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Bad Piggies is a spin off the hugely popular 'Angry Birds' series. The difference with this game is that rather than controlling the birds, you instead take control of the pigs. The aim of the game is to build vehicles for the pigs in order to get themselves pieces of map to find the bird's eggs. Each level gives you a few select objects in order to create the vehicle. These can range from boxes and wheels, as well as fans, soda bottles and springs. There are a huge number of different ways in which you can build the vehicles, meaning that you will very often find yourself trying out several different shapes and styles before you even get close to completing the course. The game retains the cute cartoony style of Angry Birds, and the sounds effects and music in the game fit perfectly. Each level has 3 stars, but unlike Angry birds where it has to be done in one go, you can do 3 different runs and collect one star each time, and sometimes this is the only way. The stars range from completing the course, to completing the course inside the time limit, by collecting star boxes, or completing the course without breaking anything off your vehicle. This means that very often you will have to do one run to complete the course within the time limit, and then do another run to collect the star box, as it is impossible to do both in one go. Bad Piggies, much like Angry Birds, is an incredibly fun and addictive game, and is a great way to waste a bit of time.
Bioshock sets you into the world of Rapture, an underwater city than has slowly descended into anarchy. You take control of Jack, who discovers Rapture after surviving a plane crash, he is then contacted by Atlas, who convinces Jack to help him take down Andrew Ryan. The game is essentially a first person shooter, but as well as a huge range of guns, the player can also use 'Plasmids' that allows the player to use various things such as shooting fire, electricity, or even a swarm of bees. The main enemies in the game are known as 'Splicers', humans that have become addicted to Plasmids and have gone insane, but a huge feature of the game are the Big Daddies and Little Sisters. Big Daddies protect the Little Sisters from harm from the Splicers, and are huge, and have massive weapons such as a giant drill. Should you kill a big daddy you are able to get the Little Sister, at which point you have the option of harvesting them for ADAM (the thing that is used to buy plasmids) or to save them for slightly less ADAM. The game uses Vita-chambers to revive the player every time that the player dies, meaning that the game never gets too difficult, as the enemies do not respawn when you die. Overall, Bioshock is an awesome game with a brilliant story and a fantastic setting, and is only slightly let down by the ability to constantly respawn.
While I haven't been very enthusiastic about wrestling games in the past few years, something about WWE 13 attracted my interest. A big part of this was that the game focuses on the 'Attitude era' of the WWE (then WWF). This was the era of wrestling I grew up watching. The 'Attitude era' mode of WWE 13 allows you to recreate some of the most famous pieces of the attitude era, these include things such as the rise of Degeneration-X and the feud between 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and Vince McMahon. What surprised me about this mode is the amount of detail that has gone into. Arenas match those of the year they are supposed to be representing, and audio of the actual show is used at certain points of the game. One part I was very impressed with was the section of the game that showed the debut of Cactus Jack. While they could've just used the match he was in, instead they have recreated the entire part of the show in video game form. As you play the matches, you are given certain tasks to achieve that match up with the actual match. Things such as Tombstoning Kane three times with the Undertaker in their Wrestlemania match. While these are not mandatory, doing them all will unlock a whole variety of different things, such as attitude era rings and wrestlers, to Championship belts. The mode isn't perfect, some wrestlers are missing, 'F' and 'Federation' are still bleeped out in the game, and there is no section to recreate moments from WCW. This pretty much sums up the entire game. The game itself is very good, with a huge variety of wrestlers to choose from (both attitude era and the current generation), and the same can be said about the arenas and match types, but parts of the game can be lackluster. Wrestlers reverse moves so frequently that it becomes quite annoying and the commentary can become quite repetitive. The WWE Universe mode returns again, and while it is extremely fun to play, should you leave it to its own devices for a little while you'll soon discover that 'jobber' wrestlers are fighting for your world title. The online mode can be annoying. Games can have lag, and, as with most games, people will only use the highest rated wrestlers. The shining light of the online section is the Community creations section, which is still brilliant.
Sometimes I find it difficult to get my five a day. This can be for a number of reasons, such as being too busy with work or not having anything to go with the fruit and veg I have in the house. This is where Innocent Smoothies come in really handy. Innocent Smoothies come in a wide variety of different flavours, meaning that I don't get bored of them easily, as if I've had enough of a certain flavour, I can just get myself a new one. The different sizes of bottles and cartons are also extremely good for me. If I know that I will be home a lot then I will buy the larger cartons of smoothie, as they are usually cheaper. This means I can have a glass whenever I feel thirsty, meaning I get my five a day easily. However, if I know that I will be out a lot, I can buy myself the smaller bottles instead, meaning that I can take them with me, allowing me to still get my five a day. Overall, I love innocent smoothies just because it means that I can get my five a day with ease, it also helps that they have a good variety, and taste delicious.
