Posts created by karolyneb

 posted in Secret City: London Calling Collector's Edition on Apr 28, 18 7:57 PM
Like so many on here today, I also enjoyed swimming in the Pond back in the day. While I didn't post as much in the game talk-only version, it has been still an invaluable resource for game help, reviews, and (best of all) the series order for the non 15+ entries in some of the more longstanding series. No other game site has ever had anything that has come close (I know that many fishies would argue with me about that but, as with everything, YMMV).

I can't help but think that the easy access to information in the forums has helped game sales. Where else can one turn when there is a question about a puzzle in a demo that the ingame help doesn't answer? No easy click to the game forum form the Game Manager means a lost sale.

What about the order of play in a series like "Grim Tales" or "Spirits of Mystery" where the games *must* be played in order to make sense? More lost sales - both from the standpoint of the customer that is trying vainly to figure out which game to play and is confused by the latest one they downloaded and the fact that the customer is going to want to buy all the previous games as well *once they know which ones they are*.

And the free form comments in the review section often help me get a feel of a game better than the star reviews on the game page. Sometimes, I have decided to download a game that I was sure I wasn't interested in from these comments that I loved and bought (Incredible Dracula; Chasing Love, is the most glaring example. I thought it was going to be mean-spirited but decided to give it a shot and found it to be actually really lots of fun).

The upshot is that I found the Pond to be uniquely well organized and helpful among game forums and this information greatly helps users find and purchase more games. Blog and Facebook posts just will not have the same immediately available help because they are not designed to be searched in the same way.

ETA - It was Grim Tales - not Grim Facade that had the Grey family story. There's an awful lot of similarly named games!
 posted in Lily's Epic Quest on Jun 16, 17 3:10 PM
It appears to be a shuffle powerup but, since it also seems to take away any extra move jewels without adding any, I haven't found it to be all that useful.
 posted in Clutter on Dec 5, 16 4:41 PM
Sompanther, did you try the puzzle game that he did? It is called, creatively enough, "Sliders and Other Square Puzzles" Sadly, you can't upload your own puzzles but there are lots of them there
 posted in Paradise Beach on Mar 29, 12 9:54 PM
For some reason, it isn't spelled out the way that everything else is. (Or I missed it - been up too late/early with baby so both are equally likely )

Just above the icons you click on to build fruit stands, etc, there is a row of tabs. The last one in the row is 'Accessories' - click on it. The garbage cans are in the list of things you csn build from it. They look like little boxes.
 posted in Unsolved Mystery Club™: Amelia Earhart™ on Jan 22, 12 1:02 PM
Once you chop down the tree, the bird will be sitting on the edge of a birdbath. It looks a bit like a blue jay, if that helps.
 posted in Jigsaws Galore on Jan 10, 12 8:49 PM
Review for Jigsaws Galore
Jigsaws Galore is a Straight Jigsaw Puzzle game (ie - no story, music, other kinds of puzzles, etc) with a very comprehensive set of features and 200 included images.

The Good:
Extremely feature rich. These include:
- The ability to change the way the target image (some programs call it the 'top of the box' is displayed or even to *hide it all together* (Mystery Mode)
- Fun puzzle shapes (and the ability to add new ones or turn them off completely)
- The ability to customize the piece shape or number of pieces
- Autosave
- The ability to cheat if one customized the puzzle and made it far too difficult

Options are easy to understand and can be changed in a logical manner

Comprehensive help section

Runs in full screen Window mode so that users can do other things (like work) without having to close the jigsaw puzzle.

The indifferent:
No native music player or soundtrack. (Probably not a big deal since I suspect most folks have something for this already)

The Bad:
Some of the included image names are misspelled

No way to configure Mystery Mode to display the puzzle images in the main selection screen but hide the images when actually putting a puzzle together. One can keep turning Mystery Mode on and off when selecting a puzzle but it still would be nice to be able to see the thumbnails.

Who will love this (aside from the obvious "Folks who like jigsaw puzzles" ):
Folks who like to have an activity in the background while they work

Karolyneb's sandbox:
I generally don't write reviews anymore since I no longer have the time available to do a good job on them but, honestly, this program so totally blew my old fave out of the water that I really wanted to let folks know about the featureset. My old fave had almsot all of the same features but it was quite difficult to configure and use them. Also, it was a bit too easy to make a puzzle too hard and not be able to complete the image or re-edit the puzzle to make it easier.

Karolyneb's notes:
I have found jigsaws to be a great way to refresh one's brain when doing creative work. Ages ago, I almost always had a jigsaw puzzle set up in my cube - it made me more productive and co-workers really enjoyed meeting with the puzzle also.

Auto-save is set to 'off' by default. I'd recommend enabling it.

The developer's web site has free images to download as well as lots more to purchase ($15 for 50 images). Try doing a web search to find it.
 posted in Jigsaws Galore on Jan 10, 12 8:44 PM
It was only available for Mac.
 posted in Jigs@w Puzzle 2 on Nov 3, 11 8:50 PM
It does sometimes require looking at the manual.

