Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Micro review - "Puzzle Craft" IOS

"Some villagers have started a new settlement and they've put you in charge. In Puzzle Craft you take control of an entire populace and must help them grow their settlement into a bustling city! To do this you will need to farm, mine, collect taxes, hire workers and more. Blending two forms of gameplay for the first time, Puzzle Craft is as unique as it is addicting."

I'm a bit of a sucker for match-3 games, bejewelled and such.  It's easy money really and the games are ten a penny, just swap the jewels for animals or even robots and I'm sold.  They're the ultimate time sucking 'casual' genre and I make no bones by the fact that I love a little time sucking now and again. A new title by mobile kings Chillingo has this evil factor and more in spades. Not only content with the match-3 element the cheeky monkeys add a second level of a time management / character upgrade system.  This combination is like some dark chimera that's sprouted extra heads.
At first glance the game looks like a cartoony, social farm building sim, but its more of an economy simulator that's powered by tile matching. You control every aspect of this haven you're trying to build, responsible for your little town from both the top level, choosing what to build and where to build it, and the very bottom rung, harvesting the grain and mining the stone to keep things running.  This is where the tile matching comes in, the items you match during these mini games are added as 'stock' when you complete each line. Wheat for bread, chickens, Carrots and coal from your mine all contribute to helping your village prosper into a town and beyond.  Watch out for that Wolf!

Retaining a decent bank balance can be tricky as buying cottages for your workers or erecting a new windmill can COST the earth if you don't have the right materials to build with in the first place.  I found on several occasions when trying to connect to the in game 'shop' to buy more coins it didn't work, stuttered and kicked me out of the game.  If I am to gripe this is my only real criticism for Puzzle Craft, this, and the fact that IT TAKES AGES TO MAKE A TOWN! Probably my play-style to be honest,  blow your load on lots of materials early on f*&k the consequences.  Still great little time waster and not bad for 69p....


Monday, 20 August 2012

The Return of RetroMonday - "The N.E.S"

So, I've been a bit cheeky this week and have poached this little post from my old site.  While I prepare for a fresh review today, I just wanted to reprise this for an old school Retro:RETRO Monday. 

This comes as no surprise,I decided to talk today about perhaps my favourite console of all time. The original and best, the 8-bit monster - The Nintendo Entertainment System. A CLASSIC !
Originally released in Europe and Australia in 1987, I received mine quite late on in 1990 for my tenth Christmas. The main reason I'm writing this is the warmth I feel every time I think of playing the old dear titles. Amazing games like Mario bros 3, Zelda and Duck Tales. My fondest gaming memories all took place whilst burning away the wee hours hooked up to this genius piece of kit.

I can honestly say the single reason why I'm such a game freak now; is because of this machine, as I'd got it late on the wealth of cartridges that were available to buy was HUGE. Well to a ten year old, I'd say so.

As one of the best presents I had received came all sealed up bundled with Mario bros, Double Dragon, Duck hunt and the Zapper i was literally beside myself. I'd been buying (well, my mum had, as i said i was 10) as many game magazines around winter as i could in anticipation in what Father Christmas could be bringing, it was too much, I had to know everything about the Console, titles released, new games coming out, graphics, everything. I attribute that OCD behavior and quest for game knowledge in every console and every title I've played or heard about since. It's made me how I'am today, always seeking info, the next nugget of news, scanning sites such as IGN and Kotaku everyday. Listening to hours of podcasts from the Gamespot team or the U.S Hotspot. Other people will be just like me on this front, they'll all have similar stories and fond memories about their first love.

BINGO, their it is, my first love, that's why i chose the N.E.S to write about today, it kickstarted my official geekdom. It was the first machine, my first machine.
xx Nintendo xx

Check out this American advert for the full NES Rob the Robot pak. Cheesy but timeless...

Boxart for the OG zelda, still good....

So what kept me glued to this machine, every night after school and every weekend for YEARS. I'll tell you; no, I'll list them for you... this is a blog site after all and i do love lists.

My top 8 NES titles:

NO.8 - Double Dragon 2

I spent MANY a play-through's with a buddy on this wee beastie. I can still remember arguing with my friend about who would be Jimmy Lee and who would be Billy Lee. As their moves where identical and they looked just the same (was a NES remember) i guess it came down to playing the guy with the blue shirt or the guy with the red shirt.

NO.7 - Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers

Oh gooood times spent on this mad-cap platform game, as a BIG TIME fan of the show i loved the fact i could play as all the characters. I'm humming the theme in my head as i write this. An underrated classic.

