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Capsule Review: Capitals

The best competitive spelling game I’ve ever played. Two players compete for territory on a hex grid; each player starts with one hex of territory that is designated their “Capital.” Hexes next to active territory have random letters displayed and can be used to spell words. Players take turns spelling words to take territory - any hex you use that is next to your territory (or chains back to your territory through other letters you’re using this turn) becomes your territory, and any enemy territory adjacent to territory you take reverts to neutral and becomes letters for the next turn.

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Capsule Review: Bonza Word Puzzle

A sort of inverted crossword puzzle where you are given several clumps of letters that must be arranged on a grid to spell intersecting words that all match the specified clue. Clues might be cateories (“Winter Sports”), incomplete phrases that each word completes (“Eye of the…"), or themes (“Christmas Day”).

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Capsule Review: Moirai

A free ten-minute experiment in player motivations, trust, and violence. It’s an interesting idea, but not much else, and the quality of the experience can vary widely from person to person. There’s also perhaps a bit too much exploratory freedom; it’s possible to miss the path to the game’s most important content without realizing you’ve done so.

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Capsule Review: Poi

A 3D platformer strongly influenced by Super Mario 64. Play as a boy or a girl with a moveset nearly identical to Mario’s and explore levels and complete objectives to collect stars Explorer Medallions that unlock more levels. There are a handful of large-ish nonlinear levels that each contain several objectives, a bunch of smaller linear challenge levels that reward you for reaching the end, and a variety of collectibles/discoverables that can be turned in for medallions as well.

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Capsule Review: Cat Poke HD

A short (half an hour or so, depending on how quickly you figure out some of the more obtuse puzzles) and simple point-and-click adventure masquerading as a puzzle platformer. You must use all the tools at your disposal - various kinds of movement and light platforming as well as inventory-based puzzles - to poke each of the nine cats in the house.

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Capsule Review: Cat Poke

A short (half an hour or so, depending on how quickly you figure out some of the more obtuse puzzles) and simple point-and-click adventure masquerading as a puzzle platformer. You must use all the tools at your disposal - various kinds of movement and light platforming as well as inventory-based puzzles - to poke each of the nine cats in the house.

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Capsule Review: Dinner Date

A barely interactive game where you spend about twenty minutes directing the idle glances and hand movements of a 27-year-old man being stood up for a date. The story is mainly experienced by listening to his thoughts as he tries to figure out where his lovelife and career are going. His struggles are plausible but pretty typical and he’s not especially likable or interesting, so it’s hard to get invested - especially since the player’s actions have no real effect on the game’s events or on the character’s mood.

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Capsule Review: don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story

A visual novel in which you are a high school teacher in a not-too-far future where your students have never known a world without social networks. There’s a lot of reading as you spend most of your time talking to your students or snooping on their online conversations, though unlike some of Christine Love’s other work every character has portraits accompanying their dialog so it’s easy to keep them straight.

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Capsule Review: The Disney Afternoon Collection

A collection of six classic NES titles (DuckTales, DuckTales 2, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2, Darkwing Duck, and TaleSpin) bundled together. Most of these games are platformers - DuckTales emphasizes treasure-hunting in non-linear levels, Rescue Rangers features frantic two-player action, Darkwing Duck has almost Mega Man-like combat and bosses, and the lone non-platformer is TaleSpin which is instead a side-scrolling aerial shooter.

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