Archive for the ‘Third Person’ Category

Car Jack Streets

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Car Jack Streets

Think, top-down,  cell-shaded version of the original Grand Theft Auto, similar to Payback. Get missions to rub out competitors, steal cars, and various other shenanigans. It looks great. It’s shot from an overhead perspective city, with lots of details like bushes and crates, kewl cars like taxis an street-cleaners, and tiny little people that run for their lives before being flattened and smeared in bloodstains. Just like GTA, different radio stations even play depending on which cars you steal. The gameplay is good too; weapon upgrades, including rocket launcher and flamethrowers, diverse missions, and a variety of interesting characters. The controls can take a while to get used to, because they are vehicle-relative, meaning if I’m driving down-screen, pressing right turns me left. Get over it, it’s a good game.

Update: This has nearly been made obsolete, now that Gangstar: West Coast Hustle and Grand Theft Auto have been released. Hence, the lowered rating.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Kids vs. Zombies

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Kids vs. Zombies

Please don’t confuse this game with the upcoming title, Plants vs. Zombies (which is due out on May 5th, available on Steam preload now for the low, low price of $10, my mostest bestest, most favorite-ist game of the year, which I’ve played for roughly 800 hours, and which I highly recommend. Honest…I don’t own stock in the company).

Anyway, Kids vs. Zombies is being called a Last Stand clone, but it’s not really (Attack from the Dead is the iPhone’s Last Stand clone, but I digress). This game puts you in charge of all three precocious little kids faced with a dilemma…they are about to be eaten by a horde of zombies. To prevent this catastrophe, they must protect their fort from a variety of gruesome attackers. The player earns points after each level to upgrade each of the kids’ skills and items, in variety of ways, or the fort itself. The core tactic of the game is knowing when to attack with which kid, based on the composition of the enemy forces that you are facing. Each child has a specialty; machine gun, sniper rifle, or grenades. Pressing one of the kids allows the player to control the direction, and sometimes distance, of fire. The game has a great theme, good upgrades, and it’s good fun.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Ow My Balls!

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Ow My Balls!

OMB, here goes all my credibility as a reviewer…I like Ow My Balls! Granted, there is not much of a game here at all, but every time he hits the ground and yells, you guessed it…“Ow my balls!”, I laugh. In fact, I’ve been known to scream it out, in the middle of the day, for no apparent reason. The fact that he farts to propel himself further in the level is just icing on the cake, as it were. They took it off the app store, for a while, so I emailed the guy to see if he would float me a copy and his response began with, “Thank you for your interest in My Balls.” Genius. If you want to relive being 12 years old, get this app. Don’t do it for me, do it for yourself. Just don’t tell anyone I recommended it…

Update: Believe it or not, the developer added OpenFeint social network support, so you can keep in touch with all your master farting buddies. You can also unlock videos of people getting kicked in the junk.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Underworlds

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Underworlds

This is a Diablo clone and a pretty decent one, at that; dungeons, quests, stat increases, skill upgrades, vendors, monsters, min-maxing lewt, and a storyline (although predictable) are all there. The game artwork is done by the dewd that worked on the Ultima games. Would you believe that the banner in the screenshot above actually waves in the breeze? Not really sure why it would…but still! The controls aren’t perfect, though. The faux D-Pad sometimes feels unresponsive, based on where your thumb is, and it is placed adjacent to the health globe, which means you’ll be glugging 40g potions accidentally. I used the option to remove the D-pad completely and use touch controls instead, which I’m glad was included, but this control method is not perfect either. The item game has been quite compelling so far, as I find myself closely inspecting each new item to see if I can squeeze an additional 1% benefit out of it. There are tons of seemingly meaningful affixes that would allow you to get the character build you want (that, coupled with the stats and skills decisions). Speaking of skills, each of your chosen skills shows up on your action bar and different points and highlight when they become available and simply tapping one will activate it. Pretty slick.

Update: Even though Dungeon Hunter may have usurped the Diablo clone throne, the team at Pixel Mine didn’t give up. Instead, they added an entirely new chapter, FREE of charge. I have yet to play through it, but I thought it was worth mentioning, because it adds significantly to amount of content in the game.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Assassin’s Creed – Altaïr’s Chronicles

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Assassin's Creed - Altaïr's Chronicles

Everyone is already familiar with the franchise, I’m sure, so I won’t go into details. This is a port of a DS game I haven’t played, but I’ve read this is better at a third of the cost, but still suffers from some of the faults. The game is comparable to Heroes of Sparta, in many ways; polished graphics, decent controls, but lacking in some key ways. It has a ton of voice-acting, but the protagonist is particularly annoying. The movement is fluid and the controls are generally good, but become very frustrating in certain instances. The camera is fixed and this results in all sorts of jump distance and destination problems (the level design really should have accounted for this).

The gameplay is part stealth, part platformer, and part combat, (which is just okay; simple combos and a counter mechanic). You collect powerups to increase either your movement or sword skills. You open up new techniques over time, such as wall scaling. Navigating each of the 9 cities is a non-issue, due to a giant green arrow directing your path…lame. As compared to the Xbox360/PS3 versions, it adds some ill-conceived mini-games that are just horrible; a ridiculous pickpocket minigame that is like playing the Operation boardgame with mittens on and some other mini-game that looked like I was massaging some dewds back. Eww…not kewl.

Update: I ended up not finishing this game, due to many of the issues described above and lowered my rating by half a star (and even that may be generous).

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Age of Curling

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Age of Curling

Wow, how could a developer do so well on so many things and overlook such a fundamental part of every game; sound. The game has no sound! well, I guess it has some sound, but not where you need it; when the rock hits the ice, when the rock is sliding, or crowd cheers for a great shot. Apparently, their sound budget only accounted for the “rock hits rock” sound which they do have. The reason I’m harping on this is that everything else, gameplay included, is so money.

As you can see, they present a top-view of the ice and the 3D shot view, which is brilliant. You set the curl of the stone and the power and let it rip. You want your rocks to be on target, while blocking your opponent. After you throw your rock, you can swipe in front of it to broom its path (this fine-tunes the shot direction), which is brilliant.

As the name implies, the game takes place in a number of venues and time periods that one can assume have some historical significance for the sport; a weathered castle in 1780′s Scotland, a textile factory in 1920′s Winnepeg (presented entirely in black & white) , an outdoor match in Venice, among others. Whether you are a die-hard curling fan or you simply watch it when the Olympics rolls around, this title should satiate the urge to play it on the go. The game receives high marks for presentation, theme, and gameplay, but unfortunately, the lack of sound in some key areas prevents this from becoming a classic curling app, if there is such a thing.

Update: I’ve kept a close eye on further development on this title and, while they were able to update it to include “rounder stones”, they still have not addressed my primary concern, sound. Down half a point.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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