Our Game Review of Snoopy’s Grand Adventure

SnoopySo, you see Snoopy’s face and how surprised it is? Well, it’s because he’s amazed that we are reviewing this game, which came out over six months ago, right now. Yes, I like to review the latest in gadgets and technology, but it just so happens that this game went on sale cheap.

As you might have guessed, this game is meant to tie-in with The Peanuts Movie. For some reason, a lot of hit movies think it is standard procedure to come out with a video game based on the film. These games are notoriously not very good, and lack originality because you know some programmer just had to come up with a Peanuts game.

I love all things associated with Charlie Brown and Snoopy, and this game has Snoopy in the center. I would think that from the box art, which shows Snoopy on his dog house ready to fight the Red Baron, so this will be a flying game.

Actually, it is more of a platforming game, and it is just great to be Snoopy. Like most platformers, you can jump and jump, and Snoopy’s propeller ears can take him some cool places.

Most of the conflict is just getting jellybeans because apparently there is hide-and-seek thing going on with the Peanuts gang, and Charlie Brown has a box of jellybeans that are leaking. Yeah, it is a pretty weak premise, as Snoopy goes through worlds based on the Charlie Brown characters that probably could have been done a little better as far as style is concerned.

This is one of those games where you should collect everything, which includes 300 jellybeans per level along with 6 Beagle Scouts (Woodstocks). So, there is some flying action, but honestly, the platforming is the fun part. Also, Snoopy can have these forms that make the game pretty fun.

I’m going to recommend Snoopy’s Grand Adventure, as it is a fun game that is getting seriously slashed now.

Speculative Fiction Saturday: Ghostbusters 3, not the reboot, but the game

Today’s film that I am reviewing is one that you can watch in the YouTube video. It is a Ghostbusters film, but it isn’t the reboot. Just to let you know, I did review the 2016 reboot, and you can read that review here. By the way, I liked it, and don’t think it was worth the hate it received before it was released. It is not as good as a film as the 1984 Ghostbusters (like you didn’t figure that out).

Okay, so this is a time to talk about Ghostbusters in general. I think one of the reasons why we keep watching movies is that we want to see something new, but at the same see something that is familiar to them. I remember the summer that Ghostbusters was released, as it probably sold itself with its logo alone. Then we watched the film, and we thought that not only was it filled with great special effects and action, it was extremely funny.

Most people consider the original Ghostbusters to be one of the funniest films of all time, but I believe that none of us know why. Most of the dialogue feels like Bill Murray ad-libbed it, and the science-fiction setup was very new at the time as it mixed humor with horror, which was rare at the time.

Ghostbusters II, which came out five years later, was a success, but the issue is that the plot of it was pretty much identical to the first one. It was an interesting premise with the Ghostbusters out of work after saving the city and essentially killing their business, but that was about it.

There was always pressure to bring about a Ghostbusters 3, but it never really worked out. I can see why, but I have heard rumors of scripts, with one of them where Bill Murray’s character would actually play a ghost.

One would think that even before the reboot, there would have been a whole slough of Ghostbusters movies with the original cast. Perhaps the whole thing about Ghostbusters is maybe there is nothing more you can do with it. Both films were about ghosts appearing in New York City, then the discovery that all the ghosts are from one source. Then the Ghostbusters mount up for their big case and bring an end to the big bad.

It is pretty much the plot of Ghostbusters the reboot, and ever since the Ghostbusters came out, there has been very little deviation from this formula. The only exception to this was the Ghostbusters animated series, also known as The Real Ghostbusters, which I recommend watching if you are willing to forgive some of its dated material.

What is really interesting is that the Ghostbusters actually had a reunion around 2009. Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd, the original writers and two of the original busters, came up with a video game based on the quartet. What you see in the YouTube video is essentially the cutscenes and some of the action of this game.

Yes, this is a game, so you will see a lot of action in the three or so hours of this film. Since this is a game, you will see more action of people walking around than you would see in most movies. I remember playing this game on the Wii about five years ago, and I remember having fun.

The thing about the game is that you play a new recruit of the Ghostbusters, and instead of doing this game from a first-person point of view all the time, you see your character in the cutscenes. This main character has a habit of not speaking and looks pretty…ordinary, I guess.

The good part of this game is that it there is a very convoluted plotline, which is often the weakness of Ghostbusters. That, and the villains are pretty one-dimensional. In this case, the villain is Ivo Shandor, who was the architect of the “Spook Central” from the first film. It was a good idea to bring him in as a villain, and there are a lot of great action set-pieces to visit.

The problem with it is the beginning is more of the same. It starts with the group seeing Slimer at the Sedgewick Hotel as well as meeting Mr. Stay Puft. Then they go to the New York Public Library to meet that one ghosty librarian.

Anyway, if you thinking that you like Ghostbusters, and you want to see the final reunion of these actors before the passing of Ramis, check it out. However, I watched it all the way through and didn’t really laugh a lot.

