Published: 18 December 2012
Yes yes, the site looks a mess. Well, actually, the site looks exceptionally clean and minimal, but that's because we fled leaking, creaking, modified, regurgitated, reconstituted, battered old wreck of our former domain and have sought new pastures. And we have found them, dear reader. Oh yes. As old UFO Towers crumbles to the ground, like a phoenix, rises this, the eighth version of the UFO Gamers site. Obviously, right now, it looks shit, but we're working on making it pretty and awesome and lovely and awesome and pretty for you once more. The idea is that we don't disturb your enjoyment of the content (yes, I know we've been absent for a while) and you'll keep coming back and seeing improvements on a daily basis until the new UFO Towers is ready for action!
Bear with us, do and if you're a former member and can't seem to log in, that's because all the accounts and stuff are no longer for the main site, just the forum, where all your former details remain. You just have to log in there to use it. If you're a former writer, then you probably don't exist any more. Email me and we'll sort it out. We have a Facebook-powered comments system, so just use that if you want to comment on an article and you can now tweet and share articles to Facebook right from the main page's layout. Lovely. More cool stuff coming soon. As I said, bear with us!
Published: 18 December 2012
Here we are, then. It's Christmas and if the world doesn't end when the Mayan calendar runs out (or whatever) then many of us will be looking forward to some festive gifts this year. But what do you think will be in Santa's bulging sack for you? What gaming goodies will be lavished upon you by your nearest and dearest? And, which of your loved ones do you think will spunk the most cash on you?
To let us know your Christmas prediction, all you need to do is click here and fill in the form! Results next year!
Published: 17 December 2012
So, I sent this to LucasArts today. I think I speak for us all in this email. I'll let you know what they say.
Love you, bye.
This is a gargantuan task. Writing about Starcraft 2 after its aftermath, feels like rehab. My initial skepticism made me look at the beta as Starcraft 1.5 (many many people did that), and I thought that this game wouldn’t astonish me. But I was wrong. I was baffled, amazed, and sometimes even furious at what Starcraft 2 had in store for me. It’s colossal, it’s magnificent, and sometimes it’s even a piece of shit. But it’s an epic piece of shit that I couldn’t stop playing, even if I got my ass kicked dozens of times by twelve-year-old Korean kids. And no, me being crap in multiplayer didn’t affect the game's score or anything. I suggest you read on.
I wanted to be a troll. Not the fantastic creature, but the idiotic skeptic raving anti-fanboy babbler that pisses all over Blizzard's epic tale. But I couldn’t, no matter how harsh I was, or how much I was used to being a surgeon-like critic here at UFO Gamers. Okay, you’ll find a few rude words here and then, and a few violent statements aimed at some random individuals, but those, besides aiding my psychiatrist in his research about hereditary rage, are just some harmless ways that help me put my ideas on paper.
Read more: StarCraft 2 (PC)
The iPhone has had some great, great games. Groundbreaking and clever, using the device's accelerometer or touch screen interface in blindingly simple and intuitive ways. Clever developers have quickly identified that directional movement on the iPhone (and indeed iPad) is clumsy and can be jarringly bad. This realisation gave us Canabalt, whose addictive genius kept us coming back time after time. So, imagine Canabalt, (a seven-word review is here) but with, ooh, I dunno, say, monsters. What you are imagining, dear friend, is Monster Dash.
Side scrolling, increasing velocity, default weapon a shotgun but pickups along the way, you run, constantly run, jump the gaps, zap the zombies, mow down the mummies, destroy the demons and vanquish the vampires with a whole host of fun weapons. Machine gun jetpack, Mr Zappy, the pacifier, it's all very well put-together with nice animation and a smooth, cartoony art style. Your maximum distance travelled give you an incentive to come back and try to beat it, just like with the other amazing iPhone games that keep you hanging on. With an amusing statistics page, there's a certain tongue-in-cheek humour about it as well, which helps you feel that the game is even more fun.
