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My Other Games

My Other Games

  08:57:36 am, by   , 674 words  
Viewed 15277 times since 11/04/10
Categories: Games

In addition to Dragon Age: Origins, I've been playing a few other things. Steam is a useful service, but it's downright evil when it comes to ways of separating you from your cash, and I've played several things I wouldn't have touched if they hadn't been on special offer.

Space Trader: Merchant Marine
This is one that I might have bought. I love space trading games with a passion that's faintly disturbing. This comes from a misspent youth playing the best game ever written, Elite, on my ZX Spectrum trying to beat all my friends in the race to become Elite. Since then I've also managed to spend far too much time on games like X3: Terran Conflict, which almost but not quite recapture that old joy.

Space Trader... doesn't even come close. The trading section is fairly well done and - at first - the combat sections are pretty good too. The trouble is that what starts as optional combat that's over fairly quickly soon becomes (essentially) mandatory and hugely time-consuming. I only played it for about 2 1/2 hours, but then it only cost £1.19 so I don't feel too bad about it.

Tropico 3 - Steam Special Edition
Think Sim City in Paradise and you get the idea. You have to build up your tropical island from a few rusty shacks into a sprawling Caribbean resort with expensive housing and thriving industry as well as making it a must-visit tourist destination. The trouble is that the local political situation isn't very stable and there might be a revolution. Or your army might rebel.

It's not as good as the Sim City games though. Each campaign is time-limited so you don't get to enjoy your city - it's a rush to complete it and meet whatever arbitrary objective you've been set. It also means that after a while, each game takes on a sense of inevitability. Build houses. Build school. Build clinic. Build logging camp. Etc. The only variation lies in an island's resources - does it have any trees to cut down or will you have to farm papaya? It kept me amused for some time and I'll probably go back to it at some point, but it's probably not for most people.

R.U.S.E. Beta
I got this because Steam made it available without me asking and because it was free. Since then I've seen a lot of hype about it and many people hailing it as a wonderful game.

Why?

It's not bad but if you strip away the pretty graphics it's just a real-time strategy with the ability to hide stuff and fake other stuff. For instance, you can use the fake attack ruse or fake an armor factory. Well any decent strategy player uses fake attacks anyway, and the Allies in the original Command and Conquer could create fake buildings so it's hardly a new idea.

Maybe it's just the beta. There's only one map and it's too small but other, larger, maps will make an appearance in the final version. I doubt I'll be bothering though.

Bob Came in Pieces
The plot for this little gem is pretty standard. Your spaceship has been stranded on a planet and you need to get spare parts to repair it. I've never played anything that does it so well though.

Your craft can be reconfigured using parts that you find scattered around the landscape. You may need to push something on the other side of a hole too narrow to pass through, for instance, so you have to string several long thin parts together. Or you need to hit an object really hard so you can add loads of rockets to one side of your ship to make it go faster.

Each level has a unique theme with puzzles to solve, some of which are very inventive and some of which are incredibly frustrating. Once you've completed a level you can try to do it again, faster, to unlock various achievements.

This is a brilliant, inventive game. I really recommend it.

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