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Developer: Pocketwatch Games Publisher: Pocketwatch Games Platform: PC Release Date: April 24th, 2013 Sometimes, games and game developers specifically just go and do whatever they want. Instead of making the usual multiplayer shooter or the equally popular singleplayer RPG, Pocketwatch Games decided to try the unusual and make a co-op game about heists. It's meant for co-op, designed for co-op, no, DESTINED to be played in co-op! Does it actually hold up to the huge standards for co-op games left by such classics like Left 4 Dead or the mod "Sven Co-op" for the original Half-Life? To start off, I'll say that Monaco is odd- but odd in the good way though! The graphics are uncoventionally retro and "simple", the music is classy and not head-banging at all like today's tunes, and even little things like the dialogue and lighting in levels is done to perfection while other areas of the game, such as the plot, are kept basic. I've often thought about why this might've been done. Is it to even further bolster the uniqueness level of the game? Or, perhaps Pocketwatch Games (which is a name I love, I might add) just likes to focus on the little things in games! The two questions asked above can't really be answered in full- which is why I love this game! This isn't your traditional co-op experience, and I think the game completely embraces that. Other games meant to be played together with friends instead of against them often just let you play through the game together like the singleplayer campaign or try the "horde mode" path. Creativity is the essence of a non-bland, fun time, and Monaco captures that perfectly. Teamwork is key in Monaco, but surprisingly it's actually fine to play by yourself. It's a bit different than sneaking around, telling one friend to go collect the extra gold at the end of the map while you go take out a guard and another friend watches your back. Instead, you are all alone in the war on those who have gold. This just makes the game both harder and easier though! Having poor teamwork can quickly get your whole team led to doom in the later levels, so being on your own is actually still equally sneaky and intense. Speaking of intense, this game really loves to pressure you when the heist goes awry! The music tenses up, exclamation points pop up above the guards' heads, totally not like the Metal Gear Solid games, and your team of elite heist wannabes must flee to safety. In fact, death is pretty common in this game it seems. However, defeat isn't punishing in Monaco- in fact I'd say that it encourages the player to keep at it and try a different plan of attack for the mission. The aracade-sy feel of Monaco comes is just fantastic. Collecting coins makes you get a better time at the end of the level which is a great incentive to collect them all, and to even use your gadgets you need to collect coins. That in itself is an awesome idea that should be used more in retro games such as this! In addition to that, the graphics are crisp and pixelized, and while the music is more modern-sounding I think Austin Wintory (yes, the guy who did Journey's music!) still did a lovely job with it, keeping to the frantic old-timey arcade feel of the game. Probably the one thing I was concerned about when looking at the game at first was how long or how varied the gameplay would be. Luckily, the game is pretty long, as I'm about 40% through I'd estimate and I'm 3 hours in. That sets you at about an 8-10 hour game I'd guess, given the game gets harder as the levels go on so you'd keep at each one longer. Each level is fairly different too, and there's even a bonus level at the end that I had spoiled for me but I won't for you- just know that it is awesome! Unfortunately....the amount of tools isn't quite as big as I'd like it to be, but this is a small complaint really. While I wouldn't go as far as to call it "the best co-op game of all time", Monaco succeeds heavily on what it tries to do. For $15, you could certainly do better, yes. If you're looking for a nice, fun time with some friends though, Monaco is a great choice for a Friday night session of playing robbers. Remember- What's Yours....Is Mine! *insert obligatory game subtitle reference here* I give this game a: 8.5/10
