Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Developer: Sonic Team
Release Date: Nov. 18, 2008
Systems: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3, PS2, Wii
ESRB Rating: E-10+
Official Web site
In a nutshell: Who says schizophrenia is a bad thing?
0:00 I believe I got this one when I was scheduled to review it for Crispy Gamer, but then the review got bumped for something more interesting. The people who have actually reviewed it didn't seem to like it much, so my expectations are quite low.
0:01 The title appears to soaring trumpet and string music on a starry black field. Reminds me of Super Mario Galaxy 2. Man, I wish I was playing that right now.
0:02 I switch to the Japanese voices because they are almost always better delivered. I don't know if that's because they actually care more or because I can't actually understand what they're saying. Oh well. New Game!
0:04 A shot of the earth's curvature from high up in space. Pan up to show a galactic fleet of mega-ships... very evocative of the Star Wars opening. Zoom in on a laughing Dr. Eggman. "Oh ho ho ho! Hmmmmm?! Sonic!" Blue walkers rise to face the hedgehog, who's landed on the deck. "Fire!" yells Eggman as cannons let out a fusillade. Sonic runs past the cannon fire and destroys the robots with some spinning jumps. Machine gun fire... homing missiles... nothing can touch him, until Eggman's walker sends out a large metal hand to grab him. Sonic grins coyly, then turns into glowing, golden Super Sonic and flies away into space, the ship exploding behind him. I wonder why he didn't just fly in as Super Sonic in the first place...
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Developer: Platinum Games
Release Date: March 10, 2009
ESRB Rating: M
Official Web site
In a nutshell: Fucking ream those fuckers with some ridiculously fucking over-the-top violence!
0:00 I believe I bought this one on hype alone, then proceeded to not touch it for over a year now. Let's see if stylish ultra-violence can work on the Wii.
0:01 There's a silent chainsaw blade rotating around the "orld" part of the title. HARDCORE!
0:02 An overhead angle shot of a metropolis in stark black lines on a white background. Comic-book-style panels show close up scenes of disaster -- flaming cars, bridges reduced to rubble. A flaming skyline. "As you can see, all eight bridges to Jefferson Island have been cut," says a newscaster. "There is no traffic getting on or off the island." Communications have been blacked out for 18 hours and the cops have been told to stay away. "We have no intention of giving in to any such demands," says the police commissioner just as a helicopter explodes. The mayor says "all necessary measures are being taken" and that he's personally authorized a special team of marines to go in. I didn't know mayors could just order in the Marines. Isn't that the president's job?
0:04 Zoom in on Jefferson City. A reject from Frank Miller's Dark Knight comics throws another into a flaming barrel. A spiky haired punk waves an equally spiky bat. One more thug beats a defenseless man on the ground. A low zoom starts on my character's boots, then pans up and out to show him taking a slow drag on a cigarette. He reminds me of Hellboy without the horns. "Who, me? Ready as always." Um... who are you talking to? No one said anything requiring a response.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Developer: Ruffian Games
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date: July 6, 2010
System: Xbox 360
ERRB Rating: M
Official Web site
In a nutshell: Grand Theft Auto minus the boring parts plus a lot of jumping = Crackdown 2
0:00 The original Crackdown was one of my first Games for Lunch and I liked it a lot despite some hardware reliability problems. I quit before collecting every single orb, but had tons of fun before I got to that point.
0:01 A hard-to-read on-screen message tells me I can earn "demo achievements" as I play. Of course, I only unlock the actual achievements once I play the actual game. There ain't nothing for free... even Gamerscore points.
0:03 The options screen has for stuff like Dynamic Range and HUD Opacity. Huzzah-wha?
0:04 I have no friends playing online, but there are a lot of people playing around America, Europe and Japan, according to the handy map. At least, I think those dots represent players...
0:05 Selectable difficulties are Fragile and Tough. It looks like there's a third option, but it's grayed out and so tin that I can't read it on this standard definition TV. Let's start with tough and move it down if/when things get to be too much.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Developer: Cryptic Sea
Publisher: Chronic Logic
Release Date: May 10, 2004
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Web site
In a nutshell: It ain't easy being a tar ball... or controlling one.
0:00 I was convinced I had actually played this game before, but apparently I had just watched the trailer video and remembered controlling it directly. Now I'm actually getting around to trying it out as part of the Humble Indie Bundle I downloaded last month.
0:01 I'm not including the five minutes it took to configure the controls for the PS3 joypad, or the five more minutes it took to do it again once my computer mysteriously blue-screened for no apparent reason.
0:02 As the game loads I get to look at a fake movie poster that's obviously parodying a movie I don't recognize. Nice hi-hat heavy music on the title screen. I set the window to full screen and start a new game on Normal difficulty.
0:03 "Gish isn't your average hero. In fact he's not your average anything. Gish is a ball of tar." Um, a ball of tar is an "anything," isn't it? Anyway, "while on a Sunday stroll with his lady friend Brea a shadowy figure emerged from an open manhole pulling her away and into the ground below. Quickly, Gish jumps into action..." Yada yada yada. The simple story is illiustrated with manic, shaky lined drawings that remind me of static versions of those awful CD-i Zelda games.
0:05 The Sewers of Dross is level 1-1. I have five lives and zero points. Nice jazzy background music as I roll gish around some atmospheric sewers. The simple animation on his mouth and eyes makes him seem almost alive.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Developer: Punk Pie
Publisher: Punk Pie
Release Date: April 6, 2010
System: iPhone OS
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Web page
In a nutshell: "Let's run through that again." Let's not.
0:00 When I got an e-mail offering me a chance to play "the first ever audio-only game built solely for the iPhone" I was immediately intrigued. Audio-only? How in the world does that work? Let's find out, shall we?
0:01 Logos? Those are graphics! I thought this was audio only. Then a sexy British female voice comes into my ears. "Tilt to the left to create a new connection, or to the right to resume a connection." A connection? Is that like a save file? I tilt to the left again to choose "Slot 1." Then the game quits to the iPod menu. Ummm...
0:03 Restarted. Some ethereal music has come in. "I found a place for us to play," says the voice. "There we will exist only in sound. You can even close your eyes. Tap the screen if you want to come with me. This is Aurifi." There's a logo with a rainbow smudge in the background. The music has a nice heavy drum beat now.
0:05 My first task is to tilt the iPhone to move a sound back and forth between my two earbuds. Then I can control the pitch of a guitar chord with a front/back tilt. Then I tap the screen to play drum sounds along with the background music. Different parts of the screen make different drum noises. Fun, but not quite a game yet.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Developer: Midway Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Release Date: Oct. 27, 2009
System: Nintendo DS
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web site
In a nutshell: All the fun of the bar, with less beer spilling.
0:00 I remember occasionally playing Midway's Touchmaster bar games at some restaurants in my youth, and even wrote about the similar games it inspired for a 2007 Escapist story. The touch-based controls and simple, time-wasting gameplay seems perfectly suited for the DS. I'm kind of surprised this game has a "3" in it, though, as I've never even heard of the first two.
0:01 Funky, SNES-style MIDI music plays as a simple title appears on the top screen. I start a new file and we're off.
0:02 In the options screen I can turn the music on or off, but I can't control their relative volume of each. This smacks of a rush job already.
0:03 Let's get to the games. There are 17 spread across Card, Strategy, Action, Puzzle and Word categories. Funny, I vaguely remember the box saying there were 40 games.
0:04 Let's start with the first card game, Target Royale. Small white text describes how the game will work: I have to arrange cards as their dealt into three five-card poker hands, making the best hands possible. Clicking a shield icon brings up achievements such as "Dead Man's Hand" (A's and 8's) and "The Big Fish" (scoring zero points in a round).