invasion of the cow snatchers

Invasion of the Cow Snatchers Review

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Publisher: Thinkfun
Age: 6+
Players: 1
Game Length: Varies
MSRP: $29.99

Thinkfun’s new magnetic cow-grabbing puzzle game Invasion of the Cow Snatchers adapts a common puzzle design into a modular, interactive 3D board, thanks to a little magnet-magic. A deck of 60 puzzle challenges with five difficulty levels ensures a hefty amount of replayability. The components and gameplay are simple enough for kids to enjoy, and engaging enough for teens and adults.

Beam Me Up

As a visiting UFO armed with a magnet, the player’s job is to abduct magnetized cow discs from a 3D farm field littered with obstacles, such as silos, hay bales, and barn doors. The puzzle is set up according to the challenge card, then a clear plastic cover placed on top, allowing the UFO to fly over and capture the cows one by one.

Four different colored fence pieces come in specific sizes, allowing only a certain number of cows to pass over once abducted. Once magnetized, the cows stick to the underside of the UFO, making it increasingly difficult to maneuver around the board. Puzzles are set up to allow only one or two possible solutions. The backside of the card reveals the exact movement and order of abductions that players need to make in order to catch ’em all and complete the puzzle.

It’s a simple puzzle system brought to life with the tactile quality of the plastic pieces and board. My seven year old was delighted to pick up cows, and equally flummoxed when she realized she was trapped behind fences that were suddenly too high. Thankfully puzzles are easy to reset. With a few minor hints and tips (“You don’t have to pick up this cow first; how can you reach that one over there?”) she was able to blaze through all 10 easy challenges and begin making her way through the medium level.

As a single-player series of puzzles, Invasion of the Cow Snatchers isn’t a typical competitive game, yet I witnessed a group of kids excitedly deduce how to approach each puzzle, and set up the next layout for one another.

The deck of challenge cards includes 60 total puzzle layouts, including Easy, Medium, Hard, Super Hard, and Genius. Genius actually features a few extra rules involving dropping off cows at certain drop-off points, creating some advanced brain teasers that teens and adults can enjoy.

The only snag we ran into was in one of the fence heights. The green barrier (crop field) is supposed to allow for one, and only one cow disc to pass overhead. Unfortunately we constantly struggled to get one cow across. Not sure if it was a defect with my particular copy or if the size of the fence is slightly off but it was enough to cause some frustration when playing, even with adults.

invasion of the cow snatchers

The Rating

Invasion of the Cow Snatchers has a suggested minimum age of six. Younger kids would be prone to quick frustration and may lack the dexterity of operating the UFO. Puzzles come in five different difficulties, allowing for multiple age ranges and skill levels.

The Takeaway

Using only a handful of plastic pieces, a modular 3D board, and a deck of cards, Invasion of the Cow Snatchers provides an impressive array of puzzle designs. The pick up and deliver gameplay is simple but effective and multiple difficulty levels allow for proper scaling as kids master each puzzle layout. A lovely puzzle game for kids and families.

ea publisher sale

The Sims 4 is Currently Free on PC until May 28

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Anyone with an Origin account can download The Sims 4 for free (normally $39.99) until May 28. Simply head over to the Origin app or website and add it to your library. It’s available for both Windows and Mac. It’s not simply a trial either; after the promotion ends the full game will remain in your Origin library.

Only the base game is available for free, of course. EA will try to sell you its Origin Access subscription program, but you don’t need it to get The Sims 4. If you have Origin Access Basic, you get access to The Sims 4 Digital Deluxe version, while Origin Access Premiere also grants the Dine Out and Kids Room Stuff expansions. The Digital Deluxe edition includes the Awesome Animal Hats, Life of the Party, and Up all Night DLC packs, as well as the soundtrack.

The Sims 4 originally launched in 2014. Like previous Sims games, it quickly became a best-seller, though fans and critics had mixed reactions, noting that it stripped many of the content and features that were present in The Sims 3. Since launch the game has received numerous free updates and paid DLC packs and expansions. The most recent, Get Famous, released in Fall 2018 and added acting and influencer as new careers.

The Sims 4 is rated T for Teen with Crude Humor, Sexual Themes, and Violence. It’s also available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The free period on Origin ends May 28.

Discover New Slime Skins in Slime Rancher DLC Secret Style Pack

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Monomi Park has announced a new paid DLC pack for Slime Rancher. The Secret Style Pack (June 18) adds new alternate cosmetic skins for all 20 slimes.

Once installed, new treasure pods can be found scattered throughout the alien slime-filled world of the Far, Far Range. Each treasure pod will contain a new secret style for a slime. Each style can be turned off and on at the ranch house to make every slime appear with its new skin.

Note that it’s purely a cosmetic change. Slimes will still act, and eat, according to their normal slime type.

Below is a list of the new slime styles:

  • Sparkly (Pink Slime)
  • Monochrome (Quantum Slime)
  • Heavy Metal (Rock Slime)
  • Shattered (Mosaic Slime)
  • Tiger (Tabby Slime)
  • Nebula (Dervish Slime)
  • Angelic (Phosphor Slime)
  • Nightshade (Tangle Slime)
  • Radiant (Rad Slime)
  • Devilish (Fire Slime)
  • Arcane (Boom Slime)
  • Pre-Jellasic (Saber Slime)
  • Royal Jelly (Honey Slime)
  • Boomerang (Quicksilver Slime)
  • Lilypad (Puddle Slime)
  • Retro (Glitch Slime)
  • Ruby Red (Crystal Slime)
  • Gilded (Gold Slime)
  • Cheshire (Hunter Slime)
  • Guardian (Lucky Slime)

The Secret Style Pack will arrive first on PC (Steam, Epic Games Store) and later on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Slime Rancher is one of our favorite family-friendly games of the last several years (read our review). It’s currently available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One and rated E10+.

wow classic

World of Warcraft Classic Out this Fall, Closed Beta Running Now

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In a stirring example of “ask and you shall receive,” Blizzard Entertainment is launching World of Warcraft Classic on August 27 worldwide. It’s out a day earlier in the US, August 26, at 3 pm Pacific/6 pm Eastern.

The launch will be preceded by a “small-scale, focused closed beta test” to help stress test the servers. Active WoW subscribers can opt into the closed beta via Blizzard account management. The closed beta will run from May 15 through July. Players will have a greater chance to join during the three stress test periods that run throughout the summer.

  • Stress Test 1: Wed May 22–Thurs May 23
  • Stress Test 2: Wed Jun 19– Thurs Jun 20
  • Stress Test 3: Thurs Jul 18– Fri July 19

Opting into the closed beta does not guarantee a spot. Participants will be chosen based on different factors, including how long they’ve subscribed to World of Warcraft, with Blizzard seeking “the right mix of players.”

WoW Classic is a uniquely retro version of the behemoth MMO that brings the gameplay, world, and progression back to the year 2006, just before the launch of the Burning Crusade expansion. Also referred to as Vanilla WoW, fan-created emulated servers of the classic MMO had been previously shut down by Blizzard. After claiming that it was impossible to do, Blizzard has now reversed course due to fan demand.

Wow Classic servers will use the 1.12 patch, and gradually roll out new content and features similarly to the original schedule over a decade ago. This includes the gradual roll out of the PvP and Battlegrounds systems.

Active subscribers will be able to claim their character name in WoW Classic beginning on August 13, when character creation becomes available. WoW Classic will be freely included in regular World of Warcraft subscriptions, which remains $15/month.

Wow Classic will launch on August 26 on PC (Blizzard Launcher). It’s rated T for Teen.