Gamesland News

Gamesland News: 100th Post Special Edition

All the news from the past week, in one, easy-to-read post.

And this week, it’s a special post because it’s the 100th post

News

- It’s also mobile week on Gamesland, and I’ve had trouble keeping up. Days 5 and 6 should be going up tomorrow, and Day 4 was published today

- AMD has cut 700 jobs in the face of declining revenue

- Jade Raymond, a games producer, has left Ubisoft. Raymond was known for her work on Assassin’s CreedSplinter Cell, and Watch_Dogs

World of Warcraft is receiving servers in Australia (which will work for New Zealand as well)

 

That’s all the news for this week, but come back next Friday (the 31st) for more news from the land of gaming.

Crazy Taxi

Mobile Week Day 4: Crazy Taxi Review

Is this a crazy-good port, or a crazy bad one?

Game: Crazy Taxi

Price: $6.49

Crazy Taxi was originally an arcade game, and that’s pretty clear to see here. It’s a game where you have to drive customers around a city (San Francisco) in a time limit, and try to score the most points.

And this port is pretty good. There’s only four buttons: one to go left, one to go right, one to accelerate, and one to decelerate. This means that the game is pretty simple, but it works.

This simplicity means that the game’s challenge is solely on scoring the most points. After you play a few games, you’ll find the best routes, and roughly where certain customers want to go, and where there’s no point going, and how to get bonus points, and then you come to the realisation of how complex this game is.

The graphics are nothing special – it is a port of a pretty old game after all – but I do wish they were touched up a bit for this re-release.

There’s also a few different modes you can play, but this only really changes whether there’s a set time limit or whether you have to keep it going.

There’s a few different drivers to play as as well, but again, these have no other effect other than cosmetics.

With all that being said though, the game’s still a pretty fun game. I got it back when it was free, but now that it’s  $6.49, it’s slightly different.

If you were a fan of the old games I would suggest that this game is great for you. Otherwise, I wouldn’t. There’s better things on the app store.

Positive

- Fun

- Good Controls

- Decent Port

6.5/10

Negative

- Expensive for what it is

- Sub-par graphics

FTL

Mobile Week Day 3: FTL: Faster Than Light Review

Mobile Week Day 3: How is FTL: Faster than Light on a mobile?

GameFTL: Faster than Light

Price: $12.99

Platform: iOS

FTL: Faster than Light is a game that was originally released on PC and Mac and was eventually ported to iPad. The iPad version includes all the Advanced Edition content, and is basically the same game as the PC, but it is a brilliant port.

I’d held off buying FTL: Faster than Light on PC because I thought that one day, it would come to iPad, and it would be much better with a touch interface. This is true.

FTL: Faster than Light is a top-down pixel-art game that places you in charge of a group of people (including aliens and robots) on a ship as you attempt to get the Rebellion’s plans back to the Empire. To do this you have to pilot through 8 systems, each with a large number of planets. You have to avoid the Rebels, Pirates and other nasty folk in the attempt to get back to the Empire.

I should probably mention here that the game is a strategy, one that merges real-time and turn-based. Actions typically happen in real time, but you can pause the action at any time to select items and weapons to fire, which is nice. The game revolves around a series of random events, the majority of which will be fights, occurring on each planet in each system. Through these events, new characters, weapons, credits, and fuel can be picked up.

Battles occur most of the time on planets, and they involve choosing a weapon to fire and then tapping a room on the other ship to fire to. These weapons can damage said rooms, meaning that strategic planning can cause their shields to fail first, then their weapons, then their piloting system, and so on, until the ship runs out of health and blows up.

Of course, this happens while you have to manage your own ship, which involves repairing rooms that get hit by the enemy’s weapons so that your weapons can keep firing. This means that you have to rotate crew members around, and more intense moments happen when vital rooms, such as the oxygen room, become damaged because then your crew will start to loss health from the lack of oxygen. Weapons can also cause fires, which also suck the oxygen out of rooms, and there are two ways of dealing with fires: opening airlocks to the room to create a vacuum that puts the fire out, or sending crew members in to fire fight the fire, but this will cause the crew member to lose health.

All this juggling means that new players will fail. A lot. You will die many, many times while playing this game, but at the same time, you develop new tactics, new ways of playing, and you become better. I haven’t even finished the game, but its still a great game, and really suited to the touch interface.

Of course, that isn’t to say that the game isn’t without its flaws. The game is very hard, and it can be difficult to know what to do, or how to do some things. But it is a learning experience, and once you figure everything out, it does become good fun.

Positive

- Good Mechanics

- Good Port and Controls

- Randomly Generated means lots of stories

- Suited to the touch-screen

8.5/10

 

Negative

- Very, Very, Very, Difficult

Spider Man Unlimited

Mobile Week Day 2: Spider-Man Unlimited Review

It’s time once again to look at the games available on mobile, and today it’s Spider-Man Unlimited.

Game: Spider-Man Unlimited

Price:  Free

Platform: Android, iOS

Spider-Man Unlimited is an endless runner from developer Gameloft, and as such is of pretty good quality.

The game has a basic story, which is basically that the Sinester Six from a different dimension has invaded this dimension, and so S.H.I.E.L.D calls upon Spider-Man for help. S.H.I.E.L.D can bring Spider-Men from other dimensions across to this one though.

As an endless runner, the affair here is pretty standard: run, defeat enemies, and gain XP to level up. There are missions in the story mode, but these require a certain level to start, so in between missions you’ll have to do smaller missions to gain said XP to level up.

Where this game really excels is the graphics – it’s vibrant and suits its source material well – the visuals pop-out just like a comic-book would. They are some of the best graphics I’ve seen on an iPad, in they almost work too well: it’s almost like its impossible to see some obstacles because your eyes can’t register all the vibrant colours.

Mechanically, the game’s still a pretty decent runner. Most of the time you’ll be swiping to change between three lanes, but there’s bad guys that need a swipe top take out, or tilting the device to make Spidey avoid obstacles as he scuttles up buildings or free falls from a plane.

There’s also the addition of web-slinging, which was my favourite mechanic from the game. You simply tap on the screen to go up with a web, and release to fall down sans web. It works so well it could almost be a different game (and one that I’d play, at that).

Where the game falls flat is getting to play: there’s a lives system, with each run using up one life. The timer is 10 min/life, which is pretty large, especially for an endless runner. It’s really disappointing.

Games can also become grind-fests, requiring large amounts of time to level up. The problem with levelling up is that Spider-Men are ranked on a star system. All start off at 1 star, but the default Spider-Man can only go up to three stars, meaning his maximum level is level 30, so you’ll need to get a new one that can go up to four stars – and guess what, it’s a lucky dip with chances of getting three-star Spider-Men. Oh, and you have to buy them with the premium currency of the game. It feels particularly cheap, and it could have been implemented so much better.

With all that being said though, Spider-Man Unlimited is still a decent game that’s entertaining, even if there are better endless-runners out there.

Positive

- Fantastic Art

- Solid Mechanics

- Decent Storyline

7/10

Negative

- Energy Bar

- “Lucky Dip” way of purchasing Spider-Men…With a premium currency.

A Fish out of Water

Mobile Week Day 1: Fish Out of Water! Review

It’s that time of year again folks, it is time for Mobile Week 2014, where we take a look at the games available for mobile devices, in an effort to showcase the best of mobile devices. First up: Halfbrick’s A Fish Out of Water!.

Fish Out of Water! is a game that takes the scoring system of judges holding up cards, and applies it to fish just skimming along water. It’s a little bit like being judged on how well you can skim stones across water, but if some stones were balloons and others rocket ships.

The game is fairly simple, like most other Halfbrick games it has a simple control scheme determined by a single action: here, it’s a flick. A simple flick on the touch screen will cause one of the fish to fly off into the distance along the ocean top.

At the end of each run (each using three different fish), the judges give a score based on the number of skips and distance travelled.

A Fish out of Water

I feel that I should mention the fish here. Each fish has a distinctive style, and even has a name.

  • Olympus is a typical fish, and is an all-rounder at both styles.
  • Micro is a whale, and is brilliant and giant jumps that enable him to travel large distances.
  • Rocket is a fish that goes very fast, and is best at lots of skips (but is able to go averagely far)
  • Errol is a puffer fish, and bounces along the surface. He’s also an all-rounder.
  • Finlay is a dolphin, and spends an equal amount of time above and below the surface of the water. He can be used for either distance or skips.
  • Finally, the brothers are fish that split up, and give a huge contribution to the number of skips. However, they never go very far.

Typically, I found myself using Errol, Rocket and finishing with Micro, but I would occasionally change my lineup when the  weather changed.

Yes, this game has a weather system, which affects the surface of the water. This means that every 10 minutes, the weather will change. While some don’t affect the surface much, others – such as a thunderstorm – make the surface very rough and render fish that require the surface to be smooth to go far – such as rocket – useless.

Rocket

Of course, the game isn’t that simple. In addition to this the fish can pick up boost orbs which add to the boost metre, which, when the screen is tapped, increase a fish’s speed. The judges also have a different set of criteria, for example on judge prefers runs with a higher number of skips, while another prefers runs that have a large distance.

The game also has the typical Halfbrick progression scheme, not unlike Jetpack Joyride: there are three missions at any one time, each revolving around doing something (such as travelling above a line, performing 30 skips with Finlay, flying through hoops, etc.), and upon completion, you “level up”, which means that you unlock some crystals. Crystals can be used to craft bonuses, or unlock…costumes. Costumes in this game give a new cosmetic look to character, as well as increasing a particular trait of that character, such as how high they skip or how fast they go.

Now while the game is good fun for a while, after a little while it becomes fairly boring. Unfortunately the changing weather doesn’t alter the game enough to replay too often, and the missions repeat themselves fairly often, but with slightly different numbers.

Positives

- Great Premise

- Great, simplistic gameplay

- Cutesy Graphics

- Unlockables

- Different Characters

- Different ways to play

- Weather changes

Score A Fish Out of Water

Negatives

- Becomes bland after a while

- Missions repeated often with slight changes

Gamesland News

Gamesland Slow News Week: Destiny, Minecraft, Doom, and More

The latest news from the gaming world, in one easy to read format. And this week, it was a slow news week.

News

- Thanks to a bug within the game Destiny, some (un)lucky users were able to see some missions on the map which aren’t currently available, but are going to be released at some point in the future. Also: There’s no evidence to prove that the expansion packs are already on the disc.

- Some talented individual (Iain “Ochre Jelly” Heath) has created a LEGO Doom playset, which is pretty cool. Here’s a picture of the multi-levelled playset:

LEGO Doom

- Some other talented fans are remaking The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in 2D, as to match the style of games such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. You can play a version and keep watch on the game here.

- Entries are open for Planet Minecraft’s next big competition for the game Minecraft, using Planet Minecraft’s map. The theme is “Industrial Revolution”, so I’m sure some other talented individuals (who aren’t working on amazing LEGO sets or re-imagining classic games) are going to have a great time with this one.

What I’m Playing

Yup, I’m bringing this part back.

Destiny. Having no hype whatsoever for the game, it’s not as bad as everyone says it is. The voice acting isn’t too bad either, but I’ve only played three missions, so I can’t really critique just yet.

- PS Vita stuff. Got a PS Plus subscription as well, so now I’ll always have games to play (and add to my pile of shame).

- Retro stuff. It’s pretty cool what developers could do with hardware limitations back in the day.

Questions? Comments? Anything to Add?

Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it.

That’s all the news for this week, but come back next Friday (10th) the latest news roundup from the land of gaming.

Gamesland News

Gamesland News: New Nintendo 3DS, Oculus Rift, Steam, and More

The latest news from the gaming world, in one, easy-to-read format.

News

- Oculus VR unveiled their new headset, dubbed “Crescent Bay”. It features improved motion tracking as well as optional built-in headphones.

- Gaming company Nintendo turned 125 the past week, a phenomenal achievement. Before they were in the games industry, the company sold playing cards and other toys.

- Steam received a huge update, bringing with it an upgrade graphical interface, tailored recommendations, as well as the option to follow “curators”, who recommend games to play.

- Nintendo announced that the New Nintendo 3DSes will be releasing only in Australia and New Zealand this year after Japan. There is no word on a European or  American release.

- Nerd Kingdom, developers of TUG, better known as the Yogventures consolation game, had to release half their team once their investor failed to deliver the money.

Questions? 

Leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.