Showing posts with label simulation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label simulation. Show all posts

Monday, October 22, 2012

Side by Side, Deep Sleep, Mastermind: World Conqueror

This entry has been sitting in backlog for, like, two weeks! Go figure. Perhaps I was subconsciously saving one of the best horror-themed browser games for Halloween, yet laziness won out.

Side by Side

Mammoths need love too, and these two lovely beasts are trying SO HARD to reach one another's world. I'm not sure what THAT'S all about, but it's up to you to unite them through a series of puzzles. The controls are a bit tricky at first, and the map screen looks a liiiiiittle cluttered, but overall I think it's worth playing.

Deep Sleep

You're asleep. You've got to wake up. WAKE UP. Deep Sleep is a genuinely creepy game, with crazy sounds, a bizarre atmosphere that would make most survival horror games proud, and an... interesting... story. A point-and-click adventure that'll probably freak you out, even if it's just a little bit. Play it at night, with the sound cranked, for maximum potency. (Damn, shoulda saved this for Halloween.)

Mastermind: World Conqueror

You are MASTERMIND. You must rule the WORLD. Resource management and static tower defense, that's World Conqueror. This is a deep, robust game that's likely to last a hell of a lot longer than your average browser experience, and more than fun enough to warrant the time spent. Huzzah for sacrificing patsies and robbing gas stations!

All done! Next on Browser Rousers: who knows, I have no more backlogged posts.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Infectonator 2, WorldBox 2, Endless War 6

Infectonator 2

I've been waiting for an Infectonator sequel for a while, now, and I was more than pleased with the results. Your goal is still the same: eliminate the world with a horrifying zombie virus. The scope of the game has increased dramatically, however, with TONS more levels, a lot of upgrades, much-improved graphics, and a better sense of humour. There's almost no point in playing the original Infectonator anymore, as number two is better in virtually every way.


WorldBox isn't so much a game as it is a simple simulator. You have a world, you can build more of a world. Or take it away. Or other stuff. This is basically a very limited version of a Sim game with few consequences if you lose. It's not that great, but it appears to be a base for something a hell of a lot better, and I look forward to whatever it might create in the future.

Endless War 6

You are tank. You blow shit up. That about does it for Endless War 6, like the previous games. There is OTHER stuff to consider, of course, but it boils down to mashing your opponents. I haven't played the previous games in the series, but I like this one, if for no other reason, for the fact that you get to drive alongside a bunch of other troops. You're part of a coordinated whole, and that's pretty cool.

Monday, September 17, 2012

bit Dungeon, Spaceship, Farm and Grow

Today's Browser Rousers takes place as I watch I, Robot! The entry has next to nothing to do with that fact, but I thought I'd point it out. Decent movie. Nothing fantastic.

First up: a point-and-click dungeon crawler! Weird combo.

bit Dungeon

You and your wife have been kidnapped and locked in a dungeon. She's presumably helpless (haven't beaten the game yet), you presumably aren't. Save her with a mass of swordplay clicking reminiscent of Legend of Zelda. Interesting concept, though the action can be awkward with the wrong device, and the interface is a little basic. No saving? Boo.


Usually in space shooters you're a human protecting the motherland against aliens. In Spaceship, you're an alien fending off humans. (I think. Story's sparse.) Fun, relatively basic side-scrolling shooter, a little slower-paced than other, similar games, with lotsa pretty backgrounds and funky ships. I love the art style.

Ever created a farm in a video game? Yes? Well, do it again anyway. Farm and Grow dispenses with cutesy graphics and conversations with town folk for pure farming strategy. Labour your days away in this simplistic-looking but surprisingly complex sim. No tutorial, so you'll have to learn as you go.

Alllllll done! Bit busy today, so I only did three. I'll toss an extra one on Wednesday. See ya then!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Corporation Inc

Ever wanted all the fun of a mindless, button-pushing desk job in the comfort of your own home? Now you can have it! Corporation Inc can fulfill your every monotonous need, and is guaranteed to be at least a LITTLE more fun than mindless eight-hour-a-day tedium! Joy!


