Friday, July 04, 2008

Two short ones for today, but first a philosophical statement.

One of the things that appeals to me most about Kongregate is the badges give me something to shoot for. I tend to like finishing games, so a game in which the only goal is to get ever-higher high scores tends not to hold my interest for long, unless it's a really, really good game. (This makes me wonder if in college I did play more of those games because I had my roommates to compete against -- there was only a high score, but you could always shoot for your friends' scores. But now that I don't have that, I wonder if that's part of the reason I don't really play that type of game any more.) Anyway, the badges give me a certain target to shoot for. You may notice that I often say something like "After finishing this game, there wasn't really much reason to keep playing". This isn't perhaps as harsh a criticism as it may sound -- all it really means is that the game isn't a truly amazing game, and, to be honest, while I've found a lot of fun games on Kongregate, there are really none that were so excellent that I really wanted to keep playing them after finishing them; I'm perfectly happy to move on to the next game. The real test is if I still enjoy a game up until getting to the badge; there are more than a few games where I've had my fun but the badge was still far away. That is obviously not a good sign. Anyway, on to today's games:


The rather unfortunately named WetDike is an implementation of Klondike (i.e., normal solitaire). That's pretty much all there is to say about it. The pack art is very distinctive and interesting, and there's also a jukebox which seems to generally be playing interesting music, so those are two advantages it has over Windows solitaire. On the other hand, you can only play the three cards at a time variant, which I tend to enjoy less than the one card at a time variant, and there's also a chat pane at the side (inside the game, that is, in addition to the standard Kongregate chat) which tends to be even less worthwhile than normal chat. So, overall, it's probably somewhat more enjoyable than regular old Windows solitaire, but it's still the same basic game.

Balance Balls 2

Balance Balls 2 is an extremely simple game. You have a large ball on a teeter-totter, and you have to tilt the teeter-totter to keep your ball from rolling off; this task is complicated by other balls of various sizes constantly falling onto the balance beam. There are also three powerups you can collect: one to make your ball bigger, one to make it smaller, and one which adds spikes which crush other balls. It's not actually clear whether it's a better strategy to have a larger or a smaller ball; larger balls are harder to move away from the center, but if your ball does end up out at the end of the beam, it'll be almost impossible to save it; conversely for small balls. The spikes are incontrovertibly good, however. Anyway, this was an entertaining game for a while, although earning the badge (which requires surviving for 120 seconds) proved to be quite challenging. The graphics are crisp and clean, the sound effects are pretty minimal, and the background music is not bad, although there is a strange gap in it periodically.

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