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August 2011 Archives


  • Currently 4/5
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Rating: 4/5 (208 votes)
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DoraChickaboomIt seems like there's something sort of disconcerting about the premise behind PhotonStorm's chain-reaction game Chickaboom, where the goal is to coat defenseless, fat yellow birdies with cheeeeeewing gum until they burst, spattering their nearby oblivious avian friends so the cycle completes until no more remain. Just click and hold anywhere on the screen to blow a bubble, but be careful; you've only got a finite amount of air to blow with, and when that's gone you'll lose the level if even a single birdie remains un-burst. It may sound easy, and it is... at least in the beginning. As the stages progress and the numbers of birds increase, along with the complexity of their initially aimless flying patterns, you'll have to think more carefully about where you place your bubbles... especially since that parrot's got your number and will burst any bubbles he comes into contact with as he flies past.

Chickaboom is one of those simple little games that needed a bit more of a kick to elevate it above "coffee break" status, but thrives on its beautiful presentation and quick gameplay. For the most part, the game is fairly easy until about level fifteen or so despite it something being difficult to predict how much air even small bubbles will consume, and it sort of makes you wish there was a bit more variety; different types of birds or gum or even backgrounds. Still, Chickaboom is lovely to behold and oddly addictive to play, and can put a smile on your face in the time that it lasts. Just don't blame us if the next time you go out for a stroll you notice all the birdsong has been silenced and the sparrows are silently perched along the power lines above you... watching... waiting... soon..

Play Chickaboom


  • Currently 4.3/5
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Rating: 4.3/5 (205 votes)
Comments (33) | Views (2,378)

Tricky56 Sage StreetIt's been a rough day. You finally made it to London with visions of super-wealth in your head. This was you big chance to show those back home that you could make it in the big city. Then your backpack was stolen. All you've got now is four pounds in your wallet and a cell phone. But, as you stand flummoxed in the rain, someone in a car driving by take pity on you and offers to give you a lift to the police station. That said person turns out to be local millionaire Mr. C, whose ailing health has conveniently left him in search for a young successor to run his empire, can only be called coincidence. Still, now opportunity knocks, and if you make some smart choices, you just might make it to the penthouse at... 56 Sage Street. A role-playing/simulation advergame from Barclays, BBH London and B-Reel that's out to provide a bit of financial literacy education, 56 Sage Street has quality you can take to the bank.

Played entirely with the mouse, save for a few of the minigames, the goal of 56 State Street is to show enough financial savvy to prove yourself to be a worthy inheritor to Mr. C's fortune. Making money relies on many things, with your main stats of reputation, energy and appearance represented at the bottom left of the screen, and the time of day at the upper left. Around the map are icons referring to the various business of the city. Doing jobs makes cash, naturally, but it requires spending time and energy. Some jobs you can't even get without a good enough appearance or reputation. Food and rest restores energy, shops and stylists can help with your appearance, doing jobs and making connections improves your reputation, and banks make it easier to keep track of your financial obligations At the bottom of the screen is your cellphone, used to keep track of finance and receive assignments from Mr. C. Progressing enough unlocks various mini-games to play and new parts of the city to explore. Do well enough and you'll rule London... or at least a couple streets.

56 Sage Street56 Sage Street is a very impressive game, even if, as edutainment, it's a little simplistic. The target for the educational portion is obviously teens who are beginners to personal finance. The challenge is thus muted a bit for those who've been balancing their checkbooks for years. That said, even if the advice the game gives is basic, it is well worth listening to: live within your means, don't overdraw your bank account, get a haircut and do your laundry before a job interview, and don't give that friendly African prince your PIN code. Of course, a game based around the theme of equating success to money, a swanky apartment and the coolest fashion leaves itself open to criticism. However, that may be asking too much philosophy from a work in which you can just show up to work a shift at the local firework factory whenever you please.

Where 56 Sage Street really shines is in its aesthetics. B Reel has put its high-production values to work in designing a truly awesome setting. Its a darker brooding cousin of Sim City with enough graffiti and garish neon to feel living and lived it. It's impressively stocked with businesses of all kinds and prices. Certainly some are interchangeable: it probably doesn't matter whether you choose to restock your energy with fish and chips at one place or tikka masala at another, but merely having those kinds of options feels very cool. This attention to detail is maintained in all aspects of the work and is one reason the game is so addictive. While 56 Sage Street does fall victim to the same problem many of its life sim brethren have (the accurate repetitiveness of the work, eat, sleep cycle), the world is wonderful to spend time in and you'll be hard pressed to stop until you make it to the top.

Note: While it is perfectly playable from start to finish without it, 56 Sage Street uses Facebook Connect to save your progress, and to optionally request gameplay bonuses from friends.

Play 56 Sage Street


  • Currently 4.1/5
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Rating: 4.1/5 (68 votes)
Comments (14) | Views (2,259)

Joshmercx.jpgShoot. Run. Jump. Switch guns. What more does a 1980s side-scrolling videogame need? How about a storyline involving a mercenary hired to rescue a biologist's daughter, incoming bad guys and robots, and a nefarious plot by an evil scientist who's determined to take over the world with cyborg soldiers? Mix that with pixelated tile-based environments, traditional boss fights, and coins locked in breakable crates, and what do you get? You get MercX, an ode to classic 1980s action titles by the retro-specialist, Alistair Maunder (alillm).

Like some of his previous offerings, MercX is a run-and-gun pixel-based game that draws on classic Castlevania elements of exploring, shooting, collecting, and upgrading. After being dropped off into a combat zone, you control your pink-haired mercenary with the [arrow] keys, and can jump and aim by pressing [up] and [down]. You carry three weapons - a machine gun, a shotgun, and a bazooka, which you fire with [Z] and switch with [X]. Each of the six missions begins with a briefing and a chance to upgrade your health and weapons using cash collected at the end of each mission. The stages are pretty lengthy, but luckily there are checkpoints along the way in case your mercenary bites the dust. Like classic home console games, most missions include a boss fight that requires you to recognize attack patterns and fire away until the enemy's health bar is depleted.

MercX is not a deep game by any means, but it offers players with straightforward retro-gaming goodness that kept us playing late on school nights back in the day. The action is simple, yet satisfying, with predictable enemies you can take down without too much trouble. The parallax-scrolling environments are nicely varied in their simplicity (with neat animated weather effects), while the old-school sounding chiptunes further set you in a classic frame of mind. The pixelly-theme does have a downside in that the text in mission briefings and tutorials can be hard to read, but it is something you get used to after a while. Besides, it's all about the action anyway, right? So channel your inner pixelated Rambo and learn what it's like to live as MercX.

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  • Currently 4.6/5
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Rating: 4.6/5 (121 votes)
Comments (61) | Views (5,344)

Weekday Escape

GrinnypOf all of the weird, wild set-up scenarios in Tesshi-e escapes, one of the stand-outs is arguably the Escape Hotel. Just think of it, a place to go on vacation where everything becomes a real-life room escape. Hopefully our faithful readers here at Weekday Escape find the concept just as charming, since it is the central theme to this week's slice of escaping heaven. Yes, the Escape Hotel is back in The Escape Hotel 3, and this time the fun begins before you ever make it to your room.

ShapeHow hard can it be to escape a hotel lobby, you might ask? Harder than you'd think, especially since you're not escaping to get out, but to get into your room. All you have to do is navigate around the spacious area, figure out your hotel room number, discover how to make the elevator work, and break into a few "employee only" areas. Tesshi-e has packed a lot into this fabulous escape, lots of puzzles, lots of keys, and even returns to that trademark puzzle type that we love so well, construction. But wait, there's more! Escape Hotel 3 relies heavily not only on problem solving skills but observational skills as well, including at least one color puzzle that may bedevil those with impaired eyesight. The game includes the usual bells and whistles of a fantastic control structure, beautiful visuals, tricky puzzles, and of course the alternate "happy coin" ending that is another Tesshi-e trademark.

What is there left to say about Tesshi-e's latest effort? Beautiful? Surely. Logical? Of course. Fun? Do you even have to ask? Harder than usual? Well, there is that. It's nice to see the difficulty level ramped up a bit after the last few mild escapes. Definitely an amusing challenge for the mid-week, one you know you want to accept. Come, let's take a vacation tailor-made for those of us who find pleasure in being locked in small spaces and forced to logic our way out of the situation. You know, like MacGyver, but for couch potatoes who don't happen to carry duct tape wherever they go.

Play The Escape Hotel 3


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Rating: 4/5 (153 votes)
Comments (23) | Views (3,951)

DoraOfficeDetarou's latest escape game has arrived, and Office is every bit as weird, surreal, and intriguing as we've come to expect. Your goal; find a way out of the bizarre place you find yourself trapped in by scouring your environment for puzzles and clues. Why? Well, hey, if you're comfortable with being locked in a room with a giant, wall-mounted head, a violent little girl, a mushroom max in a box and a old man plant, that's your kettle of fish and we won't judge you for it. Those of you who want to find a way out, however, will want to click your way around the environment, watching for a changing cursor to hint at interactions and using the arrows at the side of the screen to change perspective. You can even save your game this time, and since there are four three endings to discover (some better than others) you just might want to take advantage of that.

Detarou's unique style and sense of whimsical weirdness is by now pretty recogniseable if you're a fan of the genre. What makes these games great for most (and just downright strange to others) is how the game manages to marry unexpected humour in ordinary environments and wrap them up in a clean, appealing presentation to boot. The downside is that if you like your escape game puzzles straight-forward and no-nonsense, the level of oddness on display might prove to be too much of a confusing distraction, especially since some of the things you can click on aren't there to do anything else but entertain. Office, fortunately, usually doesn't let silly style take the place of substance in most puzzles, and even if the item use can be a little abstract now and again you can usually find clues and success if you're willing to experiment. Of course, we all know you're wondering if the JiG offices are as strange as Detarou's, and really, we'd love to tell you all about how normal and well-adjusted we all are, but the Kool-Aid man just escaped his enclosure again and we have to go put on our Power Rangers suits so we can combine to summon Agatha Christie before he rampages all over Townsville again.

Play Office