Cosmic Spacehead Retro Sega Genesis Videogame Review

Title: Cosmic Spacehead

Genre: Point and Click / Puzzle Solving

Release Date: 1993

Platform: (For this Review) Sega Genesis (there were also other versions including NES and Gamegear).

Developer: Codemasters

Where to Buy:    //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=anisug-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B000035XIP&asins=B000035XIP&linkId=b422bee0e032003554dbe40667f760aa&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

 

Geeky:  4/5 – High marks here for the graphics and production values, losing a point for the sometimes challenging/frustrating puzzles as well as challenging platform minigames which create more frustration than enjoyment at times.

Sweetie:  4/5 – High marks here for charm and whimsy – losing a point for weak story and lack of replay value

Concept: 8/10 This is a very cute and cheeky point and click puzzle solving adventure game with a lot of humor and mischief. It also had amazing graphics for its time and technical limitations back in the early 90s. What I like about Cosmic Spacehead is how colorful and detailed the game world is and how it mixes sometimes crude and adult humor into a rather childlike game setting. However, the story is pretty “out there” and if you’re wanting anything serious or emotional or thought provoking this game is not for you :). But if you’re looking for something “different” or just simply “fun” you should check this game out.

Gameplay: 7/10 The 90s was the hay-days for point and click adventure games, however, Cosmic Spacehead takes a slightly different approach to the genre by also combining different game mechanics in the form of dozens of fun minigames, from platforming, side scrolling, even racing. These cute and fun minigames helped breakup some of the tedium which often plagued other point-n-click games of the 90s. Aside from the minigames, the controls in Cosmic Spacehead are your typical run of the mill point-n-click fare. You explore different locations, examine objects, pick up and use objects, talk to various characters, and solve puzzles to continue on your journey.

One of the pitfalls in the gameplay is that many of the puzzles make no logical sense and leave you backtracking or just spending hours via trial and error which takes some of the fun out of the game. There’s also not a large number of puzzles, so assuming you do not get stuck, you can easily complete this game within a few hours.

At the end of each level, you’ll encounter a mario-style platform minigame which is often criticized for being extremely challenging as if you get hit or miss a jump it’s instant death.

Still, it’s the experience of playing a virtual cartoon and enjoying the humor along the way which makes the game so much fun and unique. In an era of a lot of “sameness” this little game was brave enough to be different. It didn’t always pan out, but taking risks, is worth a few brownie points in my opinion. Cosmic Spacehead is a game that wants to make you smile. And it does that very well. It may have been a parody or attempt to mock the success of point and click adventure games at large. Nothing about this game takes itself very seriously.

Story: 5/10 You are Cosmic Spacehead, and you’ve just returned from discovering an ancient forgotten planet called Earth. However, when you get back home, no one seems to believe your story. To make matters worse, you’re dirt poor and have no way to get back to Earth to prove everyone wrong.  To remedy this, you begin to carry out errands and odd jobs which leads to earning in-game currency and puts you closer to your goal to prove Earth exists. The story like everything else in the game is very light hearted and has a tongue and cheek style of humor which may appeal more to adults than young kids despite the simplistic gameplay. Although the story is zany and bright, there’s just not much substance to it to merit giving it a higher score. It’s a fun and enjoyable experience, but not amazing by any means. The story definitely takes a back seat to the gameplay here.

Characters: 7/10 – Although there are few characters in number, they are very unique and memorable. The humor and colorful graphics helps to endear anyone friend or foe that you meet along your travels.

Graphics: 10/10 – One of the best looking games on the Genesis. The world is bright and colorful and animated to help bring the characters to life. It’s a playful and vibrant world and is one of the most charming games you’ll see on this system.

Music: 7/10 – The music in cosmic spacehead is bright and bold and strangely addicting. It helps set the futuristic theme and like the story itself, it keeps an upbeat and sometimes unexpected tempo that seems to fit the game world quite well.

Replay Value: 3/10  – The game is short and linear. However, there’s really no other game like it, and it’s worth replaying just to revisit the colorful worlds and characters. Once you know the puzzles though, replaying games such as this becomes not nearly as fun, therefore, I recommend waiting a few years between replays, so you might forget some of the solutions along the way and get to have fun solving them again – well fun, or hours of frustration – either way, Cosmic Spacehead is a really quirky and cute game that you’ll want to revisit at least once again for nostalgia’s sake.

