Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

VR Worlds: Ocean Descent (Playstation VR)

Ever dreamed of being in the ocean and gazing at all of the sea life?  Now you can, just put on your Playstation VR, pop in VR worlds and pick the ocean.  Find yourself hypnotized by all of the fish, stingrays and jellyfish.  If you’re lucky, you’ll find treasure in the ocean’s depths, but watch out for the shark.

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This world has three modes of play and only one of them tells a story.  It’s the one where you meet the shark.  You play the role of a cage diver looking for hidden treasure and finding a shark along the way.  There’s no explanation on what exactly the treasure is, except for a few hints that it could be alien.  I’m wondering if it’s a reference to another available world on the game.  As for the shark, it just keeps attacking you with no explanation.

The game play in this world consists of looking around with your VR headset.  Let me tell you that you will find yourself surrounded by the ocean and you can even exit your cage if you wish to.

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It’s like being in a Star Trek holodeck program, except the only senses the VR affects are sight and sound.  I’ll admit that I was afraid of meeting the shark but, thanks to my mom wanting to see it, I finally played that all the way through.  Thankfully, the shark is more startling than it is scary, as if you’re on a virtual roller coaster.  The other two play throughs are just looking at sea life without the story and the shark.

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It’s perfect for relaxing if you’ve had a stressful day.

This game is soothing but can also startle you.  I give it 8 out of 10; any ocean fanatic will love this game.

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Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story (Steam)

After deleting Sam’s phone, you find another one that belongs to a girl named Laura.  Can you discover who is she and help her?

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While the premise is the same as the last game, the plot couldn’t be more different.  I should tell you that I’m about to give major spoilers to the plot, so proceed with caution.  Unlike Sam, Laura is an adult and doesn’t struggle with who she is.  However, Laura is not without problems and hers involve her boyfriend, Ben.  I’m just going to tell you that Laura’s in an abusive relationship.  Ben has her send her GPS coordinates to him regularly.  He goes through her phone on a daily basis.  He even deleted her birth control reminders off her phone so she’s forget to take her pill.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  His worst offense is sending a sexy video Laura made for her ex-boyfriend to her co-workers and putting the blame on her ex-boyfriend.  This also leaves Laura open to sexual harassment from her co-workers, none of them believing that she didn’t send this video.  Unfortunately, there’s truth in fiction with this situation.  During the High School Musical craze, the lead actress, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, faced slut shaming due to someone posting naked pictures of her on the internet.  No one considered that she might have taken the photos for her boyfriend and someone posted them without permission, making her the violated party.  As in the case of many people in abusive relationships, Laura’s too blinded by love to see what’s going on.  Then finds herself craving the moments when Ben’s nice to her, insisting that he can change.  However, the game does have unfortunate implications.  This time, I’m not just talking about the game play.  When Laura attends a seminar for people in abusive relationships, she mentions that everyone at the meeting is a woman.  Even now, people fail to see that men can also be the victim in an abusive relationship.

As I said earlier, the game play comes with unfortunate implications.  Let me put it this way, it’s another story about respecting someone’s rights as a human being, while violating their rights as a human being.  You can see the contradiction.  Only, this time, you don’t send messages or post pictures pretending to be Laura.  I’ll admit that the game play is intriguing with you having to search through her phone and use deductive reasoning to figure out her passwords.  However, you can easily change the plot of how you got the phone to make it less invasive.  You could have the story be about Laura reporting Ben to the police for domestic abuse and handing her phone over to a cop to present as evidence.  It would erase the issue of violating someone’s privacy and it’s believable.

This game is fun but uncomfortable.  I give it 7 out of 10; a great game but needs to be better thought out.

The Love Boat (Gamehouse)

After thirty years, the Love Boat makes another run on Gamehouse.  This time, they’re passengers are Emily from Delicious and Angela from Fabulous.  Can they keep them happy while dealing with their own drama?

For those of you not familiar with 1970s America, The Love Boat is about the Pacific Princess and the tales of romance and comedy among the passengers and crew.  When I discovered that this would be one of Gamehouse’s projects, I searched for episodes of The Love Boat on YouTube.  Seriously, the things I do for you people.  Okay, I’ll admit that the show isn’t that awful, even though I wouldn’t consider it a masterpiece.  In fact, when it first aired, critics claimed that this show would sink faster than the Titanic.  Considering that the show lasted for ten years before they pulled it off the air, this is clearly not true.  As I saw a few episodes of the series, I thought the critics were a little harsh.  Yes, this show is not deep and it never won an Emmy, but the appeal was more in the fantasy.  It’s the idea of boarding a cruise, watching marine life and finding love.  The show also had an original idea by being more about the guest stars while the main characters often took a backseat to them.  Many of these guest stars were famous 70s actors, so I liked to play my own game called spot the 70s star.  In the episodes I’ve watched, I’ve found John Ritter, Suzanne Somers, three Bradies, George Jefferson and Chachi.

Let me tell you, the storyline of the game is the same one of the very first episode with a few plot changes and an added Emily and Angela storyline.  I give you a spoiler warning, so don’t read if you want to go into the game fresh.  Captain Stubbing has to deal with his b*tch of an ex-wife, Jenny’s running from her boyfriend who won’t commit, and Sandy’s engaged to a politician trying to hide her past as a model for a pornography magazine from him.  Emily and Angela’s plot about sister bonding is the only new thing in the game.  Therefore, they’re not continuing the plot from the original series; they’re remaking it in video game form.

Unfortunately, some aspects of the remake fall short.  Since Emily and Angela are passengers on the ship, you would think that they updated the time to modern day.  However, the writers failed to realize that there are things you can get away with in the 70s that you can’t get away with today.  For instance, in the Jenny plotline, she boards the boat to get away from Ronald, her ex-boyfriend.  He stows away on the boat and stalks her all through the cruise.  It’s something Jenny finds flattering until he tells her that he doesn’t want to get married and wants to continue living together.  Nowadays, if your boyfriend kept stalking you, you wouldn’t want to file for a marriage license.  You’d file for a restraining order.  Not to mention that it seems impractical to go this far in the age of the smart phone.  Ron could just text Jenny repeatedly until she blocks him.

Speaking of impractical, I’m sure those of you who watched the show remember Sandy’s plot about hiding her past as a porn star from her fiancé, Congressman Brad Brockway. First, I should tell you that Sandy posed for the nude magazine, Kitten, when she was a law school student.  She really needed the money, so she got a phony name and wore a brown wig hoping no one would recognize her.  Kitten re-released it after finding out about Sandy’s engagement to a well-known politician and she’s working extra hard trying to hide the magazines from him.  In the 70s, a feat such as this would be difficult since he would eventually discover this on his own.  Today, it would be almost impossible.  Not only would Sandy have to deal with someone recognizing her on the magazine, there is a good chance that this would be all over the internet.  Anyone who sees this picture could blog about this scandal, tweet it, or post it on Facebook or Instagram.  You can’t keep anything a secret in the digital age, especially when you’re in the public eye.  Unless Sandy is a skilled hacker, she’s definitely fighting a losing battle.  There’s also an inconsistency with this as, when Sandy asks Julie, the cruise director, about who purchased the last Kitten magazines, she jokes that everyone who purchased it is a man.  The laugh track runs as if it were obvious, even though people accept homosexuality much better today than they did in the 70s.  In addition, the game play and a later plot element contradict this stupid joke, which I’ll talk about later.

In the Stacey plot, you get more impracticality as she coerces her husband, Aubrey Skogstad, to buy the cruise line so that she can make life miserable for Stubing the same way he made her life miserable when they were married.  Now, she could just leave a bad review on Yelp and blog all about how much the cruise sucks.  Not that Stacey would be in the right for that, but her revenge plan is impractical.  This plot also features a cross-dressing joke in the form of a disguised Gopher, the yeomen purser, trying to help Stubing win favor with Aubrey.  Cross-dressing jokes might have been funny in the 70s but, right now, they’re just tasteless and desperate.  This makes me wonder if Gamehouse posted A Normal Lost Phone as an apology.  In addition, the ship’s doctor is still the same womanizer from the show with four ex-wives and hints at being unfaithful treated more along the lines of “boys will be boys.”  This same manner is what makes people despise The Big Bang Theory.

Despite the unintentional values dissonance, the game does improve on the storylines from the first episode.  For starters, Ron and Jenny actually get character development as a talk from Isaac, the bartender, makes them reconsider their views.  It still ends the same way it did on the show, but at least the story gives a reason for their radical changes in behavior.  Sandy also ends up coming clean to Brock about her past after Doc gives her some advice.  However, Brock comes across the magazine and thinks that Sandy’s secretly into women.  Understandably, he’s p*ssed and, if I were in love with a man who I thought was using me as a beard, I’d be angry myself.  However, I do wonder how he couldn’t recognize his fiancé in a brown wig.  This is also the plot point I made a reference to that contradicted their stupid joke about all of the buyers obviously being men.  Don’t worry, they make up at the end with Brock being just as understanding about the picture in the game as he was in the show.  The game also uses the method of showing and telling in regards to Stacey’s behavior.  In the original episode, we don’t really see Stacey making the crew’s life miserable with the exception of the captain.  We just hear the crew complain about her while she argues with the captain and forbids him to eat at his table.  It is a d*ck move, because she’s also screwing over the other passengers invited to sit at Stubing’s table who I’m sure wanted to meet him.  However, we never see Stacey interact with the rest of the crew yet they still complain about how she makes their lives miserable.  In this game, we have genuine evidence of Stacey doing this with her demanding Julie to serve an impossible breakfast and getting angry when Julie pours her apple juice rather than orange juice.  Stacey also demands the impossible from Isaac and deliberately sabotages Doc’s medicine.  Another difference is that, in the show, Stubing tells Doc right away that Stacey is his ex-wife and talking about how he was so devoted to his job that he neglected her.  Then Doc spills it to the rest of the crew the first chance he gets.  Instead, Doc finds this out on his own when Stacey drops a green emerald necklace on the floor and recognizes it as the same necklace Stubing’s ex-wife wore in the picture on his desk.  Stubing comes clean, admitting that he wasn’t a great husband but still saying that it’s no excuse for Stacey’s behavior, which I appreciate.  Doc tries to keep this to himself until he feels that he has to tell the rest of the crew so that they don’t hate Stubing.  This plot line ends in the show with Stubing grabbing Stacey by the arm and dragging her off in private to stand up for himself and his crew.  While the game got rid of the first part, knowing modern day audiences wouldn’t handle that well, they still kept Stubing ordering Stacey to go to her room as if she were a spoiled child and Aubrey agreeing with him.

