Saturday, February 12, 2011

Two Mac Games - A Review

Remember how the other day I wrote about some Dangerous things? Like buying games from the Mac App store?

Well, here is the "first look" review of the 2 games I bought. The price for both was $5.99 ish. I think they were both 1/2 off since they were featured on the top 10 most downloaded games? So normally they go for about $10-12.

I will rate them in the following categories: Graphics, Sound, Playability (Ease of play, like is it a huge learning curve?), Difficulty, Durability (Will I play it over and over again, like Chrono Trigger?), and Overall. I haven't gotten very far in either game, but first impressions go a long way with me.

BRAID - Sidescroller game, much like Super Mario. But with a twist -- like a Braid!  There are even little homages to Mario and Princess.  The story (and therefore game mechanics) are brilliant. Story is about Tim  and his search for his ex, the Princess. It starts off saying how Tim made some major mistakes in his life, and oh, how wonderful it would be if we could do them over again, but instead learn from them rather than settle with the consequences and results of our actions (Yeah, how I wish this were true!)  Basic game mechanics were of Super Mario Bros, but you don't die. Remember, how wonderful it would be if we could do our mistakes over? Right. We can "reverse" time so as not to fall into the pit of spikes or run into the rabid daisy-rabbits. Brilliant! Also, it is a puzzle game so you must figure out how to beat the level / pick up the puzzle pieces.

Graphics: 8 out of 10.  The world is reminiscent of the Impressionist / Post-Impressionist era, as if the images themselves were from the canvases of Monet, Renoir, or Cezanne.  If you don't understand what I mean, basically, the world looks like it was literally painted. The main character, Tim, is a bit creepy looking, admittedly. I'm not sure if I like a suited up short squat dude running around. Then again, Mario was a short squat plumber.

Sound: 7 out of 10. The music is very relaxing, even though you might be running from rabid daisy-rabbits. Maybe I was looking for something a bit more up-tempo. But I guess this isn't that kind of game. It's not very complicated game music either. It does not impede or distract from the game play at all.  The sound effects of things "dying" are cute though.

Playability: 7 out of 10. As in it's kind of got a learning curve to it. OK, maybe I'm dumb, but it took me a bit to get used to the game mechanics of hitting spacebar to jump and shift to reverse time, because I kept time-shifting when I wanted to jump. Annoying. I'm sure I can change game keys in options but I haven't bothered. Also, using time-shifts to solve puzzles? Brilliant! Also, you don't really ever use your mouse, which is great for laptop users (I am not one of them).

Difficulty: 8 out of 10. Again, it is probably because I'm not too smart, but I just can't seem to figure out how to solve half these puzzles! Luckily, they don't hate you, so you can clear a board without issues and get to the next level. Still. PUZZLES ARE HARD. Oh, also as an added bonus, when you collect the puzzle pieces, you get to put that together for an "in the life of" image. Not sure what that does tho.

Durability: 5 out of 10. For me, the harder the puzzle, the less likely I am going to play it. I still try it, but it's very frustrating. Maybe that's why the music is so mellow. Still. It is no Chrono Trigger (a game I could play over and over again). The easier boards are fun to play though.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10.  Like I said, great graphics, mellow music to calm your frustrations. Homages to the Mario Bros franchise. Brilliant game mechanics. Just the puzzles are a bit too complicated for my slow brain.

And Yet It Moves - A physics-based sidescroller-like game with no storyline. Just get from point A to point B.  Basis of this is physics. You can rotate the world clockwise or counterclockwise, and your character is affected by that world. So if you spin the world, your ground is now the ceiling, or the wall is now the ground, and if there was no ceiling before, then you are falling. You can die in this game, mostly if rocks fall and crush you or the fall is too great RIPPED TO SHREDS. Physics! See, it is fun! Luckily the game lets you redo the segment from the last nearest checkpoint you touched. (edit: 2/15/11)

Graphics: 7 out of 10. Actually, the character doesn't look great (a 6 of 10),  but the world looks like pieces of paper were wrinkled up and torn/frayed. That part gets an 8. So, the average is 7. You start off in a cave, so it explains the drab colours. But now it looks like I've gotten outside, so the frayed paper pieces look like a jungle.

Sound: 5 out of 10. There is some music playing, but it's nothing to write home about. At least they put something in. More than likely this will be a game where I put my own music on and play.  The sound of you breaking apart is kinda nifty.

Playability:  6 out of 10. Definitely a learning curve for me. It forces me to think about my left and right's and clockwise/counterclockwise movements.  It puts movement via ASDW keys and world-flipping on the arrow-keys, which seems kind of backwards for me. I'm used to the arrow keys for movement, but maybe that's just me. I think as I get used to the game, playability will be reduced to a lower number.  Also another keyboard game for those silly laptop users.

Difficulty: 7 out of 10. Admittedly if you have a good grasp of physics and momentum, it starts off super easy.  It's pretty intuitive and simple to play. The levels do increase in difficulty, making you spin the world faster and faster and making sure you don't "fall" too fast either. The "enemies" you face aren't limited to just rocks. But you need to use what you have around you to clear the section / board. Yes this means bats can take out an iguana!

Durability: 9 out of 10. I can see me playing this game whenever, because there is an option for speedruns and posting how well you've done. Nothing like a bit of online competition, I guess. The fact that there is no story line also helps with the game lasting for a long time.

Overall: 8 out of 10. This game had a much larger range of scores, but I think I like the mechanics of this game much better than Braid.  It has the potential to get really frustrating, but with more practice, this should easily diminish.

I may add screen caps of the two games when I figure out how to.

Note to future self: What do you do best?
Note to near-future self: Get a job.

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