Extra-Life

Monday
Oct062014

Gauntlet video gameplay

Today, Zealeus gives a little live footage of the new Gauntlet game

Wednesday
Oct012014

Hunters of the Dead Review

Hunters of the Dead, by Traptics, is a monster hunter, tower defense, rogue-like game. In this game you will start with a base of operations, and a randomized grid of city buildings that will enhance your ability to survive monster attacks. The catch is that the layout is always going to be completely random, as is the times when clearing a section of the city causing a fight to occur. Now of course the biggest and baddest of old school monsters will definitely keep you on your toes through the duration of the game that you can survive, and that of course is Dracula.

Graphically this game defintely gives off the feel of what city buildings in a dark age town terrorized by monsters should look like. There are pieces of the art, especially the battle area, that feel a bit rushed. This also goes with the hero character designs, I feel like they are trying to make a serious game and at the same time try to do a parady of what they are doing, which is really confusing. 

The music in the game definitely gives you the monster hunter vibes. The voices in the game are interesting, it's hard to peg them down. The thing is that voices are randomly given to your units so you never know which of the 4 or 5 voices your units are going to have. Some of the voices get old really fast, others well they just kind of go away after a while because you hear them so often. I will tell you what though, when I hear Dracula speak I do have that instant feeling of dread, probably because I'm about to lose everything in the fight.

The controls are really simply, its a point and click system, though it is in real time for the battles, so depending on the speed of the enemies you are facing, you either can wait a while or have to move fast, and sometimes you are not going to be fast enough.

This is your definition of a grind game. You are going to fail completely A LOT of times before you actually feel like you are getting anywhere in the game. One of the cheats that I like to use, to help prolong my game sessions is, when I hear Dracula's speech I immediately exit to the main menu and select the continue option. This will place you back in the game right before you selected that game tile that caused the Dracula attack. Hell if you really want to this is also one hell of a way to avoid fights until you are ready. 

Speaking of ready, this is the biggest qualm I have with the game, your units have a set number of action points. They do not replenish after combat, it takes 2 for them to be entered into combat, and additional ones if you want to move them around in combat. The problem is that when they run out they go and rest. Now there are buildings that you can "gain" that will help keep down the number of rounds you have to rest before a unit comes back, but if your unit was on its last leg, health-wise, its going to be the exact same after resting. So in order to get your unit back to where it needs to be you will have to send them home to rest and then select an amount of turns for the unit to then visit the hospital. This is also the only way to get your units healed.

There are many buildings in the game, and they are all vital to you surviving. There's the tower which will add to your base's current defensive number. There's the houses which will add a unit to your cause, all of them will be found at level 1.  There are the cemeteries thatare used to train units. There's the goods store, which decreases the amount of turns need for resting a unit. There's the gun store which will give you a randomly selected weapon, that if you have a regular unit will be equipped to them (machine gun, shotgun, sword, sniper rifle). There are hospitals that will help heal your units when they are sent there. Finally there are the gadget stores, which apparently help out your units, but I've never figured out in what way really.

I am going to just tell you right now that I went ahead a played this game over and over again so that I could accumulate the money needed to unlock all the upgrades. You see, an interesting aspect of the game, is that the money you accumulate in game sticks around even after a complete defeat. Now after you have unlocked everything, you are going to find that the game is still probably going to chew you up and spit you out. In my opinion there's so much micro-managing and guessing that the fun gets sucked out. There's also a ton of questions that are felt while playing this game. The main one is, why the hell is it that when I'm 6 buildings away from my base I'm magically attacked at my base? Should I have not been able to detect the enemies moving towards my base and maybe plan accordingly so I'm not left with a single level 1 unit and everyone else is off training, resting, or healing? There's also the question, that crept into my mind after way too many playthroughs of, is this game actually beatable? I have tried my best to gear up for a Dracula attack, and I'm going to be honest, I don't think it is possible to survive and kill him. Sure there's the chance his hit on your base doesn't take you to zero, but to actually kill the warping all over the battlefield, Prince of Darkness, I just don't see it.

This is an interesting game, and there's a lot there that will have you coming back, trying different things, and hoping that the city layout will help you survive long enough to have units strong enough to take on all that will be dished out, but in the end there's just too many frustrating pieces for this game to contain the entertaining aspects of this game. So with that I have to give this game a 7.4 out of 10.

