Mr Driller

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Mr. Driller

Love it or loathe it, Dig Dug is (correctly) regarded as an all-time classic arcade game and, despite being converted to a large number of home systems, it has not been one of the franchises that Namco has furnished with a large number of updates or sequels. It received a rather anonymous second installment in 1985, but the series wouldn’t be revisited for another fourteen long years.

Originally intended to be Dig Dug 3, the transition during its development to Mr Driller also included a change in the protagonist. The hero of Dig Dug was Taizo Hori but taking his place here is his son, Susumu Hori! As the highest ranked Driller in the world, he was the first one the panicked people called when the cities became overrun by mysterious colored blocks rising from underground…

Mr_Driller_Sega-Dreamcast-

This flimsy, and largely unnecessary, premise does of course set the scene for another colored/shaped blocks puzzle game. Once you’ve chosen between a 2500ft or 5000ft challenge, the arcade mode throws you straight into the action with Mr Driller falling on top of a huge pile of colored blocks. He can drill in all four joy-pad directions and doing so causes drilled blocks to vanish. As he drills down, untouched blocks may fall downwards if the blocks supporting them are drilled. This can of course result in Mr Driller getting crushed and losing a life.

It’s not quite as hard as it sounds though as falling blocks shake for a split-second before falling, giving you a precious chance to get out of the way. Falling blocks also stick to non-falling blocks of the same color if they touch them, forming larger blocks. There’s only four different-colored blocks as well, so some blocks can get pretty big!

Luckily, larger blocks are destroyed from a single drill-strike, much like single blocks, and any four or more falling blocks of the same color will vanish once they land. This can of course cause big chain-reactions so it’s best to make sure none of them land on your head! Speed is of the essence for more than one reason too.

Mr_Driller_Sega-Dreamcast-

Mr Driller has an ever-decreasing air supply so he must drill strategically but quickly. Air capsules are readily available which top up his supply by 20% but sometimes they’re tricky to reach. They are often near brown ‘X’ blocks. These take five drill strikes each to destroy and also take away 20% of Mr Driller’s air, so it’s not really worth breaking one except in an emergency. Mr Driller can clamber up blocks either side of him, but only if they are one block high. This is invaluable for reaching air capsules or escaping falling blocks, but sometimes it’s not enough!

As well as the arcade mode, Mr Driller players also have access to a survival mode and a time attack mode, both of which are fairly self-explanatory. The basic gameplay doesn’t change a great deal, but it doesn’t need to either. I don’t think I was alone in finding Mr Driller a rather unlikely release by Namco on the fancy new Dreamcast, but any initial disappointment soon faded.

It may look like a game that could’ve been hosted by a console from the previous generation, perhaps even the one before that, and it’s not even particularly original, but Namco ensured Mr Driller had it where it counted. It’s bright, colorful, and loud – the music and sounds effects are great. But more importantly, it’s just immense fun. And addictive. Very addictive. If you haven’t dabbled before, Mr Driller comes highly recommended.

Lode Runner 3-D

Format- N64

Genre- Puzzle Platformer

Lode-Runner-3-D - N64

I have quite a few N64 games. Not as many as the true collectors out there – but far too many to actually have played them all.

So I flick through my un-played carts, all picked up for pennies and lurking at the back of the draw, flicking through Earthworm Jim 3D, Road Rash 64, Twisted Edge…until I decide to take a punt on Lode Runner 3-D.

Lode-Runner-3-D - N64

Why it has the dash between the 3 and the D, I do not know. But anyway.

A puzzle game based on an ancient title from 1983, I recall Lode Runner 3-D was given a lukewarm response by N64 Magazine at the time of its release – so how bad could it be?

Well, it turns out it’s not a bad game. Just one that was considered slightly archaic even at the time of its release – and, well, time has not been kind.

Lode-Runner-3-D - N64

It’s hard to describe whether this is a 3D (or ‘3-D’) or 2D game to be honest. Although your movement is fixed on a 2D path, levels branch out into 3D space, twisting, turning, and overlapping with a certain frustrating rigour.

The game is based around completing self-contained stages by collecting a set amount of tokens, with different obstacles and challenges set against you.

Most involve the destruction of boxes though (see the purple ones above), which can be blasted away with a burst of your laser gun, fired with the Z button.

Lode-Runner-3-D - N64

These boxes come back after a certain time though, and if you’re in the space which they pop back into, you’re dead.

A more likely death will come about by walking into the red suited monks that stalk you in most of the levels though – and if killed (by either blowing them up with bombs or trapping them in the boxes) they simply re-spawn and chase you all over again.

These creepy monks (you never see their faces) are a little out of sync with the space theme, but do offer up a very tangible threat. Even if all they do when they catch you is jog back and forth on the spot where you fell. The fools.

In most levels one wrong move is enough to scupper any chance you have, but due to the sprawling nature of some stages a trial and error approach can be the only way to get through them.

Although you can see a fair bit of the stage with the solid camera (although for such a simple game i’d expect this element to be decent), there are still many times where you’ll die because you won’t be able to predict what the game will throw at you.

Eventually then, you might get a little bored, and for the larger levels you simply won’t have the motivation to play any more.

Generally Lode Runner 3-D looks a little tired by modern standards, with its chunky 3D graphics and one-note puzzling. Despite good intentions, this is a game best left in the past.

Boxyboy

BoxyBoy

Boxyboy

This could be called the Amazon warehouse game. In Boxyboy you control a worker in a warehouse and the overall goal is to push the crates on to the squares with the yellow dots on them. The game was developed by Media Rings and published by NEC on the TurboGrafx-16.

BoxyBoy

Part of the Sokoban series the game starts of pretty easy, but like all puzzle games it gets harder and harder each level. Speaking of levels, Boxyboy features a level editor that allows players to create and then play their own custom levels.

Chains

Chains - Gameplay Screenshot

Chainsis beautiful. That much is instantly obvious. After all, were it not for its visual appeal I’d have probably ignored it in this modern sea of small casual indie games, the Internet seems to have become. I would of course have been wrong.

Chains, you see, might on the surface seem like another game that uses the rather tired idea of making things disappear by matching them with, err, things of the same colour, but it really has way more than that to offer. It sports a brilliant and very versatile physics engine, that, combined with the excellent level design, make for a rather excellent and quite unique game. Not to mention an addictive one too. And wait till you see them graphics in motion while listening to that utterly brilliant electro soundtrack…

Chains - Gameplay Screenshot

Only negative thing about this lovely indie offering is its size. Weighing in at twenty levels, the whole thing will be over in a few hours, though admittedly it is infinitely replayable. Oh, and the levels are so varied, they could almost be from different games. From different genres even, as one has you frantically clicking around in typical arcade fashion, while another has you thinking in a most tactical manner or solving flow (you’ll see) puzzles.

What’s more, great care has also been given to the overall production of Chains, what with its three difficulty levels, player profiles, detailed stats, hints and even colorblind option.

Chains - Gameplay Screenshot

To grab a (dirt-cheap) copy or try the demo visit the official Chains: The Puzzle Game website.
Verdict: An absolutely excellent indie game. Hypnotic, short, sexy and definitely more enjoyable than drinking expensive wine in the cold (?). Play it!

Zenji

Zenji - Colecovision - Gameplay Screenshot

One thing I always loved about the Colecovision is how beautifully bright the colors were, compared to the Atari 2600 and Mattel’s Intellivision. I played all 3 as a kid, and always thought the CV was the best console, even though the Atari turned out to be my long-term favorite, mainly because of the quantity of titles and a quality controller. Having said that, I was playing Zenji today, a puzzle/maze game (Activision 1984) that plays/looks as well (maybe better) on the Colecovision than any other console or computer.

Zenji - Colecovision - Gameplay Screenshot
At first glance, Zenji seemed to be a simple ‘kiddie’ game, with easy gameplay and cutesy graphics and background music. Then as I played more, I realized it was much more than that.
The screen is filled with yellow and blue hexagons, within them are white pathways. You are a rolling white ball with a smiley face (don’t ask me why). As you roll on the paths from hex to hex, you can rotate the hexes 90 degrees at a time, turning the pathways green and eventually connecting them to make one continuous path. After completion of the pathway, you’ll move on to another level, larger with more dangerous hazards. Seems simple, as I said, but a couple of things are in your way: First is a time limit, 30 seconds for a smaller maze, up to 60 for a full-screen…..that is not a hell of a lot of time to connect 42 (6×7) of these things!

Zenji - Colecovision - Gameplay Screenshot

Secondly, roaming fire (think Donkey Kong) will try to kill you. Just when you think you can outsmart them by rotating out of their way, blue fire will appear and start shooting at you! What kind of kid’s game is this?!?
The gameplay is fast, addicting, and will challenge your reflexes and brain……because I think the pieces will only fit one way.
You score as you connect the pieces, and whatever time is left after level completion. High scores are kept (Yay!).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8uGGs2ZKxc[/youtube]
I’ve always been a fan of this genre, and I easily think this is one of the better games I have ever played. It’s much more than just connecting pipes, a game I’ve seen done a million times. Frankly, any time I have the chance to play the Colecovision without using that damned keypad, I take it. Zenji is a must-own for the console.

Catherine Demo

Catherine covers

I played and completed the demo for Catherine on the 12th. I was extremely impressed because it was graphically stunning, engaging, and original. It has been a while since I have played any kind of game with its originality. It’s rare Atlus ever fails to impress me, and I had high hopes for Catherine, even for the demo. It delivered everything it needed to.

Graphics

The graphics are, of course, in the usual Atlus “3-D anime” form. They are sharp and bright but with a certain theme. The point of the game is for it to be dark and gritty, but the colors chosen contrast each other, making each and every one stand out on its own. The colors seen most are pinks, reds, whites, and blacks.

Gameplay

What I was expecting was a kind of dating simulator that Japan is known all too well for releasing, but if that aspect is imbued in it, I didn’t notice. The demo takes you through what seems to be the introduction of the game, and the first two stages of the puzzles. Yes, there are puzzles. Even on the easy difficulty the demo plays by default, the puzzles are quite challenging and require the player to think on the fly. Also, there is a way you can text the “first” “K”atherine, literally, through Vincent’s phone. The main menu is active and has actual character models.

Story

This is what kept me engaged the most. The story plays out like an old time detective movie, and is about Vincent, a unfortunate man who has nightmares which are in the form of the puzzles. He is escaping what is a gigantic hand of a hysterical woman after him and has to move blocks in and out of his way to continue up. “Katherine” is his current girlfriend who pops one of the largest questions in one’s relationship: “marriage plz?”

Who Should and Should Not Be Playing This

This game is rated mature for a reason and has strong sexual themes with a dash of violence. This is a Japanese game that has anime cut scenes and 3-D graphics, as mentioned, in an anime form. If this is your type of game, I guarantee you will have a blast, even if it’s just a demo.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a69nmiAvSY[/youtube]

Overall

The demo ends with him meeting “Catherine” and a trailer of what is to come in the story. The trailer was even better than what I had played of the game. I have yet to see anything like it, and I can already see why there is so much hype for it. The demo is available on both the 360 and PS3. What are you waiting for? Get to it!

Portal is Free!

Portal Logo
Portal Logo

Portal is Free!

Until May 24th, Portal is now free. The game is short and most people can beat it in a few hours, so it’s worth checking out this short classic before the free period runs out, if you don’t have it already.

Portal is available for PC and for Mac.

Click here to get the game free and play it now.

Machinarium review en espanol

Machinarium screenshot
Machinarium screenshot

Machinarium review en español por Leandro Montesanto


DESARROLLADORA:
AMANITA DESIGN
TITULO:
MACHINARIUM
FECHA DE SALIDA: 16 de octubre del 2009
VALOR: formato virtual+ost 20 dolares;formato fisico edicion coleccionista 7 libras
PLATAFORMAS: PC (windows,linux,mac)
PUNTAJE TOTAL: 10/10
DEMO GRATUITA ONLINE: http://machinarium.net/demo/
Reseña en una oracion: la nueva escuela de juegos recibe a su artistico avatar

Prologo:

Juego realizado por la empresa Checa, Amanita Design, en el 2009; en el cual usamos a un robot sin nombre, al que se le denominara “machi” con motivos de practicidad, este es desechado como chatarra y su mision es rescatar a su novia de las manos de la hermandad Capa Negra; el despliegue resonante de su simpleza no hace valor al gran juego “point and click” (aventura grafica para nosotros) que hoy decidi reseñar ya que su ambientacion cyberpunk, su banda sonora, su sistema de juego, la forma en la cual esta contada la historia, sus coloridos escenarios y sus intrincados puzzles son lo mas fresco que vi en años de jugon.


