28 July 2008

Puzzle Hero

Puzzle Hero is a casual game published by Genimo Interactive. You play a warrior girl looking for her brother Tristan who has been kidnapped. You battle monsters along the way by playing a match-3 game. Different actions play out on the top half of the screen depending on what type of item you match. Sound familiar?

It is difficult not to call Puzzle Hero a simplified version of Puzzle Quest because that is what it feels like. Some areas benefit from being pared down. For instance, I understand my powers and my opponent's powers more easily in Puzzle Hero. There is only one kind of mana in this game, instead of the four different types in Puzzle Quest. Collect enough mana and cast a spell -- easy as pie. I also like actually seeing my character attack the opponent instead of having a static headshot in the corner.

There are downsides to a simple game, as well. There isn't much of a story. I played for an hour and after about 15 minutes I forgot that I was supposed to be searching for my brother. I just felt like I was battling monsters. There is a salon and shop in Puzzle Hero, but the salon doesn't have that many choices and isn't really worth visiting. The shop has some items that increase your defenses but I didn't feel like my character was much stronger after I bought them.

I would say that if you have never played Puzzle Quest, you might enjoy Puzzle Hero. Unlike me when I was her age, C2 actually finishes video games and she does it rather quickly. She likes playing variations on a theme, as well. I can see her running through Puzzle Hero and then wanting to try more of the same, so then I can hand her Puzzle Quest. As for me, Puzzle Hero started feeling like Diner Dash or some of those other casual games. I will drop in when I have a craving for Bejeweled-style action, but I don't feel compelled to finish it.

17 July 2008

Thank Goodness for Board Game Geek!

ABM had to do some last-minute shopping for a birthday party the twins are going to tomorrow. Rather than guess which Hannah Montana/High School Musical/Jonas Brothers item the birthday girl didn't have, ABM decided to pick up a couple card games. As usual, he shopped without me and then expected me to give him info about his choices over the phone. That's where having Board Game Geek available really helped out. It took me no time at all to steer ABM away from a bad choice and over to a better one. I wish that all my research online could be this easy.

07 July 2008

Kingdom Of Loathing

Disco Bandits, Seal Clubbers, Turtle Tamers, Pastamancers, Accordion Thieves, and Saucerors. What do all of these things have in common? Well, aside from being some rather odd titles, they are classes in the free online game Kingdom of Loathing. KOL is an turn-based RPG where you can go on odd quests in very strange places such as the Misspelled Cemetery in the Plains and the Sleazy Back Alley on the Wrong Side Of The Tracks. All of the art in this role-playing game was hand drawn by the creators. Some of the pieces might seem crappy while others are downright hilarious.

Once you register and pick your class (I'm a Disco Bandit), then you go find you very first quest at -- get this -- Mt. Noob. Yes, you will be insulted by a mountain. After you finish the quests you are given by The Toot Oriole, you go to the city council for most of the rest of your quests. The game screen for KOL consists of three separate sections. There is one for your stats, one for game play, and one for chat. The stats section shows your screen name, level and the title that goes with that level depending on your class. It shows your Muscle level, your Mysticality level, and your Moxie level. It also shows your HP (health points), MP (for Seal Clubbers and and Turtle Tamers that is Muscularity points, for Pastamancers and Saucerors it's Mana points, and for Disco Bandits and Accordion Thieves it's Mojo points), meat, and adventures. There are a couple of ways to get more HP, eating and sleeping at your campsite. MP is based directly on how much Mysticality a character has. Now, you might be wondering why you would need to know how much meat you have. Well, let me tell you, it's not for cooking! Meat is the currency in KOL represented by a little, and might I say well-drawn, steak.

Since KOL is such an addictive game, the creators needed a way to stop people from playing constantly and getting too far into the game at once. They use two methods to do this. One of them is the amount of adventures they give you each day. Adventures are your turns, and there are certain things you can only do if you have adventures. However, as I'm sure you've already guessed, there must be a way to get more adventures each day, and there are multiple ways. The ones most commonly known are eating and . . . drinking booze. But don't drink too much because, just like in the real world, if you drink too much you get too drunk to do anything.

To enter the chat you first have to pass a simply literacy test. From then on all you have to do once you log on is click "Enter Chat" in the chat screen and everything should be fine. If you have a funky system, then you can revert back to the old chat system. Now, I'd like to warn you that the ages of the people in the chat go over 35. If you're thinking about letting your kids play this game, I would suggest that they be at least 13-15 years old and that they keep the profanity filter on for the chat.

I would recommend this game to kids in high school and maybe middle school if they're pretty mature. It's a pretty fun game and I've been playing it almost every day since I signed up for it. I think my mom might regret recommending it, because I'm addicted and I admit it!

06 July 2008

Welcoming another contributor

My 15-year-old daughter, who is referred to as Mimipink or M, will begin writing for Average Girl Plays. She loves to write, so I thought this would give her a place to hone her skills. I tend to give all my kids supplemental work during the summer, but M has outgrown the workbooks I give the younger kids.

I must admit that I have a selfish reason for recruiting M, as well. I want this blog to continue, but at the moment M has more time to play games and write about them than I do. She fits into the "average girl" theme of the blog because she isn't a hardcore gamer. I still want this blog to be about how people who aren't boardgame hobbyists or hardcore gamers view the new stuff that's out there. We are family gamers; we play within the family or with other families on the block. It makes sense to me to get the kids' perspective, and M can help with that.

Anyway, this blog needs new life and M is definitely lively. My hope is that you will enjoy M's work. Her first post should be this week, so watch for it!