Monday, March 15, 2010

Try It Or Die (2)

(week of March 14th 2010)

Here's my picks of the week.

Ninja Chop Review (240 MP)

Oh where to begin. Fine, sue me - I am giving this a shout out partially (just partially!) because it involves a busty female cartoon protagonist karate chopping milk bottles. It's entirely gratuitous and a little bit genius - come on, you know it.

I experienced 15-20 minutes of good fun here, often because I couldn't believe what I was seeing and was laughing my ass off. You play as the aforementioned busty Asian karate student and the goal of the game is to chop as many milk bottles (up to five) as you can in one swipe. Successful strikes cause the milk bottles to shower your character with "milk" and gain experience, which allows you to change into new unlockable clean outfits. Well, that is until you inevitably shower yourself with more milk ("oh jeez, more milk on my blouse?").

Ninja Chop does have some other things going for it. Visually it's quite pleasing with a mix of 2D and 3D graphics and attractive backgrounds that change according to the four seasons. You can change camera angles, there are some solid special effects, and the modest outfit customization helps with a feeling of progression. I have to point out that upon every single chop, the camera's second fast-paced shot zooms directly to the chest of the main character - wazzaam!!

That all said, the obvious pitfall is the shallow primary gameplay mechanic. Essentially all you do is time the press of a button according to a sliding bar, which is really something that we've all played before and is really considered more of a "mini-game." The better your timing, the more milk jugs that you chop. It's addicting, but far from innovative or impressive. It's probably not going to win everyone over. Good graphics aside, this gameplay probably calls for a lower price point.

I am just hoping this is the trend setter for a long run of fetish games. Latex, fuzzies, feet, asphyxiation? Bring it on.

Word Duelist Review (80 MP)

And now something completely different. It's nice to see a word/puzzle game with such care put into the artwork and atmosphere. And honestly that's exactly why Word Duelist is a standout title for me this week. The colorful characters and backdrop of a word-loving "university" offer up a more appealing setting than just jumping into your average word jumble or spelling game.

It's also the perfect setting for learning obviously, so it's worth noting the possible fun factor as an educational game for kids/teens.

The overall concept is heavily focused around a variety of word games - some familiar, some with new twists (15 in total). You challenge various opponents around campus (hence the "dueling") and try to best them. While I am not personally a big fan of word games, my interest was retained by traveling the campus, talking to some of the odd characters and unlocking new games.

It probably goes without saying that Word Duelist is best played with a human friend. I found that playing against the computer has some funny quirks. Because the computer opponents have the same letters/challenge you do, I was actually able to cheat a little by watching them work and stealing ideas, or one-upping them in order to win. For example, there is a game where the goal is to spell the longest word using a set of letters, I could watch the computer spelling it's answer then either make a word one letter longer or if I couldn't think of one, just copy the computer to make it a tie. Dirty, I know - but sort of an exploit that might be abused.

All and all though, the large variety of word games, educational elements, and nice presentation make this worth checking out - especially if you're a fan of the genre and have a spare buck sitting around.

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