Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the month “November, 2013”

Style Quest (Gamehouse.com)

Stella just bought her very own beauty salon.  Unfortunately, an arrogant girl wants to shut her down.  Can Stella manage to keep her business afloat?

I know the game sounds like it has conflict but trust me when I say that it gets over pretty quick.  Then we have this new mystery as we try to figure out who has a crush on whom.  It’s like a high school soap opera set in a salon.

The game play is what really makes it shine.  You take customers to each station and try to please them in time.  You can earn up to three stars depending on well you do on each level.  Trust me when I say that if you want to get three stars on each one, you might have to replay some levels more than once. 

In between levels, you can use the stars you earn to purchase upgrades.  You can even hire people for each station with the exception of the shoe drawer and the styling chairs.  I don’t understand why you can’t hire someone for the hair styling station and yet can hire someone for the clothes changing station.  Especially because the latter has a mini-game while the former doesn’t.

This game is simplistic yet addictive.  I give it 5 out of 10; something to do when you’re bored.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village (Gamefly.com)

Professor Layton has just received a note from the late Baron Augustus Reinhold.  His mission, to discover where the Baron has hidden his fortune.  On the way, he has to solve every puzzle the villagers give him.

This game is actually the very first of the Layton series.  The plot is about Baron Reinhold’s family and you have to figure out the story little by little.  This is also an introduction to the characters and the only one we really get a back-story about is Flora.  So, I can’t really say anything about the game without giving away spoilers.

The game play is the same as any other game from the Professor Layton series.  You solve puzzles in order to collect picarats.  You can find hint coins throughout the game and if you miss a puzzle, you can go to Granny Riddleton.  You also have three mini-games you have to solve and in this one you need to assemble a robot dog, put a picture together and create the perfect inn rooms for Luke and Layton.  When you’re done with the game, you can solve the puzzles in the bonuses section and unlock plenty of hidden content.

This game is addictive and challenging.  I give it 7 out of 10; a good introduction to the Professor Layton series.

Blue Rose (The-white-cat.com)

After a fierce battle with a dragon, Lena, a templar of the blue rose, finds herself in a peaceful village with no clue what happened to her comrades.  Not only that but the village is under attack and it’s up to her to save it.  Can Lena protect the village and find love?

Templars of the Blue Rose in this universe are special knights that draw on the power of the blue rose to help them fight.  Therefore, it’s like being a Jedi Knight only instead of relying on energy you rely on an incredibly rare flower.  Lena is one of them and that’s the character you play.  Usually when playing otome games, the maker assumes that every woman’s fantasy is be a helpless damsel in distress that relies on a big strong man for everything.  This is one of the few games that understands that some women fantasize about being strong and self-reliant.  Lena can pursue a relationship with four guys and a girl.  Tobias is the arrogant yet caring village leader.  Simon is your loyal comrade.  Gavin is the playful outsider.  Erin is the caring innkeeper.  Last but not least, Aran is the mysterious outsider.  Other than those simple facts, nothing about these characters really stands out.  You can unlock extra details about them but their side-stories only take up space.

The game play is that of your typical visual novel.  You read the story and choose the appropriate dialogue.  During most of the game, you can pick different locations to visit on a map.  You can also collect pictures for your gallery and each time you get a character’s good ending, you unlock an extra story.

This game is intriguing but doesn’t really stand out.  I give it 6 out of 10; more of a casual play than something to really get lost in.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Part 3: Gameboy Color Version (Amazon.com)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 4fa6c9aecdc388ed13e69a71

After the PC version, I concentrated on this one next.  Unlike the other games, this one focuses more on the story from the book.  It also has an RPG aspect that makes it unique.

Since I’m very picky about research (except when it comes to school work), I read the first Harry Potter book and viewed the first movie again.  I have to admit that, compared to the later ones, this one isn’t quite as great but it’s still enjoyable.  Still, what is it about these books that make them so popular?  Maybe it’s because, as Bobby Bacala (The Sopranos) says, “it gives the other kids, the 98 pound weakling, some hope.”  It might also be because, unlike other books targeted to children, Harry Potter is not so condescending.  In many books that are aimed towards children, when the main character broke a rule no matter how minor, they were automatically caught and punished for it.  This method was a way to manipulate children into being obedient robots.  In these books, sometimes Harry is rewarded for breaking rules or he’s punished.  Sometimes, he doesn’t get caught at all.  However, it might be because books in the UK aren’t as condescending as books in the US.  Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

As I said, this game is the most loyal to the book with a few differences.  For one thing, it’s Hermione who tells Harry about Snape instead of Percy, which makes absolutely no sense considering that Hermione knows as much about the teachers as Harry does while Percy’s been there for five years.  Some scenes follow the book exactly and yet seem out of place, such as McGonagall showing up out of nowhere to take twenty points from Slytherin and Draco not even objecting to that whatsoever.  Sometimes it gets the characters wrong, such as having Draco give Harry a prize for beating him when Draco is a sore loser.  Another thing is that makes this game notable is that it’s the only one to have you attend History of Magic.  Don’t worry, all you do is get sent to Diagon Alley to retrieve a card.

