The game is not without its comedy, either,
which is always awesome.
When I was offered the opportunity to review MacGuffin’s Curse, I decided to look it up and do a little research. The first thing I learned was that it was a game where the main character could transform into a werewolf. It was at that point that I volunteered for the review because what more do you need? The fact that it actually turned out to be an entertaining game was a nice bonus, though.
One of the best games on DSiWare wasn’t a game at all: it was Flipnote studio, a free little animation application that allowed people to make short, simple animations and upload them to an online gallery/ community.
Mega Man X on the iPhone was a decent rendition of the original, but it remains tough to recommend in the face of other versions. Mega Man Maverick Hunter X is arguably the greatest of these, running circles around the iPhone port and even giving the original a run for its money.
Like with the classic line of Mega Man games, you’ll guide an armed robot, X, through various 2D platforming stages. You’ll run, shoot, hop, and climb your way through each level in whatever order you desire (until the end-game stages, which follow a linear order). Once you’ve completed a level, you’ll square off against a boss, with your prize being the ability to use its attack. Given that there are eight main stages and several “final” levels, you get a decent selection of content to play with, even if levels do fly by within a handful of minutes each.
Between the health upgrades, X parts, boss weapons, and sub tanks hidden throughout the levels, there’s a ton of stuff to collect and X will surely be a behemoth if you decide to nab it all. You’ll need to repeat stages to obtain all the items, though, so this may not be a good one for fans of backtracking and repeating the same levels. They’re well hidden, too, so you’re likely to miss the upgrades without some sort of guide.
Once you’ve completed the story with X, you can also take control of the game’s antagonist, Vile. Other than his obvious deviations in terms of gameplay, you’ll have to hunt for the items all over again (this time hidden in entirely different places). It’s a novel excuse to play through the game again, though some will feel that not enough is added by simply changing your character.
After taking the disturbingly easy iPhone port for a spin, I forgot just how challenging Mega Man X can be at certain points. By and large, everyone should be able to defeat the robot master stages, but the few worthy segments can be downright brutal. To be specific, one level requires you to wall jump to reach a higher platform with a robot guarding it, but getting hit knocks you down to an area where a multiple enemies you previously defeated will respawn and inadvertently cause you double pain. If you don’t do it right the first time, you can drain your energy at unhealthy speeds. Thankfully, less seasoned players can always use heart upgrades and the “X Body Parts” to make X far more durable.
As with just about every aspect of the game, the music has been reworked too. The original score was brilliant for its time, but Maverick Hunter injects a jolt of rock n’ roll flair that spices up the entire game’s atmosphere. Even the menu music will get you feeling pumped. It’s also worth noting that all dialog and cutscenes are fully voiced in English. Some characters have better voices than others, but none are overly obnoxious (unless intentional).
In place of the sprite-based graphics on the Super Nintendo are 3D polygonal worlds that remain in a 2D perspective. The backgrounds in particular have been mightily enhanced, as you’ll see numerous stunning backdrops throughout your adventure. The only real problem, visually, is that judging the distance required for a jump can be difficult given the angle at which platforms are sometimes displayed. This is offset by X’s ability to wall-kick indefinitely, so you always have optimal time to react and save yourself from falling into an endless pit.
Mega Man Maverick Hunter X makes many “remakes” of today look woefully inadequate. Couple that with the fact that it’s priced at a mere $9.99 USD and you’ve got one of the best deals on the PlayStation Network thus far.
Pandora’s Tower on the Wii was one of those rare games that was provocative enough to cause me to think about the very nature of games. You can read my review of the game over at Otaku Gaming, but I’d like to take the opportunity to discuss one of the reasons I think the games industry continues to struggle with its legitimacy as an artistic medium; that is that the only value of a game is as a piece of entertainment.
It's fair to say that there's certainly no shortage of Match 3 puzzle games on the DSiWare. From “A Little Bit of... Puzzle League” to “Bejeweled Twist”, the system's Puzzle library has become somewhat over-saturated. Yet despite all of this, we haven't seen many match 3 line shooters in the same vein as Luxor or Puzz Loop. This is where Teyon's Crystal Caverns of Amon-Ra fills the gap in the market and while it's a passable attempt, its just not that interesting.
As most people who follow me know already, I hated the Japanese version of Pandora's Tower with a passion. Having now played the English version, this has got to be the first time I've done a complete backflip in opinion, but I absolutely loved the experience. It's still a bad game, as such, but it's a bittersweet-beautiful game and by far the best experience of the Project Rainfall "trilogy."
Author, Rhiannon Paille has been good enough to send us in a column on her thoughts about the literary benefits a game can bring children, and tips for parents to get young gamers into reading as well. Thanks, Rhiannon! If you're involved in the game industry and have some thoughts you'd like to share please email us at email@example.com to have your say!
Nearly 99 per cent of teens play video games according to a survey done by Pew Internet. That’s staggering considering the stigma that video games promote violence, illiteracy and anti social behavior. What parents are missing in the equation are the skills teens build while playing video games. Skills like problem solving, creativity, character building, storytelling, and probability.
Wizardry. The Bard’s Tale. Ultima. Dungeons & Dragons (back when SSI had the license, at any rate). These classic RPGs were all about the dungeon delve: crawling through claustrophobic tunnels that all look the same as one another, battling legions of powerful enemies and grinding deeper and deeper into the depths, tackling that final boss, and breathing a welcome sigh of relief.
Clever marketing on Rockstar’s part: As Max Payne 3 approaches, release the original game on the iPad to remind everyone how awesome the series is. It’s a cheap, cheap game at $Au3, and it proves that action games can indeed work on the iPad’s buttonless screen.