Archive for the 'demo round-up' Category

Micro-review round-up

November 2, 2009

Well, it took a year to build up enough demos to fill a round up. Some of these are brilliant and deserve a full review, but lets save ourselves some time: PLAY THE DEMIGOD DEMO.

Demigod
PLUS Compulsive, strategic, unique (unless you’ve played Defence of the Ancients) tower defence/RPG hybrid.
MINUS The AI can’t stand up to a someone who knows the game, and the multiplayer is very quiet.

Torchlight
PLUS Absolutely huge demo that includes random maps and weapons. Diablo fans will latch on to this and never let go.
MINUS The click-and-hold combat could be more engaging

Men of War
PLUS A lot like Company of Heroes.
MINUS Why aren’t you playing Company of Heroes?

Trine
PLUS Inventive and characterful physics platformer, perfectly mixing puzzles and combat. Local co-op if you have a pad.
MINUS The summoner can only summon boxes.

ArmA 2
PLUS Definitive military simulation. Helicopters!
MINUS If being a soldier was fun Disneyland would feature camoflaged snipers.

Batman – Arkham Asylum
PLUS Good punching, good grappling, and the best swirly cloak physics in any consumer videogame.
MINUS The enemies are easier to outthink and outmanoeuvre than a goldfish in a bowl of glue.

Plants Vs Zombies
PLUS Lightweight and frantic tower defence.
MINUS Locked to 60 minutes, you won’t get past the tutorial.

RACE On
PLUS Being like all the other sim racers is a good thing for a sim racer.
MINUS There are only two cars and one of them corners like someone got engine grease on the tires.

AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity
PLUS Unique plunging-past-floating-skyscrapers gameplay and pleasantly mad presentation.
MINUS As short as the life expectancy of someone trying it for real.

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Micro-review round-up

November 8, 2008

Two lines each for some demos I’ve played yet didn’t review for various reasons, like being too lazy to think of a whole paragraph of things to say about them.

Micro Machines V4
PLUS Look at the tiny cars!
MINUS The most impressive graphics glitches in a racing game since my GPU overheated in Need for Speed. The rest of the demo doesn’t live up to them.

Devil May Cry 4
PLUS Includes one level of hack-and-slash followed by a boss encounter with a time limit in a neat system to encourage replays. Looks great…
MINUS …but feels pretty retro, and has some control problems with a non-360 gamepad. I couldn’t beat the boss so can’t really review it. Maybe it gives you ice cream if you win?

Darkstar One
PLUS Quite a lot going on in the demo.
MINUS The space fighter combat just lacks that TIE Fighter tension.

Laser Dolphin
PLUS I don’t remember any.
MINUS I don’t remember any. Does this make it a perfect 5/10? Or just very bland for a game about a rampaging interplanetary dolphin.

Defcon: Everybody Dies
PLUS A must-try for the apocalyptic atmosphere. Is it good or bad that humanity can enjoy the strategic challenge of annihilating itself?
MINUS Luckily we can dodge that question because the demo is unbalanced and made too simple by restricting battles to 1-on-1.

Trials 2
PLUS Excellent, compulsive physics-based 2D motorcycle platformer. Rock hard and a bit short of levels but don’t let that put you off.
MINUS Your avatar passes out if his helmet so much as brushes the terrain and you’ll wish you could just get off the bike and walk.

Far Cry
PLUS Classic jungle sandbox FPS with tons of replay value from different weapons and tactics.
MINUS Realistic jungle warfare sometimes means getting realistically murdered by some guy who wandered up behind you.

Llamatron 2112
PLUS Awesome Robotron psychadelia.
MINUS It’s from 1992. If you’re familiar with Geometry Wars the controls will make you cry. Or that might be the epilepsy kicking in.

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
PLUS Combines Bejewelled and JRPGs, two things I can’t stand, into pure addiction.
MINUS Might have given the Peggle designers some very dangerous ideas.

Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People: Homestar Ruiner and Strongbadia The Free demo round-up

October 4, 2008

The first thing you need to do is go to homestarrunner.com, watch a flash video, and see if you can stand the voicework. The regular-guys-doing-silly-voices style has a strong potential to grate so hard that enjoying this would be impossible. SBCG4AP is a point-and-click adventure in the classic style, but cut into smaller slices and presented episodically; this is why we’re reviewing the demos of the first two episodes here together. The tutorial, identical in both, is laugh-out-loud funny, particularly where Strong Bad turns his “wit” on the player. It’s a controlled micro-adventure-game, which keeps the pace up, an essential for laughs. The gag density is lower in the later game sections and more fall flat, but there are still good lines and funny moments like Strong Bad checking his email and the included mini-games, one of which manages to be a mash-up of Double Dragon and Brain Age.

The first demo, Homestar Ruiner, follows Strong Bad’s plan to mess with his friend, Homestar, by beating him in a race. There are several locations and characters, but there’s a worrying hint of familiarity already as some of the motifs seem re-used from Telltale’s Sam and Max games (the phone, the shop). The second demo, Strongbadia The Free, admirably mixes up the conventions in the first demo. It starts with a fairly simple escape-the-room section where Strong Bad has to bust out of house arrest, and then moves to a pastiche of a strategy game: every game location has seceded from the tyrannical King of Town and must be won over (via point-and-click interactions) into an alliance to defeat him. The demo ends as you take your first country, meaning that the setup and exploration of the country map is where you’ll spend most of your time, rather than in puzzling.

The normal adventure game niggles are all present and correct in both, there are vital items that look like incidental detail, there are puzzles that make some sense in retrospect but can only be solved by a real leap of logic, and you’re wearing boxing gloves yet have to engage in elaborate machinations to get past people rather than punching them, which might be your inclination if you get frustrated by any of the above. The hint system doesn’t help much, tending to state the obvious rather than give clues about the more difficult puzzle aspects. Neither demo lets you save, although both can be completed in one sitting without too much trouble.

Neither is a stunning demo, but if you like Strong Bad or adventure games both are worth adding to your inventory.

1/3 – For fans only

Tech Details:

Size: 70 MB, 110 MB

System Requirements:1.5 GHz CPU, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB DirectX 9 graphics card, Windows XP/Vista