Reviews by Doc Savage

All My Gods Icon
More Addictive Than I Thought
by Doc Savage, USA - Jul 12th 2017

At first I was a little frustrated with this one, but I stuck with it and after about 20 minutes I found it to be quite enjoyable. There's more to it than you might expect. This is now added to my list of things to play when I've got a little extra time.

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Zombie Solitaire Icon
This Game Is A Crack Up
by Doc Savage, USA - Jul 12th 2017

So, the zombie apocalypse is brought on my a guy who eats a tofu burger. You discover a map to escape to the Island of No Zombies, and to advance across the map, you need to... play hands of solitare. This is as good a reason for solitare as I can think of.

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Ricochet Infinity Icon
Was Probably Fun At Some Point
by Doc Savage, USA - Jul 10th 2017

I acquired this game years ago and never played it. I came across it while cleaning up my Snow Leopard system. You need 10.6.8 or earlier to play. The graphics are dated even for this type of game and the game play was a little wonky. There are newer and better options available.

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Wasteland 2: Director's Cut Icon
I Guess I'm Not A Fan Of Turn-Based Combat
by Doc Savage, USA - Jul 10th 2017

I had really high hopes for this game when I bought it, especially with all of the glowingly positive reviews.

Visually this game is quite stunning and the motion is amazingly smooth. While the story is intriguing and the characters interesting, the combat system is just really annoying to me and hard to get past.

I'm glad others are enjoying it, but I guess I'm not a fan of turn-based combat. I may shelve it for a while and try it again later...

Incidentally, the description indicates that this game will run on Snow Leopard, but it would not start on my 10.6.8 system. No problems on 10.9.5.

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realMyst: Masterpiece Edition Icon
Like Reconnecting With An Old Friend
by Doc Savage, USA - Jul 10th 2017

I bought my first Mac in 1993 for the express purpose of playing Myst. It was Mac-only at the time because it had been written as a Hypercard stack (Wikipedia it, I'll wait).

Experiencing the sight and sound of the Cyan logo drifting onto the screen and the familiar music and voice over was an amazing treat, and I was back in my crummy old apartment, sitting in front of a computer that cost nearly as much as my car, trying to make it to the next Age. There were no online guides (not much of an online anything) and I wasn't about to buy the cheat book. Talk about a different Age...

Once the game started, I was disappointed at the video quality. I checked the game options but didn't see the second tab at the top that takes you to the screen resolution and video quality. Once I found that and cranked up the video, I was back in Myst-heaven again. Note that it is possible to over-crank the video if you're not on a higher spec system.

You can play in "classic mode" which is the shot by shot view of the original, or you can enable full 3D mode which allows you to rotate 360 degrees and wander about.

This is a great effort and I'm thankful to Cyan for letting me replay a classic for the first time.

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7 Wonders: Ancient Alien Makeover Collector's Edition Icon
Enjoyable Match 3 Game
by Doc Savage, USA - Jul 9th 2017

This is a fairly tyical Match 3 game. As usual, the "plot" is pretty thin. In this one you're helping aliens power their space ship so they can get home after visiting the Seven Wonders of the World. Whatever... You're matching three tiles. Nice way to kill a little time.

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STASIS Icon
Creepy, Enjoyable and... Dark.
by Doc Savage, USA - Jul 9th 2017

This game reminds me of point & click games that I played back in the 90's. Definately a creepy atmosphere & sound effects used to good purpose. There is a LOT of reading, but the story is interesting if you stick with it.

When I say it's dark, I mean both thematically and luminously. Sometimes it's hard to tell what you're looking at.

Probably not for everyone, but a solid effort.

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Two Worlds II Game of the Year Edition Icon
Decent Game, Not Great
by Doc Savage, USA - Jul 9th 2017

I bought this when it first came out hoping it would be reminiscent of Dragon Age: Origins. It was not, and it was buggy as all get out to boot. I think this was TopWare's first attempt at a Mac port and they missed the mark badly. The installer unloaded the game files at the root level of the files system which took a while to clean up. Plus, the game refused to update itself either in-game or with downloaded patches.

