Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Cooking Academy 3: Recipe for Success

You’ve graduated from cooking school, won a million dollars and even started your own restaurant. So what’s next? Why, writing a book of course! In order to do so, you have to go back to school and learn some new recipes.

The characters are nothing special and the only memorable one is the French guy. You don’t even see what the character you play looks like or learn anything about their background, all you know is that he or she wants to cook. Therefore, it’s you; only instead of saving the world (like you’re usually doing in video games), you’re making food. Don’t worry; as tvtropes.org will tell you, it’s much better than it sounds. No, the game doesn’t have a page on that website; I’m just not sure if I have the rights to say that. Well, that and the website has pretty much ruined my life.

Each section of the game has you focusing on a certain type of food with a list of recipes. There are a number of steps to complete each recipe and you even get to read a fact about the food you’re trying to make. After you’re done with all the recipes, you get to take a few exams. Don’t panic, you just have to do a certain mini-game and you can earn up to five stars based on how well you do it. That’s also how the game rewards you for how well you do a recipe. It’s like cooking except you don’t have to wash your hands after certain steps. In addition, you don’t feel gross after doing certain steps in recipes. There can be 5 steps or 15 depending on the recipe. You will also recognize some of the food, as I’m sure some of you have actually had it in real life.

This game is fun and addictive. I give it 7 out of 10; it’s like having your own virtual kitchen. A little warning, you might want to eat some of the food, so do not play if you are on a strict diet.

Vampire Saga: Break Out

A creature is loose in Hell Lock and it’s transforming the citizens into monsters. The only one who can stop it is a doctor who’s lost his daughter to that very creature.

I swear this is Big Fish Games own series of horror movies. It doesn’t matter if the first one was amazing; they just get worse with each passing game. At this point, there’s nothing even connecting it to the first two games. None of the characters are the same and there is no mention of previous events. They just stuck Vampire Saga on the game because they can. The plot is also very cheap and there is nothing great about the characters, they just exist.

The game play is the standard hidden object game, you go to scenes to collect different items and only get one. In this game, the pictures of what you need to get are around a certain object in the scene and you have to drag each item to each picture. When you’re done, you get a new item. You also have an unlimited number of hints and there will be backtracking in the game. Oh, and did I mention that you can use the items in your inventory to progress to different scenes?

The plot and characters are nothing special, but the game’s addictive. I give it 4 out of 10, not much that makes it very special.

Love and Order

Dana Larose has just gotten a job at the Crown Attorney’s Defense Office in Montreal. While organizing her desk, she discovers an unsolved case that intrigues her inquisitive mind. Can she solve it while helping her co-workers with their various cases?

In the game, there are four datable characters: Ross, Pierre, Jonathan and Dorothy. The only one who actually has a character is the last one, the rest are just there. The only thing that really separates the male characters is how they look. One of the characters has an extra storyline you can unlock through the game, but that’s it. Look, I get that these people aren’t real, but if you treat your characters like that you end up with crap. Either that or the game’s true target audience is people with a preference for girls.

During the game, you get tasks at various locations in order to solve the main mystery. Be careful, you never know when one of your co-workers will approach you and bombard you with tons of tasks. Don’t try to tell any of them that you’re busy or their relationship bar goes down. Oh, and if something’s broken and you don’t have a close enough relationship with any of the co-workers, you’re screwed. It’s like actually having a job. Seriously, it’s bad enough that I have to avoid people so I don’t have to do a bunch of chores I have to do; I don’t want to spend an entire game doing the exact same thing. You’d think the fact that you get to unlock some extra footage in the gallery would be worth it, but it’s not.

This game is stressful and the characters have the personality of toothpicks. I give this game 1 out of 10, not worth spending your money on.

Wedding Dash

Quinn dreams of having her very own wedding, but once again is asked to be a bridesmaid. When her friend’s wedding planner cancels, she decides to take the job.

Wedding Dash is a spinoff of Diner Dash. Only this game has more character interaction, particularly between Quinn and the star of Diner Dash, Flo. Despite their friendship, those two girls couldn’t be more different. Flo is quite content with her career as a restaurateur while Quinn will never be happy until she marries. There are even conversations Quinn and Flo have between levels. Little by little, Quinn becomes more and more happy planning weddings and less depressed about being single.

