Category: Games

Rayman Origins

Rayman Origins is the latest in the long-running platforming series published by Ubisoft, and developed by their internal Montpellier studio. It’s also the first game to make use of the UbiArt Framework, a graphics engine that takes a lot of the technical aspects out of creating games with hand-drawn elements. With other engines, artists have to factor in movement and scaling to keep their images from being distorted. UbiArt Framework makes a lot of these factors moot as it handles them automagically, giving artists a chance to focus simply on creating great art, and then allowing them to animate the pieces by manipulating the individual object’s silhouette. The result is a truly gorgeous 2D platformer that may well be the crown jewel of the genre’s recent renaissance.

Rayman‘s gameplay is pure 2D platforming. It’s all about precision jumping and fancy footwork, navigating harmful obstacles and a myriad of colorful and offbeat baddies. All the while you’re collecting coins, or rather in this case sleepy little balls of light called “Lums.” Along the way you’ll cross a sea of punch, explore a mountain temple, and enlist the help of a flower king. Oh, but just so you know, there are piranha in the punch, the mountain temple is infested with swarms of bat-like creatures, and when you first meet the flower king he’s 25 feet tall, covered in thorns and wants to eat you. Cute and challenging are two words that would go a long way toward describing this game.

There’s nothing worse than a game that’s difficult enough to require precision, only to give you control of a character that floats around or whose jumps seem ever so slightly delayed. Luckily that is not the case here, as Ubisoft nailed the controls. Everything from sprinting to jumping feels tight and responsive, and Rayman (or Globox, one of the tweenies, or any one of a number of other unlockable characters) seems to go exactly where you mean him to go. Replayability is also good as completionists will find themselves playing each level multiple times in an effort to collect all the Lums, find all the hidden Electoon cages, and earn all the time trial trophies.

Amid all the stuff that Ubisoft did right with this game- and they did so much right- I think the real unsung hero is the soundtrack. From the music in the opening cinematic that instigates the Darktoons to attack the Glade of Dreams, to well-crafted scores that complement each stage’s theme and worm their way into your head with their sublime quirkiness, it all complements the art style so well.

In addition to being a great single player game, Rayman also features an up to four player co-op, a la New Super Mario Brothers, allowing you and three friends to navigate the hazards out there together. Luckily checkpoints are frequent, and since players that fall or get hit are ‘bubblelized’ and can get tagged back in by floating close to another player, progress is possible even if you have to carry a weak link. This will prove especially nice to those of you who like to game with your kids, or who have spouses who aren’t as good at games as they think they are.

All in all, I can’t think of much to complain about concerning this game. It looks and sounds great, the controls are solid and replayability is high. Lots of fun, lots of challenges, lots of heart, and lots of charm. In fact, the only negative thing I can even think to say is the game is 15 years too late to be a part of the genre’s heyday and get the attention it deserves. Rayman Origins has been out since November 2011, and so far its story has been one of critical success but commercial disappointment. I think that will change over time, though, because despite the decline of 2D gaming, Rayman Origins is in it for the long haul. Games this good don’t go unnoticed forever. If you are a fan of great platforming in the vein of classic Mario Brothers or Sonic the Hedgehog titles, you owe it to yourself to check this game out now.

In 1993 Slackers Music Movies Games was founded in downtown Columbia, Missouri, on Broadway Street, right smack dab in the middle of Middle America. Not just a record store and not just a gaming store, Slackers had the novel notion that people loved music, movies and games equally, so there needed to be a store to cater to them.

Slackers staffed its stores with music, game and movie aficionados who prided themselves not only on customer service but also on product knowledge. Slackers offered the opportunity to “Try before you buy,” where customers were able to play any video game and listen to any CD to see if they really liked it before they purchased it.


