Archive for May, 2008

Top Trumps: Doctor Who (DS)

Oh, how I sneered when this was announced! A cheap, lazy cash in that only children, idiots and the kind of fans who grab any old tat with a Dalek sticker on it would buy! Haw haw haw!

My wife, however, insisted we get it. And, as I’m also a Doctor Who fan who’ll grab any old tat with a Dalek sticker on it, I needed only minimal persuasion.

You want to know the shocking truth?

It’s actually really good fun. I went to bed late last night because we were playing so much multiplayer. (It only needs a single cart to play two player games, excellently.) There is a classic Top Trumps mode, but it’s not nearly as fun as using Adventure rules, where you get special powers to use, which really spice up the game. Turns Top Trumps from a “timewaster” game into “must… play… more…” game.

So, that’s me told.

Is it worth £20 more than a pack of cards, though? Well, I’ve not really investigated single player, but from my wife’s progress it seems to be addictive but short. The multiplayer is certainly far more fun than just a deck of cards. However, there only seems to be one deck in the game. It’s a very good deck and much more balanced than some other Top Trumps decks (the Angel one springs to mind as being completely unplayable), but for the money I’d expect at least three or four decks to choose from. It really does seem like a wasted opportunity in that respect.

So, yes, it’s far more fun than I ever expected it to be, but twenty-five quid is a little off. At a tenner, though, it would be great value for any Doctor-loving household with a couple of DS consoles.

The Simpsons Game (360)

I went back to this last night and I’m very glad that I did.

The bit I’d got stuck on was only a problem because I’d forgotten one of Bart’s moves. Once I remembered it the puzzle was very easy indeed.

I played quite a few levels after that. The gameplay quality varied from “rather good” to “average bordering on annoying”, but I didn’t get stuck for long on anything. The quality of the script is what carries the game, though. It’s The Simpsons doing games, like the Halloween episodes are The Simpsons doing horror. Will Wright’s appearance is absolute genius and generated actual, real laughter.

I’m wondering how long it takes people who haven’t played Joust to work out how to pass the homage to the game on the Neverquest level, though?

I’m hoping to get a good, long session tonight to finish it off, ready for trade. Not a keeper, but I’m very glad I played it.

Haze Demo (PS3)

When it comes to first person shooters I’m easily pleased, but Haze has slightly off controls, terrible dialogue and when I fell backwards off a cliff I couldn’t be bothered to continue.

I actually quite enjoyed it in a lot of ways and I liked the Nectar stuff, but overall it’s a miss so far. I have a feeling I might like the full game more.

The Simpsons Game (360)

Fairy enjoyable until I got to a part where I kept falling off a climbing section and had to start over. Finally got to the end and couldn’t see what to do, so turned the game off in frustration.

That might be it for the game now, if I use it as trade-in fodder on Friday.

R-Type Command (PSP)

Yes, I get annoyed by long tutorials that tell you exactly what to do and don’t let you actually really play a game for a couple of hours after starting. But they do at least tell you what you need to know.

R-Type Command doesn’t seem to have a tutorial at all. It starts with a Training mission, which I assumed would have some, well, training in it. But no, it drops you into the game and expects you to swim.

I sunk.

It’s not that I couldn’t work out the basics. I managed to move units, attack the enemy and end my turns. All that. But I got killed horribly and I’m not too sure what I could have done to avoid it.

Boom Blox (Wii)

I got home last night and the first thing I did was try an “impossible” level my wife had got stuck on while I was at work. I flexed my manly gaming muscles and gave it a go. Turns out, it actually is impossible. Or as near as you can get to it. You have to protect four kittens from eighty-five attacking skeletons. I can only manage to kill about fifty, at best, before the kittens get killed. Ah well.

So I went through Explore mode on my profile instead. That unlock Expert Explore mode, where I managed to fail a long level. Boo.

And then it was time to play some co-op, because my wife’s arm had recovered enough from her afternoon with the game. Co-op is definitely the best part of the game that I’ve seen so far. We got through several levels very easily, but are now stuck trying to topple a very solid tower with bowling balls. I have some theories as to how best to go about it, but they don’t seem to be working.

It’s really a very good game. It’s not as polished as I’d like, though. The cross-hairs freeze for a second every now and again. It’s never been at an important time, but it’s annoying when you’re trying to line up a shot. And once it ended a level saying we’d failed when my last ball was still knocking things over. The game showed a gold medal winning score, but said we’d failed but made us retry. And once I managed to knock a gem into a wooden block – luckily a bit was sticking out and hitting it freed it. I’ve seen some incredible slow down in co-op, too, but it’s never been a gameplay issue.

Anyway, they’re just minor niggles that reviewers don’t seem to be reporting. Not enough to knock any points off the score, but worth mentioning in passing.