Reviews by green_knight

Alice's Patchwork Icon
Fun Images to puzzle out: what's not to like? Quite a bit, actually.
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Sep 8th 2017

Turns out, the gamification of it. You can see only five pieces at a time, they're often very obscure (which would be good), in order to progress you must solve these puzzles very fast and without a single mistake. This often means restarting a level until it's possible or until you've memorised the exact position of all pieces.

I find it ironic that of all the games I play (which includes a fair few action games like Shadows of Mordor) this is the one where physical restrictions (inability to hold down the mouse button and move the mouse with precision for long stretches of time until I have found the right spot for a piece) lose me points/mess up levels most often. Instead of fun, I found this game stressful.

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Fortune Winds: Ancient Trader Icon
Solid short-form game
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Aug 31st 2017

Trade a little, explore a little, fight a little...

This is a game with very simple (but not boring) gameplay and marvellous, marvellous graphics, perfect for a quick round. You can adapt several different strategies, but the game never needs you to sit there with spreadsheet and calculator at hand.

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Avalon Legends Solitaire 2 Icon
Level 45. Had my money's worth already
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Aug 30th 2017

This is a mixture of solitaire and kingdom builder, which makes mechanisms that otherwise often irritate me - replay levels to grind more gold - actually meaningful. The levels are lovingly crafted; both the visuals and the gameplay are keeping my interest so far, and given the varied level-up options, I would guess this has as much replay value as the excellent SevenSeas solitaire.

This is well-crafted in every aspect, and I am enjoying it tremendously.

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Sakura Day Mahjong Icon
Gamification of Games
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Aug 2nd 2017

Play more to shuffle! Play levels over and over to be lucky enough to hit arbitrary targets (exact mode of scoring unknown) so you can unlock the next level! Waste a shuffle so you can see which tiles you're looking for!

Mahjong already *is* a game. It doesn't need to be gamified. I played this through once because I was curious about the last set of levels, but after I finished, I deleted it with a sigh of relief - and I continue to look for a Mahjong game that I *want* to replay for the sheer fun of it.

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Claws & Feathers Icon
Uneven puzzle game
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Apr 3rd 2017

It's also quite possibly the most irritating type of puzzle game: some of the gameplay is fixed and you need a good strategy to solve it, while some of the game is completely random and you need a lot of luck to succeed.This does not make for a good combination.
I found the levels either too easy (there's only one solution, and it's obvious) or too hard, with nothing in the middle, which leads to a lot of frustration and no replay value.
This is a well-crafted, amusing game; it just doesn't come together for me.

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Griddlers: Victorian Picnic Icon
Not There
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Nov 15th 2016

I like the genre, I have liked other offerings from the same developer (Egyptian & Sherlock); I have disliked an older game (Asian Griddlers), but this is the one that makes me say 'no more'. Too many of the levels try to be cute insetad of solvable (when there is more than one solution and you need to go by the preview picture or use hints, the puzzle has failed), and there's a bug in one of the sections that means you cannot play half the levels in it. The crowning glory is the level where there are too many numbers to fit on the display, so you solve the numbers you can see and surprise! make a mistake because there's an extra field you could not have known about.

This is a game that could have been fun if the developers had done their job and tested it with an eye to gameplay. 'remember the image and click the fields that come closest' is, I suppose, a game of sorts, but not the one I signed up for and spent my money on.

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Detective Riddles - Sherlock's Heritage Icon
Does what it says on the tin
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Oct 28th 2016

It's a collection of grid puzzles, nothing more, but nothing less. Unlike the 'Asian Griddlers' from the same developer, this is a bunch of challenging puzzles that will help you pass the time. There's no particularly strong story to this, but it doesn't need one. And for me, it works perfectly under 10.11, so no complaints about that, either.

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Asian Riddles Icon
Not quite there
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Oct 23rd 2016

I bought this because I have the awkwardly named 'Egypt Picross Pharaohs Riddles' which I enjoyed very much. The pictures here are too symmetrical, which makes the gameplay more awkward, and several puzzles have more than one solution, so you end up guessing according to the picture rather than solving the puzzle as such. Equally annoying is that you can't cancel a bad guess in mid-move; together they add up to a rather unsatisfying experience.

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Egypt Picross Pharaohs Riddles Icon
Challenging Puzzle Game
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Oct 23rd 2016

This is a nice challenging game when you need a breather: you need to do maths in your head, but all puzzles had exactly one solution (even if some of them are very tricky); on the whole, much more addictive than I had expected.

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The Lord of the Rings: War in the North Icon
Great game lacking final polish
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Oct 23rd 2016

This is a great game but the minor niggles are niggly enough that I cannot give it five start. (Take this to be four-and-a-half). It is epic - I've only scratched the surface of the world and every area has places to explore. The setting is built with great love and in much detail, and while there's a strong storyline, you don't feel railroaded. The game feels fair rather than out to get you - there are plenty of challenges and fast and furious fights, but they never feel rigged.

The niggles are things like socketable items not slotting into sockets, items in your inventory getting re-sorted so I can't separate things I want to keep from those I want to sell, no clear savepoints, slightly dodgy camera and klutzy menu navigation - they don't hurt my enjoyment much, but they annoy. And when you plan on spending 40-60h (at least!) on one game, having to confirm every start and every quit twice adds up. On the other hand, it runs very smoothly on my recent Macbook Air and sits well in the background, and it's interesting without demanding 100% concentration and reflexes, so this definitely has a place on my list of favourite games.

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We Are The Dwarves Icon
Unplayable on 10.11
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Sep 18th 2016

I briefly owned this for 40 minutes of gameplay, at which point I hit a fatal bug: on OSX 10.11 I could not interact with the dialogues. Which meant that I could not get past the second level. Up to that point, it had been a very challenging (but unimaginative) game: levels are fixed, enemies spawn in the same place if you die and behave the same, so it's more of a puzzle - what do I need to do to defeat these - than the action RPG I was hoping for.

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Chateau Garden Icon
Not quite polished
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Sep 6th 2016

This is a good, solid Match-3 game that's nicely responsive. But it's also unfinished in so many ways: the app does not respond to 'quit' and if you switch to another application you have to retrieve its window by clicking on the dock because there's no other way to un-minimise it. The garden is phoned in - this is a desktop app, and instead of one small area, that will be crammed with items when you're done (but has all of the layout from the start, a little more effort could have put into wandering around in the grounds and developing a more visually-pleasing result.
The gameplay itself is a mixture of puzzle and luck - which means that if you want to 'solve' a level by getting maximum points, you will have to replay it a number of times until luck is on your side, but you click several times to replay it where a single button would have done the trick.

All in all, fun to play, but with limited replay value.

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Zombie Solitaire Icon
Amusing enough
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Sep 6th 2016

My favourite solitaire is SevenSeas solitaire, and admittedly thats a high bar to clear, but one cannot be a pirate all the time. This has an amusing backstory, but the levels themselves are boring and somewhat phoned in - draping the cards in different ways does not distract from the fact that most of them seem to be '4-5 rows that you need to match'. There's no feel of 'level design' here; the game lacks generosity (no undo for those 'oops, didn't see that' moments, cannot play a joker after the last card) and all too often I end a session because a level has three playable cards, they're all face cards, you cannot use jokers on face cards, so you hope that a playable card turns up sooner than halfway through your deck.

I like it, and it's worth picking up on sale, but don't expect great gameplay.

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The Travels of Marco Polo Icon
Short, amusing, forgettable
by green_knight, United Kingdom - May 23rd 2016

It took me three hours to play through this game (I opted for the 'consult a game guide' rather than 'bang head against wall' option), and I'd almost say this is one of the game's strengths: rather than an endless slog though ever-repeating puzzles the game explores the whole space of point-and-click _and then stops_. This gives you an amusing story with marvellous graphics and varied challenges that holds no tedium. All in all, it's an interesting taster of the story of Marco Polo, and a good way to spend an afternoon if you like this type of game.

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Torchlight Icon
Solid Diablo Clone
by green_knight, United Kingdom - May 8th 2016

This game has (almost) everything: fun graphics, a useful interface, interesting opponents, and just enough quirks to keep you interested even if you're a veteral player of the genre. Torchlight does not pretend to be epic - it's a fun romp through dungeons that is as challenging or relaxed as you like. The main improvement I'd like to see is navigation with arrow keys (this is mouse-only): otherwise it's solid, stable (running just fine on OS 10.11) and just good fun.

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Geisha: The Secret Garden Icon
Disappointing Implementation
by green_knight, United Kingdom - May 8th 2016

The concept is great: a Match-3 game with mahjong tiles and unique special tiles/powers. The implementation is disappointing: there is a lot of needless clicking and mouse-swiping, the tiles are unresponsive, the interface is cluttered, the levels unbalanced and switching between trivial and near-impossible. All in all, the game feels half-baked.

I love Match-3 games and play them frequently; I do not think I will play this one again.

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Spooky Runes Icon
Unique Gameplay; can get repetitive
by green_knight, United Kingdom - May 8th 2016

This is a puzzle game with gameplay I have not seen elsewhere; I find that this is a game I like best in small doses - a few levels, then doing other things, and a definite break between finishing one game and starting the next. I would definitely buy a follow-up with different levels. The main reason I am not giving it the full five stars is that the interface can get annoying and a little bit intrusive: I'd like to keep the sound effects and turn off a) the tutorial and b) the voice-overs. Otherwise, it's great.

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Dungeons 2 Icon
Too complex, too fussy
by green_knight, United Kingdom - May 7th 2016

I wanted to like this and had looked forward to it, but I found it too complex, with too many (unexplained) options. The interface was slightly glitchy for me (OSX 10.11), and seemingly simple tasks in the tutorial already took a lot of micromanagement and hitting pixels in exactly the right spot and order. (Any game where I need to quit and look at outside resources to work out how to handle the interface automatically lose points with me.) I never got to the point where I could actually _play_.

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Bastion Icon
Mixed Feelings
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Apr 23rd 2016

Short version: I played all the way through, and I'm glad I did, but I'm not sure I want to play it again.

Long version: Very much a 'see for yourself' game. The graphics are unique, the gameplay is interesting, the enemies are innovative. I love the difficulty system (die or don't die, and unlock the ability to add selective challenges [enemies get stronger/faster/vindictive etc] depending on how you feel. The story is - by design - very linear, and gameplay with mouse and keyboard becomes very demanding in places. (hear sound, dodge, fire - only often the sound for one particular enemy plays only AFTER it attacks you, and healing leaves you no time to dodge. Those levels were... not fun.) And I really resented that you unlock new weapons/skills by finding them in the game... which means you need to play the rest of the level with the new weapon instead of your super-upgraded favourite one.

This is very much not a game for newcomers to the genre.

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MouseCraft Icon
Decidedly ho-hum
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Apr 6th 2016

On the positive side, this is an amusing puzzle game with a coherent story and a novel mechanism. It's well-balanced - new complications are introduced gradually - and the puzzles are challenging but not impossible.
So far, so good.

On the negative side, I've experienced a number of glitches - I had to replay a level to make the controls of the next level responsive - and I'm not finding the controls intuitive. Too much side-scrolling, too much pressing on a button to find that while the mouse is inside it, it's not actually inside the responsive area, too many hints flashing by at a speed I cannot read them. Some puzzles need very precise timing to solve - you need to stop the action in the right moment, and place your block _just then_; miss it and you fail your objectives.

Overall, I like the idea – and the playthrough videos on YouTube – much better than the actual gameplay. Despite my eternal love for Tetris, I don't think I shall bother again with this.

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