I recall the time when Mario Kart DS was released for Nintendo’s revolutionary console, the DS. It was crazy. My friends and I were busy playing the game online; we didn’t let the troublesome friend code system, or the fact that the DS was very picky when it came to working with certain wireless routers to become showstoppers. So what actually drove us to go nuts over a racing game? Simply put, Mario Kart DS was amazing and I’ve to credit the game for being one of the titles that kickstarted Nineoverten.com (check out the review from way back then)
Mario Kart was a perfect combination of fun gameplay featuring a variety of courses and favourite characters, nice graphics (for a DS), spot-on controls and a competitive multiplayer element. Since its release, many have tried to follow the formula to try and be the next Mario Kart. I’ve had the pleasure of trying out the likes of Speed Racer (DS) with its crazy Car-Fu and Wacky Races (DS) and have seen many crash and burn on either of my favourite platforms (DS and iOS).
So with the latest release of Formula Cartoon All-Stars, featuring Cartoon Network characters, does it steal the mobile karting crown from the illustrious Mario Kart DS? Short answer: No. Long answer: It’s a little more complicated than that. Like it or not, physical controls have the upper hand when it comes to racing games, and the Mario Kart DS by virtue of being on a proper gaming console has plenty of buttons to push. The level of engagement was simply unmatched.
Don’t get me wrong, other than the lack of physical controls (through no fault of its own), Formula Cartoon All Stars has plenty going for it in the form of pretty/fast graphics, slippery racing and favourite characters from Cartoon Network’s stable. However, I noticed something missing from all that racing, the ability to draft. No wonder it’s not as fun as Mario Kart even though you have nitro lying around.
Regardless of whether you’ve played Mario Kart, Formula Cartoon All Stars is actually a pretty decent racer but I’m still waiting for the day Nintendo actually brings their magnum opus of a game to iOS. In the meantime, you can have Formula Cartoon All Stars to tide you over. Nine Over Ten 9/10 rates it at a 3.5 out of 5. The game is available on the iTunes App Store for USD 2.99. Check it out over here.
A review code was provided to Nineoverten.com for the purpose of this review.
I remember reviewing Loot Hero back in February 2014 (read all about it here), and it seems that indie developer VaragtP Studios have not been resting on their laurels and that is a good thing. They’ve announced the worldwide release of Loot Hero DX, their latest retro-inspired PC-RPG available via Steam and the successor and updated version to the critically-acclaimed Loot Hero, previously released on PC in 2014.
Loot Hero DX (DX as in “deluxe”) challenges players to become a dragon slayer in a world full of evil creatures unleased by a powerful and magical dragon haunting the lands. The game offers an action-packed RPG grind-fest with progressively hard enemies blocking your path. Run, battle, power-up and slay whatever creatures stand in your way. XP and loot can be collected and used to upgrade and buy bigger and better equipment.
Featuring 20 enemies and bosses, tons of upgrades, retro-inspired visuals and ridiculous amounts of loot and XP, Loot Hero DX is a must-have RPG to fans of all ages and experience levels seeking the ultimate dragon-slaying gameplay experience. Loop Hero DX is available for download from here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/294040
I was watching this week’s episode of Hannibal yesterday, and this was the episode where the good doc gets his behind handed to him by Jack Crawford. Yup, this was round 2 of the fight that headlined last season’s cliffhanger ending, but this time Jack came prepared having cast away everything else to lay on the pain on Dr. Lecter. It’s a shame that this series is not being renewed for Season 4.
In any case, cannibal as he is, Hannibal is pretty much a renaissance man. Always spiffily dressed and lover of all things fine, he is a connoisseur of the arts and is particularly fond of Florence. Although I certainly love viewing paintings and art in general (personally I think the Petronas Art Gallery at the KLCC Twin Towers to be God-send), I’ve never gotten around identifying the who’s who and who painted what.
Thankfully, there’s an app that game-ifies fine art, kinda like a play-as-you-learn kind of thing. Indie developer George Gulyaev’s latest app on the iTunes App Store for iOS devices is titled Who’s the Artist? and it is a guide to the history of art which helps players to learn and appreciate fine art in a friendly manner. The main goal of the game (as you probably can guess from the title), is basically to guess the artist/author of the presented artwork.
According to George, the game includes different game modes, levels, badges, hints, facts and a big collection of world’s best-known masterpieces. Through the game, players may acquire new badges and learn new facts about history of art. Who’s the Artist? is available for FREE on the iTunes App Store, check it out over here.
