Games I Completed

Games I've played to the completion of the main storyline or to where I felt I'd experienced most of the game.

Since Giant Bomb doesn't have entries for Flash games or apps, here are the Flash games I've played to completion:

and iOS games that aren't on Giant Bomb:

and one HTML 5 game:

List items

  • July, 2012. Novice difficulty.

    While I enjoy an occasional shmup, I'm not all that good at the genre, so Gundemonium gave me plenty of challenge, even on novice difficulty with 5 lives. Beating the game felt very rewarding, since the bullet patterns and bosses get quite fiendish. The artwork doesn't compare with a Cave shmup, but it does have a weird charm.

  • July, 2012. PC on Normal mode

    Bastion is a beautiful game and a lot of fun to play. It keeps things fresh by constantly giving you new weapons and abilities to try out. The difficulty isn't that hard, but the dream sequences and idols offer extra challenge. The narration style is also quite original, but sometimes the gruff voice of the narrator felt at odds with the art style. That's a minor criticism, though, of an otherwise great game.

  • <p>July 2012 on iPad. Used a guide for the blocks puzzle and to find the art gallery.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I can see why the 7th Guest was an impressive game at the time that CD-ROM drives were new, but since I never played it then, its hard to enjoy the game now. The acting is terrible, even by video game standards, and the plot gives little or no direction. I enjoyed some of the puzzles, but half the time the real puzzle was figuring out what type of puzzle I was solving or where the next puzzle was hidden, which wasn't much fun.</p>

  • <p>June 2011. PC on Normal difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Ninja Blade has a frustratingly high number of Quick Time events. I eventually got used to them, but I never enjoyed them much. The over-the-top action sequences and wide range of bosses were fun, though. There's a nice balance to the weapons, which you need to change frequently to progress. The same basic enemy types get repeated a lot, though, and the environments mostly feel the same. The story and voice-acting are bad, but not quite to the point of being laughable.</p>

  • <p>June, 2012 on default (skilled agent) difficulty</p>

    <br />

    <p>I played the demo of Blake Stone in the nineties, and decided to try it again after the game engine (Wolfenstein 3D) turned 20. The sci-fi setting is very different from Wolfenstein, but not that interesting. The gameplay is very similar to Wolfenstein, although there are a few interesting additions, like NPCs, teleporters and a rocket launcher. Blake Stone was fun to play in short sessions, but the game feels extremely repetitive and I'd only recommend it if you have a lot of nostalgia for the genre.</p>

  • <p>May, 2012. Maxed out the ship in Classic mode and unlocked 70% of the achievements</p>

    <br />

    <p>Really Big Sky is a beautiful looking shooter with a nice range of game modes and a high degree of challenge. It feels like a cross between Geometry Wars and a side-scrolling shmup with lots of trippy visual effects. Your ship is weak initially, but it doesn't take long to earn upgrades that help you survive much longer. The boss battles can be exciting and the variety of enemies is nice, although I could do without the asteroids that kill you in one hit. In addition to Classic mode, I liked the bullet hell mode and retro mode, which both made the game feel very different.</p>

  • <p>May, 2012 on Normal.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I was completely turned off by the voice acting, characters and narrative of Vanquish, but the gameplay and visual style won me over. Once the opening cut scene ends and the gameplay begins, I immediately felt part of a much larger conflict. The cover mechanics are similar to Gears of War, but where Gears of War feels like piloting a human tank, Vanquish feels like an F1 racer. Your ability to rocket around the battlefield and the slow-time mechanic are both very useful. I enjoyed leveling up the different weapons, which all have their uses. Your allies can die quickly when they're down, but you get a nice bonus for saving them, which I thought was a nice touch. I enjoyed most of the boss battles and especially liked the game's visual style, which feels polished and distinctly Japanese.</p>

  • <p>May, 2012. Completed the six available quests and unlocked 13 characters.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Hack, Slash, Loot is a streamlined Rogue-like experience that feels more approachable than the average game in this genre. By limiting your inventory to two weapons and what you can wear, you are forced to decide immediately whether to leave or use a given piece of loot. That makes inventory management very simple and you never need to sell anything. It also helps that the really nasty potions have names implying you probably shouldn't drink them. I still died frequently and the frustrations of permadeath can be high, but since the quests are all only five levels long it doesn't feel quite as demotivating. I liked how different quests not only look different, but require different strategies to win. There are also some funny cameos from other games that I enjoyed. Overall, I really liked the game and think it makes for a good introduction to the genre, but only if you aren't turned off by permanent death.</p>

  • <p>April, 2012. Single player campaign.</p>

    <br />

    <p>When I first heard that Valve was making Portal 2 as a full length game, I can't say I felt that excited. I thought the original game had given me my fill of the Portal mechanic and the bar it set would be very hard to meet again. I now realize I should have had more faith in Valve. Portal 2 isn't just a worthy sequel, it's one of my favorite games of all time. I can't think of another game with funnier dialogue or characters who felt as real. Ironically, most of those characters are robots. If you haven't yet, you should experience Portal 2 for yourself.</p>

  • <p>March, 2012 on Xbox 360</p>

    <br />

    <p>Limbo is an affecting experience and a testament to what can be achieved with minimal UI and game mechanics. The story asks more questions than it answers, which I don't see as a negative. Limbo's biggest strength is probably it's atmosphere.</p>

