Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom.


Did you ever see a trailer and an opening that totally heighten your expectation to the point of awesome?

Well it did. All I can say is that I was tricked.
This is one of those cases where the trailer and intro is way better then the game itself. Sure I understand that it has to be because that is after all, the selling point.
But this was ridiculous. This is basically someone telling me to eat this yummie chocolate and I end up eating a pile dog (fill in word here)
Alas, I am going to give this a fair analysis and you might understand to why I rip on this game so early on.
So the game starts, I like the design, I like the story, it is classic and safe. The graphic art design reminds a bit of Totoro and Folklore mixed up together to create Torolore. Music reminds me of something from Nausacaa valley of the wind.
The main prologue is safe, basically by let me quote “blah albhblahg kingdom, blah blah darkness blahal, un-likely hero blah blah”. We have heard this one before.
My first reaction is the voice acting. It seemed to me like one person was doing all the voices in the game, they were very poor. Not to the point where I muted my TV but enough to be an disturbance in the game enjoyment. The initial feel for the controls is that they are a bit off, I cannot put my finger on it (or thumb, excuse the pun) but it is noticeable, not to the point that it ruins the game. As the game progressed i noticed that it might not have been the controls as much as the camera. The giant guy (Majin) is non passable. You cannot pass through him which creates several awkward situations. For instance, when he stands behind you and goes transparent. You aren’t really paying attention that he is there, so you try to run through him, which you can’t, so you have to run around his large stature. There are several tight situations where it is near to impossible to pass by him and where he is just in the Effin way.
You also notice pretty early that the graphics aren’t as wonderful as promised. Run pass a water fall, I dare you! The noise sounds more like static and the water fall is just a step back in graphic creation. It just sucks because this did have the potential to be a beautiful game. Also the rats will throw you off in the beginning, except the cheesy  (there, I did it again!) voice acting, they shift voice pitches, making you think that the same rat is going through some weird personality disorder. Once you played for a bit, you come to a point where you are told “Did you know that by controlling the Majin, that you can understand what animals say?”.

Every bit of the way you are told about something you already know, as if you weren’t intelligent enough to come to a simple conclusion of 1+1=2 all by your self. They have to remind you.
You have the animals talk to you, and an hour later “did you know animals can talk to you?”
The monsters reminded me to much of the heart less from the awesome amazing super game Kingdom hearts. It is the basic concept, shadow, goo, dark, etc. In kingdom hearts, the “heartless” are begins that have lost their hearts and turned into walking shadows of dankness. While in this game, the darkness engulfed monsters used to be people…
However, after a few hours, the game begins to grow on you.

The first boss fight almost made me put down the controller and do something productive, like go treasure hunting in my belly button.
Imagine yourself controlling a huge beast. Now you have to tell him to pick something up to throw at this giant jerk that wants to kill you. Every time he shoots something on your Majin, the Majin looses its prior command.
Ok, so you command your Majin to pick something up, then the beast spits at you and your Majin drops whatever he was holding or any command he was executingt. “damnit” and repeat this a few times, gets annoying right?
Not only that, when the beast is out of balance enough to beat up, the stupid walking pile of mold finally completes his command and cannot cancel that current command to do a different command that is required while the boss is disabled. The boss recovers after a bit, just enough time for the walking degenerate to start the belated command which now doesn’t do any good at all.
Is this interesting as a game? Yes, but it TOTALLY blew it on the small part that makes a game good and play able.  Games are supposed to push the boundaries of the technology at hand, this was a step back in all sense except the music, the music was awesome!
Even though there was so much that was bad with the game, it actually does balance equally with all the things that were good. The problem is when the bad things pile up, you end up overlooking the good parts. It is a charming game. It does have some spirit, heart and sense of adventure. The big ol lump does grow on you and maybe once I complete the entire game I might have a change of heart. Who knows? Some people actually thing that the Black eyed peas were awesome during the super bowl halftime show 😉
And now, some unbiased facts from Wikipedia:

Plot

Majin’s story is set in a once prosperous and fruitful kingdom, which is overtaken by a mysterious darkness and thrown into disarray. While many citizens attempted to explore and find out what’s going on, they were never to be seen again, and the decay continued. To cleanse this forsaken kingdom of the darkness, a young thief, whom the Majin refers to as Tepeu, sets out to free the mythical Majin – an all-powerful and mystical beast, to reclaim its power and restore the land to its former glory.

