Posts created by vezzettj

 posted in Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga Collector's Edition on Sep 30, 12 10:24 AM
I only played part of the demo but I am intrigued and turned-off at the same time!

I've been a fan of ERS games for a while... I do NOT buy every one as soon as they are released but I do end up with most of their story lines. This game IS a departure from their normal graphics style and game play which is where my confusion comes in. I always encourage game developers to try new things; one of the forums biggest complaints on ERS is that they have been doing the exact same thing for years now and here is finally something new!

My dislike: I HATE live actors in games. The only deveolper I've seen do this "acceptably" is BFG... and then I probably only keep buying them due to loyalty. Where some reviewers say to skip the voice acting if you can't afford the talent; I say skip the cheesy live actor wantabees if you can't afford decent actors! It just pulls you out of the game too much and if you are already "suspending your disbelief" on some of the inventory usage, using live actors just reminds you how NOT REAL the game is.

My like: Again, I didn't play very long (grrrr live actors) but the story was darker than many ERS games, the graphics support this, and a "non hidden object scene hidden object game" is a great twist. I do like the map (though an instant travel map would have been nice too but then people complain the game is over too fast!) and I like the overall development of the 3 difficulty level options that ERS has developed over time (see, they HAVE been trying new things). I am appearently an "advanced" player even though I keep trying to play on "hard" mode and getting fusterated... but that is my error, not ERS' and when you can change the mode whenever you want there is no "penalty" for trying something new.

Overall, I have a backlog of games to play so I'm passing on this one but the only reason is the live actors! I still support ERS and will be looking for their next new story line!
 posted in Fiction Fixers: The Curse of OZ on Apr 21, 12 7:26 PM
This had been on my wish list to Demo and I just got so back-logged that I ended up skipping it. So I was happy to see this as a Daily Deal!

I didn't have any problems with this game being too dark and actually found it on the easy side (even on expert mode). I love the map that shows you when a HOS is "behind" you and I like the devlopment of the story so far. I am not a FrOG fan at all but they are only a part of the game and seem to be in identifiable pieces so that is ok. I've also found that I like any game where you have different "powers" to use in certain situations. This looks like fun!

Then I saw some of the warnings about this being a VERY short game (<2 hrs)...

I checked the walkthrough and found I was ~ 1/4 completed in 20 minutes! ARGH! It is my general principle that I do NOT buy games this short... but then I have plenty of games I haven't even played past the demo so I don't really need it to "fill up time" or anything... decisions, decisions...
 posted in 7 Gates: The Path to Zamolxes on Mar 27, 12 5:19 AM
Woo hoo! Thanks for the replay option!
 posted in Blood and Ruby on Mar 25, 12 12:29 AM
I have this listed in my "too bad it is soooo short" list of games! On the order of <2 hrs short (I do play on the faster side of normal).

Clear graphics, interactive map that lets you know where HOS are ready to be played, indicates "something to do here!", and then lets you jump to that location. And what can I say... its a vampire story! Not a super dark, extra bloody, or complicated story... just a "lite" vampire story that I have listed as "okay".

I almost bought this back when the Felix's Favorites $2.99 sale was going on but I'd already picked up soooo many good games. However, since we are approaching the end of the month and I "accidently" started a new punch card (thanks bonus punch weekend!), I think I will pick this up as a daily deal.

Happy gaming!
 posted in Echoes of the Past: The Citadels of Time on Mar 24, 12 8:21 PM
Differences in gameplay continued:

I also liked looking for extra mirrors in the HOS for #1 and #2 that are not available in #3. I'm sure that MOST people prefer the unlimited hints in #3 that were not so in the previous games but I guess I would have liked to still be looking for mirrors for one reason or another... if they are not needed to add to your hint total, at least have mirrors scattered around the castle to find as an achievement? I know, this game doesn't have those (not even in the CE) but it is just a thought!

Ok, that is really all I had to say, thanks for letting me get that all off my chest (I'm fairly certain that my comments are so late after release that no one will even read this)!

On its own merit, #3 was a GREAT game. It has some incredible features that tie the three different games together, even across different time frames but some of the features I'd come to associate with the Echoes of the Past series felt missing. I still recommend this game to everyone and I even recommend the CE (that is a FIRST by the way)!

