Snark Busters (Premium, iOS and Android)

This is actually one of my favourite–no, make that very favourite–game apps ever.

(One of my very favourite, NOT “my very favourite app,” for that dubious honour goes to GLAZE, at the moment. But I still love Snark Busters! Well, this one, anyway. The sequels are… um, like… oh. Oh! Capital idea of yours, friend! Yes, yes, yes, we’ll just save THAT review for another day, hmm?)

(Crisis averted, phew.)

Photo Jul 12, 7 50 37 PMHow could it NOT be (one of the very faves) when it’s as sleek as it is, when it works without an Internet connection, AND when it still runs on my iPad 2 (which proudly runs on iOS 5. Don’t ask. Though I have a sneaking and sinking suspicion that I will, in fact, be sharing that particular tale with you, my dear friend, in the very very near future)?

Perhaps I didn’t phrase that properly, however, because it’s not that it RUNS on the obsolete operating system, but that it runs without forcing a mandatory UPDATE on me.

This is a huge issue, because, as obsessed as I get re: particular snippets of software, I absolutely refuse to update to a program or version or whatever that I am not 100% behind. You don’t even want to know how many ancient machines I have around the studio, every last one of them running Windows XP.

So if you happen to be a fellow resistor of mandatory software updates, this particular app is one of the few that is rock-solid, and as bug-free as any I’ve seen.

(For the record, I do actually have this app on my HTC One Max, and while that version is almost as perfect as this (admittedly-aged) version, there are a few tiny changes or differences that I am not as fond of… although such discrepancies might, rather, be due to the differences between iOS and Android.)

Speaking of bugs, now that we’re finally into the actual review part of this review, there is one thing that I must address: the alleged clock bug.

Very simply…

There IS no clock bug.

Let me say that again:

THERE IS NO BUG…in this lovely, steampunk-influenced HIDDEN OBJECT GAME (about a mischievous and spunky heiress (future heiress? Potential heiress?) slash would-be debutante who can’t abide her father’s strictness and fuddy-duddery, and ends up running away from home to catch a SNARK, but is then thought to have been kidnapped, causing yet more hijinks and chicanery. See what I did there, btw? Muahaha) from ALAWAR. 

You might not be convinced that I’m speaking the truth, especially if you’ve already checked out the reviews on the Google Play Store and, I believe, on the App Store as well.


They can keep going on about how it didn’t work for them, BUT if it worked for me, then the alleged bug is either affecting their particular device/the operating system version on which that device rests, or there is no bug in the first place.

Dozens of fellow-clock-bug-naysaying-defenders of the game who have, indeed, gotten past the alleged “bug” have posted all sorts of screenshots and instructions, but if those negative reviewers were impatient enough to delete an app they’d already paid for–without even doing a simple Google search for “how to get past the clock in Snark Busters”–then they are probably, hmm…not the sort of people who would go back to edit a review, admit that they had been wrong, and apologise.

(Don’t worry, I have no intention at all of penning a diatribe against the sad trend amongst generally-well-meaning and for-the-most-part-do-gooders who’re as quick to defend others as they are to stand up for their own rights–but just as quick to get snippy and unkind when someone isn’t able to accomplish a “stupidly easy” task, i.e. A lady unsuccessfully tries to stop the closing elevator doors, after which they (the alleged do-gooders, I mean) roll their eyes and make a Remark of GREAT Snark to their sidekicks, who nod sagely and obediently–until they notice that the woman who wasn’t able to surge forth and thwart the evil elevator doors with one of her knees…only has one.

And then they elbow the ringleader of their little group, trying to direct their stewing sister’s attention to the fact that the lady *had* attempted to prop the door open, somehow undoing the fasteners of her prosthetic leg, which she was currently struggling to keep hold of whilst balancing on her leg–even as the ringleader’s snark continued to drop. Of course, she then spent half an hour apologizing and carrying things for the surprisingly-gracious woman. But her good-doingness didn’t even show up until those constantly-rolling eyes of hers accidentally met the pain-filled and slightly-misty ones of the woman, revealing the truth of the situation.

Was the ringleader interested in the woman’s welfare, or in protecting her own idealized self-image of, like, do-gooderness?

