Category Archives: Uncategorized

Red Dead Redemption 2: I am ready

Rockstar dropped a game play trailer of the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2 this morning, and after watching it today, I pity any other game/s that is/are coming out in October because, seriously, RDR2 is going to leave them sniffling wrecks, crying, curled up in the corner of a room.

Here’s 6 minutes and five seconds of RDR2. I pre-ordered this game two months ago. I usually never pre-order video games. In fact, I’ve pre-ordered only two video games in 40 years of playing video games (this and Batman Arkham Knight).

I have no more words. Just watch the trailer.

God, October can’t come fast enough. My PlayStation 4 is ready and waiting.

Element: An RTS game for people who really don’t have time for RTS games

Element (Nintendo Switch)

What a year the Nintendo Switch has had.

Despite being the least powerful console of the big three (Nintendo, Microsoft and PlayStation), I can quite comfortably say that I spent more time playing games on my Switch than I do the other consoles I own.

There are so many great reasons to own a Switch, and Element, from New Zealand developer Flightless, is another one.It’s a perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch.

Element’s narrative involves a space craft fleeing a decaying solar system. Arriving in a new solar system, you must visit each planet (named after elements on the periodic table, ie barium, titanium, silicon, gallium), mining enough crucial resources to ensure your survival. Sounds simple, right? Well, kind of. You see, while you’re mining for resources, enemies are doing the same thing, You’ll have to build attack and defence forces and assault the enemy while mining the planet for all you can.

Early planets like Boron offer very little challenge, with minimal enemy presence, but by the time you get to planets like platinum, the enemy threat starts increasing. Planets like iridium and neon, have well established enemies that pose a dangerous threat.

Element is a really nice fit on the Switch, with an appealing low-poly look to it and intuitive controls. Using the Switch’s touch screen, you can zoom into the action so you can get a good handle on things and strategize accordingly, and rotate around planets using the right analogue stick.  After a while, you’ll find yourself rotating around a planet like an old hand, plonking down mines and defence units as you target enemy mines with missiles.

It feels a little bit Command & Conquer to me sometimes,  making you think strategically before you do something  while also making you think two steps ahead for potential threats.

Flightless has described Element as a real-time space strategy game for those who don’t have time for real-time space strategy games which, let’s be honest, is probably a lot of us these days. It’s the sort of game that is perfect for bite-sized gaming chunks during lunchtime or just before bedtime, letting you play through two or three planets in a session then call it quits for the night but still feel satisfied.

Update: Something that I suddenly thought about after an email exchange with Flightless director John O’Reilly was that Element would really work with a two-player network co-op mode where where each player controlled a faction. I think that would really work well with the game play in Element. 

 

Thanks to Flightless for the Element review code

 

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker review

A question to start off just because it popped into my head while I was playing Captain Toad Treasure Tracker: Why is a character that looks a bit like a mushroom called Captain Toad? Is it because he looks kind of like a toadstool? (Update: I just Googled it and it’s because he’s a toad. So ignore everything I just said)

Anyhoo, Captain Toad Treasure Tracker originally appeared on Nintendo’s Wii U and is an action puzzle game based off the Adventures of Captain Toad levels in Super Mario World 3D. The Switch version also contains four levels based on Super Mario Odyssey.

Players control the titular Captain Toad  around an isometric viewpoint which you can rotate around, navigating obstacles to collect a golden star at the end of every level. Manipulating the viewpoint with the right stick reveals secret rooms and hidden areas, many holding collectibles. When you’ve completed a level, you can do it again to find the pixel Toad hiding somewhere.

Captain Toad can’t jump, especially when he’s wearing a backpack, but he can pull up turnips that he can toss at enemies to stun them. The game also lets you manipulate platforms and the like by touching the Switch’s touch screen.

Look, I’m an adult in my late 40s, haven’t played the original on Wii U, and can pretty much guarantee I’m not the target audience, but I found Captain Toad Treasure Tracker the perfect antidote from the pressures of daily life when I had a few precious moments spare to play something lighthearted. Each level will take only a few minutes to complete so with many of us time poor these days due to general life demands, it’s just the bite-sized gaming that the doctor ordered – and it suits the Switch portable nature perfectly.

Praise aside, Captain Toad presents more of a dilemma for those gamers who have already played the game on the Wii U, though, as if you’ve already played it on that console – or own it on that console – I don’t see much merit in you double-dipping just because it’s on Nintendo’s latest console (especially given it’ll set you back between $55 and $70, according to Pricespy).

For gamers like me, who hadn’t played Captain Toad Treasure Tracker before, this is a good introduction to the adventures of the cute little toad, and is just the ticket if you’ve got a few minutes spare for some light-hearted puzzle action.

Thanks to Nintendo for the review copy of Captain Toad Treasure Tracker (Nintendo Switch). The game is also available on Nintendo DS, as well.

