Bigger isn’t always better

Micro Machines (3)

Micro Machines – Like Puppy in my Pocket … for boys

Every boy who was around in the 80’s or 90’s will remember Micro Machines, those tiny heavily stylised toy vehicles that were cheap to buy but insanely expensive to collect. The toys were immensely popular and the were literally thousands to collect cars, trucks, planes, helicopters etc at the height of their popularity these little belters even out-sold the toy car giants hotwheels. Anyway getting to the point these toys eventually spawned a series of video games.

micro21Everything is more fun in video game form

My main memory (aside from hours spent playing with the toys) was of a particular game on the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis for you American folk) Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournement a stupidly brilliant title which saw you racing across pool tables, bath tubs and desks through gardens and bedrooms just the types of places you would be playing with your toys. This kind of miniature racing game was never bested despite numerous attempts (Notably the Revolt games on Dreamcast) but now we have a new challenger.

icon_minimotorracing

Mini Motors available on Android and iOS from The Binary Mill provides a similar experience to the classic mini racers of the past albeit without quite the same imaginative settings. The tracks are based on your more classic racers with High speed race tracks and battles through winding city streets taking the spotlight rather than jumping over plant pots and trying not to drop into the vortex of a toilet or pool table pocket this may not seem at first glance to be quiet as much fun but the game actually handles really well.

superchargedOne of the many great looking cars available

There are options for controls but I prefer to stick with the default mode of having the little wheel down in the bottom left hand corner which you spin to the desired direction. It starts out a little challenging to get to grips with due to the games static viewpoint (something which will be familiar to those who have played Micro Machines V3) but you will soon get the hang of it and be drifting around the courses like a pro. Once you get the hang of the controls the difficulty jumps up a notch the AI racers become more skilled and highly aggressive  luckily the game has an upgrade system which will allow you to ensure your tiny car has enough oomph to keep you ahead of the competition.

grand prixTracks galore

You can unlock a few cars just through playing but many others have to be purchased with  in game cash, however since you are going to want to focus on upgrades rather than making rash purchases of cars the pricing seems a little off. In some respects I feel this is a bit of a cheap shot since it means that to fork out for the new car you are likely going to have to make some in app purchases, don’t fret however none of this is actually necessary because you can just repeat a few races to earn the dough, though that may take the patience some folk don’t have.

fruit ninjaLiscenced tracks and vehicles inspired by other games

It may not be a groundbreaking title but it’s a neat little racer than uses the touch screen to it’s advantage rather than struggling with it, the tracks are well designed and fun to play (with the odd exception) with various surfaces on show (dirt, sand, tarmac, gravel etc) actually affecting the handling of your vehicle. The cars are well designed and each one does handle very differently which gives you ample opportunity to find and max out your favourite model. I appreciate it when a app dev puts out a game for a reasonable price (£0.69 in this case) and doesn’t over use the in-app purchase side of things which is far to often the case now, there is an extra championship on show here that rather than being a paid for dlc is actually purchasable with the money you earn from playing the game which is a real nice touch.

Perfect for playing a few quick races on your daily commute Mini Motors is a title that doesn’t take itself too seriously and rewards you for playing rather than being something you need to throw money at in order to progress. In short this is the type of game I would like to see more of on phones and tablets from a dev who clearly deserve to be taken seriously.

eremenko

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Get yer tackle out

I’d like to start with a confession: I’m not what you would call a “good” gamer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m good at games, I mean I have the odd flash of genius amongst the marginally-better-than-mediocre norm, it’s just that I have my own style of gaming.

I don’t really follow the big franchises like Halo, Assassin’s Creed etc. or get excited for the latest releases. I don’t research updates and new DLC. I don’t look at my stats on things like Halo Waypoint and the EA Gunclub. And although I’ve played pretty much all of the “big games”, I mostly dip in and out depending on my mood and how bored I am.

All this being said, I would class myself as a gamer and I play a lot of games.

Now that’s out of the way, I’d like to talk to you about a game which has taken up much of my time recently, New Star Soccer.

