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Sep 29, 2011

Five Captains. Three Eras. One Legacy.

Star Trek: Legacy
Game Category: Strategy Simulation hybrid - Real Time, Simulation
Developer / Distributor: Mad Doc Software / Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: 5 Dec 2006
Rating: ESRB Everyone (10+)

It doesn't matter whether you are a Trekkie or not, but Star Trek: Legacy from Mad Doc and Bethesda is one incredible joy ride through five generations of Star Trek.

Yes, you read that right - five generations. Imagine a real time strategy game where the different captains from the many Star Trek franchises get together in a story arc penned by D.C. Fontana and Derek Chester - both regular contributors to the universe of Trekdom. This my friends, is it!

Not a Star Trek aficionado? Never fear... first thing, here's a list of the five famous Star Trek Captains: we have James Tiberius Kirk from The Original Series, Jean Luc-Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Benjamin Sisko from Deep Space Nine, Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek Voyager, and finally Jonathan Archer from Star Trek: Enterprise. Alright, that should be enough to get you started.

Now, let's hit the ground running and discover more about Star Trek: Legacy (ST:L), shall we?

A fine start indeed

Sep 27, 2011

Hot Date Capsule Review

The Sims - Hot Date
Game Category: Simulation
Developer / Distributor: Maxis / Electronic Arts
Release Date: 12 Nov 2001
Rating: ESRB - Teen

Note: This is a continuing series of reviews of the expansion packs from The Sims franchise. Please read about The Sims, The Sims - Livin' Large and The Sims - House Party here.

This is the third expansion from Maxis for their mega-selling hit. Following hot on the heels of the first two expansions, I remembered thinking that the developers would more or less be using the same formulaic approach and following the precedence that had already been set.

If you are familiar with Livin' Large and House Party, you would know that Maxis gave us a bunch of new neighbourhoods, released a refreshing bunch of new objects for your Sims to play with, and threw in a couple of non-player characters. This time however, the approach that Maxis took for Hot Date surpassed all my expectations.

Let's check it out...

Design and build your very own store

Uncover the 10 Talismans

10 Talismans
Game Category: Casual - Match Three
Developer / Distributor: Rover / Nevosoft
Release Date: 7 Sep 2006
Rating: ESRB - Everyone

Has the travel bug been nagging at you recently? Are you longing to head down to Asia for that relaxing holiday where you get to see magnificent temples set before idyllic scenery? Love to play match three games on your portable laptop (or iPad) while lounging on your lazy chair?

In this current time of uncertainty as we face a global financial crisis looming before us, I think it's wise for us to be prudent in our spending. So, what can we do if we still want that holiday that brings us on a holiday into the heart of the mysterious Orient?

Here's a suggestion - you can do all of the above in the comfort of your home with 10 Talismans. This game, developed by Nevosoft, is an entertaining casual match three game that comes with lush animated backgrounds for you to relax with. The game was released for both the PC and iPad. It features charming music and visually stimulating match three graphics and game play. The game starts off easy, but as you progress further on, you will see the difficulty ramping up as new elements of play are introduced to make life so much more interesting.

Look Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore!

Sep 25, 2011

The Battle for Liberty Island

Freedom Fighters
Game Category: Action - Shooter, Third Person, Tactical
Developer / Distributor: IO Interactive / Electronic Arts
Release Date: 1 Oct 2003
Rating: ESRB - Teen

Let's head back in time and look at this excellent third person shooter game from the Danish developers IO Interactive. If you have never played Freedom Fighters before, then you are strongly advised to get your hands on it to try it out. It's truly a great game!

Freedom Fighters, originally known as The Battle for Liberty Island, is an impressive action shooter game that casts you as Christopher Stone, an ordinary guy who must fight for his survival under the worst of circumstances - the USA invaded by Mother Russia. As fate would have it, a turn of events thrusts Chris into the heat of battle against Russian invaders. His success proves himself as a capable leader in the eyes of the common people. As you complete more levels of the game, Chris will be able to show his improved leadership capabilities by directing a squad ranging in size from two to twelve men. In fact, I don't remember any other game that lets you control so many men to attack targets of opportunity picked by you.

Well, with a bit of luck and lots of shooting skill, will you be the one to shoo the invading Ruskies off American soil once and for all?

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Sep 22, 2011

Discover the Underground Oasis at Saqqarah

Ancient Quest of Saqqarah
Game Category: Casual - Puzzle, Match Three
Developer / Distributor: CodeMinion / Game Club Cafe
Release Date: 22 Jul 2008
Rating: ESRB - Everyone

Ancient Quest of Saqqarah
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Every one thousand years, an eclipse will cast the ancient pyramid of Saqqarah in darkness. That is when you have to don on your thinking cap and confront the challenging match three style puzzles of The Ancient Quest of Saqqarah (AQS). Venture deep beneath the pyramid to find a forgotten prison that is in danger of releasing an evil being from its confines.

