Game Review: Doodle God: Crime City!

Note: I wrote this review article back in July for LadiesGamers. Check out the original article here! 

Game: Doodle God: Crime City
System: Nintendo Switch
Publisher/Developer: Joybits
Price: $6.99 | £6.29
Age Rating:  USA T| EU 12+
Release Date: July 11, 2019

Review code kindly provided by Joybits.

Have you ever wished you could build your own city of crime? Have you ever wanted to mix random elements together just to see what happens? In Doodle God: Crime City, you can do just that! Nintendo.com describes the game like this:

WATCH YOUR CRIME CITY COME ALIVE AS YOU PLAY!

Over 500 puzzles to solve and items to create as you play the role of Crime Boss or Cop. You decide how you want to play as you play through multiple hard-nosed storylines & play modes.

As you build your Gang and make your fortune you must evade the Cops as well as fight off rival games in order to become the “Big Boss” of the City. In the “City” mode watch your Crime City come alive as you successfully pull off heists, escape the Cops or beat-off rival gangs. But you gotta watch your back because behind every corner there is a good Cop trying to make a name for himself or a rival Gangster trying to take your turf!

In the “Campaign” mode, nab the bad guys or pull off heists to build your fortune. Can you successfully rob the bank and escape the Cops? Are you tough enough to defeat the rival boss and be the Crime Big Boss of the City? We shall see how good you are…

Remember Crime Does Pay!

Sounds interesting, right? And apparently there are other Doodle God games, including Doodle God and Doodle Devil. I’m unfamiliar with these games, so I went into the game not knowing what to expect. But enough of my babbling, let’s get to the review!

Story

There are two main modes in Crime City: City and Campaign. In City Mode, you combine random elements together to make… well, stuff. Your city starts off pretty bare, but as you keep combining elements, your city will slowly fill up with all sorts of crime related goodies, such as the Mafia, bank robbers, and a drunk guy crawling out of a bar! Some elements are downright bizarre, such as a tiger in a cage and a random man lifting weights.

In Campaign Mode, you are once again combining elements, but there is more of a “story” to what you are doing. There are a few different scenarios to play through, though unfortunately none of them are very interesting.

Graphics and Sound

I’ll admit, when I was downloaded the game onto my Switch, I was not a huge fan of the icon on my screen. Unfortunately, that feeling stayed with me the entire time I was playing the game. The graphics are colorful, but I did not care for the way the characters looked. Also (and maybe this is just because I have a background in graphic design and I’m picky) the proportions of some elements were way off. I unlocked a limo, then a man lifting weights, and when they were placed side by side, the man was way bigger than the limo! I mean, the limo looked like a toy car.  Maybe they were trying to just fit as much as they possibly could on the screen, but it just looked strange.

The sounds in this game are pretty sparse. There is an annoying police siren that wails every few seconds, which got on my nerves and caused me to turn the volume down for the rest of the game.

Gameplay

As I mentioned before, the whole point of Crime City is to combine different elements together to make more elements! The problem is, this just isn’t much fun. I was vaguely interested in what some combinations would produce, but the formula gets stale very quickly, especially when the game itself is not dynamic at all. In City Mode, elements are plopped down on the screen and do not move. In Campaign Mode, you never see the action- you just read a little blurb on the screen telling you what happened. Crime City is not exactly a text adventure either, so combining elements does little to keep you entertained. I can barely tell you what any of the Campaigns were about, and I just finished the game recently!

Fun Factor and Replay Value

As I said, combining elements just isn’t that fun! Just clicking and clicking gets old when your reward is so small. Also, I should mention that some of the combinations really make no sense. Sure, Citizen + Justice = Policeman makes sense, but how does Policeman + Thief = Water? It’s really hit or miss.

As for the replay value, there really is none. Once you have all the elements created and the City is full, there’s nothing left to do. Same goes for Campaign Mode- once you beat each story, there really isn’t any reason to go back to it. There are some achievements to unlock, but I didn’t bother with them after I beat the game.

Closing Remarks

Doodle God: Crime City has an interesting premise, but doesn’t do much to keep you entertained. During my 3 hour play time, I often found myself getting bored after combining a few elements. It was kind of neat to see some of the elements created, but when the end result is simply a “city” with a bunch of static elements, it left me with little sense of accomplishment. At $6.99, the price seems a little high for a game better suited to mobile devices at a lower (or free) price tag. Maybe people who have enjoyed other Doodle God games will want to give this one a try, but unfortunately for me, I’m going to give this a ranking of I Didn’t Like It.

I don't like it

I just want to say that even though I was not a fan of this game, I played it through all the way to the end, because I appreciate the developer letting me try it!

Game Review: Block-A-Pix Deluxe!

Note: I originally reviewed this game for LadiesGamers.com back in April of this year. Click here to see the original article! 🙂

Game: Block-A-Pix Deluxe
System: Nintendo Switch
Publisher/Developer: Lightwood Games
Price: $7.99 | £6.49 | €6.99 | $9.99 | $11.99
Age Rating: EU 3+ | USA E
Release Date: March 21, 2019

Review code kindly provided by Lightwood Games.

