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Multiplayer Game Reviews

April 28, 2011

Dynasty Warriors 7

Filed under: Action & Shooter, Adventure & RPG, Paid, Playstation, XBoxTaylorLF @ 05:21

I’ll be up front. I’ve played the series since number two, the first doesn’t count because that was a two player fighting game, not a hack-n-slash. Eventually you get tired of the same people, same game, same battles, same everything. So each game they try to add new aspects, which some work and some don’t. I’ve seen the series go through some changes and haven’t always liked them. The Empire series never grabbed me, Strikeforce was just….weird, Gundam isn’t even Dynasty Warriors (seriously guys Dynasty Warriors = Three Kingdoms not giant robots, get on that). Then they change the original formula and that doesn’t go over well, like Dynasty Warriors 6. However, I still picked up seven. I had to see what they did, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The game play is relatively the same. You’ll fight the same battles as you’d expect to fight with each kingdom, with a slight twist this time. One, there’s a fourth kingdom to play as. What? A fourth kingdom in my three kingdoms game you say!? Yes, you can play as Jin. In story mode, you don’t select the character and go through each battle with them, repeating this for every character, like in the past. Story mode is actually story mode, with each battle being played by a certain person who had relevance to that battle. Most missions begin with you in your camp, letting you walk around and talk to various people just to get some perspective on the current situation, or mindless banter. You talk to the one person who can start the fight, noticeable by the giant red exclamation point over their head, the gates open and you seamlessly get put into the battle. I said most missions because a couple of them you immediately start out fighting, but you can pause the game at any time to switch weapons out or put new seals on your weapons.

Seals are unlocked through using a certain weapon until you unlock that weapons seal. The seals are usually things like attack or defense boosts. Some other ones are: skill point boosts, increase your bonds with officers, walking speed increase, things like that.

Each character can equip two weapons at any time, with one weapon being their “preferred” weapon, with an Ex skill that you can do. However you don’t have to use that weapon if you don’t care about their special skill, and can see how well they can use certain weapons with a three star rating. Some weapons are blocked out for certain people while others only get a one or two star rating. With some weapons they’d have a blacked out star, meaning that character can eventually use that weapon at that level of efficiency. It’s not to say you can’t use a one star weapon, you just attack slower. Two stars means you use the weapon as-is with no penalties, with three stars letting you use the weapon’s special trick.

Throw some seals on those bad boys and go out swinging. It amuses me to see a giant, tough warrior using a harp or a flute or a tiny girl using a big hammer or axe. There are a ton of weapons to use though, and some of the later weapons you get have a mastery skill on it. For instance: Spear Master. Equipping that seal on a weapon will make you fight with the spear as if it was three stars, even if they only have a one. Options people, options!

How do we unlock more weapons to use? Partly through the story mode, sometimes there’s a weapon merchant in that camp you can purchase weapons from pre-battle. Most of the buying, though, takes place in the separate mode from Story mode, Conquest Mode. Conquest is where the free for all starts. You have a big map with hexagons –each representing a battle or a town. The town ones are fairly visible since they’re gold, but the battles can range anywhere from: increasing your fame, to new weapons, to new guardian animals you can equip (horses to ride or different animals that attack things for you), to unlocking new characters to play in conquest mode with. The only problem with this mode is that once it’s completed, like the story mode, that’s kind of it. You can play conquest mode with any character (assuming you unlocked them through their appropriate battle on conquest mode) but the progress is shared, so aside from playing each character to finish their skill tree, to unlock their voices in the gallery, or increasing your bond with officers to unlock more voices, there’s not much to go on.

Officers are unlocked after a couple bond increases to be sworn allies, meaning you can make them your lieutenant…kind of. You equip them in town at the teahouse, where you also equip your guardian animals. Afterwards, you just increase their bond fighting with them. There’s a seal that helps it increase faster but after it’s maxed, aside from different in-game dialogue to show the increased bond, there’s really no need to keep them unless you’ve done everyone.

Characters can be customized a bit. Aside from the weapon switching listed already, each person has a skill tree that you use points gotten from defeating officers to unlock things like: the fifth and sixth regular attacks/charge attacks, a skill point increase that stacks with the skill point weapon seal, a special skill related to that person, and a second musou bar and attack. Wait, a second bar and attack? Yes indeed. Gone are the days of one long bar that continuously drained as you did one attack, continually until it ran out, followed by a big boom. Now you use one bar that does a single, damaging attack. But now each character has two attacks. Variety makes me happy. There are currently only two outfits selectable for each character which really only change the color scheme of their original outfit, but word is that there is DLC coming down that adds a few of the pasts Dynasty Warrior games outfits.

The graphics are the best I’ve seen for the series so far, with the environments looking fairly crisp and clean. The slowdown that plagued the genre when too many things were on screen is gone in favor of the slow loading enemies. Which wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the archers weren’t more dangerous than the officers, at times, or the officer wouldn’t load, being right next to me. The music is typical Dynasty Warriors faire, not much to go on there. One of those if you enjoyed it in the past, you will now.