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Wednesday
Oct012014

Save the Comet Review

Save the Comet is an Android device game, developed by MogaMecha. In this game you will be playing the part of the protector of a comet. What I mean by this is that you have a comet that is flying through space in the center of the screen and it will be your fast thinking and movements that will prolong the life of this comet. There is infinite playability in this game.

Graphically this game gives you the feel of 3D in a 2D space. The best thing is that it works. There's definitely a simplicity to the look of the game, but you can definitely tell that there was a lot of attention put into this aspect of the game. One of my favorite rewards/features is that after playing the game for a while you will accumulate enough points to be able to customize the planets you are interacting with and the appearance of the comet that you will be protecting.

I'm going to be completely honest with you when it comes to the sounds of the game, I always found myself playing the game on mute, I do that for most of the Android games on my tablet, so I'm going to have to plead ignorance on that aspect of the game.

The controls for the game are both simple and tricky at the same time. You are going to be tapping and holding your finger down on the screen. You are doing this to bring planets close to the comet for it to take on stardust, doing this will also cause the direction of the comet to change. You can also use planets to destroy other planets that might be in the comet's path. 

So here's the deal, this is the type of game that is simply rinse and repeat. It's an endless runner type of game that takes on a slightly different look and feel. The whole objective of this game is to try to last as long as you can. Now of course there's also the star dust collection component to the game, but I've never been able to accumulate all that much to actually unlock any of the special stuff. I found that the majority of my hands on playing of this game revolved around just trying to survive as long as I could, and not worrying about collecting the dust.

This is definitely a game that you can pick up pretty quickly, and it doesn't take all that much time to get through a round of the game. Now of course you could go on an unprecedented run and last for a good amount of time, but its not a game that you are going to need to sink hours into per gaming session. I do kind of wish that there was a little more instruction on some components of the game, but in the end this is a solid enough game that you should check it out. This game gets an 8.1 out 0f 10.

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Wednesday
Sep242014

Magnetic by Nature Review

This OUYA game, created by Tripleslash Studios, has you navigating through a world of fallen robots. Could you be the last one standing? Well if you are at least you have one hell of an advantage, you see you have the ability to utilize positive and negative magnetic pull. You will need to utilize quick moves and changes between magnetic pulls to get through this game.

From a graphics stand point I have to say that this game stands out. Even though it does appear simple with the color schemes and 2D look, there's something about this game that shows you that even though there's not 3D full blown art, that this as been well refined, and flows well throughout the game. Also appreciate the fact that as you progress through the game you are seeing the environment change, you are not looking at the same stuff through the entirety of the game. 

The music in the game is something that I can definitely listen to all day. It's got a nice flow to it, and because there are no lyrics it blends in nicely with anything that you are doing. So when you are playing the game the music blends in with the game flawlessly and in my opinion is a big part of the game.

The controls of the game are pretty straightforward you are going to use the left analog to move your character, and then you are going to use the shoulder buttons for positive or negative magnetic pull.

So lets get into game play, shall we. You are going to notice that magnetic forces are the centerpiece of this game. In a way its a 2D grapple game, but it is also a bit more than that. Through out the levels that you will be taking on you will notice that not only are you trying to pull your character towards a magnetic point, but you will be also using them to catapult you away from certain points. As you move through the game you will also notice that there's a bit more creativity required to get through the levels successfully. Now of course the on thing that will have you in fits is that when you die you have to do that specific level all over again. I know I have lost my life many times trying to get the extra piece in the levels instead of just forging ahead, but when you have the chance to get everything in  a level, you have to, right? So the one thing that took me WAY TOO long to figure out and almost caused me to never get into this game was the fact that I didn't know what to do as soon as you load in. I didn't pay attention to the fact that you have to walk up to a downed robot and you will then be given levels that you will have to complete to advance the game. Once I figured that out it was the kind of game that I couldn't put down.

