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Good Free Games: 10 Min Space Strategy

Posted on 30th Aug 2011 at 08:36 by Clive Webster with 4 comments

Clive Webster
While the name is overly ambitious, and it could be more helpful for novices, 10 Min Space Strategy is a rather good 4X (Expand, Explore, Exterminate and Research, or something like that) game that you can play for free.

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Was Skyrim ever going to use Games For Windows Live?

Posted on 18th Aug 2011 at 14:59 by Clive Webster with 36 comments

Clive Webster
The news that Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will definitely use Steamworks rather than Games For Windows Live has shot around the Internet today, but (and with the greatest of respect to those reporting the story) it doesn’t appear as if Skyrim was ever going to use GFWL.

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Hard Lines iPhone Review

Posted on 26th Jun 2011 at 10:44 by David Hing with 9 comments

David Hing
Back when mobile phones were still thought of as a new idea, Nokia's 3210 was highly sought after in many circles for its built in version of the highly addictive game Snake. Fast forward a decade, and Hard Lines is attempting to be a worthy successor to that classic title.

The mechanics of Hard Lines are simple. With simple directional strokes of your finger, you steer a line around the screen towards randomly spawning markers, accruing points while avoiding other lines that enter from the sides of the screen.

Slick and neatly designed, Hard Lines is clearly influenced by the Light Cycles from Tron, yet it doesn't limit itself to that one style of play; there are several variations. In some modes, you gain points by getting opposing lines to crash into you or the walls; in others you race against the clock, or just try to last for as long as possible. There are also some good bonuses, such as the occasional power up that enables you to crash through any other competing lines without killing yourself.

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The Old Republic: All I Want is the Cutscenes

Posted on 13th Jun 2011 at 07:29 by Clive Webster with 24 comments

Clive Webster
The latest trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic has been released and it’s freaking awesome. This follows previous cut-scene and video releases that have been similarly impressive, engaging and enjoyable. However, with the game looking a bit duff, I’m wondering if Electronic Arts, Bioware and LucasArts could be persuaded into releasing a cut-scene-only version? I’d happily pay to watch a short film made from them.

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Adventures and Adventuring

Posted on 11th Jun 2011 at 10:06 by David Hing with 35 comments

David Hing
Three of my five weapons were offline and leaving small ion trails in space, my cargo hold was full of rare and expensive artefacts and a band of pirates was chasing me down a frantically plotted and improvised course. With a route that picked its way in and out of asteroid fields through systems that were well and truly off the charts, it is fair to say I was panicking. I was also pretty sure that my eyes had stopped blinking.

I loved Freelancer; Microsoft's space trading open world game. It resembled an extremely stripped down Eve Online, but with gameplay replacing the spreadsheets. I'm aware that it was a
condensed version of games that did the same thing better and with more depth many years before, but I found it to be a deep and beautifully realised sandbox. In fact, I'm convinced that most players only ever scratched its surface.

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Chicks vs. Kittens iPhone Review

Posted on 7th Jun 2011 at 07:53 by David Hing with 5 comments

David Hing
In Gaming Digits' Chicks vs. Kittens you’re charged with ensuring the safety of a mother bird defending her nest against a hoard of poultry-hungry kittens. This is achieved by hatching chicks and weaponising your offspring against the feline invaders. As you do.

Games for iOS live and die by their personality, though, not whether their premises make sense, and Chicks vs. Kittens has plenty of personality. Your ammunition flaps around happily while it waits to drop onto enemies, while the climbing kittens are more lovable than sneezing baby pandas, with animations that are clear and crisp even when they’re blown up to iPad size.

As far as the controls and gameplay go, Chicks vs. Kittens is a simple reaction test with a little bit of tower defence strategy thrown in to boot. The influence of the latter is manifested in the way you equip your chicks to perform different roles through the use of hats. Hats can be used to increase the strength of chicks, to upgrade your leaf-based economy or to change the way they attack kittens. Variations are constantly added throughout the game.

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Thoughts on Clutter and Junk

Posted on 5th Jun 2011 at 11:50 by Joe Martin with 31 comments

Joe Martin
I’ve been playing Star Wars: Jedi Academy lately. I didn’t play it when it first came out, but good word of mouth and a budget Steam price proved hard to resist. Overall, it’s a pretty good game too, although I’ll never be as effusive about it as my pals. One thing I can’t get over, though, is how incredibly dated the game looks.

It’s been hard for me to pin down exactly why Jedi Academy feels so dated, as the graphics actually hold up very well for a seven year old game using the twelve year old id Tech 3 engine. Lately, I’ve come to think that it’s the sparseness of the levels that makes it feel archaic. There are too many empty desks in the cantinas, too many barren walls; there’s not enough clutter in the world.

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Thoughts on Jumping

Posted on 15th May 2011 at 09:30 by Joe Martin with 29 comments

Joe Martin
It may seem an odd subject to focus on, as jumping doesn't seem to be very important on the face of it – cut it out of a game, though, and it can make a huge difference. Games in which players can’t jump, or at the very least dodge or roll, can seem painfully slow, dull and static. Games in which players can jump around and use that movement to interact with the environment can seem immeasurably more fun because of it.

Take Half-Life 2, for example. It’s a game which nearly everyone would agree is well-made, decently written, fun and fast to play through. Now cast your mind back to the first scene in Kliener’s lab, where Gordon is first properly introduced to his allies, where the plot is given its first proper push and where you’re gifted with the HEV suit again. It’s a busy sequence; lots to do, lots to take in. You’d expect most players to pay close attention, at least the first time around.

Instead, every single player I know spends most of the time jumping around. Sometimes they try to jump on the scenery or knock over objects, other times they just leapfrog around the room when a simple stroll would suffice.

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Carcassonne iPad Review

Posted on 7th May 2011 at 10:18 by David Hing with 10 comments

David Hing
The iPad is an ideal platform for board games. It's large enough for more than one person to sit round it for a local game without feeling stupid, and its touchscreen is sizeable enough to make it practical to move pieces, even if you have chubby fingers. Thus, it was only a matter of time before classic board games such as Carcassonne jumped to the platform.

The game itself is easy to learn, and is mostly based around the idea of developing the areas around the titular French town. At higher levels, though, the strategies and tactics involved can become enormously complex, although this iPad version eases you in with spoken tutorials and a full digital manual. It takes very little time to get to grips with the mechanics, with only a few references back to the documentation, and the interface is kept gloriously pristine.

There are a few different basic game-types, including a Solitaire mode that follows slightly adapted rules to the core game, plus online, local and AI matches.

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Meet Heather Poe

Posted on 17th Apr 2011 at 10:38 by Joe Martin with 25 comments

Meet Heather Poe Someone I Want You To Meet

This is Heather Poe. She’s a young woman, living in Los Angeles and attending college there, though it isn’t her hometown. She’s kind, happy, eager to please and a little bit geeky. She’s also one of the best features of one of my favourite games, Troika’s Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines.

You find Heather in the hospital, where she’s been rushed into the emergency room for some strange neck wound. As a newly turned vampire yourself, you know that there’s more to this story than meets the eye, but your heightened senses also tell you that she’ll survive her undead encounter if she just gets some fresh haemoglobin. Unfortunately, there isn’t a doctor to hand and the hospital is criminally understaffed.

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Custom PC Issue 125

Custom PC Issue 125

Our latest issue is bursting with premium PC goodness, as we enter the land of dream PCs, full of expert customisation and modding, as well as gorgeous water-cooling loops.

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