Overall, it’s another Dynasty Warriors game. Aside from the changed up story mode with the added kingdom and non-selectable characters, the conquest mode that serves as the “free roam” part of the game, the free for all with weapons, and the new characters they added add some flavor, it’s still the hack-n-slash we either love or hate. Long time fans probably already bought it, on the fence people who liked some but disliked others should rent it and people who dislike the genre for some reason won’t find a reason to like it. If you’ve never played, it’s not a bad time to try it out.

Dynasty Warriors 7

 ★★★★☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Multiplayer:★★★★☆ 
A fun, enjoyable, mindless button masher once again.

Game:Dynasty Warriors 7| Developer: Tecmo Koei

April 15, 2011

Shadow Complex

Filed under: Action & Shooter, Paid, XBoxTaylorLF @ 05:49

Shadow Complex is one of those games that makes me appreciate we’re in a time where smaller, but great quality games can be downloaded to your console. Of course with such ease you have titles that are very basic and pushed out just for fodder, but when a rare gem comes through you notice it and appreciate it even more. Luckily, Shadow Complex is one of those that was actually done well.

You star as Jason Bailey, a man who is trying to impress some chick he just met by going cave diving with her. You explore, things happen, she gets kidnapped, and like all sane men trying to impress the ladies he busts into a secret underground, private military base to save her. The action takes place as a side scroller in 2D fashion, akin to the likes of Metroid (old Metroid mind you, not this new Wii FPS stuff). You explore, filling out the map and sometimes coming across gaps or doors you can do nothing about.  Pretty much like Metroid. You gain new weapons which can blast open certain doors/walls (missiles for red, grenades for green, foam gun for purple), like Metroid. You even get a hookshot that lets you cling to surfaces, like….Metroid? You know what, if you played either Metroid or Super Metroid, you’ve played Shadow Complex.  There are collectables to find, like increased missle or grenade capacity, new guns, new armors, equipment that lets you explore better, gold bars that unlock gold versions of your firearms, and keycards that unlock the best armor in the game (pretty much invulnerability, but it’s at the very end of the game so not very handy).

The graphics are very well done. Even for a 2D game, the developers used the unreal engine to make everything look real nice and crisp like. It’s a shame that while most of the game takes place underground, the surface is what really shines (literally). The music is nice, though nothing to get excited over.

Overall, Shadow Complex is a great game. If you like the whole 2d exploration, Metroid themed game play anyway. If you’ve never played Metroid, or any sort of 2D exploring game, give the demo a shot. You might like it. Or if you’re into Orson Scott Card’s book “Empire”, the story is set in that world. Either way you look at it, it’s a game to try.

Shadow Complex

 ★★★★☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Great, 2D, Metroid-style game.

Game: Shadow Complex | Developer: Chair Entertainment

April 10, 2011

Droplitz

Filed under: Paid, Playstation, Puzzle & Casual, Windows, XBox, iPhoneTaylorLF @ 05:39

Droplitz is one of those games that you think would be relaxing to play, what with its color changing backgrounds and smooth music changing depending on how high your score/multiplier gets and also the mode you’re playing on. It lies. It’s a dirty, dirty liar. It’s a frustrating, panicky game hiding behind nice visuals and cool music. I’m on to you Droplitz.

The game seems simple. Little grey and purple balls fall out of the holes up top. They have to get into the spaces at the bottom. Your job as the player is to rotate tiles to create a path for those balls to travel down. Sounds simple, fun, easy, and relaxing right? Wrong. Oh sure, everything starts nice. Click a few tiles, hey look a path! The music playing away, you’re casually building paths. Then you realize you’re losing balls (once you run out it’s game over) because now the board has more paths that balls are coming out of and they aren’t making it because the game decided to give you a line piece when you really needed a freaking 4-way. Oh, it knows. It knows. Now it’s a game of frantic clicking trying to make a path, ANY path, work out so you can keep the game going. Then realizing you’re still losing balls because you still can make a path because the tile they gave you outside the dropper zone can’t connect to any other tile surrounding it. Then the board gets even bigger with more droppers and more tiles. Then you get frustrated, randomly click things, lose, and go cry in a fetal position in the corner. Maybe that was just me though.

The graphics and music are well done. Things changed based on your score and your multiplier and the mode you’re on. The backgrounds are all very solid but sort of….wavy? It’s a trip really. They added little graphics to it, like a snowflake or a coffee cup, to set the mood of the level you’re on. The music is relaxing. There are a few music tracks ranging from techno sounding ones, to smooth jazz influenced, to just relaxing. I don’t know how to describe it except something you’d listen to on a meditation CD or something.

For all I said during the review, it is a fun game. It’s casual enough to be fun but challenging enough to where you won’t be bored with it. Different modes to try out, leader boards for those who like comparing to your friends or trying to get a better score than the people above you, and just a generally fun game that people who enjoy puzzle games should check out. I won’t call it back though, the first date was just wrong.

Droplitz

 ★★★★☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★☆☆ 
A frustratingly casual experience.

Game: Droplitz | Developer: Blitz Arcade

March 30, 2011

Breath of Death VII: The Beginning

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Paid, XBoxTaylorLF @ 04:08

When I looked at the initial screenshots for Breath of Death VII: The Beginning, it made my insides all happy. An old-school RPG with both 8 and 16 bit influences, I was thrilled to say the least. I grew up with my NES/SNES and loving RPGs so it was a natural purchase. It did not disappoint. It poked fun at itself and the typical RPG models (the title itself was a big clue), a slew of references to various games (a town called Motherbound was my favorite), but it was also just a smooth game in general. You play DEM, a “silent” hero who communicates his thoughts to the player but not the group about various situations he gets placed in, while the party assumes what you’re thinking. You get three other party members who fill the other “niche” roles; the kind healer, the weird/quirky/inventor/crazy one, and of course the nobility guy. It’s not a RPG without someone being nobility. It sounds typical, and it is, but it’s satirical.

The game play is what I’d expect from an old RPG. Exploring the world, dungeon crawling, going to towns, leveling up, it’s all there. The leveling system is a bit different, giving you a choice which path you want to go down when you level up each time. Examples would be choosing between one of two spells during one level up and a big boost to a couple stats vs. an overall increase during another. It gives some customization, but not a whole lot. One of the things I loved though was how they did the battles and the battle system. For one, finishing a battle heals everyone to full. They have random battles which you can semi fast forward through after you pick your options, but what I liked was that there were a set number of battles you could get into, even on the world map. You go into a building with fifty battles in it, you random battle fifty people and you get no more encounters so you can explore without annoyance. The best part was you could also make a fight happen, which if you coupled that with a save point that sets both your health and magic to full plus the ability to go through battles quick, you could sit there and grind out the required number in no time at all. Cheating the system? Maybe, but one of the big reasons I don’t explore in most RPGs is because I’d rather not waste a lot of my time fighting battles against an endless stream of enemies and a loading screen. On the plus side though, if you need to grind still for a boss you can choose to fight and you’ll still get into a battle even if you have no more random battles left.

The graphics and sounds are to be expected from an older game. Nothing fancy or mind blowing, but nostalgic. They look, feel, and sound like something from the 8/16 bit era. If you enjoyed those games, you’ll enjoy this. If you’re a more modern gamer who scoffs at something that isn’t in a 3D space, then you won’t.

It’s a great game. It only costs a dollar, and it’s a dollar extremely well spent. That is, of course, if you enjoy old school RPG look and feel while playing one that pokes fun at itself and the genre itself. It’s meant to be a parody or satirical but also be an awesome game. If you’ve played any RPGs on the NES or SNES, you owe it to yourself to at least check it out. Only if you have an Xbox 360, though.

Breath of Death VII: The Beginning

 ★★★★★ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
A venture into the old-school.

Game: Breath of Death VII: The Beginning | Developer: Zeboyd Games

March 24, 2011

Dragon Age II

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Other, Paid, Playstation, Windows, XBoxTaylorLF @ 04:05

To be honest, Dragon Age II (DA2) took me by surprise. When I played Dragon Age: Origins (DA:O) back in 09, I was glad that we received another RPG in a gaming community that is more accustomed to fast paced, adrenaline filled action games. So naturally, to me, the sequel would improve on the first game. They did, and they didn’t. DA:O was built for the PC gaming crowd, while it’s console partners (Xbox 360 and Playstation 3) had to adjust to its’ more strategic combat, using a variety of camera angles and pausing to issue orders in order to get through more of the games challenging moments. DA2 was built towards the console gamers, a move that many PC gamers were not happy with. They stripped a lot of what made DA:O an RPG and turned it into an Action-RPG. For those who played Mass Effect 1 & 2, you’ll get the comparison. For those of you who have not played any of the games listed here, think of it like the old Star Wars trilogy compared with the new. Sure, everything “fits” in the same story sense, but you can’t just nudge past the feeling that something was traded away from what it was to make it more acceptable. It just feels wrong. If you have not played any of the games and did not watch any of the movies to get the comparison, then I just don’t know.

