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Games Recently Gazed Upon02:15 AM -- Sun April 17, 2011

Various games I have checked out lately whether in real or demo form...

Battle Slots - It's Puzzle Quest (almost exactly), except instead of playing Bejeweled, you spin a slot machine! I wouldn't say it's good as a game, but it's really addictive, much like a slot machine. Unlike a real slot machine though, there's never any really *huge* payout to look forward to. It seems like that should exist - some very rare chance to do a hundred damage at once or get 1000 gold or something. But the top possible payout is maybe like 10x the smallest payout, so you never get that "WHOOHOO!" moment that gambling should be about. Since winning battles basically consists of hoping you get a good spin, the gameplay isn't very compelling, but the metagame is. All kinds of things to upgrade and level up, and I like to level up.

Din's Curse - I mentioned this sale the other day, and I took advantage and bought it! The demo vresion of the game includes stuff from the Demon War expansion, and playing the real game without it, I definitely miss it. It adds a few classes and a whole bunch of little touches. See, the game is totally randomized, and without the expansion there are only like half as many possible quests and in-town events, and the ones the expansion adds are the more interesting ones. It's kind of fun to be running through a dungeon and (somehow) learning that somebody in town is starving. Then you head up there the next chance you get, and hand them a bagel or a couple bucks (either food or money solves the quest, which is a nice touch). And then sometimes people really like you for the nice things you do, and they give you presents! So I really like the overall game system here, with a random town and its random problems to be solved by chewing through random hordes of random enemies in a randomly laid out dungeon. It does suffer from the typical RPG problem of throwing a bunch of boring samey skills at you - do you want Power Strike, Death Strike, or Frenzied Assault (not actual names)? There are only a few interesting skills in each skill tree, so you end up saving skill points most of the time for the few more-expensive skills that matter (even if the one you like is cheap, it costs more each time you get it). Also on the downside is a lot of tweaky unpolished elements, just things that feel clunky or look like programmer art. But look who's talking... It's fun and I keep going back!

Kivi's Underworld - This is a super-casualized version of Din's Curse. It includes a lot of the same skills and enemies, but each character you can play only has one active skill and one passive skill (no choices). It boils down to left clicking on a whole lot of enemies one at a time. That got old for me. Din's Curse is much more my speed.

Spirit Of Wandering - This was the Game Giveaway Of The Day sometime last week, and I thought I'd try it, because it's a hidden object game. While the genre name seems pretty self-explanatory, I still have never played one of these despite their apparent massive popularity, so I thought I should try. Unfortunately, the game won't work at all, presenting a completely black screen after the main menu. So that's my opinion of hidden object games: Too well hidden.

Forsaken World - This is a really standard MMO game. This company alone makes several exactly like it. Such games are hard to tell apart. But they are free to play! I had a little fun trying this out, and it's nice to know it's sitting there free, waiting for me to return someday and not paying for it in the meantime. It's definitely not the polished wondrousness of WoW.

Kid Mystic - Highly recommended!! I played this recently... did all of normal mode, all of Challenge Mode (can't believe I just kept on trucking until I had every single star!), and I'm on Chapter 4 of Madcap mode. Madcap gets rather madcap. I feel like I am doing pretty well except for the fact that one teeny hit makes me drop dead. I spent quite a while farming cash in the Ballroom of Chapter 3! Sadly I decided to finally move ahead to Chapter 4, and it has no similar source of cash in it. Now it's tough going.

Them's the games!
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