Saturday, 25 February 2017

Mystery of the Monkey

The Mystery of the Mummy is an example of a game with ideas way before its time. A time when people were still exploring how a mouse-based system should behave, when terms like WIMP (Windows, Icons, Mouse, Pointer) were still being used to describe the kind of interface that nowadays people just take for granted. It's an adventure game that you control using a very rudimentary iconographic interface. Click on the car icon for another menu of things to do with travel, then click on the car icon with an arrow pointing towards it to get into the car and drive, opening up another panel where you type a number corresponding to one of the buildings on the huge map of Hamburg that came with the game. Yes, a number. A bit like a Chinese takeaway menu, you the parser can't understand complex terms, so you just give it a number instead, taken from the huge list of places that also came with the game. It works, but it's a bit slow and clunky. You spend your time travelling around Hamburg, speaking to people and looking for clues to discover the secret of the cursed mummy. You're under a 5-day time limit to do this, which includes eating and heading back to your hotel to sleep. It's kind of like an evolutionary step between Bureaucracy and the World's Fair Mystery that I played earlier. A halfway house between game types that doesn't quite succeed as well as either of them. I'm not going to pretend I got very far with it. I blundered around for a bit, talking to people and not learning much, and I can't say I really enjoyed myself. Ah well, onwards!

Next up on the randometer is...Monopoly Deluxe! Well, that shouldn't take long!

I'm also going to wave goodbye to another early PSN game: Numblast. Numblast is a puzzle game where you rotate squares of 4 numbers on a grid in order to create blocks of 4 numbers in the same square. Once you achieve this, they will count up one more number before exploding. If that counting up will create another square of 4 numbers, then you will create a chain, and that's essentially the game. creating chains of numbers and either chasing a high score, or solving pre-created puzzles. Whichever it is, I find the concept really hard to get my head around. I can just about solve the easy puzzles, but the more difficult ones just leave me scratching my head. You only get a set number of moves, so have to plan in advance to complete the puzzles. One wrong move and you may as well reset the whole thing and start again, which gets frustrating before too long. It's the kind of thing that you think should be good for you because it stretches the brain so far, but actually it's just really, really hard. It's going to join the other unfinished puzzle games in the Done pile for now, awaiting that far off day when I have infinite time and infinite patience to devote to them. ... Oh, and how could I not mention the insane framing story about the teacher being turned into a monkey (that can lay eggs from its mouth) by a freak explosive combination of Numblast cubes, and you - the student - are trying to bring him back to his normal self again. Hmmm.

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