Monthly Archives: January 2016

Play DOS Games Online

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Play DOS Games Online – Over 2800 Games

So, I’m breaking format today. Because, oh nostalgia.  And with the resurgence in popularity of retro games, having a place you can go to play ACTUAL old games is kind of fantastic. And it’s 100% free – you don’t even have to create an account with them unless you want to.

Let me show you my nostalgia. Yours may be completely different, but with over 2,800 games to choose from, chances are you’ll find something to bring a smile to your face.

Are you still here? WHY?

Ok, seriously, since you are still here, I’ll let you in on a couple of not-so-awesome things.  First, you cannot save your games. Close your browser, and it’s gone.  Secondly, there’s so wonky stuff going on if you switch between windowed and fullscreen – try to choose which you prefer before the game starts and leave it that way. Lastly, not all the games work quite as well as you’d hope – even just messing around, I ran into a couple of fatal errors that required me to reload the page.

Many of the games, to me at least, seem to be mis-categorized, but exploring is half the fun, so I don’t even count that against them.  They are also starting to add games from Win 3.1 and earlier, so their catalog should be growing soon.

 

Monster Loves You!

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Monster Loves You!

MSRP: $9.99 / $0.99 on mobile platforms

Platforms: Win, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android

Release: 3/8/13


Monster Loves You! is a text adventure with rather adorable (if mostly static) graphics with some replayability, but only if you make the effort to create a different type of monster.  You make all the decisions for your monster through four life stages – two which focus on building your personality, two of which have you use the personality you’ve build to influence the world around you.

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The game play consists of choosing an “adventure” icon out of a group of icons, then reading through the text and making decisions. You do that for a set amount of days, and then you proceed to the next life stage. That’s it. And that’s where my biggest gripe with Monster Loves You! comes in.

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This is not a $10 game.  Even if you take your time and really consider your decisions, a single game MIGHT take you 30 minutes.  It’s amusing, but when you put it next to other indie games of a similar price point (consider FTL or Long Live the Queen), you’re just not getting what you paid for.

I’d recommend Monster Loves You! without reservation at the mobile price point – there’s nothing in the game that would translate poorly on a mobile device – but if you really want it for PC, Mac, or Linux, wait for a sale.

 

 

Dungeon Hearts

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Dungeon Hearts on Steam

MSRP: $2.99

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, iPad

Release: 3/28/13


 

I won’t try to claim that Dungeon Hearts is a masterpiece.  What I will say is that, for a game with a three dollar price tag, there’s a lot going on here.

There is a tutorial, and I recommend it before jumping in for the first time. But what the tutorial fails to convey is the frantic pacing of the game. In the tutorial, you’re given a full screen and limitless time to do as you’re told.  Not so in the actual game.  It’s quite frantic, even on the lowest difficulty setting.

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On the left hand side of your screen are your four heroes.  On the left is your (frequently freaking ADORABLE) enemy.  What you need to do is drag around those colored circles.  When you have three touching, click on to turn the trio into a single colored diamond.  Click the diamond to make the appropriately colored character attack. Sounds simple, right?

And on one level it is. On another, it has layers of strategy that would take an impressive actions-per-minute rate to fully make use of.  Diamonds detonated in the same column or row as other diamonds will detonate.  Diamonds detonated in the same column or row as circles of the same color will provide multiplier bonuses.

As you progress through the game, additional challenges are added in.  Grey skull tiles will appear, and need to be destroyed by detonating a diamond on the same row or column or they will damage your hero when they hit the left side of the screen (called the fatestream).  Other grey squares will appear that will have different effects on the heroes if they’re not destroyed before reaching them.  Grey circles will start showing up which will give the same multiplier bonuses for the enemy that the colored one do for you.  As your characters level up, you will get clickable abilities for each of them, and an energy bar to track when those skills are ready to fire.  For a match-3 game, there’s a lot to keep track of.

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Dungeon Hearts keeps to the theme with it’s level up mechanism. After defeating an enemy, you get a different kind of match three board, and each match you make of a particular color gives experience to that hero.  However, the level-up board is pretty densely packed from the beginning, and requires a slightly different strategy since, ideally, you don’t want to let ANY star disappear off the left hand side of the board, and since you frequently have to move multiple stars in order to make a match.

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This game also has a color-blind mode, which I think is fantastic for such a budget title.

I enjoy Dungeon Hearts far more than I should, seeing as I lack the dexterity and speed required to be really good at the game.  I’m not sure if this game was ported for iPad or from it, but the controls feel natural on PC; I’m just too damn slow. This isn’t a game for marathon gaming sessions, but it’s fun in small doses, and I do find myself going back to it time and time again.

 

Zeus: Master of Olympus

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Zeus: Master of Olympus on GOG.com (includes Poseidon: Master of Atlantis expansion)

MSRP: $9.99

Platform: PC

Release: 9/29/00


I cut my city-building teeth on SimCity (please note the complete and utter lack of numbers after that) when I was in my early teens, and I’ve spent countless hours playing city builders since then.  This game (one in a series of city builders from Impressions Games) has given me more joyful hours of city building than anything that came before or since.  This package, available on GOG.com, is a fantastic deal.

One of my favorite things about buying games from GOG.com is that, most of the time, they come with the complete manual in digital form. If there’s one thing I miss about buying boxed games, it’s the manuals.  The documentation for just the original game clocks in an 190 illustrated pages.

Zeus comes with 7 multi-scenario adventures of increasing difficulty, as well as economic, military, and sandbox open play adventures.  Poseidon adds another 6 multi-scenario adventures (along with a few new game play assets).  Both the original and expansion feature custom adventures. You have the option in any adventure to change difficulty settings.

The adventure format means that you will retain your cities, through several scenarios (although some scenarios have you forming colonies, so you start from scratch there).  This alleviates some of the tedium of having to start over every time you meet the goal; however, it also means that if you make mistakes early on, they will haunt you for awhile.

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Obviously, 15 years later, the graphics are dated.  There is very little strategy involved in your military – more troops will almost always win the day. The stories are simplistic, but even simplistic stories are more than you get in a lot of city builders.  These flaws are so very minor when stacked up next to a gloriously intuitive interface, roadblocks to control your walkers, and nearly endless overlays to track what’s going wrong (or right) in your cities.

This is only one of a series of fantastic city builders put out by Impressions Games in between 1992 and 2002. The Caesar games are set in Rome, Pharaoh & Cleopatra in Egypt and Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom in China.  I personally feel that this is the best in the series, even past the aesthetic choices.  I played all of these games when they were new, and this is the one I keep going back to, time and again.

 

 

 

Soda Dungeon

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Soda Dungeon

MSRP: Free with in-game purchases.

Platform: iOS, Android, Amazon Underground

Release: 10/8/15


 

NOTE: I picked up Soda Dungeon for my Kindle Fire through Amazon Underground.  Amazon Underground apps are completely free (which means my version of the game includes unlimited in-game purchases for no cost). Therefore, I can’t really tell you what kind of in-game purchases you’re looking at money-wise.

Soda Dungeon is an odd little game. You own a soda tavern & you’re broke. So you recruit fighters from your tavern to go into the nearby dungeons & adventure so that you can grab their loot when they’re defeated in battle.  And yet, still people keep coming. I guess the soda is just that good.

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The gold earned from adventuring can be used to upgrade your tavern, hire new adventurers, buy better equipment for your adventurers, or to “warp” ahead in the dungeon to avoid repetitiously going through low-level areas.  The adventurers you hire in the beginning are weak, and don’t have much in the way of skills.  To attract better adventurers, you must buy new kinds of soda, as well as make sure you have adequate seating (stools and tables) to attract enough adventurers.

Now, here’s where it gets a little weird, at least for me.

You can set the dungeon exploration & fighting portion of the game to pretty much play itself.  Once you hire adventurers, you can turn on auto-equip, so that your adventurers will get the best equipment that you own. You can turn on auto-combat, and your dungeon party will go to town on everything without any input from you.  Once every ten levels, you’ll get the option to pick one of three treasure chests, but even that’s not mandatory; wait long enough & the game picks for you.  In this way, Soda Dungeon reminds me of those idle clicker games.

Bear in mind, that this is optional.  You can adjust your equipment manually. You can perform all the combat manually. It’s totally up to you.

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Unsurprisingly, Soda Dungeon doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s a lot of the charm. It’s an intriguing time waster for mobile devices that is as complex as you wish to make it.  I probably would have picked this up for a couple of bucks, but for free (especially with free in-game purchases via Amazon Underground), it’s a no-brainer.

Lucadian Chronicles

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Lucadian Chronicles on Steam

MSRP: $7.99 (free demo available)

Platforms: PC, Mac, Wii U

Release: 10/15/15


 

Lucadian Chronicles is a puzzle game with strategy elements masquerading as a collectible card game. If you are looking for another Magic: The Gathering clone, this isn’t it.  There are currently so many CCGs out there, I’m glad to see that this one is doing something a little bit different.

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The early campaign (available in the demo version) is an extended tutorial.  You start with three cards, and are taught how to build your team.  The first surprise comes in the first combat – you do not control your cards.  You can not decide who attacks and who blocks.  Abilities – when charged – are used automatically; they cannot be held for an optimal moment.

So then, the entire strategy of this game is in the team creation. You have a limited number of points to spend building your team, and different cards have different point costs.  You can assign cards with ranged abilities to the back, protecting them from attacks. Cards come in different colors, and only compatible colors are allowed to be next to one another.

One should note that this is also not a collectible card game in the sense that you must spend a lot of money in game to be anywhere near competitive.  There are no microtransactions – cards are unlocked only through game play. Successfully completing battles will reward in game currency, which can be used to buy more cards, and sometimes grant cards for a victory.

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In addition to the single player campaign, Lucadian Chronicles has a multiplayer league mode, as well as a multiplayer draft mode. Unfortunately, even the single player campaign requires an active internet connection at all times.

The free demo is generous enough that you should be able to determine if you feel the game is worth $8.  There is certainly enough content to warrant the cost, however, the unique style of game play might frustrate traditional CCG players, and may be confusing to puzzle gamers.  It’s a strange hybrid that doesn’t feel like what it is.

 

Reus

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Reus

MSRP: $9.99

Platform: Windows

Release: 5/16/13


Reus is a god-game with a hefty dose of city building & strategy.  You control four giants (Forest, Swamp, Ocean and Rock) and are given the responsibility of Terra-forming and placing resources in the world.  People will move in on their own (a new settler is spawned as worldwide productivity increases), and sometimes, those same people will make decisions that will make you want to tear your hair out.

You have no direct control over the humans, but if you give them too many resources too quickly, the will get greedy. Greedy humans will attack other settlements and even the giants if their greed goes unchecked.  You are given a couple of ways of dealing with greedy humans, but really, it’s better not to let that get that way in the first place.

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The first button on each giant’s control panel is their Terra-forming ability.  The ocean giant creates water, the rock giant creates mountains.  Space between mountains where there is no ocean nearby immediately become desert.  The forest and swamp giant each create the kind of turf you’d expect, but they must be adjacent to water.

Giants also can create resources – the forest and ocean giant get one each, and the rock and swamp giant get two each.  Resources can be improved in the course of game play, and each level of each resource has its own synergies with other resources. A settlement with resources within its borders will use those resources for productivity.  There are three kinds of productivity; food, wealth, and science.

A player new to Reus will be have three short tutorials to play through, and afterwards 30 minute eras will be available.  New resources (and longer game modes) are unlocked by completing achievements.  Reus’s achievement system is robust, and you are also rewarded for the projects that your settlers complete.  You are also required to complete in-game goals to advance your player level, and unlock longer eras.

You can not assign specific projects to settlers, but if they decide to build something you don’t like, you can destroy the project and hope they will choose something else.  Each project is upgradeable, and given enough time, your people will upgrade each project once. I enjoyed tinkering around to see what leads to what, but there is also a pretty comprehensive Reus wiki that will help you understand project progression (as well as having a lot of other good information about biomes, resources, and synergies).

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When settlers complete projects, a village will produce an ambassador.  You then direct one of your giants to pick up the ambassador, and that giant will get another ability or improve a current ability. Ambassador types are tied to biome, and not to specific projects, so any project completed on a forest biome will produce a forest ambassador.  However, as the game progresses, your people will stop being happy enough with low-level projects to produce an ambassador, assumedly so a player cannot demolish a level 1 project over and over to keep obtaining ambassadors.

There is also a free-play (or alt) mode, but many achievements cannot be completed in this mode. I have never used it, because I like the timed play, so I’m not sure what the differences are.

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Incidentally, if you ever want to reset your unlocks & developments progress, you can do so by pressing CTRL-Shift-F3 from the unlock screen (shown above), and it will reset everything but the developments for completing the tutorial, allowing you to start from scratch.

Reus has a lot more depth (and in my opinion, replay value) than it appears to at first glance.  I have played for over 90 hours now, and I still haven’t come close to completing all the achievements available. This game has been hanging out in my favorites category, and it’s got one of the lowest price-per-hours-played of any game I’ve bought on Steam.

Criminal Case

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Criminal Case

MSRP: Free, with in game purchases available.

Platforms: iOS, Android, Facebook

Release: 11/17/12


 

Criminal Case is a hidden object game, created and optimized for Facebook. Despite that, it’s really not a bad free game. The screenshots in this post are from the Facebook version, however, I play almost exclusively on my tablet.  I do have my tablet version connected to my Facebook account for the perks that provides.

In Criminal Case, you play a police officer tasked with solving a series of crimes.  After the introductory case, each case (at least as far as I have played) have 6 different hidden object scenes, with three scenes getting an additional game mode. These unlock as you investigate the case and obtain different suspects and information.

