Compilation of Single Player Games
Posted on 09/27/09 @ 06:17 PM (updated 05/09/10
This, like the title suggests, is a Compilation of games, of different types and styles which I have made over the past few years. Many of them have been sitting around doing nothing, as I didn't think they were good enough to be submitted as individual files - so here they all are now, together.
For more games like this, I have also submitted a "Compilation of Multiplayer Games", and many of those files can be played as single player games. (please please please play them, I need feedback on them.)
I hope you enjoy these games, feedback would be appreciated,
Update: Because something went seriously wrong with the PC version, I've had to re-upload the Mac edition of the games. My PC also deleted all of my Age of Empires games for some reason, so I've lost all of the edited versions, which is a bit of a shame. Hopefully now the file will at least open now. I would be very grateful for as much critical feedback as possible for these games, so I can once again find where they need improving. Thank you.
(Just ignore all the ".DS_Store" files, they do nothing.)
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This is a collection of no less than 10 single player scenarios, plus one non-playable scenario. "They were not good enough to be submitted as individual files", as the author himself put it, and I tend to agree with him mostly, though some of the files have a big potential. The playing styles vary a lot, and so does the quality of the maps themselves, from "very promising" to "not worth the download". The highlights of the compilation are the map design, which mostly stands out as being better than the average blacksmith submissions, and the originality that most of the games present, along with the very interesting story, when there is one (unfortunately this is only the case for 3 or 4 of the games). These positive points are however overshadowed most of the times by the lack of attention given to the balance and the actual gameplay, leading to some maps that look indeed good, but don't really give the player the satisfaction that they could, should the gameplay be more polished.
In the following review, I will firstly state my observations for each game separately, along with some ratings (with more of a feedback value), and then in the ratings section of the review I will give a description of the categories for the whole compilation.
(Note: the numbers at the end of each paragraph concern the ratings that file would receive had it been released as a single scenario, in the following order: playability, balance, creativity, map design, story/instructions. Also, these individual ratings do NOT coincide with the rating as a whole, the latter being the general impression that the compilation left me with).
KING GONDON: This is a game that you basically cannot lose. The only thing you have to be concerned about are the pirates attacking with ships, which can be easily dealt with. The map design is ok without being great. There are no objectives, no story and no instructions, the creative concept here is that you can make up your own story as you go along, but sadly this isn't helped by the game itself, as you don't have too many options. It gets tedious after about half an hour of playing. (ratings 2,2,2,4,1).
A POINTLESS LITTLE MAP WHERE NOTHING HAPPENS: It is just that... A non-playable tiny map that is nicely designed but very very small, and...well... pointless, besides showcasing some basic map designing skills. (rating: 2.5)
KING OF THE HILL: It is a very basic defend-the-spot (or in this case the "hut") mini-game with no backstory. The interactivity of being able to choose your character (and at the same time the difficulty) doesn't really make up for the blandness of the map. Challenge is there only if you choose the harder difficulties, if not it's a walk in the park, so the balance should definitely be worked at. The good thing is that it doesn't last too long so it doesn't have the time to get boring. Triggers are a little messed up, as you win the waves before actually killing all the enemies. (rating: 3,2,3,2,2)
LECARUM LOGRESS: It is probably the worst game this compilation had to offer. There is basically no challenge at all. It is a defend-the-spot in the same vein as "King of the hill" only this time you control an army of "skeleton archers" and footmen, against an army of... elves, i guess? First there are some heroes along with longbowmen but soon the only enemies are teutonic knights which get spawned continuously. Due to your army's vastly superior attack and hit points,not to mention speed, they can't even get near you. Watching Teutonic Knights' dying graphics is fun for the first 2 minutes, after which it's just annoying. There is however a wonder in the lower corner of the map which gives you victory when you touch it, and that makes me think the author knew how tedious it can get. I won the game without touching it, but i have no idea why. Maybe the teutons got bored? Or there was a timer trigger for victory? No hints were provided as to how victory is achieved so I will never know. (rating 1,1,2,2,2)