Shadow of La Rochelle

The story of the game takes place in 16th century France, during the time of King Henry II’s reign. Well mostly, because originally, you are from the present time, but the ghost of Diane de Poitiers appeared in front of you and transported you back in time. If you do not know who Diane de Poitiers is, she is actually the most favorite mistress of King Henry II. The task that was then set for you is for you to find the real cause of her death and find the conspirators to her murder before you get to go back to the present time.

Even though the story of Amulet of Time: Shadow of la Rochelle is based on historical accounts, I suggest you do not learn history from the game since most of the storyline is inaccurate. Well, that is quite understandable really, because in order to successfully sell a game, the story should have more drama and should grip you to play as long as possible. Amulet of Time: Shadow of la Rochelle does this very well. And I should say that this is one of the best hidden object game stories I have experienced this week.

In terms of game play, I must say that overall, the game is very beautiful. The overall graphics is very nice. I especially loved the beautifully illustrated journal that keeps track of your progress through the game. The sounds are subtle and not annoying like most games and the puzzles range from pretty easy to moderately challenging. Amulet of Time: Shadow of la Rochelle is mostly hidden object scenes though, so there is few adventure gaming involved. Anyway, this does not make the game less addictive, as I enjoyed every moment of playing while the story unfolds.


GRID 2

One thing I really appreciate about this game is that it actually has a campaign of sorts, and also tries to get you emotionally attached to some of the virtual drivers participating in the various races. I find it really cool that drivers in GRID 2 have regular names, and you actually meet some of them a number of times on the track. The game is pure racing, though, there are no cops, mafia, or anything like that, so the story is exclusively built around the drama that happens on the track.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, as GRID 2 features one of the very best car handling systems ever seen in a racing game. Even though the developers from Codemasters are calling it TrueFeel, the handling system’s goal isn’t to make controlling the cars feel particularly real. The developers have aimed to strike a good balance between a realistic and an arcade feeling, and it’s safe to say that they have done a wonderful job. This is not Need For Speed, because it’s actually very easy to completely waste your car, should you enter a turn with too high a speed, but at the same time the game is very fast-paced and packs a tremendous amount of action, which makes it feel like more of an arcade-style racer. GRID 2 is also a great racing game thanks to its variety of gaming modes. You can do traditional races, but there are also some more exotic options like Drift, where you specifically have to excel at drifting. Thankfully, the singleplayer features a custom race mode, where you can just pick the track and the car that you want and race against the AI. A really cool option is the split-screen mode, where two players can race against each other on the same machine.

The original Race Driver: GRID was simply gorgeous, and thankfully, the same thing can be said about GRID 2. The tracks, environments and the cars are absolutely beautiful, without being too complex in their nature, and without being too demanding on your system. Various effects like smoke, dust, lens flares and glows add color to the visuals and are simply fantastic. The only poorly-looking part of GRID 2′s graphics are the fans scattered around the start/finish line, as their models are very low-res, but once the race begins, the crowds of people around the finish line actually start looking great at high speeds, when you can no longer focus on the small details.

The sound approach in GRID 2 is also very good. Since most of the game is a campaign mode, you often hear your buddy navigating you while you’re in the middle of a race, warning you about potential obstacles ahead or providing you with other valuable information. Effects like engine screams and crowd noises are fantastic, while the music during the cut-scenes is awesome and helps you get pumped up about the upcoming race. The one thing I dislike here is that music is largely absent during the races themselves, which is simply mind-boggling, as it can be such a powerful tool in action-packed moments, such as the ones that GRID 2 is so full of.


Borderlands 2

In the first game you had four very different and outlandish classes to play as. This one is no different. The only class that plays radically differently is the Assassin class, also known as Zer0. What makes him different is the fact that his melee attacks are generally useful. I went with this specialization throughout the game, and it was very different to play as a guy who’s meant to slice and dice rather than use one of the bajillion guns in the game.

Actually, that’s one of the game’s many strong points: the vast array of weapons. Most of the time you’ll find some common trashy ones but sometimes you’ll catch a break and pick up something truly amazing. At one point I had a gun that talked back to me every time I reloaded or zoomed in. Yeah, sure, eventually it got a little old but I couldn’t help but chuckle every time he said something off the wall.