Happy gaming!
 posted in Echoes of the Past: The Citadels of Time on Mar 24, 12 8:12 PM
I purchased the first two games in this series as Daily Deals (or at least on sale) and this one as a CE. When I went to play the CE I decided to just "play the trilogy" and so I have some comments about this series as a whole. I am NOT going to review the gameplay specifically, many people have already done an excellent job of that but this review is about "how good of a sequal" this game is and I have mixed feelings on that score.

Quick note about the set up between EotP #1 and EotP #2, there was a slight "mistake" in the intro of #2 that is really only noticable because I played these games back to back but the amulet stand, what game #2 is centered around, had the wrong graphics! And I only know this because one of the last tasks of #1 was to rebuild it! So having noticed that I expected something similar going to #3... And there was! #3 picks up right where #2 ends BUT they get the reason you were at the museum wrong! Argh! After the intro however, the overlap between all three games is just awesome!

Rooms in the castle are in the same location, characters are in their correct rooms, graphics, although MUCH better in this game than in the previous ones, have common elements so that you KNOW you've been there before. If you haven't played the previous games, don't worry, all of this is just "bonus" for those of us who are fans of the series and has no bearing on the gameplay itself.

Which brings me to the differences in gameplay:

What I really liked about #1 and #2 was that even though there was HOS replay, you always replayed a scene in a different style: Text list, Find All, or Replace Items (in #2 only). But that does NOT happen in this game. Yes, they make an attempt early in the game to add Replace Items but it doesn't last and it isn't as well spaced as in #2.

Also, I appreciate having the full castle available to explore (at least after you open the rooms) but in #3, unlike the previous 2 games, some of the locations "close" after you are done there. But there is just as much HOS replay, with less variety, in a shorter part of the game. To me, this is no longer an "Adventure HOG" but is "downgraded" to an "Inventory HOG" only. Yes, #3 does add more "interactive items" in each HOS but it is still a Text list...

to be continued...
 posted in The Crop Circles Mystery on Mar 24, 12 2:15 AM
What tbcoe said... easy (straight) HOG with Lists and Find many of the same type of object, alternating. Very minor inventory use (items you find in the scene are used in that same scene to create / reveal another item on your list) and pretty easy puzzles so far. H0 scenes are repeated but you are looking for different items (so far).

Nothing special about the story so far but it is also NOT a crashed car, rescue someone, spooky story so if you need something easy and light this might work for you. There is a Journal that keeps track of the story as you go.

On the short side but that is just because it is so easy. I completed 2/7 chapters in 30 minutes with no trouble. Choose Timed or Untimed when you start the game.
 posted in 7 Gates: The Path to Zamolxes on Mar 17, 12 3:07 PM
It is really disappointing that you can't replay the levels (why bother keeping track of gold, silver, and bronze); I would have purchased this game instantly if you could.

For me, this was a challenging M3 and I can't say that about very many M3s (and I always play timed). I missed gold in the third level and even had a bronze in the first temple! But what is the point of the challenge if you can play until you are done and never have the option to go back and try to beat it? I was holding out hope that maybe after the game is completed that replay would open up but thanks to the forums I see that doesn't happen. argh!

I will probably pick this game up at some point but not allowing replay feels like I'm only buying half a game...

NOTE: if anyone figures out HOW to replay a level, please PM me!
 posted in Jewel Keepers: Easter Island on Feb 27, 12 12:06 PM

In summary, I thought this is a different twist on the standard M3 game play. It is some what clunky, as many older M3 games are, but if you like M3s and you need to fill a punch card then it might be worth it... until I tried to exit!

You can only bring up the "menu" from the game board. When you try this, my options were: Resume, Restart Board, Main Menu. Main Menu gave me the option to Restart the Game or Continue. There was no exit option. I tried escape, I tried going to my desktop and right click to kill but it just reopened the game, I tried restarting the game... finally, I just killed the game from my task manager. This was the final straw for me!

I hope there is a good Daily Deal in the next two days because I only need one more for my punch card! (and sorry to be so wordy)
 posted in Jewel Keepers: Easter Island on Feb 27, 12 12:02 PM
This game looked familiar but I didn't have anything in my "game spreadsheet" about it so I thought I'd try it out... and then noticed that I'd used 3 minutes of my demo time before (not a good sign!).

I started a new profile and tried again. The "story telling" is poorly done or at least not well translated. There is little direction at all. But I was able to figure it out and played for about 10 rounds before I tried to exit... and couldn't (I'll get back to that).

