Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

Aveyond: Gates of Night (Amaranthgames.com)

After the wicked witch, Heptitus, stole the first quarter key, Mel and the others regroup at Thais.  Now they need to get what they lost and find a ship to complete their mission.

This game is a continuation of Lord of Twilight.  In my review of that game, I neglected to discuss the plot.  One thing Aveyond fans will appreciate is that Te’ijal and Galahad, two optional fans from the first game, are now a couple of the main characters.  It’s Te’ijal’s brother, Gyendal, who is the main villain and they are the ones that save Mel.  The first game did have a few problems, such as rushing through Mel’s schooling to get to the main plot.  Gyendal also had no true motivation and is only evil for the sake of being evil.  It also has some good points.  Remember in my review of Aveyond 1 when I said that I found Galahad’s noble prejudice annoying?  Well, in this game, he’s miserable as a vampire and feels great anger for his wife, Te’ijal, yet he will still help her in her quest to stop Gyendal’s plan to take over the world.  Speaking of Gyendal, his plan doesn’t make sense to me.  Gyendal is a vampire, like his sister, and wants to rule the Overworld.  The problem is humans are their dinner and it seems like vampires would want them in abundance to quench their thirsts.  If they ruled the overworld, that food source would quickly diminish.  Te’ijal must see this and, like Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has no desire to lose her endless supply of happy meals.  Galahad, unlike Te’ijal, has no desire to drink from a human and still maintains his appearance from the first game.

As I said earlier, this game is a continuation of Lord of Twilight.  New characters join the group, such as Lydia who hopes to become Prince Edward’s bride.  Speaking of Edward, he has to get married by the end of Gates of Night and can choose between three women, Mel, Stella and Lydia.  If he doesn’t pick any of them, his parents choose for him and let me say that their selection is hilarious but wouldn’t have been the slightest bit funny if the genders were reversed.  In the next game, there will be girls that have no love interest whatsoever but it seems like, in this series, only the guys have options about who to marry while the girls only have one fixed option and this isn’t the first time this has shown up.  In Ahriman’s Prophecy, Devin could choose between Talia and Alicia.  Another problem I have is Lydia’s character.  We see her true motivation for marrying Edward in the next game but Lydia’s actions don’t match up.  For one thing, when she locates an amulet that can hypnotize Edward, she only uses it to buy more dresses for herself.  If the throne was Lydia’s goal, why didn’t she just use the amulet to make Edward propose to her?  In another scene, she saves Stella’s life for no reason that I can comprehend.  There’s also the issue of Mel’s informed ability.  We’re told that she is a clever thief yet, in the first game, Edward has to tell her that he’s the Prince of Thais after many months of her living there and hanging out with him.  The only time we see her being clever is in the Orc Kingdom and the citizens are so incredibly stupid that they could fall for the look behind you trick.  In Venwood, when trying to access the water tower, it’s Lydia who figures out that the controls to activate it are rusted.  Mel’s informed ability is truly highlighted in the fourth game but I’ll talk about that when I get to it.

The game play in this one is exactly the same as the last.  You travel the world to complete the main quest while completing various side quests along the way.  You encounter various monsters that you can fight to make your characters stronger.  In this game, you can finally get a ship and a compass to teleport you straight to your ship’s location.  You can’t join a guild but you can visit each one.  You can also locate various agencies in order to teach Mel new skills, though what she does and the skill she learns doesn’t really match up.  For example, in Venwood she has to catch five butterflies in order to learn the Orc language.  How butterflies and Orcs go together, I have no idea.  You can also collect attraction points between Edward and the girl you want him to marry.  When you have the minimum number of points, you can have Edward propose to the desired girl.  Lydia requires zero, Stella requires four and Mel requires all seven.  As I said earlier, you can purchase gowns for Lydia but only one in each shop.  If you want to buy them all, you’ll have to use the golden amulet.  You can also buy weapons and armor for your characters and purchase spellbooks for Lydia.

This game is addictive but not without problems.  I give it 7 out of 10; a brilliant continuation of Lord of Twilight.

Save the Prince (Bigfishgames.com)

A young maid, Giselle, dreams of marrying the prince of Not-So-Far-Away Kingdom, who doesn’t even know she exists.  One day, an evil prince from a neighboring kingdom spots Giselle and mistakes her for a princess.  When the king and queen deny his request, he casts a spell on the castle.  Now it’s up to Giselle to save her one true love.

Yes, this is another cliché fairy tale storyline with the roles reversed.  Despite that, Giselle is just a stereotypical Disney Princess with no goals beyond finding a man.  This is supposed to be Giselle’s story when all she does is find dwarves and witches to do all the work for her.  I have to admit, I do like the design of the witch.  Usually, when video games design female characters that they never show the face of, they go out of their way to give the character stereotypical feminine traits to make up for it by designing her pink or giving her a bow (to learn more, watch Feminist Frequency’s video about the Ms. Male Character).  In this game, she has a loose-fitting blue robe and the only way you get the impression that she’s a woman is when the narrative calls her she.

The game play is similar to When in Rome.  You construct buildings, take their resources and fulfill tasks in order to complete each level.  If you complete the level before the time runs out, you get a star.  Unless you’re playing the game in untimed mode, then you get the star no matter how long you take.  You can also earn achievements as you play the game.

This game is simplistic yet addictive.  I give it 7 out of 10; what the game lacks in plot it more than makes up for in style.

Secret Trails: Frozen Heart (Bigfishgames.com)

All you wanted was to visit your little sister, Emma, in Bloomingspring, a town where it’s warm and sunny all year long.  As soon as you arrived, someone’s kidnapped your sister and changed the weather to a snowy winter.  Can you save Emma and return spring to Bloomingspring?

This is your typical save the damsel in distress from the evil villain.  Again, we have a storyline where the villain is easily forgiven because he wasn’t in control of his actions and gets everything he wants.

This game is another typical hidden object game.  You go from scene to scene collecting items for your inventory.  Some will require you to take part in a hidden object scene.  You have to travel throughout the game using the items in your inventory to progress forward.  If you’re stuck, use a hint.

This game is simplistic and dull.  I give it 3 out of 10; a few points for the fantasy element.

Notice

I apologize for my lack of posts but I’m afraid that I haven’t been feeling well.  I promise that next week I will be back on track with my new posting schedule of Tuesdays and Fridays.

Punished Talents: Seven Muses (Bigfishgames.com)

When a string of murders occur with striking similarities to Russell Pollack’s book, it’s up to his wife, Samantha, to clear his name.  Can she prevent herself and her husband from becoming the next victims?

Despite how simplistic the storyline is, I absolutely love it.  The suspense is quite intriguing and some parts of it are quite original.  My only problem was that it was too obvious who the killer was.  I figured it out instantly and I am not skilled at mystery novels.

The game play is your typical hidden object game.  You go from scene to scene collecting items.  Some items will require you to participate in a hidden object scene.  You will have to backtrack quite often to complete the game and if you get stuck, use a hint.  The map will guide you by marking whether you’re finished with a location, you still have something to do at the moment or if you have things to do there but don’t have the necessary tools to do so.

This game is simplistic yet addictive.  I give it 6 out of 10; not a bad waste of your time.

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