Ever played SimTower before? Corporation Inc is fairly similar, though on more of a micro-managing level. You are the invisible building manager at a button-pushing company (literally, that's all they do), and it's your job to build an office, employ workers, upgrade facilities, provide entertainment, lavish promotions onto employees and otherwise deal with all the nonsense that comes with such a job. Balanced budget ahoy!

Really, that's Corporation Inc in a nutshell. It's a sim. Construct a vertical office and watch as tiny people run in and out all day, completing mindlessly repetitive tasks. I found it quite similar to SimTower, and thus enjoyed the experience. I'm sure others will find it boring. (Which is part of the point, no?)



My only control beef is accurate clicking. Eventually you have so many employees on the screen that's it's difficult to click on the right person, or environment, or whatever. A list for remotely promoting or firing employees would be grand.


This isn't a beautiful game, nor is it an ugly game. Corporation Inc simply is. I appreciate the vacant, hopeless stares of the employees, at least. I can relate. (Also, the idea of a skyhook lifting people through a building is hilarious.)

The big problem here is scope. Once your office gets big enough, you'll have (literally) hundreds of employees running around at the same time. That can be a HUGE drain on system resources. I highly recommend downsizing the graphics to the lowest setting. Particularly if you're a laptop user. (Like me.) The difference is, after a few minutes, negligible.


The music is meh. It fades into the background and vanishes in no time. Whenever people are working you're subjected to the ceaseless clacking of keystrokes, which for ANY computer user is probably heard too often each day anyway. Muted.

Challenge Rating

Corporation Inc scales nicely, depending on the difficulty level. Easy is VERY easy, and Hard is quite hard.

... at least at the beginning. I've had the game running for about half an hour while I've written this review, almost completely unattended, and nothing's gone wrong. On Hard mode, no less.

Corporation Inc's primary problem is a lack of challenge once you squirrel away enough money. Hard starts you with very little, so it can be difficult to keep your employees happy for the first few days. The game's reliance on objectives makes gaining money easier than it initially seems, though, and with enough moolah you can simply hire enough employees to sweep away any difficulties.

(Or, yes, you could promote some of your existing employees to make them more effective. Truth be told, though, new hires solve more problems than promotions. Seemed that way to me, anyway.)

In short? Needs more foul-ups. More things should go wrong in Corporation Inc to improve the difficulty. Your own patience is the only real enemy here.


I'm all for more browser-based sim games, and Corporation Inc is definitely a good start. As it is, though, this title still needs some refining. WAY too easy.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Pandemic: American Swine

I've long enjoyed the Pandemic series, particularly Pandemic II. It's a classic game, despite its Madagascarian hangups, and worth trotting out every once and a while for another go. And, given its popularity online, I always wondered when a third installment might appear.

... turns out it already has. This time, though, it's focusing solely on the United States - and rather than being the disease, you're in charge of the cure. Consequently, I found this game to be much less interesting to play.


Unlike the previous Pandemic games, you're burdened with a very specific ailment in American Swine: swine flu. (Duh.) And, also unlike the other games, AMERICAN Swine focuses entirely on the United States. Probably a good thing, as well - keeping tracking of every area in every country around the world would prove hellish. (And wouldn't make sense. Countries don't band together THAT much under a crisis.)

American Swine more or less gives you control of the United States internal and external policy on all matters related to disease control. This includes, but is not limited to: vaccination research, deployment of the army, opening and closing borders to tourism, spin control for the media and, in severe cases, bombing infected cities into the ground to prevent the spread of the flu. It's a heavily-nuanced game, but the various facets are easy to understand with a bit of practice.

... but, again, I find it much less interesting than before.

Maybe I'm deranged in some fundamental way, but the Pandemic games are a lot more fun when you're playing as the disease. Once you become the center of a curative effort much of the fun is sucked out of the game, and it becomes little more than another resource-allocation effort. A solid one, at that, but... nothing terribly innovative or interesting.


Heeeeeeere mousy mousy mousy.


American Swine is visually similar to Pandemic II in that it's a giant map in various shades of green and orange, depending on the severity of the flu in the American states. This new game sports more advanced icons in each state to represent different services, however, and combining that with nicer-looking menus makes it an overall more attractive game than Pandemic II.


