Category Archives: 4 stars

Tri It! Triangle Puzzle

The game play for Tri It is simple and pretty ingenious. The game board is a shape divided into a bunch of triangles of the same shape. Equilateral perhaps? The game piece is 1 or 2 triangles positioned somewhere on that board. The easier puzzles start with one triangle – Your objective is to move the triangle to another place on the board by “flipping” it along one of its sides. You keep doing this until the triangle ends up at the goal. This is interesting because the movement isn’t intuitive…you can’t just follow a straight line. Additional challenge is introduced by having barriers between certain places on the board, more than one triangle (all of which are affected by each swipe), having “transporter” places, different colored triangles, or having “enemy” triangles that you have to move out of the way (in the same manner). If you like this type of game, I think it’s pretty innovative and worth a look.

Survival Score: A couple dozen levels before it was too difficult for me

Tri It! Triangle Puzzle

The game play for Tri It is simple and pretty ingenious. The game board is a shape divided into a bunch of triangles of the same shape. Equilateral perhaps? The game piece is 1 or 2 triangles positioned somewhere on that board. The easier puzzles start with one triangle – Your objective is to move the triangle to another place on the board by “flipping” it along one of its sides. You keep doing this until the triangle ends up at the goal. This is interesting because the movement isn’t intuitive…you can’t just follow a straight line. Additional challenge is introduced by having barriers between certain places on the board, more than one triangle (all of which are affected by each swipe), having “transporter” places, different colored triangles, or having “enemy” triangles that you have to move out of the way (in the same manner). If you like this type of game, I think it’s pretty innovative and worth a look.

Survival Score: A couple dozen levels before it was too difficult for me

Tractor Beam

The look and feel of this game is very nostalgic — it’s all classic asteroid. But instead of shooting the asteroids that come at you, you send out a grappling hook (see my last posting on Gravity Hook), and pull yourself forward, trying not to hit any of the oncoming asteroids (game over). No gravity in the game (thank goodness) but there is inertia. So, when you grab an asteroid, you exert force on it and pull it towards you. The effect of this varies depending on the size of the asteroid. The goal is just to go as far as you can without smashing up into little matchsticks. A nice thing is that when this happens, you don’t have to go all the way back to the beginning.

Survival Score: several games, now and then

Tractor Beam

The look and feel of this game is very nostalgic — it’s all classic asteroid. But instead of shooting the asteroids that come at you, you send out a grappling hook (see my last posting on Gravity Hook), and pull yourself forward, trying not to hit any of the oncoming asteroids (game over). No gravity in the game (thank goodness) but there is inertia. So, when you grab an asteroid, you exert force on it and pull it towards you. The effect of this varies depending on the size of the asteroid. The goal is just to go as far as you can without smashing up into little matchsticks. A nice thing is that when this happens, you don’t have to go all the way back to the beginning.

Survival Score: several games, now and then

Cursed Treasure HD

Cursed Treasure is a pretty standard tower defense game with enough interesting elements that I actually played all of the levels (about 25 of them) and thought seriously about going back and getting “gold” ratings on all of them. Some people find tower defense games tremendously boring. But I think of it sort of like dynamic chess. I set up my board, invite in the waves of marauders, and modify my defenses in real time to both anticipate their strengths and (hopefully) demolish them. The theme is a gridded open countryside. Each square is either grass, snow, or rock. Or a “special” square. There are three towers corresponding to the three different types of squares, and the square and the tower must match. Any tower can be built on the special squares. The bad guys are pretty ordinary tower defense stuff — some are stronger, some can disappear, some are faster, etc. What is cool about Cursed Treasure is that there are dozens of different upgrades. You “purchase” them with skill points, which you earn by playing (not necessarily by winning). And each of the upgrades has anywhere from 2-5 levels, so the upgrading goes on and on and on… For me, it provides a little thrill of power to see my towers go into frenzy shooting 20% faster than before! and so forth.

Survival Score: Hours. Had to stop myself from attempting a perfect score.

