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  • westy118

    by Published on March 18th, 2010 17:01

    PlayStation 3 (PlayStation Network) Reviewed. Also on:Windows, Mac OS X, iPod, Windows Mobile, Java ME, BREW, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360 (XBLA), iPhone OS, Zeebo
    Developer: Popcap Games
    Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment

    I wasn’t expecting much when the title screen of Peggle came on with it’s childlike bright colours and picture of a uniform, but I’m glad I stuck with it because it’s one hell of an addictive game. A cross between Puzzle Bobble and Pinball the game has a very easy learning curve which helps you get suckered into the game and soon you’re replacing random shots with precision angles for maximum effect(I still haven’t perfected it).

    The ain of game is to remove all the orange coloured balls or blocks(from here on in I’ll just refer to both as balls) on the screen these are littered amongst blue coloured balls, which just give you points, a purple coloured ball which gives you a points bonus and two green balls which are like your special weapon(I’ll get on to those in a bit). You have 8 pinballs that you shoot from the top of the screen, and much like in Puzzle Bobble, you can aim it any direction in that 180 degrees. Fire the ball and watch it bounce around the screen taking out the other balls as it inevitably heads towards the bottom. Now at the bottom of the screen there is a pot, if the ball goes into the pot you get a free ball, if not you don’t, simple as that. When you hit the last orange ball the camera zooms in slow motion style as the music changes to ‘Ode to Joy’ and there are five holes the ball can fall into at the bottom of the screen - two 10,000 point holes, two 25,000 and one 100,000 in the middle. I never got tired of this moment it was so much fun watching the ball drop.

    There are for different types of game - adventure, quick play, master duel and challenge. Adventure basically gets you into the game, you play through all the different characters, learning their special weapon. There are ten characters, unicorn, flower, frog, alien, rabbit, dragon, lobster, beaver, pumpkin and an owl. There is absolutely nothing unique about their game play apart from their special power, but as you’ll find when playing the challenge levels, choosing which character/special power can be very important. Special powers include seeing where your ball will bounce, lobster flippers at the bottom of the screen(much like you would get in pinball) a space blast which will clear some of the balls, a ghost ball which appears when your ball falls off the screen, and my personal favourite - the Zen shot, choose your shot and the computer will select a better shot for you close by, it’s definitely the power I choose the most.

    At first I didn’t think this game was that up to much it just seemed to be a luck whether or not you took out a lot of balls or just one or two, but as you just into it you look at the screen and plan out how your going to attack the level, hoping that it all goes to plan. Adventure mode only takes a few hours, but it’s the challenge mode that will really consume most of your time, there are something like 55 levels and it gets very challenging after the first six levels so there’s plenty to keep you going.

    The only issue I have is that the duel mode just doesn’t seem to work for me. You take turns until the orange balls have cleared and whoever has the most points at the end wins. I only played this a few times and it just didn’t seem to click, the games weren’t close and there was no excitement in this game mode.

    I don’t usually play online PSN games but I find myself choosing this game over anything in my collection, it’s definitely a must for old school puzzle fans.

    by Published on November 16th, 2009 16:15

    Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank
    Publisher : Sony Online Entertainment
    Dev: Pop Cap Games
    Price: £6.99

    Another game from the Playstation Network, Heavy Weapon has all the feel of those side scrolling action games of the Commodore 64 and Nintendo (guess what consoles I had as a kid!), rolling along shooting everything in sight, and simply because of the tank, Metal Slug, but Metal Slug this is not!

    There are several modes, campaign, survival, boss battle, and online, rankings too.

    A very basic set up, use the left analogue stick to move your tank left and right to dodge bullets and use the right analogue stick to aim (pointing it in whatever direction will fire in that direction, no buttons used). We also have the X/O button for your chosen special weapon (rockets etc) and R2 will detotnate any nukes you have, they'll destroy pretty much everything on the screen, except for end bosses – they'll take a good bit of health off them. Then there's the Super Laser, collect four pieces to get this weapon which will destroy anything in it's path (never actually had it during a boss battle but I'm pretty sure it would FUBAR it!). They only problem with this weapon is that it lasts for so little time after taking a good while to actually get.