Our Review of Dex: Enhanced

Dex 1It’s pretty obvious from this image what Dex is supposed to inspire. It is that genre of speculative fiction explored in works of William Gibson, where the future has been taken over by corporate conglomerates, and technology has gone wild, if not haywire. Dex, named after the main character in the game, is a really interesting mix of a game.

The game seems to be a side-scroller, and it feels a little more eighties than early nineties. However, that is just on the surface. While there is a lot of jumping and going to new locations, it isn’t on the vein of Mario.

In fact, once you get through the opening tutuorial, you will experience the game’s numerous RPG elements. The game requires you to take out some bad guys, and you can do it from the front or the back. The back is the easiest one that I found, when the game sets it up for you. Yeah, you can be a stealth killer and choke them from behind. When you have to face them ahead, it suddenly becomes a fighting game as you have to block punches as well as give them.

Taking care of enemies gives you experience points, and you can level up to increase skills. For example, you can become a skilled lock-picker by spending your experience points.

You are also able to get money in this game, often from the thugs that you pick up. Then there is also random junk like toilet paper that shows up. There are even things to increase your health and experience.

It is not often that you see a video game so full of so many elements, and this one has fighting, platforming, and RPG aspects all mixed together. There is even this augmented reality aspect that allows you to hack into things.

This is one of those games that you can pour a lot of time into, and that is a good thing. There is also more than one way to solve it, and multiple paths you can take.

I’m going to give this game a high recommendation, and there was only one thing I didn’t like about it: there is no autosave feature. You need to be saving as you go, otherwise you will find yourself at square one.

You should find Dex on the Steam Store for $19.99, and it can be purchased on Xbox and PS4 as well, and come to PlayStation Vita and Wii U too. More info about the game can be found here.

Our Review of Mech-Action Assault Suit Leynos

Assault Suit LeynosOkay, here’s an interesting game that I believe will be loved by those that love older games. In fact, Assault Suit Leynos is based on a legendary classic 16-bit series for the Sega Genesis known as Target Earth.

Assault Suit Leynos uses the science fiction convention of a mech. You know those giant robots that humans control on the inside? You can to actually be in one of them as it shambles along into combat.

Assault Suit Leynos is a game that feels like a stand-up arcade game, and it is as difficult as one. There is a little strategy so you can take the hits, and heal up. Oh, there is an interesting thing where you can choose your weapons, and then toggle through it for maximum damage. There are several times that I had to hit the “Continue” button before the 10 second countdown hit zero.

The thing about this game is that you can pick your weapons, and then go through some situation where you are on a planet shooting aliens. There is some backstory with the world being at war, then working it out, then colonizing, and then the aliens come and really screw things up. So, it is a Robotech: Macross situation, and I don’t care if you know what that is a reference to. The levels begin with a lot of Robotech-looking characters speaking in a different language.

Assault Suit Leynos is a very excellent game, and it is available now for the PlayStation 4 for $19.99. There will be a physical boxed edition for September, and a digital PC release too.

Game Review of Super Mutant Alien Assault

Super_Mutant_Alien_AssaultIt’s very difficult to come up with a new game in this age, and it is pretty clear that Super Mutant Alien Assault is meant to be an homage to video games rather than something original. However, I’m trying to compare it to something, and I’m coming up short.

I have to admit that the title of Super Mutant Alien Assault sounds like it is supposed to be a parody of something, as there might be too many adjectives or nouns in that name. Basically, it is one of those games where there are platforms, but you are not going right. Instead, you are trapped in one of those rooms and you have to kill all of these enemies.

So you have to jump around and grab weapons and shoot these aliens, and sometimes you have use grenades. Also, sometimes you have to shut down these machines, and there are these things that enlarge the creatures. In short, there isn’t any shortage of enemies or surprises here, and multiple playings will reveal strategies that will take you a lot higher. Yeah, this is one of those games where you have watch your ammo, and your step.

Still, I played it with my son, and we had a lot of fun. I once thought that games like this died on the Super NES or Sega Genesis, but it looks like it was wrong. It is available on the Steam Store for $9.99.

Game Review of Tumblestone

TumblestoneI believe that this game just went live today, so I can review it. I have had a chance to review it early on Steam, and it is quite interesting.

Tumblestone is a great game if you are interested in those Match 3 games. You know, like Candy Crush, Bejeweled, and such stuff like that. I was personally addicted to one called Sugar Smash, that was a deliberate rip-off of Candy Crush based on The Book of Life movie. Now I’m in to Juice Jam, which I don’t think is a rip-off of anything, but I like.

Tumblestone isn’t really a match 3 game. How it works is that you have to knock out three blocks of a certain color, but they have to be done in a certain order. You can only take out a visible row, and the challenge is to take out the bricks on the row below so you can get to the bricks up ahead.

It makes sense if you play it, and if you keep going, you will get to levels where the bricks are descending on you so you need to get rid of them as fast as possible. In fact, this is one of these games where you can play with others, and the one who finishes first wins.

What is interesting about this game is that it is free on the Xbox from July 16 to August 16 if you are part of Microsoft’s Games with Gold. Sure Tumblestone is worth it for free, but it is also worth the $24.99 on PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Steam. There is apparently a forty hour campaign, so it is possible to have a good deal of gameplay with this one.

