Posted tagged ‘strategy’


June 3, 2008



As I was playing a certain other ACKK writer came into the room, joining me as I played this game. He (and I quote) said “oh, my doc, how do you play this?”. I saw this a lot in the comments. Confusion was rampant! I valiantly yell at them all to read the instructions. Battle won. Time for the review of D-evo, the dinosaur themed card game with emphasis on upgrades.

Such a complicated game… The instructions are simple enough, leaving a bit for the player to sort out. The game is all mouse, so no nonsense on that front. On to the game-play! You are dealt one card every turn, and you can either keep it, scrap it for playpoints (thats what I call ’em), or play it. You need a certain amount of play points to summon a card, the more points needed for better cards. Now, there are different types of cards to get. Earth, water, or air. Self explanatory, because the decks are basically choosing which class you want to overpower. The mechanics of the game are hard to explain… A bit of guessing might help.

I think I’ll just skip describing gameplay… Time for nitpicking! The deck’s have no specialization to them, just more of one card. There is way too much luck involved, and I hate the fact that your cards are only cards, nothing more. They could have animations. But they don’t. There’s a lot of those kind of things. *But* There is one more thing I forget to mention. Replayability! There are 33 levels, each harder than the last. If you allow it, you might find yourself addicted to the game. Good luck and happy dinosaur hunting!

8/10. The cards are nicely drawn, but there aren’t battle actions, just the card tilting forward.

9/10. A tad hard to figure out, but it might addict a few, that wondrous gameplay!

5/10. Just the *clink* of when a card plays and the suspenseful music of when you are almost out of health.

9/10. A dinosaur card game. Pwn? Yes.

8/10. Mouse. Imagine that.


Super Energy Apocalypse

April 21, 2008

Super Energy Apocalypse


Super Energy Apocalypse is another entrant in the Jay Is Games Game Design Competition #5. This game ended up winning second place overall (The Last Canopy received first place) and it was a very strong candidate for first. There were some issues that held it back from getting first place but despite these it turned out to be a pretty solid game. In the not-so-distant future humanity is plagued by zombies, but these aren’t your run of the mill shambling brain-munching zombies. No, these are mutant zombies, which apparently grow stronger off of your trash and pollution. Is this a game with a message? Absolutely! Mutant zombies may make excellent trash compactors but they tend to destroy your stuff as well.

SEA is controlled entirely by the mouse. Select the item you want to build from the menu on the right then find an area to build it on your map. Certain items gain bonuses depending on the area they’re placed upon and these bonuses will be indicated by a star on the building. For instance, farms produce more food when they’re placed on grassy ground and windmills produce more power when they’re placed on high ground. I’m not sure what’s considered high ground though, as all the windmills seem to produce the same amount of power on different types of land. Try and clump your base as much as possible. Enemies will appear from the dark lines at the edges of the map so keep this in mind when you’re building defenses. Regardless, don’t forget to build labs.  The more you research different fuel types, the less smog you’ll produce.

The game graphics remind me of something you would find in the 16-bit console era, a la Genesis, SNES, or TurboGrafx. In other words, they’re pretty dang cool. Animations are exaggerated, especially with the buildings deforming shape whenever they produce anything. It’s amusing to watch but it’s also a good visual cue to check on your resources. Oh yeah, you have to manage resources like metal, energy, food, and smog. If you run out of metal you won’t be able to shoot at the zombies or build new buildings. Get too much smog and you’re going to have really powerful zombies on your hands.

SEA has enjoyable music and sound effects, and some of the sound effects can be extremely useful when you’re managing the battles. Mostly this is the case when one of the super zombies comes along and trashes your floodlight. The zombies are sensitive to light and seem to go for the floodlights before they attack anything else. Use this to your advantage to protect weaker or more important items in your base. When you go into the menu you are presented with a volume slider that you can use to increase or decrease the overall volume of the game. If you do turn off the sound you may miss out on some really important sound effects during the night.

8/10. Retro-style graphics bring back classic console memories.

7/10. Lots of replay, especially with sandbox mode. Bugs need to be resolved, though.

7/10. Good audio, some voice acting.

8/10. Resource management taken to an extreme, though this means that your resource management skills must be focused.

8/10. All mouse for the controls. Hotkeys for defenses would be nice.

