Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the month “April, 2018”

Heart’s Medicine: Hospital Heat (Gamehouse)

Allison’s mother comes back in her life and needs an organ transplant only she can give her.  Meanwhile, Little Creek falls under new management and burns to the ground.  Daniel also comes back into Allison’s life after she starts a relationship with Connor.  Can our favorite medical intern juggle family, relationship and work drama?

While it may seem like I mentioned a spoiler in the very first paragraph, the game starts out with the hospital on fire.  Angela’s friend, Jenny, makes an appearance as the on location reporter.

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The story starts out in the middle and flashes back to how they got there.  I will warn you that the rest of my review contains spoilers, so read with caution.  Remember what happened in the last game, when Daniel stole drugs from the hospital?  Now, he faces the consequences.  The game expects you to take pity on Daniel and cheer for him and Allison as they try to hide any evidence of Daniel’s wrongdoing.  Allison ruins her relationship with Connor and even prepares to lie for Daniel at the board meeting, throwing her own life and career on the line.

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I get that Daniel’s trying to clean himself up, but he’s still the one responsible for stealing drugs in the first place.  A patient almost died because of his addiction.

While we’re on the subject of unintentionally unsympathetic, I feel that I should discuss Allison’s mother.  We already learned in the last game that Allison’s father died.  Now we learn that her mother abandoned her shortly afterwards.  One section of the game flashes back to Allison’s childhood to explain her mother’s reasoning.  After Allison’s father died, her mother experienced blackouts during times such as cooking and driving, becoming a danger to Allison and herself.  Therefore, her mother decides to leave Allison with her grandparents and never look back.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making light of her situation.  It’s just that, while I do feel that Allison’s mother needed extra help, there’s no reason why she couldn’t stay with Allison.  She straight out abandoned Allison in her time of need and we’re supposed to not only sympathize, but also agree with the actions of the deadbeat parent.  Then Allison’s half-brother has the nerve to guilt trip her into going through with the operation, despite Allison’s own issues with her deadbeat mom.  The only shining light in this plot line is the mystery of what Allison’s mom suffers through.  Believe me when I say that it will take more than an organ donation to save her.

I mentioned that the game has a flashback inside a flashback and that’s how we meet this story’s villain.  He’s the father of the arrogant Mason and he’s all about making money.  This is a villain so blinded by greed that companies bribe him to use their low-quality medicine and he bribes ambulances to bring all patients to Little Creek.  Not once does it ever cross this man’s mind that, if Little Creek gets a bad reputation, people will stop going there.  In present time, he takes over the hospital when the board fires Daniel.  This new boss makes budget cuts so drastic that the hospital barely functions.  He hints that he wants to destroy the hospital in order to get revenge on Daniel’s father for rightfully reporting his stupid misconduct.  What this villain doesn’t get is that, if the hospital shuts down, he’ll receive a fair share of the blame as a business failing due to his own incompetence.  This whole incident reminds me of an episode of House of Mouse where Scrooge McDuck bought the club and went through serious character derailment.  He makes stupid decisions just to save a few bucks, such as feeding everyone a single pea and going on as the club’s entertainment showing off his #1 Dime.  The difference is that you’re not supposed to take the latter seriously.  The game seems to be aware of it due to having Connor point out what I already discussed, sans the Scrooge McDuck reference.  However, the writers still expect us to take this plot seriously.

The game play is nonstop addicting, as your job is to get the patients to the necessary stations and then check them out.

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Some of the treatments require playing mini-games and you have to get all three hearts.  You can complete tasks to earn diamonds that you can use to purchase upgrades for Allison’s apartment.

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There is no in-story reason for this and Allison moves out of her small apartment at the end, making the purchases null and void.  You have to get the first star in order to advance to the next level but try for all three, if you feel lucky.  You can play challenge levels in-between where you can collect three diamonds based on your score.  The levels go from the regular hospital game play to finding Oliver the guinea pig and completing one mini-game after another.  Like the last game, Emily also makes a cameo and you can play as her for one level in the hospital cafeteria.

This game is addicting and a tiny bit sad.  I give it 6 out of 10, serious plot problems, but still an enjoyable use of your time.

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Heart’s Medicine: Time to Heal (Gamehouse)

When the head surgeon won’t take Allison Heart as an intern, she has to make do in other specialties.  Meanwhile, Allison’s ex-boyfriend, Daniel, becomes the new head of the hospital and Connor, another old flame, dates another intern.  Can Allison succeed in her career while also having to juggle her personal life?