This game does try to be different with the stone blocks. New "gems" will not fall below the blocks so in order to get gems over there you just select an adjecent gem and move it to the "empty column"; any matches made there will remove the gems so you'll have to move more over as needed. Once all the visible tiles are gold, the stone blocks are removed and you have to turn those tiles (that were under the blocks) gold to finish the level. The main problem I had with this game was that you can not click and drag to swap tokens; it is click and click. And even worse, sometimes the second "click" doens't seem to register so it becomes click and click and click and click and click and click and finally match! You can make matches while tokens are falling BUT I think that is what was causing some of the click register problems...

There are "skill" bonuses, M4 or M5 creates row / column clear bonuses or bombs, respectively. There are also "color" bombs that count down and then explode nearby tokens of that color (I think), and "rotating" bombs that will explode ALL tokens of the color of icon that is showing when you click the bomb. The icons rotate very fast so it is hard to time but still makes big explosions! (woo hoo).

I didn't notice the timer much... but it does not seem to be a traditional timer. Making matches seems to refill the timer (not just turning tiles to gold) but if you have a lot of empty space to fill with tokens (under the stone blocks) that can drain the timer a lot. Once the stone blocks were removed my timer was always full since there were no more obstacles to deal with.

to be cont...
 posted in Depths of Betrayal Collector's Edition on Feb 26, 12 12:42 PM
Ok, "Key Object" (circle) HOGs are not my favorite but I did enjoy most of the Treasure Seekers games so I thought I'd give this a try... Too bad this is more like the Crystal Portal games, with unrelated objects being needed than the Treasure Seeker games, where the items for the circle USUALLY made some sense.

For example, in the very first circle, you need a number, a mining lamp (?), an oil can, and a magnifing glass... ok, I can get that to make sense: the door knob was stuck and it was dark near the door? and once you got it lose, there it needed a combo... sure, no problem (I'd rather be looking for a door knob, a screw, screwdriver, and then have a game to find the code or something but this kind of works). The next circle I can NOT make sense of: How does a pedestrian sign, button, watering can, and film reel (??) become useful on a screen door or handle or whatever is on the ground there? I don't like regular IHOGs that are completely nonsense either (for mindless gaming I just go for the basic straight hidden object games; no inventory, no attempt at a story, just lots of seek and find).

I didn't give the game much of a trial once I discoverd the meaningless circle items. I can give a summary from the other reviews but as I didn't experience any of that I'll leave it for the experts! I can confirm that the graphics seemed ok and the bonus items were all unlocked at the start.

 posted in Grim Tales: The Legacy on Feb 25, 12 7:05 PM
All, try this: There are two active zones in almost the same place. Make sure you are clicking on the "Picture" and not the "Mantleplace". In the picture zone, the name plate is large, front, and center and then the screwdriver can be used there.
 posted in Vacation Quest: Australia on Feb 25, 12 6:11 PM
Sadies: If you've already found the boomerangs in the Bathing House (day one for me) then they don't show up again. At least that is how their other games have always worked: There are 3 items in each scene and once you find them they are removed but if you only found 2, then the third item will still be there when you go back to that scene later. Check the upper right icons to see what you status is in any scene.

Mamachi: I also had "slow cursor" problems and the cursor would vanish if I didn't move the mouse for a few seconds. The M3 mini games are where this seems most obvious to me (but maybe it is just waiting for the tokens to fall that feels slow). Anyway, I've had this exact problem with the last 2 PopCap games I've demoed and when I went back to play an older game I owned (thanks BFG for the credit but I'd rather have it fixed!).

I have demoed 20+ games the last few days (home sick) and this is the only technical problem I've encountered. Hopefully, when / if I get a new computer this will be resolved (but again, no other problems with any other more graphically intense games) but until then I'm going to have to give PopCap games a pass. Too bad, they were my first favorite franchise.
 posted in The Surprising Adventures of Munchausen on Feb 25, 12 5:04 PM
Thank you all for mentioning the game length. I had just completed what I thought was the first chapter and exited my demo to purchase this game. I love the graphics, the mechanical puzzles, and although FrOG is usually enough to keep me from buying, these are broken into realistic pieces... So, quick check of the forums and the walkthrough to gauge length and off to purchase...

WHAT, there are only 4 chapters?? I'd only played for 30 minutes... on Expert, and I didn't breeze through this, there was a lot of trial and error! WHAT, everyone is complainging about the length?? That can't be good, I'm usually on the faster side of the time estimates...

