Let’s Talk About Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim

Finally back with another Let’s Talk About video, this time on Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim. I like this game, but the devs had an overly ambitious plan for the budget they crowdfunded, and that makes this a great example of why we need both AAA and indie games. Transcript is below the break.

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Candy Crush Saga Review

Last weekend, I got to play some Candy Crush Saga on my friend’s phone. It was interesting enough, and different enough from Bejeweled, that I decided to download it and give it a more thorough try.

Screenshot

Photo credit: Albert Hsieh. Click the photo to see the original on Flickr.

Here’s the short version: the game isn’t necessarily bad. However, since it’s free-to-play, the designers have made some choices that I don’t agree with. They’ve created a game which requires strategy to beat, but luck can mess up all of your strategy. Their monetization strategies are also finely tuned to really eke money out of the players, for better or for worse. Continue reading

TorqueL, the Rolling Box 2D Platformer

I originally posted this on April 18, 2013 on my blog on Gamasutra. Cross-posting here because this game looks great. It’s on Steam Greenlight Concepts with a demo available, and I urge you to check it out.

Overcrowding at BitSummit meant that in the short time we had for looking at game demos, there was no time to see them all. I did see quite a few, and while most of the games I saw interested me in one way or another, a simple platformer named TorqueL took first prize for being fun to play.

TorqueL’s concept is simple. The developer bills it as the 2D rolling box platformer, and that description basically sums up the game. The only thing that sets this game apart from other 2D platformers — and the only thing it needs — is that player movement has been completely rethought.

TorqueL screenshot

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Beauty and the Beast (TV, 2012)

Two nights ago, right before bed, I got caught up on watching Once Upon a Time and found myself surprised by one of the, “if you like this show, maybe you’ll like one of these” recommendations.

BatB 2012 - Title

Beauty and the Beast? The font didn’t make it look like the 1980s show, but… a quick Wikipedia disambiguation search confirmed my suspicion that someone had rebooted the classic TV series. (It wasn’t until later that I realized I probably could have just clicked through the recommendation to find this out, but hey. I’m a nerd. Google FTW.)

I went to sleep, but not before posting this.

BatB Tweet

When I got up in the morning, one of the first things I did was start watching the show. That ended up being just about all I did with my day. Because for all the ways this reboot differs from the original, it still retains the core premise and feel of the original love story. Continue reading

Tangled, Part 3

This is the third and final entry in my series of rants about the animated movie, Tangled. I liked the movie, but was disappointed that it wasn’t better when it could have rivaled anything out of Pixar’s studio. Check out parts one and two, and keep in mind that there are spoilers ahead.

The Horse

Maximus, from Tangled

Maximus. Stalwart steed. When his human master fails to catch the thief, he carries on, doing a much better job than the incompetent guards can manage.

Until he decides to act like a dog. Continue reading

SimCity Social Review

With a new SimCity game on the horizon for the first time in too many years, I decided to break my usual habit of boycotting Facebook games for being wastes of good gaming time and try SimCity Social.

I was hoping it might scratch my SimCity itch, but it’s pretty much a standard free-to-play model Facebook game. It has pretty graphics and works very smoothly, but it still relies on spamming your friends to get anywhere at a decent pace. It still requires almost no thought or strategy to play.

The only way it captures any real sim flavor is in the humor. It’s been forever since I played a SimCity game — forever meaning the heyday of SimCity 3000 — so I don’t know if SimCity 4 included the kind of humor that has become one of the hallmarks of The Sims. But that humor is present in SimCity Social. One of the interactions you can have with your police stations is “Taze Someone”, and if you do the status bar for the action is labelled “GZZZZTTT!!!”. That’s a large part of why (coupled with a lack of time to play games I value more highly) I’m still playing it.

To end on a mostly-unrelated note: since last I posted anything I was finally convinced to try League of Legends. I’m rather taken with it. Last week I figured out how to farm decently with Ryze. Hooray!

Tangled, Part 2

Sorry for the delay between the first post about Tangled and this one. Spoilerfest!

The Sun’s Gift

As I mentioned in part one, I have a healthy amount of respect for the backstory of the movie. The changes they made from the original tale left them a lot of room to maneuver while keeping the core story elements intact, if not strengthening them. However, it raises moral conundrums which are never addressed in the movie. Continue reading

FrontierVille

Zynga, the controversial developer of a cluster of successful Facebook game applications including FarmVille and Mafia Wars, recently rolled out their newest moneymaker: FrontierVille. They’re billing it as “Oregon Trail meets Little House on the Prairie meets FarmVille,” and while I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration, FrontierVille is definitely a step up from Zynga’s other offerings.

You start out with a covered wagon, three chickens, a sheep, and some coins. A few introductory quests introduce you to the game mechanics and give you a bit of direction. They’re worth completing for the rewards, and completing a quest can unlock another. As you go through the quests, you’re encouraged to take certain steps to gradually turn your plot into a town. The population eventually grows to three, since your spouse follows you out and a child comes along shortly after that. Continue reading