American Swine, like Pandemic II, relies on a single, repeating track to emphasize the threat of contamination, though in this case it's an operatic doom-and-gloom piece. It sounds nice, yes, but it seems a little out of place, given the setting of the game, and even if it was suitable it gets tiresome over time. Change it up depending on the severity of the pandemic, perhaps?

Challenge Rating

Like Pandemic II, most of the review meat for American Swine will come right here. How tough is this game?

Answer: it depends on your difficulty setting. Normal, though moderately troublesome, is fairly easy. Move up from there and you'll have a hell of a lot of trouble containing the flu. The gap between the difficulties is perhaps a little too huge for my tastes, but there you are.

The primary troublemaker in American Swine is the Panic indicator. As things get worse and press reports on your progress become more dire, the Panic indicator will rise. If absolutely every living soul in American Swine is panicked, it's game over. I found that Panic was the big separator between Normal and Hard: in Normal it seldom rises at all, whereas in Hard it jumps up at near-unfair intervals. Given the amount of money you're allocated each month, it seems damn near impossible to keep everyone happy.

Like Pandemic II, American Swine will eventually get to a point where you'll ignore the game and wait for the inevitable conclusion as sick people die off, leaving only the healthy, immunized population behind. Panic is no longer an issue. I have trouble ranking a game as good when ignoring it for long stretches is part of the required game play, but really, you won't have to watch American Swine at work all the time. There's little point.

(I'd also like to make note of the fact that MILLIONS OF PEOPLE DYING in some states doesn't seem to faze the population much, especially in Normal. I dropped a neutron bomb on Colorado Springs just for fun, and the Panic indicator didn't bat an eyelash. Maybe that was a glitch? Heartless, America, heartless.)

In Conclusion?

Pandemic: American Swine is a good enough game. It's largely glitch-free, it boasts an interesting, workable system of game mechanics, and it takes up more free time than your average browser game.

That said... it's just not as interesting as murdering the world with a customized parasite. Know what I mean?


Monday, March 5, 2012

The Love Letter

If there's one schoolyard romance cliche that's never going to fade, it's the love letter. True, most kids probably send each other love texts or PMs or whatever these days, but the idea is the same: one blossoming adolescent sending a token of their affection to another blossoming adolescent. Will they find true love? Or will one reject the other? That's kinda the point of The Love Letter - though it could also be a condemnation of nosy-ass friends.


You are the most popular boy in school (public, catholic, high, low, not sure what it is). You have tons of friends who will chat with you at the drop of a hat - and this is problematic, because you've just received a love letter from a mysterious girl. You need to read the letter and discover the details of her love... but you have only five minutes to do so before second period, and privacy is somewhat lacking in crowded school hallways.

That, then, is the point of The Love Letter: read the letter, in five minutes, without anyone discovering your furtive perusal. A novel concept, if not the most exciting, though the excitement comes more from the game's 'awwwwww' factor than standard browser game stuff.


The Love Letter offers two control schemes: use the mouse or use the arrow keys. Click with one to read the letter when no one's watching, or hold down SPACE for the other. (Or use a combo, up to you.) I prefer using the arrow keys, myself, as you seldom need swift motions to beat The Love Letter, and I found myself getting stuck on walls while using the mouse.


Pure retro, baby. The Love Letter is just another throwback title to add to the pile. The graphics are hardly glamourous, but they're clean and interesting enough for a game that only lasts five minutes.


The Love Letter has two MIDI-ized tracks: one that's a kind of standard jaunty tune, and one that's token luv. They're alright, nothing special.

Challenge Rating

The Love Letter is one of the easiest browser games I've ever played. There are lots of students roaming the halls, true, and they do seem to home in on your position while you're trying to read, but once you get the hang of corralling the little bastards on one side of the map while you run to the other reading the letter becomes a cake walk. I don't think extreme difficulty was foremost in the programmer's mind - this is supposed to be a swift, sweet romance, not an endurance trial.


