Stories by Mike Deneen
Well gosh, apparently nothing worthwhile happened in the whole gaming universe this week. Everything is sunshine and gumdrops in the gaming world… Ok, that isn’t all that true. The big press announcement of the Xbox One, Microsoft’s third gaming console (apparently Microsoft’s chronological order is like a Quentin Tarantino movie), came met with pitchforks and torches. This Frankenstein of a technology apparently has set the internet ablaze with people taking full opportunity to tear the consoles inside and out, even though Microsoft already did at the press conference. Even so, if you were any other device that has anything relating to gaming, not a whole heck of a lot happened this last week. Still, there were a couple highlights in the Android gaming world that are worth noting.
File this one under one of those hidden treasures or maybe this game is just so cool *puts on hipster glasses* you’ve probably never heard of it. After all, according to the Google Play store, this title has only seen 50 – 100 downloads. That’s an injustice in my opinion however; this is a match 3 game that requires more thinking than just aligning three like objects together. This is a game in which you’re trying to fill in letters for a variety of random words thrown your way by matching the correct letters on the playing field. It’s truly a unique take on the match 3 experience, one I’ve yet to see copied in any other match 3 title I’ve tried out, with a funky fresh jazz soundtrack to boot.
I’m sure you’ve seen enough movies involving cars, like Fast and the Furious series, where racing and driving have been glamorized and made out to be sexy, dangerous and amazing. But, I’ve always felt, at least for me, that video games did a far superior job of making me swoon for 4 wheels and lust for speed. The Forza series on the Xbox 360 and the Gran Turismo series for PS2 both hit me in a way you’d only see described in some Harlequin romance novel or some Twilight Slash Fiction. While I don’t currently own a Bugatti Veyron or any fancy race car, it’s because of these games I’ve become hooked on Top Gear and have multiple RC Cars, usually modeled after beefy expensive cars.
As much as I’ve enjoyed racing games on consoles, I’d be absolutely elated if I could find something of a similar experience for my Android devices. I don’t always have access to a console or PC to play Need for Speed, Blur, or any number of other awesome console/PC racing games. Upon discovering a title like CSR Racing, with its sleek graphics, fully utilizing the Tegra chip, along with licensed cars, I was eager to sink my teeth into this title.
Match 3 games are by far one of the most popular genres of mobile games. But amongst them, the jewel based match three games are probably the most well known, and still stand as classic. In those, Pop Cap’s signature series, Bejeweled, has always been a favorite of mine. It’s a simple idea of matching like colored jewels to score points and be the jewel master. With modes such as Classic, Action and Endless (along with lots of hidden and unlockable modes) there is an endless barrage of entertainment to be had from this light little title.
It’s the beautiful simplicity yet the mind bending strategy that goes into this game that really makes it truly one of the best flash and mobile games out there. In Bejeweled 2 players are met with a variety of jewels cascading from above and dropping in, with the potential to make combos and other neat tricks by swapping gems to adjacent areas.. Scoring a row of 4 jewels will create a power gem, which can be used to explode other gems around the area of the match. A match of a row of 5 gems will get you a Hyper Cube, which, though shaped like a sphere, will zap all jewels of whatever jewel you swapped with the Hyper Cube. Strategy is a key to winning this game, as it’s important to select where to match jewels and when to use your powered up jewels.
Gamewoof Weekly Roundup: $heilds up! Frostbitten from Google I/O news, but Captain! The Controllers!
You know what has eluded me in human history? Why we decided to take something as difficult to get into as the coconut and thought “We should eat this”. Now, I’m not saying I’m not grateful to our long lost ancestors for thinking this (I love me some coconut), but it’s still baffling to me. Anytime I’ve ever bought one whole, I feel like I end up using power tools to get into it. However, it appears Mr. T has a relative in Panama who has solved the riddle of the coconut; just open it with your teeth. Yes, a cab driver in Panama who dresses exactly like the aforementioned member of the A-Team has been opening coconuts with his teeth since the age of 11. Wow, that simply amazing. I can barely open a plastic bag with my teeth, let alone even attempting to open a coconut.
Boggle was always one of those games I played growing up that drove me nuts. Unlike Scrabble, where a player has quite a while to conceive words out of the letters in front of them, you’re staring at a cluster fudge of letters, completely unarrangable by your hand, and a evil maniacal timer judges you, making you feel dumb for not noticing the most obvious of words. This aneurysm enduing but beloved game from my childhood has made its way onto Android devices thanks to the efforts of the folks at EA.
A couple of months ago, I reviewed Com2US’s 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2013. I lamented on how this game was a great concept in the making, but fell just a few feet short, kind of like every time Joe Mauer tries to hit a homerun, but usually hits into a ground ball double play. In an attempt to give Com2US another chance with America’s former pastime, I downloaded an older title of theirs, Homerun Battle 3D. The idea behind this title is pretty self explanatory; rather than being an entire baseball game, this title is just the beloved at of smashing a baseball to absurd distances. The only good part of MLB All Star Weekend if you ask me.
Today, Nvidia, well known for their graphics processors and cards have finally announced the price point and launch time for their Android handheld system, Nvidia Shield. The Nvidia Shield priced at $349 is available for pre-order on it’s website starting May 20th, with an anticipated shipping date sometime in the later part of June.
This device will not only play all of your beloved Android titles, but will also play titles from Steam as well, and can project those games onto your television via a HDMI cable. The device also comes pre-loaded with the Jelly Bean Android OS, along with an impressive hardware arsenal including the Nvidia Tegra 4 chip, 4 CPU cores and can output its display at 720p.
The company states they are hoping to compete with the likes of Nintendo and Sony in the handheld market and also claims that gaming on the Nvidia Shield will be a better gaming experience than gaming on your Android phone or tablet. The device does come equipped with wi-fi capability, speakers and a 5″ HD screen.
The device will also come with Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 2 and Expendable: Rearmed pre-installed, along with Hulu Plus and TwitchTV. Users also have access to the Google Play store, but can search for games through the Nvidia TegraZone gaming library, a similar approach users of the Moga controllers have.
Retailers who will be carrying this device include Newegg and GameStop.
Check out Nvidia’s Shield website for more details.
When given this game to preview (yes, it’s not out yet), I didn’t really know what to expect out of it; I hadn’t heard of one of the company’s behind this game (Open-Reset), nor had this title even been on my radar of games I had been anticipating. Open-Reset’s website doesn’t even have much on this title either, just some rendering they had done for the likes of Doom 3 and other various imagery and video. As a reviewer, there’s always a sense of fear when getting a new IP, especially when it wasn’t a buzzed game, as you’re never quite sure what you could be getting, though the other company behind this game, Kerosene, did give us the wonderful game, Bladeslinger. Boy, was I glad to discover 5 minutes in, I didn’t have much to worry about. While we were given a beta version of the game, we were told this is pretty close to what the final build will be. If the beta was this good, I’m stoked to see what the final game will bring us.
You may not think of stylus pens as a gaming peripheral, unless you are a Draw Something zealot. You perhaps may view stylus pens as something only artistic people or weirdo business people who insist on wearing a bluetooth ear piece around in public all the freaking time use. Your prejudice may be correct on some level , but in the ever changing world of smartphone and tablet gaming, a stylus pen actually works quite well for an assortment of games, depending on if you have terribly unsteady hands like myself or massive fingers. In any case, one of my favorite stylus manufacturers, LynkTec, has released yet another fantastic stylus pen designed for precision and fidelity.