Having just sat down to play the beta version of Dark Souls II I wondered to myself whether the game would match up to the hair-ripping difficult of its two predecessors. Having died about 5 times already into the first hour and a half of the game I can confirm it most definitely is!
Now I’d like to think that I’m not that bad at these types of games, I progressed quite far in both Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls so I know the type of way you need to play. It appears however either I’m very rusty from not playing for over a year, or this game is extremely difficult.
For any of you who haven’t touched the Souls series of games then I would definitely recommend giving them a go. You’ll be in for a shock though. This isn’t your average RPG game, not at all. Don’t think it’s as easy as running into a group of enemies, destroying them, and carrying on. Oh you died? No matter I’ll just reload my saved game from a couple of seconds ago. Chuck this logic out the window because you need to go to scratch for Dark Souls II. This is a game where even two of the lowest level enemies together should give you pause. And when it comes to a rather large enemy like the handsome fellow shown below then you should probably start praying you survive, because you’re in for a challenge! Expect to die, a lot. And when you do, it’s not as simple as reloading a save game, because you can’t save whenever you like. Throughout playing you’ll pass certain save points called bonfires. This is where you’ll restart if you die, so if you’re last bonfire was half an hour ago it’s not good news for you.
Let’s start the beta review anyway. This is, of course, just a beta and so quite a few things are likely to change for the final version coming out next March. However we can expect a few things to stay the same or roughly the same so this should be a good indication on whether you feel this would be the game for you or not.
To start with we have 6 characters to choose from: Soldier; Warrior; Sorcerer; Temple Knight; Dual Swordsman; Hunter. All of course have different weapons, items, spells etc. To start my first try I thought I’d go for the Warrior as in the past I’ve found it helpful to have a high health meter and close up weapons to attack those enemies. A shield can be really helpful also.
The graphics in this game really are stunning – especially as this is only the beta version! A dark and gloomy atmosphere can really be depressing in most situations, and that’s the whole atmosphere for the game, but they’ve really done a great job of creating these lovely sceneries to keep you content and awed. Try not to let it distract you too much though or you’ll likely end up dead!
The gameplay itself hasn’t differed much from the previous games; you get a normal and a more powerful method of attack for both of the weapons/items you carry in your left and right hands. You can roll around and dodge enemies to your heart’s content, until you run out of stamina of course, and healing yourself with an item is only a button press away. One really helpful tip to play this game is to read the enemy as best as you can. Most of them will follow a set routine: Swing left sword, swing right sword, and pause. Swing left sword, swing right sword, and pause. Working out the way enemies work and then intercepting them and slashing at them is the key factor here in being successful in the game.
The first part of the beta is scattered with a handful of low level monsters who’d rather lounge around than attack you like this guy down below. However that can change very quickly and you’ll soon find yourself facing much much much more difficult enemies like your huge double scythe friend in the above image. Luckily he was too huge to fit into a room for me and I was able to take him out easily!
One thing you’ll find, as said before, is seeing a lot of this screen below. Not only is dying a problem with you having to start from, possibly, quite far back in the game, there are much worse implications. The ‘currency’, so to speak, in this game are souls. You kill monsters, you get souls. Easy. When you die, all the souls you have, no matter how many there are, are deposited at your body. So when you restart from your lovely bonfire you find you have 0 souls. To regain all your souls, and your last few hours of sweat, blood and tears, you must venture forth to where you died and pick them up. Sound simple? Well, all the monsters you defeated earlier and back so good luck killing them again. Also if you happen to die before you reach them, I have bad news for you: You’re never getting them back. This can be quite a rage-inducing moment when you realise that everything you’ve worked towards for a considerable time has just gone, ne’er to return.
Having said that though, this game can be enjoyable! Never before has killing even the lowliest of enemies been so fulfilling and rewarding. And when you happen to kill one of the big bosses of the game? You feel like a God!
If you’re interested by this, but still aren’t sure whether you’d want to buy the game then I have good news for you. On 22nd October a code will be shared allowing you to download the beta version and try out the game for yourself on the 27th October. Only 30000 people allowed though so you best be quick!
A new but not entirely unexpected move by Sony is to finally introduce the need to pay to experience the multiplayer world for their new console the PlayStation 4. The PlayStation Plus Membership is set for $50 a year compared to the Xbox Live’s $60 a year. Now it should be said that the membership is NOT required for offline single player games or indeed any offline parts of other games, so it’s not a mandatory requirement. However if you’re a keen online multiplayer gamer this looks like a much need subscription for you.
The subscription will be available across the whole of the PS4, PS3 and PS Vita for no extra cost! Combine this with all the additional benefits you get such as free games, extra storage and automatic updating among many others, it seems that this is a much better value for offer than Microsoft’s version.
Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference actually looked rather good in my opinion today. Focusing less on the “non-gaming” aspects of the console is certainly a move in the right direction for the Xbox One. However the price released could be a bit of an issue. We’re currently looking at $499.99 for the U.S, £429.99 for the UK and €499.99 for the rest of Europe. Anything wrong with this picture? With the current dollar to pound and dollar to euro conversion rate an equivalent price to the $499.99 is just over £320 and €375. It seems like the UK and the rest of Europe especially have drawn the short straw when it comes to the Xbox One for now.
For any of you that watched the Microsoft Conference today you might be feeling some mixed emotions when it comes to the new Xbox. For any of you that didn’t allow me to feel you in. The new generation of the system is called the “Xbox One” a rather strange name when you think of it given that this is the third Xbox in the series rather than the first. Although the PS4’s design has yet to be unveiled the Xbox One’s certainly was and here is a picture of it below.
Looks rather like an old VCR doesn’t it? They certainly haven’t gone for the stylish sleek look it seems, although having a massive fan and claiming that the console is pretty much silent. Is it just me or does the Kinect sensor look a lot bulkier as well? Both console and sensor have gone for the “rough-edged” approach rather than having nice curved edges, so the Xbox One certainly doesn’t score any points for looks … but looks aren’t really what we’re interested in are they?
Microsoft has tried to go for an all-in-one home entertainment system, and they should certainly be commended for trying. However is this really what people want? Sony have added a few social features to the PlayStation 4 but at the heart of it are the games. We are talking about a video games console after all not a everything in one box show. I think Microsoft have tried a little too hard trying to incorporate literally everything into the console forgetting that there main target audience is of course the gamers that are probably far more likely to want to play their games rather than control what films they want to watch and what TV to see, after all, don’t we already have DVD players and Sky/Freeview etc for that?
I wish I could say things get better but to me it doesn’t really seem like it does. The Kinect Sensor has now upgraded from an optional extra to a mandatory add-on. So basically what this means is that if you’ve got a fully functional Xbox One console but your Kinect Sensor breaks you’re in for a pretty rough ride. If you want to carry on playing you’ll have to go out and buy a new sensor. Considering currently these are anything over £100 (and you can probably expect the new improved version to be a lot more) this doesn’t look very appealing to me. Rather than keeping one thing from breaking you’re now going to have to contend with two separate items and let’s face it, the sensor looks a lot more flimsy than the console itself does.
What also may be worrying to some is that the console and Kinect are “always on” and “always listening”. While it may be handy and pretty cool to begin with to simply walk in and say “Xbox On” and have your console turn itself on this doesn’t bode well for privacy concerns. If the system is always on and always listening who knows what data it could be gathering – anyone seen the film or read the book 1984? With the Kinect supposedly being accurate enough to “read your heartbeat while you’re exercising” and able to distinguish your voice from others it must at least record some information to be able to do this.
Some good and bad news when it comes to games themselves, especially with regards to pre-owned games. There was a rumour going around that Microsoft and Sony might have implemented a strategy to effectively ban any pre-owned games from running on their systems. Sony thankfully did no such and thing, and Microsoft haven’t either … well not entirely anyway. It seems like all games must be installed to the HD and linked to a Live account. However if someone wants to install the same disc onto say another account then you have to pay a fee. This is exactly the same case for if you bought a pre-owned game as such game would already be linked elsewhere to the previous owners account. So what really everyone is asking is how much is the fee? This is going to be a horrendous mistake if you are charged loads extra to play a game your brother/sister own just so you can have it on your account or for any games that are pre-owned. Make the fee too high and you could effectively have pre-owned games that are more expensive than the new editions and that could kill of any pre-owned Xbox One games for Microsoft.
Of course Microsoft have yet to release the price for the Xbox One or even an expected release date so stay tuned!
If you get frustrated when you can’t figure out the answer, walkthroughs are a great way to find out where you’re going wrong. So for any of you who are stuck on a rather puzzling app known as Endless Escape below is a complete walkthrough for all levels complete with pictures when required.
