12/30/12

Gamer's Review - Axel and Pixel

A digital download gem through the four seasons on the chopping block today....

Axel and Pixel is a flash animation style with photographic and drawn point click adventure where you control either Pixel or Axel venturing through a very surreal and artistic world. Axel has fallen asleep while painting and ends up in a surreal dream of his own artworks. He has to venture to the domain of the ice giant; so he can wake up and finish the master piece he was painting. Through out the journey Axel and Pixel are constantly hindered by an evil rat creature.

Gameplay is split up into different chapters or scenes and is basic point-click game play, as you have to figure out how to advance to the next scene by interacting with the elements within environment (the "cursor" aka cloud of sparkles, turns yellow to highlight a hot spot). For example, some sequences involve pressing a button sequence correctly so Axel can climb a wall. In addition to the point click sequences, Axel and Pixel has to engage in various side scrolling action sequences chasing after the rat in various different vehicles...hot air balloon, boat....

Art wise is where this game shines....its flash style animated however the components being animated are literally hand made, crafted from actual objects or photos...resembling a living diorama in someways. In Axel's dreamy art world, flora and fauna is exotic and everything is not what it seems. Artistic elements and style in each chapter is dictated by a particular season. For example, giant insects and flora rule spring, and my personal favorite winter is a surreal wonderland of ice and snow until you dive deeper into the ice giant's domain.... inside forbidding caves of stone and ice, strange machines of metal stand by waiting to be operated with.


As a final verdict, this is a bizarre looking yet visually game, I wish the adventure went on for longer, and the only hard part I had with this game was the action sequence....keyboards aren't good for making tight corners. I am very satisfied with this game, it deserves a place in my gaming library  and i would suggest it to people looking another point-click to add to their library.

Movied Review - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Saw the movie last night and well...it makes sense to review it. For starters those who love the original Lord of the Rings trilogy will not be disappointed with this installment in the Hobbit....the same massive scale attention to detail, fantastical battle with monsters, and story.

Without giving too much away... story wise, it's a bit more humorous in comparison to the original trilogy. For example, comically Bilbo's quiet solo dinner is interrupted by uninvited dinner guests that come through his door one by one (or one case at the same time) that promptly help themselves to his store room and dinning room. At the same time Bilbo is trying to trying to maintain order, his dollies and mother's dishware...rather in vain attempts.  A few links are made with the original trilogy. At the start of the movie, it is an older Bilbo Baggins (played by Ian Holm) narrating and writing down his adventures and contemplating how he himself has changed from that adventure just before the big party at the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring. Frodo (played by Elijah Woods) is seen wondering what his Uncle is up to. Rivendell is revisited in all it glory when the party needs to seek council with Elrod, Galadriel, and Sarumen. It is interesting to note during this scene the onset of Sarumen's downfall is seen as he believes that great power will overcome to odds, and stubbornly refuses to believe that trouble is on the horizon...or it could be he knows trouble is on the horizon but tries to confuse everyone but not believing that facts.

The theme of home vs being outside of your home is a strong theme. When see young Bilbo he is a bit too comfy with where he is right now and with his peaceful, homely life in the Shire..so comfortable its a boring life for a hobbit that used to in his earlier days wanted to go out into the world, as Gandalf would point out. So when offered the chance at first he is terrified of the dangers ahead (especially of the dragon) but the next morning he rushes to the dwarf company to go on an adventure despite not knowing what to do yet he still wants to fulfill the adventurous wishes he had in his youth. As outlined in a conversation between Bilbo and Bofur over the subject of home....the Dwarves are so intent on retaking the Lonely Mountains because they want to have a place to call home like Bilbo. They have been on the road so much and too long...they want to have place where they are not strangers. This conversion is what makes Bilbo stay on this journey...he has a home to come home to but he feels its his duty to make sure his friends have a home to.

Visuals as all is incredibly rich....we got the wide angle lens of New Zealand as the company travels. The new places visited are gorgeous or mind boggling to look at, for example the city of Dale seem to have hints of the Italian Renaissance or Tuscany with its red tile roofs; the rustic, sun soaked and yellow buildings and balconies and windows that herald a Romeo and Juliet stage production.  As for the Dragon Smaug...it is nice of the film makers not to show Smaug himself in full body to heighten the tension and to show this is a really big and nasty dragon. His coming is herald with only a shot of a child's kite of a red dragon blowing fiercely in a brewing wind storm.When he launches the first attack and is storming the royal treasury, Smaug is moving too fast to be seen clearly, we are seeing the attack from his POV and is covered with flames, debris and smoke (or gold when he dives into the treasury) with only some part of his body (his eye, claws or tail) visible.

As a final thought despite being almost 3 hours long again.....it was very much worth watching. Here's the official trailer from Warner Brothers if you are not convinced.