Overall: 55/80 69%  D+ “Average Game for Girls” – While this is my objective review, I’d still recommend this game anyways – it’s short and sweet, and cute and whimsical enough that it really should be considered a must play as it’s oddly addictive and endearing in so many ways.

Cosmic Spacehead Retro Sega Genesis Videogame Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Broken Age – Point and Click Adventure Game for PC – Review and Giveaway

Our new alternate winner is Ccaminha – Congrats, an email will be going out shortly to inform you of your prize. Please reply to that email letting me know you’re interested and I will send over the key.

EDIT: TatsuKaji never claimed his prize, so we will hold another drawing for an alternate winner sometime this weekend (Approx 3/20/16).

We’ve gained a lot of members since announcing this contest, so anyone that posts between now and Sunday will go into the drawing. :)

EDIT: The contest is now over. Congratulations to TatsuKaji – please check your email and reply back to receive your free steam key. If you’re not interested, or already have the game, please also reply back so I can draw an alternate winner. – If I don’t hear back within a week I will draw another random winner.

 

Title: Broken Age

Genre: Point and Click Adventure Game

Platform: PC

Release Date: January 2014

Where to Buy: Steam

Geeky: 3/5

Sweetie: 5/5

Overall: 74 / 90 82% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”

Concept: 10/10 – The Point and Click genre was really popular back in the 90s, but then it just faded away. In a record breaking kickstarter, Tim Schafer, creator of other Point and Click titles such as Grim Fandango, Psyhconauts,  and the Secret of Monkey Island, successfully funded his return to gaming by reaching his kickstarter goals for Broken Age, his first new game in over 16 years.

Broken Age was hyped that it was supposed to revitalize the genre and bring it into the modern age. Most critics say that it fell short of it’s expectations – however, I really enjoyed this game.

Gameplay: 8/10 It features cute story book styled graphics and typical point and click game mechanics. Interact with your environment, solve puzzles, talk to NPCs etc. The puzzles are challenging and thought provoking and you want to keep playing because of the cute characters and story. However some of the puzzles can be frustrating at times and there will be times when you spend time just using every  item or talking to every NPC and back tracking back through places trying to find if you’ve missed something. This can sometimes take away from the fun and screw with the pacing of the game, but it’s much better and much preferred than a game in which the puzzles are too simple.

Story: 7/10 There are two games in one essentially as you switch control between the different characters freely throughout the game.  In one world you’re in a very primitive like setting where the people believe in offering tribute to monster-like “gods”. In the other world you’re in a scifi setting, in a spaceship with robots. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so I’ll keep it brief / vague. The story is very cute, in some points it has child like innocence but it’s always tinged with a deep sad and lonely feeling. At first the story doesn’t seem connected, but the more you play, the more things fall into place. It can sometimes be annoying when the story progression is held up when you get stuck on a challenging puzzle. Also for over a year, the game was incomplete, Chapter 2 did not release until April 2015. It is provided for free and is not DLC. However, since when many of us first played the game, we were left waiting with an open-ending for what seemed like much too long. My biggest complaint with the story is simply that it can be jarring switching between worlds/stories. Still I loved solving all the mysteries and how slowly and carefully the story was revealed.

Characters: 10/10 In the primitive world you play a very strong willed African-american girl which is a refreshing choice of characters as minorities and females are often under-represented or relegated to mere sidekick status and rarely ever appear as the main hero. She challenges the beliefs and ways of her people. She dares to ask questions and be different

In the space world, you play a lonely little boy who is fed up with his mundane routine boring life. While the ship provides him with toys, food, and even a “mother” and “father” figure, it is no replacement for human interaction. It also tries too hard to protect and keep him save, never letting him “Grow up” or take risks or challenges for himself. It’s like he lives in a bubble where everything is the same, day in day out. Until one day when he finds a hidden door in the ship which leads him to new worlds.

Graphics: 10/10 The graphics are really unique and cute. Everything looks handpainted or like it came from a storybook or “pop-up” book or like “paper craft” or scrapbooking. I liked this approach because you don’t see it often in games.