The game play is RPG like which separates it from the other ones in the series.  You run into magic clouds and get into a battle with various monsters.  The more experience points you gain, the more you level up.  If you use a spell enough times you can also have it upgraded.  Oh, and you can collect wizard cards and card combinations you can use to aid you in battle. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 4fa6c9aecdc388ed13e69a79

To me, this seems out of place because RPG elements don’t really suit Harry Potter.  I prefer learning spells in classes and going through the obstacle courses in other games because it feels more like you’re in a magical school.  Did I mention that this is the only game where Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw could win the House Cup rather than automatically losing to Slytherin if you don’t have enough points?

This game is loyal but out of place.  I give it 3 out of 10; it’s unique but not in a good way.

Nicole (Winterwolves.com)

Nicole’s excited about the college life only to discover that it wasn’t all she imagined it to be.  Three girls have been abducted from her campus and messages from the culprit tell her that she’ll be the fourth.  Can Nicole find romance while keeping herself from becoming the next victim?

For those of you who haven’t played the game, I have to warn you that there are spoilers in this review.  This game is not your typical dating sim.  From the very first scene, it’s clear that there is far more going on then hooking up with boys.  You have to solve a mystery while pursuing a guy. 

If you go there alone, you don’t get to solve anything.  I like to think that this is less about a knight in shining armor saving a damsel in distress than it is about saying that there is safety in numbers.  Celso Riva is working on the yuri version of this game so we’ll just have to wait and see.  The guy’s you can pursue are Ted, the hotheaded southerner, Jeff, the eccentric scientist, Darren, the shy computer geek, and Kurt, the social football player.  My personal favorite would have to be Ted because he has a touching storyline about his family and his temper’s not to the point where he gets abusive.  Kurt, on the other hand, had a scene that was used as a joke but it made me feel uncomfortable.  In that scene, he was trying to kiss Nicole even though she was saying no and she had to throw an alarm clock at him to get him to stop.  Maybe they were just playing and I took it the wrong way.  Jeff was also another love interest I had trouble with because he was way too easily forgiven.  True, he never killed anyone but he did experiment on humans like they were guinea pigs and pretty much ruined their lives.  I know that, as the player, I was the one to make the choice, but I think a far more interesting ending for him would be Nicole doubting whether she could trust him.  I like screwed up relationships but I would prefer if the author admitted that they were screwed up.

The game play is similar to Always Remember Me with a few differences.  In that game, you only tried to raise a particular stat if you wanted the special ending for a certain guy.  In Nicole, you have to raise a certain stat for a guy if you want their normal ending.  The only way to get the special ending is if you max out the clues stat and view all of the mystery scenes. 

You visit difference locations and do certain activities in order to raise each stat.  You also have to choose between two responses when having scenes with certain boys.  If you pick the correct one, it will raise their affection level.  Another thing that separates Nicole from Always Remember Me is that you have to buy five gifts for a certain boy if you want any chance of pursuing a relationship with them.  In Always Remember Me, you only had to buy a few stat-raising items and one thing for only one of the guys and even that wasn’t necessary.

This game is romantic with a hint of mystery.  I give it 9 out of 10; some of the suspense scenes had my heart racing.

The Happy Hereafter (Bigfishgames.com)

You just arrived to the afterlife only to discover that you have a new job, building the town where the recently dead have taken up residence.  Can you make a town everyone would be satisfied with, or will you make their afterlife completely miserable?

Not a whole lot to say about the story line but the game play is a different matter.  You buy buildings and have civilians construct them.  The same goes for research, collecting treasure and various other tasks.  You can cast magic in various places and you can upgrade any building you wish without a civilian’s help.  However, you will need the proper materials so be sure to send civilians to collect them.

This game is entertaining but quickly grows dull.  I give it 4 out of 10; it’s fun to play casually every now and then.

Baking Success (Gamehouse.com)

Fay’s grandparents run a bakery that isn’t doing so well.  In order to save her family, Fay must travel in a flying bakery and spread her family’s creations throughout the world.

The game is about Fay’s fairy tale like journey with no magic involved.  The only character who travels with her is Reid, an accomplished mechanic.  In other words, the game stars a man and a woman who each carry the traits associated through gender stereo-typing.

The game play is very addictive.  In each level, you pick the kind of food you want to make out of dough.  Then you right-click to send it to the desired station.  After that, you can decorate your baked goods with various toppings.  Serve your customers before they leave in a huff.  You have to reach the minimum goal if you want to advance throughout the game but try for perfect if you feel lucky.  If that’s not enough, Fay and Reid each come with their own mini-game.  Fay must gather a list of items from the pantry while Reid has to fix the ship.  When you finish story mode, you can continue the game through expert.

This game is beautiful and entertaining.  I give it 7 out of 10; a simple yet addictive premise.

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