I recently purchased a Proline Smart AK888-13 9.7″ Dual-Core Tablet from Loot.co.za for the low price of R2,099, featuring a 1.6GHz Cortex A9 Dual-Core CPU, a 10 point multi-touch capacitive screen with a resolution of 1024×768 (4:3), 1GB memory backed up by a 16GB NAND memory capacity, and running the fantastic Android 4.1 Jellybean OS. No 3G but obviously Wi-Fi and BlueTooth capable. In other words, not a high-spec tablet like your Apple iPad or your Samsung Galaxy Tab, but a very serviceable, extremely well priced, Chinese manufactured (Proline simple imports and brands them) mid-range tablet with a nice solid and fashionable design, good handling and the surprising ability to play 3D games rather well. An unexpected but rather nice bonus I might add. So with the wonderous Google Play store at my finger tips, this is the list of games I find myself currently playing (and enjoying) on my new entertainment device: Note that all of these follow the so-called ‘Free-mium’ model, i.e. they are free to download and play, but do offer additional in-app purchases that allow you to progress through the game faster or gain access to better equipment or abilities. Temple Run 2 (2013): The follow-up to the original popular and successful Temple Run endless running game, and is basically a fun time waster which sees you running through an endless maze collecting coins and power-ups, all while dodging, jumping over gaps and sliding under obstacles, trying to stay one step ahead of a hairy bunch [...]
Now armed with an Android powered 10 inch tablet all of my own, one of the first games I installed turned out to be the thoroughly entertaining Aces of the Luftwaffe, from developer HandyGames. If you remember the awesome coin-swallowing arcade game from the ’80s, 1942, then you know exactly what lies in store for you from the enjoyable Aces of the Luftwaffe, a vertically scrolling shoot ‘em up that puts you in the seat of an heroic Allied fighter plane, taking on horde after horde of evil Axis fighters. As expected from this genre, the pace is relentless and the action non-stop, not to mention the insane difficulty that comes with the territory of a screen filled with slow moving projectile bullets! Of course the usual power drops of wingmen, scatter shots and machine gun are there to aid you, as well as a clever little ‘super’ which amounts to a cavalry rush that obliterates everything on screen. The game is released as a free to play and is ad supported, though as expected one can make the purchase to remove the adverts. Leveling up of various aspects of your plane is possible, and in the same breadth, you can always choose to speed up this process through in-app purchases. Fun graphics, a good soundtrack and a well written game with a smooth handling interface means that Aces of the Luftwaffe is certainly one of those recommended titles to install if you’ve got some free space on your tablet! [...]
Cliff Bleszinski and the team over at Epic Games came back to hit gamers hard with the follow-up to their first successful Gears of War outing, launching Gears of War 2 in 2008, basically a bigger and badder version of the original, with an even greater choice of weapons than before, and not forgetting to mention their tried and tested cover system! Gears of War 2 takes place six months after the detonation of the Lightmass Bomb at the end of the first game and though most of the underground army of the Locust Horde was destroyed in the resulting explosion, the fall-out from this would be devastating to the human population. Vaporised liquid Imulsion seeped out of the ground and went on to cause the debilitating Rustlung sickness to quickly spread among the diminished human population. After months of peace, the cities of Tollen and Montevado suddenly and mysteriously disappear underground, leading the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) to suspect the resurgence of the Locust. Soon after, the once impenetrable Jacinto, one of the last remaining safe havens for humans, begins to show signs that the same fate awaits it. Needless to say, in order to stop the fall of Jacinto, COG responds with a large-scale counter-offensive against the Locust, which basically boils down to Marcus and Dom being once again knee deep in Locust shit! Gears of War 2 is a third person shooter with an emphasis on the tactical use of cover, and retains much of the [...]