Music: 10/10 The music is composed by Peter McConnell who also did the music for Psychonauts. It features a beautiful score with soft melodic harmonies which fit well the cute/childlike graphics. Critics have called this some of Peter’s best work. I really like how light and “airy” the tracks sound full of violins, flutes, clarinets, cellos, etc. It almost sounds “dreamlike” in a way, or like a fairytale. I also like how both the music and the graphics juxtapose themselves against a story which seems fairly childlike but is tinged with sadness and isolation.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – No expense was spared for the casting of this game. It features big budget hollywood actors such as Jack Black, Elijah Wood, and talented voice over artist Masasa Moyo.

Replay Value: 1/10 Given the nature of this game, I’m not saying, I’d never ever replay it… but certainly it would diminish the enjoyment of the game on multiple playthroughs since you’d know all of the answers to the puzzles and already know the plot and story. Since it’s a linear and also fairly large and lengthy game, I’d say it’s one you’d visit maybe once every 5 to 10 years for nostalgia’s sake but beyond that I don’t see much replay value here.

Overall: 74 / 90 82% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”

And we are giving away a FREE Steam key for Broken Age to one of our lucky readers. This contest begins now 2/27/2016 and will end on 3/5/2016. To enter simply leave a comment on any blog or forum post. Make sure you have a valid email tied to your username as I will be using that email to send the key to the winner. I will also post winner’s name to this post no later than 3/6/2016. Thank you and goodluck!

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Broken Age – Point and Click Adventure Game for PC – Review and Giveaway was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Life is Strange Review

Title: Life is Strange

Genre: Point and Click Adventure Game (With some Visual Novel Elements)

Publisher: DontNod Entertainment & Squaresoft/Square-Enix

Release Date: Life is Strange is an Episodic Game, where your decisions made in each episode carry over to the next, the first episode was released in January of 2015. There are a total of 5 episodes, and we are still waiting (at time of this review) for episode 5 to be released.

Geeky Factor: 

Sweetie Factor: 

Overall: 65/90 72% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Concept: 10/10 Life is strange is a Point-and-Click adventure game with a heavy focus on story telling. It also includes branching plots and decision trees similar to those found in visual novels. The story is set in the 90s, and follows a young woman attending an art college who is insecure about her own artistic abilities, and struggling to make friends and fit in with the other students. The school is full of the stereotypical characters one remembers from their own experiences in surviving highschool (or university), such as jocks, preps, goths, hipsters, the shy people, the fat kids, the druggies, the bullies, the cheerleaders, the airheads, the geeks, the studious types, the religious types, and of course the teachers and staff of the school as well. This makes it pretty relateable for anyone who hated school or also felt like they never really fit in anywhere.

Story: 10/10 It’s a coming of age story, and also a story about finding out what’s important to you, and what you must do to protect it. You play the role of the protagonist, Max, as she returns to her childhood neighborhood to attend college after being away for a number of years. Max is rather aloof and although she has a few friends in her class, she also has a lot of enemies. She sometimes has trouble focusing in class, and also she wonders if she even belongs in an art program, because she doubts her own abilities and lacks self confidence. She is asked to participate in a photography contest but she is too shy to submit her entry. While thinking of what she should enter, she is captivated by a blue butterfly in the ladies restroom. Wanting to get a pic, she turns the corner, and quickly becomes involved in something she wasn’t supposed to see. Two other students have entered the restroom and are struggling over a gun, a real gun. Max hears the gun go off, and then, her head hurts, she feels a strange power, and realizes she’s able to rewind time, to undo the events of what happened. Using her new power, she rewinds time to prevent the gun from going off. The other girl, scared but unharmed, thanks Max for her help, and the two begin chatting. It turns out that the girl was Max’s best friend when she was a little girl, but she’s changed so much that Max no longer recognizes her. The two begin to rekindle their friendship, as Max learns about the events that led to the struggle that day, including mysterious murders, disappearances, rapes, and drugging of female students from Blackwell Academy. As the story progresses, Max finds herself trying to save the girls involved in these incidents while trying to uncover the truth behind who’s to blame for the horrendous acts. On top of that, Max begins having strange visions, and strange things begin happening around town, such as snow in the summer, and dozens of beached whales, and solar eclipses, and tornadoes, and other strange phenomenon that eerily seem to be connected to Max’s new powers. As she uses her powers, sometimes other things around her change, and not always for the better, sometimes for the worse, or even heartbreaking consequences. There’s a lot of emotion and heart in this game, and your choices and decisions impact which parts of the story you will see.

