Closure (Jack Randall Series Book #1) is Free on Google Play and Kindle Store

Closure (Jack Randall Series Book #1) is Free on Google Play and Kindle Store

Feb 10, 2016

Jack Randall fans — current and future — will like that the first book in the detective series, Closure, is currently free on Google Play Books and Kindle Store.

When a prominent lawyer is shot while waiting at a suburban stop sign it sets off a nation-wide manhunt for an elusive killer. Special Agent Jack Randall of the FBI finds himself appointed to track down and stop the shooter. Not by his superiors, but by the killer himself.

As more bodies fall the shooter takes his message to the press, earning the support of the public with his choice of targets and confounding the FBI at every turn. From the desert of Nevada to the urban jungle of New York City, Jack and his team follow the trail of bodies and haunting messages left behind by the killer. With the pressure to find him mounting on Jack, the assassin’s crimes grow bolder, and his message more sinister and closer to home.

It becomes clear to Jack that in order to find the shooter, he may have to look inside his own past, and become the man he was years ago.

The book is usually priced at $5.00 on Google Play.

This Is Not A Test Review

This Is Not A Test Review

Mar 18, 2015

This Is Not A Test tells the story of a man’s attempts to survive a chemical weapon attack on his country. With just a truck, a few skills and a gun they must work their way through a variety of harrowing situations to survive the disaster. Or not survive as the case will likely be.

This Is Not a Test is all about choice. There are multiple ways to handle a situation. What items and skills your character has always affects what options there are. For example if you’re in your truck and gas is entering you can tape up your cars air vents to protect yourself, if you have duct tape or simply skilfully weave though the gas cloud to avoid it, if you have driving skill. Violence is much easier and indeed often only survivable if you have brawling or marksmanship skills as well.

Screenshot_2015-03-05-12-27-17TINT however isn’t that well written. Characters you meet are boring and one dimensional, there is minimal dialogue and what’s there is dull. The story just lacks tone and the desolate feeling that better visual novels like Overlive have. Interesting details are few and far between and there is just little payoff for reading it. Go ahead, shoot everyone you meet. You sure won’t feel bad about it. Some of the endings are ridiculous as well. Like the one where the military simply allows you to starve to death. Or be crushed. Are they the world’s most inept soldiers?

Speaking of feeling bad, death happens often in TINT. The story is quite short, a lot of the endings are bad and you die often unless you had the foresight to grab certain items. There are checkpoints and the game is short enough that restarting isn’t a huge bother. The game keeps track of what endings you’ve seen including ones where you die so it’s fun to try to find new and creative ways to kill yourself which isn’t something that often happens in a game.

Screenshot_2015-03-05-12-48-40This is Not a Test unfortunately features ads. While you’re working your way through the story and trying to immerse yourself in the world an ad banner is flashing away at the top of the screen. The ad isn’t even static; it is constantly moving and changing, trying to get your attention which is a superb way to distract someone when they’re trying to read. Removing the ad is part of the game’s solitary IAP, which is a $2.50 fee to remove ads as well as display color artwork rather than black and white. This is totally worth the cost.

Some of the endings in TINT make no sense at all. For example in one ending you’re trapped in a house that fills with gas, suffocating you. The problem with this is that I had already picked up a gas mask early in the game and had it with me still. Apparently, my character just decided to not use the gas mask he bought hours beforehand. There was no option to use it either. What the?

This Is Not a Test is worth a read, but it is nowhere near as good as a far more advanced game like Overlive and the writing and logic leave much to be deserved. Still, it’s certainly not a bad romp.

No Starch Press Offers Up Humble Brainiac Book Bundle

No Starch Press Offers Up Humble Brainiac Book Bundle

Feb 4, 2015

More Humble Bundle news!

No Starch Press is getting in on the pay-what-you-want, charity supporting program by offering a fantastic batch of DRM-free books as part of a running Humble Brainiac Book Bundle.

To summarize, this is $250 worth of 15+ books available in this promotion.

Specifics with regards to this Bundle:

Customers can pay any amount of money and receive:

Ruby Wizardry: An Introduction to Programming for Kids
Lauren Ipsum: A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things
The Manga Guide to Electricity
Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred: Seriously Geeky Stuff to Make with Your Kids
The LEGO Adventure Book, Volume 1: Cars, Castles, Dinosaurs & More!

Customers who pay more than the average user will also receive:

LEGO Space: Building the Future
The Manga Guide to Physics
Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming
Incredible LEGO Technic: Cars, Trucks, Robots & More!
Build Your Own Website: A Comic Guide to HTML, CSS, and WordPress

And customers who pay $15 or more will receive all of the above, plus:

Steampunk LEGO
JavaScript for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming
The LEGO Neighborhood Book: Build Your Own Town!

Humble Bundle is the incredibly popular initiative that allows folks to pay what they want for electronic merchandise. Paying more than the average (or a an assigned price) generally unlocks additional content. Users can determine what part of their contribution goes to charity as well.

The Humble Brainiac Book Bundle starts today and runs through February 18th, 2015.

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[Source: Humble Bundle]

Mecha Ace Review

Mecha Ace Review

Jul 1, 2014

Mecha Ace is a new gamebook from the boffins at Choice of Games, a company famous for their excellent gamebooks.

Mecha Ace casts the player as an ace combat armature pilot taking part in a galactic scale rebellion against earth. Earth has been mistreating its colonies as of late and this animosity has finally blossomed into an all-out war with the colonies attacking their old homeworld. As the leader of a squad of six 60 ton combat machines, what happens next is the player’s choice.

Screenshot_2014-06-29-22-19-35The choice in Mecha Ace starts off with background. The hero can be a unhinged killer, a noble hero or somewhere in between. They can focus on gunnery skills, melee or just leadership. Throughout the adventure there are tons of choices which may or may not get your squad killed. A lot of these play into the player’s stats which can be boosted or lost due to choices made in the story.

Say for example the player may have to ambush an enemy squad in the cave. Depending on how fast the player got there (in itself a moral choice) the enemy may be set up already. There is also another armature the player can control. The choices are to go in guns blazing, lure the enemy into an ambush or remotely control the other mech. Remotely controlling the mech can either have it shoot at enemies or take out the main support pillar in the complex, killing most of the enemies but also causing the civilian town above to plunge into the ground in a catastrophic sinkhole like event. Of course this will likely fail unless the player is an exceptionally good pilot and marksman. Which is the better choice? Only the player decides.

Screenshot_2014-06-29-20-05-04Mecha Ace is written extremely well. The brutality of war and the uniqueness of people are portrayed extremely well and small touches like descriptions of body language and details of massive starships exploding really help illustrate the story in the player’s eyes. The story changes completely due to player choice and the inner monologue describing why the player character feels the way they do is always spot on.

And indeed, the plot itself is excellent. Full of twists and genuine suspense, Mecha Ace is a gripping tale until the end. Its believable characters and surprises really make it captivating reading. The way it personally involves the reader every step of the way makes it impossible to put down until the book is finished.

A lot of replay value is gained by allowing the player to change the gender of everyone in the story. This allows them to romance different people or simply be treated differently. And of course changes to the player’s skills, or just different choices completely change the story and what can and cannot be done.

Mecha Ace is a fantastic story wrapped around a robust gamebook format that really affects the plot and is a must read for sci-fi fans or fans of gamebooks.