Sunday, June 24, 2012

Casual Corner

Welcome back to the Casual Corner (I bet you thought I had forgotten it) with three games this month as well. Two are pretty new, one has found its way in here, because it was finally released at a casual games portal this month.

Again we have three different game types in this month’s casual corner. The TM building game Build-A-Lot: Fairy Tales, the life-simulation Long Live The Queen, and the RPG-Maker-made RPG Skyborn.

I will start out with Skyborn, as it has been out for a while, but was only released at the first casual games portal (BFG, as a soft release) yesterday. Claret, the main character of the game made by Dancing Dragon Games, is a young and very talented mechanic, working with her brother in their own shop. A long time ago, their parents vanished without a word, something which Claret has not forgiven them. The world of Skyborn is ruled by the Skyborn, a race of people with wings. Humans like Claret are used as workers and usually left alone – mixtures between human and Skyborn however, like Claret’s friend and helper Corvin, are imprisoned and frequently killed for having magic. The day her brother does not only sell their workshop, but also tries to marry her off to the insufferable nobleman Sullivan, Claret decides to take the money and Sullivan’s airship (which she has repaired that very day) and find another place to live and work. Unfortunately, that brings her into contact with a rebellion that is going on. The game has very nice graphics and a Steampunk style that has by now found its way into the mainstream gaming culture. It plays well and is balanced out nicely. Unfortunately, you really need to pick as many fights as possible (thankfully, the monsters are visible in this game, no random encounters), so you can defeat the later enemies. Unlike most RPG Maker games, this one has a fighting system in which you can have more than four party members and can see who will make their move next.

Next on our list is the building game Build-A-Lot: Fairy Tales. The newest of the Build-A-Lot series is set in the land of the fairy tales, where the player develops venues for various communities, building and upgrading houses, meeting goals such as X houses of this kind, X money, or special buildings (usually in the last level of an area). The game has very beautiful graphics and is well balanced, although it does get quite hard to get expert levels quite soon. Like usually in such building games, you need to have enough workers (fairies in this case) and materials for building purposes. In addition, you need to have the blueprints for the objects you build. And, as usually in such games, you need  to take a very close look at what the level demands.

The life-simulation Long Live The Queen brings up the rear of this month’s casual corner. Elodie, a girl of fourteen, has forty weeks to become a queen. On her next birthday, when she becomes an adult in her world, she has to take the place of her recently deceased mother, who ruled the Kingdom before her. Unfortunately, a lot will happen in the forty weeks, while Elodie has to decide which things to learn and how to spend her spare time. Will she master magic? Learn all about strategy? Will she fall victim to an assassination attempt? A robbery on the way to a friend’s birthday? Will she have to face a rebellion? There are a lot of ways not to end the game positively and only a couple to actually become queen in the end. Elodie has a great chance to die before the forty weeks are over – or to spend the remainder of her life in a prison cell. It’s a very difficult game, although not a very long one. I have played it through several times in the course of one day, experimenting with a variety of abilities. There is, however, a long list of possible things that might happen to Elodie, making them all come true will require a long time, making this game worth its money. The game comes with very beautiful manga-style graphics, as can be expected from Hanako games, the makers of life-simulations like Magical Diary. However, like most games of this type, it is not something for people who don’t like to read.

This it is, the Casual Corner for the month of June. Enjoy the games, I will be there next month, presenting three more games you might want to try out.