Reviews by green_knight

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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Lords of Xulima Icon
Fast, tense, turn-based RPG
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Jan 28th 2016

I've had this for about ten days and clocked 37h gameplay so far. To play, you'll need a good dose of puzzle skills (or an internet-enabled phone) and a fair amount of tactics. Even though this is strictly turn-based (you will never answer the phone and find your characters dead) neither the map exploration nor the combat feel sluggish or boring - both are full of surprises and were constructed with a love of detail. The enemies, particularly, are definitely not from the standard monster manual.

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Jigsaws Galore Icon
Must have dropped a piece...
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Dec 29th 2015

Loved this.This is immensely customisable, gives you extra trays to sort your pieces, and as many pieces as you like in a range of cuts. I was surprised how close the experience came to real, physical jigsaws - and it takes up much less space.

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Planets under Attack Icon
Tries too hard, fails too hard
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Dec 11th 2015

I've enjoyed Eufloria, which has a similar basic idea - your planets produce resources and ships, you use them to attack others - so I was predisposed to like this type of game, only with more varied gameplay.
Unfortunately, you cannot decide which of your ships will attack the enemy, so that the following happened repeatedly: I get a nice system going, I build up a fleet in the far reaches of my system, and ... EVERY TIME the AI keeps those ships circling Planet BackOfBeyond and stripping a frontline planet of all defenses while attacking another. Or it choses troops that will fly past the enemy's best defenses and get slaughtered while a back route is wide open, and I just cannot get the game to take that route.
When you fight 'your' AI more than the enemy, it's time to quit.
Added to tha, my progress wasn't saved so I got to play from the start _again_ and while I didn't found the voices particularly great first time around, on repetition the 'funny' parts were just grating.

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Game Dev Tycoon Icon
Interesting take on genre; gets repetitive
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Dec 4th 2015

I loved this when I started playing it, and it definitely has the 'just one more turn' factor. But while you move into bigger offices and learn better engines, each turn is pretty much like the last, and in order to nderstand what consequences your choices have, you have to play far beyond my boredom threshhold. (At some point, I just asked myself why I wasn't coding instead and stopped, and I've not felt any urge to pick it up again.) But if you want a taste of what being a developer is like, this is not the worst introduction.

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Feeding Frenzy Icon
Moderately paced arcade game
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Dec 4th 2015

There are two things i like about this game: one, you can play it even if you don't posess lightning-speed reflexes, and two, it's very well made. The graphics are fun, there's a real story progression, and the game brings up many interesting mechanisms, so I find if far from trivial or boring. It also has a high replay value: there are enough details in the game and gameplay that even after >5 years it's fun to dust off from time to time.

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7 Gates: The Path To Zamolxes Icon
Interesting Match3 game
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Dec 4th 2015

The shape of the game boards definitely sets them up to be puzzles. I do not care much about the hidden object interludes, but the graphics are gorgeous, and this has stood the test of time for me. This is a really solid game.

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Bejeweled 3 Icon
Has stood the test of time
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Dec 4th 2015

I've played this almost daily ever since it came out; and I'm still enjoying it. This has enough modes - from strategic to frantic to zen - to provide the right experience for any mood. If you buy one Match3 game, buy this. If you buy many, buy it anyway.

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Airport Madness 4 Icon
Flash Game with issues
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Nov 3rd 2015

We did not get off to a good start. I chose a character name, I was told the character name was taken, I repeated this, I went away from the screen and came back to find that iuowzziernd *was* available to play. There's a button that alleges to give you instructions, but it takes you to a web page with general playing info. You get to choose between eight characters, seven of whom are male, and the female one is Nervous Nellie. (Sorry: 'Cautious Cathy'). Then we get to the game which runs inside Flash Player: the planes are unresponsive, and half of them taxi through the building to the edge of the screen and beyond after landing, so you can't make them depart again.
At that point, I gave up.

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Warlock 2: The Exiled Icon
Echoes of Civ 2
by green_knight, United Kingdom - Sep 7th 2015

I have completely and utterly fallen into this game. It fills the void left by Civ 2 - a nice mixture of city expansion and outmaneuvering enemies. Only with more story and a lot of content and mechanics I haven't seen done before. Plenty of options for choosing the right difficulty/challenge level, from 'I just wanna bash a few spiders' to 'Ok, let's see if I can pull this ultra-complicated maneuvre off. It's not a perfect game - attempts to make the interface clean fail on occasion, and I find the tutorial annoying (too much text, and even when you've turned it on it doesn't repeat for new characters, so you can't repeat information you too carelessly clicked away).

I expect to play and replay this *a lot*, it has that vibe to it. And now, finally, I can bury the ghost of Civ 2. In a couple of turns, I can use my fireball again...

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