    <p>I had heard complaints about Limbo's later levels before I played the game. I didn't find that the gameplay got any worse, but I would agree that it does lose some focus. The tension and themes of the first third of the game set a very high bar that would be challenging for any game to sustain.</p>

  • <p>March, 2012.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Garshasp is an extremely impressive game for a small team to have made, but it's hard not to compare it to games with higher production values and better gameplay (it's basically a God of War clone with different mythology). There are a few unique gameplay elements, like scaling cliffs with your sword, but the game mostly feels derivative, unpolished and very short. </p>

  • <p>March, 2012, Legendary difficulty and 14 bonus missions.</p>

    <br />

    <p>While the artwork and action in Jamestown may not quite compare with a Cave shmup, the quality is still impressively high. I loved the space colonization premise and the neoclassical soundtrack. Later levels are locked until completing all previous levels on a harder difficulty, which sounds frustrating, but I enjoyed the challenge. The bonus levels helped improve my skills and the "farce" version of the story was funny enough to play through the game again.</p>

  • <p>March, 2012. PC version on Normal. All single player Spec Ops missions.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I realize that the multiplayer in MW2 is far inferior on PC, but the single player looked and played great on my machine. The campaign isn't very long, but the Spec Ops missions add some extra length and challenge that I enjoyed. The campaign story is quite dark and takes the scale of conflict to whole new levels, but I never felt like it carried as much dramatic impact as the events in the first Modern Warfare.</p>

  • <p>March, 2012. PC version.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I decided to try VVVVVV in large part because of Jeff Gerstmann's raving recommendations, but that probably set my expectations too high. Not that there was anything I disliked about the game. The retro Metroidvania style gameplay is fun, the music is at times great, and the colorful characters are extremely charming in their cuteness. I guess I was hoping there would be a little more scale and scope to the story and gameplay, but I still enjoyed the experience a lot.</p>

  • <p>February, 2012. Normal difficulty</p>

    <br />

    <p>The second mission pack for Quake felt to me like a mission pack done right. It amplifies almost every aspect of the original game, with tougher enemies, more powerful weapons and more challenging death traps. Every level feels different and the Egyptian themes are a nice change in atmosphere. Some of the enemies are downright nasty, but being able to fire four rockets at once goes a long way towards evening the playing field.</p>

  • <p>February, 2012. Normal difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Scourge of Armagon is mostly more of the same Quake gameplay, but the new weapons allow for different strategies and the level design is quite good. The scorpion enemies seemed more annoying than scary to me, but I liked the final boss fight, even if it was short lived.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I tried installing the epsilon ultra mod after playing a few levels and wow does it change the look of the game. Definitely worth a try if your system can handle it.</p>

  • <p>January, 2012. Arcade Difficulty</p>

    <br />

    <p>Steel Storm doesn't have any revolutionary game mechanics that separate it from other top-down shooters, but the core action kept me entertained for most of the game. There's a nice variety to the weapons (I loved using the MIRV to take out enemies behind walls) and the explosions are quite satisfying. Interesting that the game is built on a modified version of the Quake engine, because it feels completely different.</p>

  • <p>January, 2012. PC on Normal difficulty in ~5 hours</p>

    <br />

    <p>Since I never played Quake in the nineties, nostalgia wasn't much of an influence on my experience in 2012. I enjoyed the fast-paced gameplay and the balance between weapons and monster types. The nail gun and rocket launcher were especially fun to use, but the double barrel shotgun didn't feel as powerful to me as the one in Doom II. I also got a bit bored of the brown environments and the repetition in enemy types. The final boss fight was probably the biggest disappointment for me, it didn't feel like a fight at all. However, it certainly could have been worse. Bosses that require dumping all of your ammo into them aren't much fun, either.</p>

  • <p>January, 2012</p>

    <br />

    <p>Nothing amazing, but it is a fun distraction. Some funny dialog if you're familiar with the Half-Life characters.</p>

  • <p>January, 2012. PC on Normal difficulty</p>

    <br />

    <p>I'm normally not a huge fan of runner games, but I really enjoyed Bit.Trip Runner. Unlike Beat, it forces you to start over after a mistake, but the levels are broken into smaller segments that feel more manageable – at least initially. The music is amazing, and the way it builds as you make progress really pushes you to keep going. One of the harder games I've completed.</p>

  • <p>December, 2011. PC version on Normal (1st section) and Easy (2nd two)</p>

    <br>

    <p>I enjoyed the neo-retro style and the music in Bit.Trip Beat, but Normal difficulty got to be way too hard for me. Easy was much easier, except for the last boss fight, which I didn't enjoy much. It would probably be easier to play this game on a touch screen.</p>

  • <p>November, 2011. Xbox 360 on default difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>While the core gameplay in Episode Two isn't that different from Episode One, I enjoyed Episode Two quite a bit more. I think partly I just enjoy the outdoor environments more than the city, but there are also some impactful plot twists in Episode Two that keep the pace moving and make you care more about the characters. The hunters are a nice gameplay addition and the Magnusson device was fun to use, even if it felt highly contrived.</p>

  • <p>November, 2011. Xbox version on Average Joe difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I wasn't amazed by the Scott Pilgrim movie, but I enjoyed this game a lot. The difficulty curve was uneven – the first three to five levels were quite challenging until I realized you can buy items to up your stats. I bought some huge stat boosts from a store in the first level, and after that the game was extremely easy until the last level, which became much more challenging again. Those issues aside, I loved the game's style and the references to older video games.</p>