From the main room, right click on the finished puzzle and select 'Exhibit'. The Gallery window will open with the picture in the white pane on the right. Then, you can drag and drop the picture into the spot in the gallery.
 posted in Jigs@w Puzzle 2 on Nov 3, 11 8:47 PM
Well, there are already 50 puzzles to start. It probably has the most powerful editor for puzzle creation of any of the jigsaw programs I've seen and one can edit the pre-made puzzles as well.
 posted in A Vampire Romance: Paris Stories on Jul 19, 11 3:04 PM
polbetty wrote:Tried to get on Subway, can't find a white dot with an M on it and I clicked just about on everything. I found a star but that didn't even do anything. Sorry I don't like this game and I have now deleted it. Won't even get it on a DD.

You need to keep clicking in the direction of Track 4 - think of trying to follow to signs to get to a real train.
 posted in A Vampire Romance: Paris Stories on Jul 19, 11 3:03 PM
When you get to Montmarche, start clicking on the Green exit signs at the bottom of the screen until you get back onto the street.

That's about where I gave up on this game. Some of the HdO games have been good for the Preschooler since she likes to find every single street sign, boat, pizza, etc ad nauseum but this one ... not so much.
 posted in Nertz Solitaire on Jul 4, 11 10:23 AM
I've only had a problem once - but only after playing for over an hour straight (Win 7, 64 bit). Haven't had any issues with playing 15-20 minutes at a time and, honestly, that's as much of the game as I want at one time .

I'd recommend folks check ot out and see if it works for them.
 posted in The Curse of the Thirty Denarii on Mar 29, 11 6:34 PM
Could it be that folks that actually like the game feel uncomfortable posting this because the general comments are so negative?

Even Cranky Preggo Lady was feeling intimidated at first but, it is hard to keep someone who's as pregnant and cranky as I am right now shut up for long .

Seriously, this isn't a HOG - it is an Interactive Novel with hidden objects in it. The gameplay is pretty basic for HOG but I could see that beginners and/or folks who are more interested in the story might like it. I see it as a light & fluffy game to play as an alternative to a light & fluffy novel to read.

It is something that I can see myself with the Preschooler, in the hospital, and then using things like this (probably not this one since the art is more graphic novel) to introduce my mom to the genre when she and Dad come by in May.
 posted in Butterfly Escape on Dec 23, 10 1:19 PM
For some games, the 'Try it now' link in the game forum points to the German version. Going back to the main game page from the All Games List or DD link will get the English version for the demo.

Nice game, BTW. The graphics are clear and nicely detailed and the Toddler loves looking at the freed butterflies from all of the different perspectives.
 posted in 7 Wonders II on Dec 20, 10 11:12 AM
I'm getting an error when I try to run the game - looks like another issue of my system causing the video check to overflow (at least that's what it looks like from looking at the nifty little error report that pops up). Sadly, unlike on some games, it doesn't look like I can get around it by just restarting the game.

A shame - looked like a nice game.
 posted in Jewelry Secret: Mystery Stones on Dec 14, 10 12:42 PM
My, my. Whatever happened to polite criticism like "this game isn't my cup of tea" or "I don't care for the music"? For a second here, I thought I was reading the transcript of a AM radio talk show.

Seriously, I like the game. I keep my monitor on the bright side so I really didn't have any problems finding objects and I found the graphics to be generally clear. The objects are on the somewhat difficult side to pick out but, honestly, I found that a nice change from the current trend of absurdly easy hidden object games where the so-called "hidden" objects all but jump up and down waving a flag. Many of them are very pleasant with gorgeous graphics and music but, sometimes I want to be challenged (and, for the record, I only used hints twice during the demo). There is no timer and unlimited hints.

Yeah, if you don't like straight HOGs (as in the older MCF games) then you aren't going to like the game. Also, if your mouse cursor is moving slowly or jerkily, that usually means your system is underpowered for it. It would be really nice if the developer would add an option to use the system cursor instead of the custom one - that would mostly likely help with that.

I wasn't a huge fan of the flashing transitions and found them a bit grating,
Music was nice but it did loop maybe a bit too much - some more variety would be nice.
 posted in The Dracula Files on Nov 21, 10 10:58 PM
While it has been a really long time since I've had a chance to post any DD reviews, I still make time to check the DD-specific review thread for the same reasons that so many others have stated and feel strongly that it does serve a different purpose than the general C&R thread from back when the game was released.

To summarize (but I think only the game update point applies here):
System specs change. Games that worked fine years ago may have issues on some modern systems (and sometimes there are ways to get around them as in Fiber Twig).

Expectations change and games that were cutting edge revolutionary on release are dreadfully dull now. I remember playing the original Bejeweled for hours on end. Now, I barely last 10 minutes before I start getting bored.

Game updates change the general playing experience and make the previous reviews irrelevant.

Lower prices make some marginal (too short, too easy, badly localized) games worth buying.

