Archive for 'News'

Windows App Store is still a wretched hive of scum and villainy

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There’s been a tiny flurry of stuff happening with Windows 8 lately and that always leads me back to the ex-Metro, tiled start screen and eventually deep into the Windows Store. I found this gem among the Flappy Bird clones and recipe apps and had to share it based on the name alone.

Real Speed: Need for Asphalt Race – Shift to Underground CSR Addiction 14

It’s like some kind of sentient SEO robot spewed out a game title and it looks about like what you’d expect. It wants to be Gameloft’s Asphalt or EA’s Real Racing but from the sound of the reviews it’s barely controllable and filled with in-app purchases. It also allegedly has no desktop support so I’m not even going to try; the title alone is more than enough for me.

There are Battletoads skins for Kinect Sports Rivals?!

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Whoa, hey! When did Rare start acknowledging they created Battletoads in public again? It seems like all their work at Nintendo is very hush-hush from a marketing/PR standpoint and rarely gets mentioned by Microsoft anymore. But here we are, getting Battletoads branded outfits for Kinect Sports Rivals pre-orders.

Not being one who pre-orders or frequents GameStop, this e-mail I got this morning is the first I’d heard of it (the outfits are GameStop exclusives). So — ya know — Battletoads remake confirmed, right?

One Crazy thing the Xbox One Media Remote just won’t do

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Just a quick update today for anyone still interested or on-the-fence over the Xbox One Media Remote. STARTLING DISCOVERY! The remote works fine in every non-game app I’ve used except… for YouTube. Grrrr! The one app that probably gets the most use is the only one I’ve found that’s unsupported. Hopefully it gets an update soon-ish but given Google and Microsoft’s animosity towards one another lately it could be a while.

On the upside, that’s the only major shortcoming of the remote I’ve found after two weeks of use. Netflix, Twitch, TED, the entire dashboard, the store interfaces, Xbox Music/Videos, Crackle, Skype; all work great with the tiny remote. I do wish there were an easier way to snap and unsnap things without dumping back to the dashboard or yelling at Kinect. If it just had room for one. More. Button.

 

The Xbox One Media Remote: Go Buy One

We were out and about this past weekend and stopped in at Best Buy for the first time in what feels like years. Amidst their disheveled Xbox One display was this tiny green box with a little black bar in the middle. As I got closer I realized it was the Media Remote which was due out… some day in March. I had already forgotten about the thing but instantly grabbed one despite its $25 price tag. You can watch the video above to see it in action but if you’re looking for a quick breakdown here’s some pros and cons:

PROS

  • Has that smooth, soft rubber feel all over
  • Totally silent compared to using the clicky controller
  • Motion sensor lights up the keys as you pick it up
  • Dedicated One Guide button to go right to TV grid
  • More responsive IR than older 360 remote
  • Playback control buttons work in apps as well as with discs

CONS

  • $25, really?
  • A little too small in my hand
  • Low profile buttons hard to tell apart at times
  • Wibbly-wobbly design, if that kind of thing bothers you
  • Has to be pointed at Kinect to adjust volume
  • Didn’t work in Xbox Fitness app which seems weird

Crazy Taxi: City Rush might maybe be cool?

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HEY MAN! WHY DON’T YOU JUST COME ON DOWN AND MAKE SOME CRAAAAZY MONEY… for Sega. Right? I mean, this “free to download” Crazy Taxi: City Rush just has to be full of in-app purchases, right? Coming soon to Android and iOS, it’s not the “wide variety of adrenaline-fueled missions, wild challenges and unique areas” that worries me, it’s the “customize your cab to increase its power and visual appeal”. It kinda reeks of “pay us money if you want a high score”.

Still, it’s hard to argue with the words of Crazy Taxi creator, Kenji Kanno, who’s back on board for City Rush. “We are delivering a truly fun game that captures everything our fans love about the original and infusing it with several new features to create an even more fantastic and memorable experience.”

I dunno, one of my favorite things about the original was hearing people demand I take them to Kentucky Fried Chicken, not ‘U.S. Attire’. Also, The Offspring. If nothing else, this new announcement has spurned Sega into giving away the iOS and Android port of the original Crazy Taxi so go grab that before they jack the price back up.

Dig out your AR Cards, the 3DS has a new puzzle game

While VR constantly seems on the verge of exploding into the next big thing, AR continues to be a seldom seen diversion. I blame it on cameras: the Vita and 3DS have the worst cameras but that’s where interesting AR games keep happening.

The latest is the one you see above, Bubble Pop World, out now on the 3DS eShop for $4.99. For all the flashy features the video shows they don’t really explain how the main puzzle-popping mechanic works. It seems to be a mix of Bust-a-Move and Poppit! with the ability to move around the 3D model and insert the next colored blob wherever you’d like.

It’s got 120 puzzle and arcade levels built in with the ability to create and share your own via QR codes (another maligned AR technology!) as well as 8 underwater themed minigames. I’ve still got some cash left in my Mario Wallet (or whatever they call it on the eShop); I may have to give this a shot!

Minigolf goes to Columbia in Vertiginous Golf

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“Vertiginous Golf is a physics-based, first person exploratory mini-golf game, set in an alternate, steampunk-infused world where life on the ground is enveloped in permanent smog, constant darkness and never-ending rain. Players chip and putt their way around courses floating high above the clouds with complex machinery and Victorian-era décor, as they slowly discover what the hell is going on in this peculiar place.”

That’s a helluva thing. While the big news is Vertiginous Golf’s “community driven” debut on Steam Early Access, all I care about is the “exploratory mini-golf”, Burnout-style aftertouch control, and gilded automaton hummingbird. I’ll pass on it for now but I’m keeping my eye out for the “final release” headline.

What’s the deal with golf anyways? It’s the one genre of games I never tire of being completely terrible at.

We now have a Forklift Simulator that has Zombie DLC

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The next oddly compelling, strangely soothing worktime simulator is upon us and it is the whimsically titled ‘Warehouse and Logistic Manager’ from UIG and app2fun. Out today on Steam for $15 (and 20% off through March 4th), the sim takes the Shenmue forklift minigame to astoundingly realistic heights. Inexplicable controls and vague mission objectives are sure to abound as you try your hand at a job that requires an accredited license in real life.

Oh, and there’s also a $3 DLC pack called Hell’s Warehouse that pits your forklifting skills against armies of the undead. Watch for this one to pop up on your favorite ‘Let’s Play’ YouTube channels soon! … But not mine, I’m too busy with 3DO games.

More than Matchmaking: Xbox’s crazy number of services

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Microsoft’s Xbox Live Service Status page is a great fist-stop when you’re having problems with anything relating to network activity on an Xbox console. Before you dig into DNS settings or power cycle dusty equipment stashed behind your TV, start by making sure the service itself is working.

It’s also a good place to remind yourself of how many services, apps and features Microsoft provides access to; my finger got tired scrolling through the gargantuan list! There’s the ubiquitous stuff like Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube but amid the sprawling 110 entries are things like Ameba TV, providing curated kids’ entertainment, a handful of anime streaming services, music video repositories, all the streaming radio apps I forgot about, and of course, the Pizza Hut app.

It’s worth looking through if just to remind yourself of all these online services.

Simogo Year Walks onto Steam March 6th

Horray! That weird, Swedish, horror (?), mystery, app thing — Year Walk — is coming to Steam on March 6th. I was always interested but assumed it would run very poorly on our first gen iPad. Then we got rid of the iPad altogether so I couldn’t even delve into that equally puzzling “companion app” that was released alongside the game. Better yet, the game will be… better, with these enhancements:

  • New locations within the game
  • New puzzles
  • Map
  • Updated art
  • Integrated encyclopedia about the mysterious myths and creatures encountered in the game
  • Hint system
  • Steam Achievement Puzzles 
  • … and more!

No word yet on price but at least I’ll finally have the chance to play this!