Barbara Tuttle, voiced by Jamie Lee Curtis, jumps through one of the colorful levels. The Tuttles Madcap Misadventures has a lot going for it: big-name character voices, gorgeous graphics, several top awards. Plus, half the retail proceeds are donated to charity. But if you strip all of that away, you’re left with a pretty standard side-scrolling platform game. Then again, why would you strip all of that away?
Twelve hours of rest? Your character must be a teenager. Eschalon: Book I, the first title from indie developer Basilisk Games, is branded as a traditional RPG, a stereotype fulfilled here with a vengeance. Unfortunately, problems with skill choices and movement, and an uninspiring story line may turn that vengeance into slaughter for anyone who might not be a hardcore RPG fan.
Its looks are basic, but its story and crazy amount of options will keep you coming back for more. Avernum 5 is like a steaming plate of diner meat loaf—the presentation ain’t pretty, but it fills you up and leaves you satisfied. With an intense and engaging story smothered in traditional RPG gameplay gravy, it will thrill role-playing fans, as long as they don’t expect fine-dining flourishes like 3D graphics or multiplayer modes.
Foosball Rules!Haven’t you always wanted to play foosball on your Mac? Come on, sure you have. Foosball rules. And this is a light, practically brainless, stress-relieving, palate-cleanser of a foosball game, perfect for breaking up long stretches of...whatever it is you do all day.
Stereotypical, shallow DJs have more depth than this iPod game. Imagine you’re spinning turntables in the hottest nightclub in the city, keeping the party rocking until the fire marshal shuts you down. The role of the fire marshal will be played by The Sims DJ. This iPod game is spun around the winning idea of a DJ simulator, but the result is just a repetitive series of mini-games wrapped around boring rules.
iPod game wins second prize in a beauty contest, collects $10 iPod Monopoly is just as fun as the capitalist board game, minus the joy of throwing houses and hotels at your sibling after a three-hour stalemate. For better or worse, almost nothing has changed from the physical game, with the iPod version sporting the same rules and play. You can even customize more than a dozen “house” rules; we never realized that putting tax money on Free Parking wasn’t in the official game, but iPod Monopoly let us add that jackpot to that space.
Our level 10 knight battles a level 11 troll to become Lord of the Swamp. Practically everyone has played a board or two of Bejeweled, the match-three puzzle classic that sucks casual gamers in on Macs, PCs, consoles, iPods, and mobile phones. Puzzle Quest starts with the same gameplay, but adds strategy and RPG elements to keep things interesting.
Dark Castle’s infamous henchmen return—and bring friends. Return to Dark Castle revisits two classic Mac games from 1986 and 1987. Back then, the black-and-white Dark Castle titles introduced sharp graphics and smart gameplay to a young side-view, platform genre. But other than color and more levels, little has been added to Return to Dark Castle. This lovingly crafted game could have come out 20 years ago—we were hoping for more updates and innovation.