Stage 1 – Simply click on the door to open it, then again to go through it. Stage 2 – Touch the pot to move it to the side and pick up the key that was underneath it so it’s now in your inventory. Click it again and then click the door to open it. Stage 3 – Pick up the rock, and touch it inside your inventory before clicking the glass cabinet to smash it. The key will fall out. Stage 4 – Spell out the word “Africa” with the letters, and the map will move up revealing the key. Stage 5 – Click on the first box until it turns yellow, then the second box until it turns blue, and finally the third until it turns red. The key will appear in the flowerpot. Stage 6 – Rotate the boxes until the pieces of wires are all connected and the safe is open, revealing the key.
Stage 7 – Tilt your device to the left until the ball flicks on the left light switch, then tilt to the right until it switches on the right light switch, allowing you to click on the door to open it. Stage 8 – Pick up the paintbrush and the pot of paint, and combine them in your inventory. Click on the combination, then rub inbetween the two doors to reveal a third door which you can enter through.
Stage 9 – Click on the question marks until they reveal the number 16. Stage 10 – There are 6 differences – the harp has been flipped, the panther has an extra paw on display, the drawer handle is a different colour, the plate (above the door) has changed colours, the book on the shelf is missing and the door handle is further away from the keyhole. Once all of these are clicked, the images will slide to reveal the door that you can go through.
Stage 11 – Touch the plant to move it, revealing a packet of cat food. Then, touch the painting, which will release a pair of scissors. Combine these, then touch the food bowl to pour the food into it, revealing the key. Stage 12 – Do not touch the screen or move your device until the timer has finished and the red light has turned green, then the door will unlock. Stage 13 – If you turn your device on its side, you will see that the coloured grids spell out “1245″, so touch the question marks until they read out this number. Stage 14 – Pick up the pair of scissors from behind the desk and use these to cut down the painting from the wall. Then, tap the door four times and it will open. Stage 15 – Click on the options menu in the bottom right corner of the screen, and the key will be waiting for you. Stage 16 – Rest your device on a flat surface until the meter is full and the door is unlocked. Stage 17 – Touch the chair and a piece of cloth will fall. Collect this, and use it to rub the genie’s lamp until blue smoke appears, along with the key. Stage 18 – Click “Endless Escape” in the bottom left corner, and a man with a glass of wine will appear. The key is inside his wine glass. Stage 19 – Shake your device until an apple falls, and pick it up. Do this for all four apples on the tree and then set them all on the scales until they outweigh the rock. Stage 20 – Scroll to the right, going past six more doors with the troll face above them and the blank wall until you reach this door, which will allow you to enter.
Stage 21 – Pick up the saw, nails, hammer, bulb and watering can. Add the bulb to the pot and use the watering can on it so that it turns into a tree. Use the saw to cut down this tree, and collect the wood. Combine the nails and the wood, then the hammer and you will have built a desk. Place this desk on the floor beneath the key so that you can reach it. Stage 22 – Pick up the screwdriver from under the drawers and the pliers from the plant pot. Use the screwdriver to open the power box and cut the wires with the pliers. Then, insert the number “0812″ and the key will appear.
Stage 23 – Click on the first two semi circles until they are red and yellow. Do the same for the next two until they are yellow and blue, and again for the last pair until they are blue and red, and collect the key. Stage 24 – Touch the face of the cube that’s to the left until the squares have the pattern “green, blue, orange, purple”. Next, click the face of the cube pointing upwards until it is “blue, red, green, yellow”, and finally, touch the remaining face until it is “red, blue, green, purple”.
Stage 25 – Touch the squares until they are this sequence (from left to right): yellow, blue, green, red, gold, brown, black, white, orange.
Stage 26 – Select the sections shown in the picture below until it makes a shape of a star.
Stage 27 – Touch the arrows in this sequence: east, north east, south, north, west.
Stage 28 – Make a shape of a key in the yellow blocks, as shown in the image below.
Stage 29 – Click the x in “Endless Excape” in the bottom left corner, and then select it from your inventory and place it in the remaining black space in the noughts and crosses board. Stage 30 – Change the top left square to a diamond, the top right to a spade, the bottom right to a club and keep the bottom left as a heart.
Stage 31 – Shake your device until the glass cabinet breaks, and pick up the stethoscope. Click this in your inventory, then click the safe and after a second, it will open, revealing the key. Stage 32 – Touch the machine and pick up the coin released from it. Click the coin in your inventory, and rub the three blank boxes below it, revealing 2 crosses and a key.