I don't tend to drink lemonade much, when I do it is usually when I'm out and I have it served from the tap behind the bar, so when it comes to buying it I don't really know the best brands. That being said, I know that this is defiantly not it. The drink is extremely cheap, at around 18p a bottle, which should tell you straight away that you will not be getting the finest of products. The first thing I noticed when I opened the bottle is that it appears to have a lot more fizz than most other drinks. The drink itself has very little flavour, and what flavour it does have doesn't taste overly lemony. The drink has very little aftertaste as well, meaning that for the most part you are just drinking fizzy water. That being said, it can be mixed with things such as spirits quite well, as you aren't looking for the lemonade to overpower the spirit too much. And the cheap price means you can buy many bottles from the price of one name brand product, which is good if you are on a tight budget.
For the most part, I tend to try and buy the 'brand name' fizzy drinks whenever I can, the reason for this is that they tend to be the best, hence the reason they cost more. However, if I need to save some money, I will buy 'home brand' cheaper versions instead. That being said, it is defiantly more worthwhile to spend and extra 30p or so to get the the better store brand than the absolute cheapest version. It's not so much that this drink is bad, it is just that it is hardly even cola. While it has the same colour, smell and fizz of other cola drinks, there is almost no taste at all, and any taste that there is vanishes within seconds, with no aftertaste. While it can be used as a mixer in things such as alcoholic drinks, it is probably best used in drinks that use many ingredients, where the cola doesn't really need to serve much other purpose than to help water down the drink slightly. That being said, the drink itself only costs around 17p, meaning that you can buy around 12 litres of this drink for about the same price as a 500ml bottle of coca cola.
If it's not broken, then don't fix it. While the original PS3 controller design was one that was a horrible boomerang shape, Sony eventually redesigned the controller to the familiar look of the both the PS1 and PS2's controller. While on the surface the controller looks no different to it's PS2 predecessor; still containing two analogue sticks, a d-pad, 4 shoulders buttons, and the familiar face buttons, the PS3 controller contained a couple of new features. The first new feature was the ability to use the controller wirelessly, with the option to plug the controller into the PS3 to charge, giving it an advantage over the Xbox 360's battery pack. The second feature added to the PS3 controller is the six-axis feature. This features allows the players to tilt the controller to affect things that happen in game. While most games either ignore the feature or use it to add something superficial, other games, such as heavy rain, rely on it heavily. While I much prefer the analogue stick layout of the Xbox 360 controller, there is no doubt that the PS3's six axis controller is still one of the best controllers on the market. It is nice and light, easy to hold, and the rechargeable battery inside the controller is a fantastic feature
Civilization V is the 5th game in Sid Meier's Civilization series. Gamers who are familiar with the series will understand the basics, but Civilization V adds so much more to the series. The basic outline of the game is the same as in previous versions. You pick a race of people, and slowly start to build your civilization, creating cities, building armies, exploring the world and discovering new technology. You can win the game by a number of different means (depending on the victory rules set out at the beginning of the game) which can include winning the space race, wiping out all other civilizations or getting the highest number of victory points. Different units can do different thing. For example, a settler is the only unit who can build new cities, while Warriors can do battle instead. Each unit can also only move a set amount per turn, which varies, though the amount a unit can move tends to increase as you improve your armies. The layout of the game has been altered from previous editions, with the game world seeming more like the game board of a board game, using hexagonal pieces as opposed to the square tiles of previous games. When you select a unit to move, a number of different tiles will light up, indicating the places the character can move within one turn. While in previous games players could move several different units onto one single tile. In Civ V you are only allowed one military unit per tile, meaning that if you now wish to build a large army you need to make sure you have enough space, though this gives battles a much grander effect than in previous games. Units take longer to be made in Civ 5 compared to other games, where units could be knocked out in a matter of a few moves. This makes them very valuable to the game. Another new feature is that they players can choose whether to promote their unit as they defeat enemies to get bonuses, or instead choose to completely heal them, where as in previous games they would do this automatically. Another new feature is that units may not be killed if they are defeated in battle, where as they would be completely destroyed should they lose in previous games. While the game contains historical figures that lead the civilizations, such as Abraham Lincoln and Gandhi, the game also has "great persons", such as Leonardo Da Vinci, who can give the player certain perks which can help them in the game, should the great person be born into that civilization. For the first time in the series, the civilization leaders are all fully animated and have recorded voices in game, all of which speak their own native language. This gives the game a much grander feel, as in previous games it would just be mugshot image of the leader with text acting as speech. Overall, Civilization V gives you pretty much what you would expect from a game in the Civilization series, but all of the little added features and graphical improvements give the game a much grander feel and a more immersive experience.
