accidentally targeting the wrong objects. Perhaps the PC version will be the best way to play? In any case, check Stick It To The Man! out if you have three to five hours to kill and don’t mind putting up with a few technical snafus. The writing and attractive visuals definitely make up for it.


Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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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


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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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0D Beat Drop Review

0D Beat Drop Featured

0D Beat Drop Boxart

Developer: Cyclone Zero
Publisher: Arc System Works
Platform: Xbox 360 – XBLA

Ever since the massively successful Tetris first hit the scene, developers have been trying to find any way to cash in on a similarly addictive formula. Sometimes they get pretty close. Usually though you end up with something ranging from mediocre to creative. Which camp does 0D Beat Drop fall into?

Thankfully, the game succeeds quite well. It feels at first like a mix of Lumines and Puzzle Fighter. Almost every mode pits you against at least one player (human or CPU). From there, you work to match four or more colored blocks in various orientations. If you succeed, then some of your blocks will be dropped on the enemy. Similarly, if they do well, you’re likely to get their blocks tossed onto your side.

0D Beat Drop Featured

What connects this to Lumines? Well, 0D Beat Drop employs a musical system for the casting of blocks from one side to the other. Simply lining up four in a row won’t clear them. Instead, you must hit the proper button on the background music’s beat for it to work. This starts out easily enough but quickly becomes more challenging, as each successful hit causes your window of accuracy for the beat to become much smaller.

It creates a fairly enthralling experience when you’re not only focusing on blocks but on the beat. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of songs available (with more as DLC). Still, there are a couple of varied modes available that extend the package between 10 stages. Give it a look if you’re a fan of rhythm-based puzzling.


Score: 2

2 out of 5 alpacas


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