In fact, there's very little bad to say about Monster Dash. For what it is (£0.59/$0.99) it's fantastic value for money and the controls are simple. Tap on the left side of the screen to jump and the right side of the screen to shoot. Intuitive, easy and uncluttered. Fan-bloody-tastic.
The Incident is what makes gaming on the iPhone great; there are no fiddly twin sticks on the screen for you to fumble around with, no buttons to keep missing and no fingers getting in the way of the action. Control-wise, it's a simple affair of using the accelerometer to dictate the direction of movement and a tap anywhere on the screen to jump. And jump you must, for there is a bizarre and curiously-specifically named assortment of debris falling from the sky. We don't know why (throughout the first play of the game) but there just is. Across seven different levels, the rate of falling becomes faster and faster until at the end, it's frantic. The character you control has a three-piece health bar, which means he can be struck by three pieces of debris before finally dying.
Curiously, these objects, with their limited physical properties, all have the same effect on our hero. Over the course of The Incident, you are just as likely to be killed by falling loft insulation or a teddy bear than by a 5,000 kilogram weight. There is no differentiation between objects, they're all just as deadly. So even if a Smart car or Mini Cooper falls on you, it will only take one of your three health away as it lands squarely on your bonce, which is fairly handy since your mission is to constantly climb atop the debris in order that you don't get buried. Should you become stuck, you can shake your iDevice (for t'is available on the iPad and iPhone for the same price) and a mysterious swirling ball of green energy will surround you and transport you to the top.
As you climb, you reach checkpoints that you will return to if you die, provided you have enough lives, which are provided for you liberally throughout the game in the guise of pinkish diamonds that fall and coins that float up on balloons; collect ten coins and get an extra life, rather splendidly indicated with a 1UP sign that appears in a flourish of retro greatness.
While you can collect health kits and crash helmets from balloons that float up, there are also nasty little surprises in store for you: black balloons that either send the pile crumbling down or take a unit of health from you in the form of an ancient curse. These are infuriating and become more and more regular as the game progresses. Still, trying to take things coming up into account while far more things are crashing down threatening your existence can become very challenging, but still, I managed to complete it, so it can't be that tough.
Graphically, it's a sort-of more colourful Canabalt with that 8-bit feel to the graphics and indeed the sounds. Pixelly and pleasing to behold, it doesn't overcomplicate things with its art style and indeed there is an awful lot of detail, pixels providing and some of the objects are remarkably well animated and detailed in a sort-of tongue-in-cheek kind of way.
The variety of objects that fall is bewildering. What is a Christmas tree doing here? Grandma's wardrobe?! A red telephone box, an oversized drill bit, an expensive sofa, French and Egyptian vases, Michaelangelo's David, the Mona Lisa, traffic cones, doric and ionic columns, surfboards, decorative ampersands, the flux capacitor, your own corpse... Whatever incident it is that has occurred, it certainly is worth investigating and for £1.19, I urge you to do so...
In 1993, Mortal Kombat first came into our homes. With its slightly mystical presence and the feeling that there was some great back-story to the game, it enthralled players with its tomato ketchup blood splats and gruesomely comic fatality moves. Nearly twenty years on from its original arcade release, Mortal Kombat is back with a game that realigns a wayward franchise to its roots and creams the best from its other incarnations. But does Mortal Kombat (2011) have what it takes to impress this long-standing fan?
I played the original game a great deal back in the day. As a hormone-fuelled teenager, I have to admit to being drawn to the shirtless characters Johnny Cage and Liu Kang, as I've expressed here. But still, that aside, I was pretty addicted. In the time before age ratings on video games, nobody really thought anything of uppercutting someone's head off or pulling their heart out so graphically on the small screen, much less letting under-18s do the same. We all grew up well-adjusted, didn't we? That said there is always evidence to suggest that age ratings on games might be worthwhile.Read more: Mortal Kombat 2011 (PS3/Xbox 360)
Light. Invisible electromagnetic energy. We only see it when it's filtered and bounces off something. It travels in straight lines at a constant speed (through a vacuum, at least) and staves away the darkness and whatever monsters might be lurking in its eerie depths. So what better subject for an iPhone game? Exactly, that's what I thought! Ladies, gentlemen and variations thereupon, I give you Helsing's Fire.
