Monday, 4 October 2010

Blast From the Past: Monkey Island Special Edition

I was very pleased to see that LucasArts have decided to release special editions of their first and second Monkey Island adventure game series on Steam. For those who don't know what I'm talking about, the award winning Monkey Island series follows the journeys and trials of one oddly named Guybrush Threepwood, a thoroughly unrespected 'mighty pirate' who is constantly tormented by the ghost/zombie/demon/whatever pirate LeChuck, largely because Guybrush has somehow managed to pull the unattainable Elaine Marley at some point and LeChuck just happens to be infatuated with her love triangle blah blah blah backstory sorted.

Using a point and click interface you help Guybrush solve all the puzzles and appropriately chat up all the right people in the right ways to help out Mr. Threepwood overcome whatever predicament he's got himself into whether it be escaping prison, chartering a ship or winning a spitting contest (yep) it is up to you to figure it all out. The puzzles are usually very satisfying and rarely resort to some backwards moon logic that only the developers understood when coding it.

On top of all that, the Special Edition offers the chance to ditch the pixellated environments of all and play the facelifted version of the game with enhanced graphics as well as fully voicing the game's dialogue, which is very well done. It all looks and sounds very nice and fans of the old game will appreciate the changes.

Bad points: The audio commentary, as enjoyable as it is, gives away spoilers so first time players may or may not want to listen to them at key moments in the game such as the Stan's Coffin Shop to name one of many giveaways. The point and click interface is all screwed up and far too awkward to use, especially in Monkey 1. I don't see why they couldn't have just kept all the actions at the bottom of the screen like usual instead of making me use either my mouse scroll wheel or pressing bloody SHIFT every two minutes. Also, they couldn't be arsed to add in any extra puzzles. What a cop out.

Not that there is any shortage of puzzles, Monkey Island 2 will take you around 5 hours to finish if you don't resort to guides and such like and the whole package is very good value for money so if you want to try out an adventure game, or want to revisit one of the best in the business. I heartily reccommend downloading this one. I only say this because I have yet to play Day of the Tentacle and I am embarrassed by this fact.

Verdict: 4/5: Solid adventuring package, but no new gameplay.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Square Logic + Your Tunes = Puzzle Music Mong Fest

I think I'll also tag this post as a Time-Sink special too just because I've played Everyday Genius: Square Logic for a cumulative total of 12 hours according to Steam and I've barely made a dent in the amount of content this game has to offer and all this for less than a measly couple of squid.

If you've ever come across a puzzle called KenKen you'll know what kind of thing you're in for but Square Logic goes further than KenKen ever does and throws all kinds of madness at you whether it be solving two puzzles with the same solution simultaneously, putting comparison '<' symbols between certain cells in a given grid or having the gall to ask you to figure out where the puzzles 'cages' even are in the first place using your already heavily tested logical circuits to a greater extent and just when you think you've got a grip on all the gameplay mechanics the game has on offer, it throws a few more in and makes the puzzles even bigger. Soon you find that individual puzzles can be campaigns in their own right and miraculously this remains to be very fun.

To make the experience truly euphoric... add your fave tunes to the mix by muting the game's pleasant music and sound effects and catch up on some albums! I've managed to get through most of the Radiohead discography, got into Scroobius Pip in a big way and cracked out a bit of Outkast and Gorillaz for good measure and I've never enjoyed my music so much. Give it a try and see if you agree. If you don't then it's your loss because this is awesome.