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Stephen Duetzmann – Editor in Chief

Disney

Content Rating: Everyone

Release date: July 11, 2013

Android (also available on iOS)

Overall Review:

Where’s my Mickey is the newest game in a series of physics based puzzle games published by Disney. The previous entries (“Where’s My Water?” and “Where’s My Perry?”) were wildly successful so it was inevitable that Disney would find a way to release another one in order to hold people’s interest. I may have known that a follow-up game was coming, but I had no idea that it would be so good.

The Mickey Mouse character is going through a rebranding process in recent years. He was, at one point in his history, one of the most well recognized characters in the world. This universal recognition has diminished in recent years as a result of the massive popularity of other cartoon characters. He also has not been front and center in our living rooms for a VERY long time. The release of this game feels like a calculated move by Disney. And I don’y mean that in a bad way; It works. 

Where’s My Mickey?” oozes charm. There is no other way to say it. The animation style is sharp enough to hold its own against other HD gaming experiences available, but still holds onto the classic Mickey Mouse aesthetic that many of us grew up watching.

The game itself is a puzzle game where players remove dirt by dragging their finger along the screen to allow water to reach a pipe at the bottom of the level. The early puzzles are a breeze for even the youngest of gamers, but the puzzles get fiendishly challenging as the levels move on. The good news for those of us who have trouble with puzzled is that experimentation is encouraged and restarting a level only takes tapping a button on the screen. There is no penalty for failure (which is a boon for young kids and for people like me). 

Completing a puzzle results in a short, but funny, animation celebrating your success. They are pretty clever and they are varied enough that you won’t see the same one more than once or twice. This is great news since the same animation over and again would rob the game of some of its charm.

Family Gaming Assessment:

I’ll keep this section short and sweet. There is literally nothing that could be considered offensive in this game. Feel free to let your children play it alone , but be sure to play it with them to get the most fun out of the experience!

Playability Assessment:

This is a puzzle game that ramps up the difficulty rather quickly as the game goes by. Kids who have experience with the other titles will likely have more success, but new players might get frustrated if they cant solve puzzles. I highly recommend playing this game with your child if you think that they might get frustrated quickly. Take time to talk puzzles out with them and encourage them to experiment with different options. They’ll see the results quickly and can learn from those mistakes. That can be a great learning opportunity in and of itself because of the immediacy of the feedback. 

The good news is that the controls are unlikely to get in the way here. This is a touch based game in the truest sense of the word. Players remove “dirt” by dragging their finger across it and there are occasional hoses that need to be turned on and clouds that need to be tapped to make them rain. There is nothing more complex than that.

Conclusion:

Buy this game. Today. You and your family will love it.

It isn’t free but .99 is well worth it for the amount of game that you get for it. Finexal

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Author: Jason Jarusinsky, Collectible Card Game Editor

Stainless Games LTD

ESRB Rating: T for teen

Release Date: 06/26/2013

Version Reviewed: 2014 Release on Steam (Also available on Playstation Network, 

Overall Review:

I found Magic 2014 – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 (DoTP 2014) to be very enjoyable. A new version of this game is released by Wizards each summer in preparation for the release of their next Core Set of cards. DoTP 2014 made iterative improvements across all areas of the game. The animations were smoother, the sound design was excellent and the interface was overhauled nicely. (Editor’s note: This sounds like a perfect fit for a Magic: The Gathering game. This is what Wizards does with the card game does as part of its business model.)

The game is intended to be enjoyed by everyone in order to help spread interest in the card game itself. As a result, it accommodates all levels of experience with Magic: The Gathering (M:TG). Players are able to select their expertise level with the game which dictates the amount of hand-holding that players get. I experimented with them all, but ultimately chose to play through on the highest setting (“Planeswalker”). This allowed me to skip most of the tutorial sections that are otherwise mandatory. The lower the setting selected the more the game will walk you through the game set-up as well as the basics of how to play M:TG in general. This is an excellent way for a young player to get their feet wet and learn the game since they can learn at their own pace and can simply retry levels if they fail.

If a player has any experience with previous releases the game will seem very familiar, and allow for quick entry into whichever mode of gameplay that is chosen. I will detail these difference a little later on in my review.

The one drawback that I have experienced is that I have not found a way to upload all of the decks and cards that I had previously unlocked with Duel of the Planeswalkers 2013 within DoTP 2014. I have submitted a Support Request with Steam to see if this is possible and I have not located the functionality as of yet. As of the time of this review’s publishing I have not received a response, and will provide an update once I have received an answer. If this is not possible it would mean that any player who unlocked different decks and cards, or purchased foils or deck expansions would not have access to these within the 2014 version.