King Tide: Battle Royale with bite

 

Thanks to games like Fortnite and PubG, the Battle Royale genre has grown hugely in popularity over the past few years with gamers, each essentially following the same format with land-based kill-under-your-killed game play.

I’m not a Battle Royale player because – and let’s not beat about the bush here – I suck at multi-player games but New Zealand development studio Digital Confectioners is hoping its watery take on the genre will take it to, ahem, new depths with its new game, King Tide, a Aquatic (Battle) Royale game that places players in scuba suits swimming around the Deep Blue, having to face off against sharks as well as each other, rather than on land.

King Tide seems to be continuing Digital Confectioner’s nautical-themed games – its last one was Depth, where players were either a shark or a diver – and pits 100 players against each other, having to avoid depth charges, aforementioned sharks and forces players to scavenge for weapons in locations such as sunken ships, reefs and underwater labs.

The game is planned to go Early Access on Steam in August this year, with the developers reckoning it’ll be in that state for at least a year, with version 1.0 anticipated to launch around July, 2019. According the game’s FAQ, King Tide will set you back $US14.99, it won’t contain loot boxes (but perhaps sunken treasure chests?) and additional game play content will be through free game updates.

Time to sharpen the spear gun (not that I have one, that is)?

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Pint-sized powerhouse: JBL Flip 4 review

JBL Flip 4 bluetooth speaker (from $105 online)

The Flip 4 retails at a price closest to the UE Wonderboom and the UE Roll, both of which I have used a lot and are fantastic speakers.

Being a longtime fan of the UE series, I was somewhat skeptical about the so called “Boom killer” Flip 4 and its ability to outperform my beloved Wonderboom. I was however, pleasantly surprised.

The Flip 4 delivered stunning lows and highs, which is something that is pretty rare with bluetooth speakers these days, with manufacturers often favouring one at the expense of the other.

A good example of this is the Beats Pill, where the low-end (bass) is over emphasized and the mid range suffers. This is not the case with JBL’s newest addition to the portable speaker market. In fact it is probably the best sounding portable speaker in its price range I’ve ever used, period.

The design of the Flip 4 hasn’t changed too much from its predecessor. With JBL opting to pour more focus on what’s under the hood, with improvements aimed towards better sound quality and battery life, as well as full waterproofing.

New additions include speakerphone capabilities and a more durable fabric covering. It still can’t float though, so if you drop it in the ocean, you can kiss it goodbye, but it does have a waterproof fabric cover.

As we all know, Africa by Toto is the greatest song of all time, so naturally it was the first song that I played on the Flip 4. It has quickly become my go-to testing song for both Bluetooth speakers and headphones. You will be pleased to know that your Toto listening is a pleasant experience on the JBL Flip 4.

Review by Mitchell Campbell

 

Tuesday Teaser: God of War media kit

Let’s not beat about the bush, eh: Chances are you knew this was coming, given I’ve talked about media kits before.

It’s no secret that PlayStation does some of the best media kits in the business and I’ve been lucky enough in my writing career to have received a few PlayStation media kits in the past.

So, without further ado, I present to you, the God of War (PS4)  media kit in all its glory. It’s another stunner from PlayStation.

There’s a review embargo on God of War until 7.01pm on Thursday, April 12 so who knows I might post some impressions when the embargo lifts. I might even capture some video footage if you’re keen to see what it looks like running on the PS4 Pro.

Feast your eyes!

Video Wednesday

Note: This was originally planned to be uploaded last night but thanks to some numpty digging through a cable in Sydney, Australia, it impacted on internet in New Zealand, meaning it took hours and hours for the video to actually upload. Things were sorted at 3.30am this morning, apparently.

I’m never going to be a popular YouTuber or Twitch streamer. I’m too old for that sort of thing. I’m an old man, don’t you know?

I don’t have the skills like this young whippersnappers to show-off my gaming chops live to an audience around the world (my ageing old man reflexes means I’d embarrass myself more than anything)  and I don’t have the confidence (or time) to devote to a channel full-time (I have a mortgage to pay off and a trip to Canada with my family later this year to fund).

I’m up with the times, though, and despite having a background in print and online writing, I can foot it with the young players by posting some of my gaming footage on this blog from what I hope will become a regular feature.

The footage will be either console or PC, depending on the game, and it’ll either be something that I’m reviewing at the time or just a game that I’m playing. At the moment I’m making my way through Yakuza 0 (while also playing Yakuza 6: The Song of Life)  but some of the fight finishing moves just lend themselves to videos.

So without further ado, here is a couple of short (ish) videos of Yakuza 0, some hours in where hero Kazuma Kiryu has to take the fight to some enemy yakuza. Enjoy.

Let me know what you think of the video. Is this something you’d be keen to see more of?

NB: I’ll look at posting some Yakuza 6 footage, as well as some of me playing pirate in Rare’s Sea of Thieves (despite not really being a multiplayer gamer and if I can actually find something interesting to do). I’m also hopeful of playing the next God of War game so I’ll definitely post footage of that. If you want me to, of course, dear reader).

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