Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “point and click”

The Lion’s Song Episode 1 Silence (Steam)

Wilma’s a promising young musician in early 1900s Austria who’s having trouble coming up with a new composition.  Her professor offers to let her stay in his cabin for the week, hoping Wilma can find inspiration. Will she be able to write her next piece in time for the weekend concert?

As you can see, this game is historical fiction and it has a retro design to drive that point home.  This chapter is about Wilma and her struggles with her own insecurities. This shows itself in symbolic dreams, her crush on her professor and her conversations with Leos over the telephone.  I’ll admit that Arthur is a bit of a selfish jerk, trying to force Wilma to come up with a composition so he doesn’t lose face. However, Wilma’s crush on him is realistic as he is an accomplished professor.  Leos is a man who calls a random number to test out his new telephone and ends up talking to Wilma about his problems while helping her in return.

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The dreams are also very symbolic of the pressure Arthur put Wilma under and her very own insecurities.  Wilma even finds herself weird for caring more about her musical career than she does about starting a family, something she briefly talks about with Leos. In other stories, I’d consider this sexist but, in this game, I actually thought it was a clever nod to the role of women in that time.  Another aspect of the time is how remarkable Leos thinks the telephone and its ability to communicate with people from different parts of the world are. People of our time have the same reaction when we try out virtual reality for the first time at Best Buy.

The game play is simple point and click with you also picking Wilma’s dialogue options.

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You choose what Wilma will say to people and you click various objects to help her find inspiration.  Many players might find this confusing, but keep in mind that Wilma is a musician. She can hear music from the drops of the rain to the swinging of the lantern.  Wilma also gets ideas from reading books and letters that help her decide how to write her composition. Not only is it your job to click on the various items. You also have to find them in the right order.  Whether the audience thinks Wilma’s song is a masterpiece or run of the mill classical depends on you.

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This game is insightful and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10, a compelling psychological study on how musicians create.

Mortimer Beckett and the Crimson Thief (Big Fish Games)

When a mysterious thief goes from country to country stealing valuable artifacts, it’s up to Mortimer to stop him.  Will he be successful, or is this one challenge too great for Mortimer Beckett.

I have to say, this is the first of the series that deals with something that’s not supernatural, science fiction, or fantasy.  This one actually plays out like a mystery novel except you know whom the culprit is.  You just don’t know what the culprit’s up to.  In some ways, the game reminds me of a Sherlock Holmes story where Arsene Lupin challenged him in the same manner.

The game play’s a little bit different from the last two games.  You still go around collecting items to add to your inventory through the map.

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However, you also have the challenge of collecting pieces of various tickets.  After finding the artifact, you use the ticket you assembled to go to the next country.  I have no idea why someone would tear up tickets and leave them scattered in hard to find places, but it saves money on travel.  Sometimes, you might have to play mini-games and ask citizens for help in order to advance through the story.

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If you’re stuck, use a hint.

This game is rather addictive.  I give it 7 out of 10, a classic mystery with a modern day twist.

Mortimer Beckett and the Lost King (Big Fish Games)

Mortimer Beckett just fixed time and now he’s in a magical kingdom.  His new mission is to complete the crown and find the missing prince.  Can he save the kingdom from tyranny?

I’m sure many people who’ve played games like this know how this will end.  Still, if you want to go into this game fresh, skip this paragraph.  The lost king is Mortimer’s uncle Jerome, which means that Mortimer is the prince.  However, this makes very little sense in terms of story telling and lineage.  For starters, no one seems to remember a sibling disappearing with the king.  Another thing is that, when the ruler has no children, the sibling is next in line for the throne.  I assume Mortimer’s father and grandfather must have died for him to be next in line for the throne.  Don’t worry; he turns down living in a magical kingdom in order to go back to a normal life.  However, it would have made more sense to make Jerome, Mortimer’s father instead.  Other than the confusing ending, the style and plot are your typical fantasy story, which is rather enjoyable.

The game is a typical hidden object and, this time, you’re not looking for fragments.  You have to find the item whole and use what you collect to get either more items or pieces of jewelry for the crown.

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You can also play mini-games to help further the story.  Like the last game, you get to use a rechargeable hint.  Unlike the last game, clicking the hint button actually directs you to where you’re supposed to go instead of just finding objects and trusting you to figure out the rest.

This game is beautiful and addictive.  I give it 6 out of 10, two points off for the confusing ending.

Mortimer Beckett and the Time Paradox (Big Fish Games)

After building the Ghost Machine, Mortimer finds himself traveling through time.  His mission is to assemble a time bomb and close the portal.  Can he accomplish this before it’s too late?

