S-Ranks of 2012

Games that I've managed to S-Rank in 2011.

List items

  • It's a simple enough puzzle game, you guide a flower around a maze, picking up balls of sunshine. You guide it using gusts of wind, that you apply to the flower by touching the area around the flower on the screen. The closer you are, and the longer you touch the screen for, the more your force is on the flower. The levels are themed with 15 for each season, and they gradually introduce gravity, hazards and switches to make the levels a little more challenging.

  • Quarrel started it's life as an iOS app, and has now made it's way to XBLA. It's essentially a mix between Scrabble and Risk - you have a number of troops on different territories across a map, and you can choose to battle against neighbouring territories by making up a word from a given list of letters. The 8 letters you're presented with will always be an anagram of an 8 letter word, but the length of the word you can create is limited by the number of troops you're attacking with. As with Scrabble, letters have different scores associated with them, so just because you're in a battle and have less troops doesn't mean you're destined to lose.

    The game has a variety of different modes to choose between, from challenges, to basic Quarrel games, and you can take things online against friends and strangers if you wish.

  • Pirates follows the same path that all of the previous Traveller's Tales LEGO games have tread in recent years - movies split into chapters, with collectables and minikits hidden throughout the story, and the inevitable supply of gold bricks and things to unlock, all around a simply designed hub level which is much better than the labyrinthine Hogwarts in the Harry Potter games. If you've played any of their LEGO games, you know what to expect.

    Whilst I thought that the Indy and Batman iterations of the franchise weren't up to scratch, this felt much tighter. The attention to detail displayed in the character design, along with the storytelling relying on mannerisms and the odd noise due to the mute mini figures had much more coherence than Indy and Batman, and it's only been bettered by the Star Wars series of games in my opinion.

  • I'd bought Deus Ex at launch, but I never got around to playing it much at all, as my initial exploits in the game were met with aggression. It was clear that there was a miriad of directions from which I could approach the game, and so I packed in, and the game slipped down my list. During one of my many recent bouts of gamers block one of my friends suggested I go back to it, and it was an excellent suggestion that I stuck with. I decided to work my way through the game in as stealthy a manner as possible, as I'd already seen an alternative elevated path on the first mission, and discovered just how much of a silenced approach I could take in the game. There were achievements on offer for non-lethal takedowns, along with not being detected, so I combined this along with going through on the hardest difficulty - after all, if I was avoiding combat as much as possible, I didn't have to worry about how tough battles could become, right? Things were going really well, and some missions were a real challenge to get through due to me having to try different approaches to get around the problems I faced. My biggest issue was when I discovered the game had boss battles - I reached my first boss without any offensive weapons, other than a tranquiliser rifle! The aesthetics of the game are what really shone for me - the futuristic style was akin to Bladerunner for me, with a dark atmosphere that drew me in. Music was a nice touch, feeling a good deal like the futuristic synth tones from the Mass Effect series.

  • To be honest, this game had passed me by, as do a good deal of WP7 releases. I'd seen one of my friends on TA go through the game really quickly, and when I saw that it had a completion ratio above 50%, I knew it'd be next on my list for polishing off a game.

    It's a pretty simplistic point and click game. You visit a haunted house, with the intention of photographics paranormal phenomena, and you get locked into the house. You thus have to prowl around the house, taking pictures, solving puzzles and collecting items and keys to aid you in your escape. I had to play it through twice, as one of the achievements requires you to finish in under 20 minutes, which gives you an idea of what to expect from the game.