Review: Android: Jetpack Joyride

Looking for a another good time gobbler for tube journeys or the odd 10 minutes of quiet in the office? Jetpack Joyride fits that gap effortlessly with its fast paced rhythm and quirky science theme.

The aim of the game is to get the little fella you see on screen as far as you can by dodging electric type obstacles, highfiving scientists and riding robotic fire breathing dragons!… Yes, you did just read obstacles, scientists and fire breathing dragon in one awesome sentence. You collect coins, pick up spin tokens and jump in some wicked vehicles as you progress, these are used to unlock extra equipment, earn end of level bonus’s and get even more distance for your current run. With this perfect balance of rewards and in game objects to use/interact with Jetpack Joyride gets addictive super quick and will have you investing a good healthy number of runs until you’ve bought some extras with those coins!

As you get through the early stages of this arcade game it opens you up to its collectibles and tactics as you progress, not lose it like some other repetitive games can do on the Android platform. There are better missions and more pricey equipment you actually want further into the game and even some funny zombie costumes and amusing jetpacks to collect. There’s even a set of gadgets to spice things up a little, Gravity Belts can create faster paced game play by enabling you to sink faster after a burst from your jetpack. The vehicles are designed well and fit in with the games design which just adds more freedom to get that little bit further! Gathering distance is the key to cracking your addiction when the game grips you good, you’ll find yourself desperately trying to skid an extra few inches or blast yourself another 300m further using a spin token to beat your previous score. The spin tokens always give you a glint of hope too after you’ve destroyed that poor little guy across the floor again, at the end of your run a slot machine pops up with coin bonuses, utilities and maybe if you’re lucky… A extra life!

The game has such a great mix of features and unlockables it just simply plays great casually and would be a great addition to pick up and down regularly. On the flip side if you do like your challenges, Jetpack Joyride will push and push you just to hit crazy distances. It also just screams complete me to a 100% which many of you out there will love due to its lovely set of equipment, utilities and gadgets.

The fact that Jetpack Joyride is free is just the cherry on top for this speedy little side-scrolled… So give it a go and knock yourself out!

Score: 4.5/5

JetPack Joyride Google Play Link

Review: Xbox 360: Halo 4

So it has landed and with a massive retail entourage in the form of that trusty steed, the Warthog and even the chief himself turning up to impress the eagerly awaiting crowds… But does the game itself pull through and offer anything worth dying for? Let me run through just a couple of its amazing attributes!

Well, 343 Industries, I can safely say, has delivered a fine and solid Halo experience for fans and newcomers to enjoy, and that’s what I really like about Halo. It’s always had its proverbial arms open to the public just like most big hitter titles but Halo sets up this atmosphere of bravery, commitment and community really well in the fourth installment to the main series.

You’re looking at a healthy campaign, not too short, not too overly long or drawn out either. Cinematics which move you due to the new emotion being portrayed through the characters you may or may not know and love, that never mattered as you do really fall in love with the two; Cortana and John. There’s also the new weapons, new vehicles and new enemies as you’d expect but most of all it offers a more intense ride through the Halo universe and brings you to an amazing close you won’t forget… One I cannot give away either! (Over my dead body!). You can co-op in the campaign and up to four players (all play as chief) to take on Halo’s infamous Legendary difficulty where one misplaced tactical move can cost you your little spartan life. Co-op is always great fun really, Halo 4 is no different but the whole four player split-screen in the campaign mode can get a bit hard to focus on, one would propose linking over Xbox Live to be a much better idea.

There are secrets to look for in the campaign, I guess 343 Industry’s picked up on the whole Skull collecting phase from Halo 3 and carried it a little bit further (Try to find all the Terminals, they’ll hold some juicy knowledge!). There’s also the fact that you can add your long (Or short) running spartan career to Halo 4 using the Halo Waypoint feature which also coughs up some extra rewards for Halo fans and users. This will push you to polish off the campaign, it usually does! Then it’s onto the Multilplayer and 343’s new shiny offering in the form of Spartan Ops!

Halo Multiplayer… A place where many of us grew up, fighting each other with Plasma Swords and sticking grenades to each other… Those were the days! And they’re back and packing some interesting additions like the new Perks addition. This pops up in campaign but truly comes optimizable in the multiplayer elements of Halo. They really can liven things up on the battlefield a bit… Spray and pray is right out the window when you deploy a Hologram, tactics are shaken up and brought together because of the perks. I think this is a fifty fifty feature for previous fans, it brings the dimension further forward which creates better combat but not all will agree… Until you find YOUR favourite that is, then you’re laughing!

