Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “adventure”

Halloween Stories: Invitation (Bigfishgames.com)

It’s Halloween, and Jane and Joe received two tickets to attend the coolest party of the year.  Unfortunately, said party turns out to be a trap as Jane and Joe find themselves locked in a creepy mansion with mysterious creatures.  Can Jane get herself and Joe out of the creepy mansion before the evil creatures set their plans in motion?

Let me say that, despite the lack of jump scares the game gives you, the story itself is terrific.  I don’t want to give anything away.  Therefore, I’ll just tell you this one little detail.  There are some people in the world that will go to any lengths to get what they want.  I mean this in a tragic way and, if you play the game, you’ll see what I mean.  As for the mysterious creatures, they call themselves Beyonders and they have an enemy in the main character.  When you play the game, you’ll discover why.

The game play is quite typical of the hidden object genre.  You go from room to room collecting items and using them in various locations.

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Some items require you to participate in some very well done hidden object scenes.

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You can also play mini-games to advance the story that vary on level of fun.  If you are stuck, use a hint.  Purchase the Collector’s Edition and you’ll discover Jane and Joe’s back-story as you conduct a séance.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10, not scary but well-crafted Halloween fun.

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Gone Home (Steam Store)

When Katie comes back from college at midnight, she finds the house empty.  Where has everyone gone?  Explore the house as Katie and find out.

First, I’m just going to tell you that spoilers are unavoidable.  The entire game is about you going through the house and reading people’s letters, journal, notes and so on.  Many trailers will fool you and claim that it’s a horror survival game.  Even the beginning, where the house is up on a hill and empty on a dark and stormy night, will fool you.  I’m just going to tell you, it’s a story about Katie’s sister, Sam, learning who she is, in more ways than one.

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All the horror elements are little more than red herrings.  For those of you who don’t know, a red herring is a plot device meant to mislead the reader.  Take Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  When you read the book the first time, you think Snape is out to steal the Stone.  Then you find out at the very end that it’s Quirrell.

The game takes place in the 90s and it shows.  For instance, there’s a plot element in the game about Sam’s girlfriend, Lonnie, wanting to join the army despite their Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.  Just in case some of you aren’t familiar with the nineties, the army once employed a policy forbidding anyone to ask about anyone else’s sexuality.  Therefore, open homosexuals couldn’t serve in the military.  Thankfully, the government repelled it in 2011.  Lonnie is the rebellious social misfit always getting into trouble and wants to join the army one day.  As Sam points out, this clashes with everything about her.  Sam is even the one to point out how unfair the policy is.  Another instance is the marriage of Katie’s parents, Terry and Jan, falling apart because he won’t join Jan in activities such as couple’s bowling and ballroom dancing.  However, Jan wanting to have an affair with a co-worker didn’t help matters.  It even goes as far as mentioning shows such as Boy Meets Worlds on prime time.

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Despite Terry and Jan’s marriage problems, the former stuck in a dead-end job reviewing technological appliances while mourning over his failed career as a writer and the supernatural elements about a possible ghost in the house, the game is really about Sam and her relationship with Lonnie.  I should tell you that Sam’s parents don’t approve of her lesbianism, even going so far as to suggest that it’s a phase.  However, there are hints that Lonnie is a bad influence on Sam.  For instance, Sam skips school on Lonnie’s suggestion.  Some fans speculate whether Terry and Jan not approving of Sam and Lonnie’s relationship is due to homophobia or Lonnie’s influence on their daughter.  Personally, I think it’s both.  I think that Terry and Jan always imagined that both of their daughters would be straight and it’s shocking to them that things didn’t turned out as they planned.  However, if I told my mom I was a lesbian, she’d just be happy I wouldn’t be getting pregnant.  I also feel that, if Sam had boyfriend they regarded as a bad influence, they would’ve been able to handle it better.

I will admit that Terry and Jan are right about Lonnie being a bad influence and my reasoning is the ending.  In it, Lonnie backs out of joining the army and asks Sam to run away with her.  Sam then proceeds to sell all of the major appliances in the house and drive off to meet with Lonnie.  Let me summarize, Sam and Lonnie throw their lives away so they can be together.  Neither one of them has any clue how to live on their own nor do they have jobs.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard of teenagers filing for legal emancipation, but that’s only because the parents are so dangerous the child is better off alone.  Terry and Jan might be self-absorbed and prejudice, but there is no sign that either one of them is dangerous.  Sam also had a promising career as a writer and she’s throwing that away for Lonnie.  Don’t say that Sam can still make a living as a writer because she’ll be too busy working job after job to make sure she and Lonnie can still afford food and a place to live.  My only consolation is that Katie will immediately drive out, pick up Sam and talk some sense into her.  I’ll admit, this ending is horrible and the writers actually think it’s happy.  I just have one question.  Would they have gone through with it had it been a straight couple?

There’s not much to say about the game play, since all you do is look around the house for clues.  You pick things up, use them and you read various documents lying around to discover what’s going on.

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I’ll admit that using the mouse can be difficult since I couldn’t always get it just right.  I can say the same about using the keyboard.  You can also hear diary entries from Sam as you progress further and further through the game.  Occasionally, you can see Katie’s thoughts about certain things in the house, such as her getting disgusted by her dad’s condom in the drawers.

The game is intriguing, but expensive.  I give it 7 out of 10, great plot but not sure if three hours of game play is worth the price.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Gamestop Store)


Ganon’s back and this time his targets are the descendents of the seven sages. In order to stop him, Link has to travel to the Sacred Realm. Can Link save two worlds from the evil Ganon?

This game introduced me to the Zelda franchise. It also started a trend among the Zelda games, gather a few items, plot twist and then gather another set of items. Since this was the third game, Zelda doesn’t really do anything more special than push objects out of the way. As I said earlier, you have to save the descendants of the seven sages and guess what gender they all are. Ganon trapped each one of them in a crystal and, since this is before the Zelda games would have a day to night cycle, it only takes one day to free them. Still, I do wonder how they’re going to the bathroom if they’re inside a crystal. On second thought, I’d rather not think about it. When you rescue the maidens, each one tells you about the story of Ganon and the seven sages, something you can explore more thoroughly in Ocarina of Time. Another thing I don’t get is why Ganon’s magic would change the fairy into an overweight woman. Wouldn’t an evil man want a harem of gorgeous women or men (whatever suits his fancy)? The only way this would make sense is if Ganon has a fat fetish.

The game play is as fun as ever. You walk around the map destroying enemies for items. Then you enter various dungeons and defeat the bosses in order to collect quest items. You can visit various places in the over world to get upgrades and collect heart pieces. When you’ve collected all necessary quest items, you can take on Ganon.

This game is addictive and intriguing. I give it 7 out of 10; the start of the games taking on a darker tone.

Aveyond: The Lost Orb (Bigfishgames.com)

Just when Mel thought she’d seen the last of the orbs, a mysterious woman named Nox tells her about the Orb of Death. Now she and her friends must destroy the lost orb before anyone of evil intent can get their hands on it.

The beginning of the game depends entirely on whom you had Edward propose to in the last one. Either way, Lydia tricks Edward into marrying her by locking the intended bride in the dungeon and disguising herself as said bride. While it’s not hard to believe that Lydia would desire the throne, some of her actions don’t match with her personality in the previous game. For instance, in Gates of Night, she tries to save Stella and sees the mission to the end. You can argue that all of this was a ruse to make Edward like her, but Lydia is also an accomplished mage. If she was only after the throne, couldn’t she have just cast a love spell? She can easily buy a love potion and spike Edward’s drink with it. Not to mention that amulet Lydia found in Gates of Night that she uses to make Edward buy her dresses, she could use that to make Edward marry her and become her slave. Speaking of love potions, the game once again romanticizes them. There’s this one scene where you create a love potion and Spook (a recently introduced character) and Edward fight over who gets to use it on Mel. Since I always thought of love potion as a date rape drug, this didn’t sit well with me. Later on, you find out Spook’s intentions, so the game could have easily just had Spook try to use the love potion while Edward tries to stop him. Edward and Spook also act incredibly obnoxious and neither one of them thinks to ask Mel what she wants. Did I mention that Edward will be fighting Spook for Mel’s affections even if you had him marry someone else? Oh, and for future reference, if you ever ask someone about their past and they say that their story will bore you, that’s usually code for “don’t trust me; I’m up to no good.” I’m also wondering why a village that shuts itself off from the rest of the world would have an MME system (mirror transportation) and signs pointing how to get there. Another problem I had was interests and prejudices that seem to come out of nowhere. For those of you who haven’t played the game, there will be spoilers in what I say next. Ulf (the orc traveling with you) wants to stay in Harakauna to become an alchemist. Now I can believe that he’d want to stay in a village full of talking animals and shape shifters that makes him feel welcome, but he has shown as much interest in alchemy beforehand as Lana Lang from Smallville did in art before applying to an art school in Paris, which is absolutely none. At the end of the game, Mel unlocks her magical abilities. Now I can believe that Mel’s abilities remained dormant because she’s had good luck relying on her mind all her life like Fox from Gargoyles. The only difference is that Fox actually demonstrated her intelligence while Mel has to have her hand held every step of the way. Oh, and did you know that Mel hates magic? Neither did I. She’s been around magic users and held them no ill regards and now that she has magic herself, she develops a prejudice for it for no reason whatsoever other than the writer needed to add unnecessary conflict to the story. Other than all that, the plot is actually quite interesting. The new characters are entertaining and I found the insane Empress of Eldrion to be hilarious.