Stage 33 – Change the boxes to this colour sequence – blue, red, yellow, blue, green, red; the key will appear above the triangle to the left.
Stage 34 – The best way to explain this is with coordinates and pictures. Imagine the squares along the columns from left to right are labelled A to E and the rows from top to bottom are labelled 1 to 5. Therefore the top left square is A1, the centre C3 etc. First of all move C1 to D4.
Next move D2 along to C5.
Finally, move B2 to B4 therefore completing the fish shape.
Stage 35 – Shake your device until the glass completely smashes, and pick up the key. Stage 36 – Change the four black animals to a mouse, a rabbit, a bear and a wolf (in any order).
Stage 37 – Click on the four quarters of the box to the right until you have formed a medium sized circle with no lines coming from it.
Stage 38 – Change the time until it reads “12:45″. Stage 39 – Turn your device so that the screen is facing the ground and the lid of the drain will open, and a key will jump out and land near the door. Stage 40 – Type the answers to the first two sums as 37 and 90 respectively, then click on the number “40″ at the bottom right corner, and place it next to the last sum.
Stage 41 – The image below shows how the final room should look. To get to this we need to change the 4th picture in the lower right hand corner. To do this click the top section of the picture 8 times, the right section 7 times, the bottom section twice and finally the left section 5 times. Phew!
Stage 42 – Pinch the screen until you have zoomed out enough to see another door with a key in front of it. Stage 43 – Change the number inside the big brown triangle to 55. Stage 44 – Pick up the axe head from behind the tree trunk, the axe handle from the top of the tree and the other axe part from the left of the screen. Combine these and you have an axe. Highlight the axe and shake your device until the tree falls down, leaving the key on the trunk. Stage 45 – Change five of the ten blank teardrop shapes purple, in alternation, in order that you are left with the shape of a purple flower.
Stage 46 – Click on options, then level select and go back to level 1. Pick up the key, and go back to level 46 and use this key to unlock the door. Stage 47 – Touch the questions marks until the number “891″ is displayed. Stage 48 – Touch the diagram to the top right of the screen twice so that the parallelograms are both short and blue. Then, touch the fourth black drawing so that there is a cross through it. Do the same to the blue and white tie on the left of the screen. Finally, touch the small blank triangle five times until the outline of a red arrow pointing upwards appears.
Stage 49 – Leave the top left corner of the box blue, but click the top right until it turns pink, the bottom left until it turns yellow and the bottom right until it turns red. The room will light up and the key will be lying on the floor.
Stage 50 – Click on the two squares with dashes through them until both read the number 7.
Stage 51 – Click on the light switches at either side of the door to read parts of the numbers. Click on the zeros until they read “8579″. Stage 52 – Press the start button and press stop where you think falls between 4 and 5 seconds, and when you get it correct, repeat this for between 7 and 8, and 11 and 12. Note: when I compared the timing to a real stopwatch, the game’s timing seems to be slightly slower, so for between 4 and 5 seconds, I stop at around 5.5 seconds on a stopwatch, for between 7 and 8 I stop just after 8, and for 11 and 12, I stop at approximately 13 seconds. Stage 53 – Pick up the metal detector from behind the plant and the drill from the branch. Use the metal detector at the bottom left corner of the wall and a red cross will appear. Touch this cross with the drill and inside the hole it makes is the key.
Stage 54 – There is no way to beat this level except with good luck. The aim is to win three games of rock, paper, scissors in a row against the three people, but they change whether they are playing paper, scissors or rock each game, so there is no way to calculate what will be played. Stage 55 – Click on the dashes underneath the boys to change their numbers. Change the top left to number 3, top right to number 4, bottom left to number 1 and bottom right to number 2.
Stage 56 – Change the number to the left of the screen to “1961″ and the number to the right of the screen to “1502″. Stage 57 – Change the letters to the left of the screen so that they spell out “FIR”. Stage 58 – Touch the needle hanging off a piece of thread at the top right of the screen and the needle will fall into the haystack. You will find the needle in the bottom right of the hay. Click on the needle in your inventory and then the chest to open it and reveal the key. Stage 59 – Firstly, touch all of the nine squares until they are blank without question marks, then touch the top centre and the bottom centre squares until both are red.
Stage 60 – Touch the door and you will be greeted by a brick wall that says “JUMP”. Shake your device upwards (as if it is jumping) until the hole that you have created is big enough to jump down. This will take you to a link to download the sequel to the game, “Endless Escape Underground” and you have officially completed the game! Congratulations!
Amazing news for any Star Wars fans out there! Well hopefully it’s good news anyway! Electronic Arts have just acquired the rights for exclusivity to produce Star Wars games for Disney. Now a lot of people shudder when they hear those words, EA aren’t always the best when it comes to games and they have a nasty habit of rushing things which is never the best thing to do. But, and it is a big but, when you look at the actual developers things get a lot lot better.
First of all we have DICE. Pretty well known, they’ve created games such as Mirror’s Edge and of course the whole of the Battlefield Series. Now Call of Duty and Battlefield are probably the top two series when it comes to FPS games and the incredible destructible environments used in Battlefield 3 would be absolutely perfect for Star Wars. Imagine Star Wars: Battlefront III, extremely long overdue and already developed partly by LucasArts it doesn’t take a genius to get DICE to start expanding on what was already there and bring out one of the most anticipated and best FPS games to date!
Next we have Visceral Games, although you might think you might not have heard of them before you’ve probably almost definitely played one of their many games. They’re responsible for Dante’s Inferno and the whole of the brilliant Dead Space series. When it comes to horror and third person shooter games Visceral are certainly a very good choice! So hopefully it looks likely that Star Wars: 1313 might finally be allowed to continue creation and get released. This was one of the newest games being worked on by LucasArts and is set around the time between Episode III and Episode IV, with no mention of lightsabers and mainly blasters being used this would make a brilliant third person shooter.
So, we’ve got a first person and a third person shooter hopefully in the works, so what does that leave? Well the name BioWare should give you some indication as what is hopefully to come. BioWare along with Bethesda are two of my favourite developers in the video game industry so I’m extremely excited about this news. Their recent MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic might not have been brilliant, but there is a very good reason for this: BioWare aren’t MMO developers! Each developer is recognised for their ‘trademark’ as it were, and with BioWare that has to be the incredible stories they make, just think of how amazing the Mass Effect series was! With The Old Republic the story was great, but a story isn’t what you need with an MMO, it’s action more than anything. Does anyone remember Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2? Some of the best Star Wars games in existence in my opinion and despite being over a decade old they’re still really great fun to play even now! Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3 was rumoured to be in development years ago, with a story thought out before it was unfortunately scrapped. So could now be the time? I certainly hope so.
Although EA have declared that it’s unlikely any Star Wars games will come out in the next fiscal year, so don’t expect any until March 2014. But with the possibility of finally having Star Wars: Battlefront III, Star Wars: 1313 and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic to look forward to 2014 should be an amazing year!
Okay, so you might not immediately associate the Kindle with gaming and you’d be forgiven for thinking so. You are indeed correct if talking about the majority of the kindles such as the Kindle, Kindle 2, Kindle DX, Kindle Touch and Kindle Paperwhite. However for the Kindle Fire (as well as the HD version) it’s not all about reading books. Although this review was done for the Kindle Fire HD the exact same can be said for the normal definition version, there are only a few minor differences such as the quality of the screen, the size of the screen and the battery life among other things.
Of course we can’t forget that the main function of the Kindle is indeed as an e-reader. For quite a lot of people, including myself in the past, it takes quite a while to try and get around this idea. A lot of people who enjoy reading books enjoy it because … well a book is a book, and having the essence of a book taken away from you and put into a mini computer as it were isn’t popular by some. I, myself was very against the idea for several years.
How mistaken I was.
The Kindle Fire is an absolute must if you enjoy reading and playing apps! I won’t go much into the reading part of the system as I’m sure it’s the gaming part that you’re the most interested in, but I will say that it’s the best e-reader that I’ve ever used and using a Kindle rather than proper books can give you so much more space for other things. Remember also that anything that’s text can be put on your Kindle indefinitely. Got any strategy guides on your computer? It’s more than easy to transfer them and I’ll be doing a walkthrough later on in the week to show you how you can get pretty much anything on your kindle no matter what file type they are. For any Kindle users reading this and find themselves annoyed by how any documents you don’t buy from Amazon seem to appear in the Documents section of the kindle rather than the Books section, also don’t despair as I’ll be showing you how to get everything into the books section later on too. Of course as well as books and games you can think of the Kindle as rather similar to the iPad and other tablets, you can go on skype you can surf the internet, you can even play flash! (with the help of a handy application).
