It’s always a relief to finish a series and compile an index (it’s a freebie article, so hey!), but I’ll confess I’m going to miss the anticipation of discovering what comes next in the Minigame Library from Level 99 Games. At least this collection has enjoyed enough success that we’ll be seeing another at some point, and Pixel Tactics will be getting a sequel sometime this summer! For your reading simplicity, I’ve compiled all my reviews below.
Back in the alt-text for the header image of my Blades of Legend review, I made some predictions about the remaining four games in the Minigame Library from Level 99 Games. I guessed (correctly) that Pixel Tactics and Noir would be good entries, underestimated Infinity Dungeon a bit, and supposed, based on the score over on BoardGameGeek, that Grimoire Shuffle would be “meh.” Reading the rulebook (which, let’s be fair, hasn’t been the Minigame Library’s strongest suit) didn’t do much to change that assumption.
So sitting down and actually playing Grimoire Shuffle was a pleasant surprise. Turns out, it’s a pretty slick team puzzle game. It isn’t on the same level as Pixel Tactics, but it definitely stands out as comparable to Master Plan in that it’s uncommonly smart for its size.
I keep reminding myself that each of the games in the Minigame Library from Level 99 Games were designed by the same dude, D. Brad Talton, Jr. It’s surprising because each of these games is a tight, self-contained experience, totally distinct from the others in the collection despite their shared designer and tiny size. Unfortunately, they also share the same downside: that they could have been even better if only they’d had more to them. In a way, the “mini” in “Minigame Library” is its biggest weakness. Master Plan would have been even more cerebral if only it contained a few more traps; Infinity Dungeon’s random wackiness stops being quite so random and wacky after you encounter all of its items, rooms, and characters after only a few plays; and Pixel Tactics demands “More!” so resoundingly that it’s getting exactly that later this summer.
Then along comes Noir, the glowing exception to this rule. Noir has exactly as many cards as it needs to be a great mystery game, and it’s easily the tightest out of a set of very tight games. “More?” you ask.
No. Noir isn’t interested in more.
So far in our look at the Minigame Library from Level 99 Games, we’ve seen the “surprisingly cerebral” Master Plan, the interesting but ultimately failed experimental team game Blades of Legend, and the not-quite-a-game-but-it’s-good-so-who-cares Infinity Dungeon. Between the inclusion of the first and last of those, I already regard the price of admission into this Library as a pretty good deal.
Well, buckle up! Because today we’re looking at two-person dueling game Pixel Tactics, which placed alongside even the games I’ve liked from this set, is a (mini) giant among men.
As part of a continuing endeavor to review all the games in the Minigame Library from Level 99 Games (note to self: do not include the word “game” in any future game companies), I sat down with a group of friends last night to figure out just what on earth Infinity Dungeon is all about. What follows is a true account of our passage through the three stages of Infinity Dungeon grief. Brace yourself.
The game has gone from tense to intense; the cards are down, our eyes are fixed, and the pool of red plastic gems is long run dry. I have inadvertently assisted the enemy Master by slipping energy to her Wielders for much of the match before it became clear their allegiance does not sit with me. Only thanks to the deviousness of one of my own Wielders, a sharp young man of great potential whose easy smile belies devious inner workings, do we retrain even the barest thread of a chance. It’s Geoff’s turn now, and as he studies the lay of the land, the one path to victory is as clear as—
“How do we win this again?” he asks. Everyone looks up, and from the glazed look in their eyes I can see they’ve been wondering the same thing for the last half hour. Welcome to Blades of Legend.
Since our attempt to review the Minigame Library from Level 99 Games failed thanks to our complete inability to manage our expectations, I’ve decided there’s just nothing for it but to review each of the six (mini) games in a more traditional manner. First up is Master Plan, the only game where you’ll get to take part in an obstacle course game show for supervillains. The prize:
one million one billion dollars (that’s the game’s joke, not mine).
If the concept sounds lame, it’s because it is. If it doesn’t, then I’m afraid it is you who are lame, sir. Thankfully, Master Plan itself is a surprisingly good time.
Space-Biff! is excited and proud to host another Auto Shuffler Review. Today, Dan Thurot is joined by Steve, recently promoted from his position as official cameraman, as they review the Level 99 Games Minigame Library. According to this dynamic duo, they intend to review all six games contained in the Minigame Library in under four minutes… total.
Sure, guys — we’ll believe it when we see it. Video below.