Archive for the ‘sim’ Category

Kudos 2 Review

October 20, 2008

Kudos 2 is the sequel to Positech Games life simulator game, Kudos (read the Kudos 1 review). The game puts you in control of making your character’s everyday decisions from their 20th birthday to their 30th. If you are familiar with Kudos, then you definitely know what to expect in the sequel. You start out as a waiter and make day to day decisions with the click of your mouse: pick your mode of transportation to work, decide to take night classes or go out drinking during the week, etc. Not much has changed since the first one except a significantly enhanced style and presentation.

Gameplay: 8/10
Pros: The same strategy gameplay from Kudos returns to Kudos 2. The game is very simple to play (but definitely hard to master) and surprisingly addictive. The new ability to customize your avatar really adds a lot to the experience.
Cons: Gameplay consists of clicking and navigating menus. The tutorial/instruction of the game is a little scant. Your friends are way too needy! and your never seem to have enough cash (OK maybe this simulator is hitting close to home).

Graphics: 10/10
Pros: I actually didn’t notice how much better the graphics were till I looked at screens between the two games. Kudos 1 had freaky blank-faced character models and a washed out and colorless presentation (I guess it took place in Seattle or London) whereas Kudos 2 has slick customizable characters, and vibrant menus and a colorful presentation.
Cons: An utter lack of animation permeates the sequel, but then again, animation isn’t really needed for this type of game.


Sound/Music: 9/10
Pros: Congratulations to Jesse Hopkins who does a great job with the music for this game. The music is very calming, laid back and subtle. The music does a fantastic job capturing the mood of the day and the atmosphere of the game. Sound is kept to simple clicks and what I would call “alert sounds” (i.e. dog barking, rain falling, character coughing) that help notify the player of their situation.
Cons: Nothing really to complain about…

Lasting Appeal: 9/10
Pros: The bright and upbeat music and improved graphics of this sequel make a huge difference in the amount of time that you can spend playing the game. It takes a decent amount of time to live your life from 20-30 in the game, but the character customization and sheer amount of choices, skills and statistics add a lot of replay value.
Cons: I’m really not sure if this is a game or a simulator/strategy game. In many ways it’s more similar to a board game with stat tracking character sheets than a video game. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but also makes this game not suitable to everyone.

Average: 90.00%
Tilt: +/- 0.00%

Kudos 2 is a life simulator and that’s exactly what you get (and a vastly improved one at that) but if that explanation of the game alone makes you cringe than this game is absolutely not for you. It’s a very relaxing and enjoyable diversion where you can live a virtual life. The sheer amount of choice in this game is ridiculous. I do have a suggestion for Kudos 3. I think it would be fantastic if the game placed you in your senior year of high school rather than your 20s as a poor waiter. As an 18 year old, you would have high school friends, finish out your senior year of high school, apply and select a college (or start in the workforce), and continue to try and maintain long time friends as you move away from school into your 20s & 30s. This would break up the game and vary the virtual life experience a little more. All in all, I look forward to Kudos 3 and thoroughly enjoyed Kudos 2. The gameplay is only subtly changed, but the overall package is vastly improved.

Verdict: 90%

Outpost Kaloki (X) Review

October 18, 2008

Let me start out by saying that I love this game. More power to Ninjabee(http://www.ninjabee.com/)! They have 2 of my favorite Xbox Live Arcade games and they’ve only made 2 games for the 360 so far (as far as I know). I don’t really know how to describe Outpost Kaloki X. It is part Real Time Strategy Game, part Action Game, and part Puzzler. It all winds together into a great package. Outpost Kaloki was originally available for PC and was heralded with critical acclaim. Only reason I didn’t get it for PC was because I figured Xbox version for $10 was better than PC version for $20. Yes, as surprising as it may be, I dont’ make the big bucks blogging and making Video Games- the 9-5 job is the one that provides me with food. Bottom line is that Outpost Kaloki is a very addicting and frantic Action/RTS game and an absolute must buy for Xbox 360 owners.