AQS is an excellent Egyptian themed casual game that deserves your attention. You play each level of the game on a board comprising of a web-like grid of nodes. Tokens of various colours will be found at every node and depending on the game rules, you must light up the whole board by either matching or arranging tokens.

The game features 7 hidden temples buried below Saqqarah. Each temple houses a god and features a different style of play. Inside a temple are 72 levels (divided into three difficulty levels). If you do your maths, it all works out to a staggering 504 levels of play. To top it off, the developer CodeMinion, have also released another three expansion packs that provide the same number of levels as the original. This means you can continue playing the game for a total of 2016 levels.

But, is the game any fun? I'll give you my short answer - "Yes, it's lots of fun! Go get it now!"

An eclipse signals the beginning the of your quest

Sep 21, 2011

Be a Purple Nosed Tycoon

Wine Tycoon
Game Category: Simulation
Developer / Distributor: Virtual Playground / Got Game Entertainment
Release Date: 14 Aug 2009
Rating: ESRB - Everyone

Oh no, another Tycoon game!

Yes folks, there are so many tycoon games out there that it was inevitable that I review another one again. My last review of a tycoon game was Shrine Circus Tycoon - that was a budget title that did not receive much attention. And since I tend to like giving the underdog a chance, here I am once again with another similar type of game.

Wine Tycoon was released two years ago by Virtual Playground and Got Game Entertainment. It features a highly interesting and unique subject that is seldom heard of in the gaming circles - wine making. Now, don't go thinking that you got to be a wine connoisseur to enjoy this game; the references to alcoholism may be obvious, but the game tends to be more of a business simulation than anything else. With 10 famous wine regions provided in the game, you should find enough to keep you occupied for a while here.

I ain't a vintner nor do I have a purple nose for wine, but Wine Tycoon has certainly taught me some interesting things about the subject. Now just sit back, sip your wine, and enjoy the review.

Here, have a glass of French cabernet sauvignon wine

Sep 19, 2011

Unleash your inner typist

Zombie Typomaniac
Game Category: Casual - Action, Social
Developer / Distributor: GameYawp
Release Date: 7 Sep 2011
ESRB: Not Rated

Today, I'm reviewing a PC game that has just recently been released on Facebook by GameYawp. It's a social game where you can invite your friends to play and share your best results with your friends. It's subject matter is about fighting for your survival from a pack of zombies who only wants to eat you for dinner.

Anyway, what is this constant preoccupation about Zombies and an Apocalypse? I mean, we have seen countless movies based around zombies, games that do nothing but throw shambling rotting bodies at you, and story books that talk about nothing but a bunch of heroes trying to survive a ravening horde of hungry zombies.

Whatever the reason, I welcome Zombie Apocalypse with happiness. That's because Zombie Typomaniac is a super fun game that deserves your attention. It has you typing out words to kill off approaching zombies. Don't worry if you can't type fast; the game is smart enough to adjust itself to suit your typing speed. So if you like typing games or are looking to improve your typing skills in an entertaining way, then this game is for you.

Plus, you get bragging rights if you nab the top score amongst your friends.

Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words will never hurt me...

Sep 18, 2011

Shard zero awaits in WorldShift

Game Category: Strategy - Real Time, Role Playing Game
Developer / Distributor: Black Sea Studios / Black Inc
Release Date: 16 Nov 2009
Rating: ESRB - Teen

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WorldShift, from Bulgarian developer - Black Sea Studios, is a real time strategy game that breaks from the traditional mould. You may know this studio from their release of Knights of Honor - a decidedly good historic RTS that I will review sometime soon.

WorldShift features a hefty dosage of strategy, a long single player campaign, and very good multiplayer fun. It feels like you are playing a role playing game since you have to collect items and xenoshards to power up your heroes and troops. Surprisingly, the game also throws in a few levels of tactical fun. To cap it off, the multiplayer aspect of WorldShift will make you feel like you are duking it out cooperatively in an MMORPG to vanquish the big bad evil boss. This was really unexpected!

If you do commit yourself to WorldShift, you may find yourself surprised by what the game gives back to you in return - many hours of hectic fun. You are going to need heaps of cunning and patience though to go far in WorldShift.

Time to login and play Worldshift

Sep 16, 2011

Gremlins, Banshees, and Spectres... oh my!