I absolutely loved 2008′s Battlefield: Bad Company first person shooter from developer DICE (the same guys behind the phenomenal Mirror’s Edge), and pleasingly I enjoyed the 2010 Battlefield: Bad Company 2 outing almost just as much! It turns out that Preston, Sweets, Hags and Sarge didn’t get very far with their stolen gold at the end of the first game, and this time they’re back, placed in the Special Activities Division, tasked with retrieving a very, very dangerous scalar weapon developed by Japan during World War II! But to get it back, they are going to have to face off against some very dangerous foes, the most deadly being without a doubt Colonel Arkady Kirilenko, leader of the Russian Army! What follows is a good couple of hours worth of unrelenting blasting and destruction, as you travel through a cornucopia of varied landscapes, blowing apart buildings and structures and in general just wreaking havoc amongst some rather trigger happy Russian soldiers. There is a fair amount of weapons to collect and use, split into the normal groups of long range, high explosive, assault, and close quarters, though it must be stressed that the selection at the same time isn’t all that huge. The game cheats by adding either a red dot scope or say extra damage or magazine space and then calls it a new gun. In addition to the varied weapons also comes a nice selection of vehicles to be commandeered and driven around, from big battle tanks all [...]
I have been playing the EA FIFA soccer game franchise since I was a youngster, first battling it out over the SEGA MegaDrive if I remember correctly, before moving on to the various iterations on PC, PSOne, PS2, and XBOX 360. In other words, I’m pretty damn familiar with the game. This year marks the release of FIFA 13 and I must excitedly announce: this is by far the BEST FIFA release ever! Although the graphics front hasn’t really advanced since the last couple of outings due to the console hardware restrictions, the developers have successfully managed to eliminate many of the minor gameplay niggles, as well as the annoying commentary glitches that had somehow managed to creep in the last two or so iterations. Of course the most major addition to this year’s polish and release has been the removal of the old, almost automatic defensive system (which can be turned back on for gamers unable to adapt), in favour of a more manual system, which basically means you now need to get a whole lot smarter and skilled in defending, both in one on one situations as well as in terms of defensive strategy! And yes, this means slide tackles have just become cool again. My personal favourite of the new system is the ability to stick a foot out, which makes it a lot easier to intercept a travelling ball, trip up a player, or if you have to, just outright foul him in the hopes that [...]
Burnout 3 and Burnout Revenge were probably the first ever car games that I actually enjoyed, meaning that Criterion’s Burnout franchise will always have my interest and more importantly, a place in my heart. When Burnout Paradise was first released in 2008, I stepped away from it, not liking the idea of an open world gameplay (because I don’t do multiplayer), and despising the lack of two player split-screen racing. Instead, Blur was the racing game to capture and hold my attention, and to this day remains one of the few games which I haven’t sold off to a second hand store. Time moved on, and having forgotten all about why I never picked up Burnout Paradise the first time around, I ended up recently purchasing it for a laughably low price just to bump up the value of my online order for printer cartridges so as to skip out on delivery fee. A day later, it arrived via the courier and I excitedly opened it up, installed it and hit play, only to be instantly disappointed with the open world gameplay and then very annoyed by the lack of split-screen racing, because my plan had been to race against Chantelle (seeing as racing games are the only thing she’ll play with me on the XBOX 360). However, those two aspects aside, Burnout Paradise is still Burnout at heart, meaning ridiculously fast racing, huge drifts, aggressive taking out of opponents, responsive handling, and of course the massively detailed and epic [...]
To preserve the balance between Heaven and Hell, a mediator group, The Charred Council, sends the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, to intervene and force a truce between the two kingdoms after countless centuries of war. Eons after the truce, The Council foresees that Man will be a major factor in the final apocalyptic battle; this would be marked by the breaking of the Seventh Seal. In the present day, armies of demons and angels fall to Earth and the final battle begins, the two forces destroying everything in their wake. In the midst of the chaos, War is summoned to Earth to bring order. Upon his confrontation with Abaddon, the general of Heaven’s army, War discovers that the other Horsemen have not arrived and the Seventh Seal has not been broken. Straga, a powerful demon, arises from the ground and kills Abaddon. War battles Straga and is defeated, but is saved from death and sent to The Charred Council, accusing him of bringing about the Apocalypse prematurely. The Council sentences him to death, but War demands a chance to find the one responsible for summoning him prematurely, and to restore balance. The Council agrees, on the condition he is bound to one of their keepers, The Watcher, who has the power to kill War in the event that he strays from his mission. From this point onwards you take control of the massively powerful War, as you set about rebuilding your strength and skill set, whilst undertaking various boss [...]