DrPixel posted a blog entry in Pixels N' StuffDeveloper: Behaviour Interactive Publisher: 505 Games Platform: PSN/XBLA Release Date: October 10, 2012 ESRB: T Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise is the tale of a bear. He was previously made fun of by the other bears in his prior debut, Naughty Bear (of course), and well he got mad. He did some things. Some things his psychiatrist would probably disapprove of. This is a tale of what happened after he did those things. That same mean crowd of bears not only hate him now, but they went on a vacation and didn't invite him to join them (of course)! How cruel of those bears. Now Naughty is angry once more, and this time he has a lot of new fun ways to.......deal with his enemies. I'll admit- I haven't played the first game. I had actually been very interested in it for a while, but after seeing the very negative reviews, I lost interest. With the new game, I feared more of the same, but it seems that Behaviour Interactive has crafted a better, possibly even meatier (as a downloadable title at that), game than the previous one. The gameplay of Panic in Paradise centers around you, Naughty Bear, traveling around a large map of one of the many locations on "Paradise Island", and well, being naughty towards other bears. This is shown through either scaring or killing the other bears in that map. There are many, MANY, different ways to kill the bears, but unfortunately the only way you can scare the bears is to do a creepy shout of sorts. I do wish there was another way to scare bears, as it is necessary if you want to get the highest score possible. Speaking of that, there is a nice little score system in place in this game. Leaderboards and "Naughty Cups" encourage you to try and get the highest score that you can. You can gain far more score from what I like to call "psychological bear torture" instead of just stabbing every bear you see with an umbrella. You also gain a small amount of score from destroying the objects sitting around the island. There are four objectives on each mission; kill each target bear in a specified way, and complete three optional secondary objectives. On very few missions in the game was I able to complete all four of these objectives, so luckily you only need to do the first one (which isn't TOO hard as is). There are 36 missions in the game through 11 different locations, so the game isn't low on content at all. You also may want to go back through some missions like I did to try and improve your score, which adds a bit of fun and replayability to the game. One other fantastic aspect of this game that really adds to the replayability and fun is the unique item customization and leveling system. By stealing the costumes of bears, you can then purchase them in the store for coins, which you get for doing pretty much anything in this game. To be able to purchase weapons, you have to find them in the missions and gain an "ultra-kill" (a kill while a bear is distracted) with it. Each piece of clothing and each weapon gives you different stats that can affect your playstyle in different ways. For example, if you wear gladiator armor, you can't sprint at all but you will be so heavily armored it will take the enemy bears a long time to get your health down halfway, let alone even kill you. By wearing new clothing and a weapon, you can level each one up individually until it is maxed out. This gives XP towards your total XP level for Naughty Bear himself. Personally I love this system of not only customization but also the leveling mechanic. It just adds a whole lot of originality to a game genre that could be very dull. The first Naughty Bear game didn't have incredibly impressive graphics, and neither does this game, but at least it does improve upon the original's. Good lighting and semi-detailed environments make the game look very nice on the eyes. However, one major gripe I had with the graphics was that the dark levels were VERY dark. There is lighting on every level of course, but some levels had dark corners of the map (on levels that take place at night this was very prevalent) where items or destroyable objects may have been, but I couldn't see much at all in those dark places so I couldn't do anything with those items or objects. It was frustrating, but thankfully it was only really bad on one location: Greasy's Garage. Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise is a fun game that has a few weak points but overall nothing major that breaks the game like the last one had (I heard the camera was atrocious, and in PiP it's fine). For $15, there's a lot of content and fun to be had if you can mind the somewhat repetitiveness of the game and its dark humor. It's not a game for everyone, but the newest Naughty Bear installment is a good one finally. I give this game a score of: 7.25/10 Pros +Lots of customization. +The ability to scare or kill bears however you like- it's your choice! +36 missions, all of which take a good amount of time to complete. +A very neat leveling system. Cons -The game can get repetitive after a while. -Lighting makes it hard to see in some areas, one in particular. -Only one way to scare bears while there is plenty of ways to kill them. -No multiplayer, even though the first game had it, which is odd. But wait, there's more! That's right! As you can see from the title, I'm giving a XBLA copy of the game away to one lucky reader! All you have to do is comment below telling me the naughtiest way you would deal with Naughty Bear himself....without getting caught by him of course! The winner will be randomly selected on Friday, October 19. I should close the entries sometime late at night PDT, and then draw a winner shortly after. Good luck, and have fun!
