Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Crazy week!

Hey guys,
This last week has been nuts and the next week will be nuts as well. I'll try to post some reviews next weekend, but I'm not making any promises. Still, head on over to our youtube channel for video reviews of games. Catch you on the flip side!
Justice signing out.

Friday, July 13, 2012

OUYA Game Console: What the Nexus Q & Google TV Sh...

Something Geeky This Way Comes: OUYA Game Console: What the Nexus Q & Google TV Sh...You may have heard of the Kickstarter project for the open source gaming console OUYA (Pronounced Oo-yu). Its been talked about in the positive and the negative. The console will run Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) at its core with a Tegra 3 quad core processor, 1 GB RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, 8GB built in memory, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, HDMI with 1080p support and USB 2.0, not to mention a console controller. Now, some people are shouting that the open source game console has been tried before and failed. Those same people claim that this console will fail just as hard. Yet others shout that this console will be a success because it is designed around Android and that operating system isn't going away anytime soon. With over 50% of the smart phone market share, not to mention a rising share in the tablet market, basing the gaming console around the Android OS is a better move than making an OS from the ground up. Add to this the fact that emulators for other game consoles such as the N64 & PS systems among others and its a huge win for gamers everywhere. But I'm not arguing for the Ouya Game Console based off of the gaming ability. I am arguing for the Ouya Console because of it's entertainment functionality.

Gaming is of course a part of the devices draw. It is awesome that you can do that on your TV. You can do the same with any Android tablet or phone. But as a dedicated entertainment system and living room computing device it is even more awesome! Stream video through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Youtube and more. Stream music as well. Heck, you can play ANY music or video file via the USB 2.0 port or even by streaming from on device to another such as a PC or another mobile device. You can connect any Bluetooth peripheral to it as well. Stream music to Bluetooth headphones, connect other controllers like a Wii remote, PS3 controller or remote control. Since hacking of the Ouya Console is encouraged, really the limit is in imagination of the hacking and programing community. A community that is alive and well in the Android ecosystem! Currently with 24 days left on the Kickstarter project, you can grab a console and controller for $99.00. If you think of getting this device as an investment in a potential gaming console, that's a big risk because as a console it may not pan out. But, if you purchase the device as a multi-media solution then this is the device for you. Google has released Google TV and the Nexus Q. Both  of them are good but lacking.
Now we haven't seen Ouya as a finished product yet, so there is a chance it won't be as awesome as a multi-media device for your living room as I am hoping it will. Still, I'm betting on it as a win. Check out the project. If it looks to be a fit for you, consider investing in it. At $4.6 million and counting, 35,999 other investors think its a good gamble. Oh, and did I mention the project has 26 days to go? Well, now I did.

[Note: This article is republished with permission of the author of].

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Attention PC Gamers! Check Out the Steam Summer Sale!

For some of you this is old news. But for others this is a great opportunity. The online game store Steam is holding a summer sale from now til July 22nd where many of its games are discounted. Further more there are daily deals and even games voted for by the site users that are heavily discounted. To the tune of 75% off! We would suggest you hold off on buy that game you always wanted until the last day because there is a chance you can get it cheaper with one of the many daily deals. Still, this is one awesome sale. Now you can get that game you've been aching to play but just couldn't push yourself to dropping the cash on. Nothing makes life for a gamer better than saving a little dough. To enjoy the steamy goodness (pun intended) go to

P.S. There have been reports of some issues due to heavy traffic on the site, so if you do plan on waiting till the last day to buy, I would not suggest waiting till the last minute just in case the Steam servers are a little over taxed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

PC Game Review: Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

Sins if a Solar Empire: Rebellion is a good Real Time Strategy game. It is a well built game by Ironclad & Stardock Entertainment.  It looks & feels great, and is complemented by solid mechanics.  These mechanics center around large tech trees, balancing between building your fleet and economy. As with any good RTS having the right composition of units to counter and over whelm your opponents is a must. The main reason why Sins is so cool is because huge fleets, composed of massive fleets of space ships blowing each other to kingdom come. Oh, and you can zoom in on the explosions.

