Friday, September 6, 2013

Game Reviews - September

Alpha Polaris

A classic point and click adventure set in a remote oil exploration facility in Greenland. The graphics are functional but nothing special. I was impressed with the dialog as the writers managed to convey characters and relationships in just a few short lines of dialog instead of resorting to long conversations. The game itself is fairly short; I completed it in three sittings. My biggest complaint is that the designers opted for a supernatural plot instead of a straightforward murder mystery.

Rating: A solid game, if a little short. 3.5 out of five.

Gemini Rue

Highly pixelated retro graphics with a modern soundtrack is a combination that works for me but perhaps not for everyone. This is another solid point and click adventure game with an excellent story line. The puzzles are reasonably challenging in places but you generally make progress with a little persistence.  Recommended.

Rating: 4 out of five.

Art of Murder: Cards of Destiny 

I was disappointed in this game. It's a high budget, more polished affair than the previous two games but full of little irritations. When you click on an item, you must endure a few seconds of speech while the narrator describes the item. Select two incompatible items and you hear a chirpy "Not going to happen!". This becomes very irritating after a while. Also irritating is the games insistence on selecting items in the exact order. Want to use gloves to take evidence from the bag? You must right click on the evidence bag, endure the dialog, then select the gloves. The reverse does not work. I didn't particular enjoy this game. Not recommended.

Rating: 2.5 out of five.

Space Hulk

I never played the board game but I do like turn based squad games. Initially I was disappointed because the game contained nothing else but missions. No base management, no research, no team building (X-com has spoiled me). But it gradually grew on me and I found myself happily playing for 30/40 minutes every day.  It is overpriced for what it is and the early releases were plagued with game ending bugs. Worth buying but wait until it's on sale.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Papers Please. 

This is an interesting little game harking back to the glory days small games written by a single person in their bedroom. You play an immigration inspector in an fictional communist state. Every day you walk to your little hut on a border crossing, receive your instructions and spend most of the game checking passports for forgeries and discrepancies. It sounds like pure drudgery and in a way it is. But you are paid according to number of people you process and expenses like food and rent are then deducted from your income. Very quickly you find the bureaucracy mounting meaning you process less and less people and find it harder to make ends meet. So you find yourself becoming corrupt, accepting little bribes from guards to detain more people or turning a blind eye to an invalid passport or even becoming part of an resistance group. The graphics are suitably grim and cheerless. The game is only 7 Eur on steam and it's worth a look.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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