Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews by Mutaku

Game Recommendations : Round 1

Try to throw up rudimentary, sometimes cringe-worthy quality recommendations on Steam of the PC games I’m playing. Figured that with my minimalist friends list on Steam that there may be some more benefit reaped from those inexpertly written reviews by posting them here as well. So without further ado, here are the first batch:

Osmos

  • Great little game with some fun physics (think elliptical orbits). Soundtrack is superb!

 

 

Steal Storm: Burning Retribution

  • Great arcade feel and tight controls, engaging soundtrack, strong visuals and explosion sprites accompanied by well done sound effects. Addictive.

 

 

Crayon Physics Deluxe

  • Fun. Each level can be as easy or complex as you wish… Can be pretty tricky to flag levels. Cute.

 

 

Borderlands

  • Amazing! Cell shaded FPS in all it’s glory… doesn’t get much better than this for an RPG/FPS. Tough game.

 

 

Chessmaster Challenge

  • The old chessmaster I remember from systems like Gameboy but now with really great tutorials. Also has a mode that teaches you advanced strategies (openings, defenses, etc) from chess champions in a tutorial format.

 

Prince of Persia

  • Ubisoft+PoP+cell shading … greatness all around. Beautiful game and supremely enjoyable adventure. Very relaxing!

BUT — broken with steam. Overlay won’t work and does not register any playtime, etc, with steam. Can buy and launch through steam just fine though. A 3+ year issue that hasn’t been fixed but don’t let it hinder you from buying and playing the game… just a heads up.

 

Sid Meier's Civilization V

  • Total crack… that’s all I’ll say. If you don’t mind countless, back to back all-nighters then go ahead and play, you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Trine

  • One of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played. Excellent gameplay, engaging story and characters, a lot of depth across each of the 3 playable characters, and did I mention it was insanely beautiful?

Got this game on sale and actually felt really bad playing it and realizing how little I paid for it. That says everything you need to know. Buy it, play it, love it!

More to come…

Google+ vs Facebook

I received a pretty early invite to Google+ a while back and I’ve been really buying into the revolutionary(?) social networking service wholeheartedly. I would be inclined to suggest dropping the term social here as I feel it is a mature platform more apt for productivity; not to sound pretentious, but the grown-ups’ Facebook. There is an overload of commentary on Google+ and how it compares to Facebook so I won’t really try to jump into the fray here. However, I did have a few thoughts tonight while playing around on both sites and will simply throw out a quick list of some things that came to mind.

Here is the link to the Google+ post.

Or here is the post content:

Google+ vs Facebook

Things I really like about Google+ over Facebook (in no particular order and not fully inclusive – more of an off the cuff list):

- MUCH easier to find people
– Circles are how it should always be with social networks/applications
– Cleaner and faster interface
– No zombie pirate mining farms
– Productivity and efficiency in mind
– Huddles and hangouts are really well done so far
– Keyboard shortcuts such as bold and italicized
– No spamming overlords (yet?)
– Real names (although I don’t agree with the harsh lockouts I guess)
– Google product integration is pretty slick
– The mobile app is light years beyond the facebook app (at least on ios)
And last but not least, the open source community is present and accounted for!

- Oh and apparently on Facebook this has to be a note since it’s longer than 400 (or so) characters… come on…. I can rant away on Google+

We’ll have to see how things pan out as more people adopt Google+ and development rolls along. At this point, I will admit that I was an early advocate and fan. After some solid use of all the features and side-by-side comparison of day to day posting and usage, I remain and advocate and fan.

See you on Google+! [me]

Tales of the Otori

Book (series) Recommendation
From an older post on the old Mutaku

Tales of the Otori by the author under the pen name of Lian Hearn. From wikipedia, “Tales of the Otori is a series of fantasy novels by Lian Hearn, set in a fictional world based on feudal Japan. The series initially consisted of a trilogy: Across the Nightingale Floor (2002), Grass for His Pillow (2003), and Brilliance of the Moon (2004). It was followed in 2006 by a sequel, The Harsh Cry of the Heron, and in 2007 by a prequel, Heaven’s Net is Wide.”

From wikipedia, “The books follow a young warrior named Takeo in his struggles to avenge an adoptive father, escape the legacy of his biological father, and pursue the love of his life in the midst of an enormous power struggle involving dozens of clan lords and thousands of warriors.”

I have found all the books fascinating journeys containing some very deep commentaries on human nature, religion, and societal roles with regards to gender and socio-economic status. Maybe at a later time I will review each of the entries in the series but for now, due to time constraints, have decided to simply include some links for more information and a general timeline of the books.

The books have been published in the following order:

* Across the Nightingale Floor
* Grass for His Pillow
* Brilliance of the Moon
* The Harsh Cry of the Heron
* Heaven’s Net is Wide

However, they fall into the following order chronologically with the story:

* Heaven’s Net is Wide
* Across the Nightingale Floor
* Grass for His Pillow
* Brilliance of the Moon
* The Harsh Cry of the Heron

For now, I will leave it at that and on the following note: You must not pass up these books!
Stayed tuned for reviews of each of the books to come one of these days…in the mean time you can divulge your interests at your local bookstore or at the following links:

Gillian Rubinstein – Wikipedia
Tales of the Otori – Wikipedia
LianHearn.com
TheOtori.com
Tales of the Otori – Google Search