Game Review: Heart and Slash

Heart and SlashI have to admit that Heart and Slash is an unsual title for a game, but there is something outright unusual about Heart and Slash.

The game is about a robot named Heart who is essentially an eighties computer monitor with robot arms, torso, and legs. I decided to do the tutorial, and it actually gives some backstory on the game. Apparently, some scientist named Dr. Sympathy created a robot with some kind of emotions.

After you learn to fight and move stuff, you are told that the Robotlution has taken place. Yeah, you know my spell-checker didn’t recognize that word, but do I need to explain what that is? I mean, how many science-fiction films have done that idea of machines getting so smart, that they decide that the humans need to be taken down a few pegs?

Anyway, the game opens with Heart learning that there are no humans anymore, and he must hack and slash his way through many levels. Oh, he can also use guns, but that comes later. You know how video games like RPGs allow the player to get bigger and better weaponry? Yeah, I didn’t play all the way through this game, but you do that.

Now, I will say one thing for this game: a lot of work is spent on the robot adversaries. They look very cool, and attacking them is kind of fun too.

In fact, the game has a lot of jump moves with attacks that don’t seem to do much damage unless you upgrade them. You need to defeat enemies to get parts/money for upgrades, and it ain’t easy to get.

Seriously, you have six hearts, but these enemies can take a lot of them, and hearts are hard to find at first. Attacks are about offense as well as defense, and when I played it on the PS4, the circle button allowed for a dodge. Yeah, there must be video game players that are good at defensive attacks, but I am not one of them.

Heart and Slash is available on Steam for about $24.99.

Game Review: Tick Tock Bang Bang

Tick Tock Bang BangThere seems to be a trend these days for breaking the rules of time. For example, the video game Quantum Break allows the player to stop time, and then there is this awesome scene in X-Men: Apocalypse where the speedster Quicksilver rescues people from a building that is about to explode. Tick Tock Bang Bang takes that Matrix effect of slow time and makes a game out of it.

This game is an FPS that allows the player to intensely slow down time. The first opening levels allow for some intriguing sequences where cars careen out of control, and you have to get past them without getting hit. I am assuming that in spite of the cars slow-moving speed, some weird rule of momentum applies as just touching them will kill you.

The first levels are all about getting from point A to point B without getting hit by objects C. Then there is some shooting involved, and, why is this happening again?

Apparently, the main character is apparently a stuntman or stuntwoman, from the sound of her voice. Apparently, there is some kind of movie being filmed, and she is doing the stunts for it. Yeah, I really don’t think that the goal of the game is to be in a movie, especially when there are like pedestrians getting hit. They must be the secondary stuntpeople or something.

Well, it actually is a pretty cool concept for a game, and you can get it on the Steam Store for $9.99.

Our Review of Tick’s Tales

Ticks TalesAh, there is nothing like playing a classic 8-bit RPG, which I have loved since the eighties since my Sierra gaming days. Tick’s Tales: Up All Knight (get it?) is from Digital Bounce House and Phoenix Online, and it is kind of a satire of those old games.

Yes, there is a lot of moving around and solving puzzles in this game, which is pretty much everything that I love about video games. You might note that I said, kind of a satire, and the issue is it isn’t that funny. There are some jokes that are based on 8-bit games that work, like when Tick talks about how, in most games, something that should work doesn’t work.

Yes, this is a game that is self-aware, but this doesn’t really make it all that good. However, I will have to say that I had a difficult time with the puzzles, and that is always a good thing. Perhaps the judgment of a good game is how fun it is to solve, even if you can’t solve the puzzles.

I’m just going to recommend Tick’s Tales because I just love this type of games. You can get it on Steam for $7.99.

Our Review of “Crimson Room Decade”

Crimson Room DecadeWhen I sent information about this game, I knew that I had to review it. Crimson Room Decade is about a man who wakes up in a locked room, and he has to find a way out. Considering that I have written a book called The Labyrinth House which deals with a man trapped in a mansion that he cannot escape.

So I have a personal interest. The issue is, this game is much harder than the world I created for my protagonist Bradley Jensen, and it takes a lot of perseverance.

This is one of those games that is a puzzle solver, which means that you have to look at everything in order to figure out the puzzle. This would sound simple because you are in a room that only has a set of drawers, a curtained window, and a bed. The thing is that I have practically tried everything that I can try in this room. I say “practically” because I’m sure there are things that I haven’t tried, otherwise the game would be solved.

It took me a few hours before I made a breakthrough, but it has been a while since I made another one. I definitely don’t want to commit puzzle video game mortal sin by finding some online hint. When I start doing that, it’s like cheating.

Much of the images that I saw of this game are in the same room, so I have no idea if this game ever just leaves it. This is not to say that you can’t have a good game with just one room, but you need to ask yourself if the $9.99 price is worth it on Steam. I’m going to recommend that you do, if you like puzzles, and I feel weird as a puzzle-book writer not being able to solve it…yet.