Uruguayan indie developers Batovi Games Studio has just released their latest iOS game, The Abduction of Bacon at Dawn, The Chronicles of a Brave Rooster. Quite a mouthful, so we’ll just call it Brave Rooster. The game is a tongue-in-cheek action and humour-packed platform shooting game that isn’t kosher at all. The premise of the game is that it turns out bacon is good for you, and when aliens descend on Earth for our pigs, players take control of a unique hero to take the fight to them. Brave Rooster is available on the iTunes App Store for USD 2.99, check it out over here.
In conjunction with the release of Brave Rooster, the rest of Batovi’s titles are now available for FREEon the iTunes App Store for a limited time only. Check them out below:
Sierra has revealed today that the first chapter of the new King’s Quest – titled King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember – will launch as a digital download in North America on July 28 for $9.99 on the PS4 and PS3, as well as Windows PC. It will arrive on July 29 for the same price on Xbox One, and the Xbox 360. It is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and Up) by the ESRB.
In addition, Sierra today announced that a bundle* of all five chapters, including a future bonus playable story epilogue, of the new King’s Quest – named King’s Quest: The Complete Collection* – is now available to pre-order on the PSN and Steam for $39.99. Xbox One pre-orders on the Xbox Games Store will begin on July 7 for the same price.
Developed by The Odd Gentlemen, King’s Quest rekindles the classic feelings of exploration, wit and wonder that have always defined this family-friendly series since its introduction over 30 years ago. The first entry in a planned five-chapter arc, King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember sets the stage for an unforgettable journey to come with original places, puzzles and personalities to discover.
As an aging King Graham reflects on a life of adventure with his granddaughter, Gwendolyn, King’s Quest transports players back to the untold tales of Graham’s youth to experience a story that bridges generations. Stay tuned to Nineoverten.com for further details.
*Chapters and epilogue can be downloaded in-game upon individual release throughout 2015 and 2016.
Boxing has given us some truly memorable moments over the years. The much loved sport is one of the most exciting to watch, that is of course if you happened to miss the bore-fest between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. A sport like boxing is very lucky, not only does it make for compelling viewing in the real world, it is also superb when moved across into the virtual realm. The sport has been a near-constant presence in the gaming world since the 1980s, although in recent years the game has been neglected due to EA Sports opting to prioritise their UFC game. This was a move that left a sour taste in the mouths of many.
Due to the popularity of boxing and boxing games it can come as no surprise that the public have been inundated with boxing games over the years. For the most part, these games are usually knockout victors, but there are some that should just stay on the canvas. Below are some of the best and worst boxing games to have ever made it to market.
James “Buster” Douglas Knockout Boxing
Release Date: 1988/1990
Platform(s): Sega Genesis
Final Blow was a game released by Sega in 1988 that was available on all of the ported platforms. However, in 1990 the game was renamed James “Buster” Douglas Knockout Boxing and released on the Sega Genesis.
At the time of the game’s release, Buster Douglas was riding a wave. Earlier in the year (February, 1990) the American stunned the world, knocking out the unbeaten Mike Tyson in the tenth round – Douglas was priced at 42-1 in the boxing betting. Unfortunately for the slugger, he was defeated by Evander Holyfield in his very first title defence. He was lucky to cash in with Sega when he did.
The side scrolling boxing game was your typical rock ‘em and sock ‘em style game. If you managed to time your strikes correctly, you could unleash a knockout punch on your opponent. You could even enjoy the spectator mode if you wanted to.
Sega were genius in the marketing of the game. Douglas featured in their “Genesis does what Ninten don’t” – the game was considered by many as a response to Nintendo’s Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! The game also took a thinly veiled swipe at Tyson with the in-game character of Ironhead, an obvious reference to “Iron” Mike Tyson.
Wii Sports Boxing
Release Date: 2006
Platform: Nintendo Wii
The Nintendo Wii really did change the way we game. Had it not been for the success of this gaming upstart, would Microsoft and Sony develop Kinect and Move respectively? Probably, but were it not for the Wii then it would have surely taken far longer. You couldn’t help but be impressed by the Wii. At one time it was the must-have console, as proven by the fact that Nintendo has sold more than 100 million units.
Granted the graphics were not worth shaking a stick at, it was 8-bit gaming brought into the 3D world, but the gameplay was innovative and highly enjoyable. Despite its childish nature, it is hard not to enjoy seeing the punches that you are throwing in the living room land on the opposition chin in the virtual world. By nature boxing games are hugely competitive. On the Wii they were even more so. Although you would hopefully never knockout your best friend in the real world, you can’t help but enjoy putting them flat on their back whilst playing on the Wii. And to put the cherry on the cake, all the while you are playing you can pretend to your concerned parents that you are simply working out.
Fight Night: Champion
Release Date: 2011
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Publisher: EA Sports
Fight Night: Champion may draw the ire of some boxing fans who thought that the fighting mechanisms were not as realistic as EA Sports had promoted, however, these folk were certainly in the minority. As of writing, there is yet to be a boxing game that has bettered the quality of graphics and gameplay possessed by Fight Night: Champion.
