All 28 game Reviews


Epic Battle Fantasy 4 Epic Battle Fantasy 4

Rated 5 / 5 stars

I played this game in its Kongregate release. Newgrounds does it much better justice - the game runs smoother here, and full screen makes the game so much easier on the eyes. Props for taking the time to add the full screen feature rather than just doing a simple copy/paste from the Kongregate release.

The game is, as expected, excellent.

While in principle the combat system remains largely unchanged from EBF 2 and 3, the changes to the status effects are extremely good. Wet and its interaction with elemental weaknesses is particularly cool, as is stagger, which makes multi-hit moves functionally different from single hit ones, rather than just cosmetically so. All ailments and buffs are handled in a consistent and transparent manner (this is rare, even in commercial RPGs, and it is a step up from EBF3). And this game's in-battle character swapping system is more strategically interesting and quite frankly makes a lot more sense than how "real" RPGs generally do them.

The plot is not inspired, but apart from the excessively deus ex machina-y ending, it never annoyed me. Much of the player characters' dialogue is funny, though most of the NPCs are boring - more back and forth dialogue might be nice (and the party simply being cynical of the NPCs' ineptitude doesn't count).

I will say that the beginning of the game could have been smoothed out for non-EBF3 veterans, particularly by making sure none of the initial equipment has the "randomly casts ___" property, and also by reworking the layout of the first town so that a road sign is immediately available. My roommate was confused at the start and I don't blame him.

In any case, this game provides about 30 hours of complicated and yet fair turn based strategy and resource management. This is a rare mix to achieve. I strongly suggest Epic difficulty mode, as it forces you to explore and utilize the plethora of strategic options that the game has to offer.


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Utopian Mining Utopian Mining

Rated 2 / 5 stars

2 is described as "nothing too new or interesting." This describes this flash perfectly.

Anyone who enjoys this game should try the substantially better "Mega Miner" of the same genre but with a better execution.

The basic framework of this game has been done numerous times before, and many such games have additional strategic elements added. This game doesn't try to mix up its content at all; you move somewhere, dig until you're full, return to the surface. Even the energy balance is made to not be strategic because you are never in risk of running out; taking a trip to the energy recharge station is made into just another nuisance each time you surface rather than an actual addition to the game.

Add some sort of strategic twist to the game. There's plenty of room for innovation in this genre, and choosing not to innovate _at all_ after taking the time to get a game engine working is just embarassing.


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Great Mate Master Great Mate Master

Rated 2.5 / 5 stars

The quantity of chess puzzles is fine, and chess is always good.

Unfortunately, the AI in place is so atrocious that you often don't need to see through to all the possible outs the opponent has; you set up some stupidly simple trap and the AI just blunders right into it for a mate in two when it should take several moves more than that.

Including the option to play against the AI in a normal game of chess just makes the core failure more obvious. Also, something isn't right with the castling detection; it is often not possible to castle in cases where it should be.

Making a chess AI that sees through 6 moves into the future is a trivial task these days; failing to do so in a game which hinges on that level of accuracy is inexcusable.


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Faerie Alchemy Faerie Alchemy

Rated 4 / 5 stars

Good, fun game with (as is often the case in this genre) much more strategy than is immediately apparent.

I do have to complain about the scoring, however. While falling object puzzle games are plagued by luck dependence as a fundamental part of their design, the fact that your score can literally be tripled at any moment is out of line, and your carefully constructed, organized board can be completely wrecked by getting a (for instance) Sun+Flower at the wrong time, with substantially less you can do to repair the situation than in other block falling and clearing games. The result is that your final score in an individual game feels completely unrelated to how well you played it.

I suggest the following changes:

1. Don't allow elements of a certain value to be made unless the value on the board matches the value of the NEXT element. This will allow your score to increase by at most 66% in a single lucky pull rather than the current 200%.

2. Allow the player to veto a piece, with the player to accumulating 1 such skip per unlocked element.


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Everything Start to Fall Everything Start to Fall

Rated 2 / 5 stars

Poor mechanics cripple an otherwise okay art game

A note to fans of this game: look at Newgrounds' "Art Games" collection for other games of this type. Most of which don't lose a lot of their possible impact via unnecessarily frustrating play control.

Art wise, there were a few images that I wasn't 100% sure what they depicted as I passed by, but it conveys the story well enough. But when the gameplay is that of an extremely basic platformer, not being able to count on jumping when you press jump is just not acceptable and immensely detracts from the experience.

I suspect the source of that problem is the downward motion of the play field; somehow the player must be periodically considered to be in the air as he falls along with the stage itself. But whatever the terchnical details, it's a blatantly obvious issue that has no excuse not to been addressed prior to release.


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Trafalgar Origins Trafalgar Origins

Rated 2.5 / 5 stars

Memory issues are very severe.