Flash forward six years. The game installs and runs better although you still need to enter a product key and register online to get the game to work, which is annoying.

The plot is pretty thin and choppy. Still it is playable, the graphics are decent and the voice talent is better than the laughable effort of the original. You could do worse.

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Journey of a Roach Icon
More Enjoyable Than I Thought It Would Be
by Doc Savage, USA - Jul 9th 2017

I believe I received this as a freebee a while back. I didn't think I'd play it but ended up giving it a shot. Turns out it's a pretty fun little puzzler although I ended up not finishing it. The puzzles are just challenging enough that you don't get stuck for long. It's "cute," so if that's not your bag you may want to skip it.

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Doorways: The Underworld Icon
More Good, Creepy Fun
by Doc Savage, USA - Jul 11th 2015

This is the third chapter in the "Doorways" series. You can read my review of the first two chapters and apply most of those thoughts to this game as well.

This chapter is fairly short. I think I finished it in around 4-5 hours. The atmosphere is just as creepy as the first two chapters, but I don't recall there being as many torture scenes this time around, and I don't think there was any nudity in this one.

You spend a lot of this chapter running and hiding from two deranged-bag-of-flesh-monsters who will slash you to bits should they catch you. There are several stages in the game where if you don't run in exactly the right pattern, throwing switches as you go, you will be caught and dropped back to the last save.

Speaking of saving, this chapter and its predicessors, auto-save at various points along the way. The screen goes dark for a moment to indicate when this happens. This is also a good cue that you're heading in the right direction.

The fourth (and I believe last) chapter is not available at the time of this writing. Having enjoyed the first three chapters, I'm sure I'll sign up for the fourth as well. Same as last time, I'm discounting one star for shortness and excessive darkness.

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Doorways: Prelude Icon
Good, Creepy Fun
by Doc Savage, USA - Jul 11th 2015

I enjoyed this game. Understanding that these are the first two chapters in a series, they are still a little short. Decent graphics, along with great sound and occasional music create a sufficiently creepy atmosphere, and I must admit I got some chills along the way.

The main character is an investigator for an organization called "Doorways" that tracks down psychopaths by apparently creating a psychic connection with them. I assume that the game takes place along this psychic connection, so the locations and situations are surreal and don't always make great sense, adding to the creepiness. This title, and it's sequel, are reminiscent of Frictional's earlier work (think Penumbra).

This game is dark, thematically but also visually. Too dark, in fact. I ended up going to the settings and turning the brighness up a couple of notches. There is also a secondary brightness control that adds a bit more light. I turned that one up a little too. I'm dinging this game one star for a combination of shortness and darkness.

There are scenes of torture (one with some brief nudity), but they appear in flashes and are only on screen for a few seconds. Still, parents and prudes may want to give this one a wide berth. Everyone else... get your creep on.

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Torchlight II Icon
Finally!
by Doc Savage, USA - Feb 15th 2015

As Diablo II brought a whole new dimension to the original, so too has this sequel done for Torchlight. There are now overland adventures and towns instead of just the single dungeon-crawl, and side quests up the wazoo.

I'm not sure if it's just me, but after spending an hour or two on it, I find myself paying less attention to the "plot" in Torchlight as I did in Diablo.

I had pretty much given up on the Mac port of this game when its release was announced. I thought the announcement indicated that Torchlight II would only be available via Steam. As someone who doesn't think too highly of Steam (I find the interface to be clunky, buggy and obtuse), I was thrilled to see that Steam is completely optional when purchased through the Mac Game Store. Additionally, the single-player game does not require a new account to activate it. Just download and play, as it should be.

So far, performance and stability are quite good and the introductory sale price is very welcome.

