The amount of puzzles offered by Codebreaker Puzzle 1000! is impressive: one thousand puzzles per language set. Personally, the English puzzles were too easy for me, while the Japanese puzzles were difficult and not my idea of a good learning tool. But if you already like cipher or codebreaker crosswords, you might still enjoy this simple, straightforward version. As a game, I would have given a “Not Sure” rating, but since Codebreaker didn’t raise my hopes with great promises of fun or learning, I wasn’t let down (since I had low expectations). It is pretty barebones, so think of Codebreaker less as a game and more as a digitized book of crosswords.
If you haven’t been playing much interactive fiction, just remind yourself to switch mental gears and put on your metaphorical reading glasses. After I made that switch and carved out time to enjoy 80 Days slowly, I really enjoyed the little stories that make up Passepartout’s grand adventure. After six playthroughs, spending about two hours per playthrough, there are still many cities I’ve been thwarted from reaching and mysteries to fully uncover. Perhaps I’ll revisit old cities just to take in the scenery if I had rushed through them earlier. I’ve almost died, but I’ve yet to actually die. Who knows, perhaps I’ll stumble upon a plotline that lets me!
Despite the grim context, the game is suitable for older kids (perhaps aged 10 and above?) and doesn’t go into that brutality much. Playing Flower Collectors might generate interest in learning about Spanish history or about political systems. While the game doesn’t go into the history and politics much, it creates emotional interest in the characters affected by that setting. Would I recommend The Flower Collectors? Yes, if you’re looking for something very story-focused and don’t mind waiting for things to happen. Even if you mind waiting, it might be a good exercise in quiet observation and putting yourself in the shoes of a man like Jorge.
I meant to buy Thronebreaker for the Nintendo Switch, but a nice deal on Steam swayed me to the PC version. Comparing the mouse against controller, I found it just as easy to use a controller for this game. So, controls-wise, I expect the Switch port to be a comfortable experience as well. Finally, a parental note: The age rating is US Teen and UK 12+ because of the brutality portrayed in war (and generally pervasive in the Witcher games). But blood is hardly shown and only in faded colors; visually depicted gore is non-existent. There are a few images of corpses hanging from trees, but that’s as scary as it gets. The monsters were less grotesque-looking than in The Witcher 3, but a younger child may still find them scary. As someone who loved Witcher 3 and Gwent but detested the ugly monsters and gore, I was thrilled that Thronebreaker was heavily toned down in those areas.
I love how Kingdom: New Lands looks, sounds, and feels. But as a busy parent I wish progress wasn’t so slow. I wish the trial-and-error approach it requires wasn’t so punishing of mistakes. “Hand-holding” is often a negative term in gaming, but this is one game that could use a little hand-holding. Or a quicker pace. I’m doubtful of beating the game without a strategy guide or investing more time than it’s worth. This is what mars an otherwise unique and relaxing strategy game with great pixel animation and sound, plus a minimalist interface to be proud of. So while I can firmly say I like this game, I’ve decided to move on from it. Not out of boredom, as I do enjoy it, but because I want to see if New Lands‘ sequel (Kingdom: Two Crowns) offers a better experience.
Children of Morta may be tough and grindy, especially at the outset, but there’s enough to keep players engaged: randomized dungeon maps and goodies to pick up; no less than seven playable characters; an emotional tale that unfolds in beautiful cutscenes. It’s not a party game, so I would only recommend it to players who can commit to ongoing co-op sessions—especially as progression is slow and the game feels more rewarding only after beating the initial dungeons.
An adventure Indy Jones would be proud of. While Curious Expedition may not dress to impress, this game’s the real deal when it comes to a fun experience with replay value. Tough but entertaining, it will scratch the itch for folks who like decision-making dilemmas. Like with any roguelike, you’ll fail often and there’s lots to learn—but that’s exactly where the fun is. I would have been glad to pay more than $15 for it.