Posts created by bluecat434

 posted in Dark Strokes: Sins of the Fathers Collector's Edition on Dec 21, 13 10:59 AM
meh. what do you expect from an industry whose execs can say things like, 'many people play the game as a family---mom is great at spotting hidden objects, and dad enjoys those tricky puzzles.'

i'd already pretty much left hopas behind in favor of a particular developer of crpgs---one that has sort of a 'buffy' perspective. sooner or later, industries that market to us are going to have to come to the realization that we're not 'cookie-cutter' as their expectations would have us be.
 posted in Christmas Stories: Nutcracker Collector's Edition on Dec 5, 12 1:51 AM
merry christmas, elephant. :-) thanks for a great game!
 posted in Mystery Case Files®: Shadow Lake Collector's Edition on Nov 24, 12 1:35 PM
i don't know how to pull together a coherent review of the game---as much as i liked it, i have to admit it's flawed. it's also true that some of the things i enjoyed were the same things that others disliked (such as the floating jigsaw puzzles and the door tokens). since i can't really think of a cohesive statement, i'll just go down a list of personal positives and negatives.

1) i really enjoyed the fact that the bonus content appeared as something of an easter egg; finding it became a part of the game itself. it was a little brief, though, in comparison to the bonus content most casual gamers have become accustomed to. it's possible that the morphing items themselves were considered part of the bonus, but many games incorporate them as a matter of course. it's difficult to see them as an extra.

2) i thought the floating jigsaw puzzles---animated and physics-based---were beautifully done. i also liked that it was necessary to take into account how an interaction with each piece would affect its movement, and the movement of the puzzle as a whole. unfortunately, they were too repetitive. it's obvious much time, effort and creativity went into making them. some of that could have been better spent on mcf's wonderful mini-games.

3) it's nice that you got lea thompson involved in the project. but sometimes less is more. there's no point in having different levels of play if you're dealing with continual interruptions by an over-involvedcharacter who wants to make sure go *here* next.

4) i thought the graphics and cut scenes were beautifully done. but truth be told, i'm a little tired of grungy locations. (fortunately there were no dead bodies to roll and then leave behind---i think mcf has avoided that tactic so far.)

it's not that i don't love the general atmosphere of 'dark and eerie' games. but i think they're most interesting when they rely on the use of shadow and light and a general atmosphere (as in the scenes of ravenhearst and grounds in 'escape'---i can't say i miss the overall ick factor in that game, though. but i loved the house and grounds scenes).

kudos for trying out new things. at the same time, don't throw away what's always worked so well with mcf.

1) the story really was exceptionally good, and much better integrated into the game than in most hopas.

2) beautiful graphics and cutscenes. they're shimmering and surreal. i love elephant in part for their games' vividness (no muted browns, grays and greens), and this one is especially wonderful to look at.

3) the mini-puzzles aren't just 'the usual suspects.' a lot of care went into crafting them, and for the most part, they're fun to play.


1) although the puzzles were interesting and new, they lacked some of the challenge of those in earlier elephant games.

2) the voice acting is variable. some of it is good--some of it not. (VERY persnickety: i wish they had settled on one pronunciation for the main character's name beforehand.)

3) if you like h0 scenes to contain small puzzles, you may be disappointed. these were traditional.

i enjoyed the bonus chapter. the mini-games were a little more like those in previous games. (i don't mind being stuck---i need the challenge of spatial puzzles, because i have deficits in spatial processing.) also, although the story of the main game tied all of its loose ends nicely, the bonus play managed to expand without undue clumsiness .

overall, i thought it was a beautiful game, but i did miss the head-scratching moments i've come to expect from this developer's puzzles. to elephant: please don't settle into formula, many of us love you because you don't!

 posted in Fabled Legends: The Dark Piper on Jun 11, 12 2:42 PM
well---these are my non-review observations:

1) the viceroy looks an awful lot like johnny depp, imo.

2) it's fun to click on him (the viceroy) when the three villains are guarding the door of the underground cavern. ( ) even if you normally avoid dialogue, this one is kind of fun.

