5/01/2012

Minotaur in a China Shop

Hello all.  I am Rob "Robrony" Zilks, and this is my first article for hidden gems, and I will say, it was fairly interesting, a small in-browser game called "Minotaur in a China Shop".

Minotaur China Shop (PC)
Developed & Published by: Flashbang Studios
Released: Dec. 2008

The game, as you can probably tell, takes its name from the phrase "Bull in a China Shop".  I'll get to that part of the game in a minute.

The game allows for an achievement system, but you need an account on the host site blurst.com, otherwise your achievements will be gone upon leaving the game, and you won't be able to post scores on the host site, as well as track others.  However, it is not mandatory for playing the game.

The story goes like this: You control a Minotaur who opened a China Shop in an effort to fulfill a lifelong dream.  One day he went nuts while perusing an already opened shop, and entered into a fit of rage, smashing nearly everything in it.  He was taken to court where his claims of rage were dismissed and he was banished to the Labyrinth.  Everyone who's studied Greek mythology may think they know where the story goes from here.

Definitely This

Of course, Minotaur sympathizers have lead to freeing him from his exile on good behavior.  after serving half of his time.  He recently acquired rage insurance for his own China Shop, and it's your job to help him run it...or ruin it...

After you're greeted with a much more interesting version of the story I detailed above, you're taken to a menu where you can spend money on adjusting our Minotaur's stats, using money you earn in game, as well as $25,000 to start with.  You can also buy different attacks to use in game to destroy the shop.  Once you are done, you click play and the world is yours.

I prefer D20 System for stats, but this works...oh hey, a Minotaur...

You control the Minotaur by using the arrow keys, and you navigate him around the China Shop to acquire different wares and deliver them to the customer in front of the desk.  The wares they want are typically highlighted with a green Mega-Man warp effect (or that's what it looks like to me), as well as in a speech bubble.  You can go about this either one of two ways.  Do your job and deliver the customer their China wares within the time limit (displayed by hearts the speech bubble over their head), or let your Minotaur rage kick in and break as much as you can.  

Be advised that breaking things will lose you money if you only break a few things, and in all cases will cause the customers to leave the shop, so if you are to break things, you gotta go big or go home.  Eventually, you will start to collect insurance money as you break things, and you will enter Minotaur Rage, as well as a "Blaze of Glory" (trust me, it's quite apparent when this happens).

[Left:] RAAAAAAAAAAAGE!!! [Right:] Kill it with fire!

However, the security will enter and try to calm you down with what is assumed to be tranquilizing javelins (???).  The day ends when you either satisfy all the customers that come in, make it through an entire day at the shop, or get tranq'd by security.  This goes on for 5 days, with you gathering more stats and attacks each time.

The caption here would normally be "Victory and Defeat", but there is no defeat to be had.

The game's graphics are okay.

Are they really?

They're not Square Enix amazing, but what are you gonna expect from a free-to-play browser game?  However, the graphics do seem a little out of place for the tone and nature of the game, but that adds to the whole "Surreal, what the $#@%" aspect of the game, which I find to be enjoyable.

The controls are rather odd.  While they are easy to get to (you use the arrow keys to move, and the WASD+ keys for attacks), the movement keys are fairly choppy, giving the game a "Trip to the Store" vibe with its movement scheme.  It also makes the Minotaur hard to control, for obvious reasons.

In order to play the game, you need to download some sort of "Unity Web Player" plug-in.  I won't link to you where to find it, mainly because it will automatically prompt you to get it when you enter the page.

All in all, the game is fun when you have some time to kill, but I wouldn't dedicate weeks to this game for  unlocking all the achievements or drawing fan art for it...not that I do that with any other games O_o;; But yeah, I'd recommend it.

Play it here, and make your dreams come true.

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