If you played the first one, then of course you’ll recognize the outlandish sense of humor. In fact, I think it’s possibly one of the funniest video games ever made. The main adversary Handsome Jack is deviously hilarious with his off-putting sense of destruction. He makes for a way better bad guy than in the previous game. Every time I saw him pop up on the top right of my screen I knew there was going to be something worth listening to.

Not everything is perfect. There are some really, really mundane missions. There definitely could have been a little bit more variety when it came to quests at hand. You’ll fight through an area, come to a big open spot and you’ll no doubt be encountering the boss of that area. Sure, the boss might have something humorous about him but when every other quest is a kill mission you might expect a little bit more of a unique way to get to him.

That’s another gripe I had with this game: the traveling system. With such a big game space to play in, I would have thought they would try and polish the driving mechanics in this game. Though not terrible, the vehicles seem to always be driving with soap-covered wheels. It’s just not responsive enough for such a polished game- the only change that they’ve given them is that they’re able to use an emergency break which in many cases just leads to more problems. That’s one of the gripes I had with the first game but there were minimal changes to it with this sequel. Luckily, you won’t find yourself in any vigorous vehicle missions.

Finally, I need to touch upon the amazing cooperative mode. This game is truly made to be played with your friends on PlayStation Network or Xbox Live. Sure, it’s fun to just blast around with random people but if you actually know the guys you’re playing with you won’t have to worry about random jerks stealing all your loot. I just wish they had some sort of loot based system like some of the Massively Mutliplayer games out there. Maybe a need before greed loot system or something. Other than that, the multiplayer is great and was essentially lag free every time I loaded it up.


Racing Video Games

Crazy Taxi 

This is not a classic racing game, in the sense that you are competing against other drivers. But, you still have to race against time, which is also a lot of fun. You have to complete various missions, such as picking up customers, performing stunts, overcoming obstacles, getting a certain number of points for each mission you complete.

Midnight Club

This game was developed by Rockstar Games, which also created the extremely popular Midtown Madness. It’s an open-world street-racing video game, which is set in Manhattan, and was originally designed to be played on a PlayStation 2. You can drive some of the best luxury cars, as well as tuners, muscle cars, and motorcycles. You can also customize your car by adding personalized license plates, and by modifying the interior, adding aftermarket steering wheels, gearboxes, racing seats, and so on.

Colin McRae Rally 

Colin McRae Rally is definitely one of the most popular video games ever made. It doesn’t owe its popularity to the fact there are not too many good rally games that it has to compete against, but the fact that it has some pretty good sound and visual effects, and the fact that it was named after perhaps the best rally driver in the history of this sport.


Super Mario Galaxy 3

Flash forward three years, and Galaxy 2 was released. Nintendo found a way to push the graphical limits of the Wii to its finest. The smooth, realistic look was something completely new to Wii gamers. Galaxy 2 introduced Mario’s famous companion, Yoshi, into the franchise. This addition made the already popular games even more popular.

Now, we are approaching the three year mark since the last game and everybody is waiting for the next installment. Nintendo has announced their latest console, the Wii U, so it’s only expected that Super Mario Galaxy 3 would be announced by it’s side.

But true fans that have been following the series know that it is coming. The question is not whether or not it is coming… The question is rather what magic will it bring to the table?