3) the two above statements are completely unrelated.

the voice acting is still almost offensively silly, but not as bad as in the first.

great puzzle game. those who like mini-games will be pleased. (and the man you rescue is kind o' cute---if a bit nonchalant, after being held hostage by three demons for days. also, don't look for accuracy regarding culture or religious beliefs---this would be my guess. .)
 posted in Cursed Memories: The Secret of Agony Creek on May 14, 12 3:09 PM
i thought this game had a just-thrown-together feel, similar to 'masquerade'. the mini-games were, for the most part, the usual suspects, the graphics seemed hurriedly done, and the story--despite an interesting beginning---quickly degenerated into a jumble. it's a shame, since this developer used to put some care into its games. now it seems all formula and rush.

in the end, it was mainly one H0 scene after another. i found these kind of odd. most of the objects were so obvious that they could be found one after the other. after that, there were several that were so obscure, it could take minutes to find each one.

no flow. not a lot of enjoyment. incredibly brief.
 posted in Syberia - Part 1 on May 14, 12 2:56 PM
i tend to fumble my way through adventure games---i wander, i collect, i re-trace; i tend to be chronically lost (just as irl). even as slow as i am, this installment seemed short to me, and very abrupt. i bought it for half price (through the credits reduction), so i can't complain. but i hope for a part 2 soon, and i hope it's just a bit longer than part 1.

it's essentially wonderful. i'm enjoying the graphics, the story, and the puzzles themselves.
 posted in Theatre of the Absurd Collector's Edition on May 7, 12 2:47 PM
gailgo wrote:I'm really loving this game but am having trouble re-entering the Study to find the secret lab, I click on the arrow to take me to the Study and get flipped back to the Belltower, is anyone else having this problem, think it's a technical issue, hope I can get it solved as i really like this game

i had that problem too. it's not a technical glitch, but more of a design quirk. once you enter the side door leaving the bell tower, you have to click a back arrow rather than a forward one. (it drove me crazy for a while, i thought i was on an endless loop .) that should take you to the metal ladder leading down to the underground area with the entrance to the study and the fountain and whatnot.

general comment: i really liked the artwork in this game. it reminded me of a good graphic novel. but i can't figure out why developers tend to leave the most interesting puzzles/mini-games for the bonus. i really liked the mechanisms for balancing and transferring liquids.

i really thought that any sequel to RTR would be something of a disappointment. it's become the gold standard for hopas, some time has passed since its initial release, nostalgia for it is high. i was prepared to be a little disappointed. this turned out not to be the case.


those who treasured both the interesting puzzles and distinct non-linear feel of RTR will like this game. everything is pretty open-ended, and there is absolutely no hand-holding.

i wasn't certain how i would feel about the pared-down use of the journal in this one. it doesn't record clues for you; instead you have to determine which pieces of information are useful, which are not. but given the nature of the gameplay, i really found that i preferred it this way: the treasure is in discovering just what fits where.

the graphics are rich (if sometimes gross: don't play this one while eating!) the atmosphere is suitably creepy, darkly humorous, and at times, just plain dark. (it deals largely with the upbringing that made charles dalimar what he is. as you might expect, it wasn't pleasant.)

all in all, it was great to hear 'ravenhearst's' music again, re-visit some familiar locations, catch up with old heroes and villains. my only complaint: a couple sleepless nights. if you liked rtr, you may find this one is just as difficult to step away from.
 posted in Surface: Mystery of Another World on Apr 2, 12 4:20 PM
it's a beautiful labor-of-love with a few hitches.

the pluses:

rich graphics and cut scenes.

a story that strays outside of the usual formula. i loved the somewhat sci-fi/fantasy theme, with a little dysutopia thrown in for good measure. for once i paid attention to the plot and and found myself caring about events and characters. usually i find these things just fade into the background, because the stories have become cut-out copies of the first 'dark and spooky' games.

another (possibly quirky) thing i appreciated: there wasn't the repeated need to simply roll fairly realistic looking dead bodies and then go on my merry way, not even a thought to cover them. this recurring ihog theme has gotten old, imo.

as usual with this developer, elephant games, the mini-games are interesting and varied. they also present a wide array of challenges.

the hidden object scenes are positively beautiful.

an interactive map.

the minuses:

i'm not sure how most people feel about the adventure-lite aspect of ihogs. but i usually prefer it to either present some interesting puzzles (as in the 'drawn' series), or to be a relaxing interlude between good mini-games.

i'm not sure that this game succeeded by either measure. tasks were broken down into such minute steps that there wasn't much of a sense of accomplishment with each one. this also necessitated a huge amount of back-and-forth; i realize this is a trend in ihogs, but this game took it to extremes. as a result, there was a somewhat clunky, halting feel to the game-play itself.

due to all of the above---interesting mini-game puzzles that you might want to solve more than once, a sort of 'snail's pace' sense to the adventure aspect, the intriguing story and sheer visual beauty of it all---i found it much more fun on second play than during the first venture.


1) beautiful graphics
2) interesting and varied mini-games. much attention went into the creation of these, and it shows.
3) nicely paced: no one element of the game takes over and becomes tedious. for the most part, it's a pleasure.
4) nice length.
5) clear h0 scenes. a good challenge without undue frustration.


