Progress To 100 in Review – Puzzle Game or Mini-Games… You Decide

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Ultimately my goal is to find gaming experiences for my iPad that are entertaining.  Ideally, however, it would be nice if some of the games brought something new to the table.  That’s where Progress To 100 comes in.  Imagine taking a snarky GPS and crossing it with a “think outside the box” puzzle game, and the result would be this game.  There are literally 100 different screens (hence the name), and each one requires you to solve a different puzzle.  Most of the screens present you with some text that you have to decipher to figure out what to do on that screen.  For example, one screen might say “high five”… okay, one screen DOES say that… and you have to figure out what action is necessary to move on.  I’m trying not to give away any details, because the whole fun of this game is discovery, but I’m impressed with the variety of ways that Progress uses the features of your device.  My only real frustration was that there were a few times that I passed a screen but really had no idea why I actually passed the screen.
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Tsuro – The Game of the Path in Review – Electronic Board Gaming Done Right

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I’m not sure why, but for some reason I find it kind of amusing that as our society seems to drift more and more towards spending our entire day on electronic devices, some developers go out of their way to make that experience have the “old school” feel of classic physical entertainment.  Such is the case with Tsuro – The Game of the Path, an iOS game based off of a physical board game that does its best to imitate that board game on your pixel covered screen.  The thing is, that’s one of its strongest design elements.  That’s not to belittle the actual game play in any way, as it is an extremely fun game.  I just don’t think it would have been nearly as appealing if they would have just taken the “essence” of the game and tried to modernize it for the millennial generation.
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Oddhop in Review – Peg Solitaire Done Right

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Sometimes, in what I suppose is an attempt to quell your frustrations that your order is taking too long, restaurants will happily supply you with the “peg game” at your table.  You know, the one you want to throw across the room before too long because you can never get it down to just one peg, at which point you read the description and find that you’re “one peg shy of being a moron”.  Luckily, unlike its inspiration Oddhop has a bit of class and doesn’t resort to name calling should you happen to not clear away all of the pegs (which in this case are cool looking monsters).  Oh, and this variant of the peg game is a whole lot more fun as well.  I just wish there was something nifty to listen to in the background as I was contemplating the best way to clear off each stage.
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Super Phantom Cat in Review – This Platformer Is The Cat’s Meow

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I’ve always loved side scrolling platform games, which I think is one of the reasons I’m such a fan of the 8 / 16 bit console eras.  It’s still one of my favorite genres to indulge in today as long as the game is done right, and Super Phantom Cat is definitely hits the mark in that regards.  The characters are great, the levels are designed well, and the controls are spot on.  The visuals have a look that borrows from bygone days of gaming but adds a touch of modern sensibility, and the soundtrack is just what you’d expect from this type of game.  There’s very little to criticize with this platforming adventure.
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Symmetrica – Minimalistic arcade game in Review: Please Say It Ain’t Over!

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I don’t typically get into what I consider “twitch” games, mainly because I’m just not that good at them.  As a result, levels that to me seem like they should be easy and interesting often become frustrating and make me just want to shut off the game.  I would consider Symmetrica a “twitch” game, at least to an extent, and there were times that some levels became frustrating.  In the end, however, the difficulty was well balanced enough that I never wanted to chuck my device across the room, and when I finally did complete certain levels I felt a sense of accomplishment rather than simply sighing in relief that I could move on.
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Deadly Puzzles: Toymaker HD in Review: Not Your Children’s Playthings

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If I mention the likes of Big Fish Games or G5 Entertainment you’ll know what I’m talking about in an instant, especially if you’re a hidden object game fan.  Artifex Mundi, on the other hand, might not ring any bells.  If it doesn’t you should look them up, because their iOS games have received some of my highest accolades where hidden object / adventure games are concerned.  Knowing that, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I was excited to see them start publishing under their own moniker on the App Store.  I finally had the chance to check out one of their titles, Deadly Puzzles: Toymaker, and it’s fair to say I couldn’t put it down (well, except when I had to go to work).  It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, as it forgoes the now standard object puzzle elements for a straight hidden object / mini game combo, but it just goes to show that in the right hands such a combination still works.  With this as an example I can’t wait to dig into more of their iOS titles. Continue reading…

Forgotten Places: Regained Castle in Review: A Tale Worth Remembering

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When it comes to hidden object games, Big Fish Games and G5 Entertainment seem to have dominated the mobile market.  However, if more developers / publishers start turning out games like Forgotten Places: Regained Castle, the “big two” might actually start facing some serious competition in this genre.  The game is certainly not without its flaws, but it’s one of the best “third party” hidden object games I’ve played in quite a while.  This is actually the second in a series, and I hope it does well enough to warrant a third installment.
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Perfect Angle in Review – Not Quite, But Almost

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Ever have one of those experiences where you know a game is great, but you wish that either the developers had done one or two things slightly differently or that you simply could play the game under better circumstances?  Perfect Angle is just such a game for me.  When a game’s opening screen is itself a puzzle (albeit in this case a very simple one that they give you ample leeway to solve), you’re in for something special.  Unfortunately for me new technology far outpaces my budget right now, and my ailing iPad 2 does not handle the processing requirements of the graphics very well.  Combine that with the limited number of helps you get before having to shell out some cash to buy more and this becomes a journey that I sadly probably won’t see through to the end.  However, if you have a newer device and are reasonably astute at solving optical puzzles, you’d be remiss in not giving this game a try.
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Royal Trouble: Hidden Honeymoon Havoc HD in Review: Not So Happily Ever After

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It’s hard to believe it’s been over 3 years since we last saw Loreen and Nathaniel, but the outrageous couple is back and ready to start their life of Happily Ever After.  In this sequel to the wonderful adventure game Royal Trouble: Hidden Adventures, our royal duo has just gotten married and are embarking on their honeymoon.  Naturally chaos ensues, leaving us with a wonderful adventure full of quirky characters to meet, plenty of puzzles to solve and no hidden object scenes to scrounge through.  Unfortunately there is one little side hunt that just slightly mars an otherwise stellar offering, but if I didn’t have something to complain about I’d probably be lost.
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Lifeline: Silent Night in Review – Great Story, Minimal Game Play

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Lifeline: Silent Night is the third in a series of “interactive conversations” from 3 Minute Games.  On the plus side, this chapter of the series returns us to the adventures of Taylor the astronaut, because the second installment went off on some weird mystical tangent that was anything but engrossing.  The problem with Lifeline, and with this style of game in general, is that I feel more like I’m taking a psychological exam then playing an adventure game.  I applaud the fact that they take a completely different approach to telling a story, but in the end I find that the mechanism actually removes me from the narrative instead of drawing me into it.  It’s a shame, because the story deserves more.
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