Field Commander Rommel Game review

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Game Review: Altitude

The downloadable game “Altitude” harkens backs to good old fashioned arcade-styled 2D play, like the classic “Defender”.

The game play in “Altitude” is fun, fast and furious. Pick your plane and pick your combat load and off you go. You, by yourself, or in a team have to accomplish a mission while a team of human opponents or bots try and stop you by shooting you down; which happens often. The play map bear no resemblance to reality, so your piloting skills had better develop fast or you’ll find yourself crashing; again often. Power-ups are everywhere, getting them before your enemies do add to your survival chances. Each plane has limited energy, which is used to power weapons and afterburners. Keeping track of this fuel takes some getting used to. Using it effectively takes some practice as well. At the start the player will often run out of fuel and ammo and find themselves dead and having to revive and start again. Although after a couple of games the actual piloting control skill gets better, because, frankly if your skills don’t improve you’ll just continue to die and die again.

Using a reward system that uses a formula of time of play and kills, as you advance you get more weapons and other gadgets and improvements for your flying machine. But this system of play so disadvanges the new players as they compete against the more experienced players, as in real war, the veterans will do most of the killin’ and the new guys do most of the dyin’. Unfortunately, even for veterans, luck plays more of a role than skill in most of the individual games.

The shaded cell style of graphics in “Altitude” is cute and entertaining, with a real sense of cartoon fun. The maps look good even if they are sometimes a bit tight for the maximum possible 14 players per game. The sound is effective with distinctive engine and weapons sounds for each kind. The sounds have real value in the game play as sometimes the sounds give warnings about approaching enemies.

“Altitude” rates high on creativity and innovation. You haven’t seen or played anything like this before. You will not find 2D flying dogfight games everywhere after all and certainly not one with the fine looks and fun play.

In short the downloadable game “Altitude” is a fun, great looking little game which is a great value at just 10.00 dollars American.

Game Review: Caelum

One cannot talk about the game: “Caelum” without talking about PopCap’s game “Peggle”. The bottom line up front on “Caelum” is that although Ap Games did add a couple of new features, this downloadable game is a barely disguised clone of the widely popular “Peggle.”

The story, such as it is, involves you playing the part of a robot, named, in a fit of originality, Rob. Rob has been sent into space to collect energy for a depleted Earth. Between levels you get to see excerpts from Rob’s diary. Some of them are mildly amusing, but they really don’t advance the game much and are easily skipped.

The game play is simplicity it’s self. Given a screen full of pegs, called orbs, you drop a ball in an attempt to wipe out all the red pegs. After dropping the ball you have virtually no control over its course. In “Caelum” there is a sliding pan at the bottom that forces the ball back to the top of the screen to fall yet again; also, there is the ability to jolt the screen, which is like hitting a flipper in an old table pinball game. However, this feature turns out to be pretty useless during game play. After a few tries at affecting the ball with the jolt feature and seeing it doesn’t really do anything, you will just stop messing with it.

The graphics are serviceable for this kind of downloadable puzzle game, but are not special at all. You can easily follow the ball as it falls through the orb field and what else do you need from the graphics? The sound is serviceable, if nothing special, and doesn’t distract from the game play at all. It tends to be repetitive, but you can always just turn the speakers off.

Of course, as stated above, this game doesn’t rate high in the creativity and innovation categories. If you have ever played “Peggle” then there is not much different in playing “Caelum” except the pace is even slower. The new features such as the “jolt” feature really don’t add much that is new. In fact, it is a wonder that the game developer spent any time trying to add “new” features to the game rather than just changing the colors, the name, etc., and sending this clone out into the world.

“Caelum” is not really worth $9.95 American. Ultimately it turns out that this downloadable game is a repetitive, derivative, bore-fest copy of a much better, more original and more playable game.

Game Review: Delve Deeper

Do you long for the days when you could pick up a good downloadable game with some deep playability, but not devote all your waking hours to learning to play the darn thing? “Delve Deep” takes you back to those days.

“Delve Deep” is a turn-based downloadable strategy game with mining being merely the theme of the resource collection and deployment. In the game play, you and your team of hearty dwarves compete not only against the mountain to collect the riches, but also against between 2 to 4 other teams of dwarves trying to do the same thing. When selecting your team you may choose any combination of three different types of dwarves; fast but weak scouts, slow but hardy fighters and the balanced miners. Your original selection effects your strategy, do you go deep and fast, or slower and attack your opponents? Your team members are assigned funny names; like mineral types or a character out of Tolkien. Your decisions determine how and where and how quickly you collect and “cash-in” your treasure.

