Tuesday, November 20, 2012

EGP October Roundup Reviews

It's a bit late (it's almost the 3rd week of November now), but I'm doing it while I have some free time to play games.

The EGP's October theme was "Vegetation", it's quite an interesting theme. The games created for the month of October looks pretty interesting too.

Let's start reviewing.

1. Organicraft by Chicknstu (5 out of 5)

The game was a bit confusing when I first try it out without reading the instruction (it's kinda my thing). But after playing a few levels, I find it a very interesting puzzle game.

Basically, you goal was to choose one of the "L-system" (given at the top of the screen) in the correct sequence, to "grow" the small plant on the left into something on the right.

The concept is simple, but it does gets progressively more challenging and harder from level to level, with more "L-system" choices, and harder vegetation sequence. Cost me quite a lot of time (and head scratching) to reverse engineer the vegetation on the right, in order to get to correct sequence. 

The last time I tried, I stopped at level 7 (though I used to have a Mensa certificate before). There were 8 levels in the original version, but the developer since had added some more levels. I would recommend this to hardcore puzzle fans.

2. Plant Escape by Blake (1 out of 5)

Have you ever play a game where you collect stuff falling from above the screen? Well, this one is just like that game, except the "collector" will grow longer as it collect more ("sun flares").

There's not any challenge here as the "sun flares" fell down at a very random rate.

Although experimental game doesn't always have to make sense, the plant rotating part was a bit too weird.

3. Growth by DerGernTod (2 out of 5)

Not exactly a game, but more like something where you plant vegetation, watch it grow, and plant more vegetation.

Your resources will increase as time goes by, it'll affect whether or not you can plant something new, and what parts of the vegetation you can grow: trunk, leaf or root?

I would say it's more of a game mechanic than a game, as there's also not much challenge around here other than running out of resources, which also doesn't affect the gameplay all that much. 

The camera control was also a bit confusing, and the game is quite buggy too, such as when I tried to add a new trunk to a vegetation, it add a new seed for me instead (thus the -1 seed you saw in the screenshot). 

If the developer can add more content, such as more variety of trunks, leaves and roots. And by variety I mean not just what normal vegetation have, but also something weirder, customizable, etc. It might have the potential of becoming something like Spore... or not.

4. The Forest by Martin Monosys (1 out of 5)

I should probably mention that I'm not exactly a fan of Dear Esther, or any other so-called "art" game like it. I'm also not the kind of person who likes to pretend that I like "art" game, and talks about how beautiful an "art" game is, as most of these "art" games consists of ONLY beautiful visuals and extremely minimum amount of interactivity.

The Forest is something like what I just described in the above paragraph, except the "beautiful visuals" part. Originally I thought it was something like Slender (that one was a real scary piece), because the developer described the game as "You're not afraid of the dark are you? It just started to snow a little bit...", which... as much as I would like to say it's misleading, it's not. The game is actually about "darkness" and "snow a little". If you're a hardcore "W" key gamer, you might like this game. Actually, we should open up a new genre called "W-Key" for every single games like this, including "art" game like Dear Esther.

Sorry if I'm too harsh, but I actually pressed the "W" key in The Forest for around 10 minutes and nothing really happen in there. You know that online troll-game where you have to move your mouse through a maze, and as you go further, the paths of the maze gets more and more narrow, and then in the end (I think at level 3), when your mouse touches the wall, a scary ghost face appear in front of you with a loud and scary voice. I was kinda expecting to be trolled that way, cuz that would be fun. 

Although I've gotta say, the main strength of these W-Key games is taking all the attention of the players and slowly immersing them into the game. The only problem they have is lack of interactivity. For my case, I was very immerse into The Forest because I was expecting something wonderful to happen, as I've walked continuously inside the game for 10 minutes. 

Maybe I haven't walked long enough to see the ending, or maybe I didn't search enough to find the hidden objects (if there's any). But for now, I'm bored to death.

I realized I do sounds a bit too harsh for some of the game's reviews but don't let this get onto you (the developer). I'm reviewing them as a "game", instead of an "experiment" here. 

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