Helsing's Fire is a puzzle game that'll set you back a mere 59p (99¢) from the App Store. The premise is that in any given 'room', you're provided with enemies that are burned by your light, and objects that block it. The idea of the game is to position the light in such a way as to burn all the little critters and collect the gold. As the game progresses, Helsing and his faithful
lover companion Raffton begin to use 'tonics', which infuses the light with a coloured energy. Use the red tonic to destroy red critters. Then, then critters get coloured shields that can only be destroyed with the corresponding tonic and Bob is very much one of your parents' brother, you have yourself a puzzle game. While the Victorian Poe-esque setting can be as much a part of the game as you want it to be (the camaraderie between the characters can be quite entertaining, but conversely is easily skipped) the sheer delight of the game is in its simple interface; the iPhone might as well have been made for the game and moving the light into the right place is as easy as pi, while there is a certain enjoyment in watching the dynamic lighting effects. Since it's no action game, having your finger obliterate part of the screen doesn't matter as it does in many other iOS offerings.
What adds to the longevity of the game (it has four worlds with thirty 'rooms' in each world) is the inherent pick-up-put-down-ability. The levels can be breezily quick or more taxing, though in my experience, they don't tend to take much longer than a minute at the maximum, which is perfect for playing while on the loo, waiting for a bus, trying to ignore someone who's talking about things you're not interested in, or while waiting for your McDonald's veggie deli to come out at the drive-through. Graphically, it's uncomplicated, but follows a very keenly-developed Victoriana design motif that's as pleasing to the eye as it is easy to understand. For the price and the addictiveness of the game, it's a real must for any iOS user.
This review has given me headaches. Even though The Witcher 2 - Assassins Of Kings seduced me like a brothel-trained geisha, the moment I left the game, I couldn't tell myself that it's "best game evaaaar". Indubitably, it's 2011's RPG of the year, but in the same time it fails in some elementary aspects, as if CD Projekt Red are some kind of geniuses with a few autistic or epileptic moments. I can't figure out how they managed to make this game slap Bioware in the face, storyline wise, while at the same time they screwed themselves up with infantile gameplay. I'll try to elaborate.
Read more: The Witcher 2 (PC)
SuperRope is one of those iPhone games that keeps you coming back for more. Your character is Pigger by default, but I have opted for the more risqué Mr Sausage, who wears a bread bun like a jacket and seems to have the general demeanour and appearance of a stunted Peperami. Mr Sausage (or whoever) constantly climbs a rope and your controls are simply to jump left or right with a swipe of the finger. Craneballs Studios, the game's developer, calls this "simple yet addictive", however I firmly believe that simple is addictive by its own nature.
You collect coins, stars and power-ups on the way up and get to spend these rewards in the store, where things are generally priced at 1,000 funky stars, which are actually quite hard to come by. Of course, you can spend your own hard-earned cash on funky stars in order to accellerate a wider experience of the game, which is free in the App Store, but if you were to be without cash, then your progress through the game will be slow indeed.
Power-ups seem to be fairly generic and strangely familiar if you've ever played DoodleJump or MegaJump, from which this game appears to borrow heavily in its format and look. Magnets to allow you to draw coins towards you, rockets to allow for a faster ascent and even a helicopter hat will actually make you want to play those other games after having certain memories of why they were so good. That's not to say that SuperRope is bad, because it isn't, but it is rather derivative and appears to be very hopeful of riding the coat-tails of the success of the other two titles mentioned above.
All in all, it's satisfactorily fun, but you can't help but feel that they've been stingey and cheeky in making other levels and enhanced power-ups unlockable by such a high number of in-game currency, pushing you to spend real currency for a better game. But then, it is free, so what can you expect. There really is no such thing as a free lunch.