Friday, December 21, 2012

A Virus Named Tom: Winter Wonderland

Once again, I am posting a little late and on a somewhat obscure game from Steam.

For those of you waiting for me to review AAA titles, all I can say is that I just signed up for Gamefly and that patience is a virtue.

As for the lateness, all I can say is that even game reviewers need to sleep in sometimes.

So let's get down to it; here is my review of 

How many here are old enough to remember the 80s? Or at the very least knowledgeable and open minded enough to try a few of the old arcade classics in what few arcades are left in this country.

Yes, I am talking about games like Pac-Man, Spyhunter, Joust, Sinistar, Donkey Kong, and Frogger. By today's standards they are but cave drawings. By the standards of yesteryear, they were considered the same as HD TVs on steroids. Without these milestones of game-play innovation, video games as we know and love them would not exist. That is a fact.

A Virus Named Tom, and it's Winter Wonderland expansion, builds on the principles of these 80s style games and gives it an upgrade for our present. I honestly wouldn't mind seeing what this game would look like with 8-bit graphics. It even has the score to go with it.

Anyway, since the holidays are coming up and this is a holiday themed expansion, I thought I would try something a little different. Consider it an early Christmas present.

This time, in an effort to both stand out and make these posts a bit more organized, I will give my patented Seven Word Synopsis a little overhaul. Instead of simply stamping these seven words at the end of my editorial rant, I will try posting it first and foremost, then make a few paragraphs for each part of it.

It will still work the same way; two words saying it was good, two words saying it was bad, and three words saying what to do about it. Only this time, it will be one of the first things you read, and for each section of words you will get some explanation as to why I said those two words and why it is good and so on and so forth.

The following article should serve as an example of what I mean;

Seven Word Synopsis

Simple Challenges

Uninspired Story

Buy on Sale

That is the Seven Word Synopsis, which from now on I will abbreviate 7WS. Now I will explain what each segment means. 

Simple Challenges here we have the segment under review

and below is the explanation
Like I said earlier, this game resonates as a modern day arcade classic, complete with high scores, simple but engaging gameplay, and enemies you can't just shoot in order to get rid of. 

The game can be explained with a seven word synopsis of its own; Mad Scientist creates Virus to destroy City. That's the plot, the game play, and the whole concept in a nutshell. Simple as ABC. 

You basically are that virus, and you need to navigate a neon grid that represents cyber space in order to connect circuits so that they spread you glowing green virus to every circuit on the board. Just don't get hit by an enemy drone, and don't take too long. You lose power over time, and get a big chunk taken out with each hit. Follows the tenant of good gameplay being easy to learn, and difficult to master. 

I also enjoy how they deploy the interface. It does offer the immersion of actually being a virus in a machine, navigating through each part until you have complete control over it. Nice touch.

Uninspired Story rinse and repeat

As you might have figured out by the description alone, this is not a narrative driven game, specifically. The Mad Scientist is named Doctor X, his enemy is MegaCorp, and your name is Tom. And you infect circuits with a green glowing virus over a Tron-like cyber grid; not exactly true to science.

Something tells me that the Dev team wasn't taking their own concept too seriously. And that something is common sense. 

You don't read a children's book to get Shakespearean quotes, or go to Demolition Derby for peace and quiet. Thusfold, don't play A Virus Named Tom for it's gripping and moving story. Try Spec Ops for something like that.

Also, if you are wondering what the actual "expansion" is, you basically see a Santa Claus Holo Suit and enemy drones with Snowmen masks. Festive, if not cheesy. 

Buy on Sale

Given the small-minded nature and obviously low-budget production of this game, it is sold pretty cheap. I got it for ten dollars, and even then I felt that I spent a little too much.

Given that tis' the season, all prices are being slashed on Steam like tall grass in a Zelda game. 

That's a thing, for all you non-gamers out there.

Since Christmas is only once a year, and this game is sold pretty cheap nontheless, take advantage of the here and now. 

Get yourself another good way to kill time while waiting for something trivial and save a buck or two while you had.

That's it for today's review. Hope this demonstrates a better way to use my Seven Word Synopsis, and as always I encourage reader feedback in the comments section below. 
Bit of News: My Car broke down just the other day, and I am going to have it fixed all day. So therefore, I will have trouble getting from point A to point B for a while. This will make creating a Far Cry 3 even more difficult then it already is. If I cannot make one by tommorow morning, I sincerely apologize and will have it up and running as soon as possible.

Thank you and goodbye. 

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