Iron Clad is trying to change some of the mechanics from the previous iterations of Sins of a Solar Empire games. They pushed the envelope a bit in rebellion by adding new factions but not any new races. Also unique research options to the tech trees that are epic and, of course, a new unit.  The new unit is the corvette, a very fast and mobile ship, somewhere between the strike craft, and the frigates.  Kind of how the cruisers are between frigates and capitol ships.  The corvette specializes in hit and run tactics, that being cheaper.  You can build a lot of them. They are harder to hit than the rest of the ships in the game, but can't take as much punishment.  The corvette is a step in the right direction to fix one of the problems the franchise has had since the beginning.  Combat feels too static.  The ships get in range of one another and just sit there shooting at each other.  Think of the battle ships during the First World War but with a few variants like different weapon types other than just cannon.  The ships were constantly trying to get a better shot at their enemies while trying not to be hit themselves.  The edition of the corvette makes the battles feel a little less boring.  I have always wanted to see more of that in Sins and the corvette gives it just that bit more.  Combat feels more involved with their constant motion, and I like it a lot better than what it has been.  It would still be nice to see some simple combat patterns added to the fleet menu. Also, having defensive maneuvers to protect planets or the ships themselves would be wonderful. Maybe even an attack pattern to have fleets be more aggressive when the situation calls for it.

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion is a solid Real Time Strategy game. Fans of such games should check it out.  It is solid and pretty, but the problem with rebellion is that it does not feel like a full game at the moment.  It feels more like an expansion than another game in a series of games.  I like the changes that they have made, I just think they need to make more to encourage more players actually buying the game.

Maturity Rating: 

The game is really only limited to whether you can understand what real time strategy is and how to play it. Unlike other RTS games there is very little graphic violence. In fact, it is limited to ships blowing up rather than there being blood and gore. As such the maturity rating is PG for Parental Guidance. 

Final Analysis:

Despite the things lacking in this game, it has shown a marked improvement over previous iterations of the game. Further more, Real Time Strategy fans love it for what it is. As such the game gets 2 1/3 out of 3 Triforce.

For more information on the game check out our video review.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mobile Game Review: Grand Theft Auto III


Over 10 years after its original exclusive release on the Play Station 2, Grand Theft Auto III has gained new life in its Android and iOS release. It's the same old game but with a touch screen. If you enjoy the classic open crime universe then this game is for you. While the graphics are totally 2001 by comparison to new games, the game still retains its play ability. It holds up to the test of time, and it's incarnation on the two most popular mobile platforms has added significantly to its life.


With the standard D-pad on the left side of the screen movements is typical of mobile games. The D-pad will appear where you place your finger so long as it is on the left side of the screen. Upper right corner is a mini map.  When you tap the map it brings up a larger map. The lower right contains action buttons what are determined based off of what is around your character. There is a jump, run, fight and car door button. When pressing the car door near cars (occupied or not) this prompts your character to open the door and take control of the vehicle. Above that is a camera angle button. This button makes life easier. Above that is your wanted rating, health, money, a timer and what weapon you are using. Over all the controls work well enough. My biggest complaint is the camera angle. There are times when it doesn't change fast enough. The camera angle button helps, some times.

The Story:

You control the character Claude. He was broken out of prison and now is trying to make a name for himself to work himself up ladder in the various criminal organizations in Liberty City. By completing missions you gain money and prestige. You can also complete side missions for money or for fun. What's more, if mayhem is your deal, you can just smash and grab to your hearts content. Missions are a combination of driving and action violence such as fist fights, baseball bats or shooting. The game allows you to be as "bad" or "good" as you want. So you can administer vigilante justice, save people with ambulances, or be a jerk as much as you like.

Game Play:

Honestly, if you have ever played Grand Theft Auto III, the game is exactly the same. The game stands up to the test of time. I do wish there was a indicator to point you to your next mission, but over all it is a fun game. The environments changing was an impressive feature in the original game. This is kept in the mobile version of the game as well. The fact that it will start raining while your in the middle of a job is a nice touch, but not unique in gaming any more.

