Posts Tagged ‘simulation’

Girls’ Fashion Shoot Review

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Developer: Alchemist
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Platform: 3DS

I was excited about trying out Girls’ Fashion Shoot. I had tons of fun with Style Savvy and its sequel, and Girls’ Fashion Shoot looked to be more of the same fabulousness that anyone would be able to enjoy.

As the name implies, Girls’ Fashion Shoot is a fashion game. You can play dress-up, do modeling, and edit a fashion magazine. There are hundreds of clothes and accessories, too, so the possible combinations of outfits are endless. Unfortunately, it’s not exciting whatsoever and becomes boring almost immediately.

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To progress in Girls’ Fashion Shoot, you must complete all the jobs at Rising Star Magazine headquarters that are offered to you each month. This usually entails you composing an outfit that matches a certain theme. Other tasks include designing nails. Whatever you end up having to do, it results in posing for a photo shoot that will go on a magazine cover that you must arrange as well. It is the same process each time, with your boss saying the same sentences each time.

There’s very little to do when you want to get away from your monotonous work life. You can buy new clothes and makeup, learn new poses to use in photo shoots, or get your nails and hair done. Not very appealing, huh? There’s not even very many hair styles or makeup options, either.

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Girls’ Fashion Shoot is definitely the sort of game that is marketed towards young girls. Unfortunately, it has no redeeming features. Everything that it offers, Style Savvy: Trendsetters does better.


Pink Score: 1.51 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Farming Simulator Review

Farming Simulator Featured

Farming Simulator Boxart

Developer: Giants Software
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360

I do not long for a farming lifestyle. It seems like an incredible amount effort against increasing odds. Still, I’ve always had a taste for pretending to farm in video games. SimFarm was my first experience with the subject and ended up being a long time favorite. Farming Simulator is a sim I’ve been interested in trying out but never got around to. That is, until the multiplatform console launch.

Farming Simulator is a fairly complex game. That’s why it is highly recommended you check out the multiple tutorials first. Each details how to use various different farm vehicles to tend to crops. Then, you can see how to deposit your crop as well as purchase new seeds from the store. It’s even possible to buy a shiny new truck or livestock! You’ll get all the basics down and then be free to roam.

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Once in-game, missions will pop up from time to time. Each mission can be accepted or turned down, but you want to accept them whenever possible. The problem I found when taking on new missions was that there was still a lot about Farming Simulator I wasn’t sure of. Where exactly were the buildings that supply crops or livestock? You basically have to commit it to memory since the map doesn’t actually show the names of buildings. As this is a farm we’re dealing with, there is a lot of space to cover to check on buildings. You can quickly warp to different vehicles but you don’t really want one always parked by an important store because then you’d never be able to take it out and use it!

It’s also one heck of a rough-looking title. At least the game is about farming and not something that would require fancier graphics. The GUI is also a bit mucky, although it does have one important feature. The top of the screen shows what button presses can be used within a vehicle. This is necessary because controls vary from vehicle to vehicle, because they each have different jobs to perform.

Farming Simulator can manage to be a fun, zen-like experience but players must be invested enough to get to that point. I was somewhere in the middle. It’s neat to manage my own farm but less so when everything has such a leisurely pace. I guess I wasn’t cut out to be a farmer.


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Long Live the Queen Review

Long Live the Queen Featured

Long Live the Queen Boxart

Developer: Hanako Games
Publisher: Hanako Games
Platform: PC – Direct, GOG*, Steam

Would you love to have the power of a queen or king? With legions of people devoted to you and absolute power, how could anything go wrong? Reality is nothing like such fantasies, of course, and any ruling party has to deal with a range of problems. This is the case for young Elodie who suddenly ascends to the throne after her mother’s death. Can she handle the many stresses of being queen? That’s all up to how the player shapes her fate in Long Live the Queen.

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The game is a strategy/simulation where you choose what Elodie will spend her days learning about. She can become an incredible strategist with tomes of knowledge about foreign and domestic political issues. Or, Elodie can learn how to fight directly and keep her people safe in a much more direct way. She can become a very regal queen, learning about how to present herself as true royalty and taking interest in music. Really, the only constraints on what kind of queen she’ll become are dependent on the configuration of skills the player chooses to pursue.

Much of the fun in Long Live the Queen is seeing how different skills affect events. Some are pretty obvious, such as the fact that you likely won’t win a battle if you know nothing about military strategy and logistics. However, other events are likely to shock – and sometimes be fatal. Somehow, losing is still enjoyable! It just makes you want to jump right back in and try to skew Elodie’s learning in a way that works to resolve the otherwise deadly event. Each event has a number of traits affecting it, so players aren’t shoehorned into doing the same thing every time.

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However, there is another facet to skill learning that makes the game harder. You see, Elodie has a mood meter with a few specific mood types. Her aptitude for learning specific skills changes dependent on her mood. If she’s angry, she’ll do better with weapons and military training. Figuring out what moods suit specific types of learning can be a bit tough, especially when you’re already trying to resolve government and interpersonal conflicts in the main game. It’s also a bit annoying to have to regularly flip between all these screens with no way to compare two at the same time.

Long Live the Queen is far tougher, and darker, than most expect. It’s not just a cutesy little Princess Maker clone. No, this game deals with some serious political intrigue, with other nobles seeking to kill the incumbent queen to increase their own power. Definitely play this game if you’re up for some strategic excitement and see if you can survive through all Elodie’s trials!