Christmas Present round up....Squinkies

Look at these cute little babies I got as another present....thks friend! They look super cute (don't worry the ponies are being given attention) and look there is one grey kitty among them....just like my old passed on boy. I heard of these Squinkies before...and I thought they looked kind of cute and tiny but never gotten one mostly due to budget reasons. Hehe they are squeezable to some degree but I think their fuzzy fur might rub off with excessive touching....love how they are little storage "bubbles" is provided. The small compact is a plus too for those with little space.

12/28/12

Gamer's Review - Zen Bound 2

Zen Bound is directly simple and yes the title is correct it is really zen like and relaxing in this beautiful gem of a digital download game. The gameplay is very simple....wrap up a wooden or soap stone (depending on the  texture) with rope to lay paint down on to the figure until you have met the minimal paint coverage percentage then finish it off by tying the rope on to the glowing nail. However planning is require as each shape is different and present it own obstacles in some way, you only have a limited amount of rope and you must have enough room and rope to do the final tie up.



In addition simply wrapping a figure up in rope...other ways to paint the figure include tying the rope around nail bombs to splash paint or the paint are on the rope itself. The art direction is fittingly minimalistic with touches of Asian zen, the menus being flowery trees climbing towards the sky and the gaming field is just the minalistic figuring floating in a coloured space.

For the price (I can mine discounted off steam) I say this is the perfect game for unwinding and relaxing...although hardcore gamers might find a lack of seriously hard gameplay and multiple game modes. Well its called Zen Bound 2 it's suppose to relaxing but not maddeningly hard.

12/27/12

Gamer's Review - Stacking

I love Russian Nesting dolls and I have a real nesting doll too. Sooo on the chopping block today. It's Stacking from Double Fine. As with every Double Fine production there is a healthy of humor in this game and garnishes of satire as you play as Charlie Blackmore, the youngest boy in a family of chimney sweepers who has to rescue his family from forced labor during what looks like the turn of the century....to make things very interesting everyone is a Matryoshka aka Nesting doll of various different sizes, hobbling around like "real" animated dolls, talking via speech bubbles and each with their own special ability...ranging from the strange (farting) to the mundane (punching people with a right hook.)

Nesting Doll physics are a big part of the game play. For example, the inventory is your character. Charlie, the smallest nesting doll in the world has the ability to stack into other dolls one size bigger then him and in turn he can into another doll, while still inside the previous...making clicking noises akin to smaller nesting dolls wobbling into inside the "big sister" doll shell. How does this ability get put into creative use? Need to sneak past a guard by flirting with him...just stack into a beautiful lady doll. Need to scare the pants off cruise guests and shut down a wildlife park....stack into a bear.

The game objectives are simple. Each place Charlie explores has an obstacle you must solve (Ex. sneak past the guard)...and those obstacles have multiple solutions. A hint system is available for those who are stuck...along with conversations with other dolls on how to solve the obstacle. In addition to the main tasks, Charlie can do secret hi jinxes which can be things like oh farting in public...punching out mimes.

The Nesting Doll motif carries into the art style....the entire world seems to crafted by hand with murals being hand drawn with crayons and the infrastructure looks like it was made from salvaged materials. Places you get to visit include a train deport and a cruise ship. Although they remain expressionless through the game, the dolls still express themselves through subtle motions of their body, for example a sultry female sways her lower shell half as she walks. The nesting dolls themselves like real nesting dolls are beautifully detailed and looks almost like they have have been hand painted and deserve a place in your home. Such dolls include opera singers, mimes, dogs, and even bears. Cut scenes play out in pseudo stop motion and fashioned after the old silent films of old.

In conclusion despite the sometimes awkward camera angles (more so due to my mouse's orientation)  this is a very creative game for both its nesting doll approach and motif, hand crafted feel in art direction and healthy doses of humor.

Gamer's Review - Bone the Game- Out from Boneville and The Great Cow Race

Bone: Out from Boneville and The Great Cow Race from Telltale Games is based on the award winning graphic novel series Bone. Both games are based on the first two books the series, Out from Boneville and The Great Cow Race respectively.

Gameplay is a mostly point click with the basic interface being the screen, inventory in the corner and the menu in the corner. There is also a hint system for those who get stuck. At some moments like escaping from the rat creatures the game flow changes to something more action, platforming related. In addition we get to switch between the bone cousins and POVs. (Boneville: Fone and Phony and Cow Race: All 3 Bone Cousins). When playing as Fone you take on a more heroic role, scam as Phony, or silly hijinxs with Smiley. Conversations with characters are carried out through branching speech trees...and some of the conversation options are direct from the comic series..leading to some in game reenactments of certain comic book events...just ask the Great Red Dragon "can't you breath fire?"

Is the game accurate to the original source material? In the game's prologue, Thorn narrates the mythology of the valley and the locus lord, unlike in the graphic novel where it gets explained very late into the saga.

In addition the events of Out From Boneville is shortened to one day in comparison to several seasons. However we still get to meet the Bone Cousins in the desert and they get chased by the locus lord.

Some events that were never explored in detail in the comics are explained in the game, for example how did Smiley even get materials for a cow suit? All the major characters have been included and as for vocal styles in terms of yes I thought they would sound like that...Ted is right on the mark... Fone Bone is fair job, Thorn is good, Dragon is close too, Possum kids aww however I thought the Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures would have more slightly raspy, deeper and barely understandable since their speech bubbles in the books suggest so, and Phony although he sounds sneaky and scam..hmm not what I would imagine. Of course how the voices were done is debatable...everyone has a different opinion on what characters would sound like in the comics. I hope to see this gaming series continue onwards into Eyes of the Storm...signing off.

Gamer's Review - Deponia First Impressions

This is going to be hilarious...

Deponia is so far a point click adventure game from German studios Daedalic Entertainment. So far i was imressed by the beautiful animation....what can I say about the art style. Its hand drawnish, cartoony, and steampunkish...actually I would its Junk-Punk. Everything in this world seem to made from salvaged materials. I was laughing from the first moment called the tutorial. I mean how many tutorials of controls have two characters bickering with another....










You control Rufus (the tall guy) in this adventure. To me...other then this guy is a hopeless loser...Rufus is well dreaming of a better life away from this junk yard of a planet called Deponia....and he's a hopeless slack off of a loser. Menus still carry out the theme of junk-punk, for example you have the option of being able to pull down the inventory menu held together by "springs" with the roll of the mouse wheel.

Humor reigns supreme here....how often do games start off with a musical number, tooth brushes suddenly come to life and run off and a guillotine is used as the most perfect doorstop in the world. I honestly cannot wait to see what hilarious surprises are in store for me as Rufus is trying to carry out his escape plans.













The trailer if you're not convinced this is going to be a hilarious and fun ride....



12/26/12

Sprucing the blog

Just like what any good blogger would do...spruced up the blog with...drum roll please. Pictures....see how pretty they look:) and died several times while trying to take them. Oh the perils of videogaming photography

Gamer's Review - Beat Hazard Ultra DLC

On the chopping block today and off steam....Beat Hazard's Ultra DLC upgrade. Is it worth getting.


Beat Hazard of one of my favorite games to play on steam. I mean how often do you get to play a shooter piloting a space ship with lots of flashing blinking lights, strobe effects all tuned to your music? Did also mention you are being shot at by enemy space ships of all sizes and magnitude and its all determined by the intensity of the....which I should mention the track list is determined by the song you choose from your mp3 library. Fortunately the power of your weapons are determined by the tempo of the music.

The DLC upgrades brings new enemies on to the field to freshen things up and I very much agree when suddenly serpents crawl into space and I'm frantically shooting and figuring out how to deal with the new enemies....and did I mention suddenly being surrounded by space mines that are gradually closing in on you ready to crush you unless you shoot and fly your way of out the "ring". The new enemy type also extend to the bosses that on occasion appear on screen....imagine my excitement when a evil space star fish wiggles on screen and a giant sized boss ship bigger then regular bosses flies in on screen...with lot of cannons firing at you.

New gaming modes inxlude online play. My first experience with this was being invited to do an online with a user named Rainbow Dash (I should have seen this coming when a Pony invites me to a rainbow duke of task) to what I assume is survival mode....wow my finger were sour. No such thing as lives much to my relief who has a habit of flying into things and frantic wave after waves of enemy ships and giant bosses all out to get you. there was so much happening ....the reason why I kept crashing was I had trouble finding my tiny ship. Big plus if you're big on action and warning if you have side effects from strobe light effects.

In conclusion, it you enjoy the regular Beat Hazard but begging for more in terms of game play ..get this DCL if you want to be flying around from things that aren't always enemy space ships.

Here's the official DLC trailer from cold beam games.

12/25/12

Ponies for Christmas.

One of the presents I got for Christmas...the rest of are being given to me during the week till new years....extremely curious what my sister (blogger of Cosmetic Proof) got me. With the nervous feel about the big after grad job search and the fact my dear kitty died of old age and cancer last night may he rest in peace....presents are a welcome and calming sight.... especially when they're ponies.

 My friend ( THKS FRIEND!!) got these....The Special Toys R Us only Friendship is Magic Favorites Collection....I say it an exciting collection we got here. We got two of the Mane 6, Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash plus drumroll.....Nightmare Moon. I say Nightmare Moon is nicely detailed and almost exact to her animated counter part. We got DJ Pon3 aka Vinyl Scratch looking relatively close to her animated counter part too....oh yes we got the great and powerful Trixie too too.....like the collection name we got alot of fan favorites. Although keep their manes clean and tangle free.

 Signing off....what do you think I'm going to do with the Rainbow Dash Doll when I have the bottle of 20% Cooler with me.


12/24/12

Gamer's Review - Audio Surf

What can I say about Audio Surf other its literately playing with your music.


What I like about surf is...gameplay is simple depending on what mode you choose. Basically you're piloting a futuristic vehicle down a grid road hovering in space while collecting neon lights of colourful blocks.I would say the gameplay feel and controls feel whats the word smooth with the different ebbs and flows matching the tempo and pace of the music being played. What is the track list in question....how about your entire MP3 library?