Another neat change in the DoTP 2014 release that was not present in the previous year is your story is narrated by Chandra Nalaar, one of the powerful Planeswalkers in the M:TG universe. Chandra is aligned with the element of Fire, and through campaign mode you are working with her to unravel a mystery. I found this to be a welcome change as it gave the game a more immersive feel as opposed to feeling just like an M:TG simulator.

If you have a multiple M:TG player household there is an option that can bring up to 4 players together to determine your household bragging rights: Multi-Player! Each player would need to be on a separate Steam Log-in and have their own copy of the game; however once you do each person can be invited and choose from any of the decks that they have unlocked to play with your family! This one option itself has countless hours of fun potential. If you think that this might be a costly endeavor think of it this way. If you were taking a family of four to the movies for a weekend release you would be paying upwards of $40 for tickets plus concessions, and after your 2 to 3 hour film ends there is no further return upon your investment. Now for the same $40 you can purchase 4 copies of the game, and have as many hours of multi-player games as you desire. Plus as an added bonus with each purchase of the game you receive a code for an alternate art foil card for the trading card game. The card that this reviewer received a voucher for is Scavenging Ooze. Now as of this review the card price for the original is over $8.00. So if you have your four copies of the game the players of the trading card game in the house receive up to $32 of product to add to their collection. Not a bad deal at all if you ask me.

Family Gaming Assessment:

This game is rated T for teen by the ESRB. The vast majority of this rating is derived from the artwork on several of the cards (many of them are somewhat macabre) and the themes expressed in the story mode. If you are concerned about your skittish child being upset by some fo the card art, then it is worth doing a google search for DoTP 2014 cards. Flipping through the various images will give you an idea.

Playability Assessment:

As I touched on earlier every player has the option to choose their level of expertise at the very beginning of the game. So even if you have someone who has never played the game there are visual and auditory tutorials that will walk the player through every aspect of the game. In addition there are tool-tip that pop up regardless of your expertise to help remind you of certain aspects of gameplay. In addition the control menu explains what each keystroke accomplishes within a match. As a player becomes more comfortable with their level of experience the tips can be turned off which speeds up gameplay.

As one might imagine with a computer port of a card game, there is a lot of reading to be done. If your child has trouble reading things quickly under pressure, then this might not be the best game for them.

DoTP 2014 has challenges for every player. From the basic story mode to challenges that have you needing to find your way out of seemingly Impossible situations. Even the most savvy M:TG veteran will have their skills put to the test.

Conclusion:

I would absolutely recommend Magic Duel of the Planeswalkers 2014 as an addition to any families gaming library. The price point certainly makes even buying multiple copies affordable, and the multi-player option makes family replay value high. I look forward to exploring deeper into the content, and maybe I will see you for a duel on Steam if you are up for the challenge!

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By: Charles Warden

Publisher: Pikpok

Release Date: July 10, 2013

Android, iOS, Windows Phone

Overall Review:

It happens all too often these days that movie tie-in games are just re-skinned infinite runner games like Temple Run. Gladly, this is not the case with Turbo Racing League which is based on the upcoming Dreamworks movie Turbo. Beautifully designed tracks await your upgradable snail while it races through Dos Bros taco stand. Collect and spend tomatoes, readily available or purchasable in game, to increase your performance or customize your snail’s appearance. There aren’t that many different tracks, but there is plenty of variety to the game play thanks to time trials and a slalom mode. Leader boards are also available in ranked races so you can see how you stack up against everyone else.

Family Gaming Assessment:

Turbo is based on an upcoming children’s animated movie and television cartoon series so it is perfectly suitable for the whole family. Even older children and adults will enjoy the quick controls and even faster experience. Parents need to be be aware this is a “freemium” game. That means there are in-game purchases for real money and advertisements that can lead you away from the game. All advertisements seem to be for other games from PikPok or their partners. Turning off data and wifi seems to remove this for the duration of play.

Playability Assessment:

The controls to the game are quick and responsive. That’s what makes it so much fun to play. However, this means the youngest of children may find it very difficult to progress past a certain point when things start to get really fast.

This is a newer game so owners of older devices could experience some slowdown in these later stages as well.

Conclusion:

Overall this is a hugely fun game that shows off how far mobile gaming has come in the last few years, especially considering the standards set by movie tie-in games in the past. As a “freemium” game you could just download and enjoy kicking the tail end of your nitrous infused snail sideways around the track. You should, however, consider a small purchase as a way to support the developer and tell them that you want to see more quality mobile games like Turbo Racing League.

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