Ghost Master
Game Category: Strategy - Real Time, Simulation
Developer / Distributor: Sick Puppies, Empire Interactive
Release Date: 26 Aug 2003
Rating: ESRB - Teen

Ghost Master
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Everything ghastly and ghoulish makes an appearance in Sick Puppies' highly innovative game called Ghost Master. For once you will be on the side of the bad guys in this real time strategy game as you haunt and scare all the silly human beings into terrified blithering fools overcome by madness and fear.

You will need to tether your ghostly troupe to earthly fetters found throughout the haunting. Each haunter will then be able to begin haunting near their fetter. All your ghosts have to do is shout "Boo!" and use the super powers (assigned by you) to the best of their abilities.Watch in glee as the terror and madness build to an unsettling crescendo and your human victims start running to escape from the paranormal activity. Yes, for once, it's truly great controlling the things that go bump in the night!

Don't turn away from this game thinking that the subject matter may be too scary for you (or your kids). The scariness is loaded with campy humor and you will get to see for yourself parodies of horror greats such as The Amityville Horror, Poltergeist, The Blair Witch Project, and even the Phantom of the Opera.

Light hearted fun within

Sep 14, 2011

Full of seek-and-find and slice-and-dice fun

Game Category: Casual - Hidden Object, Time Management
Developer / Distributor: Butterfly iSoft / Alawar Entertainment
Release Date: 12 Dec 2008
Rating: ESRB - Everyone

Gourmania (PC)
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No, as far as I know, the picture of the chef (at left) is nobody famous like Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver. Anyway, you may want to go ahead and click on the picture and take a look at the product blurb before you return here to read the review. I'll wait for you...

Back already? Good.

Gourmania, obviously a portmanteau of gourmet and mania, is an interesting casual hidden object game that boasts a heavy dose of time management and a dash of action. The game features a hearty helping of food and drinks that you must find inside several businesses. You will literally be full by the end of this fun-filled gourmet fest.

Developed by Butterfly iSoft and distributed by Alawar Entertainment, you can trust me that these guys know what makes a good game. Gourmania is a good start to a great franchise idea.

Yummy in my tummy!

Sep 13, 2011

Save the world with Science!

Game Category: Adventure - Educational 
Developer / Distributor: Ruske & Puhretmaier Edutainment / Tivola Electronic Publishing
Release Date: 18 Nov 2003
Rating: ESRB - Everyone

Physicus: Save the world with Science! was one of the earlier adventure games I got after my sojourn in Myst. Here was a game that billed itself as edutainment - an educational entertainment software. In their first release, Tivola brings us Physicus - a mix of physics and adventure that is sure to puzzle you as well as reinforce your knowledge of physics.

In all, the developer and publisher released at least six other edutainment games in the franchise. There's Physicus, Bioscopia, Chemicus, Masters of the Elements, Physicus 2 - The Return   (known as Physicus 2 - Die Rückkehr in Germany), and Webmaster - Master of the Elements 2. Fortunately, Viva Media has the rights to publish most of Tivola's edutainment games in the States.

If you have played Myst before, then you should know what to expect with Physicus...

Save the world, again...

Sep 10, 2011

House Party Capsule Review

The Sims: House Party
Game Category: Simulation
Developer / Distributor: Maxis / Electronic Arts
Release Date: 27 August 2000 
Rating: ESRB - Teen, PEGI 7+

Note: This is a continuing series of reviews of the expansion packs from The Sims franchise. Please read about The Sims, and The Sims - Livin' Large here.

As Katy Perry's Last Friday Nightblares on the radio, I can't help but laugh at the scene I am seeing unwrap before my very eyes, and how some of it mirrors the song's lyrics.

Here's a dream scenario I created specially for my review of The Sims House Party: There's eight of them in the family, two adults and six children, and they are having the time of their life living in a huge two storey mansion. I got my Brad Pitt look-a-like husband to call a caterer for the family. The caterer arrives and prepares a fantastic buffet spread for all; the caterer sheepishly joins in the fun by swimming in the pool.

I next got my Angelina Jolie look-a-like to roast marshmallows and tell stories by the camp fire. Later, she hires a female entertainer who turns up hidden inside a huge birthday cake. The entertainer jumps out of the cake to surprise the husband. Later, I get a surprise as husband and entertainer make out on the dance floor. Finally, a second party is thrown as the husband calls for a male entertainer for the wife. Mr. Chippendale appears and causes an uproarious scene.

Oui, even the chef wants to join in the fun

Sep 9, 2011

All aboard! Take a ride on the Trainz Railroad Simulator

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004
Game Category: Simulation
Developer / Distributor: Auran / Oteeva
Release Date: 2 Nov 2003 
Rating: ESRB - Everyone

I must profess, I am the kind of guy who would love to have model trains running on tiny tracks laid all over my house. There would be several stations in my track setup, one in the hall, another in the kitchen, one in my master bedroom and one for my baby girl's room. I would even throw in a couple of model houses from the Fallerand Polarange of model building kits.