Earlier, I mentioned that Emily and Angela get their own plot line.  Emily’s mother bought them tickets as a gift and they decided that it was the perfect opportunity for sibling bonding.  Their story does have some similarities with Jenny and Lorraine’s as Angela teaches Emily how to have fun.  The difference is that Lorraine just laughs it off and acts supportive of Jenny and her problems with Ron.  Angela, on the other hand, acts like a spoiled child when Emily gets more attention from men than she does.  Instead of talking to Emily about how this upsets her, she goes out of her way to sabotage Emily.  At one point, she insincerely flirts with Gopher to prove to make Emily jealous.  Then gains an unwanted admirer in him as Gopher constantly bothers Angela with a poem he wrote for her and how he wants to turn it into a song.  If this is how Gopher acts around women, I’m starting to see why he has trouble getting a date.  According to the actor, Gopher’s supposed to be the nice guy who always finishes last.  Contrary to popular belief, this behavior is more clingy and creepy than it is nice.  However, it doesn’t excuse how Angela leads him on later in the game.  Let me explain that Angela meets a man she’s into who’s a yacht club member.  She wants pursue him without Emily getting in the way, so Angela flirts with Gopher to convince him to sabotage the cooking show Emily wants to go to in the morning.  Gopher manages to get the show postponed to the evening in exchange for a date with Angela.  This is the exact same behavior Angela criticized Janet for in Angela’s High School Reunion.  She never apologizes to Gopher for it, but she does apologize to Emily for taking the cruise too seriously.  Their plot also has a laugh out loud moment when Emily takes care of Angela’s admirers by lying about how she’s pregnant with triplets.  Then, when Gopher once again tries his luck, Emily gets rid of him by saying that Paige, Emilia and Vito are Angela’s kids and Patrick is Angela’s ex-husband who the warden just released from prison.  I should tell you that Emily and Angela have very few moments of interaction with the crew of the Pacific Princess.  Another instance is Emily checking in with Julie and explaining that Emily’s mother bought tickets for her and Angela.  Emily also talks to Isaac briefly when she’s about to work at the restaurant only for Isaac to come in and tell her there’s not enough room on this ship for two bartenders.  It’s the first time Emily’s had to go somewhere in the Delicious series and not have to serve people.  All four plot lines weave together when Stubing marries Brock and Sandy with Emily making the cake and Angela sewing the wedding dress.

The game play has similarities with Emily’s Honeymoon Cruise.  You go to different locations and play a member of the crew.  As Julie, you check the customers in and serve them champagne or magazines while Gopher cleans up and handles their luggage.

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One of the magazines is Kitten and women do order it during Julie’s levels.  As Isaac, you serve customers food and drink while Gopher cleans up after them.

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As Doc, you heal the passengers on the cruise.

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You can buy upgrades in-between levels and complete optional side quests to earn diamonds, which you also get by playing the challenge levels.  You also get to hear the theme song repeatedly when you’re at the map.

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You have the option of changing the music, but don’t bother.  That song is what TV Tropes would call an earworm, you hear it once and it will never leave your head.  This game also has the catch the mouse mini-game you can participate in once a level.  You can also use the diamonds to dress this mouse up in cute little outfits.  The game also gives you profiles on the characters in the game, including the passengers and the hunky plot device who serves no purpose other than to give Angela another false romantic lead.  You also earn achievements by completing certain tasks in the game that take the form of Polaroid pictures.  This begs the question of why the Pacific Princess would be using a Polaroid to take pictures instead of a modern day digital camera.  One level has the optional task of taking pictures with a Polaroid instead of people asking you to snap a picture of them with their smart phones.

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The pictures also don’t give you much of a hint of how close you are to earning the achievements.  You even have to collect one achievement by playing the same level repeatedly.

This game is addictive and nostalgic.  I give it 7 out of 10; a bit behind the times but still a fun ride.

Fabulous: Angela’s High School Reunion (Gamehouse)

When high school students come to Victoria’s shop for prom dresses, it causes Angela to flashback to her own disastrous high school affair.  Now she wants to make up for it and that’s by having her own high school reunion.  Can Angela make up for her own terrible prom, or will the reunion be every bit as disastrous?