There are the new Multiplayer modes and some oldies to get stuck right into and you also level up your spartan using the Multiplayer element and the Spartan Ops modes. There’s a pile of armor to unlock which just looks so bad-ass when you equip it, you can colour your spartan too and create a flashy logo for yourself. The customisation is superb this time around and the different sets of armor can give you a little sense of individualism to top it all off with. Overall I really enjoyed the Multiplayer, you can get some crazy set-ups and insane fights… You can also record all of the fun and upload it thanks to the fantastic Theatre feature Halo has built in. Theatre mode lets you upload your favourite spartan fuelled moments to the internet, where you can then share them with internet goers. There’s a ton of great films and screenshots so if you’re browsing… Take a look at someone else’s moment of glory or in fact, failure (Both are just as hilarious as each other!).

Right, Spartan Ops! This is a new element that has been added to the overall Halo experience and has been referred to being a little like CoD’s Special Ops missions. These are paced differently from the other two elements, and it shows. Though this pace isn’t a bad thing, I’m just not sure how to evaluate it apart from it being right smack bang in the middle of the other two elements which brings them together rather well! You get an objective, you then complete said objective… Sounds simple right? Well I’d kick the difficulty up a bit and invite some friends… It goes from quiet small time mission to knees up spartan bash! It really flexes well like that and can fill some gaps if you’re feeling weary of the other players or the campaign itself.

Overall it really is well polished off with the faster mechanics and combat speed along with the crisp new look it’s sporting. It’s energised with new perks and filled with maps, weapons and more than one element to explore multiplayer-wise which was a massive fear of mine and probably to other fans. It offers you everything you’d want plus a couple of surprises and even gives you the option to record your experiences and cut them, giving everyone a chance to share the best moments to go on to make more.

I am a Halo fan, I do favour this installment above the third but not because of the flashy advertising that came before its launch but because it does deliver and it does deliver all of the above well. I just wish the story never had to end… Till next time I guess!

Review: Android: Devil Ninja

Run and jump over cliffs and obstacles as you slice your way through levels of monsters with an awesome array of ninja weaponry in Driod Studios action game Devil Ninja!

Devil Ninja is definitely an addictive little time gobbler and is also quite the challenge to complete. The main goal of the game is to destroy as many enemies in front of you as possible while missing the various hurdles and trying to get as far as you can into the level without dying. Your character runs through the level automatically so it’s a speedy game to play and along with the weapon pickups means the game gathers a good pace and rhythm which will have you coming back to beat your previous score.

It’s a hard game to master and complete but the controls are easy enough to pick up on. There’s a virtual jump button and a virtual attack button, nothing else as your character runs under his own steam through this demon infested world anyway. You can double jump which has to be timed right or you’ll end up off over a cliff or smack bang in front of an enemy, you can also hold down the attack button for a more powerful attack. You can pick up snippets of life and more powerful weapons along the way to the occasional end of level boss fight too.

Devil Ninja’s Leaderboards are also very hard to get your name up onto, some of the scores already posted are very impressive. After around twenty minutes of play Devil Ninja will have drawn you into its side-scrolling ways and you’ll have learnt to give it some time to get better at but once you’ve gotten over the initial level of difficulty you’ll enjoy it simply for what it is, and that’s a solid and challenging side-scrolling action game.

Score: 3 / 5

Devil Ninja Google Play Link

Devil Ninja Trailer

There’s also now a sequel to Devil Ninja, Devil Ninja 2! (Requires 2.0 and up)

Devil Ninja 2 Google Play Link

Devil Ninja 2 Trailer

Review: Xbox 360: Dirt Showdown

Codemasters have unleashed another Dirt upon us but this time it’s damaging, hurtful and more about destruction and chaos compared to its cleaner and sharper predecessors. Dirt Showdown takes itself in a different direction, it’s less about traditional racing and more about putting on a show! Showdown is a fabulous balance between racing and destruction sporting a variety of vehicles that look more at home on an American scrap yard than on our British roads. You end up trashing most vehicles making them unrecognisable against other drivers across new and exciting race modes and you get rewarded for doing so, Dirt is definitely all about the confrontation this time!

You have the usual Tour Mode to burn through, Joyride and the Multiplayer world to nose dive right into. The only weak aspect about Showdown is the Tour Mode as it has no background story, so it doesn’t necessarily have a great way of delivering it’s different race modes and other features initially but when you get over that tiny hump you’ll be in for a concentrated dose of brutal annihilation!