Cursed Treasure HD

Cursed Treasure is a pretty standard tower defense game with enough interesting elements that I actually played all of the levels (about 25 of them) and thought seriously about going back and getting “gold” ratings on all of them. Some people find tower defense games tremendously boring. But I think of it sort of like dynamic chess. I set up my board, invite in the waves of marauders, and modify my defenses in real time to both anticipate their strengths and (hopefully) demolish them. The theme is a gridded open countryside. Each square is either grass, snow, or rock. Or a “special” square. There are three towers corresponding to the three different types of squares, and the square and the tower must match. Any tower can be built on the special squares. The bad guys are pretty ordinary tower defense stuff — some are stronger, some can disappear, some are faster, etc. What is cool about Cursed Treasure is that there are dozens of different upgrades. You “purchase” them with skill points, which you earn by playing (not necessarily by winning). And each of the upgrades has anywhere from 2-5 levels, so the upgrading goes on and on and on… For me, it provides a little thrill of power to see my towers go into frenzy shooting 20% faster than before! and so forth.

Survival Score: Hours. Had to stop myself from attempting a perfect score.

Durion

s you know, I am a word game fanatic. In order to keep my attention, a new game must offer something unusual or distinctive. And it has to have a good dictionary. Durion’s dictionary is mostly OK. But the gameplay seemed to me, initially, to be pretty typical– a dropping letters game. You get a row of letters, make a word and zap it in for points, with bonuses for word length, speed, and how many times you’ve gone without a false entry. And so, it was headed for the recycle bin. But then I uncovered a couple of things — things I couldn’t pick up in the incredibly confusing instructions. First, I could make the letters drop faster. The default speed was mind numbingly slow. Second, I could move the letters around in the tray, a la Scrabble style. So instead of identifying words in the dropping letters, it became more of a strategy and probability game. I could choose some letters thinking that I had a high probability of using them in a word (different letters have different point value, so is a bit of a gamble — play it safe and run out of time, or go for the big points but possibly go bust!?) and then change my mind about what word to make as the letters continue to drop. As a result of this serendipitous discovery, Durion kept me occupied for a good hour straight.

Survival score: 30-60 minute sessions.

Durion

s you know, I am a word game fanatic. In order to keep my attention, a new game must offer something unusual or distinctive. And it has to have a good dictionary. Durion’s dictionary is mostly OK. But the gameplay seemed to me, initially, to be pretty typical– a dropping letters game. You get a row of letters, make a word and zap it in for points, with bonuses for word length, speed, and how many times you’ve gone without a false entry. And so, it was headed for the recycle bin. But then I uncovered a couple of things — things I couldn’t pick up in the incredibly confusing instructions. First, I could make the letters drop faster. The default speed was mind numbingly slow. Second, I could move the letters around in the tray, a la Scrabble style. So instead of identifying words in the dropping letters, it became more of a strategy and probability game. I could choose some letters thinking that I had a high probability of using them in a word (different letters have different point value, so is a bit of a gamble — play it safe and run out of time, or go for the big points but possibly go bust!?) and then change my mind about what word to make as the letters continue to drop. As a result of this serendipitous discovery, Durion kept me occupied for a good hour straight.

Survival score: 30-60 minute sessions.

Train Defense

his game is sort of like a tower defense game except you don’t have towers, you have a train engine with one car, and you use your finger to lay down tracks to travel along. If you run out of track, you just sit still until you make more tracks. So, the game board has passengers to pick up on the left of the screen, and you drop them off on the right. Plus, a big ol’ water tower in the middle you need to go around. Simple enough. Yes, but then bad, bad vehicles start moving in, to steal your water or to shoot you. Did I mention that your train car has a turret on top? Luckily, you don’t have to aim, you just have to get close enough and it shoots on its own. You have a certain amount of life points. Once those are gone, the game is over. When you deliver passengers, you get “money,” which you can use to upgrade your weapons and add train cars, and so forth. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to get them attached. I think that’s just because I haven’t played enough. I get a little stressed out, so I only play a bit at a time.