Unfortunately, I don't have the time to actually play the game to write a real review of it but reading the comments reminded me that this was on my list to buy. Many folks have written the same comments that I would mention so I won't repeat them. Two points though - I'm not sure I would characterize the graphics as 'bad' - they are in a cartoony style that not everyone may like (and that's fine). Also, I found the story to be both interesting and quite different from the usual vampire HOG storyline.

Edited for clarification
 posted in Fatal Hearts on Sep 22, 10 7:31 PM
Fatal Hearts Review
Fatal Hearts is an Interactive Story game with some puzzles added in. Players click through dialog on a fairly static background and make choices to affect the outcome of the game.

The Good:
Nice music
Realistic young teen characters
Interesting story
Nice to see an uncommon game type in this country represented here
Puzzles more difficult than most (and generally require creative thinking)

The Indifferent:
Some may appreciate the Anime-style graphics and others will not

The Bad:
Some sound effects seem to have audio glitches (at least on my system)
Background image doesn't really change an awful lot and doesn't always fit the action going on in the game

Who will like this:
Folks who like a lot of story in their games
Young teens who like interactive stories (like the Choice Of... games)?

Who will hate this:
Folks who like to have a more dynamic background in their games
Folks who don't like to read a lot of dialog
Folks who don't like games with teenage characters
Folks who don't like cartoony games

karolyneb's notes:
The thing that really irritated me about this game was the fact that the action didn't always match the background image - particularly when shopping in the mall. The characters are talking about buying necklaces and stuff and the image is of a food court. Sheesh. It would've been nice to at least see an image of a department store or something.

If folks like Choose Your Own Adventure games, do a web search for the "Choice of" games. They are available as free flash games or free for Android phones from the Android Market. (Obligatory Disclaimer: I don't have any affiliation with the developer but I do enjoy playing the games.)
 posted in ArkLight on Sep 21, 10 7:40 PM
ArkLight Review
Arklight is a cross between a Space Shooter and a Brickout game. The idea is to keep multiple balls in play to demolish crates and destroy enemies without running out of energy. The playfield scrolls at an even rate during play.

The Good:
Interesting mix of genres
Nice use of mouse button controls
Good difficulty progression between levels (both difficulty levels and levels within the game - I think most folks can progress quickly on Easy)

The Bad:
Custom cursor
Graphics are a bit clunky-looking and no more detailed than they need to be
Game crashed while entering name on both boxes - was able to progress through it on the second try on the Win7 box.

karolyneb's notes:
I found this to end up being a bit more of a Space Shooter than a Brickout game. In most of the levels, the playfield scrolls quite quickly making it difficult to destroy the crates fast enough by bouncing energy balls off of the ship.

Erm - as other folks have said, no this is *not* Pong. Pong = Ping Pong on the computer. Just a ball and two paddles - no breaking things, shooting at things or getting shot at. Sheesh...
 posted in Whisper of a Rose on Sep 19, 10 11:21 PM
It is not often that I write a subjective review. Personally, I prefer to just state the features and things that folks have pointed out as drawbacks and let folks decide for themselves whether or not this is a game that they might like. However, this is a game that I feel compelled to give my opinion on.

Things karolyneb likes about this game:
1. The storyline. It is deeply involved and very, very unique in the RPGs I've played. I found it to be quite immersive and very, well, human.
2. The main character. Sure, as an adult I wanted to lecture some sense into her sometimes but, honestly, I found her to be a very real depiction of a young woman at that age who has gone through some really bad experiences.
3. The setting. An RPG with elements in a future society? Neat.
4. The art. I loved looking at the paintings in the art gallery - at first, I thought they were going to be all clones of one another but then quickly realized they actually were depictions of great works of art and ended up playing tourist. I read on another site that the artwork was *not* RPG Maker generated but was haond-drawn instead. Looking at Laocoon in the art gallery, I believe it.

Things karolyneb things could've used some improvement:
1. Pathing when using mouse. I had a really hard time getting anywhere with the mouse - she just kept getting stuck - and quickly went back to the arrow keys.
2. Not many folks will talk to you. Talking to folks in an RPG is a great way to get new quests or get new information. Unfortunately, I kept losing patience getting ignored by 4,523,423 NPCs to find the one person who wants you to find something for them.
3. Cluttered environment. Okay, this one is a quibble but I've been conditioned to try and pick up every single thing lying on the ground. It took me trying to pick up every single piece of carp sitting in four different rooms before I saw the one thing that sparkled. That school desperately needs a janitor .

Karolyneb's recommendations:
Yup, the art is classic RPG style (but does have its hidden gems as well). Yup, the main character is a teenager (and acts pretty convincingly like one, too). If folks like RPGs and a good story - especially one better than the usual "Evil King/god/Wizard must be defeated by young hero (or heroine in a metal bikini)"- and can look past the clasic RPG graphics and (very authentic) teenage heroine, I think they'll have an entertaining long game to play. I hear it is 40 hours long, in fact.
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