The Love Letter is a tiny, interactive story, and not much else. You'll probably play this once, read the letter, meet the girl, suggest it to a friend or two, then forget it exists. Hardly a terrible experience, but not memorable, either. (That said, this mechanic COULD be used to craft a more difficult multi-level game without much trouble, and that might be more interesting to play.)


Monday, February 27, 2012

Zombies, Inc.

Zombies are big business these days. They've become so deeply ingrained in popular culture that you're hard pressed to surf the Internet without coming across references to zombies. Consequently, it was only a matter of time before zombies themselves took up the business - and in doing so, began spreading themselves across the planet.

Okay, so, that's not ACTUALLY happening. But it can in Flash form!


I more or less ran through the idea behind Zombies, Inc. already, but here's a more direct approach: you're the CEO of the game's company. It's your job to lead Zombie, Inc.'s business strategy to financial and military success through purchasable products, the hiring of new staff and, of course, sending zombies out into cities worldwide to spread mayhem. The more money you're earning, the stronger your zombies can become - assuming you don't run your company into the red by accident and bankrupt yourself in the process.

The zombie presence aside, Zombies, Inc. is primarily a resource allocation simulator, somewhat akin to the Sim line. Granted, it's simplified and somewhat easy as a result, but it's still an excellent idea for a browser game - at least for a while.




Zombies, Inc. boasts some fairly decent graphics, considering it relies more on strategy than visualization to capture players. Even though you're stuck seeing the same animations repeated over and over, they're at least consistently GOOD animations. These cartoony zombies bring more life to the table than the average undead dunces populating these sorts of games. The more zombies you have on staff the slower the game gets, though, so be wary.


Zombies, Inc. features a single madcap horror song that repeats itself endlessly. That in and of itself is a slight irritant, though the song is generally quiet enough that it should blend effortlessly into the background after a while. The various sound effects outside the song are, as well, fairly negligible in affecting the game one way or another.

Challenge Rating

Zombies, Inc. is not a difficult game. At first it SEEMS like it might be, but it's not. Just about any player could challenge and beat the Hard mode right after their first play through.

For the first little while, you'll struggle with money. Your zombies won't be strong enough to beat many human cities, and you'll be forced to wait as cash trickles in. After about twenty minutes of playing that will probably cease to be a problem, however, as conquering cities starts yielding insane amounts of cash, and even though expansion increases your expenses, it does little to raise the difficulty bar. By the end you'll likely have millions of dollars squirreled away, and without much effort to boot:

What's more, once you unlock the game's strongest zombies the strategy gets stripped away from Zombies, Inc., reducing the game play to a climactic ten minutes of conquering a city, refilling your ranks, conquering the next city, refilling and so forth. It's a regrettably tedious end to an otherwise interesting experience.


Zombies, Inc. is, despite a few small drawbacks, a good game. It lasts a decent while, and at first should provide a sufficient challenge to simulation enthusiasts. That's just at first, though, and once you get the hang of world domination, it sorta becomes a chore. Definitely worth playing, probably not worth too many repeat ventures.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Pandemic II

Few Flash games have risen to such heights that they've spawned memes. Pandemic II, however, has not only generated a meme, it's generated one that's popular enough to bring about recognition even if someone hasn't played the game. That's quite a feat.

Oh, and, yeah, the game itself is pretty good too. But the meme! The meme!


Unlike most games, Pandemic II actually gives you the role of the aggressor. You are a virus (or bacteria, or parasite, your choice), hell-bent on infecting the world and bringing the human race to its knees. You can evolve, you can spread, and you're ready to cause some trouble.

In essence, then, Pandemic II is a simulation. You are a sickness that's trying to overcome the natural and medical defenses of mankind in an effort to wipe every last person from the face of the map. You do this by slowly evolving your disease to include new symptoms and immunities that will allow it to spread to every country. Do so too quickly or improperly, however, and the governments of the world will take measures to stop the spread, including a vaccine that can bring an immature halt to your pandemic.

Yeah. Cheery concept, eh?


You use a mouse to navigate menus. 'nough said.


Pandemic II sports a relatively basic map of the world and a few menus for evolving your disease and checking up on humanity's progress. Nothing to gawk over, though it gets the job done.


