Peggle – XBLA, 800 points

April 18, 2009 by

pegglecover

Vinegar is a smell I’ll forever more associate with this game, because I still remember the night I discovered Peggle. I was googling ‘physics based games’ when I came across a blog which reviewed just those very games. Peggle immediately stood out. I downloaded the trial and less an hour later I was typing in credit card details, paying what seemed like far too much for such a simple game. My parents had just arrived home with chips. They asked me if I wanted any. I said yes. Vinegar flooded the room as “Extreme Fever!” was reached in a flurry of triumphant fireworks and joyously overzealous music. It was from that moment onwards I wanted- no, needed an Xbox Live Arcade version complete with all the improvements that would bring. My prayers were finally answered not so long ago.

Like many games, Peggle is deceptively simple. You control a mechanism at the top of the screen which fires one ball at a time. Once the ball is fired, physics determine the outcome. Your objective: Clear all the orange pegs. Blue and purple pegs are for extra points. Green pegs activate character specific powers. Get the ball in the moving bucket at the bottom and you’ll be rewarded with another ball. In a nutshell, that’s it. However, the difficulty of each level ramps up quickly, forcing you to use your green pegs wisely, choose the order of your shots carefully and plan ahead. The clichéd phrase “easy to play, hard to master” has never been more appropriate in relation to Peggle. There’s certainly an element of luck involved while playing but that’s just the nature of the game, for better or for worse.

The XBLA version of the game is a perfect port from the PC original. Controls feel spot on despite the absence of a mouse, characters and music still ooze charming personality and hearing the warm ‘ting’ of a freshly hit peg never gets old. Most noticeably however, is the inclusion of online play in the form of two modes. Duel and Peg Party. The former pits two players head to head, while the latter allows for up to four players to simultaneously attempt to top each other’s scores. Both are well presented, run smoothly and set to deliver hours of entertainment.

I dare you to play it and not get addicted.

All praise the mighty Peggle.

Advertisements

You don’t have to worry about Bond

September 9, 2008 by

The second (Full Theatrical) trailer for ‘Quantum of Solace’ has just hit the web. You can nab it >here<

While the first trailer offered us a small glimpse at the first ever proper squeal to a Bond movie, this second trailer shows us abit more to wet our appetites for the November showing.

Listen out for that updated Bond tune.


Nearly time to crash castles!

August 26, 2008 by

The excitement! Both myself and Kev have been eagerly awaiting this title for the past year. It’s so close I can almost taste the exaggerated comically humorous deaths! Be sure the check out the free dashboard theme and gamerpics tomorrow.

Expect our review in the coming days.

Fable II Pub Games – Reviewed

August 26, 2008 by

A lot of smaller sections in large games get overlooked. Take western RPGs for example. There may be some sort of gambling mini-game, in which you can win big or lose big. The problem is, because these games are so vast and feature so many other ways (and quite possibly, better ways) to earn currency, these smaller diversions often go unnoticed. But what if the smaller game was the entire game?

That’s what Fable II Pub Games is. A vertical slice of Fable II, a sampling of one element. The gambling element. Pub Games is a good idea for number of reasons. It helps keep the main game in the media spot and helps tide fans over till release. Obviously, it makes Lionhead a nice cash bonus but most interestingly however, it forces players who want in on Fable action early to focus their attention on these smaller, otherwise overlooked mini-games. It’s a very clever form of marketing and it’s a very clever way of ensuring most players experience your game in the fullest way possible.

So the actual games themselves. One is excellent, two are merely good. Fortune’s Tower is the stand out game of the bunch, a card game of chance and luck, in which you can either take the current dealers offer or press on in an attempt to win more cash. Keystone, an interesting spin on roulette (lol) where the game ends when certain parts of the board fall apart due to certain dice rolls. And finally, Spinnerbox. A take on slot machines and a frustrating one at that. Luck plays a large part in every game, as it is gambling after all, but there’s some skill and strategy to found in Fortune’s Tower and Keystone. The same cannot be said for Spinnerbox. It is 100% luck based which means it’s incredibly irritating and becomes tedious very very quickly.