Most people will have Bejeweled in some form or another. However, Bejeweled 3 tops all the other games. The premise for the game is still the same, and is extremely simple; Match the different gems together in either groups of 3, 4 or 5. Matching the gems in groups of four give you small power ups such as an explosion, while connecting 5 gems together will give you a magical cube that will destroy every gem of a certain type that is currently on the board. The game starts with 4 different games modes, with 4 more modes to unlock by completing certain challenges within the different modes. The first mode is 'Classic mode'. Classic mode is very simple; you must connect the different gems together to score points to complete the level. This is repeated for every level until there are no more moves available, at which point the game ends. The second game mode is Zen mode. Zen mode is a never ending game, which just allows you to keep playing the game until you get bored. The added feature of Zen mode is it adds various things that can help you relax while you are playing the game. This includes adding things like breathing modulation, which lights and darkens the board to tell you when to breathe in and out, adding ambient sounds while you're playing the game, displaying motivational mantras, and adding Binaural beats. All these are optional, which means you can just play a never ending game if you are bored. The third game mode is Lightning mode. The game starts with one minute, and you try and get as many points as you can. You can add time to the next lightning round by connecting up special time gems or creating chains. If the time chains aren't matched in one of the rounds they become power gems, and the game ends once the time runs out and no more time gems have been collected. The final game mode is Quest mode. Quest mode sets you different challenges to complete. For each challenge you complete you unlock a piece of an ancient relic, once all the pieces have been collected you can move on to the next relic. The game has different challenges, such as collecting 120 gems in a certain number of moves, or making sure you collect a balanced amount of both red and blue gems. Each of these modes unlocks one of the secret modes by completed a certain challenge within the game mode. Poker mode is unlocked by completed 5 levels of the classic game. Poker mode gives you five turns to match gems. Once the 5 gems have been collected you are awarded points based on your "hand", such as a pair or three of a kind. at a certain point a Skull coin will appear on one of the hands. If your hand matches the hand with the skull coin the coin is flipped. If the coin lands on the clover you are safe and can play the next hand, but if it lands on the skull the game is over. Once you complete 5 levels of Zen mode you unlock Butterfly mode. In Butterfly mode parts of the game board have different coloured butterflies which must be connected together with the gems of the same colour. The butterflies start at the bottom of the board and move up one row each turn. Should a butter fly reach the top of the board it is captured by the spider and the game is over. If you get 100,000 points in Lightning mode you unlock Ice Storm. In Ice Storm towers of ice rise from the bottom of the screen to the top. The aim of the game is to keep joining together gems in order to destroy the columns of ice. Should all the columns of ice reach the top of the board, the game board will freeze and the game is over. The final secret game mode is unlocked once you have collected the first relic in Quest mode, this mode is called Diamond Mine. This mode has a layer of dirt at the bottom of the screen that must be destroyed by matching the gems directly on top of it. As you destroy the dirt you collect gold and unlock buried gems. The aim of the game is to clear all of the dirt above the line before the time runs out.
When I first heard of Terraria, it was described to me as a 2D version of Minecraft. This was a good enough reason for me to have a look at the game. While the game has some similar themes to Minecraft, Terraria is a great game on its own merits. Terraria has a pretty basic concept. You start out in a randomly generated world, and you then set about crafting tools, finding items and building yourself a house (or castle) to protect yourself from enemies. The game has a day and night cycle, with different enemies spawning on the surface depending on the time of day. While the enemies on the surface around where you spawn aren't too difficult, mostly slime blobs during the day and zombies and flying eyeballs during the night, there are many different enemies to battle depending on where you are in the game. The landscape is made up of many different environments, with different enemies in each area. The game also increases in difficulty the further you dig down into the world. Exploring the world results in greater rewards, the more you explore the more items you will find, and harder enemies will generally drop better objects and more money. There are also secret areas that will quite often contain good items should you find them. As you build your castle and add more rooms, NPC characters will move in, which will allow you to buy different items which can help you out in the game. You can also buy things to help you craft more items. Crafting items is extremely important to the game, as it allows you to create better weapons, stronger armour, and also items that will allow you to summon bosses. These bosses are much more difficult than regular enemies, but will offer great rewards should you defeat them. You can either play the game on your own, or join others and fight along side them. This can make the game easier, although it also means you will end up battling over items that are dropped. The game now also has the ability for PvP games. This allows two teams to fight each other within the Terraria world, which defiantly adds more to the game if you ever feel tired of playing the regular game. While the game is available to download, the collectors edition comes with several extra things as an incentive to buy the collectors edition. Included with the game alongside the disc is a poster that has a basic Terraria landscape on the one side and a poster of the enemies and NPCs in the game on the other side. Also included is a pickaxe keyring and a set of Terraria trading cards. The collectors edition also allows you to spawn a pet bunny in game, though it has no obvious effect on the game.
