By MoraffWare. This review first appeared in WindoWatch.
This collection is of a large number of computer games together on one package. Some of the games are mere variations on a theme, but there are enough games on CD to interest everyone in the family. The games I have tried include a set of different pieces of music (which can be turned off), most use a background screen, and a variety of colours or types of pieces that you can play the game with. Some of the pieces are easier to look at than others, so you should try some of the variations to find your favourite. I like the fact that the CD comes with a large number of background screens and you can even tell the game to use a bmp, jpg or gif file of your own as the background!
All of the games that I tried worked well and seemed very stable in Windows95. Most of the games keep statistics including fastest game played and number of moves in a game (where appropriate) along with how much time you've spent playing the game variation in general.
This is the classic game. Match the tiles to clear the board. There is the basic layout or the big tile game or the mega-layout. Both the big tile and mega-layout sets up one of 24 different layouts. Mega-layout uses two tile sets which you can set either of the tile sets to any in the collection that you like. If you win the game, you get to open a fortune cookie.
Variation with round pieces rather than square tiles. There are 23 different ringsets to choose from and 4 layouts for the game. Winning gets you a round of applause.
This variation uses spheres (I'm sure you'd never guess that...) and has about 7 different layouts.
I like this variation. The tiles are 3-dimensional and the requirement for this game is to pick three tiles at a time. There are some particularly nice 3-dimensional tiles for this game.
This one starts with a trivia question. Exactly why is a bit of a mystery, I think you get the answer if you win the game but I haven't quite managed. If you set up your own tiles, this is the game specifically meant to use them, though Morejongg should let you use your own tiles also. There are wide or tall layouts. Wide tiles are better for landscapes, tall tiles are better for portraits.
Scrambles a picture into 5x5, 7x7 or 9x9 squares. You click on one square to select it, then click on a second square to exchange the two. You can load any of the background images from the CD rom, or use any gif, jpg or bmp as a puzzle. Each square has an X across it until you put it in the right spot. One of the ones I wish could pick a random picture on each start. Small problem, you can exchange a piece even though it was in the right spot already.
You are given a mixed set of letters and a clue to the phrase. You need to swap letters to find the phrase. Letters are given a height according to how far they are from the correct spot. A letter that towers above the board is a long way from where it needs to go, one that is almost flat is almost in the right place. When a letter is correctly placed you get a little display, then you will be unable to exchange that letter again. Score is based on time and number of swaps. Puzzle difficulty can also be varied; easy, medium, hard, challege, expert, and mega games.
Tiles all start face down. You exchange two tiles. If you get one or both into the correct spot, then that tile will stay face up. When the tile is in the correct spot, it will no longer be movable.
My favourite, a jigsaw puzzle on your computer. Take one of the background images or a favourite picture of your own. Choose a shape file (absolutely easy, child's play, medium, moderately hard, rather difficult, simply impossible are the categories). The picture will be cut up into pieces and put down. Click and drag any piece to where you want it. If it is beside one the pieces that it should be beside, you will hear a click and see them snap together. This game does have a small bug. If you lay down one piece in the relatively correct position to another, they click together, even when there is a gap between them. I get some matches just moving pieces around to clear a space on the board.
A picture version of Phrase Detective.
A variation on the Minesweeper game. You have a few more choices in this game, like being able to play the game out even after you hit a mine. Scores are kept by number of mines exploded, or by time if you find all mines successfully. There are a couple of level settings for the game; how large the board can be, how many mines per number of squares will be laid.
Remove all the bricks from the screen using a paddle. This variation includes exploding bricks, ball-eating bricks, bricks that move but won't disappear and other tricks. On my screen, if I hit an exploding brick, I get a noticable slowdown, but that may be just my system. Otherwise, this is a nice version of this game.
A very pretty computerised Yachtzee game. Play one game or a triple game, against a friend or against a computer opponent.
A tetris clone.
There are a few other games on the CD I didn't really try. Escapade, MoreMind, Cybermind, Cyber-Checkers, Vorb, and Pinball.
There are also several utilities on the CD. There is an image editor which understands bmp, gif, jpg and tiff files. There is a little utility to check your computer memory. There is also a program that let's you create your own tileset for Your-Jongg. The tileset program understands the major image formats also, you can very easily load in any picture and clip it to create tiles.
Very minor gripe for these games. They have gone to a lot of trouble to include a large number of background pictures, tilesets, dice faces, etc. This is great, it adds a lot to be able to change these things. I just wish there was an option to randomly select a new background/tileset/whatever. As it is, you can choose them yourself. But I'd love to see an easy option to get the program to change them automatically. This is particularly important for the picture games ( Jiggler, Jiggler 3d and Fancy Jiggler.) It would be lovely if the game would select a new picture automatically.
If you like to play Mahjong, yachtzee, or minesweep, this CD has great versions of all of them. I particularly like the phrase detective and fancy jiggler. I found a few of their games on the weak side yet, the pinball and the tetris clone didn't seem to work as well as they should. However, given the number of games on the CD and the number of them that are enjoyable, I'd say that this is a worthwhile investment. In fact, my family needed their own copy of this.