    Ok getting on to the game the little cut scene story at the start reminds me very much of a DS game, static pictures in a comic book fashion, the world is doomed and the tank is the only hope. Each level is a section of the map made to look like America and each level new enemies are add, getting a little trickier every level (the dive bombing planes are very tricky I found). Difficulty wise the game had a nice learning curve to it, I found myself breezing through the first two levels, ge ting to understand the Super Laser, nukes and your friendly helicopter (it tells you not to shoot it, so naturally I tried to destroy it, I think the bloody thing is indestructible, what's the point!). By level three however it hit the fan and I found myself dying a few times.

    This is when I discovered my problem with the game, I was all set to write a decent review on it, I thought I was enjoying it after all, but after losing my lives and having to start the level all over again I found it a chore, it's the same thing over and over again, there's no massive variety of weapons – I loved games like U.N. Squadron and R Type because they kept things fresh with loads of weapons and bad guys, this just does not have that– yes there are different weapons, but none of them enhanced the game for me, it felt no different from what I had in level 1. I found myself playing on in this game simply because I had to finish this review. And as for the bosses, save you nukes (you won't need them during the level) crack them all off on the boss then fire away til they're dead, simple as.

    During the level itself, it's easy enough picking off planes and trucks when there's not too many on the screen, and when it does get busy just keep rotating the right analogue stick very quickly, it seems to do the job just fine – and where's the fun in that!

    Overall this game this game feel much more suited to the likes of an iphone app or a quick PC game, I don't even feel it's up to the standard of several other games on the Playstation network (Trash Panic being a particular favorite of mine), when you can buy PS3 games for £15 or even less sometimes, £6.99 just does not seem worth it.

    **I was going to give this game a 1.5, until I accidentally played this game with Hulk Hogan's 'Real American' playing off my laptop (I was doing research for my job, alright!) it gave me a good chuckle! There I give it a:

    2/5 – by no means the best PSN game out there ...
    by Published on August 28th, 2009 12:10

    Ashes Cricket 2009

    Published by Codemasters
    Platform: PC, Wii, PS3, XBOX360 (version reviewed)
    RRP £44.99

    Well for those of you who enjoy cricket Codemasters has released Ashes 2009 just in time for the end of the series. If anyone in the gaming world is still bothering to read this review then youíll be sad to hear that the game suffers in much the same way a movie tie-in game suffers. I have the distinct feeling that this games was rushed out to capitalise on the sports popularity for the summer.

    There are some very nice touches in this game, when you first start it asks you to pick your international team and the menus are decked out in that teams colours hence forth. When you look at the menu screen you realise there really isnít that many options -play cricket, legends and an online mode is about it in terms of playing the game, the rest are basically options. Within the play cricket menu there are four options - Ashes 2009, One Day, Test, and 20 Overs.

    I chose the 20 Overs first simply because it was the closest thing to an arcade experience. The first thing I noticed when the game started was how poor the stadium looked, it was like something from the PS2, a 2D crowd and shoddy looking camera men. I went to bat first, holding down the left bumper or left trigger will chose if youíre batting off the front foot or back foot, and not touching either it will do it automatically. X=a defensive shot, A=attacking and B=a Loft shot(what you want if youíre smacking for a six), use the left analogue stick to aim your shot. The first bowl came in and I was out immediately, seems I had been holding down the B when all it really need was a tap. Itís all in the timing, you have to get it right or more often than not your gonna be out.

    If your shot stays within the boundaries you have to choose whether to run or not, one tap of the B to run once(note do not keep tapping B, cause theyíll just keep running!) and a tap of A to stop.

    I was soon out and it was my time to Bowl. Firstly you must choose where to place your fielders, a little over my head but Iíd say cricket fans would enjoy this. When youíre bowling, choose where your aiming for and the bowler will begin his run up. A power meter will come up much like in golf, hit one of the face buttons(which are different types of bowls like inside, outside, slow and swing) when you want to stop it an away he bowls, Pretty simple.

    Now I wanna talk about this games problem, I quite like the game play, but for me some of the animations are done so well it really lets the game down when there are ones that arenít. It just feels like a few weeks more and they wouldíve nailed all of it. For example it looks great when the bowler has a short run up, but in his longer runs ups he looks like a two year old whoís just deuced himself. The crowds look awful and the outfielders look hideous when diving for the ball. Some of the players donít look anything like their real life counterparts and some even seem to suffer from big head syndrome.