The biggest difference in Showdowns overall control scheme is it’s manipulated to be extra easy on those wheels and more forgiving so you’re able to pull of some huge drifts and bonkers doughnuts. You also get deeper and wider cornering which means if you don’t hit curves at the right time and angle you can end up all over the joint, this new perspective and feel of the game works really well the the fireworks, ramps, obstacles and even the A.I have a bit more of bite with their new attitudes on the race track. You even have access to a Boost feature which gives your vehicle a heck more momentum, this also causes bundles more damage to the opposition. It’s really quite different from the faster paced ‘grit your teeth’ racing we’ve seen from Dirt 1 & 2. Showdown really feels a lot more inviting as it requires less super rigid skill for more creative and flexible reactions instead. Alongside showdowns slightly altered gritty attitude is the new set of excitable tracks, which brings heaps of glorified mayhem to each race. There’s tracks that cross over one another, ones that box racers in with each other and much more to burn through.

There is some small weather effects and conditions, though this is for Dirts track conditions so they don’t end up too samey, there’s some weather that obstructs your view but it’s not majorly menacing to your races. Licensed cars aren’t available but expect some creatively designed machines to have the pleasure of destroying instead. In fact, I can’t actually begin to remember how many of my own vehicles I’ve totalled or how many I’ve denied the A.I of. Different vehicles can be unlocked and then bought with your hard earned cash from those races and the statistics of your vehicles can be improved before races too; Power, Strength and Handling can be improved to raise the grade of the vehicle. You can also select different liveries before you jump right into the action, they’re designed by company’s that each have there own unique theme or particular design they follow.

Dirt Showdowns Tour mode is pretty standard, within it is the different race types you’ll get running through Showdowns different difficulties. The race types carry a lot of destructive type races where you’re either trying to aniline as many opponents as possible to score points in a giant raised platform or boxed right in with a few bends to swing round and hold on to be the last wreck standing. The roaring crowds gives these events a nice buzz, a good sharp edge to get you right into these scrums. It’s as much fun as it sounds and failing a few races wont have you retching with shame, you’ll just want to have another bash at it. As exciting as the destruction is, it is a step back from your incredibly sharp blind bends and terrain that’s strict to navigate through, it wont push you even nearly as hard as the other two but offers up a more than suitable alternative direction if you like your action orientated racing games.

If you’re more of a trickster, those tricky obstacle courses are back from Dirt 2 when you start to progress into the other tier of difficulty’s; Pro, Allstar, Champion and Legend. Smash hunter is a particularly enjoyable test of handling, precision and hand eye co-ordination. The courses and objectives are also well laid out and creates some wonderful opportunities to utilize the built in YouTube recorder to upload your best runs to impress your community! You have to drive around the course and hit the coloured bricks as you’re prompted to on screen, the blocks are coloured and are easy enough to see but there’s some slants and angles that blind you to just keep you on your toes. You can use the Flashback feature if you fail to hit the required amount of blocks so you don’t screw up your near perfect run with that one annoying mishap, though upping your difficulty will limit the number of Flashbacks you will have to begin in each event.

After you’ve had a good thrash around the Tour mode, Dirt offers up a fun, open and challenging mode apply named Joyride. Here’s where you get to drift around two open locations with other unlockable areas while completing certain challenges in or around your environment. Joyride is definitely a more balanced aspect to Dirt Showdown and Dirt 2, it’s not so much the destroying or maintaining elements like your velocity that you utilize here but simply just thinking, reacting and then finishing with some amazing balancing acts and tricks combined together. You’ll drift under lorry’s near perfectly or Salem round the narrowest gaps and then pull off two jumps and a donut just to get right down to the last missions on your list. Dirt has some very rewarding unlockable and challenging elements scattered through it modes which brings you further into Dirts experience as a whole but it also lacks in a nice sharp competitive edge which the last two titles did have due to their rallying nature. What you’re looking at is a straight swap from a sharp nimble racing game to destructible high octane one and the transition between the two comes across very well in Dirt Showdown.

Alongside Dirts online aspects it also has a Challenges section you can find on the main menu screen. After each race you can send invitations to your friends to beat your time or score and you can check any expired or pending submissions in the Challenges menu tab. You can also see how many challenges you’ve beaten and kept and who with, in a clear and efficient online menu system. There’s an Options and Extras section just below Challenges which has all of your bits and bobs to tinker with including your Driver Details where you can edit your name, audio name, horn, difficulty and your YouTube setting so you can upload your best smashes.

