Tales of the Arabian Nights (TOTAN) is a hybrid electronic and mechanical pinball game. Bookkeeping, combo chain states, and scoring is managed by the electronic components while gameplay -- keeping the steel ball in play -- is managed by sloped angles, gravity and mechanical parts. TOTAN is ranked number seven of all pinball machines in The Internet Pinball Database. TOTAN gets interesting if you understand the goal and the various "side quests," and the subtle meaningful choices that designer John Popadiuk put in TOTAN. There are many ways to achieve your goal of rescuing the princess from the evil genie Saleem Bagazi. However because there is no tutorial for TOTAN (or most pinball machines), players cannot fully appreciate the intricate and clever game design. Even after reading the official manual (PDF), it is difficult to understand all the different scoring and combo options. Many players, unaware of specific goals, will play TOTAN by hitting random bumpers and other targets, and watch the pretty lights, unaware of the deeper gameplay.
Tales of the Arabian Nights Pinball
Tabletop Tuesdays: Action Narrative
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:52.|
|Submitted by costik on Thu, 04/19/2012 - 18:56.|
Flying Sheeps is a pleasant little game with somewhat awkward controls. You control a hot air balloon; scattered in the skies above you are sheep attached to helium balloons, along with explosive mines, and the occasional flying wolf or biplane. Your goal is to avoid the enemies, intercept the sheep, and guide them back to earth, alighting in an enclosed pasture.
Your controls are to turn on and off the flame of your balloon; when on, your height increases, with increasing velocity over time; when off, your vertical velocity slows, and eventually you start to fall, again with increased velocity. Hovering is possible, by tapping the control. In addition, you can move left and right, but your craft has considerable momentum, so it's very hard to position yourself precisely.
Tabletop Tuesdays: Wildly Popular Physics Game
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:41.|
We tend to overlook gambling games and casinos. While arcades and pinball parlors have disappeared, their cousins, casinos and slot machines (slots) are thriving. In fact, many casinos dedicate two-thirds of their floor space to slots. Fireball is a video slot, an upright arcade cabinet-like, digital adaptation of a physics-based random number generator game. While slots, like pinball, are a hybrid of mechanical and electronic parts, newer slots like Fireball are purely electronic. Fireball is developed by Sierra Studios (not Sierra Online), a division of Bally Technologies. You may recall Bally for their famous pinball games like The Addams Family.
|Submitted by costik on Fri, 12/30/2011 - 15:31.|
Water Galaxy is a pleasant little physics puzzler that, as with most good puzzle games, uses a handful of elements, combined in different ways, to create diverse challenges of increasing difficulty.
In a sense, it's a cannon game, but rather than trying to destroy an enemy, the conceit is that you are are shooting water from a planet to your "mothership;" apparently your race needs water. The idea that you travel interplanetary distances to get it is absurd, but whatever.
A to B
|Submitted by costik on Thu, 04/28/2011 - 16:43.|
A to B is a minimalist physics puzzler in which (as you might expect) your goal is to get something from A to B -- in this case a ball. Each level gives you one or a set of tools to place in space: walls, trampoline walls, a speed booster or reducer, and a thingie that flips the direction of gravity.
Despite the stark, empty nature of the environment, it's tricky to solve each level, but by no means brain-curdling. The one bit that seems a bit counter-intuitive is that when you start the system moving, the ball launches as if tossed up in the air -- and you have no control over direction or power. Your only means of manipulating the system is the placement of tools, which is okay, but it's not always feasible to anticipate the direction or power of the ball's initial launch. You pretty much have to do a first try to gauge this before solving.
Lunar Lander Puzzle
|Submitted by costik on Thu, 03/24/2011 - 16:18.|
Pat Kemp is a mainstream game developer who creates indie games in his spare time; Station 38 is a level-based puzzle game based on the "power and direction" mechanic, but in an unusual way. The mechanic is normally used for things like golf or bowling games, but here it is used in a sort of platformer; each level, you must get a little LEM-like space vehicle from its starting location to a "teleporter" exit. You press LMB and drag the mouse to indicate the direction in which the LEM will launch; a longer line indicates more power. Typically, there are obstacles in the level's geography you must get over and around; sometimes, in fact, a single 'launch' won't do it, but as long as your vehicle has 'power' remaining (indicated by the length of a blue line above it), you can draw another line while in mid-air to alter its trajectory.
Tiny and Big
|Submitted by costik on Mon, 03/14/2011 - 01:44.|
Tiny and Big is a 3D physics puzzler with comic-book like graphics (down to cross hatching on most objects) in which you play a fellow with a laser and a grappling hook, pursuing some gink who has stolen your grandfather's underpants. (Or in other words, the backstory is absurd and largely irrelevant, simply providing an arbitrary motivation.)
Most of the world (but not all) is destroyable and deformable; the puzzles mainly involve cutting up pieces of the environment and moving them around to gain access to the next area you may reach.
An Incredible Machine
Tabletop Tuesday: The Incredible Machine-Hardware Edition
|Submitted by sebastian sohn on Tue, 02/08/2011 - 04:41.|
While many tabletop games have been converted to digital form, it is interesting to see the reverse. An Incredible Machine is a project that recreates The Incredible Machine videogame series created by Kevin Ryan in the 1990s as a tabletop game. The Incredible Machine is a physics puzzle game that allows players to create elaborate machines to perform simple tasks such as putting a ball in a box. In turn, The Incredible Machine was inspired by Pulitzer prize-winning author, sculptor, and cartoonist, Rube Goldberg. Goldberg is best known for his cartoons of comically complex machines that accomplish simple tasks such as sharpening a pencil.
Mad As Hell, Not Going To Take It Anymore
|Submitted by the99th on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 02:39.|
Why, you may ask, am I reviewing a game that has achieved tremendous, mainstream levels of success, such that the games' publisher was bought out for a relatively low 8-digit sum by EA? Is that indie? Well, I guess they were before they made any money, right? And it's a good little game.
But that's not why I'm reviewing it, sure I can examine how it embodies itself as a lightly executed, ergonomically poised platform-app, like Mario for mobile, but that's relatively trite compared to the more interesting layer: these birds are terrorists.
|Submitted by costik on Wed, 01/12/2011 - 23:35.|
A plethora of puzzle games involve getting from A to B to finish a level, and Propel is no exception. Many puzzle games also hide the exit and make you figure out how to get there, which Propel does on most levels, though it gives you a large bouncing shadow arrow to indicate the direction in which you want to go. And games of this type typically have one or a handful of interesting mechanics you must master in order to solve their puzzles, which Propel does, too.