The game play is, for lack of a better word, streamlined. The world seems small, the giant city of Kirkwall seems sparse, and the locations you can visit become very familiar. Dungeon layouts re-use the same layouts, blocking off doors not in use that they would be in other quests. The same three classes are there for you to pick from; Warrior, Mage, and Rogue, with a variety of companions filling the gap. Combat has been simplified. There are barely any separate camera angles, just enough to get a very small overhead view, mostly you’ll be looking at your characters back. Unless you’re playing on a high difficulty, there’s very little need for strategy. The most strategic thing you can do with the combat at early points, and almost a need in higher difficulties is cross-class combos. Various skills cause one of three different effects based on your class, and other classes can use a skill that exploit that. For instance, a rogue uses a skill that disorients a target, a warrior can use another skill that causes 4 times the regular damage against the disoriented target but gets rid of it so it can’t be exploited continually. What this does though is makes the game feel more fluid during combat. It’s a trade off.

Customization takes a bit of a back seat as well. You can customize your main character however you wish, except you must be a human. Changing your style past the first few presets also changes how your family looks as well. The preset for both the male and female Hawke though are fairly well done if you aren’t the customizing type. You can change everything about your companion’s equipment except their armor, and to some lesser extent their weapons. Some do well with a new weapon, others never get replaced. Their appearance is what you get. The only exception here is when you finish a relationship with one of the companions you can romance, then their outfit changes to a separate one. It’s only for that one person though and if you don’t like the change, too bad. Instead of refitting your companions with new armor, you find upgrades in a variety of places; shops, crates and barrels, quests. The upgrades ranged anywhere from more armor, stats, or adding a rune slot where you can place an enchantment. The further blow to customization happens in the skill trees. You receive two companions who are warriors, three if you included yourself if you decided your main character will be a warrior. You can make any of them a tank by using a sword and shield. The problem is, only one of them is suited to be a tank since each companion has a personal skill tree. It -can- work with the other one or yourself since all three can pick up the sword & shield tree, but know one person can do it better since their personal tree is dedicated to making them a tank. The real bothersome thing is if you need a healer, you really only get one option since only one of your mages gets the tree to heal. If you dislike that person as a companion, or goes against what you’re playing as, then you either shelf them and go without a healer or be annoyed and deal with it.

The story, for what it is, is good. It delves into the politics of a city, paranoia, group oppression, and betrayal. The story is actually being told through one of your companions over three acts, who is being interrogated as to the main character’s (your) location. Each act ends and starts with your companion telling his interrogators what happened during the time you left off. Explaining why you disappeared and why this particular group is looking for you delves into the late story and is spoiler filled so just know that things blow up in an important way. The only thing that bothered me is that for all the choices you seem to be given, little matters. You can import your old DA:O save to have some minor tie-ins, but it effects little overall. Only a few things actually happen, story wise. The rest is maybe passed by in a line of text.

The sound I can’t comment much on because it didn’t really stick out to me. The voice acting is well done. As far as the ambient soundtrack goes, I actually could not tell you off the top of my head because I honestly can’t remember if the city or the other areas even had music. It was that subdued. The battle music suits fighting fine, but unfortunately mine was bugged at the time of playing (as were others judging from their forum) where the battle music only cuts in for a second and the rest of the time is just a high pitched echo playing. I know what it sounds like though and it is nice, shame I didn’t get to hear it actually in my game though opposed to having to find it outside of it.

The graphics are fairly good, even on lower settings the game looks nice so that’s a plus for those who can’t run it very high. They aren’t mind blowing but they’re modern, so you wouldn’t feel like you’re playing a game a few years back.

Overall, Dragon age II is a great game. Despite my personal feelings about the switch in gameplay, I can see what they were going for and making it a bigger market on the consoles and that’s just business. I enjoyed the game, and currently running it through a second time. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys RPGs, action or traditional based. Just if you’re coming in from the first game keep an open mind and enjoy it for what it is, not what we might’ve expected/wanted. Change keeps the industry alive, and we have to roll with it.

Dragon Age II

 ★★★★☆ 

Gameplay:★★★★☆ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
Dragon Age II changes the formula enough to cause a stir between PC gamers and console gamers, but pushes out a good game nonetheless.

Game: Dragon Age II | Developer: Bioware

March 22, 2011

Wizard’s Keep

Filed under: Adventure & RPG, Paid, XBoxNina S. @ 05:30

I decided to pick up Wizard’s Keep based on the sole fact that it is made by the same people who made Miner Dig Deep. From what I understand of the developers, it’s just a couple of guys who have a real passion for games. Yes, I realize that that describes a bunch of Indie game developers, but I really like these guys, so leave me alone! Anyway, they put a lot of care and consideration into their games so when I saw this title I jumped on it. Because I’m smart!

Wizard’s Keep was a fantastic game! It wasn’t anything complicated. The art was straight-forward and simple. It was in 2D and it looked like a simple dungeon crawler. Okay, maybe I’m being a little too nice. The art work looks hand-drawn, and not in the good way. It’s very simple, but damnit, it was charming. It was a little dark at times, so if you went into a cave or into a particularly dark corner, you had a tough time figuring out how to get out. It  had awesome little puddles of red when you killed things. On the other hand, the music selection was lovely.


