Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review - NotDoppler Games

After having gone through two depressing and stressful months, and spending hours on, I've decided to gain something from all my "lost time."  I'll review the games I've been playing!

Click on the pictures below if you want to play.

Into Space: In this game, you are tasked to build a rocket to go into space.  On the first day, you start off with a dinky rocket, which crashes after twenty puny seconds of flight.  But you earn money from your achievements, and you can build on to your rocket: add better fins, boosters, fuel tanks, etc.  Once you hit space, you win.  The goal is to reach space in as few days as possible.  I've done it in 16 days.  Today I almost did it in 14.

I give this game high marks.  It makes sense.  The controls are accurate.  The physics are passable.  The whole thing of earning money and building better ships is fun, too.  When you're more experienced, you start to develop a strategy--deciding what you don't need to buy, and how to time everything to your advantage.  A full game could last less than an hour.

Isoball X1:  This is a very satisfying puzzle game.  The goal is to lead a ball through a grid to it's goals.  You can use ramps, arrows, bridges, energy bridges, elevators, and triggers.  There are 36 levels that begin with "easy" and work up to "difficult."  I strongly recommend this geometrical logic puzzle game.

Solarmax:  This is a poor-man's StarCraft.  The concept is simple.  You colonize planets.  Once they're yours, they produce ships.  When you attack enemies, the side with the larger numbers wins.  Then you can neutralize and colonize those planets for yourself.  This game also includes warp stations, space stations, lasers, and motherships.  This game is addictive, and it's fun to try and get the lowest time possible.  The only drawback is that there are only eighteen levels.  Also, the AI isn't the best and is easy to beat once you learn how it works.  I would love to see a Solarmax II with more levels and more advanced AI.  Still: high marks for this version.

Bubble Shooter: This game is fun to beat, but I've also found it to be irritating in many ways.  The goal is to shoot your bubble such that you get three or more of a color in a row.  If you achieve that, those bubbles disappear.  Also, if you orphan any bubbles (not attached to any other bubbles or the very top), those bubbles will disappear as well.  Once you remove all bubbles of one color, that color disappears forever.  If you don't get three in a row, you get a strike against you.  In the picture above, you have four strikes left.  Once you run out of strikes, the bubbles come down on you: 1 row if you have all your colors; 2 if you eliminated 1 color; 3 if you eliminated 2, etc.

At first, the game is fun, and it's really satisfying to clear out the whole grid.  And then the game ends.  But the more and more I played, the more I got annoyed with this game, and now I just don't play this game anymore.  These are the annoying points:

#1) The colors are sometimes hard to distinguish.  Red is close to purple, and green is close to light blue.

#2) Though the physics is pretty good, there's a little inconsistency as to whether the bubble passes through a gap or whether it gets stuck.

#3) When the bubbles come down on you, they shift, disturbing the order of the colors.  Sometimes bubbles disappear without apparent reason (of course you won't complain about the latter--take your gift horses when they come).

#4) The number of strikes is random.  This is very irritating when you've eliminated two colors and you get one strike four times in a row.

#5) When you die, the game claps--the same as if you clear the field.

#6) The most annoying of all: the scoring doesn't make sense.  If you clear the field quickly, there should be a bigger bonus than if it takes you over an hour to do so.  If you're trying to maximize score, you don't want to clear the field, but rather keep missing that last bubble until you get some infinite score.  Boring!

So, there you have it.  Four games from NotDoppler that'll keep you busy while you work through your own stress and depression.  Go beat these games, and have fun!

No comments: