December 18, 2016

Casual Capsule Reviews

Tags: A Gamedev Plays

This post is from the now defunct website “A GameDev Plays…”, copied here for posterity

Time for some short reviews of small games.

Paper Train Traffic (US$1.99) has the player control the signalling for a set of train tracks - their job is simple, prevent crashes! The player controls are beautifully straightforward. Click a light (normally only a few for each level) to switch it between “go” and “stop”, or switch tracks. There is also a boost button to make the stage go quicker and points are awarded on how often this is used. The art is a cute and beautiful pen style reminiscent of school doodles. Each level takes a couple of minutes at most, but with 300 of them there is a great deal of content here. Levels can not be memorised as the sequence of trains is random, sometimes making a level trivially easy, while other times the same level is near impossible. Despite this the game is immensely enjoyable in its fast pace with a just one more try quality.

Fake Colours

Fake Colours (US$4.99, previously bundled) is a casual puzzler in which three cubes must be moved across a small square grid to set destinations. The difficulty comes in that each cube can only be moved onto squares which match its colour. There are 30 levels of increasing difficulty as various extra little additions increase the challenge. The game itself looks good and production levels are acceptable, although the non-game screens are a little rough graphically. The controls are clunky, but that does not matter as there does not appear to be a time limit (other than for scoring purposes). A decent little challenging diversion, but ultimately forgettable.

Cook Serve Delicious

Cook, Serve, Delicious (US$9.99, previously bundled) is an arcade restuarant simulator. The player serves customers by striking a set of keys (or mouse clicks) that produce the desired menu item. It is really a game about being able to quickly and accurately strike the desired combos (the mouse is way too slow). Thus I am very bad at it. It is incredibly well produced, clearly considerable effort has been made to make playing an enjoyable experience. There are many progression options (different menu items, new equipment, achievements, etc) gradually unlocked to keep players interested. Plus there is a campaign and weekly challenges. An exemplar in its genre.


10000000 (US$4.99, previously bundled) is a fast-paced match-3 game, with retro 8-bit graphics. You play as a dungeon adventurer fighting monsters, opening treasure chests and upgrading your castle. Each of these tasks is completed by matching 3 or more items in a grid, which is manipulated by shifting icons in their columns. This game was way too fast for me. How long you can play each dungeon is determined by how quickly you can construct matches. There are many powerups and improvements players can earn to aid them in their dungeoneering. However, none of it was enough to keep my attention. I’m not a huge fan of match-3 games, and this didn’t game overcome that bias.

Last Hope

Last Hope - Tower Defence (US$8.99) is a tower defence game (surprise!) set in a zombie apocalypse where mainly native Americans defend their villages against the horde. Although the theme seems very lightly applied. There are robots and automatically targeting ballistas. Also, if a character is wounded or even killed by a zombie, they are not converted. They are just resurrected a minute or so later. Thus there is no fear of zombification and multiplying enemies, which seems to me a core part of zombie games. The gameplay is standard casual tower defence: place installations in the path of the enemy; try to channel them; upgrade at the end of a mission. There is no innovation here. Also there seems to be little polish. A couple of bugs caused me to restart. The graphics and animation always seem just a little bit off. The text at one point requested a mobile gesture when playing on my PC. This is clearly a mobile game ported to PC with little effort. Skip it.