I can just hear her whining voice spouting all sorts of quasi-evidence in her own defense: “I am a good person! I do help people in need whenever I can! I even spent all four of my Spring Breaks in Brazil, building houses with Habitat for Humanity! It’s just that we were late for class and you know I’ve had food poisoning for a week now and all I could think about was getting to class, living through it, and getting home. Seriously, ask anyone who knows me! Kindness is my middle name, usually!”

I probably should’ve said that I can STILL hear her whining voice, because I did actually witness a situation very much like the one I’ve just shared; I have, of course, changed a few identifying details to protect all parties involved, but I haven’t changed a bit of the snark.

Oh! I *did* end up penning a diatribe. Whatever, moving on.)

Photo Feb 22, 8 02 22 PM

Oopsie, did I lie? Well, a little snippet of code isn’t really a BUG, though. This is one of the many mini-games or puzzles in Snark Busters, btw.

OK, so there’s no clock bug (nor any bugs that I’ve hit, actually); it is tricky, however.

Speaking of tricky, Snark Busters is one of the very few apps I’ve seen in the past five years that does not have a zooming function at all. The developers have more than made up for it my keeping the hidden objects at a reasonable size, and they did introduce zooming in at least one of the two sequels to Snark Busters.

The artwork is whimsical and lovely–though I have a big problem with the appearance of all of the human characters. It’s not that I don’t like their particular features or their colouring or the sort of piercing sullying the smooth-skinned heroine’s complexion.

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Rather, it’s the pattern of shine or highlighting on each character. (Perhaps it’s because I belong to an ethnicity known for our, um, perpetually-shining skin.)

Seriously, the people all look downright GREASY. 

Which is more-than-enough to make my stomach get QUEASY. 

Photo Feb 22, 8 33 57 PM

Apart from that, though, the images are LOVELY.

The music is great, too. Twenties style, unless I miss my guess.

(Which I very well might, of course.)

But what I won’t miss my guess about is how much you’ll enjoy this first edition of Snark Busters!

Final Fantasy VII for iPad

I would bet a chocobo that this “review” will actually turn into an LTR, aka Long-Term Review, aka “an ongoing account of my observations and experiences with this thing.”

Where “this thing” = “the app in the title above,” which, in this case, is Final Fantasy VII for iPad.

(Who cares about an on-going journal when there’s sooooo many reviews already out–by people who have, in fact, already played through the game?

WELL, sir, it’s like this: I’m not playing the game for fun or for nostalgia (well, not JUST for those things, hah), but instead, am concerned with 1) what changes have been made, 2) how the changes have affected the game (in general), 3) how the “changes” are taken by those who’ve NEVER played the game (on PS or PS2, for example), 4) how the changes are taken by those who HAVE played it before (ie Moi), and 5) how specific options (ie Random Battles OFF and Max Stats ON) change the game play for those who’ve played it before.

WHY do I care about all that boring stuff? Well, it’s not boring to me, of course! I’m interested in the psychology behind a developer’s decisions–and the way intended audiences take those decisions.

AND, of course, how those decisions may be used to GAMIFY the whole “learning stuff” thing (aka SCHOOL and/or the SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS).

(See? Everything’s connected. But you already knew that.


DR.B (who apparently turned this alleged review into an official abandoning of the whole format altogether.)

To PARTY or NOT to Party? (Voltage PARTY, That Is…)

It’s simple; if you’re simply ROLLING in dough–or in patience–then have at it.

If you’re impatient, impassioned, and/or IN THE MOOD TO FINISH THE FLAMING STORY, ALREADY… then seriously, do yourself a favour and STAY AWAY.

Unless you don’t mind waiting an entire month to finish a story (for free), OR if you don’t mind shelling out $30 to $100 — in real world currency, btw — to finish 10, 13, or 15 “Chapters,” each of which is broken into ten segments. Requiring ten tickets.

You DO get five free tickets per day, but — like all good soap operas — it’s not unheard of to get SO OBSESSED with finding out what happened next (even though it’s SO SO PREDICTABLE)…

… that you cave in and enter your Google or App Store password and… boom! Your coffee budget for the month ends up in the same place that the coffee would’ve.

Which tastes sweeter, then? The sacrificed coffee (or ramen) or the tale?

I can’t tell you, of course.

NOT because it’s your palate and not mine, BUT because… I haven’t tasted coffee in over a year.

(I still love ya, Voltage! And why shouldn’t I, when the choice was mine, all mine?)