December 5th, 2012 by Derek “Digi” McRoberts
We all love our gaming on the go, don’t we? Whether it is our urge for toilet gaming, or full blown titles miniaturised for our consumption on a small screen. But for some, the prospect of touch controls is the stigma that stops us investing our time in these titles. (we all know who we are!)
If Phonejoy Solutions America Inc have their way, this may be a thing of the past.
The Play merges the best from both worlds: fantastic gameplay as well as great portability. You get all the buttons you need for console games together with the ergonomics you will want for prolonged gaming sessions, and all that at a size that fits right in to your pocket!
- Closed mode: 102 mm * 87mm (h) * 37 mm (d)
- Fully extended: 255 mm * 87 mm (h) * 37 mm (d)
- Weight: about 250g
- Docks to smartphones of all sizes up to 153mm width and 14mm thickness
- Bluetooth 3.0
- Wireless range of up to 30 ft
- Battery power of more than 20 hours
- 14 programmable buttons
- 2 pressure sensitive analog sticks
- 3 LED indicators.
- Supports iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS X and Linux
- Four modes: HID Gamepad, HID Keyboard, iCade, Mouse
- Supported by more than 300 games on Android & iOS
This looks like an interesting little project, with a predicted release of units to backers from April 2013, so if you are interested in backing this work, head on over to kickstarter to pledge. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/phonejoy/phonejoy-play-turn-your-phone-into-a-console
December 5th, 2012 by Derek “Digi” McRoberts
Sony’s pint sized mascot, and his creators Media Molecule seem to be going from strength to strength since the release of the first Little Big Planet game in 2008.
Sackboy’s latest outing, Little Big Planet Karting, takes the universe created by the team at Media Molecule and cross-breeds it with United Front Games original and somewhat under-rated title, Modnation Racers.
Once again putting you in the role of the mannequin of sackcloth, which you can style and decorate to put on your own personal stamp, you are introduced to what equates to a plot in the LBP world. Taking on the Hoard, a gang of unruly racers who collect the worlds prize bubbles, not to share and create, but to “hoard”. You are given access to a basic kart when one of the horde crashes, allowing you to venture through the previously established worlds reclaiming the bubbles for the inhabitants.
All of this introduction and all of the voice-over work is once again undertaken by the inimitable Stephen Fry with his quintessential aplomb and dry wit which will make those Little Big Planet fans feel right at home.
From the outset those who have had any interaction with Little Big Planet will be familiar with your Pod, a cardboard, customisable environment which is your gateway to the Karting world. From here you can redesign your Sackboy, choose or modify your Kart, connect to the story mode, set up multi-player games, access the community or store, and even jump to your “Moon” which acts as a platform where you can create your own racetracks or arena’s.
Unlike most karting games, there are no immediately accessible cups or leagues, and all levels and planets are unlocked through the “wooly” story mode which alongside the standard circuit races are checkpoint rallies, battle arenas where you face off against multiple opponents and try to get the most kills and points in the arena, top-down RC events in a similar vein to the classic micro machines and even boss battles. Incorporated into this smorgasbord is a full gambit of mini games primed to put your karting skills to the test.
Controls are simple, as expected from a game built to cater to all demographics, and picking up the basics takes mere minutes, but mastering the controls is sufficiently challenging. Drifting has become a staple of the karting genre since made fashionable back on the SNES, but LBP places its own spin on the mechanic. Drifting for an extended period of time ignites your tires and when the drift button is released you are given a burst of acceleration. As the flames grow on your tires so too does the strength of the boost, so the longer you drift the bigger your speed. To counter this, any impact with the environment or other players automatically disables your existing drift, so finding the balance between risk and reward is a must to make the most of the boost system.
Weapons make an appearance with the “Weaponater” power-up scattered throughout the courses, which will issue you with a random weapon that can not only be used for offense, but works equally well in defence. Impacts from incoming fire will either slow you down by knocking you off course, or will despawn your Sackboy completely. As such an indicator will display approaching fire. In the last few seconds, this icon will change to a shield, and firing off your weapon will intercept these attacks.
Regrettably, the requirement to complete each level in single player before you are allowed to undertake that particular course in Multiplayer is a decision that is detrimental to the games strength, which is obviously to play with others. The single player is enjoyable but playing competitively against friends and strangers is the true highlight. To that end, the AI in the single player is deceptively competent, perhaps too much so, as you can find yourself playing a level several times over as the AI will undertake to pummel you into submission on every lap. The reliance on pickups to defend yourself is easily countered by the multiple NPC’s all gunning for you at the same time, and you only able to defend against one at a time. Frustration can boil through and spoil the entertainment to be found in this mode.
