Category Archives: Reviews

Crying over Crysis 3

The color palette is dark because the game is dark. Or something.

Friday morning I finished Crysis 3, accidentally skipped the final cutscene, and had to catch up on events with the help of the Eighth Wonder of the World, YouTube. Which was a relief because the final boss is a real pain in the butt (spoiler?), and the ending is sort of nice, in that sappy way that’s hard to admit and look masculine at the same time. You might assume from the title of this review that I didn’t think much of the experience, but that’s not true — I liked Crysis 3 well enough, even if it left an aftertaste of bitter disappointment once its creamy flashiness had worn off. Explanation below.

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GOSU or Go Home

I must give credit to my wife Somerset for our puntastic title. My original title was something like "GOSU: A Card Game about Goblins."

The other day I was browsing BoardGameGeek, minding my own business and reading about the masterful hand management aspects of Summoner Wars, when out of The Geek’s equivalent of a steamy alley appeared a slouching ruffian. “The greatest hand management game of all time?” he bellowed. “Why, that is not Summoner Wars! It is no other than GOSU!”

With the gauntlet firmly thrown down, there was nothing left to do but seek out this GOSU, purchase it, and put it to the test. It has been two weeks, and here I sit, having played GOSU enough times to be assured of its quality. Is it the greatest hand management game of all time? Or merely the game with the highest goblin count? Read on to find out.

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Pat the Hat Makes a Buck

The one detail missing from the character creation questionnaire was that of how he got his nickname. He just won't tell.

Meet Pat. Pat the Hat.

I’m an absolute sucker for anything gangster (and when I say that word, I mean prohibition-era organized crime, not “gangsta“), so despite middling reviews, I had little choice but to pick up Omerta: City of Gangsters. Because it had “Gangsters” in the title, you see. Anyway, that handsome devil up there is Pat the Hat. He has a period after his name because that’s how seriously he takes himself. He wasn’t always so austere — his childhood nickname was “Earful,” he had some trouble with loan-sharks as a young man, and he had an affair with a local Don’s wife and had to flee to America. As you might be able to tell, his youthful choices have made him slippery and brash, but not very imposing.

Now that he’s come to Atlantic City, he’s going to take all the advantages the Land of Opportunity has to offer, and wring them by the neck until he’s the biggest boss of them all. First step is scraping together a thousand bucks in dirty cash.

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The Ladies of Andor

I had to retake this picture quite a few times. First the lighting was bad, with horrible pronounced shadows all over the board. Then we realized we'd put in the man-mage instead of the lady-mage.

The Ladies of Andor prepare to defend, er, Andor.

This last Christmas was probably my best haul yet in terms of excellent board games. Not only was I given Clash of Cultures, which has proven one of my favorite games in recent memory (and which I wrote about here), my darling mother also acquired Legends of Andor, a beautiful and exciting four-player cooperative adventure game from Michael Menzel and brought into the English-speaking world by Fantasy Flight Games. At first glance it might look like a generic fantasy, but below the jump I’ve compiled four reasons why it’s one of the cleverest and most surprising co-op games of 2012.

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When Cultures Clash

Okay, problem #1: There are no elephants. Let's just get that out of the way right now.

The thing is, I don’t really like Sid Meier’s Civilization series. I can see the appeal — crud, half the game’s bullet points sound like they were plagiarized straight out of the “This Should Appeal to Dan” playbook. But for whatever reason each Civ experience leaves me wondering what part of my soul is missing and wanting my thirty dollars back. So I was greatly surprised when I genuinely liked the board game version (this one). I didn’t play it too many times because it had some problems, most notably a very long playtime, but it still captured a lot of the things I liked about the Civilization series.

Now I’ve found a Civilization-type game that I love, courtesy of Z-Man Games and Christian Marcussen, designer of the marvelous (so I’m told) Merchants & Marauders. It’s called Clash of Cultures, and it’s one of the best things I’ve played all year. And I don’t mean that as a joke, considering it’s only the eleventh day of the year, I mean from the entire previous year. Find out why below.

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The Leftovers, 2012 Edition

An actual search return for "leftovers." My family has never seemed so meager.

It’s hard to believe that 2012 has already reached its end. Only moments ago it was 2011 and I was young and innocent and had a head full of ambitions and dreams. Worse, I didn’t write about some dozen games that I intended to, and now it’s really too late to get to them for fear of appearing out of vogue. Instead, here’s what I would have written, though in much abbreviated form — the leftovers of 2012, if you will.

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Race to the Meuse

Now I want maple syrup for some reason.

Much like the elusive okapi, good strategy games are hard to come by on the iPad. How many times do developers think we want to sit through bad Advance Wars clones anyway? So the release of Shenandoah Studio’s Battle of the Bulge has been a breath of fresh air in a stale warehouse. This week I played the three-day introductory scenario, Race to the Meuse. Did I take Bastogne? Did I reach the Meuse River itself? Find out below.

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Hitman Needs Absolution (But Not This One)

Unfortunately, neither he nor IO Interactive realized that South Dakotan judges don't dress like 18th century courtiers.

Agent 47’s latest attempt at finagling some absolution.

I know the last ten days have been hard without Space-Biff! updates to brighten the gloominess and despair of December, so rest assured that we here at the Space-Shanty have been filling all our spare time brainstorming radical new journalistic styles for your perusing pleasure. We know you’ll appreciate the result — a series of rapid-fire, low-quality articles to catch us up on all the stuff we were planning to talk about but didn’t have time to! Huzzah! And first on the list is Hitman: Absolution! Short version: it’s not only nothing special, it’s actively bad. Kidding! It’s incredible!

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Objects in Space: Cargo Commander

Did you know that an anagram of "Cargo Commander" is "Mecca Dong Armor"? It's true! And now you know how desperate I was to find a title for this article.

I think there’s something terribly romantic about the notion of being a space scavenger. I’m not sure where the feeling comes from — the fringe living of Firefly (who doesn’t want to be Mal Reynolds?), the dark intro cutscene to the original StarCraft, my inborn love of sorting through tremendous piles of rubbish… regardless, Cargo Commander from Serious Brew has been scratching the itch.

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Hotline Miami: Your Finger, Your Smiling Mouth

Please don't read these alt-texts until you're done with the article. I'm trying to do something here!

Be warned, this will get sticky. Violence generally does. You might be thinking you have some experience with this sort of thing, but I can assure you that no, you do not. And if we’re going to do this, you need to do exactly what I tell you, exactly when I tell you. No excuses or deviation. Just try not to think too much.

You’ve been warned. You may click “Read More” at this time, but remember, it’s your choice, your finger. Don’t blame me.

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