In addition, this game has the fact that you can play it with a friend on its side. True two-player gaming always gets me excited. Even though the game can be played and enjoyed solo it makes it ten thousand times better immediately, just by allowing me to tag a friend along through the adventure.

I wasn’t really expecting it to be, but this really is an RPG. You get stats when you level up and can build your character up however you’d like. It’s nothing intricate, there are four stats and they’re the standard you’d expect. Still, you go forth with your sword and shield and prepare to conquer the evil Wizard and set the world back into rights.

The game is cute. It’s cute blood puddles, barrels you can smash, and cute monsters that you can knock into spikes (though you get no experience for doing that, it’s still hilarious). It’s what I like to see in my Indie games, a solid concept done with clever little nuggets of gold. No, it’s not as pretty as some of the games I’ve played but that’s all right. It makes up for it with charm. I’m giving it the Nina seal of approval.

Wizard’s Keep

 ★★★★¼ 

Gameplay:★★★★¼ 
Technical:★★★★¼ 
Multiplayer:★★★★☆ 
Cute crawler!

Game: Wizard’s Keep | Developer: Robir

March 18, 2011

Death

Filed under: Other, Paid, Puzzle & Casual, XBoxNina S. @ 07:49

Death was an interestingly simple game. I was not really expecting much, thanks to the simple cover and lack of any screenshots or description but overall I did not mind playing it for a little while.

Upon starting the game, I was a little surprised at the lack of art. With a title like “Death”, I expected at the very least a skull or some creepy coffins. Instead, you are launched into a game with little to no fluff or frills. Luckily, the game play itself is pretty straightforward.

You find yourself watching button prompts flash before the screen. It appears that you are lying on your back, maybe on an old operation table or some kind of interrogation table, staring up at a ceiling of lights. You are then prompted to press buttons. Your heartbeat (a fairly generic rhythmic sound) speeds up, as do he prompts and rotation of the buttons on the screen. They begin in their respective places on the controller, Y, X, A, and then B and slowly begin moving around so that you have to use your memory of where they are situated in order to keep up with the game. Basically, the entire game is about hand eye coordination. The bright light that flashes in your eyes when you make a mistake is not very helpful but overall the game is just that.

Now, I have no doubt that a game like this would get very old, real fast. I could not get my husband, who describes his gaming level as “casual core” to play it more than a few rounds because it “isn’t much of a game.” This tells me that it might be a little too simple for anyone who is used to a little more stimulus, but for someone like me…well, I enjoyed it.

Granted, I imagine that something like this could not be that complicated to set up for a developer. In addition, as there is no story there is really nothing more to it than mindless button mashing fun. But, so what? The game does not try to be anything more than what it is and while it is not going to hit a lot of homeruns, it did okay in my book.

Death

 ★★☆☆☆ 

 
Gameplay:★★☆☆☆ 
Technical:★★☆☆☆ 
A near-death experience.

Game: Death | Developer: ZebraGames

March 15, 2011

Return All Robots

Filed under: Paid, Puzzle & Casual, Strategy, XBoxNina S. @ 06:02

Flipping through the Xbox marketplace can be exhausting. It’s like dumpster diving, you’re weeding through mounds and mounds of garbage hoping for something good. Return All Robots was that nugget of glorious gold I found while scraping the bottom of a bucket. It was the iPhone someone accidentally tossed in the can while clearing the table. It was an incredible game.

First of all, the art on the cover of Return All Robots is beautiful. This is a constant throughout the game. The art style is crisp and fun, without losing any quality. The music choices are just as impressive, really well thought out and entertaining without taking away from the game itself.

One of my favorite things to find in a game is humor. This game is funny but beyond that, it uses a lot of pop culture humor which makes you excited to get to the next page so you can see if you’ll get the next joke. Besides that, it’s filled with interesting, likeable characters that really pull you into the story and make you care.


The game play itself is all about block puzzles. You have to lead a number of robots to freedom while dodging obstacles and evil robots as well. You basically have to lead them into one direction and use the various blocks there to keep them from going off the deep end. Think of it as a sliding game, the robots will continue forward until they hit one of these blocks so you use them to get the robots where you want.

Even with all its jokes and fun, this is a challenging puzzle game. It’s all about planning out your movements and having fun while you think. Any game that makes you think as hard as this one without making you feel like it’s a chore should be commended.

The first thing I had to tackle when I decided to play this game was the price. Now, I realize it’s not all that expensive, but when you’re seeing a bunch of options that are only a dollar and this one is three times as much, it’s easy to balk and buy something cheaper instead. In this care I just want to say that you get what you pay for. This game is more because it’s worth more.

Return All Robots

 ★★★★¾ 

 
Gameplay:★★★★½ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
A puzzle in a box. It’s got what robots crave.