You know what, if I did what I wrote in the last paragraph, my wife would never forgive me! So what is a train hobbyist to do? Why - get himself a copy of Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004, of course.

In case you are wondering, I am the proud owner of Trainz - The Complete Collectionwhich comprises the Ultimate Trainz Collection, Trainz Railroad Simulator (TRS) 2004, TRS2006, and four volumes of train routes. I also recently purchased Trainz Simulator 2010and will be purchasing the latest version (Trainz Simulator 2012) as soon as I get a positive cash flow going in my life again.

I will eventually review all in my collection, but I thought I'd start it off with this older game - Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004. This is a very good simulation software brimming with lots of goodies within. Read on to find out more...

Choo choo... I know I can

Sep 6, 2011

Is molesweeping the latest trend?

Mole Control
Game Category: Casual - Puzzle
Developer / Distributor: Remode / Mumbo Jumbo
Release Date: 20 Jan 2010
Rating: ESRB - Everyone

Mole ControlIntroduction
"Go away... I'm busy molesweeping."
"Shhh! I need to concentrate or the mole is going to damage my buggy."
"Drats! I drove my buggy into a mole and it exploded."
"According to my calculations, there should be a mole right at this square!"
"Oh no! I tried to suck a mole out from here but there was none... look at the mess it did to my buggy."
"Now, how shall I use that mole-tiplier?"

So, what does that remind you of?

In case you couldn't guess what Mole Control does, here's a summary of my review in just ten words - "Mole Control is a great modern day variation of Minesweeper!

Go ahead, read on... don't think that this new release from Remode is not fun in any way. If you have played Minesweeper before (who hasn't?), you should know that it can get quite addictive. Well, you should be glad to know that Mole Control is equally fun and addictive; and an absolutely great game for all in the family.

Help Molar Creek with their mole problem

Sep 2, 2011

Bombshells and wieners... Hot Dogs, Hot Gals

Fast Food Empire: Hot Dogs, Hot Gals
Game Category: Simulation
Developer / Distributor: Fuzzyeyes Studios / THQ
Release Date: 9 Apr 2007 
Rating: ESRB - Teen, PEGI 12+

Hot Dog KingIntroduction
What were they thinking when they came up with the idea for this game at Fuzzyeyes Studios? Were they lucid when they brainstormed this game? Just think, it must have been really interesting coming up with the Game Design Document for Fast Food Empire.

Here, I'll paint the scenario for you to dream on with just your imagination: Fast Food Empire, also known as Hot Dog King - an exciting hybrid simulation game that involves running a hot dog business and hiring beautiful ladies to front your cash registers. You'll get to feast your eyes on hot ladies in suggestively delightful, tight, and skimpy outfits picked out by you.

Yes, we are all wieners here!

By the end of the review, you will either be laughing so hard, or trying so hard to convince yourself that this game is all done rather tastefully to plug the obvious gap in the software gaming market known as the Sex-and-the-City styled business simulation. Shocking as it is, this game does have some interesting game play for a simulation, that is if you can uncover enough without getting too distracted by all that titillating moves and sexual innuendos.

Say lady, give me a kiss to build a dream on...

Sep 1, 2011

There's fun in safecracking

Game Category: Adventure - Puzzle
Developer / Distributor: Kheops Studio / The Adventure Company
Release Date: 2 Aug 2006 
Rating: ESRB - Everyone

Safecracker – The Ultimate Puzzle AdventureIntroduction
The interesting cover of this game really caught my attention when I first saw it at my local game retail store. You see a safe dial on the cover with the words "Safecracker" right above it.

Closer scrutiny reveals that it's another one of those adventure games from The Adventure Company. With so many games released by them so far, I almost would have walked away from it. However, the title piqued my interest; I have always been one who is drawn to a niche subject. Moreover, I have had the chance to open safes of this nature in my past career and always wondered how they could be opened if the code was ever forgotten by careless users.

Well, I did a bit of research and found that professional lock and safe-crackers have to rely on the use of torsion wrenches, picks, autodialers, drills, x-ray devices, torches, plasma cutters, explosives, or in the case of bank vaults - excavation!

Safecracker is a fun and interesting adventure puzzle game from Kheops Studio that spares you the agony of hoisting around a ton of TNT to blow up the safes you find within. This game is reliant on logic and your powers of observation more than anything else. Take a look inside, you may be surprised by what you find.

It's safe to say that this game is fun for puzzle enthusiasts