Score: 4.5

4 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Democracy 3 Review

Democracy 3 Featured

Democracy 3 Boxart

Developer: Positech Games
Publisher: Positech Games
Platform: PC – Direct, GOG*, Steam

Sometime after going through high school, I found myself becoming interested in the workings of American government. It seemed too ridiculous on the news or complex to make any sense, so I tried to learn more about it. Of course, tuning into MSNBC, I gained a skewed perspective (as is true of most Americans and their news outlets of choice). In any case, along the way, I learned about the way a democracy is meant to function as well. With this “wealth” of knowledge, I dove into Democracy 3 expecting a fairly easy time.

It was not easy, even with a tad bit of government knowledge stored away in my brain. If anything, it seems a far more realistic simulation of government complexity than any other political games I’ve played in the past. Players are brought in with a simple tutorial but even that doesn’t aid how overwhelming the main screen with icons first appears. Each icon  represents a facet of government and has ties to other aspects that it affects. Because there are so many things a President must take care of, the screen is absolutely filled to the brim with these icons.

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Learning how to use them, thankfully, is easier than it would seem. Hovering over icons lets you see what they do, in case the icon images don’t give a good enough hint. Everything from controlling minute aspects of what to tax, to changing the cost of education, to enacting new laws on hot button issues is in your grasp. The main thing that you ever have to worry about is Political Capital. In game, it stands as your currency which recharges after each turn. Without enough of it, you can’t enact new policy changes.

Some tweaks might not lead to big changes but others definitely will. In particular, certain religious groups are depicted as having very serious fringe organizations that can and will assassinate you. After this happened to me, I began to consider that my role should be to please multiple groups rather than just my own gains. Of course, you can try and turn the United States into a staunch dictatorship if you really want to! Just expect to make much of your constituency very, very unhappy. It must be noted that you can choose from a handful of other governments to control, but I stuck with the US because it is the one I’m most familiar with.

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Part of what makes Democracy 3 “realistic” is that there is no way to win the game, or make everyone love you. It’s just not ever going to be the case. Similarly, natural or man-made disasters can wreak havoc on your approval level. Yes, it’s unfair, but that is something Presidents must contend with. Of course, realism in a political sim is great for some but will confuse or annoy others. Basically, if you don’t regularly look up political news then chances are this is not the game for you – although you might learn something by giving it a shot anyway.

The biggest criticism to lob at the game is simply that it is little more than a fancy database setup to let you play President. But then, that’s all some of us want to do. Checking the small variances in increasing or decreasing percentages of funding is enthralling for a certain mindset (such as my own). Trying to balance needs of the people versus what you believe to be “right” is a fine balancing act. Democracy 3 does an excellent job at letting the player test out just how good or bad they’d be if they had all the Presidential powers at their disposal.


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


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Rune Factory 4 Review

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Developer: Neverland Co.
Publisher: XSEED Games
Platform: 3DS

I remember when the very first Rune Factory game came out. It was touted as “A Fantasy Harvest Moon”, which immediately caught my interest. I bought it as soon as it released and played a bit of it, but found it a tad too difficult and went on to other games. Of course, I still found the concept extremely fascinating and continued to follow the series. After hearing that Rune Factory 3 improved upon the series’ formula, I decided to give it a try and absolutely loved it. So, it was only natural that I would be looking forward to Rune Factory 4.

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Like Harvest Moon games, you’re able to grow crops, raise livestock (which are monsters that you tame rather than actual farm animals), and woo potential lovers. Rune Factory focuses much more on plot and RPG aspects, though. And there’s a lot of that packed into Rune Factory 4. The two main story arcs take a good 40+ hours to play through. That’s not all, though! There’s also a bonus arc that has quite a lengthy and cumbersome dungeon. I have over 70 hours logged into Rune Factory 4 and I have yet to finish the last arc.

Tired of fighting and need to take a break from the main story? Then embrace your social life! There’s plenty of well-developed characters to talk to and lots of festivals to attend. And don’t forget about the six bachelors or bachelorettes that you can date. Although it’s a smaller selection versus those of other Rune Factory games, the dating/romancing aspects in Rune Factory 4 are much more expanded. The best part is that you can totally have a harem of lovers (which made choosing a husband in Rune Factory 4 the hardest decision of my life).

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There’s also a new feature to the series, which is performing orders with accrued Prince/Princess points. These orders vary from bettering the town with new shops and festivals, to expanding your farm. Heck, you can even change your character’s portrait to that of anyone in the game.

In terms of localization, the Rune Factory series’ new home at XSEED is definitely a good one. It’s as if they’ve been taking care of publishing Rune Factory games here the whole time! I loved every bit of writing in the game and the voice acting is perfect.

The only complaint I have about Rune Factory 4 is how evil the RNG can be. You see, there are “town events” that can happen often (these were really nice for building the characters of NPCs). Whichever one may pop up is totally random. Unfortunately, bachelor/bachelorette events, and even the one needed to start the plot’s bonus arc, are included in that very large pile of randomness. You might need a lot of patience to activate some of these events.

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I had so much fun with Rune Factory 4 and I can’t recommend it enough. If you’ve ever considered jumping into the series, now is definitely the time.


Pink Score: 5

5 out of 5 alpacas


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