Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Casual Corner

Yup, last month’s Casual Corner is definitely late. However, with no abundance of really interesting games around and Christmas in the week before the end of the month, I just didn’t get to write anything until today. December casual games will be Meridian: Age of Invention, SpaceChem, and Big City Adventure: Paris.

Starting with Big City Adventure: Paris here. The Big City Adventure series (6 games, including Paris) is at its best with straight HOGs (the last one, London, had an adventure mode, but the classic one was much, much better). You get to see all interesting parts of a city, you get to learn something about each of them, you get to play nice HOG scenes and mini-games in between them. Lately, I’ve found straight HOGs more agreeable than IHOGs, for whatever reasons. The graphics are as nice as they have been before, the mini-games are varied, there are achievements, there’s both a timed and an untimed mode (but even timed mode has plenty of time, at least for me). Hints have to be found as coins in the scenes, they are not just filled up again. In addition, you can find skip coins, time coins, and point coins. I enjoy playing the Big City Adventure games, because I can take a look at a city without actually going there (Paris being the first city of the bunch I have actually been to). So far, Jolly Bear Games has released Big City Adventures for San Francisco, Sydney, New York, Vancouver, and London. And now Paris, of course.

SpaceChem is a nice and very addictive puzzle game. I got mine from GOG during their Christmas sale, but it can also be found at Steam (and other places, I’m sure). By programming production lines, you build and transport elements and compounds and create chemistry. The game is a lot like programming, so it’s a nice training, if you want to do that. In addition, it’s a great puzzle game and a lot of fun. It’s one of those ‘just one more level’ games that you usually play much longer than you wanted to.

Meridian: Age of Invention was a nice surprise during Christmas at Alawar games. The game has very good graphics and an interesting mix between MKFTP-type games and strategy games. You build up villages and fulfil tasks in order to advance. Every now and then you get upgrades from the Inventor who travels with you. The graphics and the Steampunk setting did it for me, but the whole game play is very nice with this one. You don’t just build, you also send out delivery boys who can deliver from the market to the houses (groceries) or from one house to another (letters). They have to work, because this is how you make money. Every delivery means a bit of gold, which you can then invest in workers or materials. The game is varied, there’s not too much fast clicking, and it’s a lot of fun to play.

This it is, last month’s Casual Corner. I promise I will be on time (at least in January) with my Casual Corner this month. Have fun with games!

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