Lightwood Games has published several good puzzle games, including the Pic-A-Pix titles that have been reviewed on this site by Jonah! Despite being interested in them, Block-A-Pix Deluxe is the very first game I tried. As a fan of Picross, I couldn’t wait to check it out!

Story

Well, this is a puzzle game, and it doesn’t really pretend to be anything else… so there really isn’t a story! Your whole goal is to fill in a grid to make a wide variety of pixelated pictures.

Graphics and Sound

The graphics are just fine for this game! The interfaces are streamlined and look very clean, the puzzle grid is easy to see, and the completed pictures are pixelated in an enjoyable way.

There isn’t really much in the sound department, except for some bleeps and bloops as you are filling in the grid. There is a little tune that plays as you are working on the puzzle, but I turned it off because it got old quickly.

Gameplay

After pressing Play on the title screen, you are ready to jump right into the action. Basically, the puzzle is presented as a tiled grid. In some tiles are colored numbers, which indicate the amount of spaces around the number that are filled in by that color.  This is where the “Block” in the title comes in, as you are essentially creating a picture out of a bunch of different colored (and different sized) blocks.  A smaller picture off to the right will show you how your picture looks. When you have filled in the grid, the completed picture is shown!

There is a timer, but don’t let that worry you! This is only there to tell you how long it took to complete the puzzle- it doesn’t affect whether you complete the puzzle or not.

Fun Factor and Replay Value

This game is very easy to pick up and play. Once you get into the groove of playing, it’s easy to relax and complete a puzzle or two at your leisure. The puzzles get larger, but they never get overly frustrating. You simply take as much time as you need to complete the puzzle. There is even a “fix” option if you messed up and you aren’t sure where you went wrong. If you use that option, you can still complete the puzzle, but you won’t have a snazzy gold medal next to the picture.

With all the praise I am giving this game, one negative is that replay value is questionable. Some people will want to beat their times, but others may only want to play the puzzle once before moving on. I myself don’t really care to beat my original times, but I can still see myself revisiting the puzzles now and then, just because the game is relaxing! Even if you don’t replay the puzzles at all, there are 120 puzzles to play (not counting DLC puzzle packs), which should keep you busy for quite some time.

Closing Remarks

Block-A-Pix Deluxe is a fun addition to the puzzle genre. It’s very easy to pick up and play, and I often found myself playing a puzzle or two just to relax after a long day. I rate this game I Like It A Lot, and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes Picross-type puzzles!

I like it a lot!

Samsara: Deluxe Edition Review!

*Note: This article was originally published on LadiesGamers.com in March 2019. Click here to see the original article! 🙂

Game: Samsara: Deluxe Edition
System: Nintendo Switch
Publisher/Developer: Marker
Price: $9.99 | £7.99
Age Rating: EU 3+ | USA E
Release Date: December 31th 2018 (UK/EU/AU), January 10th 2019 (US/CAN)

Review code kindly provided by Marker

Image result for samsara deluxe edition switch

When I was first asked to review Samsara: Deluxe Edition, I was pretty excited! I enjoy some puzzle games every now and then, and after watching a trailer for it, I thought it was something I might enjoy. If I’m brutally honest, however, I was excited at the beginning of the game; by the end of the game, I was more than ready for it to be over with. Read on for my short review!

Story

Nintendo.com describes Samsara: Deluxe Edition like this:

While playing in the park, Zee follows a squirrel through a portal to a world of echoes, inhabited by a shadow child. Surrounded by the unknown and trapped in a series of realms both confusing and dangerous, the youngsters must avoid slipping into the pool between dimensions, embarking on a voyage of discovery and awakening they share with the player, up and down staircases, through light and dark, across the upside-down and the right side-up to their eventual freedom.

I’ll admit, if I hadn’t have read this, I wouldn’t know what the exact story was behind the game! When you start a new game, you are greeted with a little cutscene of a boy chasing a squirrel and getting sucked into a portal. You have to guide both Zee and his shadow into their respective portals to clear the levels. Easier said than done!

Graphics and Sound

To me, the graphics are nothing spectacular. They aren’t bad by any means… they are just kind of “there” and don’t stand out to me in any way. Also, let me just say that for about half the game I thought Zee was supposed to be a little girl… only when I was reading more about the game did I realize that Zee is a boy. Oops!

Some of the later background level designs are kind of cool though. I like the spooky looking neighborhood and the creepy carnival themes the best.

There isn’t really much in the way of music in this game. In fact, the only time music plays is when you set Zee in motion- it’s kind of weird and I didn’t care for it. Most of the ambient sound effects were a little on the annoying side. As a matter of fact, most of the time I just played this game with the sound turned down!

Gameplay

Gameplay in Samsara: Deluxe Edition is quite straightforward. Your goal is to get Zee (and a little later on, his shadow as well) into the portal! When you begin a level, you are presented with a number of blocks on the right side of the screen. You can place these blocks almost anywhere you like, rotating them as you see fit.