The game play is very addictive. You travel a 2-d map collecting treasure, potion ingredients and fighting monsters.  The last one will help you gain levels to make the characters stronger. You can visit towns to purchase supplies, check your mail and teach Mel a new skill at the town’s agency. In this game, the training actually has something to do with the skill you’re learning. You can also complete side quests in addition with the main quest for 100% completion. During the game, you will have opportunities to either increase Mel’s attraction to Spook or decrease it. If you’re tired of having to move around so much, use the Magical Mirror Express, or MME, to travel between towns faster. You can also stop by hidden goodie caves to make the game easier.

This game is addictive and entertaining. I give it 7 out of 10; the game play makes up for the many problems with the story.

Fables: The Wolf Among Us Episode 1: Faith (Steam Store)

When Snow White and Bigby Wolf find a young woman’s head on their apartment entrance they set out to find the killer.  Now they must search all of Fabletown to solve the mystery once and for all.

For those of you who don’t know, Fables is a comic book series about public domain characters having to flee their homeland and reside in New York.  While not part of mainstream pop-culture, the shows Once Upon A Time and Grimm wouldn’t be around if not for this series.  Fables is also the inspiration for a series of hidden object games called Dark Parables.  The storyline for this game focuses more on the detective noir aspects than the comics ever did.  The game also shows you how much many fables had to leave behind in order to live in our world.  I don’t want to spoil anything but let me tell you that some fables really can’t adapt to our world very well.

The game play is the same as it was in The Walking Dead Game.  You make dialogue choices for Bigby Wolf and make decisions for him at crucial moments.  The decisions here aren’t as sadistic as the ones in The Walking Dead due to this game having a more detective nature.  You also explore certain scenes and collect what you can while investigating crime scenes and connecting the evidence.  Another aspect that makes it different from The Walking Dead is that you can collect information on Fabletown and its inhabitants to review later.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10; a worthy prequel to Fables.

The Walking Dead Game Season 1 Part 5: No Time Left (Steam Store)

Someone’s kidnapped Clementine and a walker bit Lee.  Can Lee save Clementine before he becomes another undead monster?

This is the episode where the first season ends.  Who you take with you depends on your choices in the previous episode.  I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll keep in brief.  Remember when you took food from a truck at the end of episode 2?  Now you get to see the consequences of your decision.  Oh, and if you don’t get choked up at the end, you have no heart.

This episode is played the same way as the previous ones were.  You explore various scenes to collect items for your inventory.  You also pick the dialogue options and make choices throughout the game.  What choice you make strongly affects the storyline.

The game is heartbreaking and addictive.  I give it 9 out of 10; I choked up at some parts.

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.

Forest Legends: The Call of Love (Bigfishgames.com)

In a land where all forms of magic are feared and hunted, the daughter of the chief hunter, Eveline, falls in love with a werecat named Aurelio.  Unfortunately, her love is in danger and Eveline must travel through dangerous lands to save him.

This section contains spoilers, so you might want to skip it.  I take many issues with this game, one of them being how the Felize (werecats) are developed.  It’s an all male race that takes human women for wives who do nothing more than bear their children and keep the monster inside from lashing out.  However, the ending hints that this structure might change.  Another issue I have is that, like Star Trek, the game simplifies every species characteristics by one single stereotype.  One example is that the Goblins’ motivation is greed and nothing else.  Despite its faults, I did enjoy the storyline.

The game is located in the hidden object section, yet no hidden object scenes exist in the game.  All you do is go from location to location collecting items to add to your inventory, memos to add to your journal and ingredients to add to your cauldron.  Your journal also contains a summary of what’s going on, a task list and a map.  You can use the last one to jump to any location you’ve already discovered.  Sometimes you have to participate in a mini-game in order to progress.  Other times, when you’ve finished collecting the necessary ingredients, you can use them to make a potion.  The game play for that is very similar to Cooking Academy.