Gameplay: 9/10
Pros: Gameplay is way quicker and action packed than most RTS. You really have to build things in the right order, and be ready to increase power, alter settings, and build the next building just as you’ve earned the money to pay for it in order to beat the level and not run out of time. I can’t imagine successfully managing my space station in ther later levels at the faster gameplay speeds. (After Level 6 I pretty much stuck with Speed 1). This all adds up to there constantly being something to do or attend to as you reach for your goal. The Controls are spot on and make it easy to navigate to all your expansions. The game is simple enough to pick up and play, but is a lot more complicated than you think.
Cons: This game can be pretty hard. I have been playing the game a lot and am not that far in the campaign, but have had to consistently replay levels in order to complete them (but I immediately clicked retry and got right back into it!). The instructions on how to play could have been more in depth to help you understand the necessary intricacies of gameplay. A tad too hard.
Graphics: 9/10
Pros: The graphics are fully 3d and the engine runs incredibly fast and smooth. What’s even better is the variety of stations that each new level brings, from a crazy pink domed station to a giant oak tree! What’s more important is that each facility/expansion is easily identifiable so you can quickly sell and upgrade or change attributes. I also love the cartoony feel of the menus and cast of characters and aliens.
Cons: Graphics definitely lack the wow factor since this game just focuses on resource management. No real battles or crazy effects to speak of, but you do have to love the hustle and bustle of a successful space station and all the dollar bill and money indicators.
Sound/Music: 8/10
Pros: The simple clicks and beeps of the menus work well. The cha-ching of money is always nice. The music is very catchy…and I have found myself grooving to it when my station is doing well and I’m in the zone. The music really stands out…but
Cons: The music really stands out…but it can be repetitive.
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Pros: The main campaign scenarios feature over 20 levels, add to that several downloadable scenarios, different story lines, and modes and you have a hefty game with plenty of levels and fun to be had. I just glanced at the Ninjabee website and there is significant DLC.
Cons: If you don’t like the game you won’t want to take advantage of these ways to extend it. It would’ve been cool to see some sort of multiplayer or online aspect.

Average: 90.00%
Tilt: +4.00%
I have to give a little extra to this title because last night everything just clicked and became uber fun. I finally advanced to a level with several options, tons of ships visiting my station, new upgrades, and not nearly enough time to get everything done. I failed the level twice, but then it all came together and money started pouring in as I frantically switched, repaired, and adjusted my expansions. With my continuing success came a joy and right before I finished the final objective, knowing my inevitable victory, I took a break from my feeble dancing attempts and yelled a resounding “Yes!” How many games can spur such a response? Not many…how many games can do it for $10? Even Less. Outpost Kaloki is a gem that I have to wholeheartedly recommend.
Verdict: 94%

Kudos Review

October 9, 2008

KUDOS website
DOWNLOAD THE FREE DEMO
BUY THE GAME NOW

Strategy/sim games are not usually my thing, but I just enjoyed Kudos. I’m not a stat-tracking convert, but KUDOS does a real good job making it fun and I can see how people would become completely and utterly addicted. Kudos has its flaws, but ultimately delivers what it promises: a life simulation.

Gameplay: 8/10
Pros: Very easy to use interface and crisp presentation makes taking night classes, going jogging, or out with friends a breeze. Very diverse ways to precede in the game- do you reject a friend’s invitation to apply for a better job, or enjoy a game of bowling with your last 11 pounds?
Cons: I’m not really sure if KUDOS is a “game” since you really are just weighing decisions and deciding what to do and clicking around. It’s very much a simulation and a stat-tracker’s dream…not so much a game you boot up to relax and blast away some locust or space invaders or the like.

Graphics: 6/10
Pros: Very slick and clean presentation…the menus and styles in the game all blend together well. I am especially fond of the flies that accumulate and move on your screen (very post-modern) after your KUDOS persona has forgotten to clean his place for a few weeks.
Cons: There is a complete and utter lack of animation and the character models freak me out and look pretty creepy. Graphics are not a necessity for a game like this, but animation between the character’s poses or really anything could’ve brought these people more to life.

Sound/Music: 8.5/10
Pros: Sounds pretty much consist of clicks/alerts/dog barks/weather and other background sounds which are all fine. I was particularly fond of the music which was subtle, enjoyable, without being intrusive – a very good blend of for lack of a better word, “elevator” music.
Cons: The sound/Music is really one of the stronger aspects of the title, but the music/sound is not dynamic enough to induce a range of moods in the player. This is partly due to the gameplay and detached “playing god” life simulation gameplay.

Lasting Appeal: 9.5/10
Pros: Different character models, sexes, and ways to approach this game results in near limitless replay value. The game does a good job of throwing you a bone: whether it be a new job or new friend, right when you are getting frustrated or bored. This amounts to the game sucking you in for way more hours that you initially planned on playing it for.
Cons: The game is a very solitary experience and there is the threat of having no friends in real life while having a vast social network in KUDOS. Strategists, please tear yourself away from this life game enough to live your own life.

Average: 78.75%
Tilt: + 0.25%

This game is a very good strategy/simulation game. It doesn’t offer the interactivity, animation, etc. of say “The Sims,” but does offer more in the strategy and planning aspects. It is a niche game with very specific appeal. Most people have no interest in managing everyday life tasks and stat tracking, but those who do like those kind of games will love this title. Look at me, I don’t really like strategy games myself, but found myself immersed in KUDOS on several occasions. Cliffski and Positech games are very well-known in the Indie community and Kudos is a good example of why this is the case.

Verdict: 79%

KUDOS website
DOWNLOAD THE FREE DEMO
BUY THE GAME NOW