Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Score With Foxy Fans



Picking on Score With Foxy Fans may be mean. I may be harsh in attacking it. There are worse games, far worse games, than this out there on the internet, and rest assured I will play them all. But I happened across this little bundle of mediocrity and felt it was only right - nay, my duty - to rip into this poor excuse for titillation and gameplay.



As the lame double entendre of a title implies, the object of the game is to score points in order to see pictures of "foxy fans." Fans of what, I'm not sure, but I guess it's safe to assume it's American football, as you have to score field goals while knocking out black rectangles, thereby revealing the foxy fan in all her half-naked, post-feminist glory.

By the way, I should state at this point that the game appears to be some sort of tie-in with the latest American Pie movie, Beta House. Hey, remember when American Pie was an over the top but hilarious examination of teenage lust and awkwardness around the prickly subject of sex and losing one's virginity? Remember when Eugene Levy didn't whore himself out for a quick buck?

I do.



Accuracy is key, so if you have poor co-ordination or you just don't really give a rat's ass it might prove hard to hit the targets, especially as it appears one needs to do so perfectly. On the bright side, there are no lives or time limit, so you can just go nuts and hope for the best. Theoretically, you could miss three million times and still win, so if you lack self-confidence this could be the game for you.



And here's your prize. Yeah, I dunno. I mean, she is attractive, but... meh.

Indeed, if Score With Foxy Fans is tied in with an American Pie movie, it's awfully tame by comparison. Fellas, let's not lie to ourselves. You're reading this right now. You're on the internet. You could probably name eighteen different sites at this very moment where the content blows that picture out of the water for pure, unadulterated sexual arousal. Chicks in their underwear are nice and all, but they're not much incentive to play a crappy game. Hell, they could reward me with a frickin' donkey show and I'd still be reluctant to play.



Anyway, the next levels are more of the same, only slightly more difficult with every new girl. There are six of them, and while one or two are pretty foxy, the rest look like they're going for the "internet pornstar" look, but with less dignity.



This is the last level, so I've got to assume she's the hottest girl, right? I mean, she's sixty yards away and there's a good breeze blowing - she better be worth it!



Oh, wow, a cute Asian chick on the internet - who'd o' thunk it? At least she's not crying while being molested by a 47-year-old pervert with a three inch hard-on.

The target market for Score With Foxy Fans is the same as that of the new American Pie movie - idiots and teenagers too young to buy real porn. Maybe that's the connection, but it could also be that both game and film suck balls, and not in the good way.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Agyta



I was having some trouble finding a game crap enough to get reviewed here. No matter what I played I found myself enjoying it to at least some degree. Fortunately, I remembered a little RPG I'd played a few weeks ago called Agyta, and I breathed a sigh of relief this evening to find it was still as crap as when I first played it.

Agyta is a Legend of Zelda clone, except instead of playing an elfin warrior trying to rescue a princess, you play a delivery boy named Limith.

No, really.



Limith has been working as a delivery boy for two years, and I'll cut him some slack for that only because he's 17, but God damn, kid, what are you gonna do with your life?



I'm much more interested in hearing the story of Limith's boss, who sends our hero on a delivery to Agyta, a new planet. I'd like to know how this man with no discernible facial features (hell, no discernible face) managed to make a success of his life, to the point that he's the manager of a successful interplanetary delivery company.



We start out in the town of Agyta. Wait, I thought the planet was called Agyta? So is the town named after the planet, or the planet named after the town? And why do I care?



At least the local townsfolk were nice enough to point you in the right direction and leave you to travel alone on an alien planet. So Limith walks through the forest (though only in straight lines - apparently the ability to walk diagonally was lost on the young man) only to find that his path is blocked by a forcefield!



I'd like to know why I wasn't made aware of this before walking halfway up a God damn mountain? I mean, the locals knew I was going this way, surely they could have let me know? So now I have to walk all the way back down to the village to find out how the hell I'm supposed to get further.



