Natural Doctrine - PS4 Review

There is fun to be had in this RPG/strategy title, but you have to do some digging to get there

Final Fantasy IV - PC Review

This RPG classic is refreshing and exciting to come back to even after all these years

Elminage Gothic - PC Review

Who is ready for an old school dungeon crawler? I sure am!

J.U.L.I.A.: Among the Stars - PC Review

An enhanced version of the excellent classic adventure game

Minecraft: Xbox One Edition - Xbox One Review

Let your imagination run wild!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Marvel Pinball - PSN Review

I reviewed FX Pinball by Zen Studios for the PSN recently, and I really liked the game and my dad seemed to enjoy it when he was over as well. Zen Studios made a spin-off set of tables using the same basic engine - and the result is Marvel Pinball. I had originally downloaded the main package, which came with four tables: Spider-man, Wolverine, Iron Man and Blade. I also picked up the two expansion tables, Fantastic Four and Captain America.



Graphics - 8:

There is a great look and feel to these tables. Each one has a different layout and appearance, and some of them like the Blade table have a really cool day/night effect. There's never any slow-down or stutter, no tearing or pop-in/out and you have several views you can see the table from. There is a lot going on at times, which can make it a tad bit tough to follow the ball (or balls if you get a multi-ball situation), but the fact that the game never winds up chugging under all of that movement is a good thing.



Sound & Music - 7:

The music is pretty up-tempo and matches what you are doing no the screen. There's some voice acting on all of the tables as well - for better or for worse. It's not great voice acting, but there's a sort of cheesiness to it that lends itself to the pinball table experience. It can get a bit repetitive - I know there were times where I was hitting the same shot over and over again and the sound effects and the triggered voice over were the exact same for about two straight minutes. It was a rare thing, but it occurred nonetheless.



Gameplay - 9:

For a pinball table, this is what you want. The flippers respond well, there is a great deal of variety within and between the tables, you can control the ball launch for 'skill shot' attempts and the menus are easy to get around as well. You can do a lot of customizing of your tables if you really want - I honestly don't bother though because manipulating those settings to a non-default value makes your scores ineligible for online leaderboards. Probably the only thing holding this back from being a 'perfect' pinball representation are the somewhat odd mini-game or quest missions you can pick up. They slightly draw you out of the experience and there's no explanation on how they work. It took me a few tries to realize I could select between missions on Captain America or Blade, and I had to explain it to my dad several times before he picked up on it. That part's just not quite as intuitive as the rest of the game.



Intangibles - 8:

There's trophies to unlock, leaderboards, a score called 'hero score' - and you can compare against your friends on the PSN. My dad picked these six tables up after playing them on my PS3 on his last visit, and we continually try to one-up one another. That said, I wish I knew more people playing these games too, because other than my dad and my son - I don't have any other friends playing and those bragging rights would be more fun with more people.



Overall 8:

I feel like these tables are more polished than the original FX tables I played and reviewed earlier. For fans of the comic books, it just adds an extra layer of fun to hear Spider-man spouting a one-liner or watching Tony Stark get suited up in his Iron Man costume if you progress far enough in one round. Everyone will get different mileage out of the game and the tables. For $10 you can get the original four, and then for $3 each, you can pick up the additional Captain America and Fantastic Four tables. I'm a bit surprised that no Thor table's been released yet, given the movie release. Same of Hulk and I would fully expect there to be an avengers one. There's 'slots' in the main menu for more tables, so I am certain more are planned.

If I had to list my tables in order of preference, I'd probably say:

Blade
Spider-man
Captain America
Wolverine
Fantastic Four
Iron Man


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gaming Thoughts... 8/3/11 - Humble Bundle #3



I missed out on the first couple of Humble Bundle deals when they came out. My computer was somewhat... lacking prior to Christmas (thanks hon!). That said, I've been gobbling up games at a somewhat stupid pace since then on discount, and one of the better deals out there is the occasional Humble Bundle - you can find it here:

http://www.humblebundle.com/

It's pretty hard to have anything bad to say about this. Indy game developers roll out a package of titles where you pay what you want to get the games included. Seriously, I have a friend who paid $1 last time. Sometimes, I'm embarrassed to be in public with him :P

It's for a good cause as a good chunk of the proceeds goes to charity - but even then you can decide how much you want to go to whom, whether it's a charity or the developers themselves. The deal was already pretty good, but it got made better today. The original package included:

Crayon Physics Deluxe
Cogs (which I reviewed previously here.)
VVVVVV
Hammerflight
And Yet It Moves
Steel Storm

On top of that, if you pay more than the current average people are shelling out (that would be $5.10 as of this writing) you are eligible to get the previously offered Humble Bundle #2 as well. That list of games includes:

Braid
Cortex Command
Machinarium
Osmos
Revenge of the Titans

In case that wasn't enough incentive, they're also tossing in a free key to play Minecraft until August 14th. My son was in on the earlier betas and loves this game, so he was pretty excited about this one.

The games found in the two Humble Bundles are also DRM-free, and they can be tied to a Steam account for those who like having their games centrally located, so I'll no doubt be playing them on Steam while my kids play them on their internet-less computer.

Obviously some people will already have some of these games (I had Cogs through Steam and Braid on my 360) - so that may affect how good the value is for you personally, but I'm very excited to get a hold of these games at this price, and am excited to see the Humble Bundles still coming out. Have you downloaded and made use of this or any of the prior Humble Bundles? If so, what did you think? The only other one I had purchased was the Frozenbyte one and have only logged extensive time with Trine, which I have been thoroughly enjoying.

Monday, August 1, 2011

KotL - Summoner project

So I did a few posts awhile back about a game I was prodding at with RPG Maker XP. I haven't stopped working on it - well, not completely. I did take about a month off as I waited for the funds to buy the program (there was this matter of a ps3 that goofed me up in there). Anyway, I have been doing some more work/fiddling/messing around and got the intro complete. It's not going to be a long game. If I can make a 5-10 hour game, I'd be pretty happy. Right now it's like 15-30 minutes to get through the character creation and intro - the character creation of which I have a brief video of below:




It's not much to show, but there's still a lot of little things I'm poking at. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. Which is why my MUD was in 'beta' for years.