Backlog Alphabet 2015 Edition Q-T
backlog bundle pc gaming
Q is for Q.U.B.E.
Q.U.B.E. is a first person puzzle game with physics and environment manipulation. It's pretty obviously inspired by Portal and the original version just starts you in a series of white chambers made up of square tiles that you can't help but compare to the Testing Chambers. After twenty minutes, I decided to play the Director's Cut version of Q.U.B.E. which adds in a narrative to explain who you are and what you're doing. Honestly, the narrative is pretty hokey and nonsensical -- you're an astronaut with amnesia from deep space travel and are in some alien apparatus so you can disarm it and stop it from destroying Earth. Frankly, I think it worked better when it was just knock-off testing chambers.
Visually the game is attractive and the ambient music and sounds are unobtrusive. The puzzles through the first three 'chapters' weren't difficult and I made it through them without any notable setbacks. You use your gloves to make blocks extrude from the walls, you have blocks that make you bounce, ones that act as stairs, switches to rotate parts of the rooms, etc. Some of the physics felt a little off, namely spheres that you have to roll into glowing locks. You can't personally nudge or push the spheres and they're unaffected by being raised or lowered. Despite that, the game overall was enjoyable and would appeal to those who liked the puzzle aspect of Portal as much as the one-liners. If anything, I liked its stark and clean nature more than the also Portal-inspired "Q" game Quantum Conundrum.
R is for Roogoo
I was feeling like I had enough action/arcade style games for a while and so tried another puzzle game for "R". Roogoo is a casual puzzler where you spin discs to allow differently shaped blocks to fall through. Think of the classic baby toy with the box lid where you push through a triangle, square, star and other shaped blocks and now imagine three or four of those lids as discs, spinning to allow the falling shapes to pass. There's some insanely stupid story to go along with it about the shapes being meteors and the evil king eating them all and you have to save them to bring love and peace back to your world but, really, what I described is what the game is.
The graphics for Roogoo aren't bad, it's your usual casual puzzle game cartoonish stuff, but the game doesn't support widescreen resolutions so you either play it windowed or distorted, The game play itself was technically okay in terms of reaction time and the game has controller support. Unfortunately, I found the game itself to be very monotonous and was bored after only a few minutes. I pushed on for a while longer (I think I logged maybe a half hour) but cut it short since I had seen all there was to see out of the game. You get new/more shapes to add to the difficulty, you have stuff like dropping a bunch of blocks on critters trying to stop you and stuff like that but the game itself was just a drag for me in short order.
S is for Shannon Tweed's Attack of the Groupies
Attack of the Groupies is a poor man's Plants vs Zombies knockoff. You suspend your disbelief long enough to accept that waves of young women want to throw themselves at Gene Simmons and then suspend it again to assist Shannon Tweed in stopping them. It's probably easier to accept that zombies are attacking your vegetable patch. The game looks cheap, plays cheap and sounds cheap. Oh, God, the sound -- there is one four second music clip that will repeat over and over and over. That means that, in one hour, you will hear this clip nine hundred times. No one should have to do that. The art is half-assedly drawn and the game has no resolution options. Tweed's often-repeated quips are spoken with the enthusiasm of a girl being forced to read Shakespeare out loud from her high school English book.
But was it fun? No, of course it wasn't fun. It's the same damn level over and over with a changing background every ten levels. You get various weapons or defenses but all you really need is the Money Tree and initial Squirt Gun. The other items I earned: a security guard and a skunk bomb were pointless. By halfway through the level you could set it on "Fast" and just ignore it. After enough levels, you unlock an album so you can look at photos of Shannon Tweed and Gene Simmons in their living room because that's apparently supposed to be a reward. It was dull, it was lifeless, it was a bad time. As I type this, I realize that I still have a headache from that music loop. This game wasn't just terrible, it actually caused me physical harm.
T is for Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure
Telsa Effect is a Full Motion Video puzzle/adventure game, the sort of thing that was all the rage back in the 90's. Apparently, Tex Murphy is a whole franchise with five previous titles (from 1989 through 1998) but I had never crossed paths with him before this. I will say that, for as much retro stuff as I've played in the past twenty games, at least retro-FMV beats yet another 8-bit inspired shooter.
Right off, Tesla Effect is an attractive game due to its FMV and even its 3D environments aren't bad for a game of this type. It manages to be humorous and engaging on its own terms rather than trying to lampoon the genre. The dialogue is cheesy but in a humble sort of way rather than terrible hammy accents. Telsa Effect is the story of a private investigator stricken with amnesia and trying to piece back the last seven years amidst kidnappings, people who know him as someone else and getting wanged on the head with a lead pipe. It's not laugh-out-loud funny but rather kept me smiling. Game play is straight forward with a tutorial if you wish, but it's standard puzzle game stuff where you find objects, make them interact with other objects and thus work at solving the overall mystery. The plot itself advanced a bit slowly since you spend a lot of time in the FMV parts. There is interactivity there as you pick from dialogue options (whether to be a smart-ass to the cops or more accommodating, for example) but it takes time to run through all the "Tell me about..." options so despite spending 90 minutes in the game, I didn't feel like I made a ton of progress. On the other hand, I did enjoy myself and that's what counts, right?
Man, that Shannon Tweed "game" took it out of me but only two more entries to go! If I can do it, so can you so check back in a few days to read up on what happens between the letters U and X.
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