If you are looking for a game packed with non-stop adrenaline from all the running about, explosions and bullets whizzing past your head, then you definitely, definitely need to give 2010′s Vanquish a shot! Directed by the legendary Shinji Mikami, developed by Platinum Games and published by Sega, Vanquish places you as Sam Gideon, a DARPA researcher equipped with the cutting-edge Augmented Reaction Suit (ARS), who has been sent to join the Space Marines mission in recapturing an US space station which has been overrun by a Russian splinter group – and whose solar energy drive has already been used to fire on and decimate San Francisco! A third person shooter, Vanquish hits the ground running and you literally don’t get any breathing space as the game hurtles from stage to stage, throwing all manner of both human and mechanical opponents at you, as you and your squad mates (well they are with you for most of the first half of the game anyway) move to dispatch everything in your sights, using a combination of classic and rather futuristic weapon systems. The big innovation of Vanquish comes from its sliding ability, which allows you basically to power slide all around the stage (until your suit overheats and you have to rest to recover), meaning that tactically you can literally slide into a firefight, get some hits and then dive for cover, or alternatively get the hell out of there if a particular corner gets to hot. In addition to this, [...]
2011 saw release of the hugely fun and attention-grabbing first-person shooter from People Can Fly and Epic Games: Bulletstorm! Set in the 26th Century, you’re introduced to a rogue special ops unit formerly known as Dead Echo, led by the heavy-drinking, foul-mouthed Grayson Hunt. On a mission of revenge and redemption against the man who had misled them into taking out civilian and innocent targets, the team eventually run into General Sarrano’s cruiser space ship Ulysses, and out-gunned, decide to ram through it in order to end their mission once and for all. The end result is a lot of death, and a crash landing of both ships of the wild planet Stygia. Learning that Sarrano somehow also managed to survive the crash, you take the role of Grayson as you pick up your gun, alongside your now cyborg partner Ishi, and attempt to reach and kill your mark – and perhaps even escape off this mutated and highly dangerous planet in the process! Bulletstorm features a great dramatic story for a first-person shooter title, wrapped in a lot of cursing and crude humor as it literally kicks and blasts its way through its relatively short 7 mission campaign. As you’ve come to expect from the genre, there are more than enough enemies to deal with, plenty of scattered debris to provide cover, and more importantly, a wide variety of guns to pick up through the course of the game! From futuristic assault rifles to flail guns to drill guns, [...]
One of the things that pretty much fell to the wayside after having Jessie enter our lives is my gaming. Last year I pretty much sold off all my games (thank you Cash Crusaders) from my collection, and can count the number of titles I played on my dusty XBOX 360 on my two hands. I did enjoy some time off at the end of the year though, and despite pretty much being in single parent mode for most of my two weeks away from work, I did manage to squeeze some game time in late at night, finally knocking off Red Dead Redemption which I must say was a thoroughly engrossing and entertaining game. 2012 looks like it is going to be pretty similar in terms of playing games (i.e. there won’t be a lot of it), but at least I have managed to stock up for those rare occasions when I can maybe steal a hour or two of controller time. Thanks to a tidy little sum of Christmas money from the Montgomery clan (meaning I can spend it without feeling guilty about not spending in on the Lotter clan), I managed to pick up both Bulletstorm and Darksiders second-hand dirt cheap from BT Games. I’ve since sneakily given both a spin and can report that I’m looking forward to both of them, which is a good thing considering the fact that I need to maximise my enjoyment out of my limited game time! :) As for the [...]
