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Elliot Quest Icon
Marvelous and inventive RPG/platformer experience
by eric t, USA - Dec 30th 2018

Evoland was such a surprise — part platformer, part RPG, kind of like the ultimate "upgrade" sort of game, where it starts very primative (think GameBoy Advance) and moves up the line of console RPGs. The modes are not especially difficult, and all were really fun to get into.

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Crowntakers Icon
Played many times over
by eric t, USA - Dec 30th 2018

Crowntakers reminds me of playing a board game: there are cards played, random moments that feel like the roll of dice, and a fast ending. The problem I have with this game is that it is ultra-linear, in the sense that the game becomes more difficult as time passes — so you are penalized for exploring. Yet once you reach the end, that's it and you must start over. That said, I find myself returning to this game over and over — I must have played it through at least 20 times. There is just enough variability to get me to return. I bought the DLC, even, but I don't recommend it — it was just another area that didn't add much to my experience of the world.

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Lords of Xulima Icon
A classic for classic RPG lovers
by eric t, USA - Dec 30th 2018

If you liked Baldur's Gate or Neverwinter Nights, this is a winner. A nice, rich story, many characters, some really challenging moments, and a satisfying ending. There is an element of hack-and-slash here that I found boring at some points; or I would return to the game after a week and wonder what I was doing or what needed to be done next. I'm not especially good at RPGs, so this took me over 100 hours to complete. Graphics are quite good, music is top-notch.

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Eschalon: Book III Icon
Many enhancements to the series
by eric t, USA - Dec 30th 2018

I've played all the eschalon series, and part 3 had the most fit and finish — an engaging story, numerous enhancements, and lots of the things that annoyed me about the first 2 parts were gone. Enter into this expecting a "classic" RPG feel — like an RPG from about 15 years ago, with occasional glimpses (graphics, sound, interaction) of sophistication. I grew up on the Ultima series, and so stories like Eschalon have an especially nostalgic feel.

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Be Richer Icon
For fans of Build-A-Lot and time management games
by eric t, USA - Dec 27th 2018

I played the entire Built-A-Lot series years ago and really liked these games. "Be Richer" is very similar to that series, and actually introduces a lot of new features. Like Build-A-Lot, the levels start easy and get increasingly more difficult — and so do the kinds of buildings you can build. It took me about 10 hours to make it through the "career" mode — lots of fun, some challenging levels, and very satisfying. While there is an "endless" mode, I didn't find that especially fun or challenging.

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The Chaos Engine Icon
Must love the classics
by eric t, USA - Nov 18th 2013

This is a remake of the original 1993 arcade game made for the Amiga, and it's a good time capsule of where overhead shooters were in 1993. There are virtually no improvements here, and gameplay for me was boring, confusing, and frustrating. There are no manuals I've found to see keyboard controls. If you're a diehard fan of the genre or like playing meticulously restored classic games, this one's for you. But otherwise, I'd say pass.

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My Life Story Icon
good idea, good beginning, then yawnsville
by eric t, USA - Apr 24th 2010

My life story is a great idea - using time-based strategy to build up your character after graduating from high school. The graphics are cute, the music is tolerable, and the gameplay fairly slick.

Trouble is, about halfway through the game my character had enough money so that there was nothing left to struggle about, except gaining enough experience to finish the game. That was maybe 2 hours of fun, challenging stuff, followed by 2 hours of random mouse clicking and "is it over yet?"

Is it worth it to buy a game that's a good idea and half good? I feel a little cheated, but not a lot.

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Heroes of Might & Magic V Icon
great for its time, now out of date
by eric t, USA - Apr 24th 2010

I had wanted to buy this game for years, but it was just too much money. I finally caved in and bought Heroes V because macgamestore discounted the price 50%.

I can see why Heroes V was revolutionary when it came out for the PC - in 2006. I can see how many titles have duplicated Heroes V functionality - strategy, planning battles, building up your cities.

I played the game faithfully for a week. But there is a lot of repetition (same battles, same walks through land) and I found it kind of boring.

So if you want to see one of gaming's strategy pioneers, buy this game. But don't expect it to knock your socks off.

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Warblade Icon
Great gameplay, too short
by eric t, USA - Apr 24th 2010

This game is beautiful. The interface was confusing for me - there are a lot of customizable settings. Make sure you have the visible stars turned all the way up, the background is really nice.

What I've never liked about galaga-type shooters is that they are hard and boring. Warblade solves this by letting you buy upgrades and having 20 or so power-ups available inside each level.

There are 100 levels of gameplay, and you have 5 save slots so you can return to a game in progress. On the easiest setting, I was able to complete the game in 3 hours.

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High-quality RPG experience
by eric t, USA - Apr 11th 2009

I was really blown away by the quality and detail of both the gameplay and the story. If you head to best buy, you will see FATE as a boxed RPG game for the PC - so this is the real deal, complete with a 50+ page manual for gameplay. It really is a steal for $20.

FATE reminds me of neverwinter nights 2 - but in a light format. There's just a single town and 42 levels of dungeon to work through, so the plot is linear: a guy in town says, "go destroy this monster on level 20, I'll give you this enchanted item." There are LOTS of items to get. The levels are actually great for me - I can finish a dungeon level and quit the game, playing for an hour at a time and not feel like I'm cutting off my experience of the world.

Battle is real-time, like in diablo and other games of its ilk. Contrary to other reviews, I found the game easy - choose the "page" difficulty when you are creating your character.

I've been playing this game for about 25 hours and I'm halfway through the dungeon levels. So there's a lot of value in the purchase!

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Sally's Spa Icon
clickable, likable time management game
by eric t, USA - Apr 11th 2009

Sally's spa is a cute, engaging time management game.

Gameplay is essentially about clicking in the right places at the right time and in the right order, within a specific time limit. You will definitely want a trackball mouse or another pointer device that you can move very quickly across the display.

I downloaded the demo, thinking I'd probably find the game simple and not very interesting. (How engaging could it be to run a spa?) But I was pleasantly surprised and decided to lay out the $ to buy the game.

What separates sally's spa from others in the time management category is the graphics and sound. These are both high-quality, with fluid animation and a rich soundtrack that doesn't annoy or get in the way of gameplay. Download the demo and see for yourself. There's a tutorial and you can be playing in about 5 minutes.

There are something like 30 levels in the game and I have not yet hit all of them, but they do become increasingly complicated and difficult to beat with an "expert" or "perfect" score. Your reward is more money to spend in the spa, upgrading items and buying new ones.

You are moving spa customers through different services in the spa. Some want the steam room, others want facials, etc. And everybody gets impatient waiting - time is of the essence. Upgrades add additional complexity to the game. Buy a second massage table, for instance, and you can handle two customers at once. But then you're clicking a lot more to move customers between two tables instead of just one. I'd say there are somewhere around 20 such upgrades to be had.

In sum, four stars. One of the better time management games. I particularly enjoyed the build-a-lot series, and while this isn't as engaging as those were - sally's spa is more of a light touch - it is still satisfying to play.

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Build-a-lot Icon
Great playability, no replayability
by eric t, USA - Mar 28th 2009

Build-a-lot has a low learning curve, so it's easy to dive right in. The slow response time makes it seem like this was a bad port from some other platform, but it hardly ever gets in the way of gameplay.

As the game progresses, it does get pretty difficult, especially if you want to clear it in their shortened "bonus level" time. The different themes of the neighborhoods are cute and give the game some personality and individuality.

In the end it was enough for me to shell out $20. I got maybe 15 hours of fun out of this game, and while you can play it in "casual" mode, it's just not as fun as the regular mode.

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Build-a-lot 2 Icon
Good sequel to the original
by eric t, USA - Mar 28th 2009

I bought this second installment of build-a-lot on the basis of my good experience with the first version.

Build-a-lot 2 delivers. It has a low learning curve like the first version, so you can download the demo and understand the basics of gameplay in about 10 minutes.

The interface and rendering are smoother here than the first version - it has definitely been improved. The graphics are slightly improved, with some buildings that animate.

There are new building types and a few more bells and whistles, but the gameplay is essentially unchanged from the first version - meet x criteria before x time has elapsed.

The build-a-lot series has a very addictive quality that's level-based, so you can spend 15-20 minutes trying out a level and then quit the game to return to it in that place. It's a good mix between "casual gaming" and something that's more immersive.

This was about 10 hours of gameplay for me; I had bought build-a-lot previously so I had some experience. Was it worth the $20? When I think of some of the ridiculous ways I've spent $20, build-a-lot 2 is absolutely worth the dough.

Note that if you are an astute gamer, which I am not, you might be able to complete all the levels in a few hours.

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Eschalon: Book I Icon
A classic RPG lover's paradise
by eric t, USA - Dec 13th 2008

Fans of old-school ultima (III-VI) can rejoice with eschalon book I. I played this game for a solid 40 hours to completion, and I loved it. I played it on an older powerbook g4 (633mhz) and it was painfully slow - you'll want something a bit faster than this to really enjoy the gameplay. I hear basilick games is working on eschalon book II; can't wait until that one comes out!

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