Anyone who’s even glanced at this game on Gamehouse’s website knows that Angela will end up in prison.  The spoiler is how she gets there, which I will discuss.  Let me say that it’s not entirely Angela’s fault, ‘not entirely’ being the key words.  Angela gets herself into this predicament by wanting to throw a reunion so badly that she uses the old rundown school building to have the party.  The building is a safety hazard as Angela’s sister, Emily, points out.  However, another fellow student, Janet, claims that her father gave them permission to have their reunion in this very building.  Janet is Angela’s former rival for Prom Queen and current rival for Reunion Queen.  Angela’s hatred for Janet is so great that she tries to cancel the reunion because of not wanting Janet to ruin her good time.  It gets so bad that Angela carries an idiot ball by telling Janet that she’s canceling the reunion.  You can bet that all this will do is encourage Janet to take over and that’s exactly what she does.

I’ll admit that high school is a subject I know very little about.  My parents had me home schooled after I graduated from middle school in order to spare me from what they call ‘their terrible high school experience.’  Neither one of them have ever been to their reunions because they claim that, when you do, it’s back to the old pecking order.  The people who attend are either reliving their glory days or trying to rub their success in the face of everyone who picked on them.  The only people who attend and leave happy are the former.  In the case of Angela and Janet, I said that their prom blew up in their face.  However, I didn’t explain how this happened.  I did tell you that they both competed for the title of Prom Queen.  As the alpha bitch of Snuggford High, the students favored Janet as Prom Queen.  Angela decided to run against her due to Angela and her friends wanting to become popular in high school.  Janet went so far as to manipulate two brothers against each other to ruin Angela, something that backfired on both of them.

Those who follow me remember when I talked about the double standard in the last Fabulous game, which the characters address but the story never fully discusses. Well, this one takes it a step further due to not addressing the double standard in this game.  As I said in the last paragraph, Janet played two brothers against each other in order to become Prom Queen.  However, what I didn’t explain is that Janet dated the popular brother, Matt, first.  Keith, the unpopular brother, would make moves on Janet while she dated Matt.  Keith clearly sees Matt as the evil brother and Janet as the sweet victim that he must rescue.  However, he doesn’t see Janet as a person as much as a trophy.  Keith ingrains himself so deeply in his fantasy that he refuses to acknowledge Janet’s faults, even when Angela points them out.  In fact, when Angela comes across Janet’s pregnancy test, Keith sees it after she leaves and assumes that Angela is pregnant with Matt’s baby.  However, instead of talking to Angela about it, he reports Matt to the principal to get him expelled.  When Angela becomes Prom Queen, reveals to the entire school and reporters that she’s pregnant.  Angela is not going to take this lying down and says that Janet’s the pregnant one, which shuts the school down and, in effect, cancels the prom.

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It also shows how unobservant Keith is by not recognizing that Angela shows no signs of morning sickness while Janet displays it on a regular basis.  As for Matt, they never really delve into his character, but the Principal does claim that Matt gets in trouble with the school.  Janet also hints that Matt has a wandering eye, but will always come back to her.  They never explore this, so I don’t know if it means that he cheats on Janet or he just flirts around.  He does refuse to help Janet with her election, despite expressing how important the Prom Queen election is to her.

Don’t worry, Janet isn’t innocent in this either.  As I said, she did play two brothers against each other.  However, one wonders how close those brothers really are if they let one girl come between them.  Anyway, Matt breaks up with Janet because he’s tired of how selfish she is.  When she manipulates Keith against Matt and Angela, pretending that she cares for the latter, Janet proves him right.  The years have not changed her as she goes as far as putting her own desires to become Reunion Queen over her daughter, Chloe, wanting to know who her father is.

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In the second paragraph, I mentioned that Janet lied about her father giving them permission to use the rundown school building for their reunion.  Yet Janet is so desperate to have the glory days a news report ruined, she lies to Angela and her friends.  However, in all reality, Angela didn’t exactly listen to Emily about the place being unsafe due to having the exact same desires as Janet.  The only difference is that Angela doesn’t have a kid, so she has more freedom to behave irresponsibly.  This doesn’t change the fact that Angela and Janet allowed their own desires to blind them to the danger of the building until it falls apart.  I can’t even begin to stress how lucky they are that no one died because of their own selfish desires.

I mentioned that Emily makes a cameo in the game.  She acts as the voice of reason for Angela, who refuses to listen to her.  I’m sure that many of you are aware that Emily is the star of Delicious, and Fabulous is a spinoff starring Angela.  Since Emily is the more serious and responsible of the two, her stories have a more calming narrative.  Angela, on the other hand, is more wild and crazy.  Therefore, her stories have a more wacky narrative.  It definitely shows in this story, with a couple of humorous moments.  Anyway, some people claim that over the top characters can’t carry their own story and, sometimes, this is true.  Anyone who’s watched the Friends spinoff, Joey, knows what I mean.  However, House and Sherlock are both over the top, yet are quite capable of carrying their own shows.  Despite what many people will tell you, in the writing world, there is no ultimate judge of good and bad.  Writing is an art, which is what makes it unique and, if there’s a right way to do it, all stories would be the same and people would get bored.  That’s not to say that there’s no wrong way to write because, believe me, there is.  As for whether Fabulous is doing well with their over the top main character, I think that they’re somewhat succeeding.  Angela is still trying to find her way and, like the last story, she’s making mistakes and learning from them.  Some might say that Angela just relearns the same moral she learned in the last game through different events.  This is what TV tropes refers to as Aesop amnesia, and believe me when I say it happens in real life.  There is a problem with Angela’s temporary love interests, the first being a cop, the second a model and the third one Matt Miller.  Though temporary love interests are quite common in fiction, Angela goes through these boys without dating the first one and the second one disappears with no explanation.  As for the third one, he does get an explanation in the end with a hint that he might get with Angela later, but I highly doubt it.