My goodness, what an additively fun game on any mobile platform! Developed by Finnish software house Rovio, Angry Birds is somewhat of a phenomenon in the world of casual gaming, having easily captured the lion’s share of the mobile casual games market from 2010 onwards. It has become so ubiquitous that by now one is pretty hard pressed to find somebody who hasn’t heard of it before, a true testament to its popularity and uptake by all segments of the gaming market. The game itself is a simple enough concept. Some nasty green pigs have stolen a group of birds’ eggs, making them very angry indeed. And these wingless birds are not past throwing themselves into structures in order to cause the escaping pigs harm and thus track down their missing eggs. The gameplay is pretty straightforward. Each stage has a number of pigs strategically placed throughout, often protected by structures of various types of materials like wood, stone and ice. You are given a certain number of birds, of differing types, to hurl from a slingshot in order to either hit the pigs directly and make them explode, or cause the structures around them to fall down in such away that they strike the pigs. As for the different types of birds, each bird is a unique color and has a unique strength and ability. This is what makes the game so tactical and frustrating as a puzzler, as you need to plan your shots carefully in order to [...]
South African director Gavin Hood’s 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine film was okay at best. Thankfully the movie tie-in XBOX 360 game, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Uncaged) is a whole lot more satisfying! Well, if you enjoy nothing more than clobbering, disembowelling, hacking, dismembering, slashing and beating your entire way through a proper action title that is…
May 2010 was a busy month for racing titles, what with ModNation Racers, Split/Second and Blur all hitting the scene round about the same time. Developed by Bizarre Creations and published by Activision, Blur is technically an arcade style racing game that features real world cars in modified real world locations, mixed together with the explosively fun mechanics of power up speed battles.
Terrance adopted his number 1 team, Italy, while I opted for the evenly matched Germans and we launched into our head-to-head game where it turned out neither one of us could gain an upper hand and so ended it on a nil nil standing! But, the deed was done, my XBOX Live virginity was now broken and I can now proudly stand tall as part of the online XBOX crowd!
Actually, this is partly on purpose as I’m trying to throttle back on the time spent behind a computer monitor on my off hours and partly because I’ve spent the last couple of week nights singing lullabies to Chantelle in order to get her to fall asleep on the couch after supper so that I might fire up the XBOX 360 and load Spider-man: Web of Shadows, a fairly simplistic beat-em up sandbox style game, but a game that I’m nevertheless thoroughly enjoying playing through at the moment!
I’ve mentioned before that our pals Andy (Andrea) and Albert Snyman went and opened a gaming store out in Durbanville called Games-Xetra and now thanks to some video magic from the ever creative Albert, here are two video adverts showcasing the new shop.
Hands up if you were a fan of the trigger-happy button masher on steroids that was Devil May Cry 3, featuring everyone’s favourite son of Sparda come Demon Hunter, Dante? Yes? Well I absolutely loved it and I’m happy to say that Devil May Cry 4 kicks off exactly from the level set by Devil May Cry 3 and then raises the bar just that little – Oh and it even looks a whole lot prettier this time around!
Wired Magazine is running a simply stunning article that details the demise of 3D Realms and its legendary failure to produce that which should have been Duke Nukem Forever, probably the last ten year’s greatest piece of vaporware ever promised.
Craig Lotter is an established web developer and application programmer, with strong creative urges (which keep bursting out at the most inopportune moments) and a seemingly insatiable need to love all things animated. Living in the beautiful coastal town of Gordon's Bay in South Africa, he games, develops, takes in animated fare, trains under whichever martial arts dojo is closest at the time, and for the most part, simply enjoys life with his amazing wife and daughter.
Oh, and he draws ever now and then too.
This is a collection of things that he has managed to find the time to scribble down since 2007.
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