Xbox Live mode has a handy tier’d menu system to help you into Multiplayer matches. You can set up your playlist first by selecting which types of matches you’d like to compete in, these being, Everything, Demolition, Hoonigan, Racing and Party and all these have a neat little descriptions and bar that lights up all the relevant info. There’s also different Bonus’s to aim for while playing the Multiplayer mode like the Underdog Bonus where you can grab extra fans for beating the higher level players. You can also organise party’s to run around online with, if you can get the players together you should definitely give it a good bash as the fun is only amplified with friends and that good ol’ banter you can find in a good group of gamers.

Racenet Events is part of Dirts extensive online experience. Sign up to Racenet to access this feature, go to extras & options and check the Racenet tab there and you’ll find all the instructions you’ll need including the website you sign up to. It even comes with a little gift as you’re a new comer and some in game cash!

Overall Dirt Showdown has a had a good crack at the action orientated side of the racing genre but has also kept its distinguishable features from the past titles at the same time. It’s also given the games’ new direction a place to shine and really draw you in with it’s bendy tracks and jumps and along with the whole destructible side of the game only brings it to life online and off. The only thing it lacks is a podium or background structure to show it’s Tour mode off with, it’s really quite enjoyable but lets the rest of the game down with it’s lack of enthusiasm. It’s one to add to your collection if you’re a Dirt fan or you favour your brutal action.

Score: 7.5/10

Review: Xbox 360: Goldeneye Reloaded

Remember the days when all you needed to do to simply enjoy a game was to either take your pad round a friends house or invite them all over to your gaff? Not that GR needs the nostalgia to help you revisit those times as it builds upon the previous N64 performance by illuminating, evolving and re-animating certain previous elements with a smart 3D infrastructure to the level design.

This ultimately enables the gamer to receive the best experience possible whatever the difficulty, mode or level of skill the gamer has; and it’s because of the carefully implemented tweaks that give Goldeneye a layer of modern polish. These changes have been implemented with obvious love and care which ensures the original action and stealth elements of the beloved Goldeneye are intact throughout the remake but with the added features that you normally associate with the more modern consoles. This brings heaps more of the game-play you love and would normally associate with the N64 classic.

The story isn’t anything special in itself but it helps create the right environments to utilise all of Bonds tasty skills and equipment, there are also slight changes to the character line-up but this doesn’t effect the actual balance of the game. You’ll start off with a little dab of training in a small MI6 training room and if you’ve played the Wii or N64 version(s) you will instantly recognise certain areas and reflect what changes you can see through the previous versions. The control scheme isn’t anything out of this world, most of the commands you will already associate with FPS’s and the new gadgets can be used with the d-pad, this allows even newcomers to create a little bit of pace and fluidity to their in-game combat ability. The only control issue I can see gamers having misgivings with is the rather abrupt and odd button prompt scenes, which create a slight pot-hole effect in the games pace.

You can ultimately play the campaign in two ways, either using the stealth ability of several foam-wrapped mute ninjas to take out unsuspecting evil henchmen or run in like Rambo and watch the mayhem unfold. Both are perfectly viable options to enjoy either way and both bring you a different view and vibe on the campaign, even when you replay levels multiple times. The campaign also has some fitting action orientated cut-scenes which takes you further into the game and keeps the story intact, no plot-holes or seemingly thinly stretched cut-scenes here just added benefits to an already solid experience. The A.I isn’t that dimwitted either even on the easiest difficulty, you can be creeping away and get spotted if you are too brazen, they also dive behind cover and have other oddities to their behaviour to make them that little bit harder to nail in the head.

A welcome addition to the games campaign is the action-packed but sadly brief vehicle sections, these tie-in with parts of the previous version but improve upon and open up some impressive sequences instead. The Tank especially is hordes of fun and incredibly easy to control, you’ll be rolling along firing at buildings to scatter men on foot and then lock-on to some airborne targets as you chase Ourumov through the streets of St. Petersburg. The array of weapons you have access to straight away is a delight, you’re normally made to skimp on ammo or keep your favourite weapons till you need them, thankfully not for Bond though. There is a small amount of collectables in the campaign, not many at all in fact, but the replay value is found when changing the difficulty as this affects your health, objectives and certain features are removed to create an uber hard test for you and Bond to get through. The campaign is about 10 hours of play altogether, throw in the other difficulties plus collectables and at best your looking at 10-15 hours play, however as this is a remake, Bond has a few more tricks up his sleeve thanks to the MI6 mission mode and the return of the mouth-watering multi-player mode.

MI6 Missions basically require you to do one of three things: Elimination, Defence or Stealth your way through the challenge maps. You are scored on many aspects, though it’s mostly speed and you can change several options and stats before you start your challenge, if you change the amount of health you get or the aggressiveness of the A.I in the option menu it changes the overall difficulty rating bonus you will receive at the end of the challenge. There are some bizarre Mission Modifiers to activate if you wish like; Paintball mode, Golden gun and Ragdoll mode which can spice things up on the battlefield… just a little! They are several maps to complete and these add a miniature sense of accomplishment whether completed on some silly hard difficulty or not; this is all user friendly and changeable. The optimisation of the customisation elements of Goldeneye helps accommodate lots of different ranges and levels of skill gamers have and can satisfy even the oddest or most hardcore appetites, also maps are designed so you can get into different positions and utilise certain weapons to complete the mission quicker.

Goldeneye offers up an impressive multi-player selection, the next selection being the split screen mode. You and three others are able to play on 14 maps, with 6 game modes and a staggering 56 characters (including favourites from the bond series) to choose from. Having a four way with Blofeld, Scaramanga and Oddjob is extremely funny, especially if you’re familiar with the characters or the actual bond movies and this wide range of guns, modes, characters and maps creates a Pandora’s box of funnies. Some of these modes are quite creative, modes like ‘You only live twice’ are fun and challenging; as to win you’ll need to be the last gamer standing after everyone has lost their lives and can’t respawn. Eventually, if you’ve had enough of ruining your mates day in your own home you can always take a trip to multi-player land where the boisterous mayhem hits its critical point and you can ruin people’s day online instead.

Multi-player mode as a whole is solid, it gives you a good range of maps and weapon load-outs and the experience system helps keep your attention on getting as many kills as possible in matches. The best way to describe the game-play at times is to compare it to Counter Strike, when everyone is running round with shotguns or smaller more powerful weapons things can get very fast paced. Online games can also start at the other end of the scale on more evasive maps with multiple objects or buildings that create cover, players pick there other long range load-outs and other players take the lead on the scoreboard. When you create your first weapon load-out, you will find some gadget slots that remind you of the perks feature from the COD series. These work really well with a smaller more compact multi-player mode, the differences are more noticeable and can help gamers easily create a better fitting class that can kick-ass. You have 3 gadget slots altogether, one is for proximity, timed or remote mines along with grenades if you wish, proximity mines are especially crafty which makes them a must for gamers that like to be creative. Gadget slots 2 and 3 are for your character and weapon perks, Fast-Forward; increased speed or Snap-Shot; improves accuracy and you have a acceptable amount to switch between. You can get a lot of good game-play from the multi-player side and you can team up with friends too which makes Goldeneye’s multi-player experience an all round brilliant one. The only slight issue is with the amount of players online; you might have trouble filling rooms for Escalation and any modes that differ from Team Death match and One v all.

Goldeneye Reloaded is totally packed with the stuff you really want, it’s filled with the improvements gamers maybe wanted when it was first available on the N64 but had no way of ultimately picturing this dream. Though we, as gamers are used to being spoilt these days with hogs of extras and DLC to comprehend buying, Goldeneye Reloaded takes all of these previous after thoughts, issues and evolution that is achievable and incorporates it into the original design but with vastly improved level design and pace. This is definitely a title to pick up for good if you and your friends are looking for a solid remake of the N64 classic, re imagined by modern minds for current technology.

Score: 7.5/10

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Eurocom Entertainment Software

Review Xbox 360: Dark Void

You play as Will a lowly cargo ship operator trying to keep his business a float in the midst’s of another terrible World War us humans get ourselves into.

At the very start of the campaign, even before the intro explaining this world and some of the background story you’re thrown straight into jet pack flight training. Here you will be first shown one of the element’s Capcom tried to push the game with and that’s the fact you can fight or take flight with your rocket pack. It is initially a very bumpy ride as it’s just like controlling a jet fighter but with the implication that you’re a man, it isn’t going to be an easy thing to do to start with. As you’re training with two friendly air craft and learn how to boost and break you’re attacked by UFO’s. These UFO’s are controlled by the Watchers, the evil force which is trying to cause worldwide destruction. Initially I was very uncomfortable with the overall movement while I was flying it’s because I had every direction to fly in and with the right analogue stick I could spin, twisting my view very quickly. After five minutes I picked up the basics of flight and took out some of the UFO’s that where around me, you’ll need to get better as these fights as they become more hectic later on but you will gradually be introduced to this part of the game and it’s not a huge spike in difficulty if you’re good at adapting to different games like me, otherwise you might struggle with the manoeuvres and general feel. The poor rebel fighter you do control at the time eventually gets taken down in the ambush and the intro begins to unravel some of the mystery of what you just saw.

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