Each level is littered with collectables, which will require you to utilise every inch of the course for those of you who enjoy that OCD aspect of games. Prize bubbles collected on each run will unlock new items to use or decorate your POD, character and vehicles just like the other games allowing a level of customisation for which LBP is famed.
The dogma Play, Create, Share is alive and well in this latest outing with a full complement of creation tools available at your disposal. Entering your moon allows you to create a plethora of courses and arena’s to share, and once again the tools made available are more than sufficient to create your perfect race visions. All of the worlds available to unlock in the game are there for you to utilise from the outset. Setting out a basic course, you can modify every part, from the tightness of the corners, to adding multiple routes and varying the height of the course are all easily achieved with a couple of clicks of the button.
Overall, Little Big Planet Karting is an enjoyable romp, but it fails to find the balance required to make this a must have title. As such, fans of Little Big Planet, or those that are looking for an enjoyable, if somewhat frustrating, karting game in the current vacuum could do worse than to pick this game up.
MLG Rating: 7/10 Platform: PS3 Release Date: 7/11/2012
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a copy of Little Big Planet Karting for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of 2 weeks on a PS3. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.
December 5th, 2012 by Derek “Digi” McRoberts
For those players taking on the role of the Dovhakiin on the Xbox 360, Tuesday 4th December marks the date that the latest DLC, Dragonborn, is released to further expand the world of Skyrim. PC users had to wait a month for the first two DLC’s, but what about those players on PS3 who have yet to experience the joys found in the Dawnguard and Hearthfire expansions?
Well, there is a light at the end of the tunnel with Bethesda announcing a proposed release period of early 2013, and with some sites predicting a January arrival for the newly created Dragonborn DLC on both PS3 and PC. So if you are a PS3 gamer, and wish to return to the world of Skyrim now would be the time to look into clearing up your calendar for the new year.
As yet, there is still no announcement of the original DLC arriving on PS3, and with news that Dragonborn will arrive early next year, it is looking increasing unlikely that the first two expansions will make the transition to Sony’s flagship platform.
Beset by problems from release, and with Bethesda playing catch up on the fallout from the save file problems on the PS3 architecture, it would undoubtedly be easy for them to promise a fix to placate some of the greater naysayers in the Sony crowd, but it would be a PR disaster should they fail to deliver.
It may be a small consolation to PS3 owners that they are at least getting some of the additional content available to their Microsoft and PC cousins, but at the end of the day Bethesda have not ruled out the transmission to PS3 at this time.
There’s always hope, right?
November 27th, 2012 by Midlife Gamer
There have been a lot of big games, a lot of disappointing games, and a lot of surprising games that have arrived in our machines of choice in the last 12 months, and here at Midlife Gamer we want you to decide, as a community, which game truly shone as the gem of 2012.
As such, rather than setting out contenders for specific categories, such as best FPS or best Soundtrack, that we see year in year out across many gaming sites, we have decided to go for a more unique approach.
There will be no categories. There will be no lists of preselected games. There will be no contenders, other than those you yourself put forward. That’s right, you will choose who wins directly.
So, how does it work?
Simply put, we need you to rank your favourite games of the year – up to a maximum of five – and send them to us, and if you wish a couple of lines as to why. Alongside that, we will allow one selection for our Stinker award, the game that in your opinion was truly not worth the disk it was burned on, or the hard-drive space it filled.
Only fully released titles qualify, and as such any Alpha/Beta code you may have selected will go in the honourable mention list along with those titles that don’t quite break into the top 10.
You can place a vote for a game from any genre or format. So if your favourite game of 2012 was that Farming Simulator you download for your iPhone then vote for it.
The game must have been released in the calender year of 2012.
Once the votes have been cast, we will assemble the staff to count the tally to see the ultimate winner. Each position between first and fifth will be allotted a point score as follows: 10 points for first, five points for second, three points for third, two points for fourth and one point for fifth place.
Once the order is set, we will be updating the site on a daily basis with a countdown to the Midlife Gamer community Game of the Year.
Voting closes at 23:59 on the 14th December 2012 and is open to all.
So, time to get your thinking caps on, and PM your entries to Simon Stevens through the forum. Happy voting!!