Posts Tagged gamerscore

Game Room for Xbox & Games for Windows Live

Microsoft are throwing gamerscore at you to spend time in your Game Room

Game Room has launched today on both Xbox Live and Games for Windows Live. The idea is you fill your virtual ‘Game Room’ with oldskool arcades, reminisce the arcade era, invite your friends over to play together (online), set challenges and have fun like it was the 80’s, but from the comfort of your actual real world game room/basement/office.

So no stepping in chewing gum or wasting coin after coin of your pocket money? Wrong, apart from the not stepping in chewing gum bit. Yes you still have to pay, for each arcade, and to be honest, nearly 20 years on, these games are just not as fun as they used to be. In fact its hard to remember why these games were fun back then, I guess we are so spoilt with today’s photo realistic graphics and rag-doll physics that we forget how far things have moved on.

You can try before you buy of course, a quick demo on a few of the titles available at today’s launch and boredom struck me. These games are just too basic. So I began to wander around my arcade and started adding themes and placing decor, which I should add, nets you some free gamescore. Further boredom struck, so I decided to fire up Game Room on the PC and the Xbox simultaneously for some side by side PC vs Xbox comparisons. Check out my YouTube Video below.

The first thing I was impressed with was the fact that across both platforms, my Game Room was identical. No separate settings or achievements list for each platform like most games that appear on both PC and Xbox (Fallout 3, Dirt 2 etc). Microsoft have made Game Room appear as one across both platforms, allowing seemless jumping from console to PC, and I’m guessing this is part of their 3 screens moto, no doubt with Windows Phone 7 Series having similar compatibility, eventually.

I also noticed how much crisper and smoother Game Room was on the PC. With anti aliasing switched on, and a higher resolution over the Xbox, my Game Room looked and felt better on PC. Of course there are no such options to play with on the Xbox 360 version, the default resolution felt quite low, much lower than the 1080 my Xbox was set too. Loading times are pretty similar but the PC does have a slight advantage as expected. I also noticed some slight jerks on the Xbox when moving from arcade to arcade especially heavily active arcades. I know there have been teething problems with this launch, which might also explain why 2 achievements I gained have not been saved to my account, strange?

Overall Game Room is a bit of a let down, despite Microsoft’s efforts on pulling together a cool idea which is really well implemented, especially the cross platform part. The problem is the games are just not fun, that’s not Microsoft’s fault, but the games are what we go into our Game Rooms for and now, in 2010, we have grown to expect so much more, so much so that some basic 2d sprites just dont cut it anymore.

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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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Trials HD Review – Xbox Live Arcade’s best title?

Motocross Maniacs on Gameboy vs Trials HD Xbox Live Arcade

Motocross Maniacs on Gameboy vs Trials HD Xbox Live Arcade

Xbox Live Arcade has created some incredibly addictive titles. Number one for me was Shadow Complex, but this has since been replaced by the dangerously addictive Trials HD. Possibly my love of bikes (pedal :Ed) or my youth addiction to Motocross Maniacs on the Gameboy, or quite possibly the fact that RedLynx has created a gaming masterpiece, either way I am addicted.

A very simple game, drive a bike from left to right in the fastest time without falling off. Sounds basic, but whats not so basic are the bike and rider physics RedLynx have hammered into this game. Apart from acceleration and the brake pedal, which are responsive to how hard you hit the analogue triggers, you also have the ability to adjust the riders position. Lean forward on your bike of choice to help climb to crazy heights, or swing back to lift the front wheel and perform jumps onto obstacles that at first, seem impossible to reach.

With no steering to get in the way and little else but wildly barmy obstacle courses, Trials HD manages to put pure fun back into gaming. Easy to pickup but rock hard to master, RedLynx have made an XBLA title that attracts casual gamers yet still caters for the hardcore. The leaderboards are the prime example, with the lap times for every gamertag, the top times bordering on the insanely inconceivable. You can also compete with gamers on your friends list, with the on-screen indicator showing their real-time position on the course as you are driving, a small touch but genius nevertheless.

Hours will be lost repeating each map and going for the gold medals, which require zero faults and tight time limits to hit, and later once you have unlocked the platinum medals, you will end up replaying every map again only to realise how impossible they are to achieve. Speaking of achievements, Trials HD gives you some absurd ones to get the 200 Gamerscore allocated to this and most XBLA titles. I spent the good part of an afternoon going for my favourite, the Unyielding Achievement, which requires the Groundhog Returns level to be completed with nothing but accelerate and brake. I am so proud of finally achieving this I thought I would post my effort so others may use it as a guide.

This game and a large friends list will be never ending, for only 1200 points that’s more value than most full Xbox titles. I found myself going through the leaderboards and picking out where my friends had faster lap times and replaying the levels until I came out on top. Falling off a bike has never been so fun! Where most games become annoying repeating the same parts over and over, I found myself laughing ever time I did fall off, picked myself back up and carried on determined to beat the obstacle, even if some times it does take over 300 attempts on one ramp.

9/10  A Must Have Title

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