Thursday, September 27, 2012

Casual Corner

Hello and welcome to another month and another casual corner. This month, we have three interesting games here to talk about: Northern Tale, Dark Parables: The Red Riding Hood Sisters, and Faster Than Light.

Northern Tale by Realore is another game like My Kingdom to the Princess. Far north, the three daughters of the king have been abducted and cursed by an evil witch and now their father and his men travel the lands of summer, autumn, and winter to find them. The game is both very beautiful and quite difficult. There is an overkill of objects to pick up at the beginning of every level and it’s far too easy in many levels to work in the wrong direction and find yourself in a dead end. Yet the game also is very nice to play and a lot of fun. The graphics, the few, but beautiful cut scenes, and the demanding gameplay make it a game definitely worth the money.

Dark Parables: The Red Riding Hood Sisters is the fourth game in the Dark Parables series by Blue Tea Games. Again, you are sent out as a detective to find out more about a strange occurrence. This time, a strange woman has appeared in a French forest, commanding a group of huge, black, red-eyed wolves. The Red Riding Hood Sisters, a group of huntresses founded by the original Red Riding Hood, are supposed to help you, but it turns out you will have to help them instead. As every Blue Tea Games production, the fourth Dark Parables is very beautiful and has a great gameplay. It’s a  FROG (Fragmented Object Game), meaning that instead of looking for a list of objects in the search scenes, you are looking for parts of an object. The story evolves slowly throughout the game, you unlock several short stories connected to the main story. The Collector’s Edition also includes a little prequel story that tells how the portal was opened and  the mist wolves were unleashed into the world. As FROGs are rare among the huge group of HOGs out everywhere, Dark Parables is always worth a shot, and the story of the game is very well told, too. A good game, even though most people might want to wait for the SE with it.

FTL: Faster Than Light by Subset Games is not a casual game in a strict sense. It is out at GOG and Steam by now and it is priced like a casual game (for non-members at the usual portals like BFG and GOG). It’s a space strategy game with a few nice twists. Instead of putting groups of ships against each other, you travel with one ship through the galaxy, trying to bring information from one end to the other. You will encounter only one enemy ship in a sector (not in each sector, but in most), but will have to use your weapons strategically to bring it down. In addition you have to route and reroute power inside the ship every now and then, balancing out shields, weapons, life support, controls, and drive. Battles bring you scrap (the currency) and droid parts (that you can use, once you have a droid control center). You upgrade the ship and the systems and you can unlock various types of ships over time. Yet the game is terribly hard, there is so much that can happen (from fires and breaches of the hull to invading aliens), and there are many, many ways to die. I have yet to make it to the end once with a ship, sector 5 (half time) was the furthest I have gotten so far. The game gives you a new, randomly created galaxy every time, so you can’t just learn which sectors to avoid, you have to make up a strategy for dealing with all the problems every time – which makes the game great and challenging. FTL is going to test your frustration tolerance, that much is for sure. But if you tolerance is high enough, it’s a great game to get and it will keep you occupied for a long time.

That’s it with the casual corner this month, see you all at the end of October!

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