While I got burned out on the original Torchlight and never did finish it, I'm looking forward to spending quite a few hours hacking my way through the world of Ember.

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FATE Icon
Nice Precursor to Torchlight
by Doc Savage, USA - Nov 1st 2014

This is a fun little game, kind of a "Torchlight Lite" if you will. It's a kinder, gentler hack-and-slasher in the Diablo genre. It gets kind of dull after awhile, but it's nice to come back to every now and again. Great voice talent.

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Galact Quest Icon
Another Pleasant Time Waster
by Doc Savage, USA - Jun 23rd 2014

Here's another casual game from RokaPublish. In this one, geometric shapes encroach on your ship and you need to shoot other geometric shapes at them. Match 3 and they go away.

You gain a few abilities as you advance and for each set you match you build up energy. Once your energy has reached a certain level, you can use one of the abilities.

The abilities range from turning several of the shapes in front of you to the same color, to make the entire board go away and automatically win the level. I tried not to use that last one, but I ran into 3 or 4 levels that I just couldn't solve so I stored up the energy and blew them all away. Many of the levels are easy and can be solved in a minute or two.

Helpful hint: Your stored energy carries over from level to level. If you're stuck on a level and don't have enough energy to use an ability, go back a couple of levels and play through some easy ones. Once your energy is up to the "Warp" level, start the level you're stuck on and warp past it.

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Atlantic Quest Icon
This is a nice little time waster...
by Doc Savage, USA - Jun 21st 2014

I typically don't go in for games like this. I usually stick to the AAA titles, big games like Dragon Age Origins, the X3 series, etc. I got hooked on the demo and bought it in a bundle deal. There's a shred of plot, you're cleaning up the ocean by matching three or more shapes to clear the board or meet some goal.

There are three ways you can match, swapping two tiles to make three or more connected, drawing an imaginary line through tiles that are already connected or just click on a tile that is already touching three or more tiles.

Game play is smooth and the backgrounds are pleasant, but it does get repetitive.

I guess my biggest complaint is that is one of the very few Mac applications that don't automatically close when you hit command-q. You have to escape out through the menus.

If you've got a few minutes to kill you could do worse, but you probably won't be playing it hours on end.

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Braid Icon
Beautiful Game, Quirky but Frustrating
by Doc Savage, USA - Jun 2nd 2014

This is a really interesting game. At first it looks like your standard platformer and the first few levels are pretty straight forward. Then it starts getting a little weird. Then it starts getting confounding. Despite the fact that they specifically ask you not to cheat, I found several levels quite impossible to figure out without turning to a walkthrough video.

The puzzles are interesting and they sort of tell a story that is somewhat engaging but it wasn't quite enough to keep me going. I hung it up before getting to the end.

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The Wolf Among Us Icon
It's True, The Screenshots Don't Do It Justice
by Doc Savage, USA - Jun 2nd 2014

If you've looked at the screenshots and are still on the fence, do youself a favor and watch some videos. The gameplay is an amazing live-action comic book. Oh sorry... Graphic Novel. (Ok, NOT sorry, they'll always be comic books to me)

This is a murder mystery that takes place in Fabletown. Think "Who Framed Roger Rabbitt" only with non-cartoon violence, extremely foul language and a touch of nudity thrown in. Don't get me wrong, I'm on board with all of those things, but parents and prudes may want to give this one a wide berth.

All of the main characters are fables who now live in New York City and masquerade as normal citizens. You've probably heard of most of them, Snow White, Ichibod Crane, the Brothers Tweedle, Mirror Mirror, and The Big Bad Wolf as the Sheriff. Sound corny? Think again. This story is complex, engaging and VERY well executed.

There is a lot of exposition in this game, but there is a count-down timer on your dialog response, and you'll need to keep your fingers on the AWSD keys and the mouse because there is also some fast action dodging and punch throwing, and you'll also need to pound the Q key for all you're worth (EDIT: turns out you can just hold it down, but I still prefer pounding it...) to power through some confrontations.

