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A Dark Room - Tips, Tricks, and Strategies to Push Back the Darkness

Posted by Joseph Bertolini on June 17th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: NOT MUCH TO LOOK AT :: Read Review »

A Dark Room certainly ranks as one of the more unique games that I have ever played. Part of the magic of this game is that, because of the lack of any discernible tutorial, there is a very realistic sense that the character does not know what to do and is trying their best to keep their growing community going. Because of all that there really is a need for some guidance for those playing through the first time, or even those just looking for a more efficient route when booting the game up for the second or third time. That's what I'll attempt to do here, starting of course with waking up in a dark room.

[Note: We've tried to avoid spoilers as best we can, but even the emergent gameplay in A Dark Room could be considered spoiler territory to some. If you haven't played the game before and would rather feel your way through the first time, we advise that you hold off on reading this guide until your second attempt.]

e3D: SpaceShip Teaches Us to Survive a Space Pirate Attack (Not Really)

Posted by Rob Rich on October 13th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

I can't help but wonder; once mankind has branched out into space and begun to colonize new worlds and so on, would they really call them "Space Pirates?" I mean, they're already in space. Space is kind of where everyone goes now. Why not just call them "Pirates?" But I'm getting (way) off-subject here. I'm not supposed to be discussing possible semantics for situations I'll never encounter in the far future, I'm supposed to be talking about e3D: SpaceShip, a new "Escape" game from Bored.com.

After getting boarded and captured by these pirates who frequent space, players have to escape (duh) and take the ship back. The game follows the expected formula of finding objects, occasionally combining these objects and using them to solve all manner of puzzles. In space. Additionally, extra collectibles can be found and completion times are posted to Game Center. And who doesn't love a good speed run or collectible hunt?

Anyone with even an ounce of interest in puzzle-solving or Escape-themed games can download e3D: SpaceShip right this very moment. It's even free!

Ellie - Help me out...please Makes Exiting a Room Scary

Posted by Rob Rich on August 5th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

I've never really been "into" Escape games, but I have dabbled. It's not that I dislike them, it's just that I generally prefer my adventure/puzzle games to involve more character interaction and humor (i.e. of the LucasArts variety). The desolate environments for these kinds of games are somewhat of a downer for me, so I have to really be in a particular mood to want to play one.

Ellie - Help me out... please has put a Japanese horror spin on the fairly universal formula, adding an unsettling atmosphere to the isolation and loneliness that keeps the tension high throughout. It's a bit graphic, a little disturbing and bound to get the heart beating faster. This is not a game I'd suggest playing before bedtime, no sir.

But creepy atmosphere and personal doubts about the innocence of the trapped girl aside, what makes Ellie stand out is its interesting use of in-app purchases. An "extra room" can be purchased for players who want to keep enjoying the disturbing story and world, naturally. However, unlike many "free" games it's not ad supported nor does it lock users out until they pay for the full version. Instead, it allows users to unlock hints with real money at $1 apiece. It's an interesting idea that might not work out all that well once people start posting said hints online, but it's nice to see companies trying out new ideas when it comes to freemium pay structures.

Some may scoff at the idea of paying for answers to a couple of puzzles, but in all honesty some of these puzzles are very, very hard. That one with the drawers, especially. Sure it's possible to jump online and try to look up the answers, but I expect a good many players might be too involved in their game to interrupt it like that. I think it might be easier for some to just bite the bullet and spend the buck so they can move on. And I think the folks at Ateam Inc are thinking that, too.

Only time will tell us if their idea works, but if it does it may well open up new possibilities for freemium games. I'm quite curious to see how this all works out.

SwankoLab Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Ben Harvell on August 11th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CHEMICAL PARTY
A gorgeous virtual darkroom in your pocket from the guys behind Hipstamatic. Could there be anything wrong with this picture?
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