Monday, January 20, 2014

A little of this, a little of that...  


Games: Had a lot of things on my plate this weekend, so just a quick check in tonight…  here are some brief impressions on what I've been playing lately.

Chibi-Robo! Photo Finder - 3DS

I was absolutely stoked to see another Chibi-Robo title pop up out of nowhere. I had no idea it was coming, but I absolutely adore this little robot and another installment is more than welcome. His original title was hands-down one of the best things on the GameCube, and I've always thought that Nintendo should have done more with him.

I haven't put a lot of time into it (about 2 hours so far) but it seems solidly scaled-down. Chibi still goes around doing small household tasks to help people, but this time he's also trying to build a museum by taking photos of things.

This photo slant is kind of a cool idea because it uses the 3DS camera to insert Chibi into the photos for sort of an 'augmented reality' effect. The problem is that the camera is incredibly finicky, and it's quite difficult to use in certain situations. In rooms that are even slightly dark it often fails, and the game has templates of objects that you need to take pictures of, so finding something that is the exact correct size and shape to fit a template is really hard. for example, one template is obviously a t-shirt, but I did not own one that fit the dimensions perfectly. The game granted me a "it's close enough, 60% match" pass, but still...

I'm going to jump back into it tonight. It seems like a win so far, but I am definitely a fan of this series, and I'm really hoping that the camera function won't be too much of a problem.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories - PS2

I've had a copy of Shattered Memories in my backlog for a long, long time and I only just now got around to it after being nudged by several friends, Matt Kaplan and Scott Nichols primary among them.

I have to say, although I thought the idea of the game was pretty cool (it's kind of a re-imagining of the original Silent Hill, my favorite in the series) it has a lot of problems and I got bored with it a little past the halfway point. Although I liked the removal of combat, that game was clearly designed for the Wii (its original platform) and as such, it really lacks a lot of depth since it's obvious the developers were working with the Wii remote interface in mind.

The structure consists mostly of running a lot and using a virtual cursor to manipulate objects in the environment (which I'm sure was absolutely riveting with a wiimote...) It's not very juicy. Worse, the story just didn't catch my attention. I never felt immersed or interested in what was going on, and it felt too long for what it was, even with a relatively short running time. I bailed maybe two thirds of the way through because it felt like a waste of time. After YouTubing the ending, I'm glad I didn't stick around.

Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD - 360

Speaking of boredom, I ponied up for a copy of AssCreed: LibHD against my better judgment. I'm claiming temporary insanity. 

Honestly, I'm not a fan of the series at all, but I was intrigued by the idea of the main character being a mixed-race woman in slavery times, and how that would play into the story. Sadly,  I should have punched myself in the face rather than spending a dime on it. The story was scattered and felt like an afterthought, and the action was the same old AssCreed stuff that bored me three games ago. 

I knew there was no hope when the main character was told to go buy a house. I thought property ownership would be an interesting story moment given her racial/gender status, but it was nothing more than walking up to a door and pushing 'B'. I don't know why I thought the developers would actually do something with that, but I did… Shame on me.   

Anyway, I think I got halfway through the second chapter and just couldn't take it anymore. AssCreed has a few good ideas buried in it, but it's mostly garbage and I'm just done with it.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger - 360

To end things on a high note, I dipped into my virtual backlog and started playing call CoJ: Gunslinger. I've heard it come strongly recommended from people I respect, and they weren't wrong. 

Although the other Juarez games have been shaky at best and terrible at worst, the developers have really nailed this one. It's essentially a corridor-y arcade-y shooter at heart, but it looks sharp, the action is fast, and it has a lot of charm thanks to the narrator who has no problems changing his version of events at the drop of a hat. When he does, the level you're in will change accordingly. 

In one instance he says he went into a mine through one shortcut, and the shortcut appears out of thin air. Once that proves to be a dead end, he says "No, that's not what happened" and the level shifts another way. It's a clever gimmick, the project is focused, and it doesn't try to be more than it is. I've been playing a couple levels at a time and having a lot of fun, but I'm glad it's a small project and not something that goes on for 20 hours. 


GungHo Online Entertainment America announced its PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system puzzle-platform hybrid game, Dokuro, is now available at a reduced price of $2.99 across North America, and will soon be €2.99 in Europe.

Having received accolades and "Best of 2012" awards, Dokuro is a one-of-a-kind action-puzzle game that utilizes the PlayStation Vita's front Touchscreen and Rear Touch Pad to enable players to manipulate the environment, and transform the game's diminutive protagonist between two forms - a nimble skeleton and a dashing prince - in order to solve a variety of puzzles in his quest to help an innocent princess escape the Dark Lord's fortress. 

Dokuro is also available for $2.99 on iOS devices through the App Store and Android devices through Google Play in North America. Featuring no in-app purchases, the smartphone/tablet edition of Dokuro adds virtual controls that deliver an intuitive and optimized experience while keeping the console-style ease of play. For devices running iOS 7 or later, Dokuro is also compatible with mobile game controllers (sold separately), offering even more direct control of the action onscreen. While boasting all the content of the original PS Vita version, the smartphone edition's difficulty and level structure have been newly tuned for touchscreens, resulting in an even more intuitive game.

Developed in Japan by GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc, Dokuro is published in North America by GungHo Online Entertainment America. For more information, Fans can also follow on Facebook  and Twitter.


The latest trailer for Daylight, the first person psychological horror game from indie developer Zombie Studios, is testament to the isolated feeling that permeates the derelict Mid Island Hospital and beyond.

Powered by Unreal Engine 4, Daylight's procedurally generated levels ensure that no door, hallway, life-saving flare or clue to the main character's past are ever in the same place twice. Oh, and just as the trailer warns, sometimes it's best not to look behind you.

Daylight will release in early 2014 for a global audience on both PC and as a console exclusive for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system.

View the new Daylight trailer here:


The start to the New Year signals bright horizons. For MonkeyPaw Games, Inc. the start to 2014 will bring six new Japanese import titles to the PlayStation®Network Store. This rapid-fire release campaign, dubbed “Retro Rush” will deliver some hidden gems along with the much-anticipated sequel to Tomba, Tomba! 2.

Starting January 14, 2014, MonkeyPaw Games will be releasing one PSone® import game a week, for six weeks. The Retro Rush titles are some of the most exciting games MonkeyPaw has uncovered to date and run the gamut of genres including Fighting, Action, Platforming and Fire Fighting RPG.

The Retro Rush culminates in the release of one of the most requested, most anticipated, and most pink-haired of PSone® classics - Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return.

For the full schedule of Retro Rush events, check out the release list below:

● Jan. 14 - Double Dragon

● Jan. 21 - Lucifer Ring

● Jan. 28 - The Firemen 2: Pete and Danny

● Feb. 4 - Hyper Crazy Climber

● Feb 11 - Wolf Fang

● Feb 18 - Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return

More information about each individual game will arrive weekly and all of the Retro Rush titles will appear via the PlayStation®Network for the PlayStation®3, PSP® and PlayStation®Vita. All titles will retail for $5.99, except Tomba! 2, retailing for $9.99.

Stay tuned for more information from MonkeyPaw Games in 2014. 


Stoic, an independent game development company and Versus Evil, an independent game publisher, today announced the release of the highly anticipated Strategy RPG The Banner Saga on PC and Mac.  The game, a huge funding success on Kickstarter, was recently announced as an Independent Games Festival (IGF) finalist for Excellence in Visual Arts, with honorable mentions for Excellence in Audio and Design. To mark the occasion, a launch trailer has also been released on the official YouTube channel:

The Banner Saga is a single-player driven Viking saga, where a player’s choice in travel, conversation and combat determines the outcome of their own personal story as well as the survival of an entire civilization. The game also features stunning 2D animation and art, a unique tactical combat system, and a cast of unforgettable characters that drive this epic journey forward. Players will also enjoy a beautiful and haunting original score by Grammy nominated, and two-time BAFTA winner, composer Austin Wintory conducting The Dallas Winds orchestra, as well as a powerhouse trio of acclaimed YouTube sensations: Peter Hollens, Malukah and Taylor Davis.

The Banner Saga is available now for $24.99 through Steam, Uplay, GameFly, GameStop and GamersGate for PC and Mac. A digital Deluxe Edition is also available through select retailers for $29.99 and includes the game and complete soundtrack.

Renren Games, a subsidiary of Renren Inc. (NYSE: RENN), has unveiled NBA Rush, the first NBA endless runner mobile game.  The new game, available free to download on iOS, features NBA players competing against alien invaders.

In NBA Rush, gamers assemble their own all-star team by choosing select NBA players from 30 NBA teams.  To win, NBA players must weave through city streets, parks, tunnels, buses, cars and alien ships, while throwing down massive dunks on aliens.

NBA Rush incorporates all of the fun gameplay elements that define the endless runner genre with a basketball spin.  To change directions, NBA players execute crossover, behind-the-back and through-the-legs dribble moves.  When juking left and right doesn’t get a player through the alien defense, the NBA players’ hops will save the day. 

NBA Rush will be free to download on the Apple App Store and will have in-game purchases to enhance gameplay.


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