Jugabilidad, ambientacion y mi historia con el juego:

El juego, como mencione anteriormente, transcurre en un ambiente cyberpunk, puede sonar extraño para muchos es “cute” en si, adorable, pero a su vez caotico, recuerda mucho a la vida urbana, ya que cada robot cumple un rol. Hay barrios bajos y artistas entre ellos. Un detalle sorprendente es la iglesia que tiene horarios para que los robots vayan a rezar, programados a cumplir funciones hasta el fin de los tiempos. Al ser una aventura grafica novedosa e ingeniosa, cuenta la historia de los involucrados a travez de dialogos globos tipo comics pero con animaciones simples dentro de ellas como dibujadas por un niño haciendo que se pueda jugar en cualquier pais sin necesidad de ser traducido. El sistema de juego aplica las leyes del espacio y el rango de alcance de machi ya que no podemos con el mouse atravesar la pantalla para ver que items podemos asir (agarrar) si machi no esta en un rango determinado cercano al objeto, ademas puede estirar su cuerpo verticalmente para alcanzar objetos en lo alto. Si tenemos problemas para darnos una idea de como solucionar los puzzles (un tip como se dice) podemos clickear el icono superior derecho (una lamparita) que nos orientara para seguir nuestro camino y si realmente te rendis no hace falta buscar una guia solo debemos acceder a un minijuego (en la parte superior derecha tambien) en un libro que recuerda mucho a los antigüos matamarcianos sidescroll. Vale aclarar que los puzzles estan espectacularmente armados y proveeran a los jugones de la vieja escuela un desafio. A mi personalmente me costaron mucho pero no soy un asiduo jugador de aventuras graficas; como agregado hace referencias a juegos de antaño un ejemplo seria un cameo al lado de la puerta del arcade nada mas ni nada menos que Space Invaders.

Musica y sonidos:

La musica derrocha calidad, tiene tonos jazzeros de a momentos, tranquila, melancolica, te sumerge en ese mundo bohemio y como si fuera poco al ser en su totalidad ambiental realiza un trabajo estupendo para calmarte cuando estas “luchando” contra un puzzle en tu cabeza. Ahora mismo la estoy escuchandolo para realizar esta reseña. Es importante destacar que fue creada por Tomas Dvorak, artista contemporaneo checo del cual recomiendo, si les ha gustado, sus otros trabajos musicales firmados con el pseudonimo de Floex. Los sonidos son acordes a la situacion, no destacan pero acompañan.

Controles y estabilidad:

El sitema de controles es simple, como en toda aventura grafica usamos casi enteramente el mouse, pero en los minijuegos tenemos la opcion de usar el teclado, haciendo la interface mucho mas intiuitiva y estimulante; con respecto a la estabilidad personalmente no tuve ningun problema, pero a algunos amigos tuvieron problema con el save del juego, ya que lo tomaba como archivo temporal y al pasar el ccleanr se eliminaba; debido a eso Amanita Design creo un parche de estabilidad rapidamente, se puede acceder a el via el blog de la empresa. Las nuevas ediciones del juego vienen con los parches incorporados.

Valor:

Su version en formato virtual puede conseguirse a 20 dolares en la pagina del Machinarium, con el OST incluido en formato mp3 para windows, mac o linux. Ademas para windows puede conseguirse via Steam, Impulse (para comprar esa version hasle click aqui), Direct 2 Drive y Gamers Gate; como si esto fuera poco, puede conseguirse la vercion fisica que fue lanzada este año que contiene el OST, un poster y un artwork en formato fisico para mac y windows a un precio especial de 7 libras via e bay o amazon.