This is it, the long awaited season 2 of Heart’s Medicine.  Your favorite characters are back and new characters join in the fun.  Even Emily makes a cameo in her own special levels, but I’ll discuss that later.  In the last game, each venue had a side plot to go with each doctor’s specialization.  This game starts out similarly until you get to the Emergency Room.  Then you have one issue you have to solve for the rest of the game.  Not only is it heartbreaking, but we also learn more about Allison’s past which I won’t give away.  This case will follow Allison all the way to surgery, where she’ll meet a doctor who cares more about efficiency than he does about his patients.  This conflicts with how Allison develops emotional attachment to her patients.  As for which I think is better, this situation reminds me of the movie Patch Adams.  For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a doctor who believes that you can heal patients through emotional connections.  According to the Nostalgia Critic, the movie undermines its own moral through the side-plot with Patch Adam’s love interest, Carin.  She starts out cold and distant until Patch persuades her to start trusting people.  This leads her to go to the house of a medical patient with severe mental issues who ends up killing her.  The Nostalgia Critic uses this scene to undermine Patch’s sarcastic argument asking about what would happen if the doctor developed emotional attachment to their patients, would they explode?  Then points out that, when you get emotionally involved, you make bad decisions that could be potentially lethal.  However, Dr. Quinn (the head of surgery) makes decisions based on what would save the hospital money and doesn’t really put his full-effort into helping his patients.  In fact, like the medical staff in Dr. Strange, I suspect that he would be more likely to cut off an organ donor.  It’s the very reason why my mother refuses to have her organs donated and encouraged me to do the same.

As I said in the first paragraph, the love triangle from Season 1 returns.  In the first game, Allison had to choose between the sweet and stable Daniel and the jerk with a heart of gold Connor.  Here, the two have switched roles with Daniel becoming more reckless and Connor turning into the stable one.  What I’m about to say comes with spoilers, so feel free to skip this paragraph.  The stress of becoming the new head of the hospital gets to Daniel as he turns into a pill-popping maniac, stealing medicine from his own hospital.  Despite the seriousness of the situation, I’m very happy about this development.  Usually, when people want to have a drug addict in their stories and still want to keep the rating PG-13, the go to drug is marijuana.  Amateur writers treat these users as if they’ve just been discovered using heroin, one prominent example being a cartoon drug PSA movie I watched in Middle School that the Nostalgia Critic tore apart in a review.  In this game, they use an actually addictive drug, Ritalin that often has the street name of kiddie coke, to demonstrate Daniel’s addiction.  Connor becomes the voice of reason Allison depends on to help her through a tough emotional time.  Many people are unaware of this, but there is a label known as the Madonna Whore complex saying that a woman can either be an innocent and virginal wife or an evil and manipulate whore.  There is no middle ground.  While the gender reverse can happen in fiction, people usually give the bad boy of the love triangle more sympathy than they would give a bad girl.  In this story, neither one of them are the good boy or the bad boy.  Daniel and Connor are just people with strengths and flaws who can’t be so easily labeled as to which one is good or bad.  The woman version of this makes an appearance in the game with Connor briefly dating the new intern, Jenny.  While Allison does show jealousy, Jenny is not evil.  She’s just the new intern who happens to be dating Connor and breaks up with him because they’re incompatible.

The game play in this story is similar to Season 1 with a few notable differences.  For instance, you can now play special challenge levels and, once a venue, you can play as Emily in the hospital cafeteria.

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These levels are my favorite because it’s such a unique take on the Heart’s Medicine game with the addition of a familiar character that is, in a way, responsible for Allison’s existence.  Had it not been for the success of Emily’s series, Delicious, the same people would have never made Heart’s Medicine.  Another difference in this version is that the game will occasionally show cut scenes set to music that sets the mood of the situation.

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Other than that, the game play is not so different from Season 1.  You click on patients and take them to the treatment center that they request.  Then heal them and check them out.

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Some patients will require you to play a mini-game, which can get rather difficult, believe me.

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When they get their full health back, you can check them out at the front desk.  You need to get at least one star to advance to the next level but try to get all three, if you feel lucky.  You can find Oliver the guinea pig and complete a challenge in each main story level.  Every challenge you complete gives you more diamonds, which you can use to buy items for the new hospital wing.  You can also collect trophies throughout the game and view character profiles.  One thing I didn’t like about the profiles was that the game classifies Dr. Quinn as slightly autistic.  As someone with autism, I found that classifying one of the game’s sociopathic characters as such is a little insulting.  When I played the game, I assumed that, because many patients die in Dr. Quinn’s profession, he just stopped caring.  To say that he’s slightly autistic feels like putting a label on him the same way a girl I knew used to put a label on me.  She would go so far as to see a rude character on TV and loudly declare them autistic.  Last but not least, be sure to check out the ending credits for a little Easter egg that’s almost guaranteed to make you laugh.