Pandemic II is all about a single music track that's straight out of any number of medical alert movies. It gets pretty irritating after a dozen repetitions.

Challenge Rating

Thought this was gonna be a short review, eh? Here's all the meat.

Pandemic II is a difficult game. It's not difficult to spread your disease to MOST of the world, despite humanity's stopgap measures - it's just getting to one country in PARTICULAR that's tricky. It's this country that spawned the successful Internet meme in the first place:


Madagascar is your real foe in Pandemic II. True, some other countries can shut their borders and kill an otherwise successful game, but most of the time, it's Madagascar that will hit you first. The damn place has no bordering countries, being an island, and it only has a port that allows for infection - and once that port closes down, it's game over. You can't win. You might as well shut your browser and play something else if you see the above picture.

Consequently, Pandemic II is a frustrating experience. It's fun as hell, sure, and you can still go on to enjoy wiping out the rest of humanity, like so:

But you'll always have to live with that one little dot of green on an otherwise orange-red planet. Sigh.

The problem of Madagascar is a bit of a game breaker for me in that you're more or less forced to pick parasites as your starter of choice if you want to succeed. Viruses and bacteria spread too quickly and too openly to prove viable choices, leaving only the meticulous parasites to break through to Madagascar - and even they have a hell of a time. And the worst part is, the spread of your disease is a little luck-based dependent on where you start, so you may be doomed at the beginning of some sessions.

In conclusion?

Give Madagascar a damned airport.

Otherwise, fun game.


Friday, November 11, 2011

American Dream

Ever had a dream? Did it include making millions of dollars off the stock profits of celebrities? Then you've found the right game in American Dream, the artsy Flash project thing that mocks consumerism! Yay!


American Dream is a rough approximation of the actual social dynamic of the western world, though pushed to somewhat ludicrous limits. Your goal is simple: make $1,000,000 bartering on the stock market each day, buying and selling stocks that are... well...

Yeah. Celebrities. Bill Cosby, Mr. T, Rick Astley, Michael Jackson... each one is worth a bit more than the last, and you need to buy and sell your way up the ranks to eventually earn $1,000,000 and win the game. Yay.

But there's a catch! See, you're a trendy, go-getting little industrialist-type, and so you need to keep your home well-furnished so that people will go to your parties and appreciate all of your stuff. Naturally your furniture becomes outdated in a hurry, so replacing it all on a regular basis is a necessity. (Like, almost immediately after you buy the stuff.)


American Dream is pretty simple. You use the arrow keys to navigate the menus (or your house), and the action key (z) to confirm, well, actions. My browser cut off the actions printed at the bottom of the screen and wouldn't let me scroll down, so I floundered about on the keyboard until I discovered what was what. If this happens to you, keep Z in mind.


American Dream is... okay. I like the 8-to-16-bit look of the house, but the rest of the game is pretty crude, the stuff of the Commodore 64 era. Which is fine, since it's supposed to be an ugly subject, though I will admit that I found the weird flashing pictures of peoples' faces rather annoying. They are meant to be obnoxious, however, soooo... mission accomplished?


The music in American Dream borders on the edge of old, harddrive-generated music, albeit slightly better. I enjoy the jaunty The Sims-esque song that plays whenever you're in the house, but the weird techno stuff that plays whenever you go to work is... bleh.

Challenge Rating

Though it takes a while, earning $1,000,000 in American Dream is pretty damn easy. Do as your 'advisor' says and buy low, sell high. Jump on stocks in the negative and sell 'em when they're in the positive. The stocks fluctuate every time you go between screens, so you won't have any trouble getting your investments to soar. Then buy better stocks until you make your way up the playing field. (Oh, and despite the early pressure to buy new stuff for your house, you don't have to at all. There's no penalty for ignoring your house, as far as I can tell.)

In short, American Dream is not challenging. I don't think that's the point of the game, however, so... shrug?


American Dream is an odd experience. It's an art game with a message, but getting to the message isn't fun. You just mess with prices and buy new stuff until you win. I suppose that's exactly the way the programmers wanted it to go, but the end result isn't terribly compelling. Still, it's worth playing for the rather grim picture it paints of the world of high finance.