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Review: Professor Fizzwizzle June 29, 2006

Posted by Jesse in : Game Reviews , 1 comment so far

Game: Professor Fizzwizzle
Developer: Grubby Games
Version: This is a review of the full version of the game.

The brilliant Professor Fizzwizzle is having a very bad day. The once friendly robots that he created have turned against him, and he’s a long way from his laboratory, where he needs to be to repair things. He needs your help!

At it’s heart, Fizzwizzle is puzzle game. (It’s also really fun to say. Try it. Fizzwizzle, Fizzwizzle.) There are some levels in which it feels like a platformer, where you’re running as fast as you can with a Rage-Bot or two breathing down your neck, but for the most part you’ll spend your time trying to find the key to the puzzle that will let you reach the next level.

The tools you have to work with are boxes and barrels you can push around, magnets which will stick to anything metal, a freeze gun, and some other handy gadgets. In your way (in addition to the Rage-Bots) are locked gates, sand that will prevent you from pushing boxes, icy floors which can leave you stranded or send you flying, and the ever-present danger of falling to your doom.

What I liked:
This game has alot going for it. The graphics and sound are great and fit perfectly. I never once found myself pulled out of the game saying, “This just doesn’t belong here.” The puzzles are challenging, but the guys at Grubby Games did a great job with the difficulty progression. If you happen to get stuck, there’s a feature to show the solution. It can definitely come in handy.

It’s also loaded with extra little features. There are cavemen and animals frozen in blocks of ice, which don’t add to the gameplay at all, but they certainly amused my wife. When she stopped by to ask about them, I let the professor idle and he just started breakdancing! The game was registered and we were playing through the levels together immediately. When you finish the included levels, you can go to the Grubby Games website and download a bunch of user submitted levels. Or you can use the included level editor to create your own levels.

It’s pretty clear to me why this game won GameTunnel’s Casual Game of the Year award, as well as being a finalist in last years IGF competition.

What I disliked:
I know I just wrote that I liked the ability to see the solution, but it’s also something I didn’t like. I wish I could have disabled it so there was no temptation to cheat. I have absolutely no willpower. I guess that’s not really much of a complaint.

Games it reminded me of:
The game has some elements of Sokoban, though the game I immediately though of was The Adventures of Lolo on the NES. Especially when you get the freeze gun. If only Lolo could ride on barrels or accidently freeze himself in a block of ice!

If you like puzzle games, buying this game is a no brainer. But even if they aren’t usually your favorite, I really recommend at least downloading the demo and giving it a whirl. I really loved this game. (And so did my wife.)

Review: Master of Defense June 28, 2006

Posted by Jesse in : Game Reviews , add a comment

Game: Master of Defense
Developer: Voodoo Dimention
Version: This is a review of the full version of the game.

Master of Defense is a pretty simple game. On one end of the map is a town, full of vulnerable peasants counting on you for protection. On the other end is an entrance from which wave after wave of monsters will come. Between these two points lies the road the monsters will follow to reach the town. You must stop them.

When the game starts, your defensive arsenel is pretty limited. You can build towers that can only attack monsters that walk on the ground, magic towers that can only attack flying monsters, and plant towers that can attack both, but do far less damage. Once you complete the first level, you gain the ability to spend experience points to upgrade your towers, or to gain access to two new towers. Freeze towers will slow a monster down, and with a few upgrades can easily hold a monster still while your other towers do some real damage. Fire towers aren’t really towers so much as big fires that you can put on the road. Any monsters that walk through the flames catch on fire and will burn for a short duration. Another upgrade gives poison damage to plant towers, which is pretty nice. Between the poison and fire, you can do a large amount of damage over time with just a couple of towers.

What I liked:
I really enjoyed this game. I’ve now played through all of the levels without losing a single peasant, and even managed to make it into the top 20 of the online high scores. (I’m currently in 18th place.) I love games where I can play again and again and get a totally different experience by choosing a different upgrade path. The environments and towers are really nice looking, and I really like way the towers animate as you upgrade them.

What I disliked:
There were only a few things I didn’t care for. At the start of each wave of monsters, there’s a very strange growling moaning sound. It’s somewhat unpleasant. After playing for awhile, it was starting to bother people around me, and I had to turn down the volume. I also didn’t like that there is only one save file. I couldn’t find an easy way (short of copying files around, which I didn’t try) to keep multiple saves so I could go back and try out new things on different levels. Finally, once I got the hang of things I spent most of the time playing at the highest speed, which made the game feel short. A few more levels would definitely have been welcome.

Games it reminded me of:
The game feels like playing a real time strategy game if all you could build were towers. So it reminded me of Starcraft or Warcraft 3. I guess this makes sense, as the game was inspired by a Warcraft 3 game type called Tower Defense, from what I understand.

I’m glad I bought it, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the base building portions of real time strategy games. I’m personally hoping for a sequel or expansion pack of some sort.

A new beginning June 27, 2006

Posted by Jesse in : Uncategorized , 2 comments

Welcome to my first post in my brand new blog.

This blog will be mostly about video games. I’m an independent game developer (it’s a hobby at this point, though I have grand plans to turn this into a small business soon) and I’ll be writing about my development experiences here. In addition, I plan to write reviews of games I play from other independent developers.