One of the biggest elements that the Galaxy series has going for it is its soundtrack. Did you know that the Galaxy 2 soundtrack had over 100 tracks? The beautiful orchestra tracks give space such an elegant feel. So the first thing that can be expected is another beautiful soundtrack. And quite possibly a revamp of a couple older Nintendo songs. (The Classics)

Next, we can expect the addition of new suits for Mario to wear. In the original Mario Galaxy, we had just a few suits to play around with. When Super Mario Galaxy 2 was released, we got to use all of the old suits along with three additional suits. So for Super Mario Galaxy 3, it’s very fair to assume that the old suits will all be back in play (at least in some respect), and that we will gain a couple additional suits as well. Some suits have been thrown around like the Tanooki Suit from Mario Bros 3, the Penguin Suit from Mario Bros Wii, and the Frog Suit from Mario Bros 3. With the Tanooki Suit is the latest Mario title on the 3DS, I believe that Nintendo will not be including it in Super Mario Galaxy 3. But the Penguin Suit and Frog Suit are certainly up for grabs.


Games For Girls

Even if it was a movie your daughter loved, the spin-off might be a dud. When a big budget kids movie is made, the tie-in is usually a rush job that has not been planned properly. The game sometimes attempts to follow the film story too closely, leading to a boring one-dimensional tour through some of the more popular scenes. And of course if game makers run out of ideas, the result is a collection of bad mini-games that do not logically tie together well. Not that all min-games collections are bad though. (Sesame Street’s Once Upon a Monster is a notable exception and also an excellent girl’s game to consider)

Children learn quicker if they’re playing and having fun. Math, normally a boring subject for my 8 year old daughter suddenly became very interesting when she had to calculate how much money she still had to make to buy a bird house in the game Viva Pinata. In the same game she also realized that she could turn cheap plant seeds into grown plants that could be sold for a profit. This is a concept that will hopefully serve her well in later life.

Here are some game categories that I have seen from experience that are surefire winners with younger girls:

  • Dress-up (Barbie Jet, Set & Style)
  • Dance (Dance Central series, Just Dance: Disney Party)
  • Pets (Fantastic Pets, Kinectimals)
  • Princess (Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey, Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure)
  • Life Simulation (Viva Pinata Series, The Sims, Farmville)
  • Brainteasers (Brain Challenge, Big Brain Academy)
  • Party (Mario Party series)
  • Cooking (Cooking Mama)


First Days of Minecraft

When you first begin, look for trees and begin punching them. A good idea is to leave the bottom stump, jump on it and then punch upward to get the most from the tree without having to use steps, and then remove the stump. After gathering a few stumps, make some wood planks and a crafting table.

Having a crafting table, you should begin creating more wooden planks and a few sticks. Use these to create wooden axes, a sword, and a few pick axes. Continue gathering wood and making wood planks, you will need these to create a makeshift house before the first nightfall.

Mine some stone (grey blocks) so you can create a furnace. This furnace can be used to create some charcoal, so you can make some torches to light the inside of your house. Ensure that your house is fully enclosed and you have a few torches inside and maybe even outside to keep enemies from spawning so close.

Create a door for your house so you can easily enter and leave your house at will. If you choose to build inside the earth, then construction of your home will be easier than an above ground house.

Having a fully enclosed house with a door, torches inside and out, with a furnace and crafting table inside will be good enough to begin your first night. Once night falls you will encounter creepers, spiders, zombies, and skeletons. Creepers are the most dangerous, because they will explode and damage any terrain in the explosion (except for highly resistant material, which you won’t have access to this early on.

On your second day, you should begin gathering meat by slaying cows, chickens, or pigs. You should also begin constructing a farm nearby too. For this you will need a wooden hoe and a nearby water source. using natural earth you can till near the water to create a small farm. start attacking grass to gather seeds you can plant on these tilled and watered farm grounds. It will take some time for wheat to grow, so be patient. After the wheat is fully grown you can create bread out of it.

If you are lucky to find brown and red mushrooms about, you can create a bowl out of wood, and make yourself some mushroom stew to stave off your hunger bar for a bit.

Finding sugar cane about is another good quick farming option to create sugar and paper for ingredients.

After you have a farm or two with seeds planted, you should create some chests to store your items inside your house. have two chests together to create a big chest, which contains greater storage space. If daylight is still in your favor, you should gather more wood and cobblestone, so you can create better tools, and perhaps expand your house further.