Gameplay

The game is an action/platformer, with puzzle elements thrown in at different intervals. Players control Tepeu, while Majin is A.I. controlled. Though the player takes no direct control over Majin, they can give him commands, which are often used for solving puzzles or during combat.

As the game progresses, Majin will gain powers, such as the ability to produce electricity. These elements will be used both in combat and puzzle solving.

The game is intended to emphasize the differences in Majin and Tepeu. For example at certain points, the characters will be separated and Tepeu must dispatch enemies using stealth, as he does not have the strength Majin does.

Spore -the lack of evolution

Human fascination with playing God. Are we really so displeased with how things are? How come that we always think that we can do a better job then anyone else?

Oh, these questions are deep. We are a selfish species aren’t we? No wonder only cows get whisked away into space by aliens and taken to other worlds. Us? naaah, we are to busy wondering why they took the cow and not that annoyingneighbourhood boy Jimmy.

So where am I going with this? Spore of course! The game has slightly taken over this planet by satisfying something you cannot get from anyone. Your constant need to satisfy your megalomania.

To me it seems that we are taking a certain rout in gaming. Where the gamer has full control over their destiny and the destiny of the in game characters. Now being given the control of our own destiny is all fine and dandy, but to be responsible for others is where mankind shows his ugly underoooz. Then again how much control do you have in certain games that claim to give you endless power? In Black & White (if you never played it, you missed out. It was a sensation when it came out because it was actually quite original) your power was limited by the prayers from your people, that is why you had to be extra careful not to have your giant cow step on them. If you accidentally killed them they would be very cross.
Hence unlimited power is an illusion, because you are bound to play servant to thousands of peoples needs. It is tiresome and you’d have to be an octopus to do gods work.

Now, to Spore. You are a little cell in the vast ocean of scary creatures. You can select your diet in the beginning of the game, which I found ridiculous because it took away from the “you are what you eat” concept. Since I wanted good will and peace on Beta Zed (shut up), I decided my spore, What ever planet it came from, to be a vegan. After he bravely evolved to a big cell and had me giving it a light round of applause, it was time to name the species. Since this planet was to be the perfect Eden of people loving each other forcefully by me, I gave it the name Dipshitosorous.

After dipshitosaurus put his first steps on land, it was a loved and often a very pink creature.
Mutation after mutation made him the most dominating species on this planet.(wait a minute, what about all the ones i made friends with??) Here is where the “civilization” aspect takes place. You bring other tribes gift baskets even if they so willingly want to slaughter you. I made friends with all of them and now I was able to establish a City and nation. Now trying to take a pacifist rout I had to convert all other nations into my religion. Once that was done I blasted into space, kidnapping other species and bringing them to Beta Zed for scientific study.
Here is where I stopped, because I played 5 hour straight and the game was just progressing to quickly.
My perfect Eden went to non tolerance of other species because they had a rump on their heads and kidnapping other races. I guess the creators of spore never heard of the Prime directive (watch star trek).

What I was hoping for is once you laid down the basics of your design, that random evolution would take its place. For instance, if you have wings but decided to walk a lot, that evolution would deemed them unnecessary and have them made smaller or removed entirely.
I appreciate the concept of the creators giving you full design capability, it is impressive.
But to satisfy my curiosity about the future and look at its evolutionary twists and surprises, I’d say it would be cheaper to just buy a magnifying glass and decide the destiny of the ants in your back yard.

So here we are, In a few hours achieved world domination and all I have is a feeling of emptiness. All sentient beings look like the poor design i supplied the game with. No real surprises.
I guess this entire game just lacks surprise. I hope in future attempts of creating games such as this will gives us more of the element of the un known, because when you given full control you can basically predict the future (just read a history book, same thing).
I think it is interesting how the gaming industry wants to give the gamer all the control. Because if they do and you turn out to be disappointed, then the gaming industry can just turn around and say “Hey, we gave you full control to make it fun on your own, it is your fault that you are so utterly boring”.
This will give game creators a cause to remove the elements of surprise, making us entertained. We are paying them to be entertained, not to entertain ourselves.
Spore was somewhat entertaining yes, I cant say that it was a waste of money for me. I just simply worry that the gaming industry is now becoming very lazy.
If anything this game got me to reflect on Black & White and appreciate it more, since it was a game where you still had some element of surprise.
Non the less, I think that gamers with megalomania and a twisted minds will be very entertained indeed, because they can create a very funky creature with very funky houses and incredibly funky architecture.

Me? I am staying in the void of space for the time being, kidnapping me some creatures and visit the ants outside.

Enjoy The evolution of Dipshitosaurus

Bob came in Pieces

The Swedish game developer Ludosity Interactive has released their latest installment “Bob came in Pieces”. Another edition to the casual gaming market.

Ludosity Interactive believe in making serious games that will last a bit longer. It’s not about using the latest tech, that will look old within a year. It’s not about making “me-too games” that want to be like its bigger brother. We make games with lasting appeal, based on fun core mechanics, fueled by the creativity of the You, the gamer. – Ludosity interactive

Bob works at a call center. Like any intergalactic being that possesses superior technology, he needs to pester people while they eat dinner to sell them some crappy subscription.
(I am glad to see that some things never change in the not so far distant future). Either way, you are on your way to work in your little inexpensive spaceship. He tries this new route that is supposedly going to cut traveling time. Alas he finds himself in peril when entering an asteroid field, loosing control over his heavily damaged ship and crashing on this little convenient planet.

Surviving the ordeal, he finds his ship utterly useless and the important space travel parts scattered all over the place. Now Bob has a new objective. Knowing very well that he will be late for work, he has to focus on getting of this stinking rock. To succeed he needs to piece his ship back together again.


It doesn’t get simpler then this.

That is where you come in, the gamer, our hero!
The controls are simple that even a space chimp can figure it out, (up) (down) (left) and (right). What you do is maneuver your little ship around various obstacles. Evidently this planet is like a giant ant farm. Your first mission is to land on one of these (!).


No little ship! Stranger danger! Run for it!

Other then that the first chapter helps you get used to the control, scenes and kill some very valuable time. Music is decent and the graphics are as expected by a simple recreational game. It’s not annoying in any way and actually quite pleasing. The functionality reminds me very much of Pixel and Axel, during a mini game (in a mini game) where you flew a balloon like thing through caves.


That’ll do pig, that’ll do

Chapter 2 teachers you how to fly through crates. For some reason this uninhabited planet learned how to build boxes. There is no health bar so you don’t have to worry about crashing all over the place. Evidently you can slam right into a mountain wall and not break your little ship, but asteroids are a different story all together. So far all this game is telling me is to move things around and overcome obstacles. So now we can assume that this is a Casual Puzzle game.

As I enter chapter 3, you get the possibility to use the parts you found to expand your ship in a way that will help you overcome other obstacles. It’s simple enough, you grab a piece, twist it around till it fits and off you go towards more large boxes.


No function to put in super mega destroy the planet mega ray? 

It’s a charming little installment and one thing that I actually respect about Ludosity is that they released new maps for this game, for free!! So you get the game for $10 and they release more maps for it…for FREE!!! Do you hear that Xbox ?For FREE! You don’t buy half a game and alter have to buy MS points to be able to buy the rest of the game online. These people have some human decency!


Don’t worry baby, i’ll be gentle..

Minimum Specification PC
OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
Processor: 2.4 Ghz or equivalent processor
Memory: 1GB System RAM (2GB recommended with Vista/7)
DirectX: DirectX 9.0c
Graphics: 128mb video RAM and Shader Model 2.0
Hard Drive: 500mb or more free space
Sound: Windows compatible sound card
Input: Keyboard and mouse
Note: The GPU need to be at-least as powerful as Geforce 6600. Please try out the Demo first to make sure the game starts.

Link to the Demo:

http://www.ludosity.com/downloads/BobInstallDemo1.4.exe