Game review: Alice's Teacup Madness

In an attempt get myself geared up for Tim Burton's "Alice," I loaded up Alice's Teacup Madness from Big Fish Games. Of course, Alice is back in Wonderland. This time she has to earn some money to get back home. (Yes, I know it is a rather ridiculous plot. Bear with me.) The White Rabbit sets her up with a tea shop so she can brew up some of the best tea in Wonderland. The similarities between this game and Cake Mania are painfully obvious right from the beginning. However, Alice tries to up the difficulty level. Instead of being able to carry more than one item at a time, you can drag your mouse across the 'set up area.' For example, if you need strawberries put on two teacups, you click on the strawberry then drag it across both cups. The problem comes when you try to serve the tea. Alice still can't carry more than one thing at a time! So if you have three customers waiting for their order, you need to run back and forth to get it. Alice should be able to carry at least two teacups or baked items at once to make it easier on herself!

On top of that, there are three different types of cups, three different types of tea, and at least two different types of tea toppings. That doesn't even take the baked items into account! Adding all of these different combinations to Alice's lack of waitressing skills, the game is a little too difficult for its own good. Yes, the beginning levels are very easy, as they should be. It's when you get to the higher levels that you realize how messed up everything is.

Game review: Mr Jones' Graveyard Shift

When I saw the title of this game, I knew I had to play it. Something called Mr Jones' Graveyard Shift would either be awesome or awful. It turns out that it is a time management game. You play as Mr. Jones, owner of the local graveyard. Your job is to fill your customers' requests for their loved ones' funerals. Some want specific flowers, some don't want trees...there's a lot that they ask for, but, the gameplay for each is pretty much the same.

I actually had to play the game twice. The first time, I screwed up royally and had to start over. The second time, I figured out where I messed up and made sure to not make the same mistake again. That is when the fun kicked in. I didn't think I would actually enjoy arranging funerals. After all, it's a rather morbid thought. But it was lots of fun. At the very least, it's a good Halloween game!

Game review: Build-a-lot 3: Passport to Europe

A little over a year ago, I played my first Build-a-lot game and I absolutely loved it. In May of this year, I played the sequel and it was still extremely awesome. Recently, the second sequel, Build-a-lot 3: Passport to Europe debuted. And it is just as amazing as its predecessors. This time around, you are sent into Europe to help fix up a couple of communities in different countries. I don't know if I can remember all of the countries but I know you go to England, Italy and I think Portugal. The fun gameplay is still the same. There are a couple of new building types and upgrades for you. I do have to admit that some of the levels are very difficult but the game is so fun that it's more of a challenge to get past those levels as opposed to being frustrating. Even if you find yourself getting frustrated, if you walk away from the game for a little while, you can come back knowing that you'll figure out the puzzle eventually. I love these games!

Game review: The Great Chocolate Chase

About a year ago, I played a game called Chocolatier. While I didn't have fun at first, I quickly grew to enjoy the game. So I tried one of the sequels, The Great Chocolate Chase. Unfortunately, everything that was fun about the game was removed. Instead of flying around the world trying to find new chocolate recipes for your company, you are waiting on customers much like a Diner Dash game. (Though the visuals are more like Cake Mania.) From the first level, the game is way too difficult. It is almost impossible to keep up with the number of customers they throw at you. And since each order takes about three steps to make, it's difficult to make the chocolate the existing customers want while getting menus for new customers. Overall, it's a terrible game that isn't worth the time to try.

Game review: Farm Mania

I was told about Farm Mania at the beginning of this month. However, I really wanted to play the game for awhile before I talked about it. After all, this seemed like a game that could go either way. Well, I've now played the game for around two weeks and I think I'm ready to open up.

At first, I was very hesitant to play Farm Mania. I have so much love for Farm Frenzy that I was afraid this would ruin the whole farming time management genre for me. Luckily, my fears were unwarranted. Reallore Studios has a hit on their hands.

