Reviews by NorthernSpruce

Spirit Walkers: Curse of the Cypress Witch Icon
Good game but not much longer than the demo
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Aug 13th 2013

I liked this affordable game, the storyline is fantastical but the puzzles were entertaining and challenging and the story was fun. I played the demo and liked it enough to buy but the game only went on for about another forty minutes past the point where the demo ends, so I felt I had wasted money, but on the whole it was a good game.

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Hamlet Icon
Short but inexpensive and lots of fun
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Aug 7th 2013

Creative, challenging, beautiful to look at and clever. It's short, but it's not expensive. Well done!

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The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav Icon
Interminable and ridiculous
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Jul 14th 2013

Dialogue goes on and on about inane mythology of this realm; puzzles are ludicrous (the Queen's three impossible tasks will prompt you to smash your computer). You get many hours of gameplay, but as the game and the absurd puzzles went on and on I cared less and less about the characters or the mission, especially because as the puzzles became more and more contrived I had less and less confidence that patience and logic would suffice to figure them out. When you have many sites available and an inventory full of objects, and the correct solution requires several crucial steps that are strictly arbitrary ("why does the colour-stone have to be back on the basin to make the path appear??") it becomes frustrating, not enjoyable.

Nicely-drawn.

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Gears Icon
Not expensive, mildly entertaining
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Jul 3rd 2013

Even the Easy level is pretty challenging, but it can get frustrating to replay the same section of track over and over with just a touchpad to control the ball on a narrow track.

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The Night of the Rabbit Icon
Mostly positive!
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Jul 1st 2013

This game provides many hours of play, there are many very different scenes and characters and a genuinely interesting story of a boy who has a magician's mission thrust upon him. The puzzles range from obvious to so-nonintuitive-as-to-be-nearly-impossible. It has no replay value since the evolution of the game is linear but it gives you your money's worth and I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

Pros:
- Well-drawn
- Huge and clever inventory
- Interesting characters
- Challenging puzzles
- Many hours of play

Cons:
- Some of the dialogues are frequently repeated and become tiresome, especially if you are hunting for an elusive clue and re-interview certain characters
- Main character's movements are often plodding and annoyingly slow (though a shortcut feature appears eventually which helpd quite a bit)
- A few puzzles are extremely contrived

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Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall Icon
Excellent
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Jun 23rd 2013

Like most of the Nancy Drew games, this one is very well made and lots of fun. The story is complicated but clever, the scenes and puzzles carefully done and challenging, and you have a choice of difficulty levels. The game is not super-long - maybe 4-5 hours - and has little replay value, which are its main defects, but I really enjoyed it (one reason it was over so quickly - I played it for several hours at a stretch!).

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Sid Meier's Pirates! Icon
Not bad
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Jun 23rd 2013

This has some replay value because there are several variables you can choose from - your country of origin, the period in history, your particular skill - and each component of the game is prety entertaining. However, once you have done each of them - engaged in a sea battle, traded with a merchant, danced with a governor's daughter, and engaged in a sword fight with enemy captains, the rest of the game and all future replays are a permutation of those basic events. The difficulty does increase but interest trails off and disappears. However, for the price, it is good for quite a few hours of diversion.

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Jack Keane Icon
Slow and dull
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Jun 22nd 2013

Super slow and choppy (on a Macbook Air), repetitive dialogue and uninteresting puzzles. Not worth the price, even on sale.

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Egypt: The Prophecy - Part 1 Icon
Anuman syndrome
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Jun 4th 2013

Not even three hours of play, not very challenging, and has the common Anuman failing of looking like a dumbed-down made-for-PC game with glaring indicators of what to click and where to go, lots of dead areas, and strange gaps in the storyline. Not worth even $7.

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Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air Collector's Edition Icon
Crash
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Jun 2nd 2013

Donwloaded and tried to run the demo but it repeatedly opened a blank window and froze there.

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Dracula 3 - The Path of the Dragon Icon
Lots of occult themes
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - May 23rd 2013

The game is well made, but I personally really dislike how much horror/occult imagery there is in the game. I have to say, the story is quite sophisticated and carefully done, the dialogue clever; I just don't like to be that immersed in dark and troubling imagery.

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Crazy Machines Icon
Terrific
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - May 17th 2013

This is a great game. I love the Rube Goldberg/Heath Robinson style of very complex and clever techniques to accomplish simple tasks. Some of the levels are extremely challenging and others very simple; a couple of times I thought there must be a bug because a level seemed so hard to finish but every level can be done - sometimes you need to be very precise with placement. The game rewards creativity - you can accomplish the tasks any way you like but the set-up sometimes requires you to do counter-intuitive things with gears, magnets, explosives, lights, boilers, steam engines. It's like a virtual marble run for adults. Totally worth the money and you can play it for many, many hours.