The game play is quite similar to many games in the Delicious franchise.  You get the required items, deliver them to the customers and check them out at the register.  Sometimes, you have to clean up after them and, in this game, you get a bonus at the end of the level for it.  Each level comes with a special event and some levels are just extra challenges for you to complete.  This game also features endless levels that really serve no purpose.  It’s the same with the challenge levels, because you don’t get any diamonds for completing the events.  This is also the only game past Emily’s Home Sweet Home where you don’t purchase gifts for any reason.  You do get to purchase upgrades for each venue in a style similar to Emily’s Christmas Carol.

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You also have to catch the mouse in each level and earn trophies in the form of yearbook photos.

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I did find one serious problem with the game play.  Believe me when I say that it deserves its own paragraph.  You know how Emily and Mary always cook in their games, Cathy always makes crafts, Maggie makes movies and Allison saves lives?  Well, Angela’s talent is sewing and, this being a Fabulous game, you’d expect her to be making clothes.  Unfortunately, Angela only sews outfits in the first venue.  Most of the game is about Angela and, in the second venue, one of her friends preparing food.

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This is a serious oversight and undermines the whole point of Angela starring in this game.  If you’re going to have most of the game play be about preparing food, you might as well have made this another Delicious game.  Hell, with a few tweaks, Emily could’ve been the star of this story with Angela being a side character.

This game is addictive, but pointless.  I give it 7 out of 10, a few good moments but doesn’t really feel like an Angela game.

IT: Escape from Pennywise (IOS App Store)

Pennywise the Dancing Clown stalks you through the Neibolt House.  Can you escape the literal monster clown, or will you become IT’s lunch?

Ever since seeing IT in theaters, I’ve been obsessed with everything Stephen King.  Therefore, I had to get this game and let me say that I have a love/hate relationship with it, pun not intended.  When I first downloaded the game, all I could see was a black screen effect until the game crashed and took me back to the home screen.  Then I decided to play the VR experience on YOUTUBE, which is not the same thing but still succeeded in scaring me.

It wasn’t until days later that I was able to play it and, even then, I still had issues with the game crashing in mid-play.  It was a miracle for me to go through one single play through without a crash.  I can’t even count how many times I had to delete the game, turn off my phone, turn it back on after a few minutes and re-install the game.  I found this very frustrating.

I’m sure many people who are familiar with Stephen King know the story of IT.  The game’s adapted from the most recent IT film, which itself is adapted from the novel.  It’s about a clown that lurks in the sewers of Derry, Maine, luring children to IT’s feeding ground and swallowing them whole.  The clown can also take the form of your worst fears and I’ve been terrified of IT since I saw Tim Curry play the clown in the 1990 Mini-Series.  Let me tell you, Pennywise in the 2017 version is even scarier and seeing IT in VR is much worse.

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During my first attempts, I found myself too scared to play the game all the way through.  Then I started pulling my Google Cardboard away at frightening moments.  I found my heart pounding like mad when Pennywise would get a close up, similar to how I felt in the VR experience on YOUTUBE.  The game play itself is also rather simplistic as you hover over a door and wait for it to fully light up.  Unfortunately, this process takes awhile and destroys the game’s sense of urgency.  During the game, you also see clever nods to the movie such as Eddie’s leper and Pennywise appearing on TV in a kid’s show.  Be prepared for a huge let down as the game only has two endings and, no matter what door you pick, you’ll always end up in the same room.  The only difference is that, when you have to choose between the first three doors, you get a different experience each time.

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Then you have to choose between two doors, one that will get you out of the house and the other puts you in Pennywise’s clutches.  It feels less like a game and more like an advertisement for the Blu-Ray.

This game is scary and frustrating.  I give it 5 out of 10; it’s an amazing experience, but not worth all of the trouble you have to go through.

A Normal Lost Phone (Gamehouse)

You’ve found a phone that once belonged to a teenage boy named Sam.  What kind of person was he and how did he lose his phone?  Go through his phone to find out.

