Boom Blox: Bash Party

June 4, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Boom Blox was, in a number of ways, one of the biggest Wii games of 2008; not so much in terms of it's quality as a game, but rather it's popularity and hype. Of course, it was a game that, weirdly enough, Steven Spielberg himself had partnered with Electronic Arts to make. It was an intricate puzzle game drawing some inspiration from Jenga, and featuring almost 400 levels of gameplay and it's own advanced level editor. Now that it's time for the sequel, EA has been working hard to both expand what worked well and eliminate or solve what didn't.

Boom Blox is a game of "strategic destruction". Each explosion and crash should be clear and streamlined, and that is precisely what EA has been going for by fully overhauling the game's graphics engine. The bulk of the backround 2D characters and animations are now absolutely 3D, running smoothly and in better detail. There are all types of detailed stuff in the backround that can actually interact with the gameplay.

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This time around there should be between 400 and six hundred new and unique levels to play with. It's clear that often the blox are just set up like a game of Jenga, but other times there are all sorts of different kinds of formations and you have to solve ways to most effectively make them collapse. For example, some levels occur underwater, or even hovering in zero-g space. Elements like this, as well as others such as surroundings and characters, can bring a whole new twist to the game.

One interesting new mechanic is the item called the slingshot. With the slingshot you can pick up any item in the level, pull back, and "slingshot" it into the blox structure. There are numerous levels in the game that make use of this mechanic, and to great effect.

Boom Blox has proved to be great fun both as a singleplayer puzzler and a competitive multi player game in the past, so as the advent of it's sequel Boom Blox Bash Party approaches, it's little wonder folks are wild with excitement. Boom Blox isn't just some cheap, casual offering. It's a core game and deserves to be treated that way, and many folks who have considered themselves to be hardcore gamers have enjoyed it enormously. This time around, EA is to be applauded.

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Arcade Awesomeness with Xbox Live

February 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Many people are dismissive of the downloadable games that are available on the consoles, as it is relatively new to this generation of consoles. When people see games for $10 - $20 (roughly £5 - £10) they expect it to be an inferior game, whereas if they save up for a $50 - $60 game, they have something that is worth their money. However, as a gamer yourself, you know that this isn't always true. Here we have 3 of the best downloadable games available from the XBLA on the Xbox 360.

#3: Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

After successful iterations on both the Nintendo DS and the PSP, Puzzle Quests developers decided to port the excellent puzzle game to the Xbox 360, so it is now formatted to your TV and is shown in glorious HD.

Puzzle Quest combines role­­­­-playing and puzzle solving skillfully into a demanding and enthralling game that you won’t be able to put down. You navigate through a World-Map, exploring, talking to people and accepting quests, gaining experience, leveling-up, as well as gaining new equipment. But where the game gets really engaging is when you build your own city and attack surrounding enemy fortifications.

Lastly, there is the combat itself, this is a mash between Bejeweled and Final Fantasy. In each fight, you put your strengths and your opponent’s weaknesses to your advantage, as you and your opponent perform actions on the same Bejeweled-like board. Simply put, you move the pieces around until you line up skulls and do damage to your opponent. You can also perform spells, as well as other moves, which is determined by your character's profession and level. If you are into addictive games, then you can go wrong with Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords.

#2: Portal: Stay Alive

Portal: Stay Alive is an expansion on the original game Portal (the download includes Portal too). If your head has been in the clouds for the past couple of years, Portal is a first person puzzle game created using the Half-Life 2 Source engine, and was released as part of Valves, The Orange Box. The game consists of mind-warping puzzles that you must get your head around to solve, with the help of your trusty portal gun. Portal: Stay Alive is, admittedly, short, however it is cheap and still remains one of the most engaging game out there. You must play Portal, period!

#1: Braid

Braid received massive amounts of attention from the press after its release on XBLA. To its credit, it deserved every bit of it. Perhaps the thing Braid was praised most for was its story, but this was not the only thing Braid has going for it. Braid was specifically designed to pose some very complex and intricate puzzles, in a way that is not frustrating for the player to solve.

Your main ability to help you solve these puzzles, is the ability to manipulate the flow of time, and is essential for solving certain puzzles. Each world in the game provides a different variation of this mechanic and the way you control it to keep the challenge the whole way through.

The game consists of five worlds in all, each containing 12 puzzles. It is not necessary to complete all 60 puzzles, however, it is highly recommended to, as it unlocks an ending that must be seen.

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