Wednesday, August 27, 2008

SimCity Societies: completed!

I bought SimCity Societies a few months ago when T-Mobile was selling it cheaply; since then it's been an occasional game here and there when I've been unexpectedly held up by trains or planes. I've been playing through the scenarios, in which you're tasked with increasing or decreasing pollution, unemployment, housing, freedom, and so on.

The first few scenarios were easy; the last one not so. Building upon (ho ho) everything up to that point, the last scenario was to build a city back from poverty to excellence. I had to increase the population, reduce homelessness (to less than 10%), and increase employment (to greater than 90%). Of course, as the population increased, what with my city being a wonderful place to be, then the latter two suffered. After a year, I'd well exceeded my population target, but that just meant it was increasingly difficult to find space to house everyone, and I was having to demolish things like shops and cinemas to make way for more workplaces. Getting rid of entertainment venues, however, meant that the population was fast getting miserable - which then meant they weren't motivated to work anyway.

Finally, in month 19, I built loads of high-rise buildings and got housing up to 95%; I then built around ten fireworks factories all over the city in empty spaces and employment just snuck up to 90% - just enough to complete the scenario, and the game.

Luckily, there's a free play mode, so it's still possible to use this as my mobile game of choice. It's a very cut-down version of SimCity, indeed - but it's an excellent game to have on a mobile.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Professor Layton and the Curious Village: completed!

It took a bit of searching, but I found the four puzzles I was missing, and completed them quite easily. I unlocked the inn bonus, finished those, then did the last three puzzles which were unlocked, of which only the last caused me any trouble. I am a puzzle master, indeed.

Bring on the sequel.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Professor Layton and the Curious Village: completionary puzzles

I've made it to the top of the tower, solving puzzles 95, 96, 97, 98 and 100, and in that finishing the game. I've found the golden apple, and associated treasure. I've solved all the mysteries - or, more accurately, Layton did and explained them to me. Robots, tourists, the golden apple ... all very convoluted indeed. It's a good job I wasn't playing for the story.

So if I've reached the end of the game, is it completed? Not quite yet - there are a few puzzles which I've not solved, which means I've not found them. I'm missing a couple of items for the inn challenge, which I will probably get from the missing puzzles, and then I've got the bonus puzzles which will be unlocked from that.

Watch this space.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Professor Layton and the Curious Village: towering puzzles

I'm making my way up the tower now, having solved some of the mysteries of the curious village. I've found all the gizmos (making up a robotic dog) and all the painting fragments (meaning that there's a bonus feature opened up from the main menu).

The puzzles in the tower are quite a lot harder, and I had real trouble with the fourth slidy block to get the ball out puzzle. I managed it in the end, but more by luck than planning.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Halo 3: capturing the elephant

John, Kieron and I played a number of games online last night - Mario Kart DS (which I naturally won), Outrun 2 (which I naturally won), and Halo 3 (cough). Actually, we did pretty well on Halo 3, winning a capture-the-flag event (with me completing three captures, huzzah) and a team slayer and even a big team battle thingie. The last of these was pretty fun, with both teams fighting for control of the elephants - massive mobile fortresses with gun emplacements on.

But the best bit of the evening was Halo 3 coop, playing through Tsavo Highway and taking out wraiths and anti-air guns with all three of us on a warthog which didn't quite make a jump ... Kieron even managed to stay with us most of the time!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Professor Layton and the Curious Village: murderous puzzles

Some of the puzzles are a little harder now, particularly one where I had to try to decypher a code which turned out to be based on the layout of keys on a keyboard. What threw me is that one of the hints I bought seemed to indicate that it should be based on a texting keypad (as used on phones). I've not bought many hints though, so no idea if they're all as useless.

The puzzles vary in difficulty, and the amount you score depends on how difficult they are. If you get it wrong, then the total you can earn falls (again, the amount by which it fals depends on difficulty). I'd getting the vast majority of puzzles first time, though, which is very reassuring.

As for the story - well, someone's been murdered and there's an arrogant detective overseeing the investigation. It amuses me the way that puzzles are thrown at you pretty randomly by some people - you're told to go to the inn immediately, but "before you go, try to solve this ..."

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Professor Layton and the Curious Village: exploratory puzzles

One of my purchases in the US was Professor Layton, which I think is yet to be released in Europe. This is understandable from a translation point of view, but they need to hurry up in getting it ready, since it's prefect for the new DS expanded audience. At its core, it's a game of puzzles, held together by a flimsy if charming story. My only complaint is that things are perhaps a little too easy, but I prefer to think of that as my superior brain power.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates: completed!

I didn't finish it quite as quickly as I'd hoped - acquisitions of Sega Superstars Tennis, Space Invaders Extreme and Patapon saw to that - but I finished the lengthy cutscenes and boss rebattles on the plan home from the US. The story became just really weird at the end, shifting between actualities, moon power, people being alive then dead, choosing which world to live in ... Very odd indeed. A couple of glaring errors too - Galdes says that he can'f find a single universe in the infinity when Yuri and Chelinka aren't together; yet later in the ending you see one such place.

The last battle was really obscure too. After a long fight, kiling Galdes, you're presented with a rotating pattern on the floor. I tried casting spells on Galdes's body, even casting four spells at once, but no effect. After a while he resurrects and you have to kill him again - not fun. In the end I worked out that you have to cast spells in each of the circles in the rotating pattern, which bears no relation to anything in the game up to that point. Very daft indeed.

Enough complaining though. A good game indeed, and I look forward to playing through dungeons in multiplayer.