Maturity Rating:

I personally wouldn't let my kids play this game until they at least 16. The violence is up close an personal. While there isn't any obvious sexual content in this game, there are prostitutes walking the streets in skimpy clothing. From a parent's prospective this game not suitable to children at all. The rating is PG-16 and I'm leaning towards making it higher.

Final Assessment:

The game has stood up to the test of time. There have been some updates that make it work well with a touch screen device as well. Still, I can't help but think the game could have had some things added to it. Perhaps better graphics or maybe some new missions or capabilities. Since it's just a port of the original game I can't help but think I could have pick up the game on my PS2 and played it for less money. I could pick this game up for a dollar at most thrift stores or garage sales. It is novel for me to play it on a tablet, but not novel enough. Over all I give the game a solid 2 out of 3 Triforce. If you are interested in dropping money on this game you can get it through the Google Play store and iTunes for $4.99. If you played this back in the day, it may be worth it for you to drop five bucks on the game. Me personally, I'm glad I got it on sale for $0.99 because anything more and I would have felt a little cheated.

Additional Screenshots:




Friday, July 6, 2012

Correction on Mobile Game Reviews

First an apology. I realized that I was posting reviews of Android games and posting links to where you can get them without including the iOS version of the games. While I am partial to Android, this does not mean I do not respect or enjoy iOS devices. While they are not for me, I really enjoy what is added from Apple's flagship mobile OS. As such, I have back tracked and added links to iTunes for all games that have both an Android and iOS version. Please forgive the mistake. I will endeavor to include both major OS's in my reviews.

I prefer to encourage harmony between the mobile OS community rather than to promote disharmony. I must admit I do prefer Android over iOS but this is primarily because I am invested into the OS. I can see how someone who is a iOS user would feel the same way if they have a lot of apps purchased through iTunes. My wish is that both ecosystems have a long and healthy life to encourage competition. Now if only Apple and Google OEM's would stop fighting in courts and get on with making high quality mobile products.

Mobile Game Review: Meowch!


There comes along from time to time a game that is just perfect for casual gaming. Most casual game iterations just don't get it. Either it is too complicated in controls or game play, they lack clear tutorials, or they are just not entertaining enough. Fortunately this is NOT the case with Meowch! The game is simple, the controls are easy, the objectives are clear.

The Story:

You are a cat. Your mission is to save other cats that are missing and stranded on the "Outside". You must navigate from windowsills to other ledges while avoiding obstacles or falling to the ground. Some obstacles include the Cat Lady, live wires and gutters. If you fall to the ground you are caught by Animal Control. Once you've rescued the stranded cats you must navigate to the Exit.

Writing & lines added.

Game Play:

Every successful casual game I have seen has been based on simple controls and appealing graphics. Meowch! get this perfectly. The graphics are simple and fun. The controls are as well. You simple touch the cat pull back and aim. An arrow shadow shows were the cat will jump to. But don't be fooled by the simple controls. The levels start simple with tutorials to show you what to do, but as you progress the courses get progressively difficult. Still, the courses (36 as of the writing of this article) are a real pleasure to play. It was hard for me to put the game down.

Maturity Rating:

Meowch! deserves a rating of E for Everyone. I have no problem having my kids playing this game. It is cute and encourages lateral thinking. I wouldn't go so far as to call the game educational. Still, if it's the choice between them rotting their brains out in front of the Cartoon Network and this, I choose this every time. 

Final Assessment:

Meowch! deserves a full 3 out of 3 Triforces. As a casual game it fulfills it's promise to be fun, entertaining with just a little cerebral. As I mentioned before, this game has all the right ingredients to make it a fun game to revisit even when you are finished with all the levels. I can't wait for more levels with up coming updates. 

To get Meowch! for Android you can purchase it from the Amazon Appstore for $1.99. The Google Play store also has a Paid version for $1.99, but also offers an Ad-supported Free version if a couple bucks is too steep for you. In either case you have plenty of options for where to purchase the game. I prefer the paid version myself. No pesky ads to deal with and no worries about kids accidentally touching them when I let them play with the game.
For iOS devices, Meowch! is also available for $1.99 for the paid version as well as a Free version. Both the Android and iOS versions of the game work with both phones and tablets.

Additional Screen Shots: