Monday, July 23, 2012

Casual Corner

Welcome to the Casual Corner for July, the month of the Steam Summer Sale. Despite the fact that Steam was just enticing everyone with their amazing discounts, the three games I have chosen today are not from there. I might do a post about Quantum Conundrum later on, but right now it’s casual games. This month’s choices are Adelantado, A Gnome’s Home, and some games I want to rant about. We’ll start with the two games I actually like, though.

A Gnome’s Home is a game in the style of My Kingdom For The Princess, but is has some nice changes in the gameplay. Instead of upgrading the worker’s home to get more workers, you order them and they arrive by blimp. I love them bungee jumping from the blimp. However, the game has a high difficulty (luckily they updated it with various modes), so it is a long one. I like the idea of rebuilding an underground kingdom while I make my way through various landscapes. The graphics are very nice, bright and funny. The gameplay is well-balanced (although getting expert isn’t easy) and fun. I love A Gnome’s Home and can definitely recommend it.

Adelantado (that’s some sort of Spanish title, but don’t ask me for any details) is a rather unusual game, at least for a casual one. Instead of a long row of short levels, it only has ten levels (plus one bonus level), but you can easily calculate between 30 and 50 minutes per level in this game. It’s kind of a real-time strategy game, but mostly without the fighting. The ‘mostly’ has to do with some cavemen that come out to annoy you in the later levels. Still, I like the gameplay. Building up production lines, exploring the maps, fulfilling tasks, moving on to the next level. Even though I got a lot of playtime out of the levels it has, I can’t wait for part 2 and 3 of the trilogy. They are promising.

Now for the rant. The first targets of my rant are Ghost Whisperer and Criminal Minds. Not the TV series, though, but the games Legacy has made with the licences. I guess House, M.D. should have warned me, as that game wasn’t very good, either, but those two somehow are even worse. I love both series they are based on, but the games are not very good. To be honest, they are both so boring I haven’t finished them – although I usually finish a HOG (and they both are HOGs) in about three or four hours. I wonder how you can buy the licences for great TV series and make games out of them that look and feel like they’re out three years too late. That is annoying and both series deserve better.
The second topic for my rant is named Emily. Said Emily is the main character of the Delicious game series. I found the series late and have mostly played the latter ones (starting with Emily’s Tea Garden). By now, I love them and want every new one as soon as it’s out. The latest, however, has really annoyed me. Instead of releasing the full game, GameHouse has decided to release the game in episodes containing two normal levels and a bonus level each. For half a year (25 weeks) they want to keep it up, demanding far more for the game than usual. All Delicious games have 50 levels minimum, the last Premium Edition has an extra restaurant that brings the total up to 60. The standard version has always been out for regular casual game price, $9.99 for non-members at GameHouse, $6.99 for members, and $5.99 for Funpass owners. The Premium Editions of the last two games (Childhood Memories and True Love) were available for $13.99 for members and $19.99 for non-members. For those prices, you were always getting the full game in one go. The newest Emily game, Wonder Wedding, is available for the season ticket, $24.99 for all episodes, in 8-episode packs for regular casual prices, or per episode. All prices are far too high, in my opinion. I don’t want to wait for half a year, until all episodes are out. Neither do most of the people over at GameHouse, but the company isn’t listening. That is really annoying and might kill one of the few TM series that are still produced (now that Sandlot has been bought up and Playfirst has decided to drift into the app market – the Dash franchise and Cake Mania are gone).

So, now that I locked my baser nature back in the cage, here’s the verdict: A Gnome’s Home and Adelantado? Definitely give them a go. The new Delicious game, Ghost Whisperer, and Criminal Minds? Avoid, avoid, avoid. And now excuse me, the monster deep inside my mind needs to be fed raw, bloody meat…

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