Archive for February, 2010

Tinker Review – Free Achievements & Gamerscore

Download this game for FREE, get FREE gamerscore

Games For Windows Live is throwing a second surprise my way this week. A free puzzle game available on the front page of the GFWL client, complete with free gamerscore! Tinker, although slightly buggy and a tad puzzling at first (ed; it is a puzzle game), this game became great fun and can easily help you lose a few hours.

The idea is to navigate Tinker the robot through increasingly more difficult puzzles by turning, moving forward and pressing switches within time and power constraints. With these limited controls you can navigate the most complex of levels, melting ice blocks with lasers, detonating bombs and teleporting, all whilst taking in the view of funky surreal landscapes and a cute robot.

Everyone loves robots, and since Braid, everyone loves puzzle games. I guess Microsoft put two and two together and decided to cash in on the indie puzzle genre, without cashing in, and offering it for free? Whatever the idea, this is a great game, with cute artwork and addictive gameplay. And of course did I mention you get free gamerscore with this? 200g is up for grabs, but I challenge anyone to get all of these achievements without punching a mass effect sized hole in their monitor. This game becomes painfully difficult once you pass the first couple of sets (20 levels per set) and most sane people will give up trying to get the ‘Perfection Achieved’ or ‘Mastermind’ achievement.

Not quite as genre defining as Braid or a World of Goo replacement, but certainly worth a go if not for the fact that its free, but for the gamerscore, that’s also free!

8/10 Free Gamerscore! Worth a download just for that.

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Batman Arkham Asylum – Games For Windows Live 75% Sale

My first Games On Demand purchase, congratulations? erm thanks Microsoft?

So I finally bought a full game from Games For Windows Live. I feel like I have betrayed Steam. I’ve been a loyal customer for a long time, check my profile if you don’t believe me. But today I tried a new PC digital distribution service, and how could I not? 75% off Batman Arkham Asylum is a HUGE leap for Microsoft at grabbing custy’s from Steam.

When I first saw the news of the Batman sale I didn’t even read the small print, I went straight to my Steam client to look for the 75% off, alas it was nowhere to be seen? So I returned to the news article and to my disbelief it said Games For Windows Live. I loaded up my GFWL client and nothing, £39.99 normal price for the game. Not impressed.

So I waited, either for Steam to retaliate with a similar price drop (still no retaliation?) or for GFWL to push out the new price tag, and 8 hours later it’s been dropped to the bargain price of £8.75. The process is very simple, my GFWL client is already setup as I have previously used it for Fallout 3 DLC and of course Xbox Live. A few clicks, the money is automatically taken from your account, and the game is added to your download queue. Simples. 4% downloaded, I guess I should start BioShock 2 whilst I wait as its been sitting in my shiny new ‘opt in beta’ Steam list since release and not been touched, Rapture is waiting.

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Quake 3 on Android – Droid / Milestone has the power

Days after I get Quake 2 running on Android, Quake 3 pops up on the 14th anniversary of qtest. Perfect marketing timing if this was an official iD release but alas its a hack from the community. Check out http://code.google.com/p/kwaak3/ for full details on the project. Its quite simple to get running, and also works on the G1 and probably a few other Android devices.

Simply install http://kwaak3.googlecode.com/files/kwaak3.apk to your Droid/G1 or other Android device. Create a directory named ‘quake3’ in the root of your micro SD card and another directory within this called ‘baseq3’. Dig out your old Quake 3 CD, or download the demo on your PC. Look in the install directory within the baseq3 folder, find and copy the pak0.pk3 to your newly created baseq3 directory on your SD card. Then download the latest Q3 patch 1.32 and pull the pak1.pk3 to pak8.pk3 files out and copy those over to the same baseq3 directory on your SD card. Put your SD card back in your Android phone, load up the newly installed kwaak3 and enjoy.

Be prepared to be zapped back in time as the opening screen loads, all it took was the 4 crashes out of the speaker and I was filled with nostalgia. Memories of the good ol’days came rushing back, Barrysworld leagues and ISDN, hpb’s and Voodoo 3’s. It runs surprisingly well, not as smooth as Quake 2 does but this is/was a much more advanced engine. More proof the Droid is a capable gaming platform! The graphics are all there, the mirror effect in the opening level, even the view in the portal works. The frame rate is quite low, but playable. Controls are not the best as you can see from my attempts at taking out a bot below, albeit single handed.

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Quake 2 on Android – Silky smooth on Droid / Milestone

Thanks to Sein for the heads up and http://sites.google.com/site/quake2android/ for the hard work, I now have Quake 2 running on my Droid. As you can see in my YouTube video above this runs perfectly smooth between 30 and 40 fps, occasionally dropping to sub 20 in fire fights. Using the D-pad to strafe, move and shoot, whilst the touch screen acts as a mouse to look around, Quake 2 is actually very playable, although a lot more difficult without a real mouse and keyboard. Word from Sein is it’s a tad buggy on the Google Nexus One, with missing textures and low frame rates.

Now if only iD Software would release an official Quake 2 on Android Market, or any quake/doom series. John Carmack is clearly spending all his time writing iPhone apps, but I guess there is a lot more money there to be spent by the ‘casual’ mobile gaming crowd that apple has locked down. But with time, as Android appears on more and more devices, Android Market should start to become a profitable and attractive arena for publishers. Untill then, this great Quake 2 port to will help kill the time.

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Mass Effect 2 – Can’t Place the Monument at Normandy Crash Site?

Press F to place monument not working? Try your melee key!

I seem to be stumbling upon a few bugs in Mass Effect 2, and all are down to making a few changes to the standard key bindings. You can clearly tell this is an Xbox port!

If you have access to the Cerberus network and have downloaded the moving ‘Normandy Crash Site’ DLC, you may be stuck like I was, laying down the monument. Despite pressing the F key multiple times, as instructed when you walk over a suitable location to drop this tribute, if you have changed your melee key, no matter how hard you hit the F key, you will get nowhere.

The on screen display telling you what keys to press has always been faulty, if you change any key in the options it will display the original bind, a widely known and documented Mass Effect 2 bug. So if you do not use standard key layouts, and cannot place the monument, go to options and work out what you bound your melee key too. Simply press the melee key on your chosen location when the ‘Press F to place the monument’ message appears. Voilà. An ugly gold statue placed and mission complete, you can now return back to your ship DLC complete, once of course you do the good deed and collect all 20 dog tags. Its the honourable thing to do in this emotional DLC, a free download and a touching tribute to some charachters that you may remember from the original Mass Effect. So get searching, the dog tags are quite easy to find and would mean alot to the families of the fallen original Normandy Crew. RIP.

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WordPress for Android – bye bye wpToGo

WordPress for Android official 1.0 release

An update for wpToGo on Android Market is showing a friendly reminder that the product is being discontinued. The author Roundhill Labs are now working on the open source newly released WordPress app which can be found by searching ‘WordPress’ on the Android market or visiting android.wordpress.org.

Infact I’m typing this post from the new WordPress app from my G1 and it works great, the interface is refreshed making it feel brighter and faster. This app is perfect for updating your blog or blogs on the go, with multiple account and username functions. Setup is even easier now too, just type in your URL, username and password and you are ready to post. The revised comment system works very well, with a long press bringing up an adjustment menu to give you the ability to approve or trash a comment instantly. So uninstall wpToGo and get the new WordPress app now, free on Android Market.

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