You will notice there is a line dividing the light and dark parts of the world. I guess this is what the description is referring to as “the pool between dimensions!” If you place a block on the dark side, it will be reflected on the light side. Once you place a block, gravity will take hold and pull the blocks towards the dimensional pool.

Once you have the blocks placed to your liking, you can set Zee and his shadow into motion by pressing Y. If either of them fail to get into their respective portal, you can restart the level and move the blocks around as much as you need to until you get it just right!

Fun Factor and Replay Value

At first, I really enjoyed Samsara. The levels were fun and challenging. However, when I was about halfway through the game, I found myself getting kind of tired of it. The levels were becoming more and more difficult, and the blocks just didn’t seem to behave the way I would imagine they were supposed to. I encountered a glitch or two in which blocks would randomly face different directions and I had to reset the entire level to get it to work properly.

I don’t mind when games are difficult. However, because this game is nothing but puzzle after puzzle, I found it quite repetitive. When I knew I was near the end of the game, I couldn’t wait for it to be over with!

Samsara: Deluxe Edition for the Switch comes with an additional 24 levels. I choose to end my playthough at the last level of the original game; I wasn’t in the mood to dabble with any of the extra levels.

As far as replay value is concerned, I don’t really feel like there is much. Once you know how to complete a level, there isn’t much reason for you to go back and play it again.

Closing Remarks

My total playtime for this game was around 4 hours. When I first started playing this game, I really enjoyed it. However, gameplay became repetitive and later levels can be pretty frustrating. The graphics are just okay, and there isn’t much in the way of music. This game may be better suited for people who just want to challenge themselves every now and then, but I don’t think it’s the type of puzzle game that has everlasting appeal and charm. I also don’t think it should be played for long periods of time- playing a level or two here and there is probably best. There isn’t much reason to come back and play levels after you clear them. With all of this being said, my final rating for the game is I’m Not Sure.

Just because I wasn’t a huge fan of the game doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a shot! Samsara does have many positive reviews around the internet. If you’re into puzzle games, give it a try and see if you like it!

Game Review: Cake Laboratory!

Note: This review was originally published on LadiesGamers.com. on 1/30/2019. Check out the original post here!

Title: Cake Laboratory
Developer: Square Heads Games
Publisher: GrimTalin
Price: $2.99|€2.69 |£2.42
Release Date: December 2018

*Review code kindly provided by GrimTalin!*

Hey everyone! For my first review on LadiesGamers, I was asked to play and review a little game called Cake Laboratory! I hadn’t heard of this game prior to playing it, so I was excited to check it out! I played through the entire game before writing my review- here are my thoughts and impressions. I figured I would break my review down into small sections and discuss each one!

Story

Haha… well, there isn’t much story to tell! Apparently your goal is to build the highest cake tower ever. To do this, you play through 50 levels of cake-dropping madness. If you beat all 50 levels, that sweet Golden Chapeu is yours!

Graphics and Sound

The graphics are cute and vibrant. The cakes look delicious enough to eat! There isn’t much variety to the backgrounds, though.

The soundtrack I could’ve done without, honestly. The same tune loops endlessly as you play- there is no variety at all. It starts to get annoying after awhile, but that’s what the mute button is for! You can easily toggle the music on and off in the main menu.

The sound effects are a bit of a different story, as I actually enjoyed them. The sounds the cakes make as they get squished on top of each other is entertaining, and the sound of stacking together cakes perfectly is quite satisfying.

Gameplay

It isn’t hard to just jump right in and start playing this game. To complete a level, you simply have to stack a certain number of cakes on top of each other. Arms move back and forth on the top of the screen, and you press A to drop your cake. That’s it!

As the levels continue, the arms move a little faster, and you have to stack cakes of varying sizes on top of each other. It never gets to the point where it becomes overly frustrating, even in the later levels.

Every so often, you will be prompted to make your own cake. You can choose from various bases, icing, and toppings. It’s fun the first couple of times you do it, but loses its charm after awhile.

Fun Factor and Replay Value

This game is fun, and I did enjoy playing it. However, gameplay remains the same throughout the entire game. There are no twists, no surprises, nothing like that- it’s pretty much the same for all 50 levels. The cakes vary in size, but that doesn’t affect the gameplay much. In fact, I thought it was a bit odd that the way you stack the cakes doesn’t even seem to matter. While playing similar games, the tower you are creating will lean and sway depending on how accurately you stack the blocks (or whatever it is you are using). In Cake Laboratory, even if I stacked one cake lopsided, as long as I centered the next cake, the tower wouldn’t fall. There was really no need to focus on balancing.

With all that being said, there unfortunately isn’t a whole lot of replay value once you complete all 50 levels. There are 3 stars to achieve on each level, which is not difficult to achieve. I think I had to replay only 4 or 5 levels to bump up my score from 2 to 3 stars.

Closing Remarks

This game is a fun little diversion and is perfectly suited for the on-the-go portability that the Switch provides. I played through the entire game in handheld mode, and full completion of the game took me about one hour. I don’t think I’ll play this game again anytime soon, because there just isn’t much else to do once you complete the game. Nevertheless, I’m going to give this game the rating of I Like It, because it was fun while it lasted!