Tag Archives: nancy drew

That’s a lot of games…

For the past 6 weeks, while keeping appointments, applying to a few jobs, following research project leads, etc., I’ve mostly been playing digital games. Attempting one or two sentence descriptions/reviews…

FTL: Faster Than Light – A gem. Roguelike meets Space Alert is an odd description but sort of makes sense. IMHO, best game of 2012. I played this in September (got early access as a kickstarter) but threw it in this list since it’s so good. 59 hours.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown – The atmosphere of the original mixed with simpler 2-actions-per-turn mechanics, almost like a board game. Almost reminds me of Incubation, which btw is a really great tactical puzzle game. 130 hours.

Divinity 2 – Action RPG with lots of quests but not much decision making. Combat is engaging and challenging on higher difficulties, but. ultimately. it’s mostly a grind, like Kingdoms of Amalur. 70 hours.

Dishonored – Stealthy play through. Love the art design. Game was so-so. ~20 hours.

Defender’s Quest – Tower defense meets RPG. I kickstarted this for the artwork. I wish there was a branching storyline with interesting decisions and less grind. 46 hours.

Cthulhu Saves the World – I love the humor and the attempt to minimize the grind, but man… I just couldn’t do it. 42 minutes.

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller, episode 1 – I kickstarted this one, too, mostly due to their previous work on the indie King’s Quest fan game. Episode 1 is really quite good. Longish wait times between screens, though. Reminds me of Still Life (the really good first one, not the meh second one). Erica Reed, like Victoria McPherson, is an FBI agent tracking down a serial killer. ~8 hours.

East Side Story: A Carol Reed Mystery – Odd 1st-person adventure game featuring photographs using Photoshop’s watercolor filter. One in a series of games. Unfortunately, I found it really quite boring and the artwork more quaint than edgy. No relation to Cognition. Didnt’ finish. ~1 hour.

Nancy Drew: Alibi in Ashes – I’ve got this love hate relationship with Nancy Drew games. Each one has needlessly time-consuming travel elements (the town map that you drive around in is cool, except that you don’t actually get to drive and just point at a location–after tediously hotspot searching with your mouse–and wait, wait, wait). The voice acting is getting a little tired (same woman for like a bazillion games whose voice is starting to sound pretty old), making me hope they recast soon. But still… I like the NPC interaction (though I wish it had branching dialog). The Haunted Carousel, btw, had the best, almost Planescape-like, dialog. ~8 hours.

Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel – The very first scene has possibly the worst voice acting I’ve ever heard, killing the game. ~15 minutes.

Captain Morgane – I liked So Blonde, but this game felt like a step backwards, actually. Bizarre choice to give the main character a French accent (while the rest were mostly English) yet not know any French. Three art styles mashed together (lovely manga/comic-book-inspired illustrations for the cutscenes and backgrounds, dated low-poly character models during the main point-n-click adventure game, and bizarre super-deformed animation during mini-games). Sometimes humorous writing, but really weak intro and ending. ~8 hours.

Clover: A Curious Tale – I like it a lot. Reminds me of the later and much shorter Android game Quiet, Please! Unfortunately, I got stuck, and, apparently, there are no walkthroughs for this game. I would have thought this game would’ve been more popular… ~3 hours.

Dirty Split – Wow. I love the retro 1960s art. Short but fun game with good voice acting. Free! ~3 hours.

This puts a too-small dent into the backlog I have. Seriously. I think it would take another two months to get through all of the games on my list. Starting December, however, I’ll be ramping up research projects and game design, probably reserving only about 20-30 hours a week for playing instead of 50 or so.


mini-reviews for games I played in Nov and Dec 2009

I figure I’d start off this year with a massive list of games I’ve played recently and then post individual game reviews as I play them. Also, for the new year, I’m going to try to endeavor to think more critically and reflectively about the games I play. But here’s a non-critical list of the games I remember playing in the last two months of 2009:


  • Torchlight – level 35 or so, finished main quest. Fun Diablo clone with great art. Not sure it has legs, but it’s good for when you need a 30 min wind-down diversion.
  • Dragon Age: Origins – twice, on third iteration now. Google for reviews. I can’t really add anything more other than to say that it has very strong introductory chapters for the different origin stories you can choose for your character, drags a little in the middle (massing an army can be tedious), and has a relatively short end-game (what we’d get that army for again?), but all in all, classic Bioware and a triumphant return of deep(ish) party dialog. Looking forward to community mods.
  • Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon – I bought this game years ago but it never installed on my various computers I’ve owned over the last few years. Buggy install is a bitch. I saw it on Steam 2 weeks ago and figured I’d give it another shot. It worked! and it’s a pretty good game. Odd Tomb Raider-esque ledge climbing given its pedigree (the first two were point-n-click 2D adventure games), but they didn’t really bother me. The art did take a turn backwards though when they moved to blocky 3D. I played Broken Sword 4 a couple of years ago and remember it being much prettier.
  • Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy – Yes, I’m a sucker for Nancy Drew games. They’re all generally the same with not much innovation between iterations, but that lets them pound out… what two dozen games? in the last few years. Kinda like trashy romance novels.
  • Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships – Sailing and driving around was pretty fun, I have to admit. That was new.
  • Mirror’s Edge – the first-person pakour game that came out a year or so ago. Most games I play are at least a year old so I can afford them… But anyway, yes, this game was fun. Shortish. Captivating music. The cutscenes were done in cool Samurai Jack-esque cutout-esque artwork. It was frustrating a few times, but overall good. Racing game combined with platformer combined with FPS. Neat.


  • Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes – Best DS game of 2009 for me. Though, admittedly, I haven’t played GTA or the new Zelda. Essentially, a puzzle game with RPG elements. Engaged me more than Puzzle Quest did.
  • Broken Sword 1: Shadow of the Templars – haven’t quite finished it yet. Just as good as I remember from playing it years ago when it first came out and then replaying it a couple of years ago on the PC. For some reason, Nico’s apartment as a sort of home base works really well and is missing from the later games in the series. Also, being able to talk about everything to everyone and get (mostly) unique dialog is pretty cool. The DS version adds some nice 2nd-screen portrait close-ups when talking with NPCs but the small main screen makes seeing the various environment elements a little harder, though they tried to make up for it by making things highlight when you touch the screen with your stylus. I bet the Wii version is great, so go buy it if you have a Wii!

Xbox 360

  • Fable II – Got this pretty much right after I (finally) bought an Xbox 360 in November. I think I liked the original Fable more. The morality system was pretty meaningless since it didn’t affect the story at all, just your character’s visuals.
  • Lego Batman – Playing with Robin. We aren’t done, yet. It’s fun. 🙂
  • various incarnations of Rock Band – Fun as always. The main reason we got an Xbox 360, actually. Well, that and the fact that it hooks up nicely to my home network and Windows Media Center.
  • Forza Motorsport 3 – When we get a house and a dedicated home theater room some day (I want to take you to a monster-free city), I’ll be getting a racing chair and a wheel to go with whatever version of Forza exists then… It is sooo beautiful. Damage modeling, too!


  • New Super Mario Bros. – Haven’t actually gotten to play it much, but I like it. The kids we sometimes hang out with like it.
  • Wii Sports Resort – borrowed from Steve. I spent a few hours just flying around. 🙂 Sword fighting is fun.
  • Wii Fit Plus – We had to rearrange our office to make enough room between the couch and TV for the Wii balance board. Now that we’ve set it up, we’ve used it maybe once a week, which is better than sitting on our asses all the time. Pretty fun so far, actually.