This game is heartfelt and challenging.  I give it 7 out of 10; it loses a point for the issue I touched upon earlier.

River Tam (Firefly)

River Tam (Firefly/Serenity) by suburbantimewaster

 

I was working on a character profile for a character I based off of River and I couldn’t stop thinking about Firefly.  So, I created someone who, in my opinion, is one of the most memorable characters in sci-fi using the dollmaker Sci-Fi Warrior by Azaleas Dolls.  For those of you who haven’t seen Firefly, River is the genius sister of Simon Tam.  She and her brother became fugitives after the Alliance (the evil government in Firefly) took her to what her family thought was a special school, but was actually a cover for a government project that conducted experiments on her.  Simon risked his life and career to save her and they both stay on Serenity as fugitives.  The experience made her crazy as she speaks mostly in metaphors and may seem helpless, but can be quite deadly when the situation calls for it.  So don’t underestimate this girl or you will regret it.  Unfortunately, Firefly got canceled after its first season but there are still movies and comic books to help you get your fix.  There’s also a game in the works called Firefly Online, but it’s been in development hell.  So I doubt that it will be released soon, if at all.  In all honesty, I think the game’s canceled which, as a browncoat, I find a real shame.

Delicious: Emily’s Miracle of Life (Gamehouse)

Emily’s gone through serious changes.  Not only is she the star of her own cooking blog, but she’s also pregnant with a new little brother or sister for Paige.  Can she find a way to manage her blog and her pregnancy?

With a summary like that, you’d think the game would be more about Emily’s blog.  Unfortunately, it’s all about the pregnancy.  How Emily has so much to do with her restaurant, preparing for the baby and keeping house.  Apparently, Patrick fails at this due to one comment about how he fails at doing laundry in a washing machine.  People, it’s the 2010s; these jokes about how men can’t keep house and how women have to do everything are seriously outdated.  I should warn you that I’m about to discuss spoilers, so proceed with caution.  Patrick does give up his man cave to make a baby room and sell his motorcycle to buy an expensive crib.  Let me explain that, in one venue, Emily works at a baby store making cupcakes and coffee.  This same baby store has two expensive cribs that no one’s buying.  To me, it makes sense because you don’t really need to spend a ton of money on a crib.  Babies don’t care where they sleep as long as it’s sturdy.  My mom told me that I slept in a second hand crib and I didn’t throw a fit over it.  Well, Emily wants them for her baby whom she thinks is going to be a girl.  The owners can’t get rid of the cribs, so they have a contest to give one of the cribs as a prize to lucky number 500.  Francois and Angela win, so they end up giving the crib for a baby girl to Emily at the baby shower.  Then the baby turns out to be a boy so, as I said earlier, Patrick buys the crib as a gift.  Actually, Emily’s having twins and the monitor couldn’t detect them.  Allison claims that this can happen, although it’s rare.  If you ask me, this is just a contrivance in order to shock the player.  They go so far as to drag this out by putting Emily in the hospital due to false labor pains and the doctors won’t discharge her because Allison’s busy in the Emergency Room.  Therefore, Emily has to deal with Dr. Bozo, a man that tries to make her laugh whether she likes it or not.  Emily’s having a stressful time and doesn’t want to deal with any of this, but everyone else just tells her to give Dr. Bozo a chance.

There are some good points in the storyline, such as a daycare teacher not knowing how to handle kids.  You also have a laugh out loud moment when, after Emily agonizes about what to do for her Mother’s Day special, she accidentally gives birth live on her blog.  Thankfully, her viewers love it but that might be a bit of wish fulfillment.  I don’t know about you but, if I saw someone giving birth on their video blog, I’d have the same reaction Chandler and Monica had when the former popped in a video tape about a woman giving birth mistaking it for porn.  Another good point is that Emily’s grandpa Vito is in this game and dealing with his own terminal illness.  He dies in the end in a scene that choked me up.

I’ll admit there’s one part of the game that I feel neutral about at best.  In one venue, Emily visits a yoga studio and talks with the owner who’s expecting her own baby.  Apparently, she didn’t give her husband a say and he leaves her.  I think she was a little pushy, but it still doesn’t justify her husband abandoning her and the baby.  Don’t worry; she meets another love interest from her past in another contrived coincidence.