Modern video games are determined to help you out wherever possible. Constant checkpoints, a slow difficulty curve and even opportunities to skip more difficult parts of a level. Modern video games also try their best to make it feel like you are playing a film, with big, highly detailed surroundings. Super Meat Boy proves that you don't need either of those things to make a fantastic game. Super Meat Boy has a very simple, cartoon design that works very well. The main character, who is essentially a meat blob that splashes blood everywhere he lands, would not work if the game was designed to try and look highly detailed. The world as well isn't highly detailed, but takes nothing away from the experience. The game itself will make you want to rip your hair out with frustration at points, but is a very simple premise. Your character, Meat Boy, must save his girlfriend Bandage Girl from the evil Dr. Fetus. You must navigate Meat Boy across levels, very often filled with various death-traps, to reach Bandage Girl, only to see Dr. Fetus steal her away again, forcing you to play the next level to try and save her again. Every time that you die in a level you will taken back to the start of it, which can be extremely frustrating if you are just about to reach the end of the level, but it also feels very rewarding to complete a level after dying several times. One great feature of the game is once you have completed a level. The game will show a replay of all of your attempts playing simultaneously. While this looks slightly boring if you completed a level first time, it is great fun to watch as 20 Meat Boy's make their way through a level and watching all the various ways that they died. While £12 is definitely worth paying just for the story mode alone, there is also a level editor, basically allowing for almost an unlimited number of levels to play, giving the game great replay value.
When LA Noire was first announced, with its use of facial capturing technology, I was extremely excited. When I finally got around to playing the game, I was not disappointed. Taking control of Cole Phelps, a former US Marine turned police officer, you get to see the darker side of LA. As you progress through the game you will work your way up from officer to detective, and then slowly up the ladder of the LA Police department. The graphics look amazing, with the 1940's LA Landscape being completely explored for the most part. There are a wide variety of vehicles that can be used, some driving around the street, others hidden away in secret garages. Characters each have their own unique look, helped greatly by the facial recognition technology, meaning that each character shares the appearance of the actor portraying them, making LA Noire seem more like a film than a video game. The game play is fun, but at times can get repetitive. Each mission consists of finding clues, interviewing witnesses and suspects, and then eventually solving the case. This can be as simple as arresting the suspect, or as action packed as a big firelight, resulting in the suspects death. While you do get a better rating at the end of the mission depending on how well you did (asking the right questions, finding all the clues), you will always end up solving the case, regardless of how you get to that point. Failing cases just means that the mission must be started again, rather than the story continuing, which is slightly disappointing. Interviewing suspects and witnesses is very interesting. As you ask each question, you can judge how they react, both through their answers, the way they speak, and the look on their face. The options of Truth, Doubt and Lie are interesting, as each action will give you different responses, and some reactions will give you more answers, and thus more leads, meaning that you will be able to solve the case. On top of the main storyline, you can also drive around the city, finding locations and cars, but you can also come across side missions. These side missions are usually very simple, often resulting in a chase or a shoot out, but they are a nice way to break up the story. While more could have been done with the story, such as continuing even if you fail a mission, the game is extremely enjoyable, and you will find yourself lost within the world very easily, and will leave you wanting more at the end of it.
Many big games these days just seem to be all extremely similar, with the same type of game play, just behind a different back drop. However, just a small look into smaller games can see how creative video gaming can really be. Limbo is one of those games. The story of Limbo is extremely simple, with you taking control of a nameless boy, who is searching for his sister. The story itself may as well be non-existant, as it is not really needed at all to enjoy the game. The design of the game is very interesting. Limbo is done in a monochrome black and white style, and everything seems to be as if it is in shadow (The boy, for example, is a completely black silhouette except for two white eyes). Each puzzle is challenging, and one false move will more often than not result in the death of the boy. However, in Limbo dying almost seems inevitable. There is no real penalty for dying, so all it boils down to really is trial and error, but at no point does failing take away from the enjoyment of the game. The game forces you to think about the options that you take, which is a nice change to most games that try and hold your hand all the way through. There are very few other characters in the game, and nearly all the ones that appear will either be hostile to you, or already dead. This really helps add to the atmosphere. Seeing a lone character walking through a dark forest, past characters that are hanging from devices or drowned in the water gives the whole game an eerie vibe. The only real downside to the game is its length. The game is not very long, and can be completed within a couple of hours. This can also take away from the replay value, as the puzzles will never change, so could be easily remembered.
To some people, the Zombie genre is completely played out. There are countless games, movies, book and TV series involving these undead brain eaters, and yet somehow, Left 4 Dead manages to stand out. The game is a first person shooter, and can be played either own your own (with the rest of your team being controlled by the AI), or with friends or other people online. The basis of the game is extremely simple; make your way from one safe house to the other, and then eventually to rescue, all while trying not to become one of the infected horde. To aid your on your way, you will a choice of a main gun, a side arm, and then items such as a Molotov cocktail or a pipe bomb. You will also have things to aid you in your own health, such as first aid kits, and pain pills. While the vast majority of the zombies you face are just simple infected (although they are fast moving, running zombies, rather than the slow walking ones), there are also several types of "special" infected, which make the game harder. These include: The Boomer, a bloated zombie which can spit bile at the survivors, which will attract the horde. Boomers will also explode when killed. The next "special" infected is The hunter, an infected who leaps around and pounces on the survivors, tearing at them until either the survivor is killed, or is killed by another survivor. The final "special" infected is the Smoker. The Smoker has a long tounge which can lynch survivors. On top of these there are two other infected, though they are rare. The first is the Tank. A huge infected zombie, with the ability to throw large objects at survivors, as well as being able to punch survivors great distances. The final zombie is The Witch. If left alone, the Witch will cause no problems. However, if she is startled, either by light or being shot. Once startled she will chase the survivor who startled her, and will automatically down a survivor in one hit, making her the most dangerous of all the special infected. The coolest feature of the game is the 'Director'. Use of the 'Director' means that there are no fixed places on a map where the infected will spawn. Depending on how your skill level, and current performance, the 'Director' will alter the game accordingly. What this means is that if you are new to the game, and are struggling, then it is likely that less zombies will spawn at certain points in the game. However, if you are breezing through the game, then the 'Director' may cause a huge mob of infected to spawn. This will also happen if you spend too long standing around in one place, meaning that it is impossible to clear an area and then rest.
Rayman has finally returned to a major platform for the first time in 8 years, and is appearing in his first game since 2005. Rayman Origins returns to the oldschool 2D platform style of the original games, a move that, while risky, pays off. Rayman Origins does have a plot: Rayman and his friends are relaxing in the Snoring Tree within the Glade of Dreams. But they disturb an old granny from the Land of the Livid Dead, who sends an army of creatures across the world, capturing the Electoons and imprisoning Betilla the Nymph, as well as her sisters. Rayman then has to set out to free Betilla and her sisters, as well as collecting enough Electoons to restore the Glade of Dreams. The plot is quirky and comical, which adds to the charm of the game, although it doesn't really have much depth. Despite this, you do not need to pay any attention to the story in order to enjoy the game. The game is plat forming at its finest. You jump across platforms, defeat enemies, climb walls, and swim through water. The goal of each level is extremely simple; as Rayman (or one of the other characters), you must make your way through the level, collecting Lums and trying to find the cages that contain the Electoons. There will very often be hidden passages containing all but one of the cages containing the Electoons on each level, with the last cage being at the end of the level. There are also gold coins, which when collected will give you a large number of Lums, though to reach the coin you very often have to put yourself at risk. You can also try and collect Skull Teeth. Collecting 10 of these throughout the game will allow you to enter the 8th optional world; the Land of Livid Dead. There are 7 worlds in the game (with an optional 8th world). Each world within the game has its own specific look and music, which really adds to the experience, as you will never begin to get bored with the layout of levels. Each area contains different enemies, which have to be defeated in different ways. While the game can get frustrating at points, it is never due to poor gaming mechanics. As Rayman Origins is a lot like classic platform games, you need to spend time to work out how to best go about certain parts of a level. Failing to do so will often result in your death, which is where you may become frustrated. Though the game starts you off as Rayman, the Snoring Tree section of the game also acts as character selection screen. The game starts by giving you the option of playing as Rayman, Globox or one of two Teensie's. However, the further you progress in the game, the more characters you can unlock to play as. Overall, Rayman Origins is a great game, which returns to the roots of the 2D style of gameplay, which will appeal to a lot of older gamers.