Many who played the game were left hugely impressed by the “Full-Spectrum Punch Control” that allowed gamers to throw punches by simply flicking the right analogue stick. You could still throw punches by pressing buttons as well. The addition of “Full-Spectrum Punch Control” eliminated the complicated controller manipulations (calculated button mashing) that were essential for the “Total Punch Control” system of previous Fight Night instalments. Moreover, secondary controller buttons (triggers) allowed for uncommon and power punches. The blocking and leaning system was also modified.
What left many amazed was the depth of the Champion mode, something that most sport games neglect. Storytelling is more often amiss within sporting games which made the Champion mode all the more refreshing. The story sees you play the part of Andre Bishop, a boxer who is currently serving time in a correctional facility for a crime he did not commit. After serving his time inside, in which he has numerous unlicensed boxing clashes, he goes to work for his brother, Raymond, another heavyweight boxer. It doesn’t take Andre too long to get back his licence and return to the professional arena, where he makes a very good account for himself with some convincing wins.
All this leads to Raymond challenging his brother in a fight to be named the number one contender. This is a fight that Andre intentionally loses. Raymond goes on to fight the nefarious Isaac Frost, who knocks him out cold with a devastating punch, prompting Andre to challenge Frost to a title match. Andre goes on to claim retribution, beating Frost for the World Heavyweight title and also witnessing DL McQueen, the man who framed him, investigated and eventually jailed. As you can picture from reading this, it is a story mode full of character and one that keeps you glued from start to finish.
With a roster that included Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazier, Bernard Hopkins, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Sugar Ray Robinson, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Manny Pacquiao, and Roberto Duran, to name just a few, there were plenty of competitors for you to chance your arm with.
Online play was also at the forefront of the game. It was awesome.
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
Release Date: 1987
Platform(s): Nintendo (NES)
If you were to ask anyone of a certain age – anyone old enough to have owned a NES – what the best boxing game of all time is they would reply in a matter seconds, telling you and anyone else who cares to listen that it is Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out via unanimous decision.
The arcade game Punch-Out had been around since 1984 but Tyson didn’t get involved until 1986. Minoru Arakawa, the founder and former president of Nintendo of America, was in attendance of an early Tyson bout. After watching what was a routine demolition job by Tyson, Arakawa was adamant that he needed to get the ferocious young American on board for the upcoming port version of Punch-Out!!, believing that Tyson’s inclusion in the game would help the game sell. Although it remains very hush-hush, it is widely reported that Tyson was paid $50,000 for a three-year period for his likeness. It is one hell of a deal for Nintendo, a little later on in the year Tyson went on to win the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship from Trevor Berbick, which would have subsequently seen him command a much higher fee.
Playing as Little Mac, a fighter who was grossly undersized in this world of heavyweights, your challenge was to rise to the very top of the sport and topple Tyson to claim the world title. Infuriating would be an apt word to describe this game. Losing a fight, something you end up doing more often than not, sees you fall down the rungs of the ladder, whilst losing to Tyson, the match you have been building up to for ages, signals instant game over.
This was a time when Tyson ruled the world, there were still a few years before he lost to Douglas. It was after that that his career started to seriously decline. First it was his imprisonment, then it was the Evander Holyfield ear bite, and then at the end you had embarrassing losses to journeymen like Danny Williams.
There is no other boxing game quite as beloved as Punch-Out!!, and it is testament to the game’s overall quality that it frequently ranked in the top-10 best NES games ever.
George Foreman’s KO Boxing
Release Date: 1992
Platform(s): SNES, NES, Game Boy, Sega Mega Drive
George Foreman was a hellacious boxer. His victory over Michael Moorer in 1994 made him the oldest heavyweight champion of all time at the tender age of 45. Despite his boxing prowess, Foreman has actually made more money from his grilling range, a cool $200 million, than he did from boxing. Foreman won’t mind being remembered for the grill over boxing, at least that way he can distance himself from the diabolical boxing game named after him.
If you have ever had the misfortune of playing KO Boxing, we are truly sorry. The game, which can be classed as a cheap Punch-Out!! imitator, was a horror. The gameplay was stoic and unresponsive, while the graphics were uninspiring to say the least.
Mike Tyson Boxing
Release Date: 2000
Although Tyson was involved in the best loved boxing game of all time, he was also involved with one absolute stinker. Mike Tyson Boxing ties in perfectly with “Iron” Mike’s boxing career post-millennium. It was terrible.