Anyway, let’s talk about the Amazon Appstore where the majority of your games will come from. There are indeed ways around to get apps from the Google Play Store (as the kindle is indeed an Android-based system) and even some games from other places, however the simplest and easiest way is to download them from the Amazon Appstore, if of course they exist there.
So what’s the appstore like? Well not bad, although it is true that you’re likely to find a much larger availability of games elsewhere it’s not all about the disadvantages. With so many free games (and of course other apps) it’s not likely you’re going to need to spend any more of your money unless you come across something really amazing, and even then you might decide it would be best waiting. You see Amazon have added a rather genius special feature to their games: Free App of the Day. Every 24 hours, starting from midnight a new game will be highlighted on the main page, and for just one day only it’s completely free (usually these games can be anywhere from around 66p to a couple of pounds), so unless you can see extremely bad reviews it’s probably worth downloading just to try out at a later time.
These apps can keep you entertained for days on end with favourites such as Temple Run 1 & 2, Doodle jump and many many more. So if you enjoy reading and love gaming I would very recommend you give the Kindle Fire a try. See down below for links from Amazon about how to purchase!
“Enjoy one of the best addicting jump game.
Jump on the center of the platform!!
A failure means you fall in to the abyss….”
The description of the game Mr AahH!! makes it sound a bit, well, like it won’t be a very good game. However, I enjoy purchasing games that do not seem as if they will be enjoyable to test them out, and every once in a while I discover a game which is contradictory to its bland description and is actually addictive and entertaining.
Meet Mr AahH. A poor stickman who must jump from one platform to another, trying his best to land in the centre of each one where he achieves the most points. The wind dramatically changes on him in an instant and he can only fail to land on a platform three times before he falls to his death.
There is something about this game that I can’t quite put my finger on that makes it very difficult to stop playing. It has the same factor of games like Temple Run or Candy Crush, where you can become rather addicted to getting as far as possible, despite its simplicity in idea. One of my favourite parts of the application is actually the background music: a very old-school tune that takes you back to the days of Space Invaders.
The simple graphics have been somewhat a complaint within some players of the game, as they are very basic. Mr AahH is at best an advanced stickman, and he swings from a rope which is literally a straight line. Personally, I am glad that the graphics are so undetailed. With games like Temple Run, I have in the past gotten confused and ended up losing my life because the game has so many complex graphics that you can not tell that an obstacle is coming. The use of black pillars with blue, green, yellow and red tops (which colour you land on tells you how many points you have achieves for that landing), with a background of white, lilac and pastel blue means that everything is clear and it is impossible to get lost in complicated visuals.
Although the graphics themselves may be very basic this game does offer some new integrated tilt-screen technology. As mentioned before the object of the game is to jump from one platform to another, where landing in the centre will get you the highest score and missing the platform will make you lose a life. In addition to this you can tilt the screen of your device which acts as a ‘third force’ as it were on top of gravity and wind. This can be extremely useful for when you have miscalculated a jump and need to move quickly over to the left or for any completionists out there who love to get the highest score on every jump possible.
For 99p on Android (on iOS, there is a free lite version and the full version is 69p), you are receiving a game which will have you hooked for hours, and if you have friends who have also downloaded this app, it can become a very competitive sport as you aim to demolish each other’s high score. If you don’t have friends who have this game, force them to try it, as they will not regret the fun this application will give them.
With so many variations of the traditional Hangman game in the app stores, and also having played an intricate version that a friend programmed, I am always on the lookout for new, innovative Hangman games with a twist. When I saw “Ultimate Hangman HD” on the Apple appstore, I couldn’t resist, especially with the bargainous 69p price tag (available on iOS and Android).
The application loaded with a funny doodle on a yellow screen and a rather jolly tune playing, but when you select your category and begin, it is clear that this is no “ultimate” Hangman, but merely your basic game of Hangman with the option of changing whether you will be “hanging” a snowman or a flower.
I was initially rather excited by the description stating that there are “73 word categories”, but this is rather deceiving, as the majority of these are not English categories. If you are fluent in Portuguese, German, French, Spanish and Dutch as well as English, you will get the use out of every category, but for the vast majority of people, less than a third of these categories will actually be understood. I suppose, as a French student, I should appreciate the multiple languages, but most of the categories are so random that I find the game very difficult in French without randomly clicking letters, as it is mainly vocabulary that I have never had a need to learn.
