Friday, November 30, 2012

Casual Corner

Welcome back to my rather late Casual Corner for this month! I have to admit I almost forgot about, due to a Delicious Team Challenge at Challengers. What will we have this month? The new MCF that restored a bit of faith in me, Island Tribe 4, and Building the Great Wall of China. Two TMs and one HOG.

Let’s start with our lone HOG game, Mystery Case Files: Shadow Lake, bought as a CE at BFG. It came out one day before US-Thanksgiving, so it would be available for everyone on Thanksgiving, as the TGT (Tomorrow’s Game Today) is only available to members. After the last two MCF games (13th Skull and Escape from Ravenhearst), Shadow Lake has restored some of my faith in the first HOG series I ever played. True story ‒ the first HOG I ever played was MCF: Ravenhearst. While BFG still hangs on to the life actors, despite the fact that people have been complaining about them since Dire Grove, the few they use this time, mostly in cut scenes, too, do a very good job. They’re much better than the ones in 13th Skull (although, as far as I am concerned, a class of first-year acting students would have done a better job than the cast of 13th Skull). The story of the new game is nice and spooky, the traditional HOG scenes are gone, you look through several normal scenes for the objects, the game play is nice, although the extra for the CE is a bit thin (e.g. thinner than usual). The game has a nice balance between puzzles, HOG scenes, and adventure-esque game play, the actors do a good job, the graphics are nice, and it’s more inspired overall than the last few of the series. On the whole it earns the verdict ‘approved.’

Island Tribe 4 by Realore is, as the title suggests, the fourth of the Island Tribe games and I found it less glitchy after release than its predecessors were. It’s a My-Kingdom-for-the-Princess type game (as is the last one of this post, further down) and done very well. In the latest instalment of the series, the tribes-people (women joined the tribe in part 2, if I remember it right) travel from their tropical island to Egypt, Norway, and China, each time with a nice switch in scenery and products to make. There are various obstacles to overcome in each area (such as mummies, Vikings, or karate monks), there are big missions in some levels, there is a lot to gather and build and produce. The game still works in part four and it’s still a lot of fun to play. So, if you like bright, detailed games with a good game play, if you like the MKFTP games overall, you will definitely like Island Tribe 4. The game also gets the verdict ‘approved.’

Building the Great Wall of China is the latest game on my list, it was released a few days ago and I have not finished it yet. It’s also the MKFTP variety, but instead of building a road, you build the Great Wall. Parts of it in every level, at least. The background story has a bit of love (like Roads of Rome, but the story is very background here), possibly to appeal more to the casual gamer crowd, which is dominated by women. (And no rant here about people who think everything for women has to be pink or include a romance. Another time, maybe.) Apart from that, it’s a very solid TM game, very beautiful to look at, very nice to play. It’s probably not going to win any awards for inventiveness, but that’s okay. Not every game needs to reinvent the wheel to be good. The game also gets an ‘approved’ verdict from me.

That’s it for this month (literally, given it’s the last day of November today), see you all again in December!