That is what I love about this game...I have played games like Guitar Heroes and DDR but I always long to play with my own music selection, which anyone who knows me is incredible unique with artists you cannot find on the North American market. So a game that lets you customize the musical challenge...nice.

As for art style, its combination of colours (colours get hotter as tempo speeds up), futurism and minimalist art as the track is floating in a space or black or white depending on which settings you choose....in turn looking like a tron-like discotheque race, or a white out version of minimalist art.

If you are wondering when I first downloaded this off Steam long ago....the first song I tested was Susumu Hirasawa's High Minded Castle, then a faster choice test....DCX's Flying High.

I would highly recommend this game for those who both want to play their music and want a custom musical gaming experience.

The trailer from Gameshizzle

Gamer's Reveiw - Analogue: A Hate Story First Impressions

Now for our first visual novel game review....


Analogue is available on Steam and when I first play I didn't know what to expect despite playing with Christine Love's other games. I say the interface is awesome... literately you first trying to temper with the ship's computer alias operating the old DOS systems to get the AI online for conversations. Why do you even want the AI online...The setting is thousands of years into the future and the generational ship Mugunghwa has suddenly reappeared after it was lost hundreds of years and you are charged by the space agency with the task of searching through the blocks of data to figure out what happened on that ship. 

The interface for searching through the blocks of emails is very interesting to navigate... very streamed lined, and smooth flowing in a tasteful stark white just like how any computer interface of the future should be. In addition to having to searching through blocks of emails and hexing with the DOS-like override system...you have to communicate with one of two AIs (depending on who you choose to be active) who both have their own opinions of the messages you show them. It becomes obvious as you talk to the AIs (in my case *Hyun-Ae) that these programs are not merely computer programs and when at times will ask your for your opinion about life or the messages about the events that happened on the ship and will express their own opinion and feelings about the subject.

As for the themes...wow this is interesting...Korean ancient culture is heavy and despite being in the future the clocks on the ship seem to have rewind backwards in time (all the email messages so far are dated in the 300's) to the era of ancient nobility and traditional values ruled. As *Hyun-ae  would say it must have been wonderful to first see the white walls of a ship then suddenly washed in a traditional market place. However as it is blatantly stated in the earlier emails and notes it is also, a time where the men were honored and the women were are only meant to be in a subversive role....a theme which *Hyun-ae and the Pale Bride mentioned in messages are sad and furious about. Another story trait is varying for control of the ship side society between two noble families...the Kims and the Smiths.

As for art style....the AI you are talking to is styled after cartoons... Asian comics like mangas and manhwa in particular. The AI is mostly static until the moment where she shows emotion.

So far I feel this is going to be a very interesting investigation but I feel tinge of the tragic coming soon because of the Pale Bridge's rebel attitude in this new "backwards world", the men that want to control her and the fact we are investigating a ship that is now empty and devoid of life. here's the trailer for your consideration.


12/23/12

Movied Review - Cirque Du Soleil Journey of Man

Since we visited Worlds Away in our last review...its time to review the other Cirque Du Soleil 3D movie, Journey of Man.

Journey of Man  was originally released in IMAX 3D and is original subject, like Worlds Away. The film recycles acts from Quidam, Mystere and O (set in different outdoor environments though and changes in choreography  and is heavily story driven. The story is the audience follows a boy from birth to manhood depicted as a journey across different environments around the world, which begin in natural settings then finally in a man-made setting. Through out the film the boy narrates his journey.

It was exciting to watch this movie (this was before the time I started seeing Cirque Du Soleil shows around the world). 3D effects combined with the costumes and acrobatics were a joy to see despite the technology that was available back then. Despite acts being recycled there is new very beautiful soundtrack for half of them and in addition new choreography for some of them also....all of the acts are set in breath taking environments for example, Bungees from Mystere is set in a forest (warning for the motion sick in this segment) and Banquine is in the foyer of a grand estate.

The one major compliant I have about this film unfortunately is...its too short a film....at 40 minutes this is too short a time to showcase Cirque Du Soleil on screen....yet alone IMAX. At the end of the film I was begging for more.

Movied Review - Cirque Du Soleil Worlds Away 3D

First here's the trailer....

Where can I start with the new Cirque Du Soleil movie other then keep an open mind and don't expect a strong unifying story line because this movie is what I like to call a true variety show of the dreaming world, and it may be confusing/random for some if you are not familiar with the elements of the 7 Vegas  Cirque shows and that "Worlds Away" is a combination of all 7. Fortunately for you I am familiar with the 7 shows and I have seen one (Mystere) of them before.

The basic loose story line is a young woman arrives at a traveling carnival resembling turn of century circuses with a freak show and a ring master barking out orders...also greatly resembling such a photo shoot Cirque did some years back. A sad clown strongly urges her to keep a flyer depicting the "Aerialist". Sure enough she meets the Aerialist helping set up and then later plunging into a rabbit hole in the ground and ends up in a desert with 7 massive and colourful tents set up. From there the lovers are trying to find other while traversing these worlds. The random and abstract nature of the acts means the storyline regrettably takes a back seat and only acts to somewhat unify the show when cruising from one act to another....also there is no talking.