Once again, we have another excuse plot.  This one is about time travel, which can be fun if handled correctly.  In this game, they handle it about average.  While the scenery is quite amazing and the characters you talk to are fun; you can find yourself looking at and collecting items that didn’t exist in the time you’re currently in.  For instance, you can find a modern day telephone booth located in a time before Edison invented the light bulb.  You also collect a beach chair in Ancient Egypt.  Clearly, the developers didn’t care about historical accuracy when they designed this game.

The game play is standard hidden object similar to the last game.  You use the map to visit different locations in each time and collect fragments of four objects.

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Let me warn you, some objects are very difficult to find, if not impossible.  You also have the option of exploring one room deeper to find all of the objects.  This can sometimes sneak by you, making you feel stuck in the game, believe me.  When you assemble an item, you can either put it back in its place or use it to advance the story.  You can also play mini-games, but be sure to collect the hints for them in your journal before trying to solve them.

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Like the last game, you have the option of using a hint when you are stuck.  Fortunately, you have an unlimited number of hints.  Unfortunately, you can only use it to find items and, if you need to do something else to advance the story, the hint won’t tell you what.

This game is addictive, but simplistic.  I give it 7 out of 10, one point more than the last game for unlimited hints, but a few points taken off for obvious historical inaccuracies.

Dead Link: Pages Torn Beta Test

When your sister turns up dead, it’s up to you to find her killer.  Can you solve the mystery without being another victim?

Trust me when I say that the plot’s not that simple.  There’s a bigger plot at work and, spoiler alert, your sister might not be dead.  Only problem is that the main character can’t seem to figure that out, even with the evidence.  However, I do find the mystery intriguing in its own right.

The game play is typical of any hidden object game.  You travel between different locations trying to find different objects to add to your inventory.  Sometimes you have to complete a hidden object scene in order to collect some items.  You will have to complete mini-games to advance, or just skip it if you like to be lazy.  If you get stuck, use a hint.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I can definitely see myself buying it in the future.

Dark Romance: A Performance to Die For Beta Test

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Raul’s in love with Christine and plans to propose to her before her next performance.  Unfortunately, a masked man kidnaps her and takes her to his home in the Opera house sewers.  Can Raul save his beloved before the Phantom carries out his evil plans?

I know what you’re thinking; it’s another Phantom of the Opera re-telling.  Which is somewhat true, but the writers took liberties that I found rather creative.  Be warned that I have slight spoilers ahead for those who didn’t receive the beta test.  So proceed with caution.  In this version, the Phantom’s name is Isaac and he’s not really in love with Christine.  He wants Christine because he’s obsessed with creating the perfect opera and she’s the perfect singer to bring it to life.

You’re also thinking that this game is about the hero rescuing the helpless damsel.  While that is somewhat true, you actually get to play as both Raul and Christine throughout the game.  You both have to work together if you want to stop Isaac.  The game play is the same for each character with you having to collect items at various locations and use them to advance throughout the game.  Sometimes you have to complete hidden object scenes or mini-games in order to advance.  You can find entries for a journal that, unfortunately, you can only view when you collect said entries.  You also have the option of collecting posters, instruments and gems throughout the game.  If you’re stuck, use a hint.  However, the hint won’t help you find the extra items.

The game is addictive and intriguing.  Unfortunately, it’s also the latest entry for a series I’ve never played.  While I would like to buy the game when it comes out, I’m not sure if I want to buy the whole series.

Off The Record: The Italian Affair (Big Fish Games)

After the Linden Shades incident, the reporter’s ready for a long deserved vacation.  When opportunity knocks on her door in the form of a chance to catch a gentleman thief known as The Fox, she puts her vacation plans on hold.

This is the sequel to Linden Shades, if you haven’t guessed.  In this one, it’s about confronting an Italian Robin Hood and finding out if he’s really redeemed.

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All I’ll say about the plot is that it takes an unexpected turn.

The game play is your typical hidden object.  You travel from scene to scene collecting items for your inventory.  Some items will require you to take part in a hidden object scene.

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Use these items at the correct locations in order to advance throughout the story.  If you’re stuck use a hint.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 7 out of 10; a worthy sequel to Linden Shades.

Christmas Stories: A Christmas Carol Collector’s Edition (Big Fish Games)