The only person with an access key is Hans. And Hans conveniently lost the key. So now I have to look for the key.

Are we having fun yet?

By the way, this key is almost impossible to find, because nowhere on the map is there anything that remotely resembles a key, and none of the NPCs have any information whatsoever regarding the location of the key. You want to know how I found the key? I consulted a walkthrough. Yeah, that's right - I cheated. By the way, this is the first puzzle.



You never see a key. You never even realise it's there until you walk over to the portal and the message tells you that you found the key. I should have stopped playing right then and there. But I'm a glutton for punishment.



Going into the mountains provides you with your first taste of combat, which is turn-based of course. Thing is, the enemies are all hard as nails. This wolf took forever to kill. And this is the first monster! They only get harder after this!



I mean, look at this fucking thing! It's huge! I tried taking it out with my Fury attack, which is bullshit really, since I lose just as much damage as the monster. And in all honesty, the rewards for killing these beasts aren't much at all.



Of course, no RPG is complete without a maze of caves and tunnels. I must admit, I like the smoke effect, though I have absolutely no idea what purpose it serves other than to obscure the player's vision.



What the fuck is that!? Oh, so now the developer remembers that we're on an alien planet. I'd like to know what kind of advanced culture can create portals that allow for interplanetary travel in the blink of an eye, but haven't any weapons more advanced than a fucking broadsword. Where are my laser guns, damn it!?



I ended up in a room with four round stone buttons and another forcefield. I can only assume the idea is to press the right buttons down to deactivate the forcefield, but by this time I no longer cared. And when you reach that point, you know the game must suck.

I would suggest you play Agyta if you really love poor Zelda clones. Better yet, just play a Zelda game. I'm pretty sure you can find one in your local video game store. They're kind of popular. Agyta, on the other hand, deserves to be forgotten quickly.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Aero Acrobat



So, you're probably wondering where I've been for the past two weeks.

You haven't?

Oh.

Well, I got sidetracked with some screenwriting projects and Big Mean Flash Gamer had to take a back seat (that's right - reviewing shitty online games is not my highest priority. Sorry to break it to you like this.) However, I'm back, and today I'm playing Aero Acrobat.

I'll be honest - I liked Aero Acrobat. I liked it more when the graphics were better, the levels were more varied, and it was called Stunt Pilot, but what are you gonna do?



Aero Acrobat takes place high above a tropical paradise, and your objective is to show off your flying skills by carrying out a number of tasks such as flying through hoops. It sounds simple enough, and in truth, it is. But I should have realised something bad was just around the corner from the very first level.

You see, the controls are a little strange. Nudging the up or down button won't do much, but if you hold down the directional button too long you run the risk of veering way off course. Actually, scratch that - you will veer way off course.



The result is crashing. A lot. At least you have an infinite number of lives, so if you do crash repeatedly on the same spot, you can try again and again until you make it. That's got to be satisfying, but do you really want to crash on the same loop eight times in a row before finally slipping through?



So there are two problems - the plane is hard to control, and you have no idea what obstacles you have to face, or where they are. This wouldn't be too bad if you didn't have to keep backtracking to line yourself up properly. Could you imagine a real stunt pilot flying through a hoop, then turning around so he can get a good run up to the next one?



Later on you're given the task of shooting down balloons, which is fun (it's a proven fact - any crappy game can be made better by the addition of a gun.) But since the plane is an uncontrollable piece of crap, actually aiming the gun is a pain in the neck.



And since when was a balloon able to take down a plane? Are they made out of fucking adimantium, or something?



It doesn't take long to realise that the same five levels repeat themselves, simply adding a new element with each go round. I get on the case of a lot of games for having repetitive levels, and to be fair I can understand why designers would do it. After all, no one complains about Breakout clones being essentially the same thing for 50 levels. But unless the game is a lot of fun to play, the repeating levels only leave the player feeling bored an awful lot sooner than a game should.