The collector’s edition includes many extras, one of them being bonus footage for the game.  Another extra it contains is eight digitalized storybooks explaining the creation of the world of the game.  I recommend getting it just for that.

This game has many storyline faults yet I still enjoyed it.  I give it 7 out of 10; a beautiful game with an addicting game play.

Aveyond 3: Lord of Twilight (Amaranthgames.com)

When Mel is hired to steal an orb, she thinks it’s just going to be an easy job for pay.  If only she knew what she was getting into.

The plot of this one is more like a prologue than an actual chapter.  You get to know the characters, find out the evil plan of the villain and begin collecting items to try to stop him.  There are a few side quests, but you don’t get to complete some of them until the next game.

The game play is the same as the last two with a couple of exceptions.  You can activate a system that allows you to travel through various locations.  You can also level up your characters without having to add them to the active party.  Oh, and when you search the corpse of an enemy after you kill it, it disappears.

This game is short but exciting.  I give it 7 out of 10; a good start to the third game in the series.

Aveyond 2 (Amaranthgames.com)

When a young elf named Iya is captured by the Snow Queen, it’s up to her friend Ean to come to the rescue.  Can they stop the Snow Queen from turning the world into ice?

Despite what it sounds like, rescuing Iya is only the beginning of the game.  Plus, it’s Iya discovering her magic that allows them to escape in the first place.  The rest of the story is about restoring Iya to normal and defeating the Snow Queen.  Another thing is that the two elves live in a place cut off from the rest of the world called the Vale.  Unlike in other stories, where the main character dreams of leaving their small town to explore the rest of the world, Ean and Iya are perfectly happy in the Vale.  If it weren’t for the Snow Queen, they would have stayed there.  Emma and Rye are the ones that want to leave their home and dream of something greater.  Yes, there are other characters besides Ean and Iya and, like the last game, you can marry various characters.  Ean has to buy things for Iya or have spells cast on the both of them.  Emma has to win or lose a tournament while making a bet with Rye.  Ava can either marry Gavin or teach Nicholas humility depending on which one you’d rather have in your party.  If you want both, go to Amaranth Games and check out the goodies they have for this one.  Oh, and you can also choose between three endings, even though one of them doesn’t actually have an ending.

Unlike the last game where they had a tendency to force pairings, this one actually manages to give them chemistry with the exception of one.  Ean and Iya have been friends for years and there are hints throughout the story that they care for each other a great deal.  Emma and Rye are both commoners who want more from life than what they have.  They also have a competitive streak that causes them to insult each other and place a bet when Emma signs up for a tournament regarding servitude.  To me, this pairing is the most believable because of their natures.  My only problem is that Rye says that Emma’s not like other girls who are boring and sappy.  I get that there probably weren’t many deep women in Rye’s farming village, but he also travels with Iya and Ava.  Ava is a no nonsense pirate who shouldn’t be messed with and while Iya is more girly than the other two, she knows where her priorities lie.  One example is that when Iya and Ean are fleeing from the Snow Queen, though Iya loves her Snow Princess gown, she knows that it’s hard to travel in and that there’s no room for it in her pack so she throws it away.  This is a breath of fresh air from Cassandra Claire’s Draco Trilogy where even when the women were in a life-threatening situation, the minute they got a new dress that was their number one priority.  As I said earlier, Ava has two paths she can take.  Truth is, I didn’t find her relationship with Gavin believable.  During the game, he makes advances that she is constantly rejecting and then he makes an offer out of nowhere that makes her like him.  She refuses, but I wonder if he knew she was going to turn him down.  I also love Nicholas’s storyline where he is rude and conceited yet he sees the consequences of his actions with the help of Ava.  Like Lars, he sees the error of his ways and learns humility.  Unlike Lars, we are not meant to take the writer’s word for it and actually witness his transformation.  His relationship with Ava is far more believable than her marriage to Gavin but I don’t think Nicholas is a better match for her.  Ava and Nicholas’s relationship seems more like an older sibling teaching her younger brother how to behave than that of boyfriend and girlfriend.

The game play is like the last one where you travel the world fighting monsters and leveling up your characters.  You can also partake in events that give certain characters attraction points and buy a farm that can be your party’s headquarters.  If you want an easy play through, you can find several goodie caves throughout the game.  You can also sign Iya up for one of four guilds and get a new outfit based on which one of them you choose.

This game is addictive and has more of a storyline.  I give it 8 out of 10; a superior sequel to the last game.

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