As for pacing....it was very appropriate to open the magical world with "O" both for the same red curtain opening that happens in the Vegas show and to thrill the viewer with the 3D effects...the water effects were amazing to see in 3D. I was surprised at the percentage of screen time devoted to each show, for example; about half of "O"'s acts got screen time, and only one act from "Zumenity" and "Mystere" each got screen time. I think this is because for example shows like "O" and "Ka" would have more to show for in 3D and Zumenity (as the only R-Rated show) is trying to be in a G rated movie. The acts were amazing to see and the main attraction. They were presented very fast (more so in the "O" segment)...as if to give you a taste of each world the lovers visit. Mixing 7 different shows into one is tricky movement and it may seem like a mess for others but for me...it was like a cross between watching a variety act circus and watching a live show...you don't know what to expect or will show up.

As for the ending, I wished that a high energy, and happy act would have ended the entire show in a big celebration as reward for the lovers finding each other. Although it was a nice touch for the final curtain call to be all the acrobats from this movie and their respective shows to take a final bow just like in the live shows.

Cirque fans love be happy because the characters from the various show still retain the personalities of their show counterparts in the movie even when relating to the new characters. For example, La Vieux is grumpy guide to the female lover in her search and is the one who pulls back the curtains; the twin heroes (with the female twin trying to help the female find the male) from Ka help free the captive male lover from the antagonist archers. As for the two new main characters....the female lover came off to me as someone who is meek, a romantic,and very curious when exploring the new world. Most of the time we follow her POV. The male lover however comes off to me as a romantic too and bad lucked as he is in a tight situation already in the opening moments of the show, when he plunges through the ground and the wicked armed archers get to him first and imprison him with the rest of the slaves in the hamster wheel slave cage (in parallel to the treatment his boss gives him in the carnival scenes). Later on he proves his acrobatic skills when finds the female's paper flyer and flies on silk with her through the forests of "Ka"'s world (where the flyer got lost in the first place)....did mention also the Aerialist (Igor Zaripov) was REALLY handsome to look at, like the handsome Soccer stars I love.:):):)

In conclusion, I would suggest go see this movie for its visual feast, the 3d effects (water and fire was very nice to see), and come not expecting a story and expect random surprises to pop up....Beatles music anyone? Cirque fans especially those who have been to Vegas will enjoy the nostalgia  Now this is how my nails looked like for the movie....China Glaze's "Its a Trapeze" from the Cirque Du Soleil Worlds Away Collection was used over and along side Rainbow Honey's "Kawako" and "20% Cooler" respectively.

12/18/12

Gamer's Review - Season Match: Curse of the Witch Crow

Lets take a break from the horror genre and take a look this fairytale/ mythical digital download from Urse Games called Season Match: Curse of the Witch Crow. Season Match: Curse of the Witch Crow is the third in the Season Match gaming series and gameplay wise its match 3 format with some scenes of find this number of objects sequences during story mode. Mechanics wise game play is very smooth, fast paced and easy to learn but takes some actual advance tinkering with harder levels.

Graphics are very colourful and painterly except for game play elements), we're playing the 4 seasons after all. The premise is, (This game is based on the popular Eastern Europe fairytale "The 12 months") you are a traveler who has help free all of the months from a witch's curse or esle the new year won't come. Like most of the fantasy games I have reviewed so far....artistic direction is rich, imaginative and gorgeousness  however the unique hallmark is the blending of multicultural elements. Each month is uniquely rendered as a prince or princess with their own costuming theme and castle which is blending imagination, and various different cultural traits in what I consider is an interesting visual style. For example, April is a Japanese style flower princess, dressed in a pink kimono living in a massive floating Edo style palace; December is a Siberian style prince living in a fantasy version of St Basil's cathedral with the northern lights int he sky and September is a Western European autumn style lady living in a floating wine estate. Obviously the artists were having fun with "blending the ingridients" to personify each month and in turn each season, fairytale wise.

I don't have bad to say about this game other then same hardcore gamers might find the gameplay repetitive and some months maybe interpreted by some as clinche. For me this was a enjoyable game espeically on the fantastical fantasy like art front.

Here's the trailer from Big Fish's Youtube channel




Gamer's Review- Puppet Show: Souls of the Innocent

To start off this review....lets add some pictures. This would be my German made Engel Puppin doll from my 19th birthday to the German Pavilion at Epcot in Disney World. Her name is Erika.

Dolls like this are an important element in our review of the 2nd in the Puppet Show series, Souls of the Innocent....my doll is not mechanical or evil...I checked. You are still the same detective from the Joyville case who has been called another small town by a mother whose daughter fallen in a deep sleep which as the introduction sequence heavily suggest, has to do with the recent surge in the sales of beautiful crafted dolls.

Gameplay wise is the same hybrid of HOGs, point click adventure exploring the town and puzzles to unlock well locks.