Conclucion:

Una experiencia inigualable recomiendo que prueben los otros juegos de la empresa, en especial el Samorost 1 y 2

 

Links de interes:

Amanita design blog: http://machinarium.net/blog/ (se puede bajar la demo)
Amanita design website: http://www.amanitadesign.com/

Trine

Trine
Trine

Trine review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:
“Symphony of the Night + The Lost Vikings + Out of This World = fun!”

Overall Score:

8 out of 10

Overview:

Trine is a fantasy action puzzle platformer game that consists of three soul-bound characters that got trapped that way at the beginning of the game through magic making their way through each map in stages. You switch characters depending on which one you want to use, in the style of The Lost Vikings, only that all three characters take up the same place, rather than like in The Lost Vikings each being an independent character that you control once at a time.

The three characters are a mage, a rogue archer, and a warrior.

The mage can move objects around through magic and summon magic cubes/planks, which you can use to use to jump higher or drop on enemies.

The rogue archer is basically the most powerful character in the game. She can fire a ton of arrows that although they don’t do as much damage as the warrior, you can eventually fire multiple numbers of them and you can dispatch enemies safely at a distance. The best ability she has is firing a grappling arrow, sort of like the grappling hook gun that Batman has, which you can use to climb up, slide down, rock back and forth, swing, and all sorts of crazy acrobatics. She can light torches by firing flame arrows at them. For me, she’s basically the main character to use.

The warrior is supposed to be the main fighter, although the rogue archer is superior in my eyes. He mainly mashes things, whether parts of the terrain or boxes or enemies. He can also pick stuff up and move it around and he has a shield which absorbs most damage, so long as you angle it properly. He can also light torches, simply by chopping them with his sword.

There are 3 stats in this game, health, mana/energy, and XP.

Health is pretty self explanatory, with some enemies dropping hearts which can heal you. You can also heal by going to a checkpoint, if your health is lower than the minimum that difficulty setting designates as the minimum.

Mana/energy gets used up any time the mage does anything, or to do special attacks for the other two characters. The rogue archer mainly uses the energy to fire lit arrows when you pick up that power. The warrior uses energy to perform special attacks. You replentish mana/energy by going to the next checkpoint or by picking up blue vials which some enemies drop, which this is the most common drop in the game.

The last stat is XP. You pick this up in green vials that are scattered throughout the map (mainly in hard to reach places) and by killing enemies. When you get enough XP all three characters level up and you get a certain amount of character points which you use to purchase new powers or improve old ones.

The final thing to mention regarding general gameplay is that there are different treasures/loot hidden throughout the maps. Each one can boost your powers by a set amount or add a completely different kind of power to the character. For example, I picked up an item which lets my mage swim under water for unlimited amounts of time.

The game gets told as a fairy tale story, and it’s really well done in that sense.

As of the time of this writing, this game is only available on PC. You can play the demo here from Steam.

This is an indie title by Frozenbyte. It has gained a lot of acclaim/awards from other gaming sites. Overall, it’s a great, although short game.

Fun Factor:

This game is a lot of fun, especially the first time through. There are many different approaches and solutions towards getting through an area or fighting enemies and to me that makes for an intelligent game, which most games are not these days, especially a platformer game. The atmosphere and way the game got made keeps you playing. The first time I played the game I was dead tired and started playing it at 11 PM. I went to bed that day at 5 AM.

For the first playthrough I give the game a Fun Factor score of 9 out of 10. For the repeat plays, I give it a score of 6 out of 10, maybe even 7 if it’s been a while.

Difficulty Versatility:

There are different difficulties but they are mostly the same. The only difference I found in game play is that the amount of health that you get when a character dies and resurrects at the checkpoints is lowered the harder you set it. I got really good at this game real fast so I would recommend playing it right from the start at the max difficulty. Most of the game is pretty easy to me, but some parts are tricky. Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 6 out of 10.

Value:

When I got this game it was $5 (when I announced the sale last time). At that cost, the game is an amazing value.

When it’s not on sale, this game usually goes for about $20. At the time of this writing, you can get it for that much through ebgames.com in DVD and also as the downloaded version. You can get it for the same price through Steam.

