Disclaimer: This review is not directed against Google or Google+. It is directed against the creators of internet games that suck away our time, our energy, and our money: the drug lords of this decade.
Facebook has long since fallen victim to hordes of internet games, flooding our walls with notifications about crop growths and mob violence and turning our friends into passionless zombies. These games multiply like ants, devouring anything in their path and leaving only the bones; their numbers were too great to overcome, and so we fled to Google+, hoping for a promised land full of milk and honey and professionalism.
But now, woe of woes, Google+ has added games. Is this the end of Google+, even before it has had a chance to shine?
Perhaps not! There are only sixteen of them: a perfectly manageable number to analyze, dissect, and then stomp on or fry with a magnifying glass. And that, dear friends, is what I must do.
Because you cannot afford to play these games. They will suck you in and destroy you, eating your time, pilfering your wallet, and destroying your relationships.
To start off, we have a generic match-3 bubble shooter—or rather, it would be better if it were generic. Instead, players are forced to watch the antics of an animated raccoon with every shot. The raccoon is so nauseatingly cheerful that even PopCap games seem grim and foreboding by comparison. Its bouncing and flailing slow gameplay, which is sluggish enough already due to the obnoxious intrusion of XP tallies. Anyone familiar with bubble-shooters will find the gameplay over simplified.
Better Alternative to Playing This Game:
Google “bubble shooter” and play any other version of this game that doesn’t charge you to play. Or better yet, read a book, go for a bike ride, or hang out with friends.
This is one of the few games on Google+ that you have to start playing to figure out what it’s ripping off. Within a few seconds, it is clear that that something is Starcraft. Made thirteen years after the original game, this cop-off still has worse graphics than Starcraft. And worse design and balance, etc, etc. It also boasts an interminably long hand-holding tutorial during which you could play an entire game of Starcraft.
Just play Starcraft. You can buy it used for five bucks on Amazon.
Let’s face it: If you play games online, you’ve played Bejeweled. Blitz is Bejeweled is 60 second bites, and like Lays potato chips, bet you can’t play just one. This game is less annoying and better designed than most of the games on here, but it will still make you feel like a dried empty husk after a gaming binge.
Play just one round a day and turn it off. This still works out to six wasted hours every year, but it’s better than blowing that much of your life in one sitting.
At first glance, this looks like just another tacky online poker game, but closer analysis shows that this is just another tacky online poker game. The colors are jarring, the board is hard to read, and the game lags thanks to all the morons out there who forget they have a poker game running in the background.
Host a poker night at your house. Invite people over, set out the beer and peanuts, and have some real conversations over the cards.
Bejeweled for stupid people. Instead of switching gems to get three in a row, you just click on the groups of three or more gems of the same color until the clock runs out. No real penalty for mindless, haphazard clicking, no real strategy to enact. The only thing to keep you playing is the ridiculous XP ranking that makes lazy people everywhere feel like they’re gaining more than fat cells.
Get drunk. Punch a window. Stick Q-tips up your nose. Anything, really.
City of Wonder
Imagine if the Civilization games had been made by the creators of Farmville! City of Wonder takes all of the worst parts of Civilization (the eternal waiting for technologies, units, or anything to happen) without any of the good parts (the strategy, individualization, conflict, intelligent thought). It also takes all of the worst parts of Farmville (the demands to take your real money, ways to harass your friends with notifications, the constipating boredom) without any of the good parts (there aren’t any). The game is a never-ending tutorial, with the game telling you exactly what to do at every step. It’s like a job, except you pay them, and you do it on your own time.
FreeCiv. If you can’t even afford five dollars for Civilization IV…well, you can’t afford to be nickel and dimed by City of Wonder either. FreeCiv is essentially a free, open-source version of the first Civilization game, and is easy enough to set up and play multiplayer with your friends.
It’s Worms with dogs…which sounds like a bad pun, I know. This game takes the basic gameplay of Worms-style turn-based nuking and…well, does frankly nothing with it. Except for the addition of numerous requests to share with your friends and buy coins.
Worms 2, Worms Armageddon, or for skinflints and pixel-lovers, the freeware Scorched Earth.
If you can find Japan on a map, you probably know what Sudoku is (despite the fact that Sudoku actually originated in America). And that’s what this is…not much to say.
If you’re going to play Sudoku, it doesn’t really matter where. BUT…if you like more of a mental challenge, as well as some really beautiful puzzles, check out Thomas Snyder’s work on the puzzle front.