The author has been paying attention to the Kongregate feedback and will be uploading an updated version with fixes for issues we’ve reported. Here’s to hoping he’ll include the API. 8/10

Modern Tactics 2

April 16, 2008

Modern Tactics 2


We’ve all played this game before in one form or another. You play the good guy and you use your team and a bit of strategy to go around killing the bad guys. Pretty simple stuff, yet it usually ends up being pretty fun. Modern Tactics 2 is certainly no exception to that. Deploy your troops to defeat the enemy and make sure you defend your commander. If he dies the game is over.

There are a ton of controls and I’m not going to lay them out here. You can find them on the right sidebar for quick reference very time you select a character. Something that isn’t made abundantly clear in the game is that you have to end the turn for the selected unit before you can move on to the next one. It would be nice if that was explained in the tutorial but what are you going to do? The range of motion and your attack radius is shown by the shadows around you. The darkest shadow means you can lay down on the ground, mid shadow has you kneeling, and no shadow has you standing up. The lower you are to the ground the less of a target you present to the enemy.

Modern Tactics 2 has pretty good graphics, but the weapons lack animation. If you shoot at the enemy or fling a grenade you won’t see a projectile. No, instead you just see the impact and damage. I suppose this could have added a fair amount of overhead to the game were projectiles added. As it is, the game runs nice and quick. The characters are drawn a little oddly, almost like children’s toys. There is no mute, but MT 2 has good music and decent sound effects. I didn’t run across any audio cues so mute could have easily been included.

8/10. Fisher-Price people with blood.

8/10. Run, duck, shoot, have fun! Definite replay value here where you can try out different strategies.

6/10. Decent audio, needs a mute option.

7/10. Not the most original concept but still fun to play.

7/10. Lots of controls for the keyboard. More mouse integration would have been nice.

Modern Tactics 2 is a basic strategy game but the landscape does add a bit of challenge to the whole thing. 7/10

Ultimate Defense

March 26, 2008

Ultimate Defense
Ultimate Defense


Now here’s a novel concept; a defense game that you can beat in under an hour! I love defense games and Ultimate Defense definitely left me wanting more from the author. I was grateful that this game was not like Protector in that the levels didn’t drag out over 20 to 40 rounds. No, each level is pretty short and sweet, with only eight levels and four rounds per each level excluding the eighth level. The boss is always on the fourth round so save your poison spell for it and you’ll do just fine. There are admittedly some balance issues once you unlock the dragon as that particular unit is really overpowered versus the enemies. Money also carries over from level to level so you can start out round three or four with a dragon and coast through the entire level until you get to the boss.

Ultimate Defense is controlled by the mouse and spacebar. You click on the unit that you want to place, click on the map to place them, then point them in the right direction (shown by white tiles) and click once more. Make sure you click the mouse twice to place your unit, but if you mess it up you can rotate each of your troops one time after final placement. The same process applies to casting a spell. Click on the poison hand icon, then click on your enemy. If you want to cancel the spell click on the hand again. Unfortunately you cannot cancel troop placement in the same way. You can also pave tiles to place more units but you really shouldn’t need to use this until level 7 where it’s all trees. Pressing space and dragging with your left mouse button will allow you to navigate around the level, though edge detection for the mouse would have been nice. A level restart option in the menu would have been really helpful.

This little gem has graphics that remind me of Ogre Battle and Landstalker. The developer did an excellent job with the art and it really took me back to the console gaming days, though there aren’t any jaggies here. Everything from the flowers to the trees to the fire-spewing dragons are exquisitely detailed and the art will really draw you into the game. There’s a little mini-map in the upper right corner that shows you the path of the level and where the enemies are all located. Keep in mind that all levels start with enemies coming in on the upper right or northeast corner.

There is no mute option in the game but fortunately it’s short enough to not make this a big issue. Both the music and sound effects are very well done. All of the attacks are differentiated enough to not make them obnoxious though I never really noticed the enemy death sounds. I guess they blended into the background.

10/10. Just plain incredible.

7/10. Once you beat the game you probably won’t go back to it. Balance issues.

7/10. Good sound but needs a mute option.

6/10. Standard defense game, nothing new added to the genre.

7/10. Mostly mouse. As mentioned earlier, edge detection for scrolling the level would have really helped.

Fixing the balance issues, adding a mute, and mouse scrolling would turn this from a good game into an excellent game. 7/10

Against the deaD

March 22, 2008

Against the deaD
Against the deaD


We’re checking out the other game by nobstudio today, Against the deaD (AtD). AtD is a zombie survival game where you kill a bunch of monsters, get a break from the enemy in order to upgrade your weapons, then kill some more monsters. The upgrades will provide you with various options including new weapons, more stun power and more damage. The more damage you have the further back you’ll knock an enemy. Alternately, the more stun power you have the quicker you can spread out your damage amongst all the enemies. Decisions, decisions.

The game is controlled strictly by your keyboard. The Z X C and V keys fire and the left and right arrow keys aim our protagonist, Wilson. With certain enemies you’ll have to use specific weapon combinations in order to kill the enemy. Case in point is the vampire. First you need to break his defenses with any weapon, then shoot him with your pistol, then the shotgun, then your silver bullet. Your weapons will not fire if there’s no enemy in the selected range nor will your silver bullet fire on anything but vampires. That’s a blessing because the gun takes forever to load.

As with Book of Mages, we are treated to a lot of sharp angles in the drawing style here. There’s far more animation in AtD and that’s definitely a good thing. The background for each spawn point will change based upon which enemy you’re going to be facing, so plan accordingly.

There is no way pause and there is no mute. The music consists of one modulating note during battles and a rapidly looping jazz track between the battles. Needless to say, it can really get on your nerves.

8/10. Wilson may look a little emo but he gets the job done.

7/10. You may die your first time through so there’s some replay factor. Otherwise the game would just be more of the same. Difficulty levels or a longer game would help.

2/10. The audio really got on my nerves. Lack of mute didn’t help the situation.

8/10. This was a pretty original game and I really enjoyed it despite the music issues.

7/10. The controls will take a little getting used to. Try to stay away from the grenade when you don’t need it.

All in all this was a fun little game. You may want to keep the sound muted, though. 6/10


March 11, 2008



Tetris…where would our gaming culture be today without it? Perhaps a bit more sane, but that’s beside the point. React is an awesome twist on what appears to be a tetris clone at first glance. Rotate the blocks to make chains but keep in mind that you have to make these react in order to break them down. Here’s how it works. Bricks are your standard blocks. Drop bombs next to bricks of the same color to convert them to wood. Drop flames on the wood to burn them and drop water on the flames to douse them. Any water at the bottom of the screen will automatically drain away. It sounds complex but it’s really pretty simple.

Your arrow keys control the blocks. Left and right moves the stack of blocks accordingly while up rotates the blocks and down makes them fall faster. You can click on the pause button to access some other options and take a break if you need it.

React has pretty good graphics, though there’s not much in terms of animation. The background is a constantly shifting curtain of bubbles and it’s oddly relaxing to watch. Don’t let them distract you from the game too much, though.

There’s no music in React but there are plenty of sound effects. When you pause the game you have access to a volume control and you can mute the sounds altogether if they’re getting on your nerves. Audio cues are not needed here so muting is a perfectly viable option.

8/10. Really polished graphics make a good game shine.

9/10. Just like Tetris there’s tons of replay value here.

4/10. Lots of sound effects but no music.

8/10. Looks like a Tetris clone but has far more depth.

7/10. Would have been nice to have WASD for lefties.

React is an excellent way to waste a few minutes here and there, just make sure it doesn’t suck you in. 7/10

Maganic Wars Outsite

March 9, 2008

Maganic Wars Outsite
Maganic Wars Outsite


Random violence and combat, gotta love it. Maganic Wars Outsite (MWO) seems to be one of those card combat games where your goal is to take out the other guy before he takes out you. Battle your shadowy foe by throwing out various cards that can poison, wound, weaken, or paralyze your enemy. Don’t expect any quarter from your enemy because he’s not expecting any from you.

Your mouse is all you need to win your way to victory in MWO. Clicking on the various fields allows you to select which card you want to activate, then you just have to click on the button to fire off your chosen card. The same goes for purchasing items in the shop, just point and click. Now to use your items you’ll need to activate them before you want to use them, and this is especially important to take note of for the phoenix feather. If you don’t activate the feather before you die you’re out of luck as it won’t automatically get activated.

The graphics are a fairly sophisticated selection here and I was surprised to see that. I get the impression that it’s a similar setup to what you would find in Monster’s Den where the developer borrowed the work from an artist. I say this because your avatars are pretty simply drawn, so I don’t get the impression that we have the same artist involved. The animations are pretty limited as well, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

There’s no music and no mute button available for MWO. You have sound effects, but they will most likely get on your nerves more than add to the game. I honestly was not impressed by the sound but at least there is something present.

9/10. Ooooh, shiny!

8/10. Definite replay value here.

1/10. Yes, a one. The sound needs help.

7/10. Well, it’s a card game. It would have been a blast had it been multi-player.

7/10. Mouse for controls, doesn’t get much easier than that.

Despite the sound this is a pretty fun game. 6/10