Your uncle Scrooge writes you a letter, asking you for help.  In order to grant his request, you must work with his good conscience and the ghosts of Christmas to save him from himself.  Careful, because Scrooge’s evil alter ego seeks to undermine you at every opportunity.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure that you’re familiar with the classic story, A Christmas Carol.  It is the tale of a rich old miser who must change his ways for the good of the world and himself.  This game chose to take a different turn by having you take the role of Scrooge’s nephew, Fred.  I’ll admit that this change is not one I’m crazy about at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against change and I do love the story Zombie Christmas Carol.  The only difference is that the zombie version managed to stick to the original theme of the story with an extra plot about the undead walking among them.  This version undermines the moral of the classic story.  In the original Christmas Carol, the three ghosts of Christmas visit Scrooge to scare him into changing his ways.  The Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge his past, forcing him to observe memories from his traumatic childhood and demonstrating how it made him the man he became.  It also forces Scrooge to see the mistakes he’s made, such as choosing money over Belle, and showing the few bright spots in his life to make him see that he’s wrong.  Scrooge is helpless to change his past and the bad decisions he made, showing a deep regret for some of his choices.  The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge the life he’s missing, such as taking him to Fred’s house, and the depravity of the world he refuses to face.  It also demonstrates to Scrooge how he has the power to do something about this depravity.  The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come takes the appearance of the grim reaper and never speaks.  This is to demonstrate how scary and unknown the future can be.  Its job is to show Scrooge the future he will have if he doesn’t change his ways.  Let me tell you, said future is not a good one.

In this game, the ghosts each make an appearance.  However, spoiler alert, you get to change Scrooge’s past.  I’m sure you remember the scene in the original story, when Belle didn’t like the man Scrooge became and broke off her engagement. Well, in this version, Scrooge tried to propose to Belle but the evil alter ego steals the ring and Belle gets angry, thinking Scrooge played a cruel joke on her.

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Don’t worry, you can get the ring and change Scrooge’s present so that he and Belle not only marry, but also get to have children of their own.  As I said earlier, the whole point of the Ghost of Christmas Past is to show Scrooge how bitterness and greed consumed him.  While Scrooge is helpless to change his past, he can still learn from it.

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The Ghost of Christmas Present asks you to take a letter to Scrooge from Bob Cratchit asking him to get medicine for Tiny Tim.  Unfortunately, said alter ego took the letter and tries to destroy the medicine.  That’s right, Scrooge’s current misery isn’t because he let greed and bitterness consume him.  It’s because a little demon goes out of his way to sabotage him at every opportunity.  The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come makes its appearance and it talks.  The whole point of this spirit is that it doesn’t talk.  You also get to see Scrooge’s miserable present, which doesn’t make sense considering that you changed his past.  He’s not the same man anymore, so he wouldn’t have a bitter future.  There are also two other plot issues, such as Fred saying that he misses Fan.  Since she died giving birth to him, he wouldn’t remember enough about her to miss her.  Another one is that, when you first get to Scrooge’s house, he has a Christmas tree.  The whole point of the story is that Scrooge hates Christmas.  Why would he put up a tree in his house?

The Collector’s Edition comes with an extra story line where you explore kitty cat world and help Sherlock Cat find Santa Cat.  It’s An American Tail with felines.

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I’ll admit, this story is adorable but it really has no point other than to get you to shell out more money.

The game play is actually quite fun, with you going around and collecting objects to add to your inventory.  You can use them to advance throughout the story.  Some items require you to take place in a hidden object scene for you to collect.

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You also play mini games that you have the option of skipping.  If you’re stuck, use a hint.

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While this game seems like the typical hidden object formula, it also has one extra addition.  Remember Scrooge’s good conscience, who comes with you?  He can animate objects in order to help you with your quest.  In the extra storyline, this feature changes into a magnifying glass so you can collect paw prints.

This game is fun, but undermines the original story.  I give it 5 out of 10; making an adaptation that completely ignores the message severely damages the game.  However, the addictive game play makes up for it.

Mystery Tales: The Other Side Beta Test

The Twola TV Company’s giving away free super TVs all over town.  Only issue is that the police keep getting reports about dead bodies in front of these television sets.  Is it a coincidence, or are these TVs deadly for viewing?

I’m sure you already figured out on your own that there’s something suspicious about these TVs.  The actual mystery is about what is up with these TVs.  In the first few minutes, you know something’s wrong when your partner, Natalie, passes out in front of hers.  That’s right; it’s the damsel in distress cliché.  The use of this is particularly grating when you discover that Natalie collaborated with you on several other previous cases, all of them involving the supernatural.  Wouldn’t she know better than to fall into such an obvious trap?  If that wasn’t enough, one of the characters is a scientist with anti-television views people haven’t had since the 1950s.  Needless to say, this incident actually makes his argument stronger.  Despite these plot issues, the mystery is intriguing and I really would love to solve it.

The game play is typical hidden object with you going from room to room collecting various items to use in different locations.  Some items require you to participate in hidden object scenes.  If you’re having trouble finding items, use a hint.  Let me tell you, I’ve only had to use the hint a couple of times throughout the beta test.  You can also play mini games that are easy to follow but, if not, you can skip it.  I’ve only had to skip one game, which is a good sign.  During the run, you collect notes and diary pages with only the former available for viewing.  You can read the latter when the full game comes out.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I can see myself buying the full version in the future.

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.

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