Survival Score: Fun, in short bursts

Train Defense

his game is sort of like a tower defense game except you don’t have towers, you have a train engine with one car, and you use your finger to lay down tracks to travel along. If you run out of track, you just sit still until you make more tracks. So, the game board has passengers to pick up on the left of the screen, and you drop them off on the right. Plus, a big ol’ water tower in the middle you need to go around. Simple enough. Yes, but then bad, bad vehicles start moving in, to steal your water or to shoot you. Did I mention that your train car has a turret on top? Luckily, you don’t have to aim, you just have to get close enough and it shoots on its own. You have a certain amount of life points. Once those are gone, the game is over. When you deliver passengers, you get “money,” which you can use to upgrade your weapons and add train cars, and so forth. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to get them attached. I think that’s just because I haven’t played enough. I get a little stressed out, so I only play a bit at a time.

Survival Score: Fun, in short bursts

Control Craft and Control Craft 2

My son tells me games like Control Craft are called “real time strategy’ games. I’m not quite sure what that means, but strategy is definitely at the core of what I like Control Craft. It’s basically you against 1 or 2 computer opponents. You each have 1 or 2 outposts. These outposts create — “spawn” — soldiers and hold onto them until your dispatch them to another outpost (either all of once or half of them) to capture it. Then those captured outposts make even more soldiers. Eventually, you have to battle the enemy over an outpost, taking it over with the sheer number of soldiers you throw at it. You win the round when you have captured all of the outposts (or, you lose the level when you have no outposts left). The pacing is a little slow, plodding even…must be all the equipment the soldier have to carry. There is nice variety — soldiers can fly from some outposts, and some create double sized super-soldiers. There are defensive towers that zap you until you capture them, and some outposts create soldiers faster than others do. Gameplay is the same in both the original and the sequel. HOWEVER, the first I rate 5 starts and the second only 4, because there are levels in the second that I found impossible to even come close to winning…the strategy there, I think, is that the game developers want to capture your money…you need to put down real cash to purchase special weapons. A buck for 1 measly bomb? Well, forget that. I just won’t play those last 3 levels!

Survival score: Played all the way through, several hours.

Control Craft and Control Craft 2

My son tells me games like Control Craft are called “real time strategy’ games. I’m not quite sure what that means, but strategy is definitely at the core of what I like Control Craft. It’s basically you against 1 or 2 computer opponents. You each have 1 or 2 outposts. These outposts create — “spawn” — soldiers and hold onto them until your dispatch them to another outpost (either all of once or half of them) to capture it. Then those captured outposts make even more soldiers. Eventually, you have to battle the enemy over an outpost, taking it over with the sheer number of soldiers you throw at it. You win the round when you have captured all of the outposts (or, you lose the level when you have no outposts left). The pacing is a little slow, plodding even…must be all the equipment the soldier have to carry. There is nice variety — soldiers can fly from some outposts, and some create double sized super-soldiers. There are defensive towers that zap you until you capture them, and some outposts create soldiers faster than others do. Gameplay is the same in both the original and the sequel. HOWEVER, the first I rate 5 starts and the second only 4, because there are levels in the second that I found impossible to even come close to winning…the strategy there, I think, is that the game developers want to capture your money…you need to put down real cash to purchase special weapons. A buck for 1 measly bomb? Well, forget that. I just won’t play those last 3 levels!

Survival score: Played all the way through, several hours.

Roads of Rome HD

What, you say, you were intrigued by my last post and want to try another one? Roads of Rome is pretty standard. Much closer to the standard approach of the genre — to build a road, while overcoming obstacles, gathering a gem or two, making sure your workers are fed, and finishing before dark. And the standard interface…the only distinguishing feature here is that the tiny workers are wearing togas and sandals. The side story, such as it is, is that the emperor is keeping the General in the field fixing roads in order to keep him away from his daughter. I won’t give away the ending, suffice it to say they are depending on you.

Survival score: Straight through, 10-20 hours.

Roads of Rome HD

What, you say, you were intrigued by my last post and want to try another one? Roads of Rome is pretty standard. Much closer to the standard approach of the genre — to build a road, while overcoming obstacles, gathering a gem or two, making sure your workers are fed, and finishing before dark. And the standard interface…the only distinguishing feature here is that the tiny workers are wearing togas and sandals. The side story, such as it is, is that the emperor is keeping the General in the field fixing roads in order to keep him away from his daughter. I won’t give away the ending, suffice it to say they are depending on you.

Survival score: Straight through, 10-20 hours.