Show Me Your Game
We get some unusual games in the Bytten office. Previous oddities include a pirate cactus, a sheep herding game, a baseball/golf cross on the moon and Zombie Smashers X3, which featured so many bizarre elements that I could spend the rest of this review listing them. Somehow I am drawn to these more random offerings, delivered by mysterious strangers in dark glasses and unmarked vans in the dead of night. Well, not really.
Show Me Your Game is an educational game. It aims to teach you about the history, trivia and general excitement that is... women's basketball. Since my knowledge about basketball of either gender extends not much further than knowing that you're supposed to get the orange round thing in the hoops at either end of the court, I'm presumably the ideal guinea pig to roadtest this on.
Play is very simple. Your aim is to score as many points as you can by answering a series of questions about the rules, signals, history and so on of women's basketball. Each question has three possible answers - you select one before the timer runs out and, if you're correct, your basketball player will get the ball in the net. Get it wrong, and the ball misses. Miss five times and it's game over. You can either play by yourself or go against a second player to see who screws up first.
Controls are entirely mouse and involve clicking on the option you require. That's all there is to it. At first (as did I) you'll likely get nowhere fast - by playing repeatedly, you'll start to learn who's who and what's what in the world of women's basketball, and your score will improve. There are over 200 questions provided with SMYG, enough to keep anyone going for some time.
Graphics are very basic and feature barely any animation. SMYG would benefit from some professional help in this area both in terms of the character art and the way it is processed. Score a hoop, for instance, and the ball lands behind the referee's head rather than in front. Indeed, the game interface itself is poorly laid out and suffers from some serious drawbacks, such as the way questions are often too long for the box they appear in. One can scroll this text with the mouse wheel or by selecting it (like in many word processing programs) but I suspect this is not intentional. Positive points include the way a missed shot can miss in a variety of ways, not just one.
The in-game music is perhaps its strongest point. Six tracks accompany your gameplay, and you can select any you like (or mute them). Sound effects are highly limited, however, and the same cheers and boos result every throw, quickly becoming tedious. For some reason you must wait for the cheer/boo to finish before the game lets you take the next shot.
But all of this is window dressing. How does the game itself play? Sadly, not that well. Gameplay is hindered by the questions themselves - not only can one not see them all in the window at once (and at a rather small font size to boot), but they often don't read clearly. One question I was asked went: "Which college did Anne Donovan?" Did Anne Donovan what? This was the worst example I have encountered so far but the questions are often worded in staccato fashion. Minor annoyances include the lack of any high score table or even the last score reached - when you fail, you're immediately taken back to the menu - making the scores themselves rather meaningless.
Other issues include the lack of an installer - SMYG arrived on a physical CD (no download is available) and can be played straight from said disc. Alternatively, one can "install" it as I did by copying the whole file structure to your hard drive. This wouldn't be so bad but the disc did not even autoplay. The technical production of the game is sorely lacking and suggests a programmer still starting out. Collaborating with someone more experienced would be hugely beneficial.
All this impacts rather heavily on the longevity of the game. While as an educational effort it has some depth, the highly niche subject and subpar delivery bury it. As a free flash game it might hold children's attention for a few minutes. As a full product it is woefully underprepared for retail. Work on the engine and possibly bring in some professional help - when its ready for release, then you can show me your game.
Keywords: show me your game review, ronald robinson entertainment reviews, ronald robinson entertainment games, show me your game scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.