Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Beast Wars, Minecraft, Podcast, Plague Inc. & Super Lemonade Factory  


Well, E3 is upon us again.  

While a tsunami of new game info is pouring out of LA, I’m not sure that anyone will have time for this little old blog, but it's still business as usual for me until PAX later this year. The convention always falls on the first week of my son’s summer visit, so I haven’t gone to the last few. Family > E3, but I will be watching all the press briefings!

As for now, normal blog… Commence!


 TV: If you’ve got Netflix, I'm quite happy to announce that the first two seasons of Transformers: Beast Wars is now available for download.

Although people flipped out when Hasbro first announced that the Autobots and Decepticons were going to become Maximals and Predacons for a new animal-only line of toys back in 1996, not only did the toys turn out to be great, the television show was the finest TF-themed production ever.

Although the quality of the computer animation was a little on the butt-ugly side at the beginning of the show, the writing and characterization are fantastic. Thankfully, the visuals do improve as the series goes on, and the rest remains strong from start to finish.

…And that series ending? Pretty damned mindblowing to anyone who's even remotely familiar with the story of the Transformers. This is great, great stuff.


Games: It’s way LTTP, but here’s my Trials Evolution review. Spoiler: It’s awesome.

The new podcast is also up. Episode 74 contains chatter on Dragon's Dogma, Max Payne 3, and quite a bit of discussion about how portables are fucking it in the bin. Featuring guest voice Michael Cunningham (@finalmacstorm) from RPGamer, give a listen, won't you? 

After wrapping my Dogma review, I had a rare bit of time for a non-review play. Asura’s Wrath was on hand, so away I went. 

Dude, chill.
I didn't get very far, so not much to say on it except that I think it's probably best to approach it as an anime where you push a few buttons once in a while, rather than expecting a more traditional game. From that perspective it's been fairly enjoyable so far, although I'm having a hard time imagining where the game is going to go in terms of escalation since the first boss battle is against an opponent who turns larger than the Earth… pass the Mountain Dew, I have a feeling this is going to get pretty extreme.

In other games news, my son knew that I had Minecraft downloaded onto my Xbox hard drive and he was begging me to try it, even though I told him that it was so glitchy that I couldn't get it to run. We decided to give it a shot and see what happened, and for some reason it's been able to work for the last few days with only minimal lock-ups… Far from perfect, but nothing nearly as catastrophic as what I first encountered when I tried to review it last month.

Pretty great... WHEN IT WORKS.
No clue what the difference was that got it to run, but in any case, I decided to put it back on the docket and will turn out a review ASAP.  I wrote most of the text last night in a single sitting… it's an unusual piece and perhaps a little more personal than I usually like to go, but it seemed appropriate given my experience with the game and the unusual nature of Minecraft itself.


Games: Given the Vita’s current dearth of interesting titles and my continued lack of interest in the 3DS, my iPhone has remained my portable-of-choice since I've gotten it. I'll eventually be putting up a more comprehensive list, but for the moment I'd like to suggest...

>Plague Inc. - A disease simulator where the point is to annihilate every last human on earth. The graphics are super-clean and appealing, the interface is very user-friendly and straightforward, and it's a lot more challenging than you think to exterminate humanity if you play on Normal difficulty or higher. 

Every player starts with bacteria, but other sorts of nasty bugs are unlocked as you go. I had a great time with this one, and when I finally put an end to humanity, it was a pretty satisfying feeling... it sounds kind of wrong when I say that now, though.

>Super Lemonade Factory - I've just started this one, but it's a puzzle-platformer with two main characters; and husband and wife. The husband can break through crates and the wife can double-jump. Get them together, and she can ride on his back. Together they must get through a series of levels in order to claim rights to a profitable lemonade factory. 

Although I'm not a fan of virtual d-pads, it hasn't been too demanding so far. The graphics are incredibly charming, and the gameplay is the go meaty enough to keep me coming back, yet light enough to be played on the go. Still working my way through it, but so far it's a big thumbs-up.


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