I see in the author comments that the makers of the game aware there is an issue and have tried to improve it, but there's still some problem that needs to be caught. I run a rig that typically keeps ~700MB of ram free for programs, and loading mission 5 of the historical campaign eats it all, rendering my computer inoperable until I use task manager to kill the processes.

The game itself, when it works, is fine, better than most naval action games. It's also pretty good (read: non-invasive) at executing its edutainment goal, which is also commendable. But when a simple FLASH GAME cripples my computer, it's not going to get very good marks from me.


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Ultimate Chess Ultimate Chess

Rated 3.5 / 5 stars

Lol at artificial "intelligence"

Sample game vs this AI:
1. c4 d5
2. cxd5 Qxd5
3. Nc3 Qc6
4. e5 e4??
5. Bb5 Bg4????

Such epic failure. The AI clearly doesn't look a full turn ahead, and there's no option to make it do so. If there were no "change board" option, the "get checkmated by the CPU" animation would be really hard to see.

Overall, I prefer Battle Chess, the old DOS game. Same concept, but with a cooler, more fantastic style. Oh, and its AI doesn't suck nearly so bad. Still, anything to get more people to play chess gets a decent score in my book despite obvious shortcomings.



Bill Murray: The Game Bill Murray: The Game

Rated 0 / 5 stars

Buggy, slow, large, AND boring.

I'm not convinced that you tested this at all. If you die, the game does not reset itself properly. The swf file is humongous and for some unfathomable reason the game suffers massive graphical slowdown. The timer scrolls off as you walk. To describe the graphics as uninspired is to be generous.

And all this for what, if it were not buggy, would still be a very boring game.

First come up with a game idea that is somehow interesting; some technical mistakes can be forgiven if a game is fundamentally cool. Once you have that down, learn some standard techniques for making sure your flash is a reasonable size and runs at a reasonable rate.


RobertClock responds:

the only reason the game will experience slowdown is if you have
a) shitty web connection
b) slow as hell computer


Ge.ne.sis Ge.ne.sis

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars

Rough in places, but genuinely interesting

At first I was really skeptical of the game. Early battles are straightforward and the complicated combat system doesn't explain itself well. But once the party merged and I figured out how the energy pool and tarot systems really worked, the game became one of the most interesting strategy games I've played in a while.

I really like turn based games with a ton of variables to keep track of, and this game definitely fits that bill, and it does it well. Most games that are complicated either become highly unbalanced or make every strategy viable to the point that your decisions are irrelevant. This game, however, succeeds.

The story.. had its moments, but usually was just wierd and forced. I liked Sisily and the bears, and retroactively explaining why the "honey" turned the bean into a monster was cool.

The ending seemed rushed. I guess there's going to be a sequel, but I feel like this is a game that should be continuous given the customization. Make sure you can start your party customized in the next game.

Good job, and I'll be sure to try out the sequel when it comes!

Some nitpicks:

It takes a while for a new player to figure out what the heck is going on in the battles. While all the needed information is available, it's not immediately obvious how to find all of it.

Boss HP regeneration is usually annoying more so than it adds to the strategy. I suggest making that effect smaller, particularly on the "Insane" difficulty battles.

I completed most of the battles on "Insane" difficulty, but to the best I can tell the game does not keep any track of your difficulty or reward you for playing the harder difficulties.


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Gretel and Hansel Gretel and Hansel

Rated 2 / 5 stars

Ugh.. everything bad for a game of this genre

Nonintuitive actions are supposed to be filler in a point and click game, not the focus. The hallmark of a good puzzle in this genre is when, once you see the answer, you feel dumb for not realizing it earlier. The player is supposed to have all the data he needs to deduce the solution to the game easily available, so that completing the game is a matter of logic.

How does this game work? As an example from the beginning of the game, once you get the slingshot, if you are observent you should realize it's time to wake up Hansel. But no, hitting Hansel with the slingshot would make too much sense. You need to hit the window to let in a fly which you cannot see until you have already let it in. And not any spot on the window, it has to be the bottom right pane; the invisible fly just doesn't like the other panes. Once the player randomly happens to do the correct action (or looks it up in the walkthrough), the player is left wondering not why he didn't think to do it, but instead why he was supposed to know to do it at all.

Interacting with things either kills you or not, and in general the results do not correspond to what you would expect to happen when you interact with it. Objects which you must find are not visible and must be run into by chance. Interactable objects do not in general stand out from the background. A bug - the slingshot often is still active as you try to use your inventory.

The artwork definitely has its own style, and while I don't like the style myself it's very good at being what it is. The artwork is singlehandedly responsible for the 4 points out of 10 I'm giving this.

The music was annoying, which I suppose is appropriate.

It's clear that a lot of effort went into making this, which puts it above about 80% or more of the stuff on NG. But when the core game isn't well designed, no amount of style will gloss it over in my opinion.

If other people like it, more power to them. It's certainly not my job to say what they're supposed to like. But as a big fan of the genre in general, I am left feeling the game itself could be a lot better by doing the opposite of what it does at every step of the way.


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