Updates every Thursday!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Genre: Action, Adventure, Strategy, Indie, Casual

Developer: Pocketwatch Games

Publisher: Pocketwatch Games

System: Windows, Mac

This review has no funnies. This only affects you if you’ve found any of these reviews to be funny in the first place. This review will have no funnies because this game is seriously just that good. Now, I had the good fortune of making my first attempt with a group of people, but I imagine that, even if I had played on my own, I would have loved it instantly.

Why I love Monaco: A love letter (read in a ridiculous French accent like the candlestick in Beauty and the Beast or the song Foux Du Fafa by Flight of the Conchords or really any other stereotypical French accent, we really can't make fun of them enough).

Mon Petit Scorpion,

Oh sweet Monaco. We have only just met and yet I feel that we have known each other for so long. I had read so many reviews and watched you creepily from afar, too timid to properly make your acquaintance, too cheap to afford your tastes.

You were so beautiful then and are even more beautiful now than I could have ever imagined. You capture the essence of the harvest moon over the fields of western New York, fleeting, breathtaking. Your vivid colors, blended together in a pulsing discothèque of violent armed robbery, could reel in the most innocent child. Yet your learning curves could break the most stubborn man.

For what you give in beauty pales in comparison to what you offer in company. The pickpocket with his monkey, the mole with his hammer, they are not deserving of your love. Even the locksmith could not open your heart alone. I suppose the lookout could do if you’re into the ladies. But the cleaner, well, I wouldn’t hang out with him if I were you, not without the others around. Yet through them I am connected to you, an individual in a team competing for your favor like female emperor penguins fighting over an orphaned chick or some other simile.

Your love is tough. You tempt me with your seductive style, but when I approach you laugh me away, wrapping your arms around the neck of another. But I will always come back. Not for the jewels, nor for the glory to be had, but for the game we play.


Jacques (This is what I assume my name would be had I been born French)

Happy Thoughts: Just writing about this game makes me want to play it.

Sad Thoughts: This game can be pretty tough at times. And if you think you've got it down, you should consider playing the game with someone that isn't very good at games and see how easy it is then. I guarantee you will have a challenge on your hands.

The Bottom Line: This game is even better than I expected and I think I will have a lot of fun with it for quite some time.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thomas was Alone

Genre: Indie, Platformer

Developer: Mike Bithell

Publisher: Mike Bithell

System: Windows, Mac

This game is one of the older ones on the list. But I had not heard of it until yesterday while I was watching Extra Credits. They were all like, “Go play this game.” And I was all like, “Yes, Extra Credits. I obey.” And, quite frankly, I’m glad I did. As a result, I went into this game with a pretty good idea of what to expect in terms of gameplay and style, but I didn’t truly grasp how great this game would be at story telling.

Thomas was Alone is a game about hopping blocks. These blocks come in varying sizes and colors, but are all squares or rectangles. Or, if you like that old math logic joke, they’re all rectangles, but some of them are also squares. Thomas – the protagonist of the story – is a small, upright, reddish rectangle with the ability to jump fairly well. Chris is his first compatriot and is a slightly smaller, dark yellow square that can hardly jump at all and is incredibly jealous of Thomas’ ability and kind of thinks Thomas is a jerk. John, who you meet later, is a very tall yellow rectangle with the ability to jump farther than anyone else and feels he doesn’t really need the help of the other shapes, but likes the camaraderie. Yes, this is how the game presents itself.

The game is narrated by a fantastic British voice, somewhere between Steven Fry and John Oliver. This narration fills these otherwise simple blocks with character, explaining their desires, fears, obsessions, and various other emotions. It’s funny in some ways and touching in others. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more emotionally attached to a game or the characters in a game in such a short period of time.

Thomas was Alone is a platformer at its core. For those of you who are not regular gamers (I know there are a few of you out there) think of the Mario games. It’s all about jumping from one ledge to another. The mechanics are very simple and the gameplay is not exactly revolutionary, but, personally, that’s not why I play this game. If you want a good story (one that I haven’t even finished yet so for all I know it may fall apart by the end) I highly recommend you pick this game up even if you are not a regular gamer. I do not think you’ll be disappointed. Plus, since Steam is having its summer sale you can grab it for like $2.50. You really have no excuse not to give this one a shot.

Happy Thoughts: I was laughing and crying playing this game. Maybe it’s just me being all emotional and stuff, but I think you’ll enjoy it even if you aren’t teary-eyed five minutes in.

Sad Thoughts: I am sad to think that eventually this game will end and therefore stop allowing me to enter this very pleasant mental space.

The Bottom Line: You need to come at this game from the right angle. If you are looking for a game that is challenging in terms of gameplay then this is not what you are looking for at this time, but if you want a game that at least gives the illusion of depth of story and character (again, I haven’t finished the game) then this should be a great experience.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Leviathan: Warships

Genre: Action, Strategy

Developer: Pieces Interactive

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

System: Windows, Mac, Tablets (apparently)

Leviathan: Warships was easy to spot off the port bow of the good ship Ten Minute Game Review. I mean, with a trailer like this or one like this how can anyone say “no”?

Naturally, I had come to assume that the entire game would float on such sexually-charged narration, but my hopes would soon sink much like the first boat under my command. Why do I suck at this? Well, to be fair, I have absolutely no knowledge of boats or how they function, but considering some of the art on the loading screen depicts massive sea creatures looming above the waves I don’t think that will really matter much in the grand scheme of things[Cetacean Needed].

I suspected from the beginning that this was not a game in which one simply jumped into the deep end. So I began as I do with many games, by giving the tutorial a quick look. Man, was it boring. The tutorial wound up eating most of my time with Leviathan. I may not know anything about ships, or how the game is supposed to function, but the game’s need to prattle on in little text boxes after each lesson felt a little unnecessary considering it obviously didn’t save my ship during the first mission. You don’t need to explain in great detail that I just moved forward, but it would be nice to have a better idea of how the ship functioned in combat or, maybe, that it was possible to run aground. Steer away from the rocks and the shoals! Apparently I learned everything I need to know about sailing from the Canadian folk band, Tanglefoot*.

OK, so maybe I should have known better than to sail my ships in shallow water, but it would seem that some of them can without issue. How was I supposed to know that? I guess my real gripe with this game is that it doesn’t hold your hand quite enough in the early stages. I felt like it was a pretty steep learning curve and I would not recommend this game to the casual player. All that being said I still get to captain boats! How frickin’ cool is that?!

Happy Thoughts: Boats! Boats! Boats!

Sad Thoughts: Boat sink and go bye bye :’(

The Bottom Line: I have a lot of faith that this game will pick up and become a lot of fun to play so if you like turn-based strategy games, check it out. Of course it’s always possible that I will instead be driven mad and spend the rest of my life hunting the seas for the white whale that took my leg. Stupid jerk whale.

Man, I really hope I'm the first person to make that "Cetacean Needed" joke...

*Check out the full song on Spotify if you like.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy 4th!

Sorry I didn't post anything yesterday, but these ridiculous American holidays can really get in the way. Hope you had a happy 4th! See you next week!