“The warmer season is ramping up into full swing, prompting many folks to venture outside for some fresh air, T-shirt temperatures, and pleasant sun. But when the inevitable rainy spells and cold snaps put a damper on the many delightful outdoor activities that summer brings with it, there’s still plenty of downloadable gaming fun to explore. This month we ride along with rocket-powered possums, shred carpet in tiny remote controlled race cars, go jogging with Commander Video, and bust out some silly kung-fu moves.”
“There are tons of snacks out that are bad for you in one way or another, but I’m pretty sure scarfing down the inner core of a ginormous planet is bound to earn you a major scolding from your doctor for breaking a slew of healthy living rules. Then again, food just tastes better when you know it’s on the naughty list — even celestial bodies. The standard simply doesn’t apply in Magic Planet Snack, a silly arcade-style game the sends you flying through the cosmos to stuff your gullet with the guts of crushed worlds.”
“The problem with evil sentient robots is they have a nasty habit of not staying dead once you’ve gone through all the trouble of figuring out a way to finally kill them. Being made of metal and wires has its perks, including the convenient ability to be resurrected and rebuilt from scratch. That’s the problem the aptly named Flip Hero runs into when he travels to the heart of an asteroid to defeat his mechanical warlord nemesis Cruiser Tetron. Leaving his adversary a pile of space dust, he later finds out wicked robotic minions have built a new base in a new asteroid and have completely reassembled their previously slain master. Man, this jerk needs some re-killing. There’s work to be done. “
“Amidst the rat-tat-tat of incoming machine-gun fire and the thundering drone of plane engines being pushed to their limit, there’s not much peace and quiet to be found in an intense airborne dogfight. Even if you could concentrate with all the noise and explosions, finding a spare moment to plan ahead and think good and hard about your next course of action is all but impossible, assuming you want to avoid spiraling towards the ground in a ball of flame. Oddly, that’s not the case in SteamBirds, an aerial dogfighting game that takes the need for split-second gut reactions out of the equation.”
“Even for those who love what they do, everyone needs a break from the daily grind of work now and then. If a tropical getaway sounds like a blast right now, you’re not alone. After getting her hands dirty building up a bustling farmer’s market from scratch in order to save the ailing flower nursery she works in Ranch Rush, Sara sets her sights on some fun in the sun. Though her island getaway in Ranch Rush 2 isn’t entirely a work-free vacation, a trip to warmer climates brings with it some excellent new opportunities for fun in this highly enjoyable sequel.”
I was late posting info on the April issue, but I’m back on the ball now. In addition to my regular two-page PSN game reviews column, the May 2010 issue of PlayStation: The Official Magazine also has a full-page review of Last Rebellion on pg. 84. As for this month’s downloadable gaming reviews (pages 88 and 89), I covered the marvelously charming Fret Nice, Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgement, Assault Heroes, and Hustle Kings. Hey also, while I have your attention: hit up pages 52-55 for an entertaining feature on PS2 box art reviews by fellow freelance comrade Mitch Dyer.
“When lunch time rolls around, most people are lucky enough that they don’t have to worry about dodging a barrage of incoming artillery fire in order to nab their meal. Unfortunately for the top hat-toting little bloke in I Was Hungry…But There Were Cannons, trying to grab a tasty bite to eat is regularly a life or death ordeal. This zany little puzzle platformer puts a whole new spin on the phrase “eat and run,” since one false move can leave you with a belly full of cannon shrapnel instead of delicious, mouth-watering cheeseburgers.”
Check out the full column here at IGN. Also, Free Bytes have been switched to Thursdays, so be sure to hop over to the PC section of IGN each week to see the latest awesome indie freeware offering I’ve dug up to share.
“After working on the violent and mature themed Hitman game, two members of the development team switched gears and embarked on a journey into the casual gaming world by forming The Game Equation. Following a similar theme of change, the studio’s 2008 debut Deep Blue Sea blended match-three style gameplay with a tale about an advertizing executive named Jessica who ditches her day job to become a deep sea treasure hunter. Two years of polish and hard work have made their follow-up aquatic puzzle adventure all the more impressive.”
“I can’t imagine the stress that comes with pushing yourself to try to put together a cohesively and playable game in only four hours –- much less one that’s actually enjoyable to play. It has been done. Surprisingly, many of those who’ve tried have succeeded in coming up with some truly interesting projects. Take 4 Hour RPG, for example. Your hero is essentially a pixel with an itty-bitty sword fighting monsters consisting of barely discernable blobs of color, yet it still manages to provide a short and fulfilling fantasy romp.”
“Riding a wickedly growing vine into the cosmos is probably one of the more unusual ideas for a game I’ve encountered, but that’s part of what makes the unpredictable nature of off-the-beaten path game development so interesting. A mix of exploration and artsy ambiance, Dreamside Maroon is an impressive little adventure about a cute, scarf-wearing critter named Aster who’s on a one-way trip to the moon. Rather than hopping a flight, taking an intergalactic commuter train, grabbing a space bus, or strapping on a rocket pack, this intrepid explore uses his gardening skills to get where he needs to go.”