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Archive for May, 2011

Review #417

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Midnight Mysteries: Devil on the Mississippi Collector’s Edition
Developer: Living Dead Team/John Newcomer
Publisher: Mumbo Jumbo
Genre: Adventure (Hidden Object)
Release Date: 05/27/2011

I’ve missed out on the previous two Midnight Mysteries games, the first being The Edgar Allen Poe Conspiracy and the second being Salem Witch Trials not because I wasn’t interested in the subject matter but because I have never really been impressed with the games that Mumbo Jumbo puts out. Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena was a subpar hidden object game. Likewise Matt, Ashe and Chuck all had less than positive things to say about the Crazy Chicken Trilogy. So what made me decide to take the plunge with Devil on the Mississippi?. Well, any video game that pits Samuel Clemens AKA Mark Twain against William Shakespeare in a battle across centuries and that involves the machinations of Mephistopheles itself has enough of an original hook that I had to give it a try. So did the third installment of the Midnight Mysteries series prove to be one of the better adventure games of 2011, or was the concept the only good thing about the game?
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Review #416

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Exerbeat
Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Genre: Exercise
Release Date: 05/17/2011

Although exercise games have been around since the days of the NES and its Power Pad, it never really became a genre until this console generation. We’ve seen flim-flam games that actually do more harm than good in titles like EA Active and Wii Fit. We’ve seen the genre evolve into using a camera so that you can see how you are doing the exercise instead of just assuming you are doing it correctly with titles like Your Shape Fitness. We’ve also seen quick cash grabs that are horrible in every way like Walk it Out. So far the two best games in the genre have been Gold Gym’s Cardio Workout and Get Fit With Mel B.. The former is a budget game that is a wonderful cardio boxing title and the latter is far more expensive due to needing Move in addition to the game, but it does everything wonderfully. Namco Bandai has brought us Exerbeat. While it doesn’t use a camera it does do the one thing that all exercise games NEED to do and yet only Gold’s Gym has done so far, and that’s have a motion controller in each hand of the player. Couple that with an insanely low price tag of $19.99, Exerbeat sounds almost too good to be true. Is it?
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Review #415

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

The Tiny Bang Story
Developer: Colibri Games
Publisher: Collibri Games/Big Fish Games
Genre: Adventure
Release Date: 4/22/2011 (Self distributed) 5/16/2011 (Big Fish Games)

As the person that reviews the vast majority of adventure games on the site, it probably comes as no surprise to anyone reading this that I pay close attention to all the scuttlebutt on upcoming point and click releases. The Tiny Bang Story is one of those games. It looks very pretty and artsy from pre-release screenshots, but with the game’s originally announced price tag, I decided to pass as it was three times what an adventure game usually costs in 2011. As well, this was Collibri Games’ first release and I wasn’t willing to pay a premium price on an untested developer unlike say Gray Matter or The Next Big Thing, both of which had extremely strong pedigrees.

Then on Monday, May 16th, Big Fish Games published their version of The Tiny Bang Story, which was the same as Colibri’s direct download release, but at a cost of only $6.99 for BFG members, or $9.99 for everyone else. As I had two free game coupons for Big Fish Games, I decided to use one towards The Tiny Bang Story to see if it was as good as it looked.

Well it wasn’t. In fact, if it wasn’t for Thor: God of Thunder, we would be talking about what is easily the worst game that I’ve played in 2011 so far. Let’s take a look at what went so horribly wrong here.
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Review #414

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove: Monster Mix
Developer: Nastume
Publisher: Natsume
Genre: Rhythm/Dance
Release Date: 5/16/2011

It’s been a long time since I have reviewed a Wii game. The last one was PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure back in December of 2010. Since then, my system has just been gathering dust save for when I ported some Miis over to my 3DS. So there had to be something about Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove that made me decide to veer from my usual diet of PC and PS3 titles, right? Well, there were several reasons.

The first is that I like supporting Natsume as I keep worrying that it is going the way of Agetec. However I’ve been a bit sick of Harvest Moon and so the last game by them that I purchased was Afrika and even then I stuck with the Asian edition, Hakuna Matata…which technically meant I didn’t support Natsume at all. Whoops. The second is that this seemed like a cute little Gothie game, which meant my girlfriend would get a kick out of it. Last, but not least, the game was only five bucks and it seemed like a great deal as well as a precursor to the 3DS version, which I have been thinking about preordering. So for a picture of our 16th President, was GGG:MM an incredible under the radar deal, or it is best left buried amongst the majority of crap that makes up WiiWare titles?
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Review #413

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Mystery Trackers: Raincliff Collector’s Edition (PC)
Developer: Elephant Games
Publisher: Big Fish Games
Genre: Adventure
Release Date: 05/06/2011

You know, I tend to enjoy the short budget adventure games Big Fish Games puts out. In the past year or so, I’ve played enjoyable games like Blood and Ruby down to lackluster titles like Namco Bandai’s Antiques Roadshow: The Game. Where I get a little worried though is with the “Collector’s Editions” of games. Usually these double priced games come with a few extras that make it worth the while, but the “extra gameplay” that is advertised in them tends to actually be the END of the game. Non-Collector’s Editions just kind of…end abruptly leaving the gamer rather pissed. I discuss this in more detail (along with an angry fan) is the last Collector’s Edition I reviewed from BGF, Mystery Case Files: The 13th Skull.

Now here I am with Elephant Games’ Raincliff. The preview video looked great, the reviews of the last Mystery Trackers game, The Void, were pretty stellar and if I purchase this for $13.99, I would get a credit for a free game to boot. All the stars aligned and I decided to give Raincliff a try. So was the game worth the extra cash, or was this another case where you could tell the Collector’s Edition’s is the only version worth getting and those waiting for the normal version will get burned?
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Review #412

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Virtua Tennis 4
Developer: Sega-AM3
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Sports
Release Date: 5/10/2011

I’ve always been a big fan of tennis games. Even when I was a little kid, RealSports Tennis was one of my three favorite games for the Atari 2600 along with H.E.R.O. and Adventure. In the days of the Sega Dreamcast, Virtua Tennis was one of the best games for the system . I loved love the sequel VT2. I skipped out on VT3 since it came out almost a year before I purchased my PS3 and I definitely passed on VT2009 as it was made by Sumo Digital as they have pretty much made underwhelming crap (aside from Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing) and their version of VT3 was horrible compared to the versions made by AM3. Thankfully the development team that originated Virtua Tennis, and who also gave us Crazy Taxi and Cyber Troopers has been given back the reigns of their creation. I knew after trying the world tour demo through PSN that I had to buy this game but I’ll admit I was torn between the PS3 and Wii versions of the title. I was most interested in the motion gaming but then I discovered neither version actually let you fully immerse yourself in that type of gameplay. Instead it was a lip service exhibition game that you could play and that was it. Disappointing to say the least. Finally I went with PS3 since AM3 primarily optimized the game for that system.

It’s been almost a decade since I’ve played a new tennis game, but I clearly remembered the quality of the Dreamcast releases. Has the series held up or is this merely a Madden-esque bare bones update?
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Review #411

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Thor: God of Thunder
Developer: Liquid Entertaiment
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Action
Release Date: 05/03/2011

I have to admit I’m always a little leery of both Sammy Sega games and licensed titles. Since Sammy purchased Sega the quality of their games have gone down noticeably and licensed titles, especially those based on movies or super heroes tend to suck. Since Thor: God of Thunder is a licensed movie game featuring a super hero and published by Sega, you would think this unholy trinity would have had me running in mortal terror. Well, Sega’s definitely been improving lately. Sonic games are getting better, I’m loving Virtua Tennis 4, the Yakuza games are always cute and Valkyria Chronicles is a previous GOTY winner. As for super hero games, Batman: Arkham Asylum won our game of the year in 2009 and the last few super hero games I’ve played have been a lot of fun. Granted, those games were Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, the aforementioned Batman and Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, but they were still great games featuring super heroes. Hell, even Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions was a decent game even though it had notable issues that left both Mark and myself grumpy.

At the same time I felt kind of bad that I missed out on the back to back horrorfests of Iron Man and Iron Man 2. Just reading those reviews by Capra and AJ reminded me that I haven’t played a truly horrible game since oh, the PS3 port of Dream Chronicles five months ago. Of course those games weren’t made by Liquid Entertainment, the developers of Thor: God of Thunder, but take a look at what they have made: Battle Realms: Winter of the Wolf, which wasn’t very good, Dungeons and Dragons: Dragonshard, which received rave reviews, Desperate Housewives: The Game, which was as bad as it sounds, and Rise of the Argonauts, which we gave a positive review to. So Liquid Entertainment seemed like a step up from the teams that made Sega’s Iron Man games, right? I decided that either way something good would come of this. I’d either get to play a fun game or readers would get an entertaining review. Now the question is…which was it?
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Books Read - 4/11

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

4/3: Booster Gold: 52 Pick Up
4/3: Booster Gold: Blue and Gold
4/5: Order of the Stick: On the Origins of PCs - probably my favorite webcomic still running. This trade only prequel was…okay
4/10: Blowback. A really neat mystery with an unexpected double twist
4/10: Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Guide
4/14: Arctic Fever - Global Warmking stuff
4/15 Recipes for a Lady or a Man: The Achewood Cookbook
4/16: Achewood Volume 1
4/17: Achewood Volume 2
4/18: Achewood Volume 3
4/19: Achewood olume 4
4/19: The Art of Mortal Kombat
4/20: Classic G.I. Joe Volume 11
4/20: Achewood Volume 5
4/21: Achewood volume 6
4/22: Achewood Volume 7
4/23: Achewood Volume 8
4/24: Achewood volume 9
4/28: Curious Folks Ask: 163 Real Answers on Amazing Inventions, Fascinating Products and Medical Mysteries - a fun non-fiction read

So I mainly read comics in April. I feel kind of sad about that but I was on a huge Achewood (before it sucked) kick,