You can also get it from Impulse here, which is one of our sponsors.

Trine
$19.99

For $20, considering it took me 5-6 hours to beat the game the first time, it’s not so much a great value. At that cost, I’d give Value a score of 4 out of 10. At a cost of $10, I’d give it a 6 out of 10. At $5, I’d give Value a score of 8 out of 10.

Replayability:

This is a pretty short game. I’ve played it twice so far and the game was predictable the entire 2nd playthrough. I have a good memory and since I just played it back to back, I will probably revisit this game in a year or two. I’d give replayability a 4 out of 10, mainly because it’s such a well made game and the action is well done.

Sound:

The voice acting for the game is great. I enjoy when they argue with each other, regarding the path they are taking for solving the main plot. It’s comical. The mage is a shy dork, the rogue archer is a hot sexy lady, and the warrior is a dumb jock.

The sound effects are well done too. The arrows sound real. The smashing of the warrior’s sword or the impact on his shield sound amazing. Sound gets a score of 8 out of 10. I would have given it a higher score, if it had more voice acting.

Music:

The music for the game is beautiful. It goes well with the atmostphere and the fairy tale setting. The music sometimes reminds me of a Tim Burton kind of fairy tale movie. Danny Elfman would be proud! It is written by Ari Pulkkinen. I wish it were available for download. The music from Trine gets a score of 10 out of 10. It’s simply beautiful.

Graphics:

The game looks beautiful. It reminds me sort of the style that the first Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen had, only from the point of view of a side-scrolling platformer instead of the top down and not pixelated at all. They look well drawn and the game is simply beautiful. For what this game is, the Graphics deserve a score of 10 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

The game runs rock solid even while alt-tabbing the living hell out of it. Nothing to complain here. It loads up quickly as well each time. Stability/Reliability gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Controls:

The controls are simple and fluid. Standard WASD + mouse combo work like a charm for Trine. Once you’ve played the game for a while, you will be able to use each character almost as if it’s second nature to you. It doesn’t take long to get used to the controls. Eventually you will find yourself just drilling everything with the rogue archer and the enemies won’t stand a chance. Controls get a score of 10 out of 10.

Performance:

The game runs perfectly on most gaming machines, even some obsolete ones. I never saw lag, not even once during any part of this game. The levels load up quickly as well. Performance gets a score of 10 out of 10.

My history with this game:

This was one of over 300 games I bought during the Steam holiday sale. Although the game is short I enjoyed playing it as much nearly as when I played Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the first time. I would recommend it to people who like that game a lot, who are PC gamers.

Steam Sale – Quantz for $3

Quantz
Quantz

Steam Sale – Quantz for $3

If you enjoy inexpensive puzzle games that you can replay often over and over then you will like Quantz (especially at $2.99).

The game consists of making combinations of marbles on a rotatable cube get together to create an explosive reaction and making the rest of the marbles disappear as soon as possible. There are other game modes as well that play similar yet differently.

Bejeweled

Bejeweled screenshot
Bejeweled screenshot

Bejeweled review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“Another classic puzzle game for the masses.”

Overall Score:
8 out of 10

Overview:

This is a pure, straight up puzzle game.

The point of the game consists of getting 3 or more of one jewel type connected in a row or column and then the game eliminates it. When that happens more jewels drop in taking up the same amount of space from the top of the screen. The more jewels you make disappear at a time, the more points you get.

There are two game modes, one that is the normal mode and the time mode.

Under the normal mode, you have unlimited time and you have to fill up the bottom bar in order to go to the next stage/level. I find this one to be more laid back and strategic.

Time mode gets pretty hectic. You are still trying to get as many in a row/column as possible but the bar at the bottom is going down constantly. You still have to fill the bar up to move on to the next level, which will make the game harder as the time bar will go down faster.

The point to leveling up is that the higher the level, the higher the score multiplier is for any combos you do. In other words, you will get more points per jewel that disappears.

Fun Factor:

This is a simple game yet it’s very entertaining. I prefer the normal (stategic) game mode the most as opposed to the hectic time mode. This game will keep you interested and it’s a great way to wake up and put your thinking cap on. The game might seem simple but there are subtle strategies for you to learn once you’ve played a bunch of games in a row.

