Archive for the ‘ Video Games ’ Category

The Flash Games the Made Our Lives

As the writer of one popular webcomic put it, even the most advanced gaming system could never match the sheer addictiveness of free browser games; and we’re tempted to agree with him. Here we present just a selection of our personal favorites:

 

1.  Desktop Tower Defense

Tower Defense is a staple of the browser-based genre; a simple Google search ‘tower defense’ turns up a whopping 85 millions results, many of them websites dedicated purely to this pursuit. Much rarer, however, is a good tower defense game; the majority are either poorly balanced or painfully repetitive. That’s where Desktop Tower Defense comes in; when it hit the scene in March 2007 it’s originality, adorable graphics and strong replay value saw it shoot up the rankings on flash game websites, notching up more than 10 million views in a few months. Whilst the available selection of towers is fairly mundane, DTD’s revolutionary feature is allowing the player to place the towers wherever they wish, allowing the creation of their own maze rather than preset designs. A host of options to make things harder, such as restricting tower types and sending waves from multiple directions, ensures you will lose far too many hours to this game, and later versions introduce novel features such as multi-player. Great time-sink.

2. Bloons 

The Bloons series is one of the best known, longest, but nevertheless enjoyable game sequences on the Internet. Ignoring the tower defense spin offs, Bloons is a puzzle-solver where the player has to pop all the balloons on the screen using a limited number of darts, thrown by a monkey. Strategy is, of course, the key; challenges becoming increasingly difficult, requiring you to pop more balloons with less darts, as well as pulling off artful throws – the less darts used, the higher your score. Various extra features, such as explosive darts and special balloons, are introduced as you progress, and a wealth of levels over the series, along with player packs, will give you plenty to be occupied with. I’ve wasted far too many evenings on this.

3. Learn to Fly

This game’s premise is not exactly original; fly, get some money, fly better, get more money, etc. Learn to Fly is nevertheless excellent, as it based much more centrally around an enjoyable flight simulation than many games of its type, giving a peculiar joy as one hand glides, under rocket power, as a penguin, over freezing Antarctic waters. The options for upgrades to the penguin are fairly average, although Learn to Fly 2 has more to offer, meaning the player isn’t overwhelmed by a wealth of choices, and allowing them to focus on progressing through the game. The amount of money offered is orientated towards challenges, encouraging amusement (such as by crashing your penguin to the floor at 200m.p.h) and making sure the game-play doesn’t become repetitive.

4. Last Stand

What top game list would be complete without some zombies? The Last Stand series is somewhat unusual, with elements of shooter and strategy blended together beautifully. It all starts with a tense night defending a barricade from zombies, immediately establishing the game’s strong graphics and basic but effective style. After defending successfully for a night, the player must choose where to send their character in the surrounding area, in an effort to find supplies and survivors; with that done, the next night begins. This basic setup carries well, with plenty of guns and tastes in zombie to go around. Last Stand 2 adds the objective of escape, requiring the player to gather enough supplies to move between cities and ultimately reach the last boat out of the country; this helps to add tension to the game and is well worth checking out.

5. Azul Baronis

A sci-fi space shooter, Azul Baronis is by far the most frenetic game on this list. The play is at a glance amusingly simple; you pilot a spaceship with a fleet for backup; go get ’em!  However, a combination of brightly colored ships, a ferociously fast pace of action and a perfectly synced soundtrack makes for a somewhat psychedelic experience guaranteed to leave you dazed but jumping straight in for more. Battles are structured simply, each fleet coming to battle without reinforcements and simply whittling each other away. Your own ship is no stronger than anyone else’s, other than in your flying skills, but if you are able to assume control of an ally should you die, such that death carries little penalty. The battles become successfully harder by reducing the number of ships in the friendly fleet, meaning defeat is eventually guaranteed; rather than having a campaign, the player is simply challenged to beat their highest overall score each time. Exciting, endless replay value, but no big time requirement to complete it.

Got any of your own to recommend to us? Show us in the comments!

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Resistance: Fall of Man

Gameplay image, facing a Chimeran Hybrid. The ...

Image via Wikipedia

Right, so having been out for a whole five years, I decided that it was well and truly time to see what all the hype with the resistance series is about, a mere half-decade on. Upon booting up the game I immediately found that it bore resemblances to many other generic first person shooters, a bland American hero, standard shoot ’em up game play and quite frankly a rather poor cover system. This tone does not change through the rest of the game. Don’t get me wrong, it is enjoyable enough, but nothing particularly innovative or new here. In addition, substantial portions of the game are fought against the same enemy, with only very occasional variation; combined with relatively dull map design, this can often make the game drag.

However, whilst the single player campaign has little to commend it, Resistance comes alive in multiplayer game play. Being rather late to the series, I often had substantial waits for matches to come around, however, when they did, I was impressed by both the choice of modes and emphasis on team play, showing some features well ahead of its time.

Three out of five; worth a quick punt considering how cheap it is nowadays.

Skyrim: To Oblivion and Beyond!

So, I have to be honest, I’m a bit behind the times, and only got Skyrim today. Looking at its box? I’ve always been a sucker for matt black and a mysterious symbol, which Skyrim’s package deliver unabashedly.

Moving onto the game itself, my first impressions of it were excellent; good graphics, varied dialogue, and a combat system that appears much better than the Skyrim’s predecessor, Oblivion, although still clunky and simple compared with some RPGs. However, whilst the dread efficient leveling system has been removed, the result is not great; all skills can leveled at different times without major consequences, but in the long-term, so far as I can see, this will mean all characters heading to the same direction as opposed to the sculpted protagonists of other Elder Scrolls games, where early character choices were fundamental.

I’ll have to admit I’m not exactly near to finishing the game – but then again, who has? The sheer number of side-quests, along with the improvements to skills such as alchemy, are much more than just a distraction; they add depth and emotion to the game, as well as giving you access to better items.

In terms of your protagonist, Skyrim starts in much the same way as Oblivion – a complete unknown is given a chance by unlikely events ( I won’t give any more away).

4 out of 5 – Whilst worthy to carry the torch, I find that Skyrim’s simplifications mean that character choices don’t feel important enough.