The graphics are servable if not spectacular, although sometimes the color scheme can make the game play difficult, particularly with yellows and golds nearly fading into the background. The sound is good, sounding much like a cross between “The Hall of the Mountain King” and the soundtrack to a “Lord of the Rings” movie.

The downloadable game is high in creativity and innovation with the interplay of the strengths and weaknesses of the dwarves, battling your opponents and the environment making for some interesting and engaging game play. Also this game has nearly infinite replayablity.

The downloadable game really falls down when it comes to controls; for some reason when tunneling the mouse selection is turned off, which means you must menu-select tunnel connections. The controls are very clunky in other ways as well. Also the selection of the type of material you have to dig thru is not automatic. Further using the number pad to navigate in a hex environment is difficult at best. Lastly, even though full games are usually less than an hour, there is for some reason no game save feature, which means must start over again every time you leave the game.

But honestly for 5 dollars American the downloadable game is entertaining with lots of strategic fun and certainly a “good” waste of time if you have an hour or so to burn.

Game Review: Recettear, An Item Shop’s Tale

The downloadable game: “Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale” is really two games in one, a shopping and merchant simulation Role-playing game and a dungeon crawl. Neither fish nor fowl, this downloadable game is not very good at either one of the genres.

The storyline is that Recette, an impossibly cheerful girl wakes up one morning to find her father gone and also that her dad owes lots of money, “pix” in the game’s world, to a loan shark who is also a fairy and now it her reasonability to pay off the debt. So Recette and her fairy helper, Tear, decide to open an Item Shop to make enough “pix” to clear the loan. Recette becomes a little capitalist, buying low and selling high. Unfortunately this part of the game has all the excitement of taking inventory with a laser scan gun. As the player gets items, puts them on the shelves and haggles with customers for the best price. Tear’s sole job seems to be to keep the rather unfocused Recette on track and he seems to do little else.

The other way for Recette to get “pix” is to hire an adventurer to explore the local dungeon for treasure. The different adventurers can use a variety of weapons; like magic, swords, arrows or daggers, but the combat system is a simple move and strike scheme which doesn’t allow for much in the way of tactics. Plus the weapons don’t seem to have much a difference in effect; a sword and a spell have the same result. The exploration and combat soon pall as it seems the battles are all basically the same.

That is the bottom line on this game is that after a few turns, all the game play becomes the same.

The graphics and sound are excellent, with a nice anime and manga cutesy look and feel. The music is unrelentingly upbeat which nicely fits Recette’s personality and the rest of the relentlessly cute game play. The creators were clearly trying to do something new and different by combining the two game genres, it is unfortunate that the execution falls so short. Instead of going for real deep game play, the developers went for the saccharine sweet, and not in a good way.

Long story short, for $19.99 American this game is overpriced and the Role Playing Game player could do much better somewhere else for their money.

Game Review: Dachinko

Psychology tells us that the reason gambling is so addictive is the element of random reinforcement. In short, playing to see what happens and to perhaps get a reward is just inherently fascinating to humans.

Dachinko is a pachinko-like game where the player shoots a ball into a round field of tetter-totters, posts and wheels with the objective of landing the ball into one of three bottles. Which one of the bottles the ball settles in decides the rewards the player gets. The blue one gives extra points, the yellow one relieves the pressure that builds up if the ball misses completely and falls through the bottom of the playing field, the green bottle is the main target as the player gets extra balls and helps complete the level quickly.

Besides the regular game play there are two other modes: “Casino”, which is far harder than regular play, with the player having to fill 9 buckets at the bottom in the correct order to receive extra balls and score more points.

The other mode is “Relax” which is very easy. The player merely fires off multiple balls at one time and watches as they careen through the playing level, scoring massive numbers of points.

The player can set the power of each ball launched and the player may influence the path of the ball slightly by right clicking, but mostly after launching the play just watches the ball as it completes its very random path through the level.

If there is any drawback to this downloadable game is that the first levels are far too easy and do not give the player any real satisfaction and other, later levels, are far too hard; the player will shoot all their balls and still not complete the level, having to start over again. But with 55 different levels, this is a minor complaint as the vast majority of levels are just right.

This game gives the player something new with each level. When en levels are completed a game character appears and does a little show for the player. The graphics don’t overwhelming the game play and again fit nicely into the Asian theme of the game.

If someone is looking for a great little time waster, or they enjoy games like Caelum or Peggle that at a low price of $6.99 than a gamer can’t go wrong with the downloadable game, Dachinko.