Tropico 4 Review

Tropico 4 [Download]

Price: $14.99

3.9 out of 5 stars (151 customer reviews)

1 used & new available from $14.99

Review:

This game edges out Civilization for my favorite PC game ever, primarily because it’s easier to avoid combat. I prefer the economic, social, and city building elements of games like this to the combat, so Tropico works better for me since I can set political difficulty to low and economic difficulty to hard and end up with a fun challenge, yet few or no annoying problems with being attacked. That said, if you do enjoy combat, it’s totally possible to end up with it:

I don’t currently have any of the expansion packs and got bored with the missions partway through and switched back to just playing on custom islands, which was my favorite way to play the original Tropico as well. Can I eke an economy out of a barren wasteland? How about steep slopes? All tourist? No tourist? Strong environmentalist faction?

My rating:5 Stars (5 / 5)

Note: Tropico 5 will be coming out in June 2014, so if the game looks interesting to you, you may want to wait for a couple months to get the latest version.

Tropico 5 – (PC)

Price: $20.98

2.9 out of 5 stars (52 customer reviews)

18 used & new available from $16.00

Giant Boulder of Death App Review

Giant Boulder of Death (AppStore Link) Giant Boulder of Death
Developer: Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Rated: 9+4.5
Price: Free Download from the App Store

Review:

A fun game that takes the same gleeful pleasure in mass destruction as Hungry Shark Evolution. Instead of a hungry shark, you’re an enormous boulder rolling down a mountain in the Alps and smashing everything (and everyone) in your path. In addition to the basic theme, Giant Boulder of Death comes with several extra themes, of which my favorite so far is Happy Holiboulder. I was kind of annoyed that the pink and girly Ms. Boulder theme boasts of easier challenges. Really, guys?

It’s much faster to load than Hungry Shark Evolution, so we end up playing it more, but it has a tendency to be laggy at times, which can be frustrating, too.

My rating:3 Stars (3 / 5)

Hungry Shark Evolution App Review

Hungry Shark Evolution (AppStore Link) Hungry Shark Evolution
Developer: Ubisoft
Rated: 12+4.5
Price: Free Download from the App Store

Review:

This is a fun but somewhat frustrating game where you get to play, essentially, Jaws and chow down on everything you can catch, from schools of fish to monster crabs to parasailers and beyond. Hurtling your sleek fangy body through water and air alike to catch your next meal is the fun part, especially once you get to the larger shark species like the Tiger and the Great White (we have not yet reached the Megalodon) and can start chowing down on old nemeses from earlier levels. Take THAT, Lionfish!

Unfortunately, the game is super slow to load, to the point that if you have an unusually bad run or two you can spend more time waiting for the darn thing to start up again than you do actually playing the game. The directional controls (both tilt and manual) can also be a bit frustrating and prone to getting confused, but I’m not sure if that’s the controls themselves or just me not being very good at using them. (I would assume the latter except my nephew, who’s much better at this sort of game than I am, mentioned something similar to me when we were talking about the game.) As a result of these frustrations, we don’t play it that often, even though we have fun when we do.

My rating:3 Stars (3 / 5)

Real Whales App Review

REAL WHALES  Find the cetacean. (AppStore Link) REAL WHALES Find the cetacean.
Developer: PROPE Ltd
Rated: 4+5
Price: Free Download from the App Store

Review:

My one and only whale watching cruise was memorable in both good and bad ways. I got seasick and threw up over the side of the boat, but we also got to see several whales, including a pair mating, and a couple pods of dolphins. Overall, it was a fun experience and I’d like to give it another shot some day. Meanwhile, there’s Real Whales.

Real Whales is an immersive game with realistic graphics and ambient sounds, so it feels like you’re really on a boat. You earn points by photographing whales and dolphins of more than 20 different species in various locations around the world as they breach, spy hop, slap their tails, and more. You get more points for rare species, multiple whales in one shot, and better timing (for example, snapping a whale mid-air while breaching gets more points than catching the splash as it hits the water), and you can save your favorite photos to a gallery. The points are used to purchase new locations with different whale species. (You can also get new locations faster with in-app purchases.)

An enjoyable game that requires a certain amount of patience to get a great shot, just like real life. If you enjoy whale watching, nature photography, or realistic simulations, you’ll love it!

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

Note: a paid version without ads is also available:

REAL WHALES  Find the cetacean! (AppStore Link) REAL WHALES Find the cetacean!
Developer: PROPE Ltd
Rated: 4+5
Price: $4.99 Download from the App Store

Anthill App Review

[app 414658364]

Review:

My favorite iOS game to date. It brings back fond memories of my favorite computer game as a kid, Simant. Like Simant, you have several different types of ants, including workers, soldiers, bombers, and spitters and you control them by laying trails to help them gather food and defend their anthill and food sources against a variety of enemy bugs. In addition to various campaigns, there is also an endless mode where the goal is to stay alive as long as possible against perpetual waves of enemies. The game is challenging without being maddening, and fun to play.

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

Whoonu

Buy at Amazon

Review:

A fun icebreaker game.

Everybody is dealt cards with words or phrases such as “rainstorms” and “reading books” on them. One person per turn is “it” and the other players have to choose which card from their hand will be that person’s favorite. The person who’s it then ranks the cards he or she received based on which actually are his or her favorites and awards points based on who chose best. You can learn new things even about people you’ve known your whole life!

My rating:3 Stars (3 / 5)

Mille Bornes

Buy at Amazon

Review:

A family favorite card game involving an auto race. Players play in teams and have to try to thwart the other team or teams as well as moving their own car along the road. Lots of fun!

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

Set Card Game

Buy at Amazon

Review:

My sister was the family Set-meister when I was growing up, and anybody else was just a distant second. In fact, she usually managed to beat the rest of us put together! Despite routinely getting my butt whipped, however, I still enjoy this game. It’s not only fun, it’s great for building visual perception skills.

Set is also fairly flexible. We play standard rules with older kids, teens, and adults, and simplified rules with younger kids, such as having to match only one of the four different factors (number, color, shape, and shading). It can also be played solo.

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

Munchkin

Buy at Amazon

Review:

Want to play

This game caught my eye due to its D&D inspired gameplay and silly names (i.e. “The Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment”). I wonder if there’s a Frying Pan of Doom?

Family Fluxx

Buy at Amazon

Review:

Want to play

I’ve heard great things about the original Fluxx, but this version specifically for families also gets good reviews and sounds like it might be more appropriate for us, since our kids are still young.