I'm a victim of soicumstance! It was sabatoogie!

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9

Faerie Solitaire

Game review

This is the best form of solitaire I've come across designed for speed playing. It doesn't require as much study as, say, Yukon and it's not even necessary to remove every card (called a 'perfect' in this game) every time. Meanwhile, choosing which set of cards to play next can be crucial and the undo count is dear. The game is divided into turns, which are in turn divided into nine hands. Each turn has certain requirements (such as a number of 'perfects', earning some amount of money, etc.) as well as a health bar that fills through the turn that lets you release a fairy at the end of the turn.

Along the way, there are resources and eggs to collect; the eggs hatch into pets and the resources 'evolve' them. There are also a few powerups you can buy in "Faerie Land" that change the gameplay a bit. And, completing the modern casual game triffecta, it has an achievement system. I consider all three a bit of a pointless distraction, to be honest, but the pet thing is cute, at least.

The first part of a game is an adventure wherein some faeries are in trouble and you must save them and whatnot. It's fairly standard stuff and a child can enjoy the game, as well, though depending on the temperament of your child and how much they love faeries, they might or might not be disturbed when 'Ted' Theodore Logan describes them as "crying in pain" and such.

That brings me to one my two major grievances with this game. Of all the thespians the voice actor could channel, why Keanu Reeves? I kept expecting the voiceover to say, "No way, Bill!" The fault of something like that usually lies at the feet of the voiceover director, to be fair. The second thing is the background music, which is very repetitive over time, but it gets better when you turn the music volume down. The rest of the sound is very good.

A final word: I use openSUSE Linux 11.4 and the game runs without any problems (beyond a problem with fullscreen that's typical when using TwinView and easily solved).

9

Trauma

Game review - 1 agree

I'll lay it out straight: If you feel that art and film critics are generally pretentious know-it-alls who give good reviews to boring movies while giving bad reviews to the really good ones, there's a good chance this game is not for you.

For everyone else, this is a fascinating work that blurs the line between game and art film. The challenge isn't great, but it's enough to be entertaining. And that's plenty challenging enough because the story makes up for any lack of challenge. In fact, it's possible that being any more challenging than it is could cause a little frustration that would detract from the experience.

The good thing is that there are no wrong moves, only moves you might fail to make. But there's no limit, either, so if you can't find something the first time, you can keep trying until you find what you missed.

As others have stated, it's short. But it's satisfying, as well. Actually, there appear to be two endings and, despite the difference being very small, one is far more satisfying than the other. While I understand the complaints about length, it seems as though this is one instance where the artistic integrity of the whole would likely be diminished if the makers had sought to draw it out simply for the sake of length.

A final word on the subject matter: Those familiar with psychotherapy, whether from personal experience or that of a loved one, will find that much of this can hit close to home. However, I feel there is enough of a separation that most will not be triggered negatively.

10

Machinarium

Game review

Before I played this game, I agreed with Roger Ebert's assessment that video games cannot be art. Since playing it, however, my view has completely changed. I followed this up by playing Samorost online and purchasing Samorost 2 when I was finished. I am thoroughly convinced and look forward to what else this company might bring us.

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