In real life, if you find someone’s phone on the ground, don’t go through it.  Even if you did, you wouldn’t be able to crack the password.  Anyway, you might read the summary and think this must be a boring game.  First, I should say that you couldn’t be more wrong.  Second, I should also say that I found this game on Gamehouse and it’s a little more controversial than what they usually publish.  Spoiler alert, Sam is a bisexual transgender who lives in a conservative town.  She has issues with who she is due to close-minded people surrounding her, including her own parents.  The story is about the relationships Sam has with her friends while trying to discover who she is.  It’s similar to Gone Home about a teenage girl’s struggles with her homosexuality.  Considering that the closest Gamehouse Original Stories has to an LGBT character is Francois, who has yet to come out of the plot closet, this is quite a shock.  They also deal in stories that are more family friendly.  I’m not saying that the LGBT shouldn’t have representation in children’s entertainment, quite the opposite.  It’s just that the game also deals with misogyny when they not so subtly hint to a rape attempt.  The guy blames the girl for leading him on and then shunning him.  What actually happened was that the girl wore a provocative dress, her boyfriend got a little drunk and he forced her to press against him when they danced.  She told him no and he got mad.  To make a bad situation worse, when she went home to her father and said that a stranger molested her, he told her that, the way she’s dressed, she asked for it.  I remember in Elementary School that they had one motivational poster about how you are responsible for you.  Ironically, society itself often contradicts this message.  This is similar to how bullies say that, if their victims didn’t want people to beat them up, they shouldn’t act different from everyone else.  It’s something that Frasier and The Big Bang Theory agree with.  In the former, Martin tells Frasier and Niles about when they were children and into the British television series The Avengers to the point of wearing bowler hats.  Then says that it’s something they shouldn’t have done because they made themselves a target.  In the latter, Penny once claimed that she felt guilty for picking on the geeks in high school and then claims that, if one of the kids didn’t want to get beat up, they shouldn’t have shown up to school wearing a bow tie.  While rape and getting beat up might not be on the same level, the point still stands.  Frasier and Niles should be able to wear bowler hats if they want to.  A boy should be able to go to high school wearing a bow tie without getting beat up.  If a girl wants to wear a provocative dress because she looks good in it, she should be able to without having to worry about rape or molestation.  This serves to point out how screwed up Sam’s town is and how liberal she is in comparison by telling the girl that it’s not her fault.  That’s not the only discrimination you can find in this game.  For instance, someone sets fire to an LGBT center and people around Sam, even his own parents, say that it’s a good thing.  I’m not sure if I mentioned this in a former review, but I have Aspergers, which is a low-level form of Autism.  I was lucky enough to have an understanding mother, but stories such as Silent Voice taught me about the discrimination people like me face.  One thing I learned is that parents do murder their autistic children and many people feel sympathy for the parents.  The news reporters even treat it as a mercy death rather than talk about how the children could grow up to accomplish so many things.  Therefore, I can somewhat relate to what Sam’s going through in my own struggles to accept my Aspergers.  However, as someone pointed out in his or her own review, the gameplay does undermine the message.

As I said in the first paragraph, you find Sam’s phone and violate her privacy.  It goes much further than that as you scan her text messages and emails to discover her passwords.

You even send emails and pictures to other people pretending to be her.  While the detective work makes for intriguing game play, you not only violate Sam’s privacy, but also her rights.  I can only think of three people who would do something like this, House, Sherlock and Dean Winchester.  All of them would do this to solve a case, though the former two might also do this because they’re a**holes.  Apparently, the designer of the game didn’t think that part through.  You could’ve easily had this be about a detective solving a murder investigation, or an amnesiac Sam going through his phone to discover who he is.  Instead, the only clue I have about what kind of person you play is that they’re a d*ck without any regard for personal space.  Just the kind of person I would hate to run into.  At least, in Gone Home, you play the role of a young woman coming back from college to an empty home trying to figure out where everyone went.  Even she refused to dig too deep by refusing to read her sister’s diary about her first sexual encounter.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10; the game play undermines the story’s message.

Fabulous: Angela’s Fashion Fever (Gamehouse)

After Angela quits her job and leaves her husband, she finds herself competing on a reality show hosted by the one and only fashion designer, Truly.  The prize is a chance to become the next big fashion designer.  Does Angela have what it takes to win?

Do you remember the cliffhanger at the end of Sweet Revenge where Angela thinks she might be pregnant?  Well that gets resolved in the very beginning, she’s not.  It makes the whole game and its cliffhanger null and void.  The only important events from the first game are that Angela doesn’t work for Yum-Mee anymore and she’s single, giving her all sorts of potential love interests.  The first one is the cop who helped her in the first game, who makes a cameo appearance in this one.  The second one shows up later in the game.  I don’t know if I already talked about this, but I think that the designers had to get rid of Jimmy.  If you’re not familiar with the Delicious series, Jimmy is, or was, Angela’s husband first introduced to us in Emily’s True Love.  Jimmy functioned in the series as comic relief, Angela’s glorified sugar daddy and a possible connection to the mafia.  Now that Angela’s found her own way as a designer, she’s outgrown him.  However, if Angela divorced Jimmy in order to pursue younger and more attractive men, it would cast her in a shallow light.  Therefore, they had Jimmy cheat and Angela can dump him without looking evil.

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The designers went so out of their way to get rid of any connection to Jimmy that they tossed a plot device brought up in the first game out the window.  Personally, I feel that, if you drop a bombshell this huge, you need to be prepared to follow it through.  Otherwise it’s all for nothing.

The plot line has similarities to the Delicious game, Emily’s Taste of Fame.  For those of you who never played it, the game is about Emily getting an offer to host her own cooking show.  Along the way, she meets the colorful characters of Snuggford and helps them with their problems.  When Emily finally gets on the show, she realizes that the life of a TV star isn’t for her, quits and goes back to her humble life in Snuggford.  In this game, Angela gets her chance to be on a reality show and travels all around the world.

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Unlike Emily, her sister, Angela loves her life of fame and craves it the way an alcoholic craves liquor.  She even forgets to send a text to one of her friends on her birthday in favor of signing autographs for her newfound fans.  This illustrates the differences between the two sisters as Emily is more of a homebody who runs her restaurant and is content with her humble small-town life.  Angela craves a wilder lifestyle and loves being the center of attention.  The tone of their games further drives this point home, as Emily’s games are more along the lines of shows like Modern Family while Angela’s games are more along the lines of How I Met Your Mother.

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I’ll admit that I’ve always felt more drawn to Angela rather than Emily due to the former’s nature that is more carefree.  However, some of Angela’s behavior in this game is truly disgusting.  I understand that the game is trying to illustrate Angela’s corruption by the famous lifestyle.  However, the writers never address one issue.  Be warned that this paragraph contains spoilers so read with caution.  Truly’s show is a sham as she schemes to eliminate each contestant and competes under the alias Lori.  She even goes so far as to blackmail one of her models, Eric, into seducing Angela.  Eric is, for lack of a better term, Truly’s whore and the game does not portray it for comedy or make light of the situation in any way.  I should explain that one of the rules of Truly’s competition is that the designers are not allowed to get involved with models.  If Truly finds out about Angela’s relationship with Eric, she has reason to kick her off the show.  However, when Angela finds out that Eric is Truly’s boyfriend, she does not question why Eric is unfaithful to her.  Later in the game, Truly invites Angela’s friends to come see her.  One of them, Jenny, becomes a model for Angela and flirts with Eric at a club.  Jenny has no idea that Angela and Eric have a thing and apologizes to Angela when she finds out.  At no point in the game does Angela confront Eric about this.  Instead, she takes all her anger out on Jenny by stealing her dress and using it to get Eric’s attention.  Understandably, Angela’s friends are angry about this and leave but still come through later on when she needs them.  As for Truly’s scheme, Angela does get her revenge.  This is another illustration about the differences between her and Emily.  When someone wrongs Emily, the people she helps throughout her adventure return to help her overcome the one who wronged her and, if possible, tries to make amends with them.  When someone wrongs Angela, she takes matters into her own hands by getting revenge in creative ways.

The game play is similar to Delicious with clothes instead of food.  Angela makes outfits, jewelry, gets cosmetics for her customers or models, and checks them out.  Some of them visit the changing room or, in some levels, get their hair done at the mirror.  Angela has to clean up after that for extra points.

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Some levels even require an extra activity for Angela to complete and get more points.  Each level has their own mouse and, unlike Delicious, offers cleaning bonuses.  The layout of the second game is rather different from the first due to Angela not marking each level with her own Facebook posts.  I have to admit, I rather missed that aspect.  Angela also gets her own pure activity levels throughout the game, though they’re the same in each section.  Pick a dress for Angela to design, draw sketches for it, move the box of supplies, collect the supplies and finally sew the dress.

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In the second venue, you have to chase the different contestants away from your dress so they don’t sabotage you.  Believe me it gets repetitive after awhile.  You can also buy upgrades for each venue and even purchase entertainers and checkout clerks.  Though you have to buy the latter two every single level, another aspect that’s rather grating.

This game is fun but needs improvement.  I give it 6 out of 10, a nice distraction but rather lacking in both storyline and game play.

Snow Queen Scene Maker (Azaleas Dolls)

Requested by onlyindreams145

Did you love the movie Frozen?  Now you can live in it in Snow Queen Scene Maker!  Create characters and dress them up in styles inspired by the popular Disney movie.

Since this is a dollmaker, I’m afraid that it doesn’t really have a plot.  However, there’s plenty of game play.  As I said, you get to create characters and dress them up however you like.  The girls come with two poses, one for ballgowns and pants and the other for catsuits and elegant dresses.  The guys only have one pose, but you can still dress them however you please.  You can even decorate them with drag and drop items.  Unfortunately, the drag and drop only works when you have them facing right.  You can use this dollmaker to create original characters or recreate existing characters.  I have used this dollmaker to create an original alien of mine, Defoli Nurmeen,

Defoli Nurmeen (Original Fiction) by suburbantimewaster

and the characters of Friends.  

Friends by suburbantimewaster

Like many dollmakers, you can’t really change the body-type and you can only change the woman’s face-type to make it pointy or not pointy.  The man only has three available face-types himself.  It’s also easier to make an ugly man in the dollmaker than it is an ugly woman.  You can also pick the background, all choices inspired by Frozen.

This game is fun and one of my go to dollmakers.  I give it 6 out of 10, fans of Frozen will love this game.

Sailor X-Sailor Generator (Sailor X Website)

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Have you ever dreamed of being in the popular magical girl anime, Sailor Moon?  Now you can with the new Sailor X dollmaker!  Create the existing sailor senshi or scouts, whatever you want to call them.  You can even create your own original characters to fight alongside them.  With this dollmaker, the sky’s the limit.

A while back, I promised I would review this dollmaker first.  I also promised that I would post reviews about board games, post pictures of my time playing them, fanfiction based off video games and board games and that you can submit your stuff.  While I do plan to review a board game soon, I’m afraid the pictures might just be a maybe for now.  I’m also not submitting fanfiction about video games but I have posted some dollmaker stuff I made.  However, I might submit some narratives in the point of view of characters, such as my time in Star Trek Online.  I recently joined a fleet and I’m hoping that they might let me blog about my adventures.  Unfortunately, I will only do this with characters that are truly my own.  Therefore, I won’t be posting anything about my time playing Mice and Mystics in Prince Colin’s point of view.  I might post some news about video games in the off chance that I don’t have a review to submit.  In fact, I’ve already done that with Telltale news, courtesy of Hashakgig from deviantart.  I’m also not allowing people to submit to my blog.  However, you are allowed to make suggestions about what I should post about.  I can’t promise that I’ll always take your suggestions, but I will always consider them.  Therefore, I haven’t lived up to every promise and I thought it would be best to clear the air.

Like many dollmakers, this game has no story.  You just take a character and create what you want.  You have to visit each section to change your character’s face, body and so on.  You can select different colors by the simple system of picking what’s available.  You can also use the more complicated system of figuring out the shade you want as well.  You can even download what you create and share it with your friends.  This is my latest creation of a fan charmer for the series Charm Cafe by animecolourful from deviantart.

Charmer Garnet Re-Done (Charm Cafe OC) by suburbantimewaster

 I also used an earlier version to create the main character for my magical girl series, Fairy Tale Warriors.  

SnowWhite/Faith Summers (Fairy Tale Warriors) by suburbantimewaster

However, like many dollmakers, you have no option to change the body type.

This game is fun and creative. I give it 7 out of 10; it’s a unique take on dollmakers.

Delicious: Emily’s Christmas Carol (Gamehouse)

It’s Christmas in Snuggford and Paige is the star in the Christmas play.  As luck would have it, she screws up during rehearsal.  Therefore, Emily, Patrick and the rest of the family board the Miracle Express to meet Santa Clause and boost Paige’s spirits.  Unfortunately, Evelyn doesn’t want to come.  Can the family boost Paige’s spirit while finding out why Evelyn is so afraid to board the Miracle Express?

If the plot sounds predictable to you, you couldn’t be more right.  This is one of those Santa Clause is real storylines that became very popular in the eighties.  Such a subject is very delicate and you need to handle it with tender loving care.  In Fables, they did say that Santa’s real and, just like the rest of the characters, he’s a fable.  Therefore, in that case, they managed to pull it off.  In this one, they do an okay job but it’s not great.

The Miracle Express is, like the Polar Express, a train ride to see Santa.  The game, at one point, claims that only believers can power it.  However, Patrick and Emily do talk about having the former dress up as Santa in order to give Paige a pep talk.  Yet the train carries them to their destination with no problem.  Even when people ask why they would want to do such a thing, they still assume that it’s the workers taking the Santa act too seriously.

As I said earlier, the game is predictable and explores every Christmas Special cliché in the book.  In one venue, Paige manages to nurse Rudy the reindeer back to health so he can ride at the front of Santa’s sleigh.  If you’re wondering who Rudy is, let me give you a hint.  He has a big and shiny red nose.  Another venue explores the story of a rich and friendless kid who keeps all of his toys for himself.  You can bet that Paige befriends him and teaches him how to share.  However, I should tell you that, in my opinion, said child’s transformation happens a little too quickly to be believable.

Despite the many clichés, the game does have one shining moment.  It claims that Christmas magic can be for anyone at any age.  Anyone who’s read the Narnia chronicles knows that, after Prince Caspian, Peter and Susan could no longer visit Narnia.  According to Aslan, they’ve become too old and must live out their lives in the real world.  This also brings to mind a discussion two people who host a channel called Bad Fanfiction Theater had when reading My Inner Life.  They talked about Labyrinth and discussed one thing they loved about it.  Despite Sarah maturing at the end, the magic in her life doesn’t leave her.  It’s why they love the movie because, in their opinion, if you found a magical place you could no longer be part of when you grew up, it would drive you insane.  I have to say that I agree with them.  This is why, at the end of the game, when Evelyn starts to believe and wants to ride up front, she claims that you’re never too old for Christmas magic.

The game play is typical of your average Delicious game.  You deliver food to customers at tables or at the cash register.  In the case of the former, you have to clean the table in order to seat new customers.  You have to reach at least one star in order to advance to the next level, but try for three stars if you feel lucky.  Each level comes with a mouse you have to catch and a challenge you need to complete for diamonds.  Use the diamonds to invite people to Paige’s school play and, this time, Angela’s included.  You can also purchase upgrades between levels and unlock new products throughout the game.  Don’t forget to collect all of the trophies, if you want an extra challenge.

The game is simplistic and yet fun.  I give it 6 out of 10, not the best Christmas themed game but worth checking out.

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