Game: Return All Robots | Developer: Space Whale Studios

March 12, 2011

Timeslip

Filed under: Paid, Strategy, XBoxNina S. @ 08:03

Timeslip is the first game I played for this week and mostly I picked it because it said that it was in the UK for a while. Maybe I’m a little biased but every since discovering Doctor Who, I’m excited about all thing from English. Silly, I know, but that’s why I decided to give it a shot!

Now, in Timeslip you play as a snail. Luckily, you’re a pretty fast moving one and your goal in your new snail-y life is to collect coins and make it to the end of this magical world without dying. Now, naturally, this magical world is filled with traps and puzzles that you have to work through in order to progress. Sounds pretty simple, right?

Well, the trouble in this game comes with how you have to complete these puzzles. The thing is, you play the game in time loops. By that I mean you have about a minute to get your snail lined up and in position before a loop occurs and you have to avoid a new and devilish obstacle: yourself. Once the timer runs out you will have a phantom you running around and doing exactly what you just did. You can’t touch your phantom or you’ll create a time paradox and thus end the game. Still, you and your fellow phantoms have to work together in order to complete the level.

This game requires quite a bit of thought, which I think is admirable by itself. You have to plan out your movements if you  have any chance at all of beating the levels. Sometimes this requires that you run through the level once, knowing that you’re going to fail, just so you can map out your next move. It’s different, though I could understand if someone were primarily annoyed by the necessity.

Besides that, I have a few comments on the aesthetics of the game. The opening music is fun and a good pick. During the tutorial you have these swirly red letter that could easily contribute to nausea. It’s a minor detail but it wasn’t well thought out. In addition, when you run into a time warp there is this swirly black and white screen presented. It only lasts a few seconds so it’s not too bad but after an hour of playing it can be a bit of a problem.

Still, a good game. I was satisfied overall.

Timeslip

 ★★★☆☆ 

 
Gameplay:★★★☆☆ 
Technical:★★★☆☆ 
Don’t create a time paradox. Bad things happen when you do.

Game: Timeslip | Developer: Smudgedcat

March 6, 2011

Tile Trip

Filed under: Paid, Puzzle & Casual, XBoxNina S. @ 07:15

Tile Trip is a board-esque game I ran across in the XBox marketplace. I was really excited about it because it seemed like a good family game and you can play it against the computer or with two players in the comfort of your own house. It was pretty cheap so I didn’t mind buying it straight out based on the reviews, which were lukewarm, but somehow it still had a decent amount of stars.

The artwork and music were cute and simple. The board opens up and it’s just a bunch of squares with gopher holes on two ends and gophers pacing back and forth on the other side. Charming.

The game is supposed to be really simple but it’s like the developers couldn’t be bothered to explain the rules. You have these pipes and it’s obvious you’re supposed to be connecting the gophers to the gopher holes, but there are a number of “rules” about how you can lay the pipes that weren’t explained. Instead you’re kind of expected to weed through the options until you figure it out. I’m all for a little challenge, but it’s a family game. I bought it for two little girls and expected them to be able to figure it out. Instead, I come back to the room ten minutes later and they’re so frustrated they don’t even care about the game anymore. I sat down to explain it to them but it took me a couple of minutes to figure it out myself. By then they were bored with it.

I feel like this could have been a cute, simple game but the complete lack of instructions brought it down a peg. Once I figured out how to play it I sat them down and had them play it again. They ended up having a blast blocking one another and putting pieces together. It was even fun to sit back and watch them laugh at one another when plans were foiled. I caught myself directing and cheering from the sidelines.

Again, I think this was a good game. Besides my initial complaint it seems like it was put together with a measure of care.

Tile Trip

 ★★★☆☆ 

Gameplay:★★★☆☆ 
Technical:★★☆☆☆ 
Multiplayer:★★★★☆ 
A great game with little explaination.

Game: Tile Trip | Developer: IceClimber

February 22, 2011

Don’t Be Nervous Talking to Girls

Filed under: Paid, Simulation, XBoxNina S. @ 06:20

Don’t Be Nervous Talking to Girls….this game isn’t as old as the ones I wanted to review for this set but honestly I had to give it a try. I was not expecting it to be helpful when it comes to conversation but I was expecting it to be mildly funny and something that was worth the dollar to waste my time one. Honestly, I was looking for something closer to a dating sim. Yeah, I mean the kind they have in Japan but the U.S.A. is filled with too many prudes and rules to release here. Even so, I was a little disappointed by the lack of…sense making.

Now, before I go further, I think it is only fair to tell you what this game is not. I have seen people playing it and expecting it to be an actual “this is how you go about talking to girls” lesson. It is not like that, it is a video game first of all, and second of all, all girls are different. Sorry to break it to you, gentlemen, but the only way to learn to speak to us is to do it. You might strike out your first couple of times and no one likes rejection, but eventually you will get the swing of it. Just be yourself (yeah, I said that crap. It is cheesy but it is true. Any girl who wants a fake version of you is obviously not, what you want in the first place) and you will find girls that are right for your type of personality.


