So Blonde

Posted by: oldmariner

So Blonde - 02/21/09 04:14 AM

So Blonde,

Soooooo what do we have here with this much anticipated game that many on the forums seem to complain about? First of all it is a typical 2d third person point and click game with a few different features. For the most part it is what you would expect with a point and click adventure. The graphics are excellent, done in cartoon fashion which fits perfectly with its humorous theme. There is nothing serious here in regard to the theme as the story is light in nature and intended to be fun. What is different regarding features? In options you can set the game to allow for moving or stationary clouds. You can also set a map graphic to show Sunny navigating across the the various map areas while scenes are loading. This was set by default when I loaded the game and did not notice the choice until later. I left it alone because it was a neat effect. Also most unusual is the time notation on your save screen. When you select a save to load the save graphic indicates how much time you spent playing to that save point. The right click mouse icons offer you three choices, Lips signifying talk to, An Eye signifying look at and a Hand suggesting you can pick something up. But there is a kicker there which caught me off guard taking me about ten minutes or so to figure it out. The hand icon is of a closed hand. You must move the mouse very slightly causing the hand to open up. Then and only then can you pick the item up. Had I read the manual I might have discovered that but who reads manuals? The inventory is off screen until you move your mouse to the bottom and it appears. Puzzles require you to put inventory items together a few times to make something else. Though I found nothing off the wall regarding combinations. Most were fairly logical. Tapping the space bar shows hot spots on the screen. Saves are plentiful as I used thirty six and still had room for more. It is also nice to discover the saves are stored in the main root of the game. For xp it is Program files\Anaconda\So Blonde\Saves, how nice not to have to search and destroy to find the save file. You can name your saves as well though they are stored as 001-002 and so on though the name shows on the load screen.

Those are pretty much the basics but how does it play? Was it worth the wait? The game is yet to be released in the US so I bought mine from a UK seller on Ebay, it appears to be a store and the cost was only $30 new including shipping. Better yet it was mailed from London on Feb 11 and arrived here on the left coast of the US on the 14th. Can't complain about that.

I will approach this one a little differently. In various reviews and forums I read many complaints while waiting for this game. So my expectations were rather diminished by the time I got it. What are the nay sayers harping on? (1) Voice acting is not very good, excuse me! The voice acting in this game is very well done. (2) The load times between screens is very long. Perhaps it is because of the video card or memory or something with the whiners pc's. Perhaps I got lucky. My Intel dual core processor with Nvidia 7900gs video card and 4gs of ram took five seconds or less to load the screen changes. Hardly an issue. (3) There are too many hot spots. What? yes there are plenty of things to look at that generate a comment. Loads of things to be exact, many you can't pick up. But my view of this is the developers were listening to gamers who constantly bemoaned pretty scenes with nothing to do. Take your time, explore there is plenty to see. (4) The puzzles were disconnected. You be the judge on that one, every puzzle made sense to me and fit well into the flow of the game. (5) Too much back tracking and walking around and no usable map for instant travel. So that may be somewhat relevant as there is a lot of walking back and forth. However, and a big however at that, double clicking on Sunny causes her to run. There is a scene exit arrow on each screen which double clicking results in an auto load of the next screen. I felt that complaint was a stretch. What are we trying to do race through a game? There are no extra points for finishing time. (6) Sunny is not a strong intelligent woman lead character. It depends on how you look at it. Sunny is a naive self centered spoiled seventeen year old girl, what can you expect Kate Walker? However, she is quite intelligent and very resourceful and grows subtly as the game progresses. The character is well voiced and very likable. just my opinion.

The story and game play. This is not The Longest Journey with its depth of story and character development. But the story and characters certainly put to shame what you found in Runaway and the puzzles are far less lame than what you had in that game. It is certainly far better than Ankh and for matter flowed more fluently than Jack Keene.

Any action is illustrated by cut scenes and there are no sliders mazes and such. I enjoyed the characters in this humor filled game very much. There are some mini arcade games which frankly I hate but the wonderful button that lets you skip them is ever present. So no you don't have to play them. Are they there to lengthen the game? Perhaps but the game without them is rather long. I skipped the mini games entirely and without a walk through the saves reported I played twenty five hours. There is a bonus here. If you get four certain objects in your travels which appear to be useless inventory items, you get access to bonus features at the end. Those bonus features are 15 mini games to play that you may have skipped. 12 cut scenes you can replay and 33 screen shots 2 of which did not appear in the game. They might have been from Steve Ince's house. One had desks, pcs etc and another appeared to be of somebody sleeping with the covers over their head. The humor? for example Sunny gets into a verbal contest with a pirate. One of the questions, "Why are blonde jokes short?" Sunny's answer, "So brunettes can remember them." There is a lot of that. In short this is the second game to find its way to my top shelf in the last ten years! The other is Culpa Innata. It is simply a great game. I found three possible endings, saving just before the final scene allows you to try them all. Each is satisfying but I did like one better than the others. If you want a fun game that is not short where you can explore and enjoy great scenery while laughing every few minutes by all means this is worth the time. Certainly it lives up to Steve Ince's reputation.