There are a few more interesting challenges, like the targets that have to be destroyed before you can fly through the hoops, but really, it's just more crap designed to make you crash. It should come as no surprise that I got bored and stopped playing not long after this. Aero Acrobat is by no means a bad game (well, it's by no means an awful game) but that doesn't mean it can get away with its glaring flaws.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Zombie Kitten Attack



You'd be surprised just how many online games feature zombies or cats. Zombie Kitten Attack takes the unprecedented step of combining both gaming staples for a puzzler - though perhaps calling this a puzzle game is a misnomer, since Zombie Kitten Attack relies almost entirely on luck and very little on skill.



As the title screen so ably informs us, you play Steve, the star of a bad monster movie. Steve is being attacked by radioactive zombie kittens (without doubt the worst kind of zombie kitten) and must survive for as long as possible. This is what I don't get - you're in a movie, facing zombie kittens. So are these just fake zombie kittens? And if that's the case, why run away? They can't hurt you. Perhaps we're playing Steve's character in the movie? So are we the players being given the responsibility of determining the outcome of the film and its possible sequels? Is the game trying to say something about the blurring of fact and fiction in modern society, how our TVs are chock full of programmes that purportedly show us "real life" events that are as staged and scripted as any soap opera?

Or does the story just suck balls, and the gameplay doubly so?



Regardless, you have to keep away from the cats and try to survive, clicking the mouse to move to an adjacent square, whereupon the cats will do the same. This is where luck comes into play. Since each level is randomly generated, there's no proven strategy for getting through. This means you could just as easily find yourself surrounded by vicious kitties as you could end up with plenty of free space to move around. The cats are constantly moving towards you, and once they land on top of you it's game over. Fortunately, you have a few items to help prevent Steve's untimely demise. Zappers allow you to kill one zombie cat in the near vicinity, allowing you a little breathing space. That is, of course, until another three zombie kittens come along to take its place.



Zombie kittens are also killed if they bump into each other or one of the houses dotted around the playing area. That's right - houses. Turns out if you're ever faced with a radioactive zombie kitty, all you need to do is find the nearest detached suburban home and run around until the little son of a bitch runs head first into it.

Man, not even the Resident Evil movies had something that stupid.



Inevitably I got caught by a group of irate, highly explosive zombie cats and got killed. I write "inevitably" and I mean it. Death is guaranteed, no matter how good you think you are, because Zombie Kitten Attack is not about how well you play games. Rather, it's about how lucky you are, and as far as I can see, you need to be incredibly lucky because I'm Irish and even I couldn't survive very long.

I must say, though, it's to the developers' credit that they don't ever try to get your hopes up. Check out this little paragraph in the help section:



I don't know about you, but I rarely enjoy games in which I'm doomed to fail.



Just then, my luck seemed to pick up. I put this down to sympathetic house placement and my use of the getaway car, which allowed me to get out of a few sticky situations.



Eventually I was even able to develop a kind of strategy, though to be honest it didn't amount to much more than "Run around this house and hope they don't catch you." Still, it was a start.



Considering I only got through Level 1 on a fluke, I didn't have high hopes for my chances on Level 2, and I was right not to feel optimistic. Not only did I have fewer zappers and getaway cars, but I now had to deal with kittens that can hop two squares at a time, meaning they were on me even faster than the last guys.



And so it came to pass that Steve met an unfortunate, bloody, explosive end, and I scored a grand total of 41 points. I wouldn't mind, only I'm not old or a girl. I'm a twenty-four year old virgin who spent his childhood typing out 500 line game code in Basic - I should kick ass at all games. But then, if you're going to make a game that relies solely on whether or not the player has their lucky rabbit's foot nearby, I suppose I shouldn't take it personally.

Zombie Kitten Attack could have been a decent little puzzle game (or adventure game or action game) but the guys at The Code Zone forgot to include the actual puzzle element. Instead we have a random collection of sprites all trying to eat each other and/or explode, which isn't anywhere near as cool as it sounds.