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kseh's blog

Lunch break review - Mid June

Posted by , in Flash Game Review 17 June 2011 - - - - - - · 395 views

I've got two quick reviews for games I've played today. It's been awhile since my last one of these. Life got a bit busy lately. Stuff keeps piling up onto my schedule and I'm way behind on everything so I'm not sure if I'll be getting into any development anytime soon. I'm hoping maybe I'll get back on track in mid July. And although I still have been playing games at lunch, it's mostly been Sudoku and Angry Birds (thanks Zeds for the chrome link) and neither of those need any kind of review from me. I'm going to try and get back to playing some of the smaller flash games.

Feel free to visit my website for old reviews.
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Vampire Physics
By: Ozdy, RobotJAM and Cathy M
Played 2011-06-17 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-06-17

A physics puzzle kind of game where removing pieces of wood sets humans, vampires, and priests rolling towards each other. The goal is to have the vampires infect the humans with vampirism by touching them without turning to ash by coming into contact with the priests.

Will I play it again?
I finished all the levels so, no. I thought the game was fun but there aren't really any levels that I'd care much to replay and in general I found most of them pretty easy. The graphics are rather simple which gives it the appearance that it'd be something fairly well in reach of a novice game programmer. It gave me one of those moments where I ask myself, “Why haven't I made something like that?”

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Jelly Cannon
By: Mad Fat Cat
Played 2011-06-17 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-06-17

Fire blue blobs from a cannon towards yellow blobs to try and make all the yellow blobs on the level coalesce. The levels have a variety of obstacle puzzles including moving platforms, holes in the floor, and some simple mechanisms like levers and pulleys.

Will I play it again?

I've played it twice now so maybe a couple more times. I haven't been at all excited to start playing this game either time so far but I'm liking it for it's pick up and put down factor. Perfect for quickly killing just 10 minutes. The puzzles that I've played so far have been pretty simple. Some take a couple tries but for the most part don't take long to determine what needs to be done to complete the level.


Lunch break review - Late April

Posted by , in Flash Game Review 21 April 2011 - - - - - - · 509 views

I'm a bit surprised that I've played quite a few games since the last time I've written. I've been bored of the flash games on the usual site I go to for lunch so I thought I'd try another one for a while. It turns out that the games I played from there were all pretty much the same genre. Not sure what the name for that genre is unless it's "figure out what to click on next". Anyways, I thought putting these three reviews together might be a good blog post today. I've also written up reviews for three other games I've played but I'm thinking that including them all in one post might be too much. If you would like to read them they can be found on my website here.

As for personal projects, not much to report on getting any games together. However, I've been working on a something to function as a kind of wiki for taking notes but as a desktop application rather than based on a web server. I haven't been able to spend much time on it so far but as I usually do I've been taking notes while I work and I plan on getting those up on my site and maybe mention my progress a bit in this blog. It's the first personal project I've worked on that uses C# so I'm hoping it'll be useful learning experience.

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Sprout
By: Jeff Nusz
Played 2011-04-19 on Agame.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-04-21

A coconut falls from a tree on a deserted island. A seed emerges from the coconut and tells the coconut tree that it wants to grow to be an oak tree. The tree tells the seed that oak trees are far from the island and teaches the seed to grow into a coconut tree. Since a seed can't do much other than grow into what it knows to be, that's what the player does in this game. But it turns out that seeds manage to travel around pretty good. Since this particular seed seems pretty good at learning from other plants how to grow into other things, it's simply a matter of figuring out what to grow into next to travel to where the seed wants to be. (I had no clue how else to explain this game.)

Will I play it again?
I finished it so, no. Actually, I cheated a bit by looking at walk-through to get past one part. Maybe I could've figured it out on my own if I took the time but there just wasn't much of an indication that a particular part of scenery was going to be involved in the solution. Other than that, the choices needed to progress though the game weren't tough to figure out with a bit of trial and error. Despite getting stuck, I enjoyed this game. Having learned what sort of thinking was necessary to progress, I wouldn't have minded another tough challenge like the one I got stuck on. Also thought that the hand drawn graphics were pretty cool.

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Causality
By: Bored.com
Played 2011-04-19 on Agame.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-04-21

The goal of this game is to kill all the people on the level without them seeing each other. This is done by clicking on parts of the level to either setup a situation or to cause something to happen. I get the impression this game has been around awhile as it looks like there's been a couple sequels.