There are some positive points though: one of which being the 2 player mode. I have played 2 player Hangman numerous times and am more often than not incredibly underwhelmed, but the mode in this particular game is very clever, as one person types in a word and then passes it over for the next person to guess. The only flaw with this is the exclusion of an option to type or choose a category, as without knowing a category, it is very difficult to guess the correct word. As well as this the original theme for the game is an animated hangman which can be rather amusing to watch at times, almost making you want to lose to see what happens.
Perhaps I have simply been too harsh on this game, but with so many free games of Hangman out there, the expectation is that the paid versions are more than adequate. It is far from a terrible application, but it just did not meet the standard I had hoped for. However, for 69p, I do not feel ripped off.
The Sims is the best selling game franchise of all time, and they have adapted as times have changed, and delved into the world of Smartphone applications in December 2011. In October 2012, their app “The Sims FreePlay” was finally released on the Kindle Fire: the format that I play this game on.
The application is free to download, as hinted by in its name, on iOS, Android and Googleplay, as well as the Amazon appstore. It is similar to the computer games in the fact that you create Sims (the game’s version of humans), design houses and live the lives of your Sims, controlling their every move. You can form relationships between Sims, get married, have children and pets and live from a newborn baby to a grown adult.
However, this app has some major differences to the paid for computer games. The most predominate difference is how quickly time passes in-game. On the computer games, each minute of gameplay is equivalent to an hour of in-game time, so to pass a day, you only have to play for 24 minutes. The Sims FreePlay application, on the other hand, is in real time, so to pass a day in-game takes 24 hours in real life. Time also passes when you are not playing the app, unlike the computer games, which freeze at the time saved when you exit the game.
The main objective of this version of The Sims is to complete missions, such as “Bake a birthday cake” or “Have a pre-teen sim nap on a park bench”. The missions get more difficult as you go throughout the game, and you can earn XP or lifepoints through completing these. As your XP level increases, your level will increase, and every time you go up a level, you unlock new items and other things. Lifepoints are used to buy certain items and also to skip missions that are either too difficult or will take too much time.
Of course, the application is much more basic than The Sims 3 computer game, which still retails for around £20, despite the fact that it will celebrate its fourth birthday in June. Nevertheless, when you consider that this app does not cost a penny, it isn’t long until you forget the differences between this and the costly games.
The optimum difference for the avid gamer is the addition of objective missions into the application. This inclusion makes it very difficult to put the game away, as once one mission is completed, you are instantly eager to complete another, all whilst ensuring that your Sims are content. Beware, however, of the fury when a mission will take a long time to complete – I was actively playing one Thursday and received the objective to watch TV on a Wednesday evening: furious is not the word! Also, it is most definitely not a game for the occasional player: the real-time element makes it necessary to regularly check up on your Sims, and the application can be set to give push notifications to inform the player when a Sim wakes up or when a plant has harvested, so you will never miss a minute of Sim action. As you can play with up to 65 different Sims, this can become a very predominate part of your life!
There are a few small things that I wish I had been told before downloading the game. Firstly, some of the times it can take to complete some in-game actions is quite frankly ridiculous. 24 hours to bake a birthday cake which is necessary to age your babies, toddlers and pre-teens? It is understandable that some tasks will take longer than others, for example, when you spend longer gardening, your plant will be worth more money, but actions that are necessary to progress through the game should not take an infuriatingly long time.
Also, despite the application taking an average time to download from the app store, when you first load it, you are greeted with a 300mb+ extra download. Necessary for a game so complex, but it was not stated anywhere in the description that such a large extra download would be required, and everytime a new update is required, you have to endure another 300mb download, which for someone with incredibly slow internet is torturous. It may be unavoidable for the developers, but prior warning would have been appreciated.
Perhaps a personal issue, but another small factor of the game which can be annoying is the necessity to be connected to the Internet to play. Indeed, to use the in-app purchases function within the game an internet connection is essential, but as a Kindle Fire player, I don’t get a 3G connection and when I am out all day, it would be nice to check up on my Sims during a lunchbreak, although Smartphone players will not be affected by this problem.
The Sims FreePlay is an application that I’d thoroughly recommend, and despite its small hiccups, it is incredibly addictive. It is, above all, free; so it’s indefinitely worth a try!