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You can get up to five stars in each scene.  Stars are given at set score points.  Points are gained from time remaining, hints remaining, and a bonus meter that measures how quickly you go from object to object.  Searching scenes costs 20 energy – you are given a base of 110 energy at a time (to my constant chagrin – they couldn’t have made it even???). Energy refills over time, or you can use consumable items to gain more energy.

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You are given some consumables as daily login rewards, and some for reaching certain points in a given case. However, energy-refilling consumables are also one of the “in game purchases” that are available.

When you explore scenes, you may find clues that need to be analyzed.  This is another place where in game purchases are available – to speed analysis time. Although I do occasionally use the consumables I’ve been given, I have never spent money to speed up analysis; with limited energy and the hint system, it has never seemed worth it to me.

The hint system is the main reason I have the app linked to Facebook.  If you have friends who also play the game, and they have achieved the maximum consecutive log-in bonus of five days, they will be worth five hints.  This is valuable, not because you’ll often need to use the hints, but five unused hints give you a 100,000 bonus to your score. If you’re playing on a mobile device, you also have a few NPCs you can take on searches with you that will give a set number of hints.  If you play on Facebook, you only have your friends and the base NPC, Jones, who is only worth 1 hint.

There is in game currency that can be used to change up your avatar, or buy bonuses you use for a single scene search.  I tend to ignore these until I’m score chasing at the very end (you will get the most points out of a four star or greater scene, as that allows you to find the max number of objects) – you cannot possibly earn enough gold in game to use these bonuses regularly.  I’ve never looked, but I’m guessing you can buy gold for real money as well.

If you can avoid the in game purchase trap, this isn’t a bad way to kill 20-30 minutes a day.

Long Live the Queen

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Long Live the Queen

MSRP: $9.95 (free demo available)

Platforms: Win, Mac, Linux

Release: 11/8/13


Long Live the Queen is, at least for me, a really unusual game.  It’s a visual choose your own adventure with a heavy strategic component.

You play Elodie, a young princess whose mother has just passed away.  You’re the heir to the throne, but before that happens, you have a LOT to learn.

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A brief tutorial introduces the player to moods, skills, and how skills are affected by moods. Each week you must choose two classes which determine which skills Elodie levels in that week. But you get bonuses and penalties to different skills based on your mood.

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Mood is affected in part by things that happen in the story, and in part by the weekend activities you choose to participate.  If you get 25 points in each of the three skills in any given sub-category, you’re granted an outfit that boosts further learning in that sub-category when you’re wearing it.  The skills you have and haven’t learned have as much effect on the story as the dialogue choices that you make.

This game expects you to fail in so many glorious ways, there is even an in-game checklist that can be accessed from the main menu which has achievements as well as different manners of death you might experience.

And when Elodie dies, it’s game over. Nothing carries over to your next play except your memory of what order events occurred in.

This isn’t a game I play often, but when I do, I really get sucked in and push for the finish line.  Which has been poor Elodie’s premature death every time I’ve played.  I might have more success if I were to play back to back instead of waiting weeks or months between sessions.

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Kami

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Kami

MSRP: $3.99 (Win/Mac), $0.99 – $1.99 (mobile with in game purchases)

Platforms: Win, Mac, iOS, Android/Amazon

Release: 10/10/13 (iOS), 1/23/14 (Win/Mac), 4/11/14 (Android)


Kami is both really satisfying and extremely frustrating.  The PC version comes with no tutorial of any kind, so it might not be clear at first what you need to do.

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The number at the top right (A6) is the designation for the puzzle.  Underneath that, it shows how many moves you’ve made (0) and how many you need to complete the puzzle in to get a perfect score (3).  The bottom number will change if you need more than the gold number of moves to complete the puzzle, giving you the chance to get an OK score.  If you exceed that number, you’ve failed the puzzle. The lightbulb will give you a hint, the arrow will reset the puzzle, and the home button brings you back to puzzle select.

But what’s the point? The goal is to change all the paper to the same color – as far as I’ve played, which color only seems to matter in that it’s only possible to get the perfect score with a single color.  You select your play color at the bottom of the screen – notice that the teal has a folded over corner? That means whatever patch of color you click on will become teal.

First, turn the small black part to teal.  Then turn the large black part to teal.  After that, you switch to red, click anywhere on the teal, and your whole field will be red.

Yes, I’ve totally just spoiled puzzle A6 for you.

I personally wouldn’t purchase this on iOS or Android as you have to pay additional money for hints (although there is a package of unlimited hints for a one-time fee), as well as having to pay additional for puzzle packs, which are included in the PC/Mac version.  For four dollars, you get 45 classic puzzles as well as 27 premium puzzles. Most of the early classics are very simple, but they get harder quickly.

Not a bad choice for puzzle buffs, and when the paper changes color? It’s super pretty.

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