For those seeking something new and a little weird, Unproductive Fun Time has just the thing for you. “OFF” is a game, recently translated from the French in which it was written, that is surreal, unsettling, and highly addictive. The game follows the quests of The Batter as he endeavors to “purify” the land of evil spirits.
As you travel through various bizzare zones, The Batter will grow in strength and learn new moves. There is, of course, the obligatory merchant to sell better weapons, armor, and restorative items. You’re accompanied throughout the game by a somewhat discomforting feline which sports a grin taken from young childrens’ nightmares.
The game features some grueling random battles not unknown to players of games like “Pokemon,” and is displayed in an 8-bit style. The battles feel a little like “Final Fantasy,” but the storyline is the game’s real hook. You’ll more than likely find yourself gritting your teeth and pushing through some very frustrating areas for the sake of finding out just a little more about the game’s mythos.
At times the gameplay has a difficult time supporting it. Later levels might leave you feeling like you’re grinding away through red tape, wishing you could just read the story, but the game makes you work for it. The puzzles are clever, but traveling through the land filled with random battles becomes grating.
That said, the game is worth a playthrough. It’s much more of a story and an experience than what most of us think when we hear the word “game,” but it shines despite its flaws. “OFF” is certainly not for everyone, but if it does get you hooked, you’ll love the journey.
Rating: 3/5 elephants

 

“Iron Man” is a movie series that has frequently been hailed as not only the beginning of the Marvel Movie Franchise, but of the “modernized” comic book heroes who all mostly had their origins in the 40’s. The first movie, “Iron Man,” was correctly hailed as a great comic book movie, adapting the character’s origins to a more modern interpretation, complete with the desire to change the world and himself, sacrificing much in order to do so.
“Iron Man,” the first one, is also remembered as the last good “Iron Man” movie, at least by me.
“Iron Man 3” is a film that retreads already beaten, worn, and basically abused paths of both movie, comic book, and even a few game story arcs. It begins with Tony Stark haunted by his dreams because of the invasion of New York City. You remember it as the climax of “The Avengers,” a scene you probably celebrate. Stark does not agree. Paranoid because of the experience, he builds several Iron Man suits out of boredom and a little preparation. You already know where this is going.
Cue several terrorist attacks from the Mandarin, a villain who actually looks like his comic book counterpart, for once. Tony, the loveable selfless guy he is, doesn’t give it a passing nod until one of his personal guards is injured. Then it becomes personal.
I can’t even continue along this plot without already stating what you either already know or can simply speculate. The whole “knocked down to get back up” story line has been done so much and repurposed so often that I nearly fell asleep in a few parts. I would have, too, if the explosions didn’t keep rocking me out of my seat.
Ah yes, explosions: the sure fire sign that a movie is a serious A-List contender. Make the most obscene and unbelievable set up for an explosion, complete with some final showdown occurring just before or after it, and you’re sure to guarantee more than a few hungry movie watchers who secretly dream of dropping bombs from airplanes. It’s easy to admit that the action is the star of the movie, because the plot sure isn’t, and I don’t even want to kid about the characters. One out of ten is interesting. That’s all and it isn’t nearly enough.
“Iron Man” was a great movie because it had some great comedy that stopped on a dime once a bomb went off and everyone started getting into the mood of a battlefield. No jokes were cracked, no plot armor was forged, battles were deadly, fierce and real. Queue “Iron Man 2” and you see the action stop on a dime now because someone has some great joke they want to crack. Once he successfully delivers said message, he is granted +1 plot armor, making him immune to damage for the next ten minutes. This doesn’t change in Iron Man 3. That’s a hint.
A lot of people are talking about the twist being very original and clever. I won’t spoil it, but I also won’t praise it too much. I’ll admit I didn’t see it coming, mostly because I like where it was going without it, but if I had stopped to think for five minutes and compared the first hour of the film to the prior two “Iron Man” movies, I’d realize they weren’t targeting the same crowd of people as the villains. Good thing the plot twist fixed that one.
Over all, “Iron Man 3” is a severely over-praised movie, still riding on the waves of the original and not looking to jump off the board anytime soon. Who knows? Next movie we might get to see Tony jump a shark.
Rating: 2/5 Elephants

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