The only downside is that the saves occur automatically and infrequently. Don't start playing unless you have at least a half-hour to give.

I can't say enough about this game. The good folks at Telltale really know how to spin a good yarn.

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The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Director's Cut Icon
Fun Game, But it Crashes a LOT
by Doc Savage, USA - Nov 8th 2013

First, some perspective: I consider Dragon Age: Origins the best RPG ever, and for even more perspective, I consider Dragon Age 2 to be the most disappointing sequel of all time. Please don't feel a need to challenge these statements, they're just my opinion so you can know where I'm coming from.

I would say that The Witcher games run a close second.

That being said, The Witcher crashes a LOT. For me, most crashes came when changing geographic locations. I found that saving before going through a "gate" saved a lot of frustration.

The downside to this is that once you have a large number of saved games, the game takes longer and longer to load. Every once in a while, go through your list of old saved games and delete as many as you can. My perception was that this improved not only the load time, but the reliability as well.

Parents and prudes be warned, this game has sex and nudity in it. Although truthfully, I've never quite understood people who were offended by sex but were ok with decapitations, disembowelments, torture or other creatively nasty means of death. To each their own, I suppose.

I guess these games are based on books which I've not read. Occasionally there would be a plot element that I didn't understand, but felt like I should. Reading some of the books before playing the game may help in that regard, but I'm not sure.

EDIT: I downloaded the latest update of this game and started playing it again. I must say, it is MUCH more stable. The next thing I knew, I had played it all the way through again and I think it only crashed around 5 times total. The first version crashed about 5 times per hour.

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The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition Icon
This Is A GREAT Game
by Doc Savage, USA - Nov 8th 2013

Dragon Age: Origins is my favorite RPG of all time, but this one is very close on its heels.

This game is MUCH more stable than the first Witcher. My understanding is that this was a direct port and the first was the Windows version running through emulation.

The game ran smoothly for me, but I was running on a 2008 Mac Pro with a Radeon 5870. Your milage will most likely vary.

If you were offended by the sex and nudity in the original Witcher, be prepared to be even MORE offended by The Witcher 2. I'm good with it, but some others seem to care. Not sure why.

I save early and often on games like this. As with the original, having a large number of saved games seems to slow down some aspects of the game, so it's a good idea to go back and occasionally pare down your saves.

HOWEVER, there will come a point in the game where you need to choose between following a dude named Roche or another dude named Iorveth. Save the game before you choose and make sure you KEEP THAT SAVE. Depending on which one you go with, the game diverges on two completely separate paths. There is some overlap later, but the plot from that point on is completely different. Once you choose (there is no right or wrong) and finish the game, load up that save and make the other decision and play it through. BOTH plots are very cool and you won't get to play the alternate one unless you do it this way.

In conclusion, this is a very fun game with a complex plot and great attention to detail. The visuals are amazing, and assuming you have a fairly powerful gaming rig, the action is smooth and the game play is very rewarding.

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Commander: Conquest of the Americas Icon
It's Ok....
by Doc Savage, USA - Oct 10th 2013

I was expecting more from this game. I was hoping it would be a 15th Century version of one of the X3 games. They really talked up the trade and combat. It turns out this game is very limited in scope.

Many of the actions that you need to take to get the economy going are not intuitive. I ended up restarting the "Campaign Mode" about 6 times before I figured out how to set it up. Then I stuck it on high speed and just watched the money accumulate.

"Campaign Mode" is kind of a misnomer because all they do is tell you that you need to start a new town, build a church or upgrade a theater in the next year or two.

Building your towns is a little weird because they have a list of "suggested buildings," or a list of "all buildings." The "all buildings" list lumps everything that you've built in with everything you could build, so you have to scroll through the big long list every so often to see if there are any upgrades available to your existing buildings.

Oh yeah, the game voice is kind of annoying too.

I've played it for about 3-4 hours and am ready to move on.

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