Tropico 5.

Read my long overdue Tropico 5 review to find out why the fifth installment in the series doesn’t live up to the expectations.

I hope you don’t mind me continuing to review semi-ancient games. Tropico 5 was released way back in 2014, but for once I didn’t wait until the game and all DLC were on sale to purchase it. Since I really enjoyed Tropico 4 (review here), I bought Tropico 5 in 2015, quite close to the release date by my standards. I even started writing this review in 2015, meaning it’s been in my drafts collection for three years before I now finally managed to get it published. That’s probably not a good sign for the final score.

Many of you are already familiar with the recipe used to cook the Tropico series, but for new readers, here’s a quick summary. Tropico is a series of city builder games where you play as a dictator, El Presidente. The goal is to build and manage a thriving city on an island (or several islands, depending on which game in the series), and to stay in power. If the rebels, or a foreign power, manage to throw you off the island, it’s game over, man!

The games have a great tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, and is pretty laid-back. I’d perhaps go as far as to call both Tropico 3 and 4 borderline casual games. And that was one of the most appealing aspects of both of them. Kick back, relax, and rule your island with an iron fist! Tropico 5, however, makes a few changes to the Tropico formula, changes that make the game a lot more stressful than its predecessors. The experience is even downright annoying at times.

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American Truck Simulator.

Does SCS Software manage to recreate the trucking magic from Euro Truck Simulator 2 in American Truck Simulator?

You might know Czech video game developer SCS Software from their raging success Euro Truck Simulator 2. I reviewed the game back in October last year, and gave it a solid 4 out of 5 score. The game is also enjoying a solid 96% positive score on Steam, making it one of the platform’s highest rating games. Since SCS Software was funded in 1997, it has developed no less than 25 games, with American Truck Simulator being the latest addition to their catalogue.

American Truck Simulator takes everything you know from Euro Truck Simulator 2, and moves it across the pond. As the name of the game implies, you’re trucking the once great United States of America. Making a truck simulator set in the land that has given us fine trucking movies like Convoy and Smokey and the Bandit seems only natural, but does American Truck Simulator manage to offer the same experience that ETS2 does?

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Block’hood.

What happens when a design studio decides they want to take a stab at making a computer game? You get Block’hood.

The Plethora Project (or perhaps it’s “Plethora-Project”, they can’t make up their mind, and that annoys me), is a “design studio with a mission to accelerate computational literacy in the frame of Architecture and Design.” In 2017, they released Block’hood, a city building simulator video game that focuses on ideas of ecology, interdependence and decay. From the screenshots, it might resemble a tower building game, but it’s not. In Block’hood, you don’t create towers, but entire create ecosystems, called hoods, with the goal of making them self-sufficient.

I really like the premise of the game. It reminds me a lot of The Settlers series, of which I played a few of the titles for hours on end. The ecosystems in The Settlers are pretty basic compared to those in Block’hood, though. In The Settlers, you would plant some wheat, harvest, make flour at the mill, then a baker would make bread from one part flour, and one part water. An equivalent ecosystem in Block’hood would be similar, but involve a lot more components, or “blocks” as they are called in the game, and be more complex. Blocks in a Block’hood ecosystem more often than need several inputs to function, and produce both products and bi-products.

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Red Bull Silver Edition Lime.

Red Bull Silver Edition Lime

When it comes to the question of whether or not I should reload my energy drink review series, I’m still very much on the fence. Recently, though, I came across a Red Bull Silver Edition Lime review draft I started in 2015, but never got around to finish. So regardless of the reload or not, it’s time to get this draft done and published. It’s based on the old, boring review format. I’ve decided to stick with it for this review, perhaps to prove a point, or perhaps because it’s the path of least resistance to get the review published.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

A variety of Red Bull flavors has appeared on the shelves lately1. Marketed as “Red Bull Editions“, they sure are a welcome addition to a somewhat stale energy drink market. Most manufacturers desperately try to copy the original Red Bull flavor, when they should rather use the opportunity to innovate. Instead, it’s Red Bull itself that comes up with something new and original flavors. Give them a rounds of applause!

The Red Bull Editions come with the same energy related benefits as a can of the original Red Bull, but in a range of other flavors. Currently, three are available: Cranberry (The Blue Edition), Cranberry (The Red Edition), and Lime (The Silver Edition). In this review, we’ll give the lime flavored Silver Edition a try.

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Project Highrise.

The sky is the limit in SomaSim Game’s Project Highrise.

If you’ve been around for a while, you might be familiar with the 1994 simulation title SimTower. The Japanese game, which was published by the once great Maxis outside of Japan, allowed the player to construct and manage a modern, multi-use skyscraper. Even though I never really got the hang of it1, I loved SimTower. When Chicago based developer SomaSim released Project Highrise back in 2016, I got properly excited. The game behaved like SimTower’s older brother, but with an even more detailed simulation than its spiritual predecessor offered.

But I didn’t put on my hardhat, and entered the construction business immediately when Project Highrise was released. I had too much else on my plate, and the game’s art style put me off a little, to be honest. But when Project Highrise, and all its DLC appeared on sale last week, I couldn’t resist the temptation anymore. It was time to see if this was a skyscraper construction and management sim I could actually master.

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