EDIT*** Chrissie pointed out that the bonus items I found were not the ones you get for finding the four secret items. I missed one and will only say that you have to play one of the mini games to get it. It is in Chrissie's most excellent walk through so I won't spoil it here. There are yet more goodies to find in there.
Posted by: chrissie

Re: So Blonde - 02/21/09 06:17 AM

Thank you for yet another fine review oldmariner! thumbsup

The only complaints I had with the game was that I did find the backtracking in the last chapter excessive, & also I would have liked the map that Sunny navigated across to have been shown as consistent with the time of day as it spoilt the atmosphere for me in one section of the game. smile
Posted by: oldmariner

Re: So Blonde - 02/21/09 12:37 PM

Granted, being able to use the map would have been a plus but I did not find it problematic. I noticed the map was showing day time when she traveled at night but was so wrapped up in what I was doing I paid no heed to it.
Posted by: Becky

Re: So Blonde - 02/23/09 02:07 AM

Hi oldmariner -- another fine review! I agree with you that the voiceovers (particularly for Sunny) are very good.

It's intriguing that different gamers are having such varied experiences with the loading screen times. I went back into the game to experiment with this, and I found that the loading times between screens (for me) averaged 12-15 seconds. Using the map added 20 seconds to that time (a blank screen for about 15 seconds, and then about 5 seconds while Sunny ran to the next location). So going into the Options menu and unchecking the map meant that I saved 20 seconds when going from one area to another -- a big savings in time.

So instead of making it faster to get from location to location, the map actually makes it slower. Anyone who is annoyed by this can just de-activate the map in the Options menu.

I suspect that the frustration for some gamers occurs because there are such frequent loading screens -- every time you enter a new area, plus every time you go into a building. If it took 15 seconds to access an area, and then you could explore for several minutes, going into the buildings or various places along the path, the loading screen wouldn't be an issue. It's when you are looking at the loading screen so frequently just to walk around and go into buildings or walk to different parts of the jungle, that the frustration can increase.

My computer has 2046 MB RAM and a video card with 512 MB Video RAM, which well exceeds the recommended specifications. Having a system that is so much in excess of the recommended specs, yet having (what I would define as) long loading screens definitely puts me into that "whiner" category you mentioned. lol

Posted by: oldmariner

Re: So Blonde - 02/23/09 02:58 AM

Becky, it is beginning to sound like I lucked out with the loading times. Perhaps part of it is the junk running in the background. Not only programs but processes. I have mine at a minimum that might help. Anyway I thought this was one of the more fun games to come along in a long time.
Posted by: chrissie

Re: So Blonde - 02/23/09 02:58 AM

I wish I'd thought of switching the map option off Becky, but it never occurred to me that it might make a difference, although I didn't mind the loading times too much when I first played the game

Just want to say thank you oldmariner & for giving me the tip-off about the missing object in the walkthrough! It's now been slotted in - thank you MaG! smile

I agree oldmariner, it was a fun game! smile
Posted by: oldmariner

Re: So Blonde - 02/23/09 03:13 AM

TY Chrissie, and for the record I would never think of Becky as a whiner. I should have used a better word there. I checked and Sure enough whiners is in there. I wrote that right after reading several nasty threads about the game. Let it be noted that none of the complaining I referred to was read on Gameboomers all of that was elsewhere. It is a great group here and when negative issues about games are brought up it is usually said in a constructive voice.
Posted by: Becky

Re: So Blonde - 02/23/09 07:21 AM

Oldmariner -- constructive criticism is helpful, I agree. The review is a good analysis of the game, and I learned from it too! thumbsup
Posted by: Mad

Re: So Blonde - 02/25/09 01:37 PM

Hi Oldmariner smile

Thanks for another informative review grin

Mostly I did enjoy playing So Blonde - loved the graphics and the silliness of the plot AND the voices - but I, too, must learn to consult manuals ....

Aggghhhh !!

I found the long scene loading times to be really detrimental and having to suffer them through practically every little scene change became extremely irritating rolleyes


Mad wave

Posted by: Sherryah

Re: So Blonde - 02/25/09 02:26 PM

I am still playing the game and taking my time and enjoying it. Oldman I agree with you it is a great game.

One thing though I wanted to play some of the mini games but fear losing them. You have the choice to automatically win the mini game or play it. Yet when I played like for instance that nasty toilet game getting the key while the guard was on the toilot. I lost everytime! So frustrating hardwall

When I take a chance and play the mini game and realize I can't beat it, is there a way to end the mini game and return back to the menu where I get a choice to win automatically? I had to return back to a previous save game to get out of the game.

Sunny, reminds me of my more youthful days and I really do enjoy playing this character.
Posted by: chrissie

Re: So Blonde - 02/25/09 02:55 PM

Hi Sherryah, I too went back to save games to get out of some of the mini-games but then discovered you don't have to. You either play the game until you lose & you automatically are thrown back to before you started or on those where you had to keep going there was something on the screen somewhere (not usually very obvious!) that you could click on to exit! smile
Posted by: oldmariner

Re: So Blonde - 02/25/09 03:01 PM

Thanks for answering Chrissie. I just went to look and found the same info you reported.
Posted by: Sherryah

Re: So Blonde - 02/26/09 07:24 AM

Ok thank you both, I never saw a way out but will look again. I wanted to at least try the mini games but didn't want to resort to a save game as only alternative.
Posted by: nina

Re: So Blonde - 04/12/09 12:31 PM

Thank you, oldmariner for the detailed review thumbsup
Posted by: Paola Croft

Re: So Blonde - 04/28/09 10:33 AM

In Italy we don't know when the game released... Congratulations for your review oldmariner grin
Posted by: oldmariner

Re: So Blonde - 04/29/09 12:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Paola Croft
In Italy we don't know when the game released... Congratulations for your review oldmariner grin

Thank you Paola and Nina, I am not sure if this game has been released in the US yet. I bought mine from a store in England some time ago. I see Amazon in the US has one copy from a reseller for twice what I paid for mine new. By that I am guessing it has not been released here as yet.