• Gratuitous Tank Battles

    Gratuitous Tank Battles CoverThe tower defense genre feels older than it is, with basically only five years under its belt since Desktop Tower Defense and its kin. But its games have seen so many variations to the model and appeared on so many platforms, that it feels very mature in its parameters of game design and implementation. And this is from a genre that has essentially never received a “triple-A” release and most sales come from direct downloads, not on discs or cartridges.

    Solo indie developer Cliff Harris of Positech Games is now officially tackling the genre with Gratuitous Tank Battles, a sort of sequel to his popular Gratuitous Space Battles game from 2009. I had a great time playing that game, but didn’t realize at the time that Space Battles, boiled down, really is a tower defense game too. An excellent example on how varied the genre is, even if you don’t realize it.

    But Tank Battles is a proper tower defense game with the familiar onslaught of units marching across the screen and grid-based gameplay that veterans of the genre will instantly recognize. It also features an attack mode for most missions letting you experience the other side of combat, and it wouldn’t be a Gratuitous game without an insane amount of unit creation and modification at your fingertips.

  • Mass Effect 3 demo

    Mass Effect 3 CoverFor reasons actually completely unrelated to me running this video game website, I was given early access to the Mass Effect 3 demo. This doesn't make me particularly special or anything, but since I am playing it a wee bit earlier than most other interested gamers, I thought I'd take a minute to write about it.

    This is the first Mass Effect title with a demo available before the game's initial release, but if you've been following its hype in any reasonable manner, you'll quickly find out that the demo just gives normal gamers the opportunity to try out the levels that were playable last E3. They're probably in their near-final polished state now, however.

    I've never taken the time to actually research my demo history carefully to see if this is true, but I have this general feeling that I've never played a game demo that actually made me want to go out and buy the real game. Something about just playing only a part of the package bugs me, I guess. This has me slightly nervous about playing Mass Effect 3's demo as it's my current favorite series and I have very high hopes for this last entry in the trilogy. Well, here goes everything.

  • Best in Show

    Best in Show CoverA few weeks ago I found myself addicted to a little iOS game called Turtle Fly. The idea is as simple as the title: you fly a turtle like you’re launching a rocket into space, avoiding obstacles until you run out of fuel or health. Sounds like a typical mobile game, right? Worth about five minutes of your time and then deleted? Well, toss in a shop and RPG elements and all of a sudden we have a real, solid game on our hands that will suck hours away at a time.

    I’m not going to argue that adding RPG-like elements to every genre will make it better - would Tetris be improved with hit points? - but sometimes the right amount of stats and level-up progression injected into the right part of the game will give it the boost it so desperately needs.

    The new indie title, Best in Show, is attempting to do just that, with solitaire. Here’s my preview of the soon to be released, canine-themed, solitaire card game with RPG elements.

  • Child of Eden Preview

    Child of Eden CoverIt should be little surprise for anyone who knows me that my most exciting development from E3 was the unveiling of Child of Eden. Kept hidden for two years in development, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Q? Entertainment and Ubisoft (with a little help from Joel McHale) announced the title to the world to start off the Ubi conference.  Mizuguchi took the lead, presenting a demo level paired with the 360's Kinect motion capture system. While most detailed information on the title is still sparse and hard to find, bits and pieces of information are beginning to sift around, most of which sound quite promising. Here is what we know so far...

  • Elementum

    Elementum Cover

    Elementum is an upcoming puzzle game being released by indie developer One Thing Studios. I played the demo recently and really enjoyed its mechanics and can see it being a decent hit for the developers. The concept is simple but there's really a ton of room for potential. I'm looking forward to its full release soon and hope the full game is as good as the demo.

    By the way, the demo works perfectly in Wine on Linux, so hopefully there aren't any incompatibilities introduced with the full game.

    If I had to describe Elementum, I would call it a mix of Peggle, Bejeweled, and air hockey. You're basically presented with a bunch of balls (or particles) you need to destroy. To remove them from the board, you need to shoot a ball from the outer edge into the mix and group at least three of the same color together. If the shot ball comes in contact with another ball, they switch places: the shot ball is now at rest and the stationary ball is ricocheted off. With a normal shot, one ball goes in and one ball goes out. The ball heading out must now be caught though by the device that shoots balls in. It may sound a bit confusing but it is really very simple, check out the screenshot.

  • Why I'm so excited for Scribblenauts, when Drawn to Life was so bad

    Scribblenauts Cover

    Over a year ago, I reviewed 5TH Cell's first Nintendo DS game, Drawn to Life. I hated it. It featured a crappy story piled on to a crappy platformer and topped off with the most laugh-out-loud ridiculous ending I've seen since Giga Wing 2. So why am I so excited for 5TH Cell's latest? Because it seems like everything Drawn to Life was not.

    That game would be Scribblenauts. You've probably heard of it by now since the post E3 media blitz has thrown every award possible at this game. Of course, someone like me isn't allowed into E3, so I can simply just imagine how to play this game. But from videos I've seen and articles I've read, it would appear that 5TH Cell is on the right track. No story, little to no platforming, and no corny musical ending (well, that could still happen for all I know).

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