1) the continual voice overs by the main character are tedious. although easily skipped, they're so numerous that they feel a little invasive after a while. i just think they disrupt the flow of the game.

2) i know hog stories demand that you suspend disbelief. still: oscar wilde was a living breathing human being at one point, and although something of an aesthete, i don't think he deserves to be portrayed as an out-of-control serial killer.

it's true, i pay as little attention to hog stories as the game will allow: i'm usually more interested in atmosphere, since the plots tend to be similar and usually strike me as more than slightly disconnected. but i couldn't just ignore this one. for one thing, it demanded attention every few minutes or so through the overuse of voice-overs. for another, it used a historical figure as a villain. i think i'd rather go back to having them as background filler.

well... conan doyle has been accused of murder (in another game) and now wilde is a serial killer. who knows what's next for the poor dead writers of the world. (really, was all that necessary?)
 posted in Grim Tales: The Legacy Collector's Edition on Feb 6, 12 1:22 AM
thanks, elephant games.

those who tend to like mini-games/puzzles will be pleased; this was a great collection. much variety, a good deal of head-scratching, a few relaxing ones to coast with. not just the usual suspects, plenty of replay value. imo, it doesn't get much better.

 posted in Azada® : In Libro Collector's Edition on Jan 22, 12 8:42 PM
weissvonnix wrote:And the graphic designers of Azada apparently don´t know the difference between an avocado and a papaya.
lmagine the surprise, when l cutted the avocado and it had orange flesh inside and l got papaya seeds instead of the large avocado pit.

Still laughing and shaking my head about this .. umm.. incredible botanical knowledge?

and wasn't it the seeds from that fruit that were used to make 'grain sprouts?' it's pretty magical, that avocado.
 posted in Amelie's Cafe: Halloween on Jan 17, 12 12:04 AM
you're releasing this for mac now?
 posted in Dreamland on Jan 5, 12 1:36 AM
wow, this was a pleasant surprise. slightly offbeat, definitely an independent. it reminded me of some of the earlier MCF games: madame fate, the first ravenhearst. i'm usually not a fan of one-hidden-object-scene-following-another, but as in the early MCF, the searches are so visually interesting i really didn't mind: it's easy to get absorbed in them, lost for a while. i would also say they're at about the same level of challenge as those in madame fate and ravenhearst one; that's not something you see often.

the mini-games were also very good: for the most part, not the usual. the challenge level hovers around medium: easy in the beginning to high-medium in the end. graphics are really beautiful throughout. some of the H0 scenes were really like 3-d collages of found objects, good for the soul.

there really is a replay value here. i think i may try this one again (and then another time after that .)
 posted in Midnight Mysteries 3: Devil on the Mississippi on Dec 28, 11 3:17 AM
the strange thing is that i agree with all of those who thought the story was more than a little disconnected---but i kind of enjoyed the game because of it, not despite. it was sort of fun to move from twain to shakespeare and back again---all of this with a guest appearance by nikola tesla thrown in for good measure. (he's not a fan of edison, btw. )

some great mini-games encountered in the middle of all this: a few unclear, but the variety is really good to see, and they're not simply re-appearances of all the usual suspects. along the way, you get to shoot pool, build a few walls with falling stones (physics-based, stack what you're given so that your wall doesn't topple), play battleships, solve a few visual logic challenges, etc.

the only annoying ones: a fussy maze, and a numbers puzzle without any apparent objective (very simple once you know what it is---virtually impossible without it.)

one warning re: animation: if you have difficulty with flashing lights, this one is not for you. (dark, EXTREMELY BRIGHT, dark again, and so on.)

adventure puzzles---not so different from the usual, but there's a quirkiness to the story that keeps you moving along.

HOG scenes: somewhat dark but very clear. overall, they were pretty well done.

final thought: odd but fun.
 posted in Shattered Minds: Masquerade Collector's Edition on Dec 11, 11 12:05 AM
meh. the demo was fairly interesting, but i wish i'd waited for the SE. things got a little tedious not long after the first hour ended: repetitious mini-games, H0 scenes spaced too closely together, nothing new in the way of adventure lite puzzles; we've seen it all before. story: not good enough to be good, not bad enough to be silly-good. the whole of it had sort of a thrown-together feel.

 posted in Plants vs. Zombies on Dec 5, 11 3:25 PM
it's so addictive, it should be illegal. i've started new profiles just to play through adventure again without upgrades. even if you don't do that, you can play it endlessly--that's not an exaggeration. i love survival endless. i only hate jack-in-the-box zombies. i've made friends with all the rest, but they're still not allowed to eat my brains.
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