A (Not So) Gentle Reminder: Pirates Do Whatever The Heck They Want, Arrrr!

TLAPD SkylandersSo (Ouch!). Yesterday was International Talk Like A Pirate Day and for a while I’ve always managed to more or less avoid “celebrating” that non-holiday that’s become one too many people take seriously (Ouch!). Anyway, I thought I’d make it clean through the day and not HAVE to post a single eyepatch, booty, or “Arrrrr” reference and actually did so, going to bed around 2am or so with a clean conscience.

That didn’t last long thanks to something resembling a pair of plastic hammers thumping me on the head until I woke up (Ouch!).

It turns out those Skylanders toys from the hugely popular game series? Yeah, they’re REAL. And tend to get really annoyed when they get ignored (Ouch). So, here’s a nice, belated post to go do something piratey yesterday(Ouch!) or ALL the time, not just on that designated day. Why? Well, because (and in case you didn’t read the title of this post)… pirates do whatever the heck they want! (Ouch!)… “Arrrrr!” Hey, Activision? Can you come and get this little guy out of my house? Those plastic hammers may be tiny (and plastic), but they do leave little dents in everything he hits. Hey, (Ouch!) I’ll trade him back for a PS3 or Wii U copy of Skylanders Trap Team (coming to PS3/PS4, Xbox 360/Xbox One, Nintendo Wii/Wii U, Nintendo 3DS/2DS and Apple, Samsung, Amazon and Google tablets on October 5, 2014. Okay, is that enough? OUCH! Okay, okay… I’ll post the other video, too:

There, HAPPY now? (Ouch!) Okay, okay! AND I’ll buy the game too! (Great, now I’ll have that goofy song looping in me head allll dayyyyy, arrrrr!)

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Skylanders Trap Team: Your New Fix Lands This October With Even More Innovation!


Aha! Activision WAS being pretty stealthy this year at Toy Fair. Nothing to show ON the floor and I didn’t ask for an appointment at the booth this year (nor did I get an invite), so I figured they were taking the year off to retool for next-gen fun. Nope. Here’s this year’s blast of “We’re going to get your money and a LOT of it”: Skylanders Trap Team, rolling out in October for consoles (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, 3DS) , but of course, pre-orders kick off earlier (April 23, 2014 here in North America). Press release below the jump, gallery coming tomorrow, as I’m running late today and need to zip back home… Continue reading

Review: Skylanders SWAP Force

Skylanders SWAP Force PS3Platform: PlayStation 3 (Also on Xbox 360, Wii U, Wii, 3DS)

Developer: Vicarious Visions/Beenox

Publisher: Activision

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: E10+

Official Site
Score: A- (90%)

With this year’s installment of the series, Skylanders SWAP Force, veteran developer Vicarious Visions (with an assist from Beenox) takes over from Toys for Bob and bumps up the console versions to to HD quality visuals (save for the Wii version) while adding a few new play mechanics. More importantly, there are a new set of Skylanders with swappable top and bottom halves and plenty of locked off areas in the game that will send parents zipping into stores to buy new figures on a regular basis. That the gameplay is so basic yet compelling and all those enticing gated-away goodies the perfect opportunity to market new toys to kids and parents is exactly the formula any game company would kill to have in play. Skylanders has worked from the beginning in successfully roping nearly anyone who picks it up into its charms and while SWAP Force is the best looking and playing game to date, Activision also needs to kick things up a notch in the future, as you can practically hear the call of a more open world game experience with even more to do bellowing from those sweeping panoramic backgrounds… Continue reading

Monster High: 13 Wishes Looks to Scare Up Some Halloween Fun on Nintendo Platforms

Although… it’s quite funny to me because some parental groups out there are more scared of Monster High than they are of actual bad things, blaming the hugely popular dolls for all the wrong things and in some cases, banning their daughters from even going near anything related to the show. Too bad for those eternal sourpusses, I say. Maybe they REALLY need to do some gaming to chill out for a bit and see that it’s not eeeeee-vil at all. Maybe they need to play Monster High: 13 Wishes out NOW exclusively for all current Nintendo platforms (Wii U, Wii, 3DS/2DS and DS).