  • <p>November, 2011. Xbox version. All achievements not in the DLC.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I loved the style of Costume Quest and the RPG-lite format, but I wish there was more challenge or variety to the combat. Most of the game I would use each character's standard attack until I could use their special ability, then repeat. Finding and using all the costumes was a lot of fun, though, and the humor and art style are top notch.</p>

  • <p>October, 2011. Max difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>A lot of tower defense games feel too generic and repetitive to me, but Revenge of the Titans does a number of things to shake up the formula. Enemies don't always follow the same path or start from the same location. Some of them will attack your towers, while others head straight for your base. The large tech tree affords exploration and the use of different strategies. My only complaint is that I couldn't always tell what type of weapon to use against a new enemy type and I often couldn't try a different approach without redoing several levels.</p>

  • <p>October, 2011. Xbox 360 version on Hardened</p>

    <br />

    <p>I knew about Modern Warfare's plot twist before I played it, and I expected the campaign to be short. It lasted longer than I expected, though, and I really enjoyed the cinematic style of the game. My favorite level was Chernobyl. The eery setting magnified the tension of sniping and served as a sobering reminder of past events.</p>

  • <p>August, 2011. Normal game and shortened version with modifiers.</p>

    <br />

    <p>It took me three attempts to win a game of Atom Zombie smasher, but the experience of losing was just as much fun as winning. The Zed army grows extremely quickly and defeating them seemed like an impossible task the first time I played. The second game taught me how to use units more effectively and I finally understood the importance of over world strategy in my third game. The art and music style are fantastic and I loved getting a random non-sequitur cut scene between rounds, but I also wish the ending wasn't the same whether you win or lose.</p>

  • <p>August, 2011. Normal difficulty</p>

    <br />

    <p>Capsized is the first game I purchased primarily for the soundtrack. I liked Solar Field's work in Mirror's Edge and playing Capsized was a nice way to hear his Movements album. The game didn't disappoint, either. You get a gun that feels like a cross between Bionic Commando's hook-arm and Half-Life's gravity gun, which can be used to move vertically or to defend yourself with large objects. There's a nice variety of weapons in the game and the huge levels are fun to explore. The story is simple and melancholic, but it fits well with the music and gameplay.</p>

  • <p>August, 2011 on iPad</p>

    <br />

    <p>I didn't think the early levels of Crush the Castle were terribly exciting, but as the game progressed, things got more interesting. Crush the Castle may not be as colorful or catchy a game as Angry Birds, but I enjoyed its humor and the unique weapons, like the murder of crows.

  • <p>August, 2011. Heroic difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Halo and Halo 2 were some of my favorite console games when I played them, but it took me a long time to finish Halo 3 because the first disc I got had scratches in it. While I mostly enjoyed Halo 3, it was a mixed bag for me. The story didn't engage me as much and the structure felt derivative of the first two games. I found some parts of the ending satisfying and others disappointing. I can't complain about the gameplay, though, which remains satisfying.</p>

  • <p>August, 2011. Normal difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I was curious to try this game because it was developed by Irrational and I wasn't sure what a SWAT FPS would play like. I found it very refreshing to play a shooter where you're rewarded for NOT killing enemies. Sometimes the AI frustrated me, but I liked the randomized enemy placement and the combat realism and depth impressed me. I wish there was a little story tying the missions together, but the mission briefings are quite thorough and I enjoyed the variety of locations.</p>

  • <p>July, 2011. PC version on Normal difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I could list a lot of flaws with Hydrophobia that keep it from being great, but none of those flaws ruined the game for me. Although the protagonist's voice annoyed me, I like how the story feels like it was drawn from people's current fears about the world and it certainly doesn't pull any punches. The ending isn't satisfying and the most interesting aspect of the gameplay doesn't happen until the game is almost over, but Hydrophobia does one thing really well: water physics. The sensation of opening a door to find a wall of water coming at you is definitely worth experiencing.</p>

  • <p>July, 2011. All difficulties. Didn't unlock or complete all bonus puzzles.</p>

    <br />

    <p>At times, there is a zen-like quality to the puzzles in Picross 3D. It feels like you're chipping away at a stone sculpture using logic as your cutting tool. There are also times, especially on hard difficulty, when it becomes frustrating to search for the one number you overlooked in a giant block of cubes, or you accidentally tap the wrong cube because the sides are so small that it's hard to be accurate. I wish that the puzzles didn't have time limits, they make it very hard to unlock all the bonus puzzles, but overall I enjoyed Picross 3D a lot. I recommend playing in short sessions, though, or you might burn out on it.</p>

  • <p>May, 2011. Defeated the God King and the 'Deathless Kings' dungeon.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Objectively speaking, Infinity Blade is a long grind of Punch-Out style gameplay against a limited set of enemies. Unobjectively, it has awesome visual style, an intuitive interface and enough interesting gear that it kept me hooked for hours.</p>

  • <p>May, 2011 on 360 using saves</p>

    <br />

    <p>I enjoyed the simple beat-em-up gameplay in Streets of Rage, which felt very similar to Final Fight. I didn't mind that the same four or five enemy types are repeated throughout the game with different colors, but I really didn't like fighting almost all of the bosses three different times.</p>

