SuperCow - The Greatest Game Ever?
Can a Cow be Super?
I love cows, especially on a chewy sourdough bun with cheese and pickles. Once in a while a bovine comes along possessing such powerful powers as to be destined for a different fate. Indeed, only a very special ruminant can be anointed 'super.'
SuperCow has positioned herself as the savior of her barnyard. Evil Dr. Duriarti (why are video game doctors always evil?) has assumed control of the homestead. Somehow he obtained a full-size hacksaw, including the handle, and managed to escape from his prison cell. He's either taking revenge for something or he hates cows or he was paddled as a child: his precise motivation remains unclear.
Given this back-story, SuperCow assumes responsibility for a cross country journey (hopefully) ending in a dramatic confrontation with The Evil Doctor. Along the way she accumulates coins, uncovers hidden surprises, and communes with mushrooms. The snails are also evil.
SuperCow is athletic
This cow has made skillz. She plays the banjo on the opening splash screen: that's no small feat considering how difficult stringed instruments can be when you're stuck with 4 feet and no hands.
She leaps and bounds with great aplomb. Her balance makes one wonder if she took gymnastics lessons as a calf. Perhaps escaping from the stockyard imbued her with valuable lifesaving traits.
Use the keyboard to control her movements. Your mouse takes a holiday. The screen scrolls left and right, but mostly right.
This agile beast leaps high into the atmosphere to snag floating coins. She perches on rooftops, rides on elevators, and tromps the daylights out of adorable snails.
Is the game safe?
Playing the game requires a download. A web site sends you an '.exe" file, which may or may not be benign. Launching an executable file gives that file all the rights and privileges accorded to your user account. If you're logged in as an administrator, the program will operate at the administrator level. Conventional system administration wisdom frowns on ordinary users having admin powers, but most folks do anyway. The average Windows account created by default usually has much more authority than is necessary on a daily basis.
Many online games are programmed in a language called flash, that operates relatively safely inside the flash player. The Adobe Corporation provides the flash player at no charge to most popular personal computer operating systems. Conventional system administration wisdom looks favorably on flash-based computer games because the flash player is mostly secure and is updated regularly. On the other hand. downloading an .exe file poses potential risks ranging from spyware to operating system-crippling viruses.
We have no evidence that the SuperCow download packs anything but SuperCow software. The program is available from several gaming sites: we obtained our copy from Spin Top Games. We ran the program through AdAware before allowing it to execute: no problems were identified.
Is the game violent?
Well, an entire farmyard has been abducted. We can't say for sure what Evil Dr. Duriarti has in store for SuperCow when she arrives to rescue her peers, but some minor cartoon violence may take place. Along her journey to the farm, SuperCow jumps onto numerous ostensibly threatening snails in order to earn coins and neutralize her enemies, but the mollusks die colorfully and don't seem all that upset at being defeated by a cow.
Boiled down, the game resembles Donkey Kong with cows. SuperCow must overcome interesting challenges while accumulating coins and health points. She may also want to look for 'hidden' surprises in order to make more money and earn the respect of the snails. Mushrooms provide bookmarks just in case the cow gets killed and must begin her quest all over again. We found the game easy to play and not scary in the least. The intellectual challenges were lacking, but no one expected a chess match to break out.
The trial version is free
SuperCow will play with you for one hour, then she shuts down. The free trial should be sufficient to whet your appetite for more of her antics. Be assured that the hour is real-time: if you walk away for a moment to get a cold glass of chocolate milk, SuperCow continues watching the clock.
A modest fee of $19.99 secures your own private copy of SuperCow to keep forever. It's a digital download of the online game: adding a backup CD will run you another $7.99. You can probably make a backup of the downloaded '.exe' file and pocket the $7.99 in anticipation of purchasing chocolate chip cookies to go with your frosty mug of milk.