I've been playing a bunch of games lately. Let me tell you about them:Lost In Blue 3
Considering the Japanese origins of this game, there’s a surprisingly Protestant work ethic running through it. Yes, LIB3
is a spiritual brother to the Harvest Moon
Games in that the daily grind of existence is transferred horribly intact to the video game medium.
The plot revolves around some little nonce who washes up on a desert island with nothing other than his Diesel jeans and standard anime-bumlord-haircut for company. Twenty minutes later he meets his ex-girlfriend who he doesn’t remember and shortly afterwards he starves to death in a cave. Thankfully the latter can be avoided by catching and preparing food, making tools and remembering to drink from the river roughly every seventeen seconds. The rest of the game (or the two hours which I endured) is spent traipsing back and forth around an alarmingly lifeless jungle before starving to death near a waterfall.
Now, I’m as big a fan of The Sims
as anyone and so the thrilling world of work-u-tainment isn’t foreign to me, but The Sims
really is an accurate replication of real life in that the purpose is to eliminate all of the time-consuming necessities of daily life by buying better appliances, hiring a maid or – when I play it, having children just so you can enslave them.
I’m also not opposed to a gaming experience devoid of action and alien weirdies, rather I think that there’s too much of that type of thing around and I welcome any game that gives the player time to stop and smell the pixels. The best parts of Oblivion
for me were the bits where you ride your horse through beautifully-rendered forests with the dappled sunlight and the glistening dewdrops and the glaven…
I digress: LIB3
is a game about wandering back and forth through a bland landscape while starving to death. The end.
Additional: I would have provided a screenshot, but just imagine your own crushingly tedious existence, then add a few coconuts and a girl you can't have sex with.Neighbours From Hell
This game instantly wins points for not having the following plot:Imprisoned for having beautifully sculpted facial hair, Rock Hauser escapes his confinement only to find himself aboard the SS Thrusting Manhood, a galactic cruiser en-route to the planet Dystopia. Hilarity ensues when Hauser discovers that the entire crew have become Zombies and weird things that look like an inside-out leopard.
is about a reality show in which the main character Woody must play practical jokes on his neighbour Mr Rottweiler in order to entertain the audience. Elderly gamers who recall How To Be A Complete Bastard
and the early Spy vs Spy
games will instantly be at home with the cut-away view of Mr Rottweiler’s house as well as the prank/trap based gameplay.
For the less elderly, it’s essentially a point-and-clicker in which the purpose is to find the purpose of the various objects you find in the house. Some are obvious such as placing a bar of slippery soap on the kitchen floor, some not so much such as replacing Mr Rottweiler’s sweets with bath pearls.
When the hapless neighbour falls foul of each prank, he goes through a short pre-rendered animation of disgust and rage and his anger-meter starts to rise. This reveals the real object of the game for perfectionists; keeping Mr Rottweiler’s anger levels at maximum by creating prank-combos for audience appreciation.
Simple but fun, the final word should go to the claymation style of the graphics which are a perfect match for this stylish but insubstantial game. Precisely as much fun as not starving to death on a desert island.Ninja Town
Here’s the thing: I don’t like Tower Defence games. Sure some of the early flash-based ones were good, but almost every elaboration of this new genre has wound me up no end. See, I’m a plotter and a thinker which is why I prefer my strategising to be turn-based rather than real-time. The much-lauded Lock’s Quest
gave me the fear with its relentlessly frenetic pace which is precisely why I resisted the charms of Ninja Town
for so very long. However, I’m happy to say that I have lived a deluded and wayward life because Ninja Town
is very good indeed.
Perhaps it’s the cutesy design or genuinely amusing dialogue between Ninja Master and his minions (including the utterly improbable Ninja Management Consultant) but this is a game which draws you in immediately. Otherwise it’s sort-of-but-not-quite business as usual, building structures along a route in order to prevent waves of demons from getting from A to B.
Rather than the standard variations on gun emplacements, all of the defensive structures are houses, each providing two Ninjas with varying capabilities such as the White Ninjas who freeze their enemies, Sniper Ninjas who can fire upon flying enemies and the frankly inexplicable Business Ninja who slows enemies down by bashing them with his mobile phone.
When enemies approach, the Ninjas rush into the street and a pitched battle results. What raises Ninja Town
further above the level of most Tower Defence Games is the amount of latitude that the player is allowed to obtain victory. Unlike many others in the genre, there rarely seems to be a ‘perfect’ way to finish each stage and the various ‘Ninja Master Powers’ and other bonuses do a lot to turn around a situation that you might otherwise have completely buggered up.
In short, a strategy game that remembers to be fun (are you paying attention, Lost In Blue?)Pandemic II
Flash game based around the fun-packed world of Virus-design. Yes, in what may be the game in poorest taste since Erotic Ebola Brothers 4: Every Hole’s A Goal
, this 'virus simulator' gives every bedroom biohazard fan the chance to create a nasty disease and unleash it upon the world at large.
Beginning with the choice of Virus, Bacteria or Parasite the disease begins in a random country and slowly begins to spread. As more people become infected, evolution points are awarded to further mutate the disease and giving it fun new features such as “Transmitted by Rodents”, “Resistance To Moisture” and the always fun “Causes Dementia”. Meanwhile world governments respond accordingly by handing out bottled water, closing their borders and burning their dead.
The real trick seems to be to keep your disease as low-key as possible, initially afflicting enormous numbers of people with a non-fatal but highly contagious disease. The less serious the symptoms, the less likely it is that anyone will attempt to devise a vaccine. Then, just as you reach 5 billion people with a case of the sniffles, you whack on a brand new mutation such as heart-failure and squeal with joy as the whole planet gets clogged up with the dead.
I was particularly proud of my Super Plague which was transmitted by just about everything walking, breathing and sneezing and caused violent insanity, killing 21 million people a day at one point. Bizarrely, the good people of Peru, Argentina and Madagascar remained unaffected.
You too can join the fun here