The game plays out like Diner Dash, except the guests have names. Instead of leaving when they’re angry, 50 points are deducted from your score. You deliver their gifts to the happy couple, give the guests appetizers, then dinner and finally dessert. Before the level can begin, you have to decide three things for the happy couple. If you guess them all right, you get 300 points before beginning the next level. You have to hit the target goal in order to advance, but you can try to get the expert score if you want to.

This game does have funny characters and the game play is very addictive. I give this game 8 out of 10, a perfect spinoff of Diner Dash.

Catherine

Vincent’s life is taking a turn for the worse. Not only does his girlfriend, Katherine, want him to commit, he’s also getting nightmares that he can’t even remember the next day. To top it all off, one drunk night led to him cheating for the first time in five years. Meanwhile, there are reports all over the city of men dying in their sleep, and the victims have similarities to Vincent.

I know, this sounds like Nightmare on Elm Street gone soap opera, which actually might be a fitting description. Only difference is when the intended victims wake up, they don’t remember their dreams. So they can’t prepare and they won’t even try to avoid them. So every night they go to bed not knowing that when they wake up they’ve just survived another night, or that they might die. To me, that sounds far more horrifying than Freddy Krueger every was.

The theme of this game is quite simple, it’s about marriage and commitment. Vincent has two women in his life who represent each side of the issue. Katherine represents a life of order and stability. Catherine represents a life of freedom and chaos. Vincent is the confused guy stuck in the middle. As Vincent, you can reply to each of their text messages. How you reply affects the karma meter. If it’s in the pink area, he wants Catherine. If it’s in the blue, he wants Katherine. If it’s in the middle, he doesn’t want either of them. The other characters that share the nightmares with Vincent are facing the same issue in different ways. Plus, you’ll read many quotes about marriage from famous people, with only one exception.

At first the game sounds like a dating sim, but you will definitely be surprised. The true game play is in the nightmares, where you are pushing blocks trying to get to the top before the block you’re standing on falls to the ground. Every night you face a boss that represents Vincent’s fears. Instead of fighting the boss, you’re pushing the blocks trying to get away. So, think of it as Pushmo meets Resident Evil. Between levels, you can talk to sheep in order to learn more climbing techniques. You can also talk to the sheep and encourage them in order to help them survive. Oh, the sheep you’re talking to are human, but you only see them as sheep. They also see you as another sheep. Not only that, but before you can advance to the next stage, you have to answer a question in the confessional that affects your karma meter. The first choice you pick is sent to the network and you get to see what other people answered. Though I have to wonder how many people answered honestly and how many were just trying to get a certain ending. I was most certainly the latter.

During the day, you hang out at a bar called The Stray Sheep. The only way to pass the time is by talking to people. There are some people you’ll recognize as sheep in the nightmare world. If you talk to them and respond correctly, they will live another day. If not, they end up on the news. How you respond to people’s questions also affects your Karma meter. Let me tell you, more people tend to die on one path than they do on another. I know, after hearing what some of these guys say, they seem like complete ***holes and you want them to die. Then you get to know them and realize that there’s more to them than meets the eye. You can also listen to songs you unlock on the jukebox. There is a bathroom you can use to wash your face and get a preview of the next boss you’ll be facing. You’ll also be playing a game called Rapunzel that has the same style that your nightmares have. Just think of it as practice. This is also where you can check your phone and send text messages. If that’s not enough, you can order a cocktail, whiskey, sake, or a beer. When you’ve finished your glass, you can receive trivia about the alcohol you just drank. The more you drink, the faster you move in the dream world. So the daytime game play is basically this.

As I said earlier, the theme is marriage. One of the women in Vincent’s life wants it and the other one doesn’t. Personally, I don’t want it and I can’t really see why a successful career woman like Katherine does. She has her whole life all figured out and she’s in control. Why she would want to marry and give it up is beyond me. The only explanation I can think of is that her friends and parents are pressuring her, and she picked Vincent because he was the least likely to control her. So no, Vincent, women who don’t want to tie the knot like Catherine are not unusual. So, in all reality, women who are mature and career oriented, like Katherine, would more likely not want to get married, while women who are childish and bubbly, like Catherine, would want to get married as soon as possible. Then they end up with a loser and regret it for the rest of their lives. Before I get a bunch of angry comments, I’m just going by the marriages I’ve seen. So, it’s hard for me to see married life as order when all the marriages around me have been chaos. Yes, I am well aware of Catherine’s back story, so don’t tell me in the comments. I’m just stating my opinion.