The dark fantasy elements are still retained....can you say swarms of mechanical doll head spiders running through the streets? In contrast to exploring condemned Joyville, artistic wise this new town is very much vibrant and full of people with even the sun shining bright however the horror elements are still retain as most of the people you encounter are in a deep sleep creating an unsettling feel and the return of the series's trademark as mentioned......Felicia's steampunk/clockpunk mechanical puppets. The inventory menu is still a mechanical clock-punk fan and new steam-punk and clock punk mechanical devices and "beings" are  The expansive painted feel and ornate European design style are still retained too (and expanded on); for example the girl's bedroom greatly heralds motifs from the Palace of Versailles in France and the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. However the new addition to the artistic palette is the use of CGI elements/animation which gets put in beautiful use (or freaking use depending on your POV) with the game's mechanical puppet based opening and menu.

In conclusion this a exciting addition to the fantasy series and an improved mechanics wise from Mystery of Joyville, and continues from where Joyville left off with Felicia. In addition clock-punk games are a very rare sight. The music gets a little repetitive, and the fact the sight of a mechanical doll headed spider sort of takes away the surprise Felicia is at work again non the less game is still very beautiful selection in the HOGs/ casual game genre like my real doll or very terrifying if you have a fear of traditional dolls suddenly coming to life.

Here's the Trailer if you are not convinced...

12/17/12

Gamer's Review - Puppet Show: Mystery of Joyville

For our second review of the day we have Puppet Show: Mystery of Joyville on the chopping block....how i wish I had pictures for these reviews.

Mystery of Joyville is the first in the dark fantasy Puppet Show digital download gaming series from ERS studio and for those who want a slightly creepy yet imaginative casual gaming experience....this is the series for you.

The basic gameplay is a hybrid of point click elements, puzzle solving and HOGs (Hidden Object). The basic premise is typical of casual games like this which is you are a detective at the turn of the century (1890's to 1900's) that has been called to the town of Joyville to solve the plight of children that have gone missing. However what sets this game(and the series trademark) apart from the others is the former attraction in Joyville plays a very important part in the investigation; the local grand puppet show....a puppet show of steam punk like mechanical, self operating puppets...it is highly suggested through out they have minds of their own....so anyone who has a fear of dolls coming to life run!

The artistic direction and details in this game is gorgeous and I would say very steampunk/ fairytale in style. The art direction is prominently painterly with touches of hand drawn lines. The puppets themselves despite being basically robots resembles clockwork wind up toys from the turn of the century with a touch(or heavily doses depending on the puppet) of ornate china figures and dolls from the turn of the century. The town of Joyville heralds charmy european towns in Western Europe at the turn of the century however Joyville seem to have seen better days as the places you explore, which include the burnt out puppet theatre, exhibits fair amounts of gloom and decay despite the fact Joyville is inhabited by people. The darker elements like the lab heralds thoughts of frankienstein.

The music maybe repetitive to some, HOGs don't change and having to talk to static images of characters with the speech/text looking abit ameteurish below but this is only the first in the series and the gameplay feel/mechanics improves further on into the series.

Here's Bigfish's trailer for your veiwing pleasure


Next time....it number 2....Soul of the Innocents

Gamer's Review- Mystery Case Files Dire Grove

The perfect horror for winter days....especially at night.

Dire Grove is the second in the Mystery Case File series from Big Fish to experiment with live action sequences and like the hallmark theme of the series....you're the Master Detective investigating a case ripe with ghosts. In this serial you're still the detective just driving back from the Raven Hurst Manor (the detective is only seen as a silhouette behind the wheel of a car) case but you get caught in a snow storm and have to stop in the hamlet of Dire Grove and find another broken down car.

In terms of atmosphere  I would say the its the Blair Witch Project set in snow because the story is a group of students investigating an alleged Celtic legend of a banshee and at the same time they carry along a film camera to record the journey. In traditional horror style....the ghost is real and drives all the students mad and now you the detective have to gather all the video tapes and find all the students. Right at the beginning you are being followed by the banshee which makes her ever "silent" presence however she just taunts and scares you every so often instead of directly attacking you like she did to the students as if she is playing a game of hide and go seek with you....which only makes sense until the final battle.

Gameplay is the same as with all Mystery Case files gameplay, we got HOG (Hidden Objects) scenes mixed with head scratching puzzles and point click adventure elements. Flow all felt very smooth and puzzles mechanics did cause any migraines.

Artistic and Musical wise, Dire Grove seem like a picturesque, sleepy snow covered hamlet however the fact you are the only living and thinking person in town makes the snowy landscape all very unsettling, especially when you explore once human inhabited places dusted with snow and ice and when the banshee takes a moment to scare you. Because of the nature of the ghost following you, Celtic elements are also present in score and art which gets stronger as you get closer to unlocking the mystery of the banshee. I can say the final battle score is epic and gets the "its time to end this!!!" rush going.

This was the first digital download game I have ever gotten in my life and I would like to say along with Madame Fate this is my favorite in the mystery case files series for its snowy yet unsettling setting, puzzles and for its ancient yet frightening beautiful, celtic "enemy".

Just how creepy is this game?


12/12/12

Gamer's Review - Doodle Devil

I can I do two reviews in one night.....because the first game has twin.

From Russian company Joybits Ltd., Doodle Devil is the "evil" twin to Doodle God. While in Doodle God you are making the world and its good things from the four classic Greek elements, however in an interesting twist you are try creating sin, monsters and all the bad things in the world.....zombies anyone? The opening combination fittingly. Combining  "Human" + "Apple" produces "Sin" and "Knowledge". Oh yes the perfect starter to the philological-supernatural hunt...Doodle God 2 expands on the philosophical aspect of the story.

In terms of game play, its carried over from Doodle God (mixing elements, proverb tidbits and hint system included) however since you trying to create the bad things (actually the more other worldly realm of the supernatural) of the world new elemental groups get added; the obvious example being "Demonic/Hell".

Graphic wise the hand drawn iconic look for each element is still retain (its called DOODLE Devil) but the background is rather hellish shade of purple and red.

In conclusion, for me who played the online version of Doodle God and was craving for more this was fun satisfying  and the twist made things have a fresh feel to the usual....I was still craving more at the end and was eagerly waiting for Doodle God 2....

Gamer's Review - Doodle God series

Another mobile/ online game up on the chopping block, the Doodle God series.

Doodle God is very simple, create the world be combining simple, basic elements (fire, water, earth, and air) to create new ones (for example fire + water makes alcohol aka "fire water") and in turn combining those elements to make newer ones until you unlocked all the available elements. There is a general hint system availible that hints to you which group elements will combine with elements from another group however you have to be the one who figures out which specific element combo is the correct one. It is a lot of experimentation and trying out such clues like "firewater" and seeing it water plus lava can make rocks. Fitting in with the philosophical nature of the game, each successful combination is awarded with a proverb or quote relating to what you just made.

For me as a free online game I loved trying to figure what elements will make a new element and the accompanying proverb however it was a lot of experimentation(even with the hint system in place)  and its mind boggling what the actual combinations are (how to make a dinosaur?). However on the design front I love the basic interface (a simple parchment texture as if the player is writing the world in creation) of the game and found the graphics of the elements to be very fittingly iconic yet hand drawn (its called DOODLE god) at the same time.

I haven't played (let alone own) the mobile version but with the online version of the game I was lusting for more and for commuting on transit...this would be a fun game to have on hand. Proverbs on the go I would say.

12/9/12

The Geek Way to keep clean

This is how crazied mecha musume and anime fans relieve stress and keep clean and just graduated from University. They call it the "Ickle Baby Bot" from Lush. It smells very nice...floral notes, super geeky cute and a nice shade of blue... See how this turns out tonight.


12/8/12

Gamer's Review - Wonderputt

In the continue saga of how to put your Bachelor's Degree in Art History to FUN use...here's another gamer's review. Two reviews in one day!!!!

This time we got a game that is both online and mobile for the chopping block. Wonderputt is very imaginative and what can I say when a course is suddenly tiny cows get abducted by tiny aliens in tiny ufos. My first impressions when I saw this game was well....I thought going to something like another online game Grow Cube because of the similar art design and its a blocky cartoon island in the sky  (however Wonderputt is less cartoony/flash animation in artistic design)....boy was I wrong.

When I started playing all the first I thought ok just land the ball in the hole...next hole cows grazing and being abducted? Then suddenly a submarine gets frozen and we're a hole inside the sub alias a cross section map? I say I eagerly awaiting where the next hole would be next and what obstacle/surprises would greet me with each successful shot. Although despite the fun factor some shots were tricky because it took me a figure out how to even get the ball to the hole on the first try...the gazebo hole would be one example. However isn't that the fun of playing such a game on the first try?

The art design was super cute, colour and just adds to the appeal..."oooo I wonder what's going to happen next?"

As a final thought I thoroughly enjoyed this game on all aspects and I cannot say any on the mobile front since I do not have one but on online for free front....it was a very pleasant surprise.

Gamer's Reveiw - Drawn: Trail of Shadows

In our next installment of the Drawn Series Reviews....

Trail of Shadows is the third in the fantastic point-click adventure series from Big Fish but however this time we're dealing with a prequel; as told through Franklin telling Iris (just before the events of the Painted Tower) a bed time story. So in turn we are dealing with a new story but with some very familiar concepts and some very familiar fa...oh can't give it away.

Storywise and gameplay wise, Trail of Shadows provides a new story and another child artist, with a special gift of bringing paintings to life, you have to rescue from dark forces (who could be/ suggesting is the raven wizard employed to the previous two game's evil king) however because it is a prequel it explains how the world/ concepts of the previous two titles are even possible. The flow of gameplay felt very smooth with the new fake-3D POV taking some getting used to. In addition, in sharp contrast with  the other two in the series, you don't get to enter multiple painted worlds. Instead right at the beginning you have to escape a burning city by entering a single painting and this world is where the game exclusively takes place. Since you are in this painted world exclusively, doing things like painting a canvas will affect an object nearby or using a drawn objects on paper opens the way....sound familiar. In addition instead of trying to aid someone to deliver the final blow, you have to be the one that makes the final blow.

The player also has a pop- up storybook (like the pop-up books in Drawn 2) as a guide and interestingly "the story" in the book is actually the story played out now because pages only get added/revealed as you ventured deeper into the world. You must solve puzzles in book to reveal objects you need in the painted world or in a surreal twist you have to read the text of your own "story" to know how to progress.

Artistic wise, because you are exclusively wandering around a massive, multi-layered painted world (perhaps suggesting the artist you are trying to rescue is slightly more experienced then Iris in this field) all the scenes are still "hand painted" with rich colour and imagination, and to further invite the player into the world, the player is looking out from a pseudo-3D point of view. CGI effects is also used extensively in the final battle. The lands of this world include the boy's cottage (recalling the peace of the farmlands in the scarecrow's painting in Painted Tower), a garden of talking topiary animals, and inside the giant itself where the inspiration/feel is a combination of South-East Asian temples and the Greek underworld. One of the figures you meet here is Charon the Ferryman. If you have the collector's edition of the game...you get the calligrapher's (who you have met before in Drawn 2) cave as a bonus scene.

In conclusion, Trail of Shadows is a very good addition to the series despite its status as a prequel however because it is a prequel some story elements of the previous two gets explained more especially with the role of one particular character.

Here's the trailer...

12/5/12

The Reviews- Cirque Du Soleil's Amaluna



Well like I said in my last Cirque entry it was a magical night of costumes, music and acrobats at Cirque Du Soleil's Amaluna.

 I have nothing negative to say about the show other then I wish people would not chatter and make snide remarks during some acts when it seem to look too easy. Felt sorry for the one mishap during one act...again I don't know if it was on purpose or not. It just adds to the fact you're watching a live show. Plus as with any Cirque Show.... souvenirs can be expansive, especially if its a hand craft piece. Then again that explains the price. As with any Cirque Show I highly advise investing in getting the program guide to preserve those memories.


Guess what I was wearing at the performance:) No one noticed I was in partial Cosplay and hence Miku Suits are fashionable and blend in well....atleast in Vancouver. I wasn't the only one in something fashionable to wear to the Circus. One group (A Noveau-Rocco pink lady, yellow/black lady and a french men?) came in nice looking outfits too. Going to the circus and looking good at the same time nice outfits seriously nice outfits, if they're reading this.
Even my nails were all indexed out for the show. We got two coats of China Glaze's It's a Trapeze (from the Cirque Collection) and one coat 20% Cooler (Rainbow Honey) on the index finger. The rest of the fingers are one coat Hanging in the Balance (also from China Glaze's Cirque Collection) and two coats of It's a Trapeze. I say It's a Trapeze is very nice looking wether it going to see Cirque or not.

Inside the actual big top itself the no camera rule was strictly enforced (as I found out when I attempt to take a pic of the stage just before the show.). However the show was awesome, a familiar cirque setting, a colour tropical setting however I am impressed the acts were unique and reinvented. There is something for everyone new or familiar with Cirque's style. We got the typical circus arts like the unicycles, Viktor Kee's juggling and flying gymnastics skills only add some rockeques music and add 20% more coolness and high flying energy (maybe even flames and water) and you get something exciting and new. The line up also included exotic acts of the strange but wonderful. One of these acts included the Balance act. It is hard to describe in words because it must seen to believe but essentially a lone female (Swiss performer Lara Jacobs Rigolo) slowly picks up sticks with her toes balancing at first one stick on one in her hands and so on until she has a "frond" of sticks carefully balanced against each other and the performer herself has to align herself so as not to topple all of them. She in addition balances the entire frond on her head and carefully gets the last stick to stand up so as to balance the frond on that stick.....perfect balance. Until as the final she pulls out the smallest stick and the entire structure collapses elegantly ..even the smallest piece of the puzzle is require for perfect balance, or esle it all falls down.

As for music it still Cirque style but the inclusion of rock of elements makes the soundtrack very interesting and fits in the high energy feel/ fierceness of the acts and it is interesting to note the entire band is all female and most of the performing cast is also female.

As for costumes...wow. Fitting in with the island of female mythology the costume recall tribal notes, island life and mythology (one example being the Valkyries). My costume highlights included the Peacocks....symbols of Hera and fitting in well with the theme of female strength. These regal looking outfits had mechanisms in the back that would unfold into the peacock's tail. The golden outfits of the unicyclists had dresses of golden cages which could be taken off when performing extreme stunts and despite their heavily wrought look, the dresses could be taken apart and carried around by the cyclists. Cali the lizard hybrid's tail was interesting...I suspect there was a non motorized mechanism inside the tail which would whip and wiggling with realistic movement. The performer, Viktor Kee had to literately pretend its his own tail and treat it as so....really get into character ja.

Well it was magical night and I highly advise people to see the show. This is "Zehnny" signing off.