Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Strip The Difference

Games 2 Win is quickly becoming my favourite website, simply because they make this job so easy. I can pretty much guarantee that at any point I can log onto the site and find more than one duff game on the homepage. Really, I could review a different game by them every week for the next year, such is the poor quality on offer. But because I like to spread the indignation around, I'll just focus on Strip The Difference this time.

Strip The Difference - do I really need to write any more? This is yet another lacklustre attempt at titillation that wouldn't stir the loins of a twelve-year-old Amish boy. What's new here is that the game is "spot the difference," every correct answer offering you another glimpse of poorly-drawn cleavage.

Does the artist even have the faintest idea of basic human anatomy? I mean, the guy looks OK, but what's up with the woman? Why is her head so big? Why is her head so big?

So, with a limited number of guesses and a timer running down at all times, you need to locate the differences between the two pictures. And why are you doing this? What is your reward?

Stuff like this. Wow, sexy.

You know, if I wanted to check out upskirt shots, I could just go to Google Images. It's not like women wearing skirts with underwear is all that unusual (unless those women are friends of Paris Hilton, I suppose.) But as pathetic as the attempt to raise male eyebrows might be, what makes it even worse is that the game is just frustrating to play. You can click on some differences over and over again, but if you don't click in exactly the right spot it won't work. And sometimes that spot is moving, which only makes things more annoying.

I don't know about you guys, but I don't really see what's so sexy about falling off a treadmill. Dangerous maybe, but not in a sexy way. I suppose you could say that Strip The Difference and its ilk aren't meant to be taken seriously. After all, no one could really get aroused by this! (Of course, I'm sure Rule 34 will no doubt kick in here.) Strip The Difference is simply harmless comedy, like the Carry On films. The only problem is, it took thirty years for the Carry On jokes to get old; this game didn't last 30 seconds.

The last level not only rehashes an old fantasy figure (come on, guys - the sexy policewoman was the best you could do?), it's also quite confusing. For one thing, where are we? The neon lights might say Las Vegas, but the Oriental writing makes me wonder if we're in Hong Kong. Yet none of the people in the picture look Asian. And in what city do the police officers walk around in miniskirts?

Yeah, watching a drunk play motorboat with a policewoman's breasts on a crowded city street is neither sexy nor humorous. In real life, this usually results in pepper spray to the face (not that I'd know anything about that.) This is the kind of humour you'd expect from those guys who make all those "_____ Movie" flicks. And just like those turds on film, Games 2 Win keeps churning out wastes of bandwidth like Strip The Difference.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Potty Racers

On those occasions when it's a slow week for crappy games, I often find myself looking for something a little off the wall that I can rant about for 700 words. This isn't always easy - it took me quite some time to track down a game woeful and/or stupid enough to review. But then it hit me like a shit-powered slap in the face: Potty Racers.

I don't know what it is about Flash developers, but previous evidence points towards a huge interest with faeces among this community. I suppose I should take solace in knowing that the closest anyone has come to a game concerned primarily with crap (as far as I can tell, and I hope to God I'm right) is Pigeon Revenge, and at least that involves bird crap.

But anyway, Potty Racers. The name is something of a misnomer as there are no actual races. The goal of the game is simply to kit your portable toilet with some nifty wheels, push it down a steep slope and then zoom off the end of a ramp, trying to soar as high and as far as possible.

So let's go through that again. First, you put some wheels on a Portaloo and push it down a hill:

Then you fly said Portaloo through the air:

Before making a smooth landing, whereupon you are given a score and the chance to buy upgrades to improve performance.


I've got nothing. I honestly have no idea what to write. I just... wow.

Can you stop for a second and imagine how anyone - anyone - came up with this concept? I'm not reviewing this game because it's bad (which it isn't); I'm reviewing this game because the developer of Potty Racers has balls of granite and the mind of Karl Childers from Sling Blade. This is such a fantastically ridiculous idea for a game that one can only stare slackjawed at the link to it, only to click said link and find that, yes, a game is loading and it is called Potty Racers.

Oh, and you can do tricks!

Handstands and loops and all sorts of crazy tricks! You're driving a portable toilet through the air and you're doing a handstand on it. I am having serious trouble forming sentences to express how I feel right now.

I mean, the game is no different to many other similar titles, except IT'S A FUCKING PORTALOO! How!? How did they reach that point!? How did they get there!?

If you saw this in real life your brain would not know how to interpret the messages your eyes were sending it and immediately shut down. There is a stick man driving a portable toilet down a street, with crap and toilet paper flowing out behind it. And this Portaloo is tricked out! If you score enough points you can make this portable toilet look like Xzibit got his hands on it.

I usually end a review by writing, "Try it if you want, don't say I didn't warn you." But not this time. You need to play Potty Racers. This game should be in your life, scorching its name into your very soul for all eternity. Because when in life are you going to get to fly a portable toilet into space? I rest my case.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wolverine Adventure Factory

This just seems wrong. Of all the superheroes in the Marvel universe, usually the one you can always rely on is Wolverine. Spiderman? Total emo boy. Iron Man? He's fine when he's not off the wagon. Captain America? Dead - dead as the hope that Civil War would be good.

But Wolverine is a total badass - an invulnerable berserker wielding adamantium-covered claws in his hands. Wolverine isn't the kind of guy to have a crisis of conscience when it comes to kicking ass and taking names. If Wolverine was a US President, he'd be Teddy Roosevelt.