Pixel Reviews: Tiny Troopers (PC) I'll admit- I've never played one of these war-strategy type games before. In fact, I'll also admit I've played very few strategy games. However, I can tell for the most part when I find a good one, a bad one, or one snugly in the middle of those two. This game is one of those that's both good and bad. I'll start with the good. Firstly, the graphics are surprisingly good for an iOS to PC port. I was impressed with the bold colors of the environments and cute little soldiers models that waddle around firing mostly well animated bullets at the varying enemies. Going onto that next point, I'm glad Tiny Troopers has some variety to it, as otherwise I would probably not like the game as much. There are tanks that you almost need (in fact, you certainly do unless you get lucky) to buy special weapons for (I'll touch back on that later) to defeat, towers that need to be destroyed either from a long, LONG stream of bullets or those special weapons (again), the regular enemies of course, which are mostly easy unless they have armor in which case those special weapons certainly are useful for quickening your job, and finally, the machine gun trucks, again nearly impossible to defeat without those special weapons. On another note, the music in the game is pretty good, and provides a nice "war" theme to it. The voices for your soldiers fit the game's style (cute but not too cute) very well. There's 30 missions (each of which take anywhere from 5-20 minutes to complete depending on how fast you are) in the game total, and a few extra modes that don't add much to the game itself but do provide some replayability. Speaking of replayability, there are a good amount of Steam achievements to unlock and each provides a unique form of play, whether it is failing the first mission of the game (which is hard to fail unless it's on purpose) to killing a certain number of enemies with a certain weapon. The game is chock full of good content-boosters like this, which is nice. The gameplay itself is not too shabby. It involves you directing a squad of little soldiers around trying to accomplish each mission's objectives. These can range from the hard (rescuing some of your fellow soldiers from the enemy then getting them out of there) to the very easy ("survive"- literally all you need to do is find a good spot and fire away). They can be fun at times but also very annoying at others. For instance, on one of the escort/rescue missions, there was so many enemies and machine gun trucks that it was very hard to get all the way to the objective without constantly dying......of course, unless you had those special weapons I mentioned earlier. Here's where the game does start to annoy me a little. You constantly are almost forced to buy these special weapons (grenades, rocket launchers, and airstrikes) to pass some missions, and if you're low on cash, then you actually have to grind some other missions to get enough cash to buy them. It's annoying and quite frankly, I'm not a big fan of it in this cute little strategy game that could have so much potential. However, it feels like the game is still an iOS title with this obvious "In-App Purchase" gimmick, even though it's on PC now. If it were the iOS version I was reviewing, I could understand this then and probably forgive the developers for having it in the game (as everyone knows IAPs are a great way to make money for developers needing cash), but this IS the PC version I played, and it just doesn't seem like it fits with the platform of choice. In addition to that, the gameplay gets stale after a while, in my opinion. While the game has tons of fun moments right away, as you play more it seems to just fizzle out. Not much new is added, and when new things are added they aren't used well until the missions where you die a lot because you don't have special weapons because the game isn't interesting enough to entice you to grind more money to buy the weapons....and it all just ends up in a vicious circle I guess is a good way to put it. The game has so much potential but its flaws hold it back to the point of it not being that fun to play. Games in my opinion should be fun or interesting in some way, and while Tiny Troopers does have its fun moments, the dull, boring parts and the frustrating difficulty curve (unless you buy those special weapons) is a major turn-off. There's one last thing I would like to point out about this game. If it ever received a co-op patch or a DLC that added in co-op, it would make this game so much better. Being able to strategize with a friend on a map or something would be even better. Please, if you read this review Kukouri Mobile Entertainment (the developers), consider adding in co-op. It would add some freshness to the game and might attract more players as well as make the game more fun to play. Tiny Troopers is an interesting game at first sight but has its flaws that do end up bringing it down on my recommendations list. In my honest opinion, the game is good at its roots and does provide some entertainment but I feel like as you play more it just gets more frustrating. I really did try to like it, but only at the beginning of the game did I like it very much. Would I recommend it? If you are into war-strategy games or even maybe strategy games, a heisitant yes. It provides some fun moments and you might like it more than I did. The price ($10) is a tad high for its flaws to justify buying it full price, but if you are looking for something like it, perhaps consider buying it on a sale, or even better, buy it at full price to support the developers, Kukouri Mobile Entertainment. Speaking of which, I'd like to thank them for the review copy they provided. I give this game a score of: 6.5/10
DrPixel posted a blog entry in Pixels N' Stuff"Thirty Flights of Love"......now what exactly does that mean? I'm not too sure really, and I doubt any of you reading are either. I could truly care less actually! That's not what this is about. ....or is it? Confusion, espionage, backstabbery (I hope that's a word), good-heists-gone-wrong; Any of these words or phrases could be used to describe this game, but I'll just use a basic one: adventure. This game is an adventure with cheeky, modern-looking Quake II engine graphics, catchy music, and a confusing story presented to you in a confusing way. That's all good though, as this is a game that relies on confusion and no dialogue or UI to present an interesting and even funny at times short story to the player. As I said, this game really does go out of the way to be confusing. Honestly, it does! I even went back and played through with developer commentary on as I was curious to why the developers, Blendo Games, did some things, and it answered many of my questions which was nice. The game plays out to you with no instructions or tasks given to you at all. You basically just have to aimlessly find your way through the game, though it IS done in a linear manner, which solves any problems of not knowing where to go. Not just the game's progression but also its story is confusing. At times you seem to be just about to accomplish something or are in serious trouble, but then it suddenly goes to another scene. It's a unique and interesting mechanic that is heavily used in the game, and works well. I personally liked it a lot, although some people may feel that without a definite conclusion to events the game's story is garbage. I won't delve into any details of the game's story, but just know that it will surprise you and may get different emotions out of you....depending on how you take it. I personally sort of kidded around the whole game and that made it very enjoyable for me but I can see how someone may just think it's stupid if they take it seriously. Graphics-wise, I have no clue at all how this game looks so good! It runs on the Quake II engine yet has moderately pretty graphics, so there must have been some extra modifications done to the engine I guess. Anyway, everything looks nice and crisp, and as with Blendo Games' last game like this, Gravity Bone, everything looks bright and colorful. The music is suave and fitting for such a game. Overall, I'm sure that I can definitely recommend this game to someone, but it's definitely not for everyone. The $5 price point is a little high in my opinion, but if it were a bit lower I probably feel more positive about the game. That and the length are my only two major problems with it I think. I give this game a: 7.5/10 It's a tough game to recommend because of how unique it is honestly. If you don't like short or weird games, you may want to stay away. However, if you want a nice little experience that may just make your day a little more joyful, get this! A sale may be best unless the price drops, but otherwise if you're willing to take a chance with it the game will reward you with a good time. It's entertaining and fun, and that's what games should be! __________________________________________________________________________________ Thank you Brendon from Blendo Games not only for the review copy, but also for the two Steam copies to give away! Yes, that's right folks, you can have a chance to win a copy of this amusing and quirky game! Entering is as follows: -Leave any comment on this blog of any sort! Really, I want some! [+1 entry] -Post this on Twitter (with a link to here please, if you want mention me at @drpixl). [+1 entry] -Take a picture of yourself and another person (can be anyone) hugging OR crop someone else into a picture of you if you have nobody to hug. ( ) [+2 entries] Make sure if you tweet about it or do the picture entry you post a link to it in your comment! Enjoy, and good luck! This ends Wednesday, August 29th, 2012, at 4:00 P.M. PST. Once again, thank you Brendon from Blendo Games for allowing me to do this awesome event!