Domestic Dog

Sometimes I wonder what developers think about when making a game that makes them go… “yeah, I’ll totally sell this game!” even if the price is under $4.

Domestic Dog by Surreal Distractions is one such game. A dog-sim of sorts wanting to masquerade for something with actual substance (as I suppose most “something simulator” games are… ), you will be greeted with absolutely no tutorial and no idea of what the hell you’re supposed to do. Survive, I suppose.

“It’s a (boring) doggy dog life”

Basically you manage a dog that grows out of some sort of egg – the dog you get is random, and when you die, another one appears (not the same one, so you lose any “progress” made). You have food, water, dog money?, sleep – a few other stats to keep track of, basic stuff. You need to keep those up or you may pass out and/or die in the process. Tip of the day, in case it’s not obvious: You also have to mind cars, since they may run you over.

“What to do in the game? Well, be a dog, maybe?”

Eat, drink, poop, pee (sorry, I mean, ‘fire your weapon’) , bark at other dogs, eat said poo… you have a minuscule map, a shop with pointless things, and pretty much that’s it for the game.

“Boring doesn’t even begin to describe it”

There is really nothing to salvage for me in this game: the graphics are terrible, pixelation has never looked so bad, and outdated (sorry, I mean, ‘retro’) bright colors are sure to blind you. Because we all know if we refer to a game as “retro” it automatically must forgive all design flaws. Yup!

The UI feels cluttered and messy, everything seems to be moving, or too bright, or otherwise vying for your attention. The dogs themselves look rather ugly, even for alien dogs.

“The crowning beauty is the  horrifying 8-bit styled music and sounds effects (which are really loud, by the way!) are hideous”

There is no semblance of a menu that I could see, thus I could find no way to lower the volume, and quite frankly I didn’t even bother to, I just muted everything while I played.

So, would I recommend this? Hell no. Steer clear. Steer wide and clear.

 

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March of Industry

 

Data
Break Up
Game: March of Industry
Genre: Indie, Simulation, Strategy
Developer: Archive Entertainment
Publisher: Archive Entertainment
Release Date: Oct 7, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  7/10
Graphics: 7/10
Controls: 9/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Story: N/A
Replay Value: 5/10
Community: N/A

 

Review

March of Industry is a… I’m going with “factory simulator.” Your goal is to use the natural resources given in order to craft different weapons (and items to make weapons) for your glorious country, and make a profit. The game has that simple premise, but it’s actually rather difficult when you’ve just started. You’re not given the recipes, after all, but have to find out yourself via trial and error what to items make what.
The game gives you goals as you advance, be it in amount to earn or sell or what item to make next, and you are left to set up the machines and resources and discover what makes what and clean up the mess after on your own.

The controls are fairly simple as is learning to play it, the difficulty I feel lies in finding all the combinations, and then waiting for the machines to finish however many you need to sell to advance to the next goal. While I didn’t think some of the combinations were overly logical, I still kinda liked it.
The recipes you find are logged, so if you ever forget them, or go back to the game after a long while, you can always re-read what items made what.

The soundbits are repetitive and annoying, and yet they somehow added a sort of charm to the game. Don’t ask me why, after a while of having it open I just got used to them I guess.
The art is decent for pixel art, I rather enjoyed the fresh look that wasn’t cartoony.

At the end of the day, however, this is essentially a waiting game. And a rather short one at that.

Would I recommend it? Yes, but perhaps not for its full price, and definitely only if you enjoy the style of crafting/waiting/micromanaging game.

Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!

A copy of this game was provided in exchange for an honest review. 

 

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Game: Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!
Genre: Indie, Simulation, Management
Developer: Daylight Studios
Publisher: Daylight Studios
Release Date: July 13, 2015
Platform: PC / Played on Windows 7
Overall rating:  6.5/10
Graphics: 7/10
Controls: 7/10
Level/Puzzle Design: N/A
Sound: 7/10
Story: 6/10
Replay Value: Meh
Community: N/A

 

Review

In Holy Potatoes! you take on the role of a potato with a very, very long name whose grandfather has recently died, leaving you as inheritance 0.01% of his weapons shop. This is mainly a management game, your goal is to make weapons and sell them for profit, and there is a little story there to be told.

While the game might look like a mobile port, and the scarce menu might hint to it as well, Holy Potatoes! doesn’t have some of the annoyances other mobile and social type games have: namely the ‘friends’, the ‘coins’ that you buy with real money (at least, they aren’t there for now), nor the energy bar that restricts your playing. By all means, you’re free to grab the game for a five minute of five hours stretch without any lack-of-energy penalty.

What it does lack, and my biggest complaints with the whole thing, are things that the developers seem to be currently working on: A pause button, and the ability to put the game on windowed mode. That is, a windowed mode with more resolutions, for you can alt+enter but it remains at a ridiculously unnecessary large resolution as of current.

Holy Potatoes! has some funny dialogue, cutesy sound bites, ok button sounds, and background music that I personally found annoying enough to mute. The character designs are on the cutesy cartoony side, with some of them and some expressions being far cuter than others, but overall being fairly decent. There’s several references to pop culture (you even get famous adventurers come in to make requests from you) which make the game interesting and funny.

The game is fairly simple as far as management gameplay goes.You make use of the various menus to purchase or find items to make weapons with, and then you sell said weapons to adventurers. There is some depth to be had with this system: The adventurers you sell to actually level up thanks to your weapons, which brings you fame. The smiths are not locked to a single job station, your metal worker can become a designer who in turn can become a craftsman. This allows you to level up in more than one aspect, and as you level each smithing ability to max (5), you get to unlock further smithin abilities that will allow you to make stronger weapons.
As with every management type of game, you can enchant things, decorate and expand your shop, buy some items that will boost workers’ morale or abilities, etc. You can even send them on vacations when they get too depressed, which makes for a nice change of pace. There is also a nice weather system in place that affects the workers.

The only thing I found annoying with the system were the “random” encounters which happened a little too often (but I hear the devs are also working on it). Since you can choose up to two different speeds above normal to play it on, the interruptions of these random encounters become far more noticeable and terribly annoying: You’re not even done doing one thing that another one pops up. Still, they bring some nice boosts (money and smith stats) when you get them right, and some of them are also rather funny.

There are some things that could be better: like finding what weapons sell best where, or having more maps, etc.

The developers seem to be fairly active in listening to the users and working out the kinks of the game, which is always pretty amazing.

In its current state I would give this game a 6.5, going on 7/10 when they fix the pause and window mode issues. As far as management games go I would definitely recommend this one as an alright game. I’m not certain, however, that I would recommend it for the full price unless, there was more content added to it.