Taito’s Bust-a-Move, also known in Japan as Puzzle Bobble, resembles
the 1996 Mac puzzle game Snood. You fire colored balls at a puzzle of
colored balls, trying to match three and make them disappear. The balls
gradually move down the screen, and if they reach the bottom before you
clear the board, you lose.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince places you in Harry’s robes as
he progresses through his sixth year at the famous wizardry school,
Hogwarts. At its core, Half-Blood Prince is basically a well-polished
minigame collection with flashy franchise backing. The graphics aren’t
terrible, especially when bumped up to the highest resolution, though
they may seem a tad dated. The terrific music is pulled straight from
Pipe Mania doesn’t refer to a new kind of drug epidemic or burgeoning
fad that has hipsters accessorizing with corncob pipes. It’s a classic
puzzle game, first developed 20 years ago for the Amiga, and recently
released for the Mac and iPhone by Virtual Programming. But even now,
it’s got druglike addictiveness plus retro cool.
The great thing about independent programmers is that they do what they
do for the sheer love of it. Jamie Woodhouse’s Qwak is a great
example--it’s certainly a labor of love, given that he’s been
developing it, adjusting it, honing it, and polishing it till it shines
for nearly 20 years.
In the seminal 1989 Batman film directed by Tim Burton, the
Joker, played to smarmy perfection by Jack Nicholson, grouses about the
well-equipped Caped Crusader, “Where does he get those wonderful toys?”
Ol’ Joker was talking about the batarang or something, but in this
game, the answer is clear: The toys are LEGO. The vehicles are LEGO.
The environments are LEGO. Even the characters are LEGO.
After years of listening to the smug kids at Best Buy and GameStop talk smack about gaming on the Mac, we found five Windows PC games that not only are dirt cheap, but also perform amazingly well under Apple’s Boot Camp technology.
Who knew zombies were omnivores? Plants vs. Zombies presents a cuddlier
take on these murderous undead. They really want to eat your brains,
but they shamble in a straight path to your house, snacking on
landscaping that gets directly in their way. Thankfully, your garden
fights back, with pea-shooting plants, exploding peppers, giant
flytraps, and dozens more. You’ll plant these defenses to stop the
zombies in a sly, simple game with compelling strategy.
We’re divided on The Sims 3. We partly see the dollhouse-style people
simulator as a fun way to vicariously experience parts of life that are
far removed from our everyday monotony--and monogamy. On this level,
The Sims excels. You can become a master thief, buy a mansion, or wreck
marriages without any real-world consequences.