Going back to the game: it is also not a game about skill. Some of the time, you can go with an answer that is completely right. I mean, right for the typical girl. The obvious answer, the polite, respectful, sweet answer might get you bear maced in the face in this game. There is not any method to the madness that I can see; maybe the girl you are trying to pick up in this game is just flippin’ insane. That seems likely.

Lack of sense making and humor aside the game does have an interesting idea. In which when you give an answer a real girl will respond to it. I liked the little clips of response even if she decided to call the cops on me for little reason. The ultimate goal here is to get this girls number, though she is kind of a jerk so I cannot imagine why any person would work so hard to get to know her. The game is not just two option questions, either. You will have to memorize phone numbers (I suggest writing it down), do math questions, and apparently learn to read the mind of a psycho.

Overall, I think this game could have benefited from a writer. If it had one, I think it could have benefited from a female, not trying to be a comical writer. The game misses the mark on “funny” and just drops into “annoyingly random” quickly. The only thing it is getting an A for is effort.

Don’t Be Nervous Talking to Girls

 ★★½☆☆ 

Gameplay:★★☆☆☆ 
Technical:★★★☆☆ 
Lessons in speaking to crazy girls!

Game: Don’t Be Nervous Talking to Girls | Developer: Silver Dollar Games 1

February 2, 2011

Get your Girlfriend Into Games

Filed under: Other, Paid, Puzzle & Casual, XBoxNina S. @ 06:06

Get Your Girlfriend Into Games is not really much of a game, really. It is a collection of mini games, supposedly picked for the sole purpose of getting your girlfriend interested in playing games. Obvious, huh? Yes, the title says it all, almost to an annoying degree.

Now, ignoring the obvious problems, I, as a girl, would have with a game designed to rope me into a game for that sole purpose…yeah, that was pretty redundant, but so is the game. Still, I could have ignored the annoying factor is the game has just been a little less disappointing.

For one thing, as much as I hate to stereotype that females only play games because they are pretty…this one was not. It is almost as if the developers just picked a bunch of games you need two people to play and stuck them into an umbrella of unhelpful helpfulness. It is as if they did not even try. I mean, the games they picked are not necessarily bad. Its things like mahjong, the memory game, and crosswords. These games are not terribly by themselves but with a painfully blue background and horrible yellow smiley faces, they are mush more brutal to play in this instance.

Besides the harsh color choices, the games are not set up with any kind of care or difficulty options, so after you and your beau have finished that game of mahjong? There is nothing more to it. I played the games with my husband but they were a little boring. We actually ended up playing UNO for an hour instead. The game is only a dollar and if you are looking for a couple of cheap, easy games, it is a good price. They are not anything special and they could have been presented in a much more attractive way but I suppose it was not awful.

I am not going to be playing it with my husband again but I did find that my friends little girls enjoyed some of the more obvious games, which was nice. I suppose it goes to show that for every game, there is someone out there who is willing and ready to play them, but for the most part, I would suggest you pass on this little nugget.

Get your Girlfriend Into Games

 ★★½☆☆ 

Gameplay:★★☆☆☆ 
Technical:★★★☆☆ 
Multiplayer:★★★☆☆ 
The titles says it all….really.

Game: Get your Girlfriend Into Games | Developer: AwesomeGamesStudio

January 13, 2011

Big Tidy Up

Filed under: Action & Shooter, Other, Paid, Puzzle & Casual, XBoxNina S. @ 06:31

Big Tidy Up is an awesome game for parties. You play as little Sim-ish robots bent on making the world a cleaner place. They start out by picking up trash and then wonder what to do with it. Of course, they come up with the most perfect answer for this day and age. They decide that the only responsible thing to do with trash is to recycle it!

The opening scene for this game is absolutely charming and it makes sense for what the developers were trying to say. We see this cute, fun little robot put a can in the recycling bin meant for plastics and watch the bin make him feel sorry for his poor choice. It is funny, lighthearted, and sweet, just like everything else in this game.

The opening menu is brightly colored and cheerful while the actual game play is fun and cute. There are clear cut, understandable instructions for each of the different mini games, which was wonderful because there are so many. In addition, every mini-game as a clever little skit that goes with it and tells you why you are picking up piles of steaming dog poop or wondering what color some random car was.

The music for this game is exactly what it is supposed to be. Chipper, fun, and exciting it gets you in the mood to recycle with our quirky little friends.

Honestly, I can’t think of a single negative that I ran into while playing this game. The only thing that I can even remotely think to mention is that the computer AI cheats. Yes, everyone says that but jeez, there is no way anyone with actual fingers could move that quickly. Besides that, this really was a perfect game.

You know, I hate the word “perfect,” but it really was. The game was beautifully rendered, it ran smoothly, and it was a lot of run. I would not be surprised if it was sponsored for a second installment. The story makes this a heartwarming story while the games make it entertaining and challenging.