There's definitely enough in this game to keep you entertained, and challenged for quite a while. There are definitely some levels that will have you screaming profanity as you just missed that one magnetic pull or push, but in the end you will come back to this game. Now let's get to the biggest piece, I know that not everyone has an OUYA, and I'm sure that there are those out there who wish this game was on other platforms, well it turns out they are aiming for PC/Mac/Linux. So here you go, this is definitely a game that ramps up in a very challenging way, but its also the type of game that you want to come back to, with that said this game gets an 8.9 out of 10

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Sunday
Sep212014

Monkey Tales Review

Monkey Tales, by Larian Studios, is a game geared towards kids in grades 2 through 6. This is actually a collection of games, by the same name, brought together to give you all those different grades in one nicely wrapped package. In each of these grade levels you will get to select a character that will be used to traverse through different levels. You will not only get to follow along with a story, but you will also find that you are on a 3D adventure that actually teaches you along the way. In every single grade section you will have to journey through levels filled with traps, obstacles, bananas, and of course troublesome monkeys. Each section is comprised of many levels that you will have to conquer, and the only way to accomplish that is to defeat the monkeys in educational games.

Graphically this looks like a very good looking game. No offense, but most educational games aren't known for looking cool and interesting, but I do have to say that with the added elements of collecting the bananas, taking on the other puzzles of the levels, and just the though and touches put into each level makes this look like an actual game that has some educational components to it, and not the other way around. You will find yourself in all kinds of different settings through out the game, but there is one constant. You are always in a locked area/room, that you cannot get out of until you face off against the monkey. 

Now lets get down to the music and sounds of the game. Once again, just like the graphics that went into the game it feels polished. You have a helpful guiding voice that will make her presence known when need be. You also have music that fits into the area that the current level you are playing on.

As stated before this is an educational game that is centered around math. This is definitely a workout for kids in grades 2 through 6, and I have to admit that a person of my age is going to have a workout as well. You see there's more to it than just knowing the answers, this game makes you formulate the answer in a speedy fashion. You see the games you are playing against the monkey are not turned based, but real time games. You do not only have to figure out the answer, but you are going to need to select/find the answer before the computer/monkey does. You you will battle the monkey until one of you gets the desired amount of points for victory. If you end up being the victorious one, you will find that the door to exit the area that you are currently in is now open.

Now I do want to say, since I did point it out previously, that there's also another more game component to this, and to be honest the more I think about it, the more I can see that this is problem solving of a different type. When you find yourself in the area/level, you will notice that there are bananas that you can collect, I highly recommend that you collect all of them on each level. Now in order to do that you are going to have to have to figure out the puzzle of the level. Sometimes its just a matter of navigating around the area/level, but most of the time you are going to have to activate magnets, move boxes, dodge laser beams, and more. So if you are looking to have your child, or yourself, given an even greater challenge than just the monkeys, try to solve the entire area/level, and collect all the bananas.

Each grade section has a different story to tell, and different levels and areas to navigate through. My one wish is that we did not have to see the progression on the map between each level. At first you can definitely see it as a rewarding look at how you are progressing, but after a while, especially since you have to load to that screen, and then back in without really doing anything but watching your character move an inch or two on the map, it really takes away from the game. There's also a zoo component to each of these grade sections, this is where the monkeys that you have defeated are located, at least that's what you are lead to believe, but in reality once you have solved enough of the area/levels you will notice that the number of monkeys no longer increases, which kind of confuses players/students of all ages.

Now with all of this said I have to say it is refreshing to see a game with this kind of educational value potential formed in a way that will be fun and exciting for students/players. I remember playing games like this when I was in school, and it is good to see that there are at least some developers out there who understand that to make a game educational you don't have to make it bland, you can make it feel like an adventure in which a person can feel accomplishment, and have fun learning and honing their skills. This game, or I should say bundle of games, gets an 8.9 out of 10.

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Saturday
Sep202014

The Journey Down Chapter 2 Review

In the second chapter of The Journey Down you will once again be playing the part of Bwana, sorry to spoil it for those who haven't played the first chapter, but the game picks up with the plane crash. You will get to spend the vast majority of this chapter in Port Artue, a city below the previous city that you played the first chapter in. The biggest difference between this chapter and the previous, though, is the fact that the pace has picked up. There's definitely some urgency, and some large obstacles standing in your way. Remember you are still trying to get to the final destination, but there's going to be people who will do anything to stop you.

Graphically you are still looking at the same type and feel as the first chapter. I did like the locations of the game a bit more than the first chapter. You are in a city where it is perpetually night, but there's definitely different levels of feel and look to this chapter. You are going to see the Club Temba, you are going to see a light house, back alleys, some places you don't even want to be in, but you are going to be in. I felt like this game just looked crisper than the first. I know that sounds weird seeing as this is the same engine that powered the first, but it looked like there was more flexing of the muscles in the engine this time around.

