I remember seeing Zenge on the Google Play store and having no idea what it was, and like so many games I’ve bought out of curiosity, it ended up being left unattended on my phone for a depressing amount of time. All I remembered by the time I finally started it up was that it looked like a vaguely adventure-ish puzzle game, something that quickly proved to be untrue; for all its art and store claims about a “journey,” this is a pure puzzle game that shows you pictures between levels that hint at a story and journey that isn’t really there. Not that there’s anything wrong with that—puzzle games can be some of the most rewarding games out there, even when they’re a bit on the easy side like Zenge is. In fact, I’d argue that this is one of the more uniquely rewarding puzzle games I’ve played because of how well it teaches you its rules, with that being especially notable since there’s not actually a tutorial or explanation at any point. You learn by doing, and this is something other games could take a page from. Read more →
The last game I played was Tengami, which I hated because of its pretentious non-story and bad puzzles. Zenge also has a pretentious non-story to it, but it’s 500 times the game Tengami is because its puzzles are actually designed incredibly well, quickly (and wordlessly) teaching you the ins and outs of each new puzzle mechanic before asking you to leverage those mechanics to solve its more involved puzzles. In a lot of ways, this game reminds me of Zengrams; both have 70 levels and rely entirely on their clever puzzle designs to entertain, and while Zenge is probably the easier of the two, it proves to be just as rewarding. Read more →
Tengami has interesting visuals, good music, and two decent puzzles. I want to get that out of the way right now because the rest of this will be unabashedly negative. This is a game I hate so much that I uninstalled it as soon as I was finished like its pretentiousness was somehow poisoning my computer. This is a game that lasts something like an hour but felt 10 times that long because of how tedious the gameplay somehow manages to be. This is a game that took me from optimistic to “what the hell is this garbage?” in the span of something like 15 minutes. It’s almost impressive how bad this game is, and if it had lasted just a bit longer, I could see it becoming one of those rare games that ends with me swearing off an entire studio/individual developer for life (never again, Ragnar Tornquist). Fortunately, Tengami is mercifully short and easily forgotten, so the worst that can be said of it is that it’s painfully pretentious and so comically un-fun to play that you’ll feel compelled to pick up another game—any other game—and play that instead. Read more →
The short story is that non-embedded Youtube links randomly decided to go on a strike and refuse to play in the page, and then I fixed it. There were all kinds of things that needed to be turned off and tweaked, and removing the default Twitter and Facebook integration (because punching everyone in the face with “whore me out” buttons seemed cheap and classless) messed with the cropping and window size, forcing me to hide that stuff in weird ways that make this place more Frankenstein monster than website; Facebook was easy enough to make disappear without any problems, but Twitter refused to play ball and I ended up having to change the link to an empty image embed and throw in a hidden white-colored period to keep the window from going crazy. This place is pretty much held together by scotch tape and rusty safety pins.
A strange new site quirk: videos refuse to play on mobile browsers that use a “request desktop site” feature (to bypass the mobile theme) until they’ve been tapped twice to pause and unpause.
It’s been a rough year for this site. Two of my favorite series self-destructed so badly that I swore one of them off entirely, and I’m hugely skeptical that the other will ever release anything decent enough to draw me back in. Beyond that, the past few months of my game choices have been populated almost exclusively by disappointments from pretty much every gaming decade. That’s why it’s nice to finally find a game that I genuinely enjoy, something simple with a lot of personality to remind me that there are actually some diamonds out there beneath the piles of trashware masquerading as games. That’s not to say that Super Panda Adventures is flawless, because it isn’t, but its problems are either easily circumvented with a little creativity (the difficult boss fights) or unimportant because they’re not the game’s focus (some grammatical errors). Read more →
I’ve been a bundle of negativity lately; if you set aside the reviews for games that I already knew I liked going in, I haven’t given a positive review in a little over two months. It’s clearly been awhile since I went into something blind and actually liked it, so I’m glad Super Panda Adventures ended up being entertaining. It’s kind of bizarre that this game—which costs four dollars and has gone on sale for as little as 99 cents—is so much more fun to play than games ten times more expensive (and some even more than that). It even has more content than many of them, lasting me something like seven and a half hours for a completionist playthrough. Obviously it’ll be shorter if you rush through the game, but you’re still looking at four and a half hours if How Long To Beat is to be trusted. Even setting aside its price and amount of content, though, it’s a blast to play, and more so once I found some creative ways to cheese my way through its rare moments of frustrating difficulty. Read more →