This game not only has an intriguing story line, it also has characters with all sorts of hidden depths and a very mature theme. Not to mention that trying to get to the top before dying has its own excitement. I give this game 9 out of 10, great story, great characters and great game play, even if it can be sexist at times. I just have one question for any readers (well the ones that like women or go both ways). Who do you prefer, Katherine or Catherine?

Heileen 2: The Hands of Fate

After the last adventure, Heileen is shipwrecked on a mysterious island with Robert and Ebele. In order to survive, Heileen must rely on her friends. Meanwhile, a pack of tarot cards wind up on the island that hold the key to Heileen’s past.

In the last game, other people pushed Heileen on a certain path. However, in this game Heileen takes a more active role. Instead of people deciding for her, Heileen is asked to make decisions for the people in her life. Her choices influence her relationship with Robert and Ebele. It is also her decisions that can either lead her and her friends on a righteous path or throw them into the depths of sin. She can also decide if she wants to remain in limbo.

During the game, you select tarot cards that represent the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues. When you go to sleep, you select a card and you make a decision in your dream. After the dream ends, a card flashes to show if you chose the path of virtue or sin. It also affects what situation you find yourself in on the island. Like the last game, you can find quests to complete. Finding a quest gives you two points and completing it gives you three more points. Gathering items in the dreams also helps you complete your quests.

This game has an intriguing concept and can become very addictive. I give this game 6 out of 10, far more superior to its predecessor.

Heart’s Medicine: Season 1

When Allison Heart has to help a doctor with a heart attack victim, she finds her life’s calling. Little does she know that working at the hospital is far more demanding than she thought it would be.

No, I have not changed my specialty from video games to TV shows. This game just happens to play out like a medical drama. You work with one doctor at a time, and each one has his or her own episode. Each episode has five shifts with an ongoing plot in each one. It felt like playing through House, only no sarcastic insults (with one exception) and far more optimism. In House, everyone stabs each other in the back. In this, when you jump to the worst conclusion, you turn out to be wrong. There’s also a love triangle between the main character and two other doctors. Not to mention that throughout the game, Allison evolves as a character.

During each level, you have to treat the patients that come in. Each practice has two mini-games that you have to beat in order to treat certain patients. Every time you beat the mini-games, you advance to the next level until you get to level five. You have to get the target score in order to advance to the next level, but you can try to reach the expert score in order to add more hearts. At the end of the level, you can visit the shop to purchase upgrades. You can also visit the trophy room to view the many trophies you will earn throughout the game. Not to mention that each level comes with an event that you have to play through in order to earn more points. Don’t forget to collect the guinea pig that hides in the room. In other words, the game play is very similar to the fourth Delicious game.

The story has an engaging plot and characters with a very fun game play. I give this game 8 out of 10, it’s Delicious meets House MD.

Coffee Rush

The evil Smokestack has opened his own chain of coffee shops, all with horrible and over priced coffee. To stop him, you must bring good coffee back to the world.

The whole plot sounds like a cheesy Saturday morning cartoon show and that’s exactly what it is. The characters try to stop Smokestack while he just strokes his beard and gloats. Personally, I don’t think you’re supposed to take the plot seriously. So, I’ll be forgiving of this for that reason. Also, Smokestacks is an overpriced coffee shop with bad coffee, sound familiar?

The game play is a mixture between match 3 and time management. Not only do you have to match three objects together, you have to serve each customer their order before time runs out. After the level, you can purchase all sorts of upgrades for your shop. Of course, in this game, not only do you have a set goal each level, you also have an expert goal to reach and a super goal. The higher goal you get, the more coins you have to purchase upgrades.

The plot’s cheesy (as it’s meant to be), but the game itself is addictive. I give this game 5 out of 10.

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