  • <p>May, 2011. Campaign on Easy Difficulty plus 10 challenges.</p>

    <br />

    <p>100 Rogues is a very short Rogue-like, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. It has some great tongue-in-cheek humor, like the bullies that throw dodge balls at you when you first get to Hell. I thought the Crusader would be the easiest player to win with, but I got overwhelmed when I tried to take on Satan with him. The Fairy Witch has some great skills that I found made things much easier. The 10 challenges are a nice way of teaching the basics of using skills.</p>

  • <p>May, 2011. Hard difficulty. Plus 'The Writer' DLC.</p>

    <br />

    <p>As a game, Alan Wake may not be exemplary, but as an interactive form of television/cinema, it's one of the greatest experiences I've had to date. The gameplay isn't bad, just a bit repetitive. I got tired of using the same weapons for most of the game, but I'm glad they didn't try to add tanks or rocket launchers; they would have felt too out of place. Some of my favorite moments in the game occurred outside of combat, just exploring the world of Bright Falls, meeting it's quirky citizens and watching 'Night Springs' on TV. Those moments highlighted for me how much potential video games have as a medium when they tell interesting stories in a realistic setting without convoluted puzzles or over-the-top combat.</p>

  • <p>May, 2011. PC version.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Just Cause 2 has a similar format to the first game, but the mechanics have been improved in ways that make it much easier to get around and more fun to cause 'Chaos' (that's literally what the game calls it). I would rate the story somewhere between 'bad' and 'terrible', but the world is so large, beautiful and fun to explore that the story didn't matter much to me. I was occasionally frustrated when I died somewhere and had to travel a long time to make it back, but there is a decent fast travel system that helps with those issues. If you like open world games, they don't get much bigger or more open than this.</p>

  • <p>May, 2011. PC version. 11 of 14 achievements</p>

    <br />

    <p>Biology Battle is an excellent dual-stick shooter. In some ways, I like it better than Geometry Wars. The setting and graphics are engaging and the Life/Death mechanic is a unique system that pushes you to survive as long as you can, while also knowing your limits.</p>

  • <p>May, 2011. Arcade Mode on Normal Difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I had a hard time setting up my Xbox 360 gamepad with Bullet Candy, but once I got it working, it controlled like any other dual joystick shooter. True to its name, the screen often gets covered in bullets, making it near impossible to survive at times. You do have the option of committing suicide, however, which lets you keep your upgrades and multiplier when you respawn. By the end of the game I was usually praying for an invincibility power up to make it through each level. The graphics look good, but not amazing and the music is pretty standard electronica/techno. I wouldn't play Bullet Candy over Geometry Wars or Biology Battle, but if you're tired of those, it offers plenty of challenge.</p>

  • <p>May, 2011. PC version.</p>

    <br />

    <p>NyxQuest is a unique platformer in that it gives you control over the environment via the mouse. You quickly learn to lift and drag objects and your abilities expand throughout the game as the platforming challenges get tougher. I love the art style of the game, which feels historically authentic. I also like how it takes a classic myth and spins it in a new direction.</p>

  • <p>May 2011. Google Chrome version.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I enjoyed Angry Birds, but I'm not sure why it's such a huge sensation. I suppose the premise is unique and fun (although bizarre). However, many of the levels seem to require as much luck as skill or planning. I thought Crush the Castle 2 had a better variety of weapons and a theme that fits better with this game style.</p>

  • <p>May, 2011.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Brood War is probably the most challenging strategy game I've completed to date. It took me longer to complete than the original StarCraft and the final mission lasted longer than some full length games (over eight hours, although I'm not a skilled StarCraft player and I chose not to use a strategy guide). The story didn't interest me that much, but Brood War has a great variety of mission types and some fun new units. The AI is significantly smarter, too, which adds to the challenge. It can be frustrating when it seems like the computer always finds the weak points in your defense, but it also makes victory that much more rewarding.</p>

  • <p>April, 2011.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I feel like Happy Tree Friends would be a much more enjoyable game on the PC or iOS because the controls are just too slow on the 360. It could also use a little story to tie the levels together, but the Lemmings style gameplay fits well and the variety of level locations is nice.</p>

  • <p>iOS version, April, 2011. iPhone and arcade versions on Normal.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Cave makes amazing shmups. Highly recommended.</p>

  • <p>April, 2011 on iPad</p>

    <br />

    <p>MGS: Touch is pretty disappointing if you're expecting a real MGS game. It's basically a very slooooow shooting gallery with quite a few boss fights. I think I would have enjoyed it more if you could just tap on enemies to shoot them instead of dragging the crosshairs around with your finger, which really slows down the action.</p>

  • <p>April, 2011 on XBLA. Also completed in arcades with friends in the 90s.</p>

    <br />

    <p>X-men is my favorite arcade beat 'em up. Playing it with five other friends in an arcade is an experience I'll always remember fondly. The XBLA version is really easy, since you can spam your mutant power, and it doesn't cost you a quarter when you die. I still love the nostalgia, though.</p>

  • <p>April, 2011. Completed the version on Capcom's arcade for iPhone.</p>

    <br />

    <p>1943 is entertaining for a few levels, but it get's repetitive quickly and the difficulty ramps up to a point where I was dying every couple seconds, which isn't much fun. Still an impressive SHMUP for it's time, though.</p>

  • <p>Feb. 2011. Used a FAQ a couple times.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Aquaria takes a while to get going and doesn't give you much direction, which can be frustrating. However, the massive, lush environments, beautiful music and unique boss fights all make the game memorable. It reminded me at times of Zelda and Castlevania blended with Ecco the Dolphin. Aquaria is a game of exploration, so it helps that the mapping system is easy to use and take notes on. The cooking system didn't interest me at first, but I grew to like it. It's very impressive that a game of this scale was made by only two people.</p>

  • <p>Feb. 2011 in about 27 hrs.</p>

    <br />

    <p>There were a few points where I felt Bowser's Inside Story got to be too weird for it's own good. That may seem like an odd criticism for a game about plumbers fighting dragons, but seriously, how is it that Bowser's body can be connected by giant pipes to the outside world?</p>

    <br />

    <p>In spite of the bizarre anatomy, I still enjoyed the game's charm and thought the RPG elements blended well with the platforming and mini games. I still like Super Mario RPG better, but not by much.</p>

  • <p>January, 2010.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I really like the changes they made to Risk in this version. The objectives allow for multiple strategies and prevent the games from lasting forever. The campaign is short but I enjoyed its off-the-wall humor.</p>

  • <p>January, 2010. iPhone version.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Plants vs. Zombies didn't live up to the hype for me. I had some fun playing it and the humor is great, but the core gameplay didn't remain fun for the length of the game. I liked the wide variety of plants and zombies, but planting and collecting sunshine gets repetitive. Sometimes the last wave of zombies would kill me, forcing me to replay a whole level - a rewind feature would have been appreciated. When it comes to tower-defense style games, I much prefer Defense Grid.</p>

  • <p>January, 2010 in ~70 hrs. Completed 111 missions.</p>

    <br />

    <p>It seems pretty insane to me how much content is in FFTA2. In the 70 hours I put in, I think I only completed about a third of the missions. The main story line didn't impress me much, but some of the side stories are pretty interesting and I loved the attention to detail in the graphics and music. This is definitely not a game for the impatient, it took quite a few hours of playing before I understood all of the game systems. The payoff is a deep strategy experience with a huge variety of characters, skills and mission challenges.</p>

  • <p>January, 2010.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I finally have a better understanding of why an entire nation is obsessed with this game. StarCraft is a fantastic RTS with well balanced factions and a better story than I expected. The interface isn't that user-friendly – the ground units are hard to control and managing resource gathering and combat simultaneously can be a pain – but that makes getting good at the game that much more impressive. I have no interest in the multiplayer right now, but I can certainly respect those who do.</p>

  • <p>January, 2011.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Windosill has some of the best 3d animation that I've seen done in Flash. The gameplay is fairly simple, but the creative design and animations made it a very fun experience for me while it lasted.</p>

  • <p>January, 2011. Xbox version.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I really liked having Alyx as a constant companion in this episode. Not only is she well-voiced and engaging, she helps give the game direction. There aren't any interesting new characters or plot twists in this episode, but I enjoyed the ride while it lasted.</p>

  • <p>December, 2010 on Easy, Normal and Hard Difficulties. Tried all of the magic types.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I played the shareware version of Master of Magic back in the 90s, but didn't acquire the full version until 2010. The graphics are extremely dated now, but I really enjoy the game's blend of turn-based strategy, city building and magic. It gets compared a lot to Civilization, but the magic and combat make it feel quite different. Like Civ, though, it can be very addicting.</p>

  • <p>December, 2010</p>

    <br />

    <p>There isn't much gameplay, it's extremely short and I felt like I missed the point of the narrative, but as an interactive art piece I thought Coil was quite good.</p>

  • <p>December, 2010</p>

    <br />

    <p>It's more of a demo than a game, but I enjoyed the mix of Valve games with Peggle characters. The look and sound of the head crab eating the unicorn is pretty disturbing.</p>

  • <p>November, 2010 in about 8 hours</p>

    <br />

    <p>Osmos is one of the best physics-based games I've played to date. Like many good indie games, it takes a simple mechanic and expands it in a lot of different directions. Some of the later levels were a bit frustrating, but overall I enjoyed the challenge.</p>

  • <p>November, 2010. Both campaigns on Hard difficulty in ~17 hrs.</p>

    <br />

    <p>The new Imperial units in the Order campaign were fun to try, even though they feel weak compared to the Space Marines. I enjoyed the challenge of playing on Hard difficulty, but the time based missions annoyed me. I also found the voices of the Chaos units to be really obnoxious, but otherwise, I enjoyed the campaign.</p>

  • <p>November, 2010. ~5 hours.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Machinarium doesn't do anything wildly different from other adventure/puzzle games, but the artwork, animation and music really made it stand out for me. The interface is kept simple and the integrated hint system is a welcome feature that I used a couple times. I enjoyed most of the puzzles and I really like how the entire story is told without words.</p>

  • <p>November, 2010. "Rookie" difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Even on "Rookie", the difficulty level in Raptor scales up pretty quickly. I had trouble progressing until I tried selling all my weapons to buy one that auto-targeted. After that, the game became much more manageable, although it certainly remained challenging. It may not compare to games like Ikaruga, but I'd still recommend this game if you enjoy shmups. There are lots of levels and a nice variety of weapons.</p>

  • <p>November, 2010. DS version in 30-40 hrs.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I enjoyed the flexibility the job system gives you in FF III. I kept a white mage and monk for the entire game, and used the other two party characters to experiment with the warrior, red mage, knight, dark knight, geomancer and evoker. Perhaps because of the job system, I felt less connected to the characters than in FF IV or VII. The story might also be to blame for that, though.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Up until the last dungeon, I found the difficulty in FF III to be challenging, but manageable. The last dungeon is extremely long, with five boss fights before the final encounter and no save points. I found that annoying, but eventually succeeded. Overall, I enjoyed the game a lot. It might not stand out from other FF titles, but there's something comforting about the familiarity of an old FF game.</p>

  • <p>November, 2010. 'Gravity' difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I enjoyed the first couple levels of Scavenger, but that fun wore off quickly. I was disappointed with how short most of the levels are and how similar they all feel. There aren't any boss fights and the game goes on much longer than it needs to. It might have been more fun if I had played the 'limited fuel' mode, but I doubt it.</p>

  • <p>November, 2010. Used a walkthrough.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I would have a hard time recommending Bioforge to anyone who's used to modern game conventions. The controls are extremely sluggish and combat is an exercise in frustration. The game's length is artificially prolonged by it's confusing puzzles and the lack of direction it gives you, and the ending is abrupt and anti-climactic.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Underneath all those flaws, however, is a game with dark, effective atmosphere, decent voice-acting and a relatable main character. A lot of attention was given to detail, as seen in the many logs that fill out the backstory, the puzzles that fit naturally into the game world, and the way the main character's health is visible from the way he animates. So, despite my frustrations, there was a lot I enjoyed in Bioforge.</p>

  • <p>October, 2010. Easy ('Genocide') difficulty</p>

    <br />

    <p>While this expansion is quite short, the levels are better and there's more story and background information on the Chosen than in the original game. Playing as each of the Chosen was a nice change of pace and I liked seeing the Cabal enemies from the original Blood. Playing on easy made the combat more fun, but it also took away the challenge.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I should point out that Blood II and this expansion are extremely hard to get running on Windows 7 without crashing. I had to change resolutions and startup options a number of times.</p>

  • <p>October, 2010. Normal ('Homicide') difficulty as Caleb. Used YouTube videos when I got stuck near the end.</p>

    <br />

    <p>None of the stylistic changes in Blood II appealed to me. I prefer Blood's cartoony, 2D sprites in a 1920s gothic setting to the polygonal, cyberpunk world of Blood II. While I would hardly call Blood a masterpiece, it had an effective, revenge-driven story line with minimal cut scenes and amusing one-liners from Caleb. The story in Blood II was a confusing mess to me, with terrible dialogue and cut scenes. There are a few darkly funny lines, but more often they're just disturbing or idiotic, especially the text on load screens.</p>

    <br />

    <p>From a gameplay perspective, though, Blood II kept me entertained. Some of the levels felt repetitive, but I enjoyed the wide range of weapons. Many of the weapons and enemies from Blood make a return, although none of them felt like a big improvement. The enemies with guns shoot you the instant you turn a corner and too many of them are bullet-sponges. For that reason, it might be more fun to play on the easy difficulty.</p>

  • <p>October, 2010. All achievements in about 10 hrs</p>

    <br />

    <p>The game concept in Obulis is pretty simple - cut ropes to make marbles drop into cups - but Obulis stretches that concept into some challenging levels. I enjoyed solving the puzzles when the solution required precise setup or timing. Unfortunately, there are some instances where the physics systems don't behave consistently, no matter your actions. Overall, I enjoyed the game, but I recommend playing in short sessions.</p>

  • <p>October, 2010. Normal difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>ArkLight doesn't compare well to Shatter (the other Arkanoid-inspired game I played recently), but it does have a unique blend of shmup and brick-breaking game styles. It's easy to die if you don't watch your energy, but once I got used to the systems, I found most of the levels pretty easy. The game start to feel repetitive after a while and it doesn't help that there's only one boss fight.</p>

  • <p>October, 2010.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I thought Drone Tactics might just be an Advance Wars clone, but it actually plays quite differently. Every character gains levels and can be equipped with different weapons. Initially the difficulty seemed challenging and I thought I'd have to do a lot of side missions to gains levels. By learning the game systems and AI behavior, though, I found the game got much easier and I only failed one or two missions.</p>

    <br />

    <p>The story is definitely geared at kids and didn't interest me much. If you enjoy SRPGs, though, I recommend the gameplay.</p>

  • <p>October, 2010. Normal difficulty in 18.5 hrs.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Initially I was pretty turned off by the cheesy cut scenes in Dawn of War. There was a significant learning curve in the beginning, since I hadn't played an RTS in a long time. Once I got comfortable, though, I really enjoyed the gameplay. DoW has a number of features that make it easier to control large forces and the difficulty never felt too punishing on Normal. I even grew to like the over-acted cut-scenes in a campy sort of way.</p>

  • <p>September, 2010.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Gravity Bone is so short that it feels more like a proof-of-concept than a game, but it is an interesting experience while it lasts. A couple of moments were genuinely surprising and funny to me, especially the ending. The art style and humor really set this game apart. Unfortunately, the game also crashed on me twice, but I can't complain much when it's free.</p>

  • <p>September, 2010</p>

    <br />

    <p>Solace is one of the strongest examples I've seen to date of games as art. The dynamic music and beautiful graphics create strong atmospheres that fit well with the game's theme. The difficulty is quite forgiving, which makes Solace more about an experience than a challenge, but the gameplay is fun regardless. The final stage turns the idea of bullet-hell on it's head in a way that was really a joy to experience.</p>

  • <p>September, 2010. Campaign and all VR missions in about 8 hours.</p>

    <br />

    <p>The ship control in Bob Came in Pieces frustrated me at times, but that's a deliberate function of the physics-based gameplay. I enjoyed trying new parts and modifying the ship to solve puzzles, which might have some educational value. The VR missions were more fun to me than the regular adventure - they feature some creative and challenging puzzles. However, going for the time medals in the game didn't appeal to me. The physics based controls make it hard to complete puzzles quickly.</p>

  • <p>September, 2010. Normal difficulty using saves.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I preferred the vertical sections of Axelay to the horizontal ones, but the variety is interesting. Some of Axelay's game systems are fairly unique for a shmup. Getting hit takes out a weapons system instead of killing you and you get all your weapons back when you respawn. There's a tactical component to choosing weapons for the current situation. I found the boss fights entertaining, but not that memorable.</p>

  • <p>September, 2010. Xbox 360 version on Medium difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Half-Life 2 is a fantastic sequel that improves upon the original in many ways. In Half-Life, most of the characters felt one-dimensional. Half-Life 2 features a cast of flushed-out characters supported by excellent animation and voice work. Unfortunately, the increased dialogue makes it seem even more bizarre that Gordon Freeman never says anything. I also felt that Half-Life had a strong central motivation (get out of Black Mesa alive). Half-Life 2 starts with a similar sense of urgency to escape, but there were times later in the game where I wasn't sure where I was trying to go. Regardless, the physics-based puzzles are great, the environments are fun to explore and there's a great selection of both classic and new weaponry to play with.</p>

  • <p>September 2010. SNES version using saves. Played as William.</p>

    <br />

    <p>One of my favorite shmups on the SNES. Fast, colorful action with big bosses that seem quasi-realistic (at least until the end).</p>

  • <p>September, 2010. PC version. Devil Hunter mode in 17 hrs.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I tried to play this game on the Xbox 360 with two different discs and both times I got disc read errors. I finally decided to get the steam version and I'm glad I did. It looks great running at full resolution on a 24" monitor.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Having played all the previous games in the series, DMC4 felt both familiar and new. Staples like crazy cut-scenes, bad dialogue, and repeat boss battles all make a return. However, the story is mostly focused on a new character, Nero, whose play style feels quite different. Dante is playable eventually, and has most of his moves from DMC3, plus some fun new weapons. I loved the new theme song, Nero's moves were fun to learn and the beautiful environments and memorable boss fights all combined to make DMC4 a very satisfying experience, despite its flaws.</p>

  • <p>September, 2010. DS version. Unlocked all but two characters.</p>

    <br />

    <p>The art style of Gunpey is so colorful that it can be hard to differentiate the game from the background at times. The gameplay reminded me of Super Puzzle Fighter and Tetris, but instead of blocks, you slide pieces around to form long chains. It felt satisfying when I would complete a huge chain that ended the game for my opponent. However, most of the time it seemed easier to play it safe until my opponent messed up, which made the game boring.</p>

  • <p>September, 2010</p>

    <br />

    <p>I really liked the art style and music in this game. The platforming made a great first impression, too. Unfortunately, it got repetitive after a short time, since you fight the same enemy types for the whole game and there's really only one boss, repeated three times. I still recommend it, though, if you enjoy platformers with gnomes and tons of treasure.</p>

  • <p>September 2010. XBLA version, Normal difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Words can't describe the weirdness of Zeno Clash. Despite how bizarre it gets, though, there's an interesting story that rivals many AAA titles (not that that's saying much). I felt it was a little too easy to button mash through most of the combat, but that probably changes on harder difficulties.</p>

  • <p>September 2010. Normal Difficulty in about 5 hours.</p>

    <br />

    <p>For a game expansion, Opposing Force is surprisingly long and contains lots of new weapons and enemies. I enjoyed seeing Black Mesa from a soldier's perspective, although I wasn't totally sold on the storyline. The new weapons are great and the puzzles are creative, but not overly challenging.</p>

  • <p>August 2010. Completed campaign in about 2 hours</p>

    <br />

    <p>Nation Red didn't take me long to complete, but it was an addictive experience while it lasted. At first I didn't like losing my weapons and experience at the beginning of each new level, but I quickly grew to appreciate it. Each time you level up, you get to choose from a list of random perks. That, combined with the random weapon drops, makes repeat plays of the same level feel very different.</p>

  • <p>August 2010. Reached level 20 and unlocked all weapons in about 4.5 hours.</p>

    <br />

    <p>There isn't much variety or complexity to Foreign Legion, but I still enjoyed it as a mindless diversion. The incentive of unlocking new weapons kept me playing for quite a while after I completed the campaign. I also liked the Lego style of the characters and the game's twisted sense of humor. Just don't expect any story or more than three types of enemies.</p>

  • <p>September, 2010. Destroyer campaign on Normal difficulty. Mr. Manatee missions on Easy.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Although the artwork and animation feel very low-budget, this game's unique premise and twisted sense of humor were a lot of fun. The gameplay does get repetitive, but the wide range of enemies (or should I say victims?) helps to keep things interesting. I recommend using a gamepad instead of a mouse if you can.</p>

  • <p>August 2010.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Despite its flaws, Saints Row kept me entertained for a long time. I enjoy sandbox games that don't take themselves too seriously, and Saints Row certainly fits that bill. However, the constant swearing, sex references and scantily clad women didn't make the game edgy or funny to me - most of it came off as immature. That said, you do meet some interesting characters and I really liked how the game ends. The game engine isn't the greatest, I experienced framerate and crashing issues a number of times. I also got frustrated with all of the driving - I wish the game had a quick travel system. The homie/buddy system is great, though, and the wide range of mission types and side quests kept the gameplay from getting stale.</p>