Once you have more wooden material, you should create more sticks so you can build a fence around your farm. Animals can trample upon your farm and destroy them, so its a good idea to create an enclosure around it, and fences is usually a good idea. Once you have an fence enclosure and a gate to enter and leave, place torches on top of the fence for good lighting.

On your third day, you should be self-sufficient for the most part, so you should now be able to explore and discover your world. If you find iron, you will need a stone or better pick axe to mine it. Once you have gathered enough iron, and usually coal is find in close proximity too, so eyes open! Place your iron in the furnace to get iron ingots, and if there is sheep around, make a shearing tool! This shearing tool will let you gather wool from sheep so you can create a bed. This bed will allow you to sleep at night and set a spawn point, in case you get killed out there.


FIFA Ultimate Team Players

Ensure the overall chemistry is not below 80 percent to maintain a high stability to the players. Remember the lower the chemistry the weaker the players might play a certain formation and game style.

One way to increase the chemistry is to have the coach’s preferred formation the same as the one you designate to your team.

Add players with the same nationality or players who are in the same real team to boast your chemistry.

Send the unwanted players you have or didn’t even know you had straight to the trade pile but know the appropriate times to sell the players. By timing I am meaning the amount of people who are likely online at certain times. (You can see the amount of people online on the main screen on the top left corner it will state the amount of players currently in online matches.)

Buy cheap players that you truly know you can sell for a higher price and will less likely cost you money.

Timing is crucial; to make the big sales with the players you do not need any more make sure the price is not too high or too low.

Many times people are looking for players that have a “buy-now price” and are willing to spend a high amount to have the player now.

When buying the best FIFA Ultimate Team players go to the last pages on the search tool because there are many players who have a buy-now price and you will have less competition because many people are targeting players on the first list on the search tool.

Remember the goal is to have the best FIFA Ultimate Team players possible, but to have to best chemistry possible as well. If you add many top rated players and a weak chemistry and the opponent might not have a better overall rating as yours but their team has a better team chemistry then yours despite your FIFA abilities they will have the upper hand.


Glu Mobile

Blood and Glory can be common, though the gameplay works nicely here, and really delivers challenging. With no special spells, along with little parrying windows as compared to its progenitor, it proves to be much more challenging. At least potions, though not really inexpensive to purchase, may be used mid-match too. The game should appear great on the iPad and also Retina Screen. A good amount of useful armor as well as weapons can be found irrespective of the concept of this game being ever-so-slightly more grounded actually, as well as one shield that could cause Ed Gein excited.

The game play can have accomplished very well to differentiate it’s product a little bit more as compared to as it currently stands. Even while it’s structurally completely different, the gameplay cuts close enough that this really is upon that line of being identical copy. Though unlike the Ninja Fishing dispute, no one is going to be weeping for Epic and ChAIR Entertainment, specifically since they’ve reportedly made around $20 million by Infinity Blade. On the other hand, principally, it’s about the same, and more variations in gameplay making it its own video game could have been enjoyed. Furthermore, this video game can be very tough to play without spending a dime for a long time, because potions are just available via the in-app credits structure. The fact is, lots of money has to be put in order look around the game’s depths, particularly with matches which cost you large amounts of jewels to take part in. Though doing several items pricey can be part for the path for other freemium Glu games and it is completely OK with me, having potions only accessible by means of credits which can be sparingly offered in-game does not sit well with me.

Sure, it’s generally Infinity Blade covered by a Glu premium cover. But Infinity Blade seemed to be very interesting, and Blood and Glory follows the same tactic to element similarly enjoyable gameplay. Although the freemium aspects providing a glorified paywall after a not much time turns out to be on the frustrating aspect, this is a good stopgap for many who have finished killing the God King, and need anything to play when they loose time waiting for Infinity Blade 3. Android users gets more pleasure out of this, as the platform lacks Infinity Blade completely.