The graphics were shambolic. It looked like a game that should be played on the SNES and not the PlayStation. But you can learn to live with shoddy graphics. Downright awful gameplay, though, is simply unforgivable. Boxing is all about speed, with counter punching being imperative. The 1987 game that featured Tyson vested itself heavily in developing a counter punching style, which added to both its realism and enjoyment levels. However, in Mike Tyson Boxing speed does not exist. If you are to throw a punch you have to wind your arm back as if it were a sling shot. This is an arduous affair that takes at least a second, which in the boxing world would see you put on your back. As a consequence, effective jabbing and counter punching were all but missing in this game.
Congratulations are in order for one of our long time acquaintances, MADFINGER Games as they scored their very own booth during the recently concluded E3. They have come a long way since we covered Samurai Vengeance years ago, and have grown from strength to strength, boasting more than 100 million+ players playing their titles, and an internal staff headcount of more than 70!
By having their own booth in E3, MADFINGER showcased their upcoming next-gem zombie shooter, Unkilled to an appreciative crowd. The game aims to be the best looking mobile zombie shooter ever and in terms of graphics, it features advances such as the use of high-res soft shadows, parallax mapping, and speedtree rendering among other things.
Among the folks visiting the MADFINGER booth was Ty Simpkins, one of the stars from the blockbuster summer hit Jurassic World, and he has pretty nice things to say about Unkilled. Check it out:
Stay tuned to Nineoverten.com for details on Unkilled.
I think one of the coolest things that DC’s New 52 has done would be to replace Bruce Wayne as Batman with Jim Gordon after the former’s death. Yup, our good old Gotham City Police Department commissioner is the one holding the mantle of the Bat, even though his Batman is him being in a high-tech robotic suit of armour and works for the GCPD. The Batman in no longer a vigilante, and he even comes with a GCPD-sanctioned airship/blimp (probably a throwback to the cartoon series which had plenty of blimps)
The 46-year old Gordon puts his training as a former Marine to good use, and looses the ‘stache in order to go all jarhead, a fact lamented by his daughter, Barbara. But unlike Barbara who has been keeping her secret for years, Gordon confesses to her on him being Batman at the very first opportunity he gets. This puts her in a conundrum as while she wants to confess that she is Batgirl, he is mandated to rein all the vigilantes in.Let’s talk about the suit. Created by Powers International, it’s cutting-edge and made out of nano-carbon, with magnetic boots part of the ensemble. Capable of protecting Gordon when he is tossed into or being tossed at with building and vehicles, the suit can dish plenty of pain as well, enabling him to punch the lights out of villains with ease, along with being able to shoot out batarangs and deploy an EM pulse. He even gets his own Batcave in the form of a really posh/spacious apartment.
Things should get even more interesting when the rest of the Bat-Family meet up with the new Batman, with his new orders to rein them in. His suit practically makes him the super powered one of the entire bunch. I can’t wait for the rumoured return of Bruce Wayne in September as well, one would wonder what would happen when he comes to reclaim the mantle of the Bat.
OMG, Tony Hawk is back! But why does the upcoming Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 look like crap…and there’s no PC version? I just gone through the screenshots, and the video and came away unimpressed. Normally I would get all fan-boy over games that I really like, but this, this looks bad. Someone please tell Robomodo to stop grabbing assets from their PS3 library and move on with the times. The skate parks, apparently based on real-life locations, look so unimaginative (especially the surrounding environment) and downright ugly you might as well think you are playing Counter-Strike Source
According to the press release, it has been 13 years since Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, and Activision, the publisher for this new title, took the trouble to come up with a trailer (the aforementioned video) for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 that includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews from developer Robomodo, as well as Tony Hawk and other in-game pros. You can check it out over here, but fair warning, THPS5 is ugly.
Check out the rest of the horrible screenshots below.
The game will be available for the PS4 and the Xbox One on September 29th 2015 for USD 59.99. No release dates have been confirmed for the Xbox 360 and PS3, and I don’t think there’ll be a PC version of the game since the PR doesn’t mention it….and that’s just sad.
Here’s something to check out in July; the folks at indie developers Bros Universe are about to launch their highly anticipated classic platformer, GASOLIQ, for FREE on iOS devices. Judging from the screenshots alone, gamers are in for a visual blast with this 2D title. The title character, GASOLIQ (an amalgamation of GAS, SOLID and LIQUID), is a space traveller who can change his form to solid, liquid or gaseous. Together with the player, he embarks on a journey along the unexplored worlds searching for components of a device, which can prevent a catastrophe on his planet.
Each level pits our hero against amazing beings in addition to collecting magic crystals. Along the way, GASOLIQ will find new elements of that treasured device and will find that his ability to switch states to be of great use against the amazing beings populating each level. The game will be available on the iTunes App Store for FREE for iOS devices including the iPhone and the iPad. Be sure to stay tuned to Nine Over Ten 9/10 for more details on the exact launch date.