  • <p>August 2010. Around 3 hours.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I enjoyed reading the first Bone graphic novel, so I thought I'd try Telltale's game. Overall, I wasn't disappointed. The graphics aren't impressive, but the voice acting and animation really bring Bone to life. I also liked the simple interface, which prevents the random trial-and-error of many other adventure games. Most of the puzzles are pretty simple, although I found the second Hide and Seek game very frustrating. </p>

  • <p>August 2010. Pearl, starting with Turtwig. Completed in about 46 hours.</p>

    <br />

    <p>This was the first Pokemon game I played. I never watched the cartoons, so I may be missing some of the game's references. I was disappointed at how little plot there is and I got frustrated at times when I couldn't advance because I hadn't talked to one specific person in a world full of NPCs. I did enjoy the core mechanics of choosing and leveling a group of Pokemon, though. Determining how to balance the party was a fun challenge and the wide range of Pokemon made it more interesting. Getting to the end was still a grind, though. The game has tons of side activities, but none of them held my attention for long.</p>

  • <p>August 2010. XBLA version. S-rank.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I didn't play the original, but this feels like the right way to remake an arcade game for this generation. The graphics look amazing, the action is frenetic and arcadey and the EX options reward replays and make the game accessible.</p>

  • <p>August 2010. Completed in about 3 hours.</p>

    <br />

    <p>On the plus side, I liked the wide variety of puzzle types in Chains. The developers did a good job of creating many variations on one core mechanic. The music is also nice. On the negative side, some of the early puzzles felt more difficult than I thought they should be, the graphics are only passable and there isn't much replay value.</p>

  • <p>August 2010. Normal difficulty in about 3 hours</p>

    <br />

    <p>Some of the initial puzzles in Blue Shift threw me off, but I still got through this expansion pretty quickly. There are some tough combat sections, but it isn't long before you get strong weapons and plenty of ammo.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I wish it had an interesting boss fight, but overall this is a nice expansion to a great game.</p>

  • <p>August 2010. PC version in about 2.5 hrs.</p>

    <br />

    <p>While it was short, I really enjoyed my time with shatter. It fixes one of my major complaints with Breakout style games, by giving you indirect control of the ball so it doesn't take forever to hit the last brick on a screen. The graphics and music are fantastic and the bosses add nice variety to the gameplay. I didn't find the Endless mode to be as addictive as, say, Tetris, but not many games are.</p>

  • <p>August 2010 on Normal Difficulty in about 13 hours. Reached both endings.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I'd been meaning to play this game for a long time, but didn't have a PC to play it until recently. I can see now why it's considered a classic. The blend of shooting, platforming and puzzle-solving is well-balanced and unique for the time. The lack of cut-scenes and in-game dialogue kept me involved in the story, even though it's minimal. The blocky character models make the violent scenes seem more cartoonish than horrifying, but I don't see that as a negative.</p>

  • <p>August, 2010. PC version in about 3 hours.</p>

    <br />

    <p>While I found the running and jumping in this platformer a bit stiff, the core tilting mechanic is what keeps things interesting. There isn't any real story, but I didn't feel like it needed one. The ripped paper aesthetic feels fresh and different. I particularly liked the animals, and wish there were more in the later levels. Overall, a creative, unique and fun game experience.</p>

  • <p>July, 2010. PC version on Normal difficulty in 11 hours</p>

    <br />

    <p>Metro 2033 really impressed me initially with its detailed graphics and dark atmosphere. I liked its minimal UI and the attention to detail in the weapons. You can actually see and remove the ammo on a dead body and if you don't look carefully, you might miss some.</p>

    <br />

    <p>The story in Metro 2033 intrigued me at first, but I didn't grow attached to any of the characters because they never stuck around for long. I also found it annoying that the main character never responds when people are speaking to him. I still enjoyed the game, though, and I might play through again sometime for the alternate ending.</p>

  • <p>June, 2010 on Normal difficulty.</p>

    <br />

    <p>Valve knows how to make great multiplayer games, and Alien Swarm is no exception. I enjoyed leveling my character and experimenting with the different weapons and accessories while playing as a team. I only wish there were more levels available, but hopefully the community will change that soon.</p>

  • <p>July, 2010 on Hard difficulty in about 27 hours using the Alchemist.</p>

    <br />

    <p>I really enjoyed the visual style and gameplay in Torchlight. There isn't much story to speak of, but it does Diablo-style hack-and-slash very well. Eventually, it did start to feel like a grind, but not frustratingly so. The only thing I really didn't like was the last boss, who was much tougher than I expected based on all the previous enemies and bosses.</p>

  • <p>July, 2010 with all three endings in 37 hours.</p>

    <br />

    <p>The story and tone of Deus Ex didn't wow me. The cyberpunk genre feels dated to me, and none of the three game endings felt that satisfying. From a gameplay perspective, however, Deus Ex is fantastic. There are always multiple ways to approach an objective and the RPG elements allow you to focus on one play style, or experiment with a variety. I liked how the augmentation system, in particular, gives you expanded abilities but also requires you to decide how you want to play.</p>

    <p>I also appreciate that the game doesn't divide choices into strictly good and evil categories. There are repercussions for many of your decisions, but there isn't one 'right' way to play the game. A lot of modern games could benefit from the systems in Deus Ex.</p>