Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Game Review: Sneaky Sneaky

Here's a little game I came across recently. It's called Sneaky Sneaky, and in it you do a lot of sneaking.

A while ago I was going through my old Thursday Impressions posts on this blog and I realized that I kind of missed doing it. However, I don't have nearly enough time to write up a first impressions piece every week anymore, so I decided to compromise and do one every month. So then I played the first game on my list, wrote up an impressions piece, and then went and beat the rest of the game long before the post was scheduled to be published. So, screw impressions pieces. Here's a review.

Sneaky Sneaky is a grid-based strategy game controlled only by the mouse, in which you sneakily defeat your enemies and grab treasure on your way to completing each level. When an enemy discovers you (or when you sneakily get the first strike) the game switches into a turn-based mode until you or your enemy has been defeated, or until they've lost track of you (because you like to sneak away).

The gameplay is fairly unique. If at any time an enemy sees you before you attack them, they are able to move before you, and you're not allowed to move out of the way (or attack back) until it's your turn. Additionally, if you're able to sneak up behind your enemy without them seeing you, you can deal a much more powerful blow, which may take them out completely. Thus, stealth is a heavily encouraged strategy. Hiding in bushes for the right time to strike is a technique that works very well, along with sniping your enemy with arrows while you're out of their sight range.

The game isn't very long, and can be completed in just a few hours, but it's most definitely worth the low price. Not only is the art style really cool (and rather adorable), with great music that fits well, but also the game is pretty flipping fun. The difficulty curve is somewhat sharp if you're not prepared, and you might have to replay some already-completed levels in order to get enough money to buy an upgrade or two, but overall it's a brilliant gem of a game.

Sneaky Sneaky is awesome, and I'd love for the developers to make a sequel someday. I'd play the heck out of it.

The game is available on Steam and iOS.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Soundtrack of the Month: January 2015

Happy New Year! Welcome to the sixth installment of the Soundtrack of the Month series. As this marks approximately half a year since the beginning of the series, I thought I'd do something special.

When somebody asks me what my favorite animated movie is, I'm always ready with an answer. When somebody asks me what my favorite movie score is, I'm always ready with the exact same answer. How to Train Your Dragon is an adorable and epic tale of Vikings and dragons. Man and beast have been at war for far longer than either can remember, and the one person that nobody thinks could ever make a difference is Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, a young boy who cannot fight to save his life. To avoid summarizing the entire plot and giving away key details, let's just say everybody was wrong.

The score of How to Train Your Dragon was composed by John Powell. It's really flipping good. You should listen to it.

I feel obligated to mention that the credits song was written and performed by Icelandic musician Jónsi. A lot of people have praised the film's soundtrack for this song alone, but I wouldn't go that far. It's a good song, and I like to listen to it on occasion, but when compared to the magnificent rest of the soundtrack it's almost mediocre.

Featured Tracks

Track 1: This is Berk – One of the greatest opening tracks in the history of filmmaking. "This is Berk" is commonly the first voice-over line in various installments of the DreamWorks Dragons franchise. Berk is the name of the region in which the Vikings live in the film and sequential stories.

Track 11: Test Drive – Reason #47 why How to Train Your Dragon is my favorite movie score ever: Listening to the music makes you feel like a superhero.

Track 21: Counter Attack – Reason #84 why How to Train Your Dragon is my favorite movie score ever: John Powell makes sure there is never a monotonous moment in the score. Even in the darkest and most tense moments his epic and distinct themes are heard throughout.

I have to remind you once again that these three tracks are not necessarily my three "favorite" tracks. If I were to list all of my favorite tracks for this soundtrack, I would have to list pretty much the entire album. Some very honorable mentions that didn't make the "Featured" list include Forbidden Friendship (Track 8) and Romantic Flight (Track 15). Oh, and all of the rest.

Purchase How to Train Your Dragon: Music from the Motion Picture on Amazon or iTunes.
Or listen to it for free on Spotify or YouTube.