Feb. 13th, 2017

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I feel like writing intros to these bundles is kinda silly at this point. I buy a lot of them (to the point where my Steam account has over 500 games attached to it) because I’m pretty much guaranteed a couple of hours of entertainment for my two bucks. Even if most of the games in a bundle are terrible or just don’t really grab me, I still stumble upon things that turn out entertaining that I wouldn’t have expected.

Weather Lord: Following the Princess Collector's Edition - This is the same sort of resource-gathering/management game that Legends of Atlantis: Exodus was. Each level is a puzzle of what order to gather things in. I make not claims that it’s a work of great art or even a particularly taxing game, but it’s a cute little casual time-waster.

Prehistoric Tales - This is a town-building game similar to the "Tap Zoo" games and various clones you find on mobile devices, except it's self-contained without time-outs or IAP. Which means that you can smoothly complete all of the assigned tasks and build up your town without having to wait for things to recharge. You also need to build up an army to defend your territory, but there's no time pressure, and if you're defeated, you just build up the money and buy a new army to try again. Three hours of casual gaming, generally a pleasant experience.

Crab Cakes Rescue - A gimmicky puzzle platformer that revolves around the fact that you're a crab: Every time you die, you leave your shell behind (which can be used as a platform or blockage) and become slightly smaller. Some levels revolve around leaving shells in the right places; others in being the right size to get places. I thought the concept was cute but got old fast, and I found the crab's hitbox to be irritatingly large, especially given how fast some of the instant-death boxes move.

Miko Mole - Float, dodge, bore and push rocks to help Miko Mole collect all the gems in this stage-based action/puzzle game. Each set of stages adds an additional hiccup--the ability to pick up rocks, the ability to set dynamite charges, etc. Cute concept, got old quickly.

Energy Cycle Collector's Edition - You know those puzzles where you press one button and everything in a line with it changes, and you need to make the entire puzzle match? This is an entire game full of those, just with fancy graphics. Meh?

It's Spring Again Collector's Edition - This doesn't actually qualify as a "game" so much as a somewhat interactive movie that a two-year-old might have fun with if it were on a touchscreen. Tap everything to change the seasons; repeat.

Square's Route - You are a cube (not a square, technically) and need to flip your way across various mazes, squashing evil plants and collecting gems. Each stage has a set number of moves you're aiming for to be "perfect" and to pass.

Puzzles Under The Hill - Pamela Possum goes for a walk through the Shire and finds lots of increasingly-complicated jigsaw puzzles on her way. The number of pieces steadily grows as you play, but the jigsaw outline is always given and the pieces don't rotate, so it's significantly easier than a comparable real jigsaw puzzle. If you want to do a LOT of small jigsaw puzzles, this is your game.

Pepe Porcupine - Pepe is the night worker at the Temple of the Pushable Crate, and as such, must push all the crates to where they need to go. I generally like block-pushing puzzles, but I found the controls odd (Pepe tends to "stick" after each move, which makes it hard to get anywhere quickly) and the rewards more insubstantial than most (no points/star count, no achievements, no plot).

Ferrum's Secrets: Where Is Grandpa? - A point-and-click adventure game, made in Unity; it looks like it should be an FPS but it's a setpiece game with clunky puzzles. I found it more obtuse than most games of this type, likely because the graphics are lousy and the interface isn't great either, so hidden object puzzles become guessing games. There are far more pleasant games in this genre to play.

Ludo Supremo - Another case of an excellent implementation of a terrible board game: The graphics are lovely, the gameplay is fast and smooth, the multiplayer is well-implemented...and the game is a heavily randomness-based dice-rolling-fest. There's some strategy you can work up with four players over which pieces you move and when, but there's so much luck involved the game just gets interminable. If I want that experience, I’ll play a physical board game with my son.

Snail Bob 2: Tiny Troubles - Bob is a snail, and he's not very bright, as his only movement options are go, stop and turn around. You need to maneuver him to the exit of each level despite this. This game has an interesting quirk that the stars and puzzle pieces in each level aren't at all connected to what you make Bob do--they're a hidden-object game-within-the-game, and you need to click them with your mouse before you finish the level with Bob. I found this surprisingly amusing, despite the puzzles ranging from “extremely easy” to “easy”.

Quell Collection - So, you know the sliding-ice puzzles that tend to infest 2D Zelda games and jrpgs? This is a collection of just those. (Or, more specifically, three such collections.) I played most of the first one, and I'm fairly sure I'll play the others at a later point.

Also in this collection was Mahjong Deluxe 3, but I'm not terribly interested in learning to play Mahjong.

Overall: This was, as advertised, a bundle full of puzzle games, most of which were briefly entertaining and might, if you were really into that sort of puzzle, be good for a few hours. Weather Lord, Prehistoric Tales and the Quell Collection stood out as those for me, though your mileage may vary. 10+ hours of entertainment for $2, no complaints.
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Spectrubes - Pixel-art (practically ASCII-art) mazes that you need to maneuver multiple blocks through--those block move mirror-wise to each other, of course, and that's the rub.

Moustache Mountain - A very short platformer game that's intended for you to speedrun. You have three lives and there are lots of ways to instantly become chunky salsa. If you don't die, the game can be beaten in just a couple of minutes...it's the dying a lot trying to get there that'll get you. If you're into speedrunning platformers, you might be amused by this.

ANKI - Very simple puzzle platformer with no plot beyond "grab all the crystals and don't die." Feels very amateurish, honestly.

Big Journey to Home - A puzzle game with a roguelike style--top-down rooms and turn-based movement, but with no inventory or levels, just one-use power-ups that you need to clear each (distinct) room. Doesn't do it for me.

Silver Knight - An Early Access top-view action/adventure game, where early pixelated screen-sized room is a gauntlet of enemies and a couple of hits kills you dead. I can check back on this at some point when it's actually a viable game.

Dungeon Journey - A pseudo-puzzle rpg in which you explore the dungeon by uncovering tiles in a Minesweeper-like style. If you hit a monster, that locks the tiles next to it until you defeat it (though in some cases, the monsters don't act if you ignore them, so you can heal or escape at your leisure). It feels like it should be very strategic, but I couldn't really glean any useful strategies.

Rock 'N' Roll Defense - This is pretty fun, actually. It's standard tower defense in a bunch of ways, but the gimmick is that you're setting up speakers to stop rabid fans from rushing the stage. I got tired of it after a while (and I've played Tower Defense games with better controls and more overall sophistication), but it was entertaining.

Alien Attack in Space - An Asteroids-style space shooter, in both graphical and play style. Everything is monochromatic pixels, you can rotate and shoot in 360 degrees but your motion has inertia and the screen wraps. This is good for ten minutes of entertainment, tops.

Warriors' Wrath - You play a warrior in a land full of monsters. From your home base, you need to go out and beat up lots of these monsters, usually for quests. You can then use gathered/won materials to upgrade your equipment, and go out wandering to do it again. If there's more plot than that, I didn't see it. It feels thrown together, as the background and sprite art styles don't mesh at all, the controls are wonky, and the menus are confusing. I'm guessing it was somebody's first game.

Overall: This was a bundle of cheaply made, often half-finished games with okay concepts and lousy execution. Rock 'N' Roll Defense was moderately amusing, probably my favorite of the lot; and Dungeon Journey has some potential as a casual rpg; but overall I wouldn't call anything a big winner. I got about 4 hours of gameplay from this bundle, all told. 

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