The game is not only fun and cheerful it has a good message. It shows a lot of consideration, not only for the run we all have while playing it, but also for things we should do in our day-to-day lives. I am putting this on my “must have” list.

Big Tidy Up

 ★★★★★ 

Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Multiplayer:★★★★★ 
Perfect! Yes, dang it. Perfect!

Game: Big Tidy Up | Developer:  Ton3s

January 8, 2011

Fast Food

Filed under: Action & Shooter, Other, Paid, XBoxNina S. @ 05:59

Fast Food is definitely a game right up my alley, so if you’re a fan of games like Diner Dash or Building Cakes, this will be just what you were looking for too. Let me just start off by saying that even though this game looks fairly simple it is also a lot of hard work. Have you ever worked a busy fast food joint buried deep into lunch hour traffic?

Just imagine it. Costumer number one wants a double cheeseburger, small coke, and medium fries. Costumer number two wants a small fry and a medium coke. Costumer number three is asking for a small coke- no, sprite, a large fry, and a regular cheeseburger. The cooks are yelling in your ear, the manager is shouting for fresh onion rings, and something, somewhere has been beeping for the last ten minutes. The line is getting longer and people are glaring at you. Your head is racing and your hands are shaking. Bags are sliding towards you and suddenly– you are back in your room, controller in hands.

Now, most people would not necessarily call that fun but for a nice little adrenaline rush, it’s the perfect set up. It is also exactly what Fast Food offers. Fast Food is all about speed and memory. You have three bags on your conveyor belt, dozens of different food options, and a costumer who knows what he wants and isn’t going to settle for anything less or slower.

Basically, if you can manage to get the bags filled with the right stuff in a reasonable amount of time you are golden. If not…well, unhappy costumers reflect on your paycheck. Eventually they’ll leave but you don’t have to get it right the first time in order to gain the points from their order. It helps if you do, of course, but the key is not to panic. As long as you don’t get too frustrated you’ll get it eventually.

This is a game I would recommend to just about anyone. It is simple and brightly colored so it is something you could play with the family. At the same time, in later levels it is enough of a challenge that I think any of the more hardcore players could have a good time testing their speed too. This was a great game.

Fast Food

 ★★★★½ 

Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★☆ 
{GAME COMMENT}

Game: Fast Food | Developer: magma2280

January 4, 2011

Super Meat Boy

Filed under: Action & Shooter, Arcade & Retro, Macintosh, Windows, XBox — Tags: Josh @ 08:02

Meat Boy Fail.

OK, I’m sure everyone already knows how great Super Meat Boy is by now. So I’m going to skip right to the part where I explain why it’s so great.

First of all, there’s the cartoonish visual appeal. From the second you turn the thing on, it promises to be a delightful experience with it’s bright colors and fun artwork. The characters are goofy-looking, yet slightly off, in a way that is remarkably appealing. These aren’t your Saturday morning cartoon characters; they are the outcasts of the cartoon scene. And that makes them interesting, gives them dimension. Just looking at these oddities makes you want to hang out with them.

Next up: the music. Super Meat Boy’s soundtrack is brilliant. The Hell music (yes, you must jump and dash your way through Hell) is one of the best songs to ever be in a video game. And I mean that.

So much blood!

The level design is perfect. It begins fairly easy, but very rapidly increases in difficulty until it is downright brutal. You will need extremely precise timing and complete mastery of Meat Boy’s jumping, sticking, and wall-sliding. But the control scheme is airtight. You will feel you have complete control. And that means that when you die – and you will die a lot – you will know you did so because you messed up, not because the controls weren’t precise enough.

Of course, this brings me to my one piece of criticism. Super Meat Boy’s PC launch was a disaster. The game launched with a damaged control scheme, and only supported one controller type. I won’t go into this any further, since I covered it pretty well in this article, but Team Meat was quick to respond. Within two days, the problem was fixed, multiple controller models were supported, and to somewhat make it up to loyal fans, a new character was added to the lineup via a brand new cheat code unveiled on the official Super Meat Boy website.

This may be Hell for Super Meat Boy, but it's gaming Heaven!

Team Meat truly turned the game’s biggest flaw into a positive thing. The amount of dedication to ensuring this game works like it should is incredible. The biggest video game releases don’t even get their bugs worked out this quickly.

And one more thing. Super Meat Boy pays tribute to decades of gaming. The developers obviously grew up playing and loving video games. If I even began to list some of the examples of clever homages this game makes to other games, this review would grow as uncontrollably and wildly as that plant from The Little Shop of Horrors. So I’ll just leave it alone and let you discover these tidbits on your own.

Super Meat Boy is amazing. Just go buy it. You won’t be disappointed.

Just a couple more saw blades. You can do it, Meat Boy!

Super Meat Boy

 ★★★★★ 

Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
Good meaty retro fun.

Game: Super Meat Boy | Developer: Team Meat

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