Will I play it again?
No. I finished it but even if I hadn't I'm not sure it's something I'd come back to. Although, I was a bit disappointed that there were no more levels to play. Each level was quite different and I was hooked a bit in that I was curious what the next level was going to be and what could happen. But some of the things to click weren't really intuitive or didn't seem logical for the player to find and were just a matter of being lucky with random clicks. For example, when randomly clicking around a worker he looses his hard hat. Yeah ok, I should've thought of that. When clicking near a guy in a washroom the ceiling starts to crumble. I don't see how people are expected to make that connection.

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Evolver
By: FreeWorldGroup.com
Played 2011-04-20 on Agame.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-04-21

The goal in this game is to get a monkey to evolve first to a caveman and then to a geeky looking kid by interacting with various elements within the game world. That was pretty much how the description of the game was written on the host site. It's rather misleading as it implies that the player is controlling the monkey a lot more than what actually is needed.

Will I play it again?
No. I finished it (with a couple glances at a walk-through) but if I hadn't I wouldn't come back to it and when the game ended I was thankful there was nothing left. Two of the puzzles were pretty intuitive and required a bit of thought. The other puzzles were difficult because failing to complete the steps in the right order would result in a dead end and require a restart of the game. Without spoiling things, this game seems to use what would seem to be natural things for a player to do to create these dead ends. This would be fine if it was trying to break from cliche's or getting the player to think outside the box but it looks to me to only about getting the steps in the right order.


Lunch break review - End of March

Posted by , in Flash Game Review 01 April 2011 - - - - - - · 587 views

Yeah, I know I should probably post more about progress on personal projects. Well there hasn't been any for a variety of reasons. Procrastination only accounting for about a quarter of the days I should've been working on making a game. Anyways, as I have with other blog posts, here's some thoughts on some flash games I've played over the past month.

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Watermelon Bomb
By: ArcadeTown.com
Played 2011-03-17 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-03-18

Something about fruit based games that gets my attention sometimes. Could be some sort of association with gambling maybe. No gambling in this game though. Launch an exploding watermelon, in a traditional cannon game style, at cherries, oranges, and coconuts to knock them down out of a tree and collect money for upgrades. Collecting $5000 in a single turn ends the game.

Will I play it again?
Maybe. It's just stupidly simple enough that if I want to kill some time I might play this again. A game only takes me about 5 minutes to play.

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Ovrshade
By: 4 Horsemen Studios
Played 2011-03-22 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-03-22

This is a puzzle platformer game where the objective is to get the main character to the goal. Actually, after the first few levels, there's two characters, one black and one white, and they both need to reach their goals. The catch is that the two characters pass through platforms that don't match their colour. Unless it's a grey platform in which case it acts as a barrier for both characters. Or unless it's a red platform in which case it will kill either character. Control is switched between each character to get them to their goal and the player can also toggle black and white platforms to their opposite state.

Will I play it again?
No. I think what turned me off for this game were the twitchy levels where you had to switch between characters and switch the platforms quickly. I did enjoy the levels that I could take my time on though. It probably comes down to a personal taste sort of thing but where this game could've hooked me with the more puzzley levels, I'd shortly after become unhooked by levels requiring more reflexes. Although, I kinda wonder if I'd feel the same if I was able to remap the buttons. I was having issues mixing them up. Like they weren't mapped to my brain quite right.
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Mad UFO
By: Vanya Gorenkov
Played 2011-03-23 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-03-24

I have to describe this game as Breakout meets Space Invaders. Though that's not quite right because the goal of each level is to destroy the buildings on the ground rather than the invading force and the invading force is only one ship. Anyways, destroying the building on the ground is achieved by bouncing one or more balls off of a UFO and onto the building in a traditional Breakout style. While doing so, ground and air defenses are deployed to shoot down the UFO. As levels progress, more defenses are deployed. Various upgrades can be purchased between levels.

Will I play it again?
It was fun, I wouldn't mind playing again, but I've already finished it twice and I have a feeling I won't come back to it. The one criticism I have is that the game is too short. In the past I've suggested that a shorter game can make for a better experience, but I think this is a kinda of game that could be allowed to proceed infinitely even if no further upgrades or unique levels were provided. After general mastery of the gameplay is achieved, a player's physical ability to continue playing becomes what he's competing against. I gotta say though that while playing I couldn't help but think, this is a game that could have been a hit back in the day of coin-op arcade games.

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Sugar, Sugar
By: BonteGames
Played 2011-04-01 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-04-01

A few years ago, I think around 2006ish, a project made its way onto the web simply called Sand. I guess you could call it a particle demonstration. It was a fun toy to play with, making sand fall this way and that by drawing lines that act as barriers, but there wasn't any real game aspect to it. But the developer of this game found one. Pretty simple too. Direct falling grains of sugar into cups on each level by drawing lines that act as barriers. Once a line is drawn, it can't be erased. For variation, some levels include colour change filters, a gravity switch, and some levels have a finite number of grains of sugar to work with.

Will I play it again?
I certainly intend on finishing this game. I got to level 16 when I ran out of play time. I think my one complaint is how long it can take to wait for sufficient sugar to build up so that other grains might roll down a hill. Even then, it could be attributed to just needing to find a better solution to the level. I'm looking forward to playing the rest of this game.


Lunch break review - Late February(ish)

Posted by , in Flash Game Review 04 March 2011 - - - - - - · 307 views

Seems I'm late with a lot of stuff this past few weeks. Kept putting off working on my own game and putting up anything about the games that I've been playing. Not sure if I'll get a chance to work on my game, but here's the latest reviews.

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Cuboy Quest
By: MoFunZone.com
Played 2011-02-22 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-02-25

The main character looks pretty retro so I gave this game a try expecting that sort of thing. It's got a fairly standard platform style to it with some levels including stuff like boxes as obstacles. The idea here is to shoot all the target pink things and then make it to the level exit. Have to admit, I was surprised when I found that the bullets persist should they come to a stop before falling off screen.


Will I play it again?
No, partly because I finished it. In general, it was ok but there was a sense that it was a game by an amateur who wanted to publish something that made basic use of whatever physics engine he had found. I also found that movement and jumping just didn't really feel right to me. That being said, I didn't exactly have high expectations for this game in the first place so after finding that I had completed all the levels and sort of enjoyed it, I guess I have to conclude that it wasn't bad.

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wOne


By: Sean Cooper

Played 2011-02-22 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-02-25

This game puts the player in control of a tire on a platformer sort of track. Gather up sufficient speed to make jumps or travel up walls in order to collect oil cans and stars. Collecting all of the oil cans allows the player to progress to the next level. The stars are placed in locations more difficult to get to and are just there to provide a challenge. I believe collecting all the stars in all levels unlocks the 6th level.

Will I play it again?
Nah. I found it enjoyable but it's the sort of game that you only play once. I was a bit surprised to find that this game only had 6 levels to it. It wasn't a bad thing but it made me wonder a bit if the author expected people to only play for a short while.

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Knights Vs Knights

By: Denis Rakitnykh
Played 2011-02-25 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-02-25

This is one of those match 3 type of games where there's something going on in the background which is affected by the matches that are made. In this case, in the background you have an army marching on a castle in the style of kind of Nob War style. Matching 3 symbols gives your army additional troops, or more speed, or otherwise attacks the defending castle. In the end, whichever side's troops are reduced to 0 is defeated.

Will I play it again?
Not likely. I'm not sure why I played it as long as I did. I generally like the whole match 3 thing with stuff going on in the back. But it didn't take long playing this one to see there was going to be a problem. While playing, the occasional unselectable block comes up. That's fine and all and expected in a lot of these games. Except that there's no way to get rid of them. I tried to look at it as an added challenge to work around them but I found that when you have quite a few of these blocks, you're likely to end up with no possible moves and no way to remedy that short of starting the level over. To be honest, this only happened a couple times while I was playing but it pretty much reduced the game to sheer luck.


Lunch break review - Mid February

Posted by , in Flash Game Review 17 February 2011 - - - - - - · 295 views

Just one quick game review today that I should've put up last week. Since it's later than I intended, I figured I should include both the initial impression I had and my impression now.

Previous reviews can also be found on my website here.

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Corporation Inc.
By: ArmorGames.com
Played 2011-02-09 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-02-17

This game seems to have been inspired by somewhat by Sim Tower. Build sections of office space and hire employees to run a button pushing corporation. Various types of employees (I've seen 6) have different roles in keeping the corporation running and growing. Various upgrades and building additions are needed to keep employees happy. I'm thinking that at some point the game will become mostly about ensuring that employees have appropriate access to whatever they need as the building is built higher and higher. The simple goal of seeing how high a tower can be built essentially supported by the backs of workers is sufficient to get my interest for awhile.

Maybe I should've posted this awhile ago. I was pretty excited by this game when I first tried it. I wrote the review shortly after that first trial and then later had a chance to sit down with it for a longer play session. The result was a bit of change in my point of view.


Will I play it again?
(2011-02-09)
Yes. I think this game has hooked me for awhile. I'm not sure how long I'll play until I get sick of it, especially since it looks like it's a game without an end, but I intend to find out. I think it's the way that different employee types and the building logistics seem to form little systems that has got me wanting to play this game. I suppose it t could also be something about having a bunch of virtual employees at my command as I sit at my desk on my own break from button pushing. The UI for the game does seem to be a bit unintuitive. It took quite awhile before I realised where I could find descriptions of the worker's thought bubbles. Also I've had issues upgrading things and generally with the way employee info is displayed in pop-up windows when you click on them for details. But I think I'm inclined to try and not let those things get in the way.

(2011-02-17)
Maybe once in a bit. I've gotten used to the UI issues and it's still cool to be the one that hires all the employees but there's really no logistics to manage or much of anything to do other than to spend the money that the employees make. It could be that when I expand the tower that I have the magic ratio in mind to keep everything running smoothly. But once I have a fair number (it's obviously not all) of the upgrades, it seems like I would specifically have to try to create negative situations. I suppose it's not entirely unreasonable in that I can imagine it becoming a nightmare to keep up with managing employee happiness as the employee count grows and grows. But there's a point where I found myself wondering, where's the challenge?


Lunch break review - Early February

Posted by , in Flash Game Review 07 February 2011 - - - - - - · 391 views

I meant to post these reviews last week but my schedule has been pretty busy lately.

I'm hoping to make the time to work on my own projects instead of commenting on other people's work but I'm not really optomistic about following through. I have a couple ideas churning around including one cheesy game that I'd like to throw together for an iPhone game, just for the experience of trying that platform out. Also, at some point I'm sure I'll get something together such that there'd be a player character walking around in the caverns I created with my Lab1 project. If I can fight off procrastinating, I'd like to have something for the iPhone game, which I guess I'll call Chicken Chase, that can at least be executed. Maybe by mentioning it here I'll feel more motivated to get something done.

In the mean time, here's some thoughts on games I played last week. One kept my interest for a bit while the other two quickly got pushed to the side.

Past reviews can be found here.


Into Space
By: Dmitry Kolyesnik
Played 2011-02-02 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-02-04

Hedgehog Launch sort of thing but with rockets instead. The objective is to get a rocket to the moon while avoiding obsticals on the way and collecting power-ups and money bonuses. In addition to money bonuses collected, money is earned based on altitude achieved and can be spent on a variety of upgrades.

Will I play it again?
Probably not. I found it difficult to want to play past the first few launches but after awhile I started having more fun with it. Had I not played Hedgehog Launch, I 'm not sure if I would've known that progress would get better after awhile. There seemed to be a variety of things that bugged me about this game the most annoying of which was the “Oh Yeah” sound effect. I've heard it in other games and hated it in them as well. I know free sound effects can be hard to come by but please, everyone, find something else that fits better. Other than that, I had some difficulty understanding what the controls were and how much fuel I had. Nothing that several minutes of trial and error couldn't take care of but some better instructions might've been nice. Also the upgrade system didn't feel like it really flowed with the progress of each launch. Buying three or four upgrades of a specific item on a single turn seems a little unbalanced. None of these things stopped me from enjoying the game but they don't make it feel like a smooth game (for lack of a better way to describe it).

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Super Swingers
By: Mad Science Industries and AddictingGames
Played 2011-02-02 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-02-04

A swinging game kinda like There's Two Wires only with more polish. Get your character accross the level by firing a cable into walls and celines and then swinging from the cable. Release the cable and then repeat without falling through the bottom of the screen. This game seems to have a few levels with different objectives including going for time or distance, however I didn't play it in depth to determine how extensive that was.

Will I play it again?
No. The way that ragdoll physics are used here makes this game unenjoyable for me. The character flops around on a number of axes which makes it just difficult enough to accurately fire cables. I think it should've just been applied to arm joints and maybe legs. If I'm swinging on a rope, my hand, neck, and body are going to be more rigid. The flopping around the way the character does in this game makes it look like he's already dead. Appearance aside, it made it difficult to take into account just exactly where the cabloe would end up as well as how the character was goin to be swinging.

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The Endless Tower
By: Nasta Basta Productions
Played 2011-02-02 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-02-04

A rapid file puzzle game of sorts using the num-pad. A timed puzzle is present to the player where the solution can be entered by pressing the num-pad keys. Puzzles are things like, which doesn't belong, press keys in this pattern, and press the keys for these things in order of smallest to largest. Once a puzzle is solved, you move “up the tower” and are present with another puzzle. Incorrect entries or spending too much time costs one of three lives.

Will I play it again?
No. I admit I didn't play long but I got the idea and I think I experienced the majority of the puzzles available. I'm not sure if there's any sort of difficulty progression or if it's just an endurance sort of thing but either way, I endured the game for as long as I saw fit to and decided it was time to move on.






Lunch break review - 3 more

Posted by , in Flash Game Review 21 January 2011 - - - - - - · 416 views

Three quick reviews of three more flash games that I've played this week during my lunch break. Wish I could think of a better title. Also not too sure the best way to present multiple reviews in one entry.

Past reviews can be found here.

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Time Machine: Medieval Cooking
By: gamesgames.com
Played 2011-01-18 on agame.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-01-21

I'm not sure how a monkey got ahold of a time machine equipped with a kitchenette but I guess sometimes the elements that pull a game together don't have to make sense. This is a time management sort of game that has customers coming up to the window and their requests for food are given through pictures in a thought bubble. Certain foods require a couple steps to prepare or are perishible while others are always immediatly availble. It took awhile for me to notice but each level has a time limit in which to serve the required number of customers.

Will I play it again?
I plan on trying to finish it once. At first I was thinking that it wasn't a particularily special game but then when I noticed that it was time to stop playing and that I wanted to finish just one more level, I realised that the game had hooked me. I haven't played this type of game in awhile so that may have helpped it get its hooks into me. The short of it is though, it is a pretty basic game centered on a tried concept that I found enjoyable. One minor thing that bugs me a bit is that the achievements are completly pointless.

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Chicken Jump
By: Alvin Team
Played 2011-01-21 on agame.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-01-21

Curiosity from the name and a cute image of a chicken is what got me to play this game. It's a simplistic game. Clicking the mouse causes a chicken to jump. The goal is to ascend vertically as high as possible by coming into contact with descending platforms and objects. Clicking the mouse again while in the air performs a double-jump sort of action which is useful when a platform is just barely missed but not useful at all when no platforms remain on the screen.

Will I play it again?
Probably not. It was cute. It entertained me for about 10 minutes. I stepped away feeling as though I was happy with my score. I'm not sure that if I continued to play that I'd get much more out of it. I might give it another go when I have only a few short minutes to kill and I want something light. But otherwise I'll probably be moving on.

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Mole Revenge
By: Luiz Fernando Modotti
Played 2011-01-21 on agame.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-01-21

Sometimes when playing a game it's like I can feel the presence of the developer right there. This is a basic platformer where the main character is a mole trying to rescue his family. There's a few bad-guy moles walking around, at least one deadly obstical that I came accross, all sorts of fruit laying around for points, and the occasional power-up. Probably the most prevelant hazzard would be any pits or falling off the screen. At the end of each level is a key waiting to be picked up which… well, completes the level. I guess it had to be something.

Will I play it again?
No. Probably the single most annoying thing was having to hold a button down to make the mole run. There's really no point that I could see for that feature and maybe I'd feel more positive about the game without having to use it. Other than that, I just felt as though I was playing a student game programmer's platformer assignment. The polish was certainly there and it was bug free and all and it is most definatly more than anything that I've ever written. But it just felt as though it collected the minimum of basic platformer ingredients that a game would have and didn't really make the game into anything that is its own.


Lunch break review - Sutek's Tomb

Posted by , in Flash Game Review 20 January 2011 - - - - - - · 347 views

Another quick review of a flash game I played on one of my lunch breaks. Past reviews can be found here.


Sutek's Tomb
By: Neopets.com
Played 2011-01-18 on Addictinggames.com
K. Helfenstein - 2011-01-20

This is a very streight forward match 3 sort of game. The playing field fills up with a bunch of different symbols and by selecting two adjacent symbols they will swap places with each other. Sets of three or more disapear and blocks fall from above to fill the empty space. This particular game has 3 difficulty settings that differ from each other by whether or not they're timed or the size of the field.

Will I play it again?
No. I'm not all that clear but I think this is a Neopets game that got linked into Addictinggames.com. I think they do this sort of thing for a few such websites for kids. I have to use my imagination as to what it's like to play this game as a kid who is taking part of the whole experience such a website offers. Maybe it'd be a better experience fully immersed as such and if I fit the target audience. But as a standalone game, I just couldn't really get into it. There were balancing issues for the two difficulty levels and I never did see any indication of the time bonus that I was promised for completing combos.





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