Aquire largely has a history in stealthy ninja games, being the creators of Tenchu, Shinobido, and Way of the Samurai. Fans of those games tend to know exactly what they’re going to get when a new game in one of those series drops, and are also usually satisfied with the results, regardless of budgetary limitations. Interestingly, in recent years, Acquire has branched out from their feudal comfort zone, delving into new genres with games like What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord? and Sumioni, the former being an RPG and the latter being a touch screen action game. With Orgarythm, published by XSEED, Acquire has given a defiant middle finger to genre convention, and come up with an auto-scrolling real time strategy music rhythm game. No, I did not just make that up. Continue Reading
I was about to settle in for a gold ol’ fashion gaming session and when I turned on the Xbox 360 I happened to see an ad for Dragon Ball Z for Kinect. The idea of a Dragon Ball Z game controlled by full body motion wouldn’t leave my head and, well, as I’ve said before, sometimes these things write themselves.
The “Let the Kids Trick or Treat for St. Jude” art auction still has a few more days to go. Don’t miss your chance to get some awesome pieces of art or to have yourself immortalized in a RoboComic. Give a look here.
See you next week.
Also, David mentions a charitable art auction he’s contributing to. If you’re interested in checking that out, you can go here.
The world of Dokuro is introduced as a dark place, ruled over by a sinister, shadowy monster known as the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord kidnaps the Princess from somewhere much nicer and brighter than his kingdom, and traps her away in a cage. Meanwhile, a nameless, minion-level skeleton vies to be noticed by anyone. The Dark Lord is too busy to care and he has no friends to speak of. He is enamored by the Princess, and strives to help her escape. She still doesn’t notice his existence, but he refuses to give up, risking his life (?) to get her safely through all of the Dark Lord’s traps and underlings. Continue Reading
Picture it: your living room, Halloween night. You and three of your closest friends have gathered with the intent of having a fun Halloween party, but something just isn’t quite right. Although you have scooted your furniture against wall, stretched fake neon spider webbing everywhere, and your Killer Halloween Jams playlist is getting ready to start over again, yet still no one has started to dance. The Chex Mix is stale, the soda is flat, and everyone just dressed up as their Dungeons and Dragons characters for the fourth year in a row. ”What can I do to perk this shindig up?” you ask yourself desperately. It is then that you remember you have just the thing: Ubisoft’s newest release in the Just Dance series, Just Dance 4. Within minutes, the XBox 360 is fired up and so are your friends, because like the preceding games, this one is a load of fun.
It’s true that not much changes from game to game with the Just Dance franchise. Bright colored, bordering on retina-searing, cartoon visuals make a return as do the wacky dance routines. Both of these elements really help set the tone for a laid back game for people just looking to cut a rug by themselves or with some friends. The game is incredibly accessible and easy to learn, but difficult to master which makes it appeal to casual and seasoned gamers alike.
The core gameplay still revolves around players matching their sweet moves to the character on their screen, but there are some noteworthy improvements. First of all is the addition of the Dancer Card, which is a profile anyone playing the game can make. This will keep track of all kinds of statistics, from your average score to your favorite song. Also, the user interface has been overhauled quite a bit. In Just Dance 3, each song in it’s basic form was in one area, mashups were in another, and so on. In Just Dance 4, you simply select a song from the main screen and all routines you’ve unlocked associated with that song will be grouped together. This even includes the new alternate routines you can unlock as you play the game. Be careful how many “extreme” versions of songs you try out though; your surly friend in the dwarf costume could have a heat stroke due to all that prosthetic hair on her face.
The game’s fitness mode, “Just Sweat”, has been included before, but now it has a calorie counter and an intensity tracker to make it even easier for you to actually include in a fitness routine. What’s really interesting about “Just Sweat” this time around is that how well you do in one round affects how difficult the next round of aerobic dancing is. You can select songs a la carte from the main song listing, or you can choose one of the prefabricated routines that are centered around a theme like “Electro Body Combat” which offers a fighting style workout, or “Swinging 60’s Workout” which is kind of goofy, but in a fun way. This will be especially helpful if you, like me, gorged yourself into a diabetic coma on Reece’s Pumpkins and need to work off a few extra calories this fall!
If deliberately exercising isn’t your thing, you have the new Battle Mode to look forward to, in which two players dance off over five rounds and is structured much like a fighting game. The moves are some of the most elaborate in the game, but if you go head-to-head with a friend you’re sure to have some good laughs. Your twin friends the elf warrior and the elf rogue can duel each other and leave their 20-sided dice at home! As if all that newness wasn’t enough, there is the Autodance with Kinect feature (exclusive to the XBox 360 version) which will capture all of your most awkward and embarrassing moments on video and automatically sync them with the music to create a video in which you look like a true dancing superstar. You can then easily share these videos with your friends via Just Dance TV.
The soundtrack for Just Dance 4 is one of the most robust to-date, featuring a wide range of songs with assorted styles like Motown, Pop, and Electronic.. There’s a little bit of everything; like corny mega hits like Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”, 80s jams like Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”, and the PERFECT track to perk up your Halloween party – “Time Warp” from Rocky Horror Picture Show. The game came out of the gate with DLC via a promotion with Cheetos, and its first full-fledged DLC is planned for November – “Gangnam Style” by Psy. The full track listing can be viewed here.