So what the hell went wrong with Wolverine Adventure Factory? Well, for the many flaws in this game, I blame you. Yes, you - the online gaming public. You, who demanded player customisation to the point where now developers don't even create a game. They merely provide you with a bunch of simple tools and allow you to make whatever the hell you want. And what do you make? Crap, that's what!

Game players are not the same as game developers. I can bitch and moan all I want about badly made games, but at the end of the day I concede that I'm just a whining fanboy who lacks the technical skills to produce anything beyond basic, um, BASIC. And I'm fine with that - I, like many others, register my opinion and then the developers can either listen to the feedback to produce a better game next time or they can tell me where to go.

But this is what happens when you put the tools to create games in the hands of people who think it would be cool to have six Magnetos running around. And when the programme itself is poorly developed the problems are doubled. Actually playing one of the user-generated levels can be akin to pulling teeth with a length of wire and a Mack truck. The controls are incredibly simple - arrow keys to move, space bar to attack - but they're also ridiculously clunky and the reaction of your character is far slower than expected.

Plus, the more stuff on screen, the slower everything runs. Take the shot above as a perfect example; with so many characters and moving platforms it all slows down to a crawl. Now, maybe that's just my system - for all I know, people with high-end computers won't have the problems I did.

Consider that last sentence for a moment. You now need serious hardware to play a Flash game. Yeah, maybe we've gone a little too far.

Some of the animation is just ridiculous. Watch as Ice Man races around like a tired toddler, his gangly legs and arms swinging wildly back and forth. His proportions are all out of wack whenever he's moving. This is what would happen if Rob Liefeld made a video game, only with fewer pouches.

I figure I should probably write about the level editor itself, but in truth this isn't all that bad. Like I've already stated, the tools here are basic and therefore easy to use. You simply place your hero and decide on your goal, whether that be collecting jewels, fighting bad guys or just getting to the door. Then you arrange platforms, obstacles and bad guys.

I put together something simple and fairly easy to complete, because I didn't want to spend too much time on it and I don't hate the rest of humanity. I stuck a few faceless soldiers in there and a laser gun before figuring, "Oh, what the hell?" and including Magneto (one Magneto, because there is only one Magneto, you assholes, and he's awesome. Though, as a master of metal, I don't understand why he never just twists Wolverine's adamantium skeleton into a slinky and leave him that way.)

Maybe I'm just being mean-spirited, but then you could say I'm being mean-spirited every week, so what else is new? Wolverine Adventure Factory is based off a similar game simply called Adventure Factory, which for some reason I found a whole lot more fun. But the honest truth is that this is just another shameless plug for another TV show, and therefore had about as much forethought put into it as the last Transformers movie. What could have been a lot of fun is actually a frustrating, sometimes boring mess. Wolverine Adventure Factory is the Flash equivalent of Ikea furniture, and about as exciting as a flat pack coffee table.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Luis Launch

You've got to give credit to anyone who fills half their title screen with an advertisement for another game. Wow, that shows confidence. All snark aside, Luis Launch comes to us from those good, good people at Newgrounds, the home of the equally talented and depraved. Because so many members of Newgrounds are actually really good at programming Flash games, it makes reviewing one of their titles a bit difficult. After all, their crap is many other websites' gold. But hey, I'm not the Big Mean Flash Gamer for nothing, so let's jump head first into the inevitable shit storm!

Before I write anything else, I must admit I enjoyed playing Luis Launch. I enjoyed it more when it was called Hedgehog Launch and had a lot more features to it, but then that's just me. In all seriousness, no one who regularly plays games like this could miss the huge similarities between the Armor Games favourite and this knock-off.

You play Luis (based on the creator himself, which makes me worry) and your goal is to get into space to celebrate Luis Day. That's right, Luis has such a huge ego that he dedicated a day to himself. Anyway, most people would consider astronaut training if they wanted to visit space, but not Luis! No, he's going to propel himself into the heavens through the use of one giant elastic band.

Oh, and the the power of his own farts. hey, I'm a guy - I understand that farts are funny. But it seems like flatulence occupies way too much of the average Flash developers' minds. Luis powers his gaseous discharge by eating beans, because there's absolutely nothing stereotypical about a flatulent, bean eating Hispanic man.

I can't really write too much about the gameplay. It's pretty solid, using either the arrow or A and D keys to control Luis' movement and setting off farts with the left mouse button or space bar. And hey, that works perfectly fine.

What I don't understand is why Luis explodes in a mass of blood and bones every time he hits the ground, then reappears without a scratch on him. Does Luis possess advanced regenerative powers? Does he reincarnate? Are these merely Luis clones, forced by the original Luis to play this horrifying game of death? These questions are never answered.

There are, of course, upgrades you can purchase to make space flight a little easier (a Saturn V rocket is not among them.) My problem here is that everything costs exactly the same, whether it be a stronger rubber band or extra beans. Strategy goes out the window in cases like this, and to be honest there isn't a whole lot of strategy involved to begin with. Each level is technically a crap shoot where you might get a string of beans that send you sky high in one level, then barely any in the next.

I can't find any fault with the art, which is simple but effective, and it might raise a smile as you whiz past aliens and Superman through the power of your intestinal gases.

I've also got to admit that the ending appeals to my sense of humour. But again, this is too similar to the end of Hedgehog Launch, just like so much else in this game. Even the titles are almost the same! I know derivativeness makes the Flash game world go round, but you do have to draw the line somewhere. Use your influences, but don't ape them. Luis Launch isn't a bad game - maybe a little boring after a while, but by no means awful. Its problem is that a far superior game in this same vein already exists, and if they want to take that particular crown the developers are going to have to try harder.