Playing With My Weiner

Gaming at the mercy of miniature daschunds.

Review: World of Blood September 30, 2008

Filed under: 2 weiners,Games,Meta-Grinder,Other Folks,PC,Reviews — Gwyddia @ 7:05 am
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Originally posted by Leo on meta-grinder.com.

First, I must reveal a distinct bias -I loves me some soloing -so when I can’t solo a game most of the way through, I’m e’er so slightly pissed.

 

Second, I shouldn’t be disappointed that a RPG at a social networking site wind up being so friggin’ dependendent on society building.

 

But what really grinds my gears, and not in a good way, is the way the monetization of mana, or mana-tization, has messed up a perfectly good soloable set of games.

 

Anyways…

 

I got introduced to this group of web based games by a friend who is marrying another friend who played (in a stage play) the interest of a Latino thug who gets religion.  Note: I played the Latino thug.  (Leo pauses whilst those who know what he really looks like are ROFLing).

 

World of Blood [Elven Blood, Blood Lust, Skies of Blood, and City of Blood] is a group of Facebook RPG applications -thus requiring no additional software download.

 

Normal RPG concepts apply – a dashboard shows Life, Stamina, Character Level, XP, and Gold.

 

A horizontal navbar allows access to the main game functions:

 

Quests
Dog simple, fixed stamina cost, 1-click results (varying damages and gold gain). Too few artefact-only restricted quests, almost no user level restricted quests, far too many party size restricted quests.

 

Shop –
And I do mean shop. Not auction house. Fixed price sale of items, fixed price resale (50% of value)
potions are used instantly.

 

Group –
Here you can see your “party” and send invites to other FB people (read spamming) to increase your party’s size, which is critical to have access to quest above a certain level.  Can you do it without spamming your friends? Sure – but it’ll cost you some serious mana….

 

War –
PvP by any other name – fight directly, get XP and gold, but no mana….

 

Character –
Here’s where you allot your level up points (3 per level).  Stamina, Strength, and Dexterity level up at 1 point each.  Life only levels up at 5 points each.

 

Mana
Aye, here’s the rub….

 

If you want mana, (and you’ll need it to increase party size without spamming your friends)
you either buy mana directly [1 party member = 8 mana = $2.00 via Spare Change (via PayPal)]
or go the “win a free iPod” route by signing up for pay per lead offers or Netflix
for varying amounts of mana (the more the offer pays the app owners, the more mana you get).

That can get old really fast.

 

Scoreboard –
Self-explanatory. Really.

 

Other Weaknesses –
No game gold for mana (doesn’t fit the business model, I guess).

No auction house action.

 

But what do I want for free, right?  I’d give World of Blood 2 Gears, [or Weiners], out of 5.

 

 

REVIEW: Sims 2: Apartment Pets for DS September 2, 2008

Filed under: 2 weiners,DS,Penny Arcade,Reviews,Sims — Gwyddia @ 9:10 pm
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As a gamer who can vacillate between WoW PvP ganking and scritching a Nintendog between the ears in mere seconds, I thought that giving a “fair and balanced” review of a Sims Pets game was going to be tough.  Not so much.  I guess I require my pixellated pooches to actually be more than blurry pixels with mediocre control schemes.

 

I’m getting ahead of myself.  First, the “plot”.  After the ever-so-detailed character creation experience (featuring both genders and no less than five top and bottom clothing options), you are plopped down in a teeny tiny Sim apartment with an nearly invisible Sim parrot.  If you can get your stylus to touch the parrot just right, it will give you a Sims-type pop up window which will allow you to play a DDR-style minigame with the bird.  Not a bad minigame, moves a bit fast, but it’s a rhythm game, and who doesn’t love those?

 

Wander around your new space for a bit and you’ll get an e-mail on your PDA (*cough iPhone*) from your Uncle Bill, who owns the apartment and the pet spa below it.  He says he’s off doing research somewhere and thanks you for looking after the place.  In case you have an itch for interior design, Uncle Bill has an “arrangement” with the landlord that gives you carte blanche to paint, paper, and generally tear the place up as you see fit.

 

This isn’t your mother’s Sims game, though.  No sooner do you begin looking at swatches then the doorbell rings, and your friendly building maintenance guy hands you a puppy.  Why?  Because he found it, of course.  Now you have to care for it.  
  

Unfortunately, it is the pet care phase that makes this game less a member of the Sims family and more a subpar Nintendogs clone or wannabe Imagine: Veterinarian.  Pets can have a number of negative states, including such technical states as “stinky” or “dirty”.  Your job is to “diagnose” and “treat” these states through washing, perfuming, etc.  

 

The big problem here is the controls.  For example. it is very difficult to “treat” Stinky when you have to both target his hotspots using the stylus and “spray” him with the same hand (using the right shoulder button).  In addition, there are not one, but two timing mechanisms in play during your task: a standard clock timer and the pet’s “annoyance meter”, which will invariably cause Stinky to run away for a few seconds during the middle of any treatment.  Good luck getting the percentage of treatment needed to “cure” Stinky when you can’t even make him sit still.

 

And that’s just the pets that are dumped on your doorstep.  You also run a Pet Spa downstairs, which is how you earn money to pamper your pooches and make Uncle Bill’s pad plush.  You get an e-mail when a customer arrives and, if you can force the impossible pathfinding to allow you to take the elevator down, you may even get to diagnose and treat these customers’ pets!  Joy!  Meanwhile, your own motive scores (fatigue, hygiene, etc.) continue to erode over time, as do the scores of each and every pet in your personal menagerie.

 

Finally, the game doesn’t look great, even for a DS title.  Nintendogs, which was a DS Lite launch title, presents cuter pooches, and Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise shows what the littlest console can do with textures in a sim game.  Next to those guys, The Sims 2: Apartment Pets looks like a GBA title at best, or at least the parts you can see – the camera only moves up, down, left and right – no swiveling whatsoever.  
 

Looks like I’ll have to go back to having my gnome rogue farm up pets in Azeroth and Outland.  I’m giving The Sims 2: Apartment Pets – 2 Weiners out of 5.