While it’s clear that Just Dance has become one of Ubisoft’s annualized titles, it’s nice to see they’re taking time to add new and interesting features as well as tweak the user interface for the player’s benefit. With the WiiU launch on the horizon, that version of Just Dance 4 promises even more new tricks and treats to set that version apart from the others. Whether you’re a beginning ghoul getting your groove on for the first time, or a veteran vampire who has expertly cut every rug in town, you will definitely find something to like with this game and maybe even work off some of the entire bag of Fun Sized Snickers you ate while waiting for your party guests to arrive. Once they’ve left, you are finally free to take off your wizard’s hat and beard, tighten the laces on your sneakers, roll up the sleeves of your robe, and practice One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” until you finally get the five-star rating you’ve been hoping for.
[review title=”Just Dance 4″ pros=”Updated user interface, great track list, and a handful of new features make this the best Just Dance game so far.” cons=”It may be hard for some people to get into this game without thinking it’s just more of the same.” verdict=”If you have any interest in a game that asks you to shake your groove thang, then this is the one to get.” score=85]
It’s time for another Pokemon game. Aron is very excited. We’ve had to give him a paper bag to breathe in. I’ve been an off and on fan of the series since the beginning and I may actually sit down with Pokemon Black and White 2. The games have always been fun and I’m sure Aron still needs a trading partner. As long as I can still get my grass-type starter I’ll be happy.
Have you ever wanted to appear in a RoboComic? Now you can. St. Jude Children’s Hospital is holding an art auction from 10/15 – 10/31. There’s lots of great art to choose from and it’s all for a good cause. I myself have an item for bid and if you win not only will you get five of my personal favorite comics as signed prints but I’ll draw you into an upcoming RoboComic. That’s right, you get your own piece of internet fame. Check out the auction here.
See you next week.
Radio is dead! Long live the podcast! This is our thirtieth podcast! Sure it’s not really a big milestone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t treat it as such. For this episode Jessie sits down with Careless, Rook, and Kit of the amazing band Random Encounter. We talk about music, life, video games, and accordion juggling. Also, we reveal what Jimi Hendrix and Nobou Uematsu have in common. Give us a listen and tell us what you think.
Intro and outro music taken from “Teacups” by Robot Science.
It is entirely likely that if today’s average gamer is asked what the best Game and Watch game was, they will stare at you with glazed over eyes as they try to figure out if “Game and Watch” is the name of the new Skrillex album, or if you’ve just completely lost your mind. However, old farts like me will recollect the grandfather of Nintendo’s handheld gaming systems; the little LCD games that Retro Pocket pays homage to with its recent DSiWare/eShop release.
On the surface, Retro Pocket offers a wide array of options for adventure. You can save people from a burning building, the mouth of a whale, or from thugs throwing beer bottles at their head. You can also catch different things and put them in containers, or rotate drums to fill them with oil. Each game offers both an A and a B version, with the B version being the faster or more difficult version. The core principal behind all these games is the same, whereas they require proper timing of moving the character and pressing a button in order to succeed. As your score gets higher, the game play becomes progressively faster, and if you get hit by an enemy or obstacle and you will loose a life. Though most of the scenarios aren’t entirely original, the principal behind each mini-game’s gameplay holds true to the Game and Watch formula it is attempting to tip its hat to.
Visually, Retro Pocket is spot-on. You can see the little ghosted images of characters and items on screen, so you can get a good idea of paths you should take or avoid. There were even times it was easy to forget that this is a modern game on a current generation system, and not an ancient mono-colored device from gaming days gone by. The music for each game is actually a pretty decent retro sounding tune, but the actual instrumentation is far beyond anything the old school Game and Watches could have managed.
In actuality, the variety of games is misleading. After cycling through all of the titles in Retro Pocket, most players will feel like these mini-games are just re-skinned versions of the same game. Three of them in particular task players with gathering eggs, candy, or steel girders and depositing them in a receptacle. Others seem to miss the timing element by just a hair, giving an unwelcomed feeling of randomness to a series of games that is supposed to be built on the premise of learning the game’s pattern and performing tasks with impeccable timing. The Fuel Drop mini-game is the best out of the bunch, but the two-toned visuals make it stick out like a sore thumb in the middle of this collection.
In a day and age when a game’s worth is often gaged by how many pixels it has, this game is unfortunately just a little too retro to be well-received by the masses. Overall, Retro Pocket is decent handful of mini-games, but it is definitely targeted at older gamers trying to relive something nostalgic from their past. It offers a good presentation and, for the most part, emulates the Game and Watch experience well. Unfortunately, players that aren’t LCD gaming fanatics will likely find this collection to be a little on the bland side. If you’re so old that you hear “Deadmau5” and think of emptying a mouse trap, then Retro Pocket may be worth checking out. This is definitely a game that will remind people of how far video games have come in the last 30 years.
[review title=”Retro Pocket” pros=”Effectively emulates the Game and Watch experience with only a few hiccups.
Cons: Mini-games are so alike they blur together, and some don’t seem to work as they were intended.” cons=” Mini-games are so alike they blur together, and some don’t seem to work as they were intended.” verdict=”Gamers who are looking for a quick $5 trip down memory lane will probably enjoy Retro Pocket, but if you’ve never experienced these type of games before there are better examples out there.” score=60]
Oh Resident Evil. You were once the king of the survival-horror genre. Now you’re just an action series that happens to have zombies. How the mighty have fallen. Now I enjoyed Resident Evil 4 as much as the next person but still, going back to some horror routes might be good for the series. Sadly, I don’t see that coming anytime soon.
See you next week.
The Nintendo 3DS picks up a new action title in Atlus’ Code of Princess. Is this game portable royalty? Or are there too many chinks in its armor?