NO.6 - Mega Man 2

Officially one of the HARDEST games ever made. I never finished it. I did spend godless hours trying to hone my platforming skills on it though. As tough-as-they-come monster that became a NES poster child for smashed up pads everywhere. Curse you Dr.Wily. Loved it !!

NO.5 - Ducktales

Another TV game adap, this one featured Scrooge McDuck and the pint size trio Huey, Duey and Looie. A classic platformer where i'd spend half the game time on foot and the other half bouncing on Scrooge's cane. It was a masterclass in capturing a brilliantly designed world with it's TV counterpart. Everybody - "Ducktales, woohoo"

NO.4 -Kickle Cubicle

Sublime level based 1 screen puzzler, mixing action and ice. I spent so long trying to finish this one, eventually i broke through to the final level. My tale doesn't have a good ending because in the midst of doing so, i leapt of my chair knocking my NES and freezing my game in the process. It didn't register my save and I'd lost everything... i should have written down that damn level code.

NO.3 - Legend of Zelda
What's to be said about this game that hasn't before...
A timeless piece of work that introduced us to the kingdom of hyrule. Will always be in my top 5.

NO.2 - The Adventure of link

What! Top down action, and now this. Side scrolling too. Amazing stuff, for the first time i felt at home with my new genre of choice. Action RPG. Splitting the games view' into 2 modes was genius and a great use for a hub world, infact that leads me nicely to my number one spot...

NO.1 - Super Mario Bros 3

The king of platformers, one of the greats and my personal favourite game of ALL TIME.
Never to be toppled in my eyes. It left an echo so loud that every other Mario game since has borrowed from it, the overview map, the choice to store power-ups, the suits.

Punch out!



So, the NES, in a nutshell the machine that made me, me.

Loving the sites and smells of the old-school.

Peace and Love
Dr Lucian Sanchez (aka Marc)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Micro review: "10000000" IOS

A nice wee blog to get us started yes? Ok.....
To quote Mark William's shed based character on "The Fast Show", this week I've mostly been playing games on my iPhone.  The little ditty that caught my eye this time around was '100000000' released a few weeks ago on the App Store.

“10000000 is a Dungeon Crawling RPG Matching Game. Run the dungeon and match to handle the things you encounter. Upgrade your castle, improve your gear, train skills and brew potions

10000000 is one of a current trend of games that has been fitted out with a pixel art finish, naff 8-bit  graphics to the untrained eye. Utilizing a drag-and-match system, these elements are mixed well with an endless dungeon crawl which has kept me attacking this for hours.  Think Henry Hatsworth on the DS via a C64.  You have specific 'missions' to conquer through each run of the dungeon, chain 5 attacks, block 5 successful strikes etc all culminating in you obtaining the elusive 10000000 score in order to escape your fate (finish it yeah!) 

The block pieces/puzzles are simple enough - match swords together, you attack, keys you'll unlock doors and so on.  At the same time, you also get to collect goodies and open treasure boxes. Your character does all the running himself but if needs to defend himself in a fight or open treasure chests, you will have to match three or more corresponding tiles. 
Dying in this game isn't a big deal, however, as you are always on a time limit the tiny corridor you're in will slowly move left cutting you off the screen entirely if one isn't quick enough to match the blocks. As soon as you kick the bucket you wake up in bed ready to go again. As there are no visible penalties in dying this almost instant restart is a nice addition, and acts very similar to 'Trial Evolutions' crack induced just-one-more-go feel. I still haven't finished this game as actually getting to the mental score of 10000000 is pretty enduring but worth every penny of its measly £1.49!  For fans of quick to play, accessible puzzle games... go get it!

Welcome back....

Well now, it's been a while hasn't it.  Over 12 months have passed since I last graced the pages of the Interweb to blog, review or generally moan about the 'stuff', our interactive world has changed and I thought it was time to ride that horse back online!
The last post I worked on 'Gainboy@blogspot.com' is still open to be read and enjoyed but to keep this fresh and current I need structure.  I've decided to keep this updated 3 times a week including random posts over twitter. I loved the "Retro Monday" feature on my last blog so we'll be keeping that, a review of a more recent title on a Wednesday and at the end of the week, a round up of things from around the web. I have a few ideas planned for future blogs including a BIG TV feature on new shows that are starting in the fall/winter things like new Dexter, Boardwalk Empire and Parks and Recreation. Also and a first for me - a tweet by tweet playthrough review of some of Q4's biggest games.

Plus all the normal fluff about Games, TV and Movies.

Hope this is something you can get behind, I'd love to here what you all thing about the new page - get me on Twitter @dr_lucian and on Facebook - Marc Lonsdale. Comments on all posts are welcome.