I play on my Android-powered HTC Desire HD and can comfortably say that this is not only the best game I’ve played on my phone, but one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played full stop (period for any American viewers).

Harking back to the days of Sensible Soccer and similar to the already popular Jumpers for Goalposts, NSS is a combination of text and action sequences where you control your player from the very beginnings of their career.

Starting out as a precocious 16 year old, you complete a series of trials which serve the dual purpose of showing you the basics of the game whilst maintaining a more realistic beginning for a young footballer. After the trials you embark on your quest for world domination and enslavement of the proletariat!  um sorry about that, *cough* footballing deity, by playing games (obviously) and buying stuff.

The gameplay is fun and involving without being exclusive through difficulty, and the extra detail in the home screens are informative without being superfluous, insightful to the very border of nerdy, and fun enough to keep you playing, even when between games.

New Star Soccer

My current life section

In the ‘Life’ section (shown above), you can buy almost anything any self-respecting footballer would want including stables, luxury jets, even a castle. You can also visit the casino where you can play blackjack, roulette, and slots, as well as buy, train, and bet on horses. Also within this section is an ‘Awards’ tab showing an extensive list of achievements.

My career stats

The stats for my player

All in all, I can’t see an end to me playing this game (barring any serious new update cock-ups of course), and whilst I hesitate to use the uninspired “addicted” tag, this beguiling game will keep you playing way past the shelf-life of most others.

-Garreedo

Links:

Android

iOS

Flash

Homepage/PC

Three and a half inches of fury

To all of you who follow us @TeaBagOrDie on Twitter you will know this already, to those who don’t we are excited to welcome some awesome new writers to the TBoD team. You will get to meet the others over the coming weeks but to kick things off we have a post by the multi-talented Salmonfin. I would link to a little bio about our aquarius blogger but he is getting up to some water-sports in Ibiza as we speak and didn’t have chance to send me one so he will have to remain an enigma for now. Anyway read/comment/subscribe/cheers. -MS Dosser

Its true what they say you know; it’s not the size of the screen that counts, it’s the way you use it. Or did I hear that wrong? Anyway, the rather astute developers at Lake Effect Applications have certainly done no harm to this particular, be it dubious, claim. And in the process have given hope to mobile gamers looking for a shooter fix with their latest creation Trigger Fist.

While I usually avoid shooters on the iOS platform, my mate thought it would be a good idea if I picked it up so we could play together (read: kick my ass).  So, being the great friend that I am, obliged and paid £0.69 of hard-earned student loan for the privilege. After jumping into a game the first thing that struck me was the absence of a y-axis. Meaning, you simply swipe left and right to target your virtual enemies. While this sounds strange for a shooter, I found it to be a stroke of genius as it allows to you focus more on your aiming, rather than flailing round in the heat of battle like an epileptic octopus at a rave. Cue flashbacks to Call of Duty for the Wii. Granted, it does leave the game a little…horizontal, but, less is definitely more in this case. Movement is controlled by a floating joystick on the left of the screen, while aiming is done by swiping anywhere on the screen. Swiping down will allow you to crouch and you change weapons, reload etc. using the icons in the bottom right.

Almost got him

The game has four game modes; team deathmatch, free for all, king of the hill, and my personal favorite, sacred goat. The first three are pretty much self-explanatory. Sacred goat, however, is essentially capture the flag but instead of a flag, you guessed it, you have to pick up a goat who will jump on your back until you’re killed at which point it will continue on its random journey like nothing happened until someone else picks it up. The winning team is the first to keep the goat on their back for 120 seconds. Each of these game modes can be played in 4 different ways, single player with bots, online matchmaking, with friends (via Game Center), and via Bluetooth. Each team consists of 4 players, although, one thing to note is when playing online you’ll only ever have 3 other human players in the game and the rest are bots. This is down to limitations with the Game Center which sucks but c’est la vie.

Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find a ladder in the game

As one would expect there are a number of classes you can choose to be, each with their own progression path. Gunner (LMGs), Rifleman (Assault rifles) and Scout (SMGs) all have their own unique benefits and weapons. Weapons are unlocked individually for each class by gaining points as that class in-game. However, you can buy the next weapon unlock for £0.69. You get the sense that the unlocks are dragged out to entice you to pay for the next weapon, while I don’t mind this strategy in free games I don’t feel they should be forced on you in a game that you have paid £2.99 for (price after the sale, apparently). Perks offer a nice way to customize your load-out and don’t seem to imbalance the game as much as *cough* recent Call of Dutys *cough*.

Ultimately, Trigger Fist understands what its supposed to be and that’s exactly what it is, a pocket shooter. By not forcing over the top graphics or even including a single player campaign it’s given the game a very streamline feel, allowing you to hop on for a quick game or two while on the john. Which is a good thing, too many times I’ve started playing Infinity Blade only to snap back to reality 45 minutes wondering what the time is and why my back’s aching. Anyway, you can pick this bad boy up for £1.99 on the App Store while it’s still on sale.

I hope this rather amateur review didn’t bore you too much. If it did, feel free to abuse me in the comments or if you’re not in the mood to hurt my feelings or have a suggestion for a game I should try, let me know too.

-salmonfin

Smart Casual Gaming

This post has been in my head for some time now but I have been mesmerized by DICE’s Bedouin concubine who calls herself Battlefield 3, whispering of double xp events, tempting me with the sweet scent new weapons to unlock and gyrating its custom server features and other spinning tassels.

I only tore myself from this cushioned tent of FPS to become a thrall to a new siren known as Minecraft, causing my ship of productivity to be dashed hopelessly on her rocks and compelling me to dig through them. Concerning the latter game that I inappropriately sexualised we have a new dedicated page in the works which will eventually surface as soon as we do, but enough of this nonsense, I have other bullshit to talk about

There are a couple of mobile games I have been playing in my spare moments when not near my PC or XBox that you might want to give a go. So if you find yourself with a free minute or 5 on the bus/train/latrine/during a conversation you have grown tired of maybe give these a go.

N.B. None of these games involve hurling poultry or a rope in dire need of cutting and both are 69p on the iOS app store, although I got the first one free from a cool  app called App Gratis, giving you free daily apps alongside a witty description. No Android version of this app in the UK yet but its coming soon according to the site.

Blockado Desert is traditional puzzle game which as you may have deduced is based round a desert theme, but if you hate sand getting everywhere Blockado Jungle and Blockado Deep Sea are available seperately too. The basic object of the game is to get the chests into the pink square by moving obstructing blocks accordingly. It has for 4 worlds each with 10 or more normal levels and 2 optional harder levels if you are insane. Difficulty level goes up at a reasonable rate, creeping up from ‘medium’ to ‘alarming how stupid I am’. In my opinion graphically it looks like plenty of polish has been poured on it and its pick up and play value is excellent, auto saving a level when you stop playing either out of necessity or infuriation. Overall its great value and will keep any mobile gamer with an IQ less than 150 busy for some time. If puzzles are your thing it is available in the App Store now.

Robot Unicorn Attack. Yes you read that correctly, this is a blinder of a game that a couple of my college class mates, who are much more in tune with what happens on the interwebs than me, introduced me to. It started life as a flash game on Adult Swim with the aim that you (the robot unicorn) dash and rainbow attack your way across a neon landscape collecting fairies and stars to amass the highest score possible before you meet your maker. If this didn’t sound trippy enough the music that fills your ears during your unicorning is provided by Erasure…. Seriously? Yep it amazing what a grasp of flash and a lack of a grasp on reality can create.

Any way this if you want to try out the flash version of Robot Unicorn Attack then click here and once you are suitably addicted then you can get your paws on it in the iOS App Store here as well on Android via Google Play here for 9p less than your Apple counterparts. So get to chasing your dreams!

Oh but before you do a friend of mine showed me this and I thought it was fitting, if you like rap parodies and you like casual gaming which lets face it who doesn’t like at least one of those things, you will love this

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