The game play is typical of Delicious with you delivering items to customers either at the table or at the register.  Then you check them out and, in the case of seated customers, you clean the table after they leave.  I’ll admit that, considering the summary mentioned Emily having a blog, I thought the level would be more of a computer type setup similar to Fabulous Angela’s Sweet Revenge.  Instead, you have the traditional map setup and you navigate through it like any other game with special challenge levels for more diamonds.  You can also play the daily challenge to earn more diamonds and you spend them on baby supplies.  You have to spend diamonds to purchase all three variations of the same product, which seems like a waste to me.

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You don’t always play as Emily throughout the game due to all of the venues being different.  However, you do get to play as Angela in the last venue where she prepares food.  Sometimes I think the game forgets that Angela is a seamstress.  You could’ve had this be Mary’s level from Mary Le Chef and hire her for catering.  Angela could prepare baby clothes as Emily prepared cupcakes at the baby store.  Each venue also comes with mini games that you can successfully complete for more points.

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You can also catch the mouse in each level and earn diamonds in some levels for story events.  Like the previous games, you can win up to three stars and, in this game, you can win up to three diamonds in the challenge levels.  The daily levels reset every 24 hours and you can earn up to six diamonds from those.  You can also win postcards if you meet certain conditions that you can customize and share on Facebook.

This game is contrived and mediocre at best.  I give it 5 out of 10, not awful, just disappointing.

Delicious: Emily’s Message in a Bottle (Gamehouse)

When Emily was three, her grandfather went on a voyage at sea never to return.  Now, he’s back and he’s lost his memory.  Can a family reunion be enough to restore the memories of Emily’s grandfather?

Yes, it’s the old amnesia cliché favored by soap opera writers.  Let me tell you, that’s not the only cliché in this game.  Another common theme is about getting what you want rather than appreciating what you have.  In this game, you get to go to Italy and meet Edward’s brothers.  I should tell you that, in the beginning of the game, Emily’s grandfather gives each of his sons a silver dollar to start making their fortune.  Edward’s bitter because he never started a restaurant empire with his dollar, even though Evelyn reminds him that he has a loving family and is a great provider.  I do like that, when Edward tells Evelyn that anyone can do those things, she told him the truth that they can’t.  Since I know people who fail as family providers, she couldn’t be more right.

As for Edward’s brothers, one opened a seafood shop yet has trouble getting good catches.  Another runs his own farm and socializes better with animals than humans.  The final one opened a vineyard and fired his workers, replacing them with machines.  When Emily and her family visit each restaurant, they fix things by teaching the fisherman how to be patient and wait for the big catch.  They also teach the farmer the value of working with others.  Finally, they teach the winemaker to brew his own wine instead of making cheap wine that tastes like shoes in order to make himself more money.  Though I don’t get how the third brother is rich if his wine tastes terrible.  Then again, Taco Bell still manages to stay in business, so maybe it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.  Anthony only makes one mention of how he spent his dollar and references his son from Delicious 2.  So the series hasn’t entirely forgotten Anthony’s son, they just don’t add him as a regular to the cast.  I forgot to tell you that, before Emily’s grandfather left, he tells his sons that their mother to put a special ingredient in all of her food that made her a success.  Anyone familiar with this cliché knows that the secret ingredient is love, but the game insists on stretching it out into one huge and unnecessary mystery.

The game play is typical of any Delicious game with Emily serving both standing and seated customers in each restaurant.  You deliver the food they want, check them out and, in the case of seated customers, clean the tables.

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There is one issue I have with the last part. However, I’ll admit that it’s rather minor.  When you clean the tables by yourself, you see a sparkle effect.  Eventually, you get a cleaner but the said effect is gone and, let me tell you, I love that effect.  Try to get three stars on each level and don’t forget to purchase upgrades in-between levels.  You also have special challenges to complete, a mouse to catch and, the more products you use, the more you unlock.  The special challenges will give you diamonds that you can use to invite various characters to the Delicious family reunion.  The only one absent is Angela, but Emily explains that she’s in New York participating in the contest shown in Fabulous: Angela’s Fashion Fever.

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You can also collect trophies and read the notes left by various real life Delicious fans and, let me tell you, the notes are very heartwarming.

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This game is fun but doesn’t really sound out.  I give it 6 out of 10, a good distraction wrapped up in a cliché plot.

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