Current Time 5:01:23am
Simple Matching Game...Maybe Too Simple
by: Alan M. Wasserman - 07/24/14 - iOS
Elfcraft is a simple but fairly addictive matching game. In Elfcraft your objective is to place three or more matching component parts together. Three stones become a flint stone, match three flint stones to make dragon scales, match three dragon scales to make moon rocks and so on and so on. There are 12 possible components to make. Each turn you are given a two component piecess made up of the available component as you can currently make. At the beginning its two stones, but as you progress you may get a low-high piece in a stone and a Ice crystal and placing it can start to get very difficult if you are not somewhat planful of your moves. Thankfully you can spin your pieces Tetris-style by tapping the screen and swiping your finger side to side to choose where to lower the stone in the 6x7 play area. The early game is easy enough but as the pieces have more options with which to present you with your best laid plans can go out the window. One interesting mechanic in the game is if you tilt the screen side to side all the pieces move together. This is advantageous if you have a matching component that is merely on the other side of play area, simply tilt and watch as the match resolves it’s self. I found that sometimes tilting can also create matches you can’t see. The game also presents you with a “spell book” that has four spells to choose from. One spell removes one component of your choice to allow you to remove a mistaken placement or just get one out of the way that is blocking at match, other spells remove whole rows of components while others remove every component of one selected type. For me the most useful and most rare spell is the swap stone spell. It allows you to swap two adjacent stones. Like Tetris, if your pieces get to the top of the board and you cannot place an entire piece the game ends.
I have a few issues with this game, while the game is fun and has a high replayability factor the board remains the same every time and the opening pieces are always the same so it can get very redundant until you start unlocking the 4th and 5th combinations. The spellbook is limited use only, spells are unlocked when you reach predefined achievements (viewable from the main screen) but if you want more or are in a pinch you have to pay real money to get more. The biggest issue I have with the game is the number of lives you have. Represented in this game as tree trunks or logs you only have 3 lives with which to play with and afterword’s you have to let them recharge before you can play again. A game without levels or missions should not employ this type of game mechanic. It cries out to me as a money grab by the developer. As in many other mobile games you can pay for more lives starting at $1.99 for 10.
The game is fun and I think for a younger gamer it can provide a few minutes of entertainment, while a more experience gamer may be able to play longer eventually the game will end. The inability to play the game for as long as you want has me rating the game lower, as well as the pay-to-win mentality on the spellbook is pretty frustrating. Because of the novelty of the concept and the initial fun factor of the game I give it 5 out of 10.
Gaming Nexus' Travis Huinker interviews SOE's Jimmy Whisenhunt about the upcoming PC based survival MMO, H1Z1!
by: Ben Goldfarb - 08/27/14
Having been both developed and produced by Sierra Entertainment, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers made it’s debut on December 17th, 1993 and received relatively positive reviews. Sins of the Fathers won Best in Show at the International Consumer Electronics Show and named Game of the Year in several computer gaming magazines. Thanks to Pinkerton Road Studios, Gabriel is making his return, with some graphical enhancements, in the Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition.
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers was the first game in the Gabriel Knight point-and click adventure series. Our protagonist, Gabriel Knight, is a smooth talking pretty boy living in the mystical city of New Orleans. He works as a bookstore owner and an amateur writer. While working on a new voodoo mystery novel, Gabriel learns of a local murder with strange evidence and decides to investigate the case as “research”.
The game plays like any other point-and-click game adventure game. We can navigate Gabriel through many different scenes such as Lake Pontchartrain and the French Quarter and as we do so, we can click on a number of things allowing him to interact with the people and objects in his surroundings. Using the right combination of clues and interactions will allow Gabriel to progress in the story. Unlike other point-and-click adventures, possessing the appropriate item for a situation does not automatically progress the narrative. In Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, the player is in control. It is up to the player to choose which item is used in each interaction. This gives a real sense of accomplishment when you pair the right queues together and a real sense of frustration when you don’t.
In the 20 year gap between the original release and the 20th anniversary, Gabriel, and the rest of the game, got a nice facelift and the action bar/inventory moved from the top of the screen to the bottom. Navigating Gabriel can be a bit slow at times and leads to some pacing issues and added frustration when you are stumped and end up aimlessly wandering the streets of New Orleans. Luckily, you can double click and skip forward in time allowing faster navigation, or teleportation, as I like to imagine. Your journal comes with a very nifty “hints” tab that unlocks new hints over time. It starts off with general guidance and ends by telling you exactly what to do in order to progress.
The 20th Anniversary Edition can be a bit difficult at first, but once familiarized with the intricacies of the game is really quite fun! It is a great addition to the point-and-click genre and a great introduction to the Gabriel Knight series. Let’s hope Gabriel Knight returns in a 21st Anniversary special...or at least a sequel.
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition is slated for release in 2014 and will be available for iPad, PC, Mac, and Android platforms. A preview code was provided by Pinkerton Road for this story.