You play Anna, a girl trying to help get her grandparents' farm back on its feet. Throughout the game, you will plant crops, raise animals and sell a variety of goods while trying to keep crows and rabbits from destroying your work. Both of your grandparents help out so you aren't totally left on your own to tend the farm.

I am still having tons of fun playing this. Granted, it gets harder to juggle everything as you get into the higher levels but, to be honest, that is what keeps the game fun - deciding what pieces are really important to keep up with and what pieces can be ignored for a little while. Definitely give this one a try. You won't regret it!

Game review: Sunshine Acres

It seems that farming games have become pretty popular lately. Sunshine Acres is one of the new time management games based on raising crops. It is not a difficult game but it does get a little tedious after awhile since it is the same motions over and over. Due to this, it's hard for me to judge how fun the game is. I enjoyed the one hour demo but I can see it getting boring in higher levels. This is one you'll just have to try out for yourself.

Game review: Diner Dash: Seasonal Snack Pack

I've always been a big fan of the Diner Dash series. It pretty much started the whole time management genre and it still managed to stay interesting after all this time. However, the Seasonal Snack Pack version is much too difficult. As a matter of fact, it's so difficult that I stopped playing around the third level. I keep going back to try to beat it but, no matter how hard I try, I just can't do it. The main problem lies in the table organization, which you cannot change. You are given one or two four-seat tables and three or four two-seat tables. A majority of the customers that come in are four-person parties, which means you cannot seat them until one of the few four-seat tables opens up. Then the customers get pissed off having to wait. Since it takes so long to do the "Make the waiting customers happy" thing, there isn't really a way to keep them from walking off. Well, there is, but it's difficult. Either way, the level is still too hard for the game. I can't imagine what the higher levels are like.

Game review: Jewelleria

In the Jewelleria time management game, you are the owner of a jewelry store. You need to sell your jewelry in order to advance the family business. The game takes us back to very standard time management game play. Each customer tells you exactly what they want. You pick the pieces from the cases and customize them as necessary. Unfortunately, instead of making the game interesting, it feels stale and boring. This is the exact template for Cake Mania and Ice Cream Dee Lites, just to name two of the many games that play this way. I found myself stopping the game frequently because I found the game dull. Perhaps next time, there will be a little more oomph.

Game review: Baby Blimp

There are tons of baby-related time management games out there. Baby Blimp makes a few changes to the typical "taking care of baby" type of game. You play a crew of storks who are preparing babies to be delivered to new parents. First, you decide the sex of the baby that will pop out of the machine. Then you have to give it a toy, feed it, clean it and put it down for a nap before it is ready for delivery. Once all of the babies are prepped for delivery, you go over to the blimp door. Each house below you will tell you what type of baby they want. It is your job, as the stork, to deliver the proper baby to each house. There are various types of storms that will get in your way so be careful!

Originally, I thought this was a cute idea. Once I started playing though, I realized that the gameplay is kinda broken. There are times that you will need to click on an object multiple times before the stork will do that action. Since the stork will only do one action at a time, it makes playing the game annoying. For example, once you change a baby's diaper, you need to throw the dirty diaper in the trash before you can do anything else. However, the game won't always register the trash can click. So your stork will just stand there stupidly until the game finally registers the trash can click. Of course, by this point babies are crying all over the place and you need to get them taken care of. The same thing happens in the delivery mode as well. So, while the game could have been really cute and fun, in the end, it's nothing but aggravating.

Game review: Yummy Drink Factory

In Yummy Drink Factory, you have been spirited away by a witch to a fairy tale land. You need to serve beverages to customers in five different villages. Each village brings you closer to a magical map that will help you get home. When I first downloaded the game, I thought it was going to be a very typical time management drink game. However, there is a little more to it. Instead of just serving pre-made drinks, you need to combine different ingredients to make special drinks for the customers. For example, you might need to make an Iced Mocha with cocoa, mocha flavoring and ice. You get more recipes as you go along, which makes it interesting. I had quite a bit of fun playing this one. It was a really nice change of pace.