Once again the voice acting seemed to fit the tribal masks that were put to the faces of the characters that you are going to interact with. There's also going to be a bigger cast of characters to interact with, and impressively enough all of them will be voiced. What can I say there's just something about hearing voices put to faces and characters.

The controls once again are going to be point and click. Always be on the look out for an object that just stands out, chances are you are going to need to use it, or take it in order to get through this game.

Alright, so here we are, chapter 2. I really wish I could write it without doing spoilers, but there's just some that are just going to have to be said. First off you are in Port Artue. A city in that lives in a permanent night time, but seems to sparkle all the more for it. You are going to find yourself immediately on a boat that is lost at sea. Now I know its not really hard to figure out that you make it into port, but there you have it. You will then have an immediate obstacle put in your path and you are going to find that your crew of characters from the first chapter are going to be torn apart, and it is through the majority of this chapter that you are going to be trying to get them back together. There's definitely another round of puzzles, and utilization of objects in order to reach your goal. I'm going to be honest, there's going to be some head scratching at a couple of points, but if you trust in your inventory, and you are paying attention to the objects you can pick up, you should always have some sort of solution at hand. 

This was definitely a stronger chapter than the first, and it definitely shows itself as giving you a hell of a lot of story, and action packed into over 3 hours of game play. Now I know that this seems like a small number for some, but you have to realize that this is a chapter, and that, in my opinion, is a good amount to play with in a chapter. Now that being said, you are definitely going to need to play the first chapter to figure out all the characters, and story, but this is definitely a chapter you don't want to miss out on. So with that I have to give this game a 9.3 out of 10.

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Monday
Sep082014

The Journey Down Chapter 1 Review

In the Journey Down, by SkyGoblin, you will take on the roll of Bwana, a pilot who is scared of heights, and who runs a fuel station on the outskirts of the town St. Armando. He lives with his best friend Kito. It doesn't take long for something mysterious to happen as a professor's assistant shows up looking for an old book. This is where the adventure really starts to begin, and its going to be up to you to escape and save everyone.

Graphically I can definitely feel the African tribal theme showing up in all the character designs. All faces seemed to be modeled after tribal masks, and definitely add something extra to the personalities of the characters that you will encounter. There's also the different area designs, you will of course spend the vast majority of your time around the fuel station, but you will also get to see a cafe, a yacht, and a railway stop. All of these areas have this painted feel to them, but in a crisp way that draws the player into the scenes. As this is a point click and adventure, you will notice that sometimes the items you get to interact with are very obviously placed, and other times you will have to pay attention to your surrounds to find what might be hiding behind a door, on a bookshelf, and a wall, and more.

The music and the voice acting in the game kind of gives me a Rastafarian vibe, with a little twist of African tribal feel. I do think that there are some characters that might be laying it on a bit thick, but for the most part all the voices fit their parts for the game.

The controls in the game are as you might imagine them to do, you are going to move your mouse around the screen, seeing what or who you can interact with, and you are going to click to interact with whatever is currently selected.

This was one of those games that seemed interesting, and that I just had to at least try out, and I'm glad I did. Though the theme and feel of the game was a bit different than I have played, the storyline was definitely something that the further I got in, the more I wanted to know more. That being said there was quite a bit of distraction, as point and clicks usually cause, so that you had to do some puzzle solving, or item combining to complete a goal, or get past an obstacle. I was impressed with the amount of completely different characters you had to deal with, and some of the puzzles that I had to take on. There are some put this here and that will solve the problem puzzles, and there's also those puzzles that you will have to find the solution elsewhere to solve. Now this is only the first chapter, and I have to say that after playing this, and recording the playthrough for it, I am dying to get my hands on chapter 2. Thankfully that chapter is already out, I just hope that SkyGoblin can keep them coming. 

So if you are looking for a point and click adventure featuring a cast of characters that sort of fit the mold, and at the same time don't, you might want to check out this game. What I mean by that is that even though you are playing the part of the reluctant hero, this hero is probably a little different than you are used to, be it in the humor of the game, the appearance, or just the way that he interacts. This is definitely a game to at least try out, I know that there's a low-res free version of first chapter, but I would recommend throwing down the money to get the high-res, it looks really good. So with that I'm going to give this first chapter (which is about 2 hours long) a 9.0 out of 10.

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