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Feature:

Peak Performance Project 2014 finals

Good for Grapes take home the grand prize, with Derrival and The Tourist Company coming in 2nd and 3rd. Christopher Edmonstone photos.

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Machinarium—online computer gaming roundup

Machinarium image

Machinarium

Online computer game reviews—Kivi’s Underworld, Machinarium and Depths of Peril

– by Beatrice Smartt

It’s that mmmmmost wonderful time of the year, kids, when eggnog lattes and gingerbread biscotti dance happily upon the tongue. It’s also time to think about holiday gifts for young and adult alike, so here’s my fabulous selection of Mac game gift ideas to present to you and yours this happy season.

First and foremost, I have to go with the RPG genre, which I familiarized you with last piece, although this is straight-up role playing, not puzzle-oriented fare.

Both of these selections are brought to you by Soldak Entertainment, and I am much looking forward to the next installment in their catalogue, which should be out soon. Their game graphics are astonishingly good, and the game-play simple to master. For the younger gamer, I would highly recommend Kivi’s Underworld, which now comes with an expansion pack. Featuring loads of worlds to explore, weapon upgrades/power-ups to collect, dangerous monsters, and of course the required secrets to uncover, it’s quality entertainment at it’s finest.

Kivi

Kivi

For the teen to adult, Depths of Peril – which I have pretty well been playing non-stop for weeks now – is definitely my pick of the month. According to both my 11- and 21-year-old nephews, DoP is a great game, akin to World of Warcraft, which I have yet to to experiment with – so for those familiar, definitely give these a whirl. And if any of you happen to be into experimental drugs, be forewarned that the graphics are gonna blow your mind more than it’s already blown. No mushrooms necessary to trip on the scenery…;)

Both Kivi’s Underworld and Depths of Peril allow for unlimited time to play the demo versions, which impressed me greatly – most games allow for 1/2 hour to one hour of free play. With these games, you will need a little more time to familiarize yourself with the characters, objectives, and strategy required for conquering the worlds.

Depths of Peril

Depths of Peril

One thing in particular I enjoyed about DoP is the option to choose which hero you want to play, including a warrior, a mage, a priest, or a rogue, and to build up your covenant house party with a selection of these characters to guard your possessions. My favourite thus far to play has been the rogue, because I enjoy being a hot chick kicking ass on the battle field!

My most successful combination of party members to travel with includes a well-equipped warrior or fellow rogue, and at least one priest back at your covenant house to “bless” you upon returns and new quests. A couple tips: do the tutorial to begin with, as you will be rewarded with some cash and benefits.  Also, check in with the vendors for better weapons, relics, jewelry, etc., which will assist your defense.  And try to keep good relations with the other competing covenants until you can take them out with a strong party via raiding them—and to be prepared with necessary supplies (food, health potions) so as to prevent your death while raiding.

The soundtrack is perfect and the monsters and characters alike deliver apt sound effects, particularly in the heat of battle. Most hilarious is the sound effect warriors make once they reach level 16 – they growl at the monsters to scare them before taking them out. I couldn’t stop laughing once I’d discovered it.

Depths Of Peril is one of the most satisfying games I’ve played in the RPG genre, and for the fact that the demo is free, it’ll keep you well occupied while the turkey is taking forever to get unthawed.

For those who prefer hidden object/puzzle games, I adore Drawn: The Painted Tower, which is freshly available for Mac. Also, Emerald City Confidential, which my 11 year-old nephew gave a major thumbs- up.

Both are simple enough to master, although may need some occasional adult intervention on solutions. Walkthroughs are readily available via Google, although I’d recommend both purchases from Big Fish Games. With the BFG membership ($6.99), games are $6.99 each, and the membership allows access to the helpful forums. Big Fish’s selection of Mac games is growing, and if you or your kids like to game a lot, the membership is well worth the price.

As you may recall, in my first piece I focused on point-and-click games, particularly the Samorost series.  Well, good news, because the much anticipated new release from the astonishing talent at Amanita Design is now out and available for MacMACHINARIUM! It is divinely wonderful, and that is what this season is all about… so happy holidays and merry gaming!

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