It’s another weekend at we’re back with the Weekend Games Corner. We apologize for the delay last week. Things happened, the chicken ran out of control, and we ended up having to douse the whole thing in shaving cream. Maybe this is why none of the interns ever stay longer than a week at TechNorms.
We digress. This week we have a good assortment of casual titles which should hopefully provide some entertainment over the weekend. Whether you’re rocking an Android phone, playing it cool with an iPhone, or sticking with a trusty PC, there’s a game for you. It’s our job to find it. If nothing else, these games should tide you over until a certain game releases this Tuesday. Here are our picks for this week.
The Oregon Trail: Settler (Android)
First of all, let the record show that this is not Oregon Trail you think. It’s easy to think that this is an app version of the ultra-popular PC game. It’s not. Keep that in mind before downloading (we were fooled).
On the other hand, Oregon Trail: Settler does take some rather substantive cues from its predecessor. The game starts with the arrival of a new family in a frontier town (“We reached the end of the Oregon Trail!”). From there you’re tasked with building a life in the new town.
Gameplay in Settler is essentially Farmville with a dash of The Sims all wrapped up in an Oregon Trail theme. Settler takes inspiration from everywhere and comes out the better from it. The core experience of building up a life within a virtual town is undeniably fun.
The game runs on a “freemium” model. Settler is free to download and free to play, but with some rather ingenious limitations. When you use certain items, they become unusable for a set amount of time (like a cooldown timer). These timers count down seconds in real life, whether the app is running or not.
Most of the timers are a nonissue. The Farmer’s Market closes for only a few seconds before reopening. However, crucial items like the wagon (for travelling) come with timers that last a flabbergasting two hours (of real time!).
To counter this, Settler will send you notifications when the timer has expired. That still doesn’t solve the waiting for two hours part, though. The only way to quickly clear a timer is to spend Town Cash (in-game money). Town Cash is quite limited, but you can make an in-app purchase up to $50 for more.
Like we said, The Oregon Trail: Settler takes some rather obvious cues from Farmville, especially when it comes to money. It’s a real shame the app relies on such a model, as the game itself is quite fun. Building a house, collecting money, and growing crops… it’s all enjoyable stuff. The graphics are totally gorgeous as well.
Settler is a fun, mostly harmless game. The trouble arises when you get suckered into paying real money for Town Cash. We recommend this game, but be aware of the dangers.
Download The Oregon Trail: Settler
Move the Box (iOS)
Move the Box is an incredibly uninspiring title for a game from the inspiringly-named Bitchin’ Studios. The game is much more fun than the title might suggest. Move the Box is a well-built mobile version of a classic puzzle paradigm.
The game is built in the cartoony, friendly graphics that seem to be the standard after Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. Puzzles are quick but addictive. With around 168 levels to complete, there’s plenty of content as well.
Move the Box has you sliding colored boxes around the screen to match them in rows of three or more. The idea for this sort of puzzle is not new, but MtB presents it in a polished new light. The exact gameplay is somewhat difficult to describe, but it is quite fun.
MtB loses points for its hackneyed money scheme, though. The game actually tries to charge for hints which can be purchased in-app. $2 buys you a 12-pack of hints, but that’s not much when there are 168 levels. Just look up the answer on the internet like everyone else will.
Other than the hint scheme, Move the Box is a well-designed app. We really liked the puzzles design (and large amount of them). If you’re on iOS and need a puzzle fix, Move the Box is a great way to get it.
Download Move the Box
Let’s Make a Game (PC)
Let’s Make a Game is another solid Flash platformer. The physics could be better but we did like the level design. LMaG follows the classic Super Mario Bros design paradigm of “introduce the player to the game, then make it hard.” It’s a good paradigm.
You play as a stickman making his way across increasingly dangerous pieces of paper. Seriously, these papers have infinite pits and buzzsaws. Don’t die.
Levels start simple by teaching you the basics of running, jumping, double jumping, and moving blocks into place. Things get complicated when you’re asked to do all of these at once. Move blocks to run and jump atop them to double jump to the flag.
LMaG throws in other twists like reversed controls (not as hard as you’d think) and super speed (as hard as you’d think). If nothing else, it keeps things interesting. A good platformer keeps you on your toes, and Let’s Make a Game does that quite well.
Play Let’s Make a Game
The selection of games this week is quite varied. While Settler is town-building strategy type, Move the Box is puzzles type and LMaG is classic jump-the-barrier kind that will keep you involved and active.
Which of these games did you like? Share with us in the comments.