This game keeps my interest as far as puzzle games go and I’m sure you will feel the same. Fun Factor gets a score of 9 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

The more you play the game, the harder it gets. It might not necessarily seem like it but you will find yourself more limited with initial combos once the new level spawns. Overall, if you find the game too easy, you can simply play it in time mode, which is much harder.

You start each game at level 1 and there is no way to artificially manipulate this, so you will go through the same difficulty curve every time. The higher the level you go higher then chance you have of dying simply from running out of moves. Once that happens, it’s game over and there is no continue.

I give Difficulty Versatility a score of 7 out of 10.

Value:

You can opt out to play the game online for free from the Popcap games website or you can buy the game for a few dollars.

The version that I played/own I got through Steam for $1-2 when it was on sale and I bought a huge package of PopCap Games. The link to the version I reviewed is the following (through Steam):

http://store.steampowered.com/app/3350/

You can play the free version through this link:

PopCap Games for Free

They sell Bejeweled there and it’s sequels as well. Most sell for $8-12, for PC and handheld systems/phones.

Considering the replayability value of the game, it’s worth at least getting the basic game or even playing the free ones through a web browser. Since the game is basically free or within the price of a budget title, the game gets a Value score of 10 out of 10.

Replayability:

This game is VERY addictive. Considering I was going to replay Civilization 4 for the billionth time to submit a review and I’ve been just playing this game over and over, I would say it’s VERY replayable (addictive).

Other than to be a great time killer, for me the replayability comes into trying to one up my old high scores.

The game helps me think about my strategies within the game and real life problems while I play it, so it’s relaxing and that keeps me playing often.

Replayability gets a score of 1o out of 10.

Sound:

The sounds are simple but they are enough for this game. The best sound effect is the robotic voice of the announcer which makes it sound like an old video game. Sound gets a score of 5 out of 10.

Music:

The music for the version I played, Bejeweled Deluxe sounds like classic amiga mod music and a lot like the music of other games that also use MOD files such as Uplink. It has a very oldskool feel and I always love that. There is one song for each game mode and it loops over and over but that keeps me focused. You can always lower the volume if it bothers you and play an external mp3 file if you want by alt-tabbing.

I enjoy the songs in the game. I think Music deserves a score of 8 out of 10. Some people might want more than 2 songs for the whole game.

Graphics:

The graphics are pretty spartan but this game is designed to run on any computer and not require a lot of money in hardware invested. The graphics look like enhanced c64 or Amiga graphics. I don’t expect a game like this to go all out on graphics as people will play it for it’s puzzle aspect, not to look at eye candy. Graphics get a score of 5 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

The game has never crashed after 30 hours of gameplay. I would declare it’s pretty rock solid. I’ve never seen the logic of the game get stuck in any game either. Stability/Reliability get a score of 10 out of 10.

Controls:

Controls don’t get simpler than this game. You just left click on what jewel you want to shift and left click on the destination. The jewel will either move up, left, right, or down (not diagonal moves allowed). Once that happens, the game calculates what stuff disappears and you keep playing. It can’t get any simpler than that. Anybody can pretty much play this game. Controls get a score of 10 out of 10.

Performance:

Any version of this game run perfect on any computer, phone, hand held, etc. Performance gets a score of 10 out of 10.

My history with this game:

I got this and a bunch of other games through the Steam sale they had in December 2009. Although I know you can play the games for free on the website, since I find them very entertaining, I didn’t mind paying for them and getting the versions that had the enhanced music/graphics.

These are the kinds of games I’ve been playing whenever I take a break from playing a big game.

Free Stuff – PopCap Games

PopCap Games logo
PopCap Games logo

Free Stuff – PopCap Games

If you love puzzle games and specifically free ones then visit the website of PopCap Games and have fun! Some of my favorites are Plants vs Zombies, Zuma, Big Money, Chuzzle, and Bejeweled. These games might seem simple but they are the kind of games that improve your logic skills.

The website for Popcap Games is the following: http://www.popcap.com/