So sure enough, the walkthrough seems to support this being a <2 hr game and I really do try NOT encouraging game studios that do this! I already have dozens of unplayed games... but I also have coupons expiring so I need to buy something! And I'm sad to say it won't be this... I haven't been so dissapointed in a "short" game since Emma and the Inventor! grrrr...
 posted in Cake Mania 3 on Feb 24, 12 3:18 PM
I generally love Time Management games especially anything that makes deserts! But... this game had the most awful loading times and not just to play a level. There were loading times for checking out Goodies, Shopping, Trophies, Costumes, Saving, and starting every level. Sure, it was only 15-30 seconds each but it felt like I was spending just as much time loading as I was playing!

Other than that, it looks like a good game. You can choose the order that you play each location, you can rearrange some of you bakery equipment, you can dress Jill up in period costumes or casual wear, there are tons of trophies to earn, and it looks like there will be mini game replay allowed too. I didn't last to a mini game so I can't comment on them...

I need a few games for my punch card and thought this would be a keeper I just do NOT have the paticence for all those loading times... and I have a newer computer, this is an older game, there is just no reason for it!
 posted in Big City Adventure: London Classic on Feb 24, 12 1:24 PM
I agree wth LizzieK! I just demoed this today (after the "fix") so I didn't have the "real" puzzles, just the easy versions. And although I was enjoying the varied mini games I am disappointed to learn they were over simplified... taking this game from a "buy" to a "maybe as a Daily Deal".

Different gamers like different things, that is why we have Relaxed and Timed modes, Casual and Advanced modes, and so on. Honestly, the mini games should only have been made easier in the Relaxed mode, or as LizzieK suggests, just add more skip coins for people who don't play puzzles. I guess this is the problem with making a "hybrid" game (HOG and Puzzles). Not all HOG lovers are Puzzle lovers and vice versa.

Anyway, would love to see them FIX the update and add the harder puzzles back in for those of us who want them... after all, they've already been coded and tested, it shouldn't be too hard to do!
 posted in Big City Adventure: London Classic on Feb 24, 12 1:16 PM
I'm a fan of harder puzzles... they should have just provided two options: Normal and Advanced and kept the harder puzzles and even the limited hints for Advanced Mode. Or just kept the easy stuff in Relaxed. I always play timed so that wouldn't bother me either!

This is going on my buy list BUT I'm disappointed that, since I demo late, I'm missing out on the orginal game.
 posted in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on Jan 16, 12 12:54 PM
Just a note, if you like this game, I THINK the same designers created "Holiday Bonus" and "Spring Bonus".

They both have cute tokens, tons of theme related power up, and smooth game play. I'd recommend Spring Bonus for the unlockable wall papers, varing tasks (not just clear all the tiles but sometimes to collect a list of items), and the option to play timed (untimed is still available).

ETA: corrected the referenced game names
 posted in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on Jan 16, 12 12:50 PM
This is a delightful M3 game but maybe a little too easy...

The graphics look like drawings in a children's book which is very appropriate for the Wizard of Oz. They keep well to the theme with having to clear all the yellow bricks and freeing muchkins from the gems (although I thought that should have only been for the FIRST chapter... but oh well) and all the powerups are Wizard of Oz related: the lion's roar (probably introduced too early), the tin man's axe, fire (what the scarecrow is afraid of), the falling house, etc. But there are so many powerup that even the more complicated board shapes are no problem.

There is a LOT of confusion on the power ups and no "go back" to look up what they all do if you just clicked through the brief explaination. Some are just for clearing gems and NOT the yellow brick tiles those gems are on. By chapter 3, the only bonus that actually cleared a yellow tile was the axe (and double axe). All the others just cleared the gems... which DOES free munchkins (but also destroys other unused bonuses that are in way). And since it only takes 5 munchkins to open up (a single) diagonal match, you can almost always have that option (which is really great for the harder boards).

All in all, this does seem to be a cute somewhat whimsical game but... with only 10 chapters of 5 level each and being 1/2 through Chapter 3 in 30 minutes, this doesn't seem to be a long game. Even so, at 2.99 I would still buy, just for the smiles, but I already have quite a backlog on games... some M3s too. Hope you all enjoy!

Oh and to repeat: this is NOT the Wizard of Oz hidden object game with all the very small and hard to see items... this is a very easy to see (and play) M3 game!
 posted in Cradle of Rome 2 on Dec 30, 11 1:23 AM
Start at the top of the board and work your way down... this is backwards to how I normally play but this way you don't have to wait for falling tiles to make your next move and you can keep making matches without any pauses in between.
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