    Having said all that, I am well into playing an Ashes series and am enjoying it quite a lot, Iíve started to really think about where Iím placing my outfielders and itís quite satisfying getting someone out, especially when playing on the harder difficulties, and smacking a six and watching the replay is great. There are also some good moments of tension too - the Umpire checking the video replays to see if youíre out or not is very well done, and the commentary hasnít become annoying yet either which is a plus.

    I can see there being problems with replay value, the lack of variety and the fact that there are only national teams and no leagues either hinders the game. It could really do with getting the IPL or county teams, World 20/20 or World Cup to enhance the one player experience.

    Overall a worthwhile game if youíre a serious fan of cricket, worth renting for a weekend if youíre a casual fan, and youíre probably not even reading this review if youíre not!

    3 out of 5 ...
    by Published on August 5th, 2009 17:11

    Review: Puzzle Quest Galactrix
    Playstation Network
    Developer: Infinite Interactive
    Platform: PC, NDS, XBLA and PSN (reviewed version)

    First off let me say that this is the first time Iíve played any PSN game, Iíve seen PAIN! being played, but for me Iíve never really been bothered for shelling out for games(however little they cost) that Iím not going to play that much. Having said that never turn a free game down and so onto Puzzle Quest Galactrix.

    I picked the story mode to begin with getting straight into it. It starts with a bit too over the top voice over explaining the story. Itís then into a bit of text dialogue and then onto the game. Basically you Ďflyí around a solar system and to planets/places to need to go are marked. Usually you fly to one place, get a bit of a story, and get your mission then head to another place to play the mission.

    Iíve played three types of missions so far, fighting pirates, mining, and hacking. Theyíre all just variations of the same game - match 3 or more of the same colour in the circular playing grid. Now the first version I played was the fighting challenge. Connecting different colours will give you different things - red boosts your shield, green gives you energy(I think!). There are also mines on the grid, get three in a row to attack your opponent. Each mine has a number on it, and the three add up to give the damage inflicted on your opponent. Getting four in a row or multiple connection combos give you bonuses You can also attack your opponent with the weapons on your ship. This is turned based.

    For the most part this is enjoyable but there are one or two problems for me. And itís a big one, sometimes you canít tell which way the blocks are gonna fall after you make a connection. Several times I chose to make a connection thinking blocks would come down setting up a combo, only to fall from the left or up from the right. Now it might just be me not being used to the game yet, but itís frustrating as hell when you think youíre about to get a big combo and all youíre doing is setting up your opponent. Also thereís no time limit during this game, minor issue since the computer moves immediately, but I think it would be better if you had to think quickly about what to do.

    In between mission you get experience points to upgrade yourself and can also upgrade your ship.

    Now the next mission I played was gathering supplies or something of an asteroid. It was a side mission involving one of the crew members you pick up along the way, Lydia(who is very annoying as she calls you kid in every sentence). Iím not gonna go into this one much because itís an absolute cop out. Again collect three in a row of the supplies to get them on the ship, without a time limit. Fairly standard and would be fine except for one big thing - as I was playing I was taking my time trying to see three I could connect, and then all of a sudden one of the grids flashed, just for a second, it was telling me what block to move! Whatís the point in that, it takes all the challenge out of the game.

    To move through the different systems(and further the story line) you have to hack through warps. This was my favourite of the game types. To hack to have to follow a code which appears in the top right hand corner of the screen, e.g. if itís green at the top you have to clear a connection of three etc, all within a time limit. This is more like it for a challenge, a lot of fun, and you do get quite nervous when you have a colour you need to get and thereís no three blocks near each other. There are many warps in this game, so thereís plenty of chances to play this, and there are varying difficulty levels, but basically means less time to complete the code.

    I havenít been playing this game for very long, a couple of days or so, the storylineís ok, itís nice to have a point to playing all the different games and a goal to complete instead of just level after level. The dialogue is cheap but it doesnít matter and the levelling up and updating of the ship etc. adds a nice touch to what otherwise would be a pretty standard puzzler. I canít really judge it on other PSN games because, well, Iíve not played any but compared to my favourite puzzle game of all time, Dr. Robotnikís Mean Bean Machine itís lacking. I always took great joy in getting the combos in Mean Bean Machine, but in this it just seems like a fluke if I get one, therefore itís not as satisfying when you get a nova or supernova combo or even win the fight.

    Am I gonna play this again, probably not, though I really enjoyed the hacking, the storyline isnít enough for me to want to continue playing to see where it goes. I might play the quick game now and again, or two player, ...
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