SAURON'S PALANTIR: Another minigame which reminded of my own silly little "Mongol Invaders". This time the theme is LOTR based. You get to choose one LOTR positive character in the beginning and then fight hordes of enemies, every wave providing new challenge. Compared to the previous game which was too easy, this one seems to be impossible. You have only one character and need to battle a lot of enemies, sometimes stronger than you. There were some creative aspects such as Gandalf's magic, but the map design wasn't really taken care of properly and neither was the trigger work. Waves of attackers juxtaposed each other and basically overpowered you constantly, the only way to survive being hit and run tactics (legolas FTW). Sometimes there was some help supplied (in the form of a small army spawned right in the middle of the "arena") but usually they were not much good and tended to show up at the most awkward of times (like when my hero was taking his final breath). (rating: 2,1,3,3,3)
HIGHLAND GAME: Yet another little game with no story or written objective (even though you understand pretty soon that you must fight some drunkards). The ending was swift and I didn't really understand what triggered it. (rating: 2,1,3,3,1)
STIRLING BRIDGE: I could say the same thing as about the previous game, however the humour saved the enjoyment of this file for me (the english knight's voice is hilarious) along with the nice music. It's just a silly little game basically, and there is no challenge as the british are really...really clumsy, but still gave me a smile. (rating: 2,1,4,3,3)
THE BLACK LORD: Another game with a serious balance problem. This is much too hard to beat by using conventional methods. While breaching the game's convention and building up some economy can help you gain victory, it is a very long and tedious process of eliminating all the superior enemies one by one and then destroying the fortifications etc. The gameplay is just not worth all the effort. It contains some interesting elements such as choosing your troops beforehand, and the map design is generally nice. (rating: 2,2,3,4,3)
THE HOMO SUPERIOR: This game starts off with a great story and a very interesting premise, which sets the path for making it a very good game. In this very original story, you are actually the villain, trying to destroy the peaceful and honorable superior humans. However,the game doesn't present variation and it becomes boring and repetitive after a short while. It is not really challenging, as the enemy does not come after you (it seemingly is too civilised for that), but the game just seems to last forever until you finally overcome the oponents with their huge hit-point advantage. i found the cluttered map design to be very fitting for the backstory, though it sometimes gets in the way. The center city however is beautifully designed. (rating 3,2,4,4,5)
THE ISLAND: Just like in the case of "The homo superior", the concept and the story are very interesting and immersive, but the game is very short and too easy. Map design is of a very good quality. (rating 3,2,4,5,5)
ThE MUSIC CAVE: This particular file is very frustrating for me, because it presents a superb and original idea for a game that is seemingly a masterpiece...but that I can't play. After the beginning cutscene, my characters don't become playable and there is nothing I can do to continue. And that's a shame because after I marco polo'ed , the continuation looked really interesting, and map design looked generally good. I even tried to extract the scenario with campaign manager and fix the trigger myself, just to continue the game, but the file doesn't get extracted for some reason. (rating ?,? (no balance and playability to rate),4,4,4)
Most of the games present gameplay problems, from not being playable at all or having serious balance issues, to being just too monotonous. The few very nice stories and concepts are not enough to save general impression for this category.
Generally, balance for these games was bad. Either too easy, or too difficult, or just too tedious. None of them offered a serious challenge, remaining interesting and immersive at the same time.
This section warrants a high score, as you can see the author's high creativity in almost all of the games. Many things I've never seen before in AOK games, mostly regarding concepts than actual triggers or tricks. However this high creativity is not used at its full potential most of the times, as the games fail to deliver what is expected from the stories (especially in the case of the last 3 games).
Map Design: 4
In general, the maps are well designed, with attention to detail and some very nice sections such as the city in "Homo superior". However, the author tends to use too much eye candy sometimes, the result looking a little bit overdone.
This is a very unequal category. Some games had almost no effort put into instructions and/or story (namely the minigames), while others relied almost only on that. The high score I have given here reflect mainly the files that DID have a story, and which were incredibly creative and original in regards to this category.
If I were to give the author an advice, it would be to ditch the games that don't really work and are not really developed , and focus on the strong points of this download such as "the homo superior", "The island" and "The music cave", which have potential to be really good games, if the gameplay was worked on. Also, please take care not to have an un-playable game submitted...especially if it looks as cool as "The music cave" does. I think it would have been better to include a "priority list"in your download so that people would know which games are really WORTH playing. though in my own opinion, one or two well thought-of games will be a lot better than 10 games that don't offer too much in terms of gameplay.
However i do recommend this download , but only for people who are searching for scenario ideas and inspiration, because the gameplay doesn't really deliver at this point.