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Little Inferno Icon
Pros and cons
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - May 8th 2013

Premise:
You buy offbeat stuff from a catalogue and burn it in a fireplace. If you burn certain things together (you have to figure out the exact combinations) it provides a bonus. That's it. There is a story underlying it all but it doesn't really affect gameplay. Everything ends with a twist of sorts.

Pros:
- Exquisitely drawn, super creatively executed
- An endearing secondary character
- Entertaining special effects

Cons:
- Quite a few objects scream cartoonishly when you burn them
- The premise is not convincing
- Good for about 2.5 hours of play
- The only challenge is figuring out the combinations

Obviously some people loved it, and I like certain things about it, but I wouldn't play it again and I wouldn't recommend it.

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Road to India Icon
Another dumbed-down PC "adventure" game
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - May 7th 2013

This is one of those games made for PC that are lousy when adapted for Mac - many of the original puzzles must have been removed because there are strange gaps in the story and the gameplay. The puzzles don't make a lot of sense and you kind of have to flail around clicking on everything. On the other hand, even though the puzzles aren't logical, there is very little challenge in them because a huge hand or gear icon makes it clear what you have to click on. Unchallenging, not fun, embarrassing "Indian" accents…and if you insist on buying the game, try to get through the Lotus Maze and tell me you don't hate it too.

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Tiny Token Empires Icon
Hours of fun - seriously!
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Apr 30th 2013

Very uneven game: steep learning curve, so it's initially frustrating, but then playing Greece and Rome was a lot of fun. A couple of the levels were superchallenging but that was part of the fun - persevering until you figure out the trick. Once you master the game mechanics and strategy, it's a cool game.

Something must have gone wrong in adapting this game for Mac, however, because once you get to Persia, the two levels I have tried are impossible. Not challenging: they cannot be completed. On one campaign I have totally dominated the board with a huge army and ahuge amassed wealth and it is impossible to conquer the final territory needed to win. (One of the units has a healing power that she regularly uses to heal all her allies, so that despite facing five enemy units with hundreds and hundreds of my units, they sustain no lasting damage). On the other campaign, you start with no strength and no money and invariably get conquered within four or five turns. Given the money and units you start with, I don't see how it is mathematically possible to avoid the outcome.

Since you only need to complete two Persian campaigns to unlock Egypt, though, this flaw is not fatal to continuing. The humour is goofy and the themes too, so it is entertaining and challenging.

Apart from the Persian bug, a fun game which provides many hours of diverse play!

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Fester Mudd: Curse of the Gold Icon
Not bad
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Apr 23rd 2013

The game has a deliberate retro style - the pont-and-click gameplay and pixelated look are part of its charm. The humour is of the farts and double entendres variety, but the puzzles are pretty good. I disagree with the reviewer who says there is an hour of gameplay: without undue delays, it took me about three hours, but (as we are fairly warned in the game description) this is only episode 1 in a series, so be prepared to have the story interrupted. It was entertaining and adequately challenging.

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Incredipede Icon
Short but creative and challenging
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Apr 21st 2013

There are three major levels to this game, each one divided in turn into a dozen or so more. The whole thing took me a total of about three hours. It is beautifully drawn and the puzzles are clever and challenging. A bit more variety in the main character's abilities would have been nice, but it was fun and worthwhile.

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COGS Icon
A few basic skills but beautifully done
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Apr 14th 2013

The interface is geat and the machnes very nicely done. There is only a handful of themes and basic techniques you use to get the machines to work correctly - sliding tiles, lining up gears, synchronizing chimes, connecting steam-pipes - but it is a good mental work-out and a lot of care was put into the game.

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Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition Icon
Well done
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Apr 8th 2013

Not super long but fairly intricate, with a variety of puzzles, some easy and some challenging. You can play it with hints and walkthrough available, or at two more challenging levels. The storyline and puzzles are clever enough (not always logical: for instance, the player needs to find at least two screwdrivers because the first one you find is unaccountably toseed as soon as its used, only to have a new set of screws to deal with a few minutes later!). The storyline is ghost-themed and the acting is a little hokey but on the I enjoyed the stories, scenes and puzzles.

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The 39 Steps Icon
Not a puzzle or adventure game
by NorthernSpruce, Canada - Mar 23rd 2013

This is not a game at all but a kind of interactive cartoon adaptation of Buchan's book; it's quite well done but there aren't actual puzzles to solve, just fixed steps to take to advance the story. If you wish to be entertained by Buchan's story and participate in it very slightly, you will enjoy this; if you are looking for a challenge or a diverting puzzle, stay away.

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