If you make a profit during your gambling escapades, you’ll have the opportunity to bring that gold into Fable II on release. You’re also able to win items that can only be found in Pub Games by placing high in tournaments.

It’s difficult to say with certainly whether Pub Games is worth the 800 points it’s being sold for. It’s certainly enjoyable and the opportunity to begin your adventure in Fable II with some extra cash is an appealing one. It simply boils down to whether you’ll like Fable II or not. Unfortunately there’s no way of knowing that right now but it’s fairly safe to say if you enjoyed the first game, you’ll enjoy the sequel. Just don’t get yourself into debt, or you’ll have the loansharks performing the traditional loanshark ritual, of leg breaking.

[7]

The low down on download

August 25, 2008 by

Remember that new game smell? the unwrapping of the plastic seal, the little leaflets jammed inside that you mearly glanced at. Would you miss all that if it were no more?

I’ve no doubt “full” retail games will be around for a long time yet, but it is scary to think that in the summer of 2008 I’ve spent more cash and interest on downloadable games then I have time spent in smelly game stores.

So why is this? well for starters, the summer months are pretty bloody awful for retail games. For money making reasons game company’s like to release all of their games at the end of the year, at the same damn time. So while the end of year is an amazing time for us gamers to try and rush through all our games, staying on top of the “cool food chain” by showing up on outr friends list as playing the “in” game at the time, it makes for a lonely hot summer playing over old hat. There is however a change in the current thanks to the power of the interwebs. Because unlike 20 billion dollar retail games, smaller game company’s like Pixel Junk can put a game together in a few months and because they’re cutting out the middle man, can put the game up pretty soon after it’s finished.

So what games are worth checking out? well, Live Arcade and PSN both have a decent catalogue of games already at their disposable, but this summer really saw both services spike with great content.

Geometry Wars 2

One of the first games to kick of the summers blockbuster downloadable games was Geometry Wars 2. The first game was described as the XBox 360’s “Halo” in terms of a launch game, so no pressure for Bizarre to deliver an even better sequel then.

While the game stays very true to it’s big brothers roots (move with the left stick, shoot with the right) it’s the 6 new modes that set it apart. Along with the integrated friends leader boards, improved visuals and offline multiplayer, for 800 points there is alot of game here for your buck.

Pixeljunk Eden

When ‘Pixel Junk’ released their first game on PSN ‘Pixel Junk Racers’ nobody would ever have thought a few months later they’d go ahead and release a game solely about swinging around the garden of eden.

PixelJunk Eden, the company’s third PSN game to date sees you playing as a “Grimp”, a small creature that maneuvers itself by jumping from and attaching itself to plant-like structures. While that sounds easy, it’s the Pixel (¬ ¬) perfect swinging and jumping the game demands of you that creates the games challanges.

While the likes of Geo Wars 2 and Stardust HD both offer a more old school/traditional approach to downloadable games, Eden really is offering you something mind bendingly different.

The game is priced at €7.99 (£6) (a demo is also available)

Braid

Take Mario, add two table spoons of Prince of Persia, a bucket load of hardcore puzzle solving and you leave to cool.

Braid, this years ‘Portal’ apparently (then again, I’m hearing that alot these days) puts you in a platform world, gives you time controlling powers, and then rips away every bit of knowledge and skill you thought you ever had to play games. The game works similar to ‘Sands of Time’ in the way that, when you die you can reverse back time to correct your error. However, the game also uses time to have you perform the crazyest puzzle solving, jumping and leaping about you’ll ever have the pleasure of heart attack enduring.

Braid is not for everybody (And for 1200 points you’d better well like it) it is however, one of the most interesting and quirky downloadable games to hit the arcade. More of this please.

Castle Crashers

Developed by The Behemoth, ‘Castle Crashers’, is the company’s second console game. Having worked on ‘Alien Hominid’ they’ve returned with a 4 player side scroller, playable locally or over LIVE.

The game sees you take control one of four Knights, each with unique powers. If it’s anything like ‘The Behemoth’s’ previous work, Castle Crashers will offer a hardcore, but comic like experience.

The game launches this Wednesday on Live Arcade for 1200 points.