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Inside Mac Shareware - February
February 20, 2006 | Marcus Albers

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February is well upon us, and thoughts of roses, hearts, and candy are in the minds of all good partners around now. But what greater love can there be than the love of Macintosh gaming? Okay, maybe not. But there's lots of gaming goodness to be had in this month's Inside Macintosh Shareware article. We even have a two-player game so that you and that special someone can enjoy the love together.

This month, we take a look at a new one from Mac Joy, Superstar Chefs, invoking memories of Mario Bros. and Bubble Bobble. Next is the visceral racing destruction madness of Reckless Drivin'. After that we look at the addictive puzzler Lumox from the uniquely named Laser Pirate Squad. Last is a side-scrolling shooter from Retro64 called Platypus, and the name isn't the only thing unusual about this one.

Superstar Chefs
Mario may have been introduced to the world in Donkey Kong, but he really gained fame in the classic Mario Bros. game. Mario, and if there was a second player, his brother Luigi, hopped up and down the levels of an underground plumbing system collecting coins and dispatching baddies; a classic formula that would be duplicated many times.

The latest game to come from the developers at Mac Joy is Superstar Chefs. The game takes the basic formula set up in Mario Bros, channels the classic Taito game Bubble Bobble for a while, and serves up a treat to behold.

The Superstar Chefs are the best chefs in Cocktail land. Over the years, they have collected many valuable and delicious recipes. Unfortunately, those recipes have been stolen, and it is up to the chefs to battle their way back to the top.

In each level, there are a number of fruit to collect, and cute baddies to either avoid or dispatch. Collecting all of the fruit in the level will make a golden key appear. Collecting the key will take you to the next level. Take care of the baddies by either stomping on them, or by finding a Superpill, which will make you invincible for a limited time, allowing you to simply touch the baddies and make them disappear. Later levels with have you facing obstacle such as elevators, spikes, and balloons. Everything is done in a very non-violent fashion, making this game a perfect game for family play.

Superstar Chefs sports a two-player mode. You can either tackle the levels cooperatively, or you can take on each other in seven competitive levels. Cooperative play really adds to the playability of the game, but it can get cramped if you are both playing from the same keyboard. Best to do it with at least one person using a game controller of some sort.

The graphics in this game are extremely cute. Cute like a basket of kittens. From your big-eyed chef characters, to the big-eyed baddies such as bats, bees, and birds, everything is designed in a super-cute fashion. Even the ghosts and ghouls are more cute than frightening. The animation and movement it extremely fluid, and makes it very easy to control your characters around the screen.

The sound is well done, as well. The music is cute and playful, a perfect compliment to the graphics and gameplay. Unlike so much game music nowadays, you'll find yourself humming along with the bright and colorful tunes as you clobber baddies and collect fruit.

This is an excellent game, with the extremely high production values that we have come to expect from Mac Joy. If they continue to put games out of this caliber, Mac Joy is poised to become one of the premiere shareware developers on the Macintosh platform. And at $19.95, the price is a steal. Head over to Mac Joy's site and check this little gem out.


Archives  Features  Inside Mac Shareware - February