Characters: 10/10 Max is the player’s character throughout this game; she’s an intelligent and artistic young woman who’s just enrolled into a new university where she’s struggling to fit in. Chloe is Max’s childhood friend, they were separated when Max moved away as a child. Max did not keep in touch with Chloe due to a certain event in their past, but their paths soon cross again. Kate is one of Max’s close friends at her new school. Kate had something terrible happen to her and is now the victim of constant bullying. Rachel Amber, another student at Blackwell Academy, had filled in the role of Chloe’s best friend in Max’s absence, but then Rachel mysteriously disappeared. Nathan Prescott, is the rich spoiled boy who’s family owns most of Arcadia Bay and Blackwell Academy. Is he behind the mysterious disappearance?

Appearances are not always what they seem in this game; be careful who you trust, and also don’t judge others too quickly until you know them. They may surprise you!

As mentioned above, the characters feel very relateable because they’re based on all too common, but all too true, stereotypes of the types of students one has encountered in their own life.

Gameplay: 6/10 Gameplay consists of wandering around the school or town looking for clues, by finding objects that you can interact with or talking to different people. Many objects have multiple ways in which to interact and the game does not hold your hand or make it readily apparent which options are best for which objects. At times, your actions, decisions, and dialogue will impact the past, present, or future, and you will be notified by a blue butterfly icon on your screen. You can then either rewind, or proceed and live with the choices you’ve made.

Although the gameplay itself is fun, there are some MAJOR gameplay issues with this game when it comes to control, usability, and interfaces. I play on a “gaming” laptop machine. I don’t have a mouse, nor any place to really put a mouse, because I play from my bed. Using the touchpad OR my touchscreen with this device is a nightmare for some reason. Also when I first got episode 1, maybe it’s just me and I’m really dense, but I spent over 4 hours trying to do the first action, and stumbled through the game for days, until I realized one thing – I was trying to “trace a path” to the action I wanted to take, following the little arrow that’s drawn by every object. This is wrong! Instead you just click below or left/right/above etc for the action you want. — This made control somewhat easier BUT the main thing I find is I have to be facing/looking at an object JUST right in order to “reach” the action I want to click on, sometimes I have to back out of the action tree and reposition the items on my screen – I think this probably doesn’t happen when using a mouse – but I can’t be the ONLY gamer who doesn’t use a mouse, especially with a game like this which doesn’t require much user input.

Music: 8/10 Music plays a big part in this game; with the ability to sometimes sit and listen to a music cd or play your guitar, and you can just relax and immerse yourself in the soundtrack. The soundtrack is also fitting for the game, and has an “indie” feel to it which matches the “hipster” vibe of the game’s settings and characters.

Voice Acting: 10/10 The game is fully voiced, and the game relies on this mechanic to tell its story to the audience. The voice acting is also quite well done; in fact, it’s been nominated for Performance of the Year in the Golden Joystick awards for the voice actress behind Chloe.

Graphics: 7/10 I enjoy the graphics of the game, and it’s fully animated and fully 3d, presented to you like a movie. They’re not the most highly advanced cutting edge graphics ever, and other reviewers are quick to point out some lip syncing inconsistencies (which I personally haven’t noticed). But I think it’s still a pretty game to look at :). The number of environments that you get to interact with are rather small, the school, a diner in town, a scrapyard, your friend’s home, and the dark room; but this is an indie game, so it’s expected to be somewhat small in scale. I think the outdoor scenes are especially lovely. Character design is also very good, although the characters feel a bit stiff at times.

Replay Value: 8/10 Your decisions really do matter; For example, Kate Marsh really can die if you don’t save her. I saved her in my game, but I did some research while typing this blog post to see if the decisions we make in the game actually matter, and a lot of people are asking for help how to save her, etc. Also they say it’s one decision that you cannot rewind and redo; so unless you save before then, or start all over, you’re stuck living with the consequences of your actions. — However, so far, every episode has followed the same story and reached the same climax; although what happens in between the beginning and end IS dependent on your actions, as illustrated above, you will still arrive at the same conclusion each episode so far; though there may be multiple endings as it is advertised as such on steam – we won’t know for sure until Episode 5 arrives.

Overall: 65/90 72% C- “Good Game for Girls”

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Life is Strange Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie