Posts Tagged ‘digital’

The Best Cheap Games to Get During the 2013 Steam Summer Sale

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Steam Summer Sale Logo

So the Steam Summer Getaway Sale 2013 has finally begun! With that said, there are so many games you can choose from. Yes, there are the deals on the front page which cycle out but they are hardly all there is. In fact, nearly a thousand games are on sale if you simply take the time to search them out. I just wanted to share a list of my favorite (primarily indie) games that are available at a minuscule price thanks to the sale.

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ARKANOID Live! Review

Arkanoid Live Featured

Arkanoid Live! Boxart

Developer: Taito
Publisher: Taito
Platform: Xbox 360 – XBLA

Arkanoid is not my favorite video game in the world but it is a powerful time waster. Semi-recently, we’ve even seen some really good revitalization brought to the classic formula with the likes of Shatter and Wizorb. Maybe it’s because of my time with those games that anything far more “retro” feels just plain dull.

ARKANOID Live! is unfortunately one game that doesn’t do enough with Arkanoid to keep it compelling for a modern audience. Most strikingly it seems like the kind of game that could almost come out on the original Xbox Live, when the focus was on very simple ports of known games.

Arkanoid Live Featured

Basically, you go through two episodes of destroying blocks with a ball and paddle. The longer you survive, the more complex the block patterns get, such as surrounding breakable blocks by unbreakable ones. There are also enemies, which can be turned on or off, but don’t offer any extra challenge to the game.

The biggest feature of the game is probably multiplayer but I didn’t test that out. They tried to make ARKANOID Live! more interesting with neat music and 3D moving backgrounds, but really, it just isn’t enough.


Score 0.5

1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Solar 2 Review

Solar 2 Featured

Solar 2 Boxart

Developer: Murudai
Publisher: Murudai
Platform: PC

When thinking about video games dealing with space, I usually picture a 4X strategy title. That, or the Space Quest series. What I don’t tend to imagine is the player taking control of a star and growing into a planet or solar system. Of course, that’s exactly what Solar 2 is about.

Having never heard of the first Solar, this was a pretty big shock. By collecting asteroids or other planets, you can grow larger. Planets even gain their own defenses once you have grown large enough to sustain life. There are a lot of dangers out in space though, such as aliens and other solar systems attempting to expand.

Solar 2 Featured

I think the game is pretty fun for a while as you wander about trying to expand. It gets a bit hard with the missions though as they are not really locked out by difficulty. That means you might be a tiny little planet trying to handle a massive swarm of aliens. At the very least, the mission text has a snide sense of humor that was enjoyable.

If the game were easier I’d enjoy it more, but as it stands it’s a simple but creative title that some many really end up loving.


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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0 day Attack on Earth Review

0day

0daybox

Developer: Gulti
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Xbox 360 – XBLA

Top-down shooters have a great deal of fans, many of which are partial to retro renditions of the genre. Sometime in 2009, Square Enix decided to publish one such shooter by the name of 0 day Attack on Earth. No, I’m not sure as to the purposeful lower case of the name, but that’s what it was brought over as.

The game is incredibly simple. You choose one of a variety of aircraft and from there fight against aliens busting out of the city. A few different cities are portrayed, such as New York City and Tokyo, but you’d be hard-pressed to really know which is which while playing. It also happens to be a twin stick shooter which means you’re aiming bullets with one analog stick and piloting your craft around with the other.

0day

It doesn’t take much to make these kinds of games good, but it also doesn’t take a lot of effort to make one bad. In 0 day’s case, it falls into the latter camp. The graphics are adequate but dull, the music is uninspired, and play is incredibly repetitive. Players, as well as enemies, are super small which means you’ll often ram right into one. Similarly, noxious purple clouds act as impenetrable barriers that you’re likely to collide with simply because you can’t zoom out enough to see more than a few feet in front of your ship.

There’s little reason to play this game and the online community is all but dead. There are far superior choices available within the XBLA marketplace.


Score 0.5

1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Nation Red Review

Nation Red Featured

Nation Red Boxart

Developer: Diezel Power
Publisher: Diezel Power
Platform: PC

Nation Red is one of those games that is easy to ignore. With such a simple name and premise (shoot hordes of zombies), you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who opts to play that as opposed to more polished titles like Left 4 Dead. All the same, that doesn’t mean Deizel Power’s title is wholly unworthy of attention.

If all you’re looking for is something simple to pick up and play then that’s where Nation Red delivers. Each level contains heaping amounts of zombies and tasks you with shooting them down via a twin stick control method. Power ups drop every so often, as do new weapons. There are a great variety of these available, as well as special perks players get upon leveling up. These only last for a specific level and amount of time though, so don’t expect to take them with you to later stages.

Nation Red Featured

Both single and multiplayer modes are included although I stuck with single player. In this mode, there are 18 main stages to clear. It wasn’t particularly difficult to clear out, but then, I also had set the game to the lowest “normal” difficulty. The experience offered by Nation Red is extremely simple but there’s nothing wrong with simplicity. It just feels a bit bare-bones at times.


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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R.I.P. Review

RIP

RIP Boxart
Developer:
Elephant Games
Publisher:
Meridian4
Platform:
PC

When I first encountered RIP it was while installing various games from my Steam catalog. I’d never actually heard of the game before, nor did I remember buying it. Regardless, the name seemed interesting to me and as such I decided to give it a shot.

RIP is a very retro-styled game. While playing, it felt like the game was actually from the early 90s. As it turns out though it came out in 2006. Either way, it’s a top-down shooter with a focus on throwing as many enemies at you as possible. Unlike other shooters of this type though you are unable to move. Instead you’re basically an upgradeable turret which can shoot 360 degrees around itself.

RIP

There are forty levels and nothing really changes aside from the backdrop as well as the configuration of explosive barrels around the area. Otherwise, you’re going to be playing dozens of same-y levels. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though as some people really dig this sort of gameplay. It’s not my thing, but I enjoyed it all the same. On easy, the game is manageable but is probably more infuriating if you try for harder difficulties.

The game isn’t particularly recommended unless you are in dire need of top-down shooters. There are currently two other games in the series, RIP 2: Strike Back and RIP 3: The Last Hero, which are probably better investments anyway.


Score: 1

1  out of 5 alpacas


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Boogie Bunnies Review

Boogie Bunnies Featured

Boogie Bunnies Boxart

Developer: Artech Studios
Publisher: Sierra
Platform: PC, Xbox 360 – XBLA

If you’ve been playing games for any amount of time then chances are you’ve come across a match-3 game or two. The main goal in any of these puzzlers is simply to match three (or more) of the same colored object in some connected pattern. Games like these get skinned and re-skinned from Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine to Dr. Mario and even Lumines.

Boogie Bunnies is little more than your average match-3 game although it certainly tries to be more engaging. It mostly fails in this pursuit. Artech Studios sure seemed to have given the game their all though. This is evidenced by looking at the “match” objects which are all moving polygonal bunnies.

Boogie Bunnies Featured

The bunnies don’t move too much to cause confusion (most of the time). They simply do some idle animation and hop forward every once in a while to simulate the screen slowly being filled to capacity. If you’re doing well with matching, however, they will spontaneously begin a dance party. All the same, they never move out of their respective spots so it’s not too hectic.

If you let yourself get into it, Boogie Bunnies is a competent game. It’s just not what would be at the top of anyone’s list when they are looking for a good block matching game.


Score: 1.5

1  1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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0D Beat Drop Review

0D Beat Drop Featured

0D Beat Drop Boxart

Developer: Cyclone Zero
Publisher: Arc System Works
Platform: Xbox 360 – XBLA

Ever since the massively successful Tetris first hit the scene, developers have been trying to find any way to cash in on a similarly addictive formula. Sometimes they get pretty close. Usually though you end up with something ranging from mediocre to creative. Which camp does 0D Beat Drop fall into?

Thankfully, the game succeeds quite well. It feels at first like a mix of Lumines and Puzzle Fighter. Almost every mode pits you against at least one player (human or CPU). From there, you work to match four or more colored blocks in various orientations. If you succeed, then some of your blocks will be dropped on the enemy. Similarly, if they do well, you’re likely to get their blocks tossed onto your side.

0D Beat Drop Featured

What connects this to Lumines? Well, 0D Beat Drop employs a musical system for the casting of blocks from one side to the other. Simply lining up four in a row won’t clear them. Instead, you must hit the proper button on the background music’s beat for it to work. This starts out easily enough but quickly becomes more challenging, as each successful hit causes your window of accuracy for the beat to become much smaller.

It creates a fairly enthralling experience when you’re not only focusing on blocks but on the beat. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of songs available (with more as DLC). Still, there are a couple of varied modes available that extend the package between 10 stages. Give it a look if you’re a fan of rhythm-based puzzling.


Score: 2

2 out of 5 alpacas


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Dinner Date Review

Dinner Date Featured

Dinner Date boxart

Developer: Stout Games
Publisher: Stout Games
Platform: PC

Have you ever felt yourself worrying that you’ve been stood up on a date? If so, then this is likely a game you can relate to. If not, then it shows a pretty depressing example of how worrying the whole process of waiting for a date to arrive can be.

As the name implies, you engage in the preparations and waiting for a date to have dinner with. The dinner is intimate, with a single candle and wine, despite being in the protagonist’s cramped kitchen. You can look at the clock – again and again, as well as interact with the objects nearby.

Dinner Date Featured

This is not any sort of typical game focused on gameplay. Instead, you mostly soak up the internal diegetic of the protagonist while waiting for your date’s arrival. There’s nothing wrong with exploring narrative over actual play in games, but have that expectation in mind beforehand. Dinner Date is a neat, if very brief, experience. I just would have liked to see the idea expanded further.


Score: 2

2 out of 5 alpacas


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Beat’n Groovy Review

Beat'n Groovy Featured

Beat'n Groovy Boxart

Developer: Voltex
Publisher: Konami
Platform: Xbox 360 – XBLA

Konami is the undisputed king when it comes to rhythm/music games as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately, outside of DDR, they have really squandered the Bemani label in the West. With tons of bankable properties, they instead continually release misguided versions of their classics to supposedly appeal to American tastes. They create awful, old-looking versions that no one is interested in.

Such is the case with Beat’n Groovy. The game itself is modeled strongly after the successful (and Japanese-only) Pop’n Music. Okay, Pop’n saw US release on Wii but it was one of those bastardized versions. This game is played by using a 3 or 5 button layout to hit keys as they fall down the screen. It’s easy enough, and the standard model for Beatmania as well.

Beat'n Groovy Featured

The problems come in when you look at the paltry songlist – only 9 tracks in all. There may be downloadable content available, but people would only be interested in buying that if the base property is sound. It isn’t. Sure, the play is still adequately Pop’n style, but the music they selected was extremely poor. Most of it sounds like the early days of Bemani, and some of the tracks (as far as I could tell) are legitimate Bemani properties. But if you’re trying to appeal to the US then you’ve got to make a “modern” tracklist that appeals to current tastes.

Check out the demo if you’re set on having a Western version of Pop’n but this is probably the worst version you could get. It’s a shame, because if Konami could ever have success via a non-DDR rhythm game then they might be willing to put actual effort into others.


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


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