This one looks like it’ll be simple and reliable platforming fun for fans of the dolls and yes indeed, I think I’d play this just because I like the unpretentious nature of the family-friendly licensed game. Okay, that sounded pompous, didn’t it? Hey, don’t let the “big” words scare you off now, I say. If you’re a fan of the girls, you’ll probably be giving this a by for that kid who wants it but then play it yourself once they’re asleep. Hey, we all need a guilty pleasure and if this keeps your head out of the fridge and out of that bowl of Halloween candy, it’s all good, right?

Short Takes: What You Should Be Playing This Week (Randomly, of Course)

Skylanders SWAP Force Wii USkylanders SWAP Force: HD quality visuals, jumping and all new customizable figures all for the first time on the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U make this latest entry in Activision’s supremely successful yearly cash cow a huge must. Wii and 3DS owners don’t get HD graphics (obviously), but the core game is the same deal. In SWAP Force, the gameplay is even more addictive than ever (and yes, some of you adults will be sneaking in time when the kids are asleep or at school), the story longer and more interesting (in part thanks to the enthusiastic voice acting all around) and overall, this makes for both a great entry into the series as well as the latest installment that will have your wallet making faces at you whenever you yank out that cash or card to buy more figures. $74.99, pretty much anywhere that sells video games.

VK3_coverValhalla Knights 3: This new PlayStation Vita exclusive from Xseed Games looks to bring Japanese developer K2’s niche grind-heavy RPG series to the masses with the best looking (and possibly, playing) installment to date. The Vita seems to be the prefect platform for this combat-heavy game that now includes an optional segment that features a bit of NSFW visits to a sort of love hotel where players can er, “score” additional playable characters and gear if they partake in a series of racy mini-games. Given that the other entries in the series have been given Teen ratings, that M VK3 is sporting must mean you’ll want to keep this away from the kiddies. That’s no problem here, as any kid that comes near my Vita is pulling back a stump… with a lollipop stuck in it (hey, I’m NICE mean old guy)… $39.99 (retail and digital).

F1_2013_tinyF1 2013: Longtime fans of the actual motorsport have been a bit disgruntled these past few seasons thanks to the juggernaut crushing all under his speedy wheels that is three-time champ Sebastian Vettel. However, Codemasters is giving them a chance to beat the man at his own game, provided you’re sitting at home on your couch or in front of a high-end gaming PC setup. This year’s installment is even more gorgeous than ever, has some solid improvements (you can now save between events!) and that adjustable difficulty means even total newbies can actually make it around the track with some effort. While it’s definitely NOT for the NASCAR crowd of those expecting power-up and arcade-style gameplay, it does a decent enough job at breaking down the F1 experience that the Codies really don’t need to do more next year. Well, except add MORE Classic cars and courses, as the small amount this year is VERY welcome, but made me want to see what they could do with a few dozen more rides from the 70’s to 90’s (or perhaps earlier). $59.99,

The Wolf Among Us 3The Wolf Among Us: I’ve not read any of the Vertigo comics this first installment is based on, so it’s pretty obvious that my excitement about this game is lower than those who have. On the other hand, given that it’s coming from Telltale Games and is modeled on the success of the company’s hugely successful multi-platform hit The Walking Dead, this one’s a no-brainer as far as the usual “should I play this?” stuff some of you go through. Given that this chapter is a slower-paced mystery with gameplay that’s heavily Quick Time Event focused and what looks to be a growing cast of really interesting fairytale characters updated and placed in an alternate New York City setting, it’s certainly right up my adventure alley and Telltale is actually offering up a really cool deal for that $24.99 (PC or Mac) price tag. Once all the chapters are complete, PS3 and Xbox 360 owners will hopefully get a retail version as well (like The Walking Dead did), but we’ll have to see if Wii U and Vita owners get as lucky…

WIN FREE STUFF!* Tweet Yourself Up A Treat From D3Publisher of America!

D3PoA_logoAs that title says, D3Publisher of America is giving away some nice free stuff and they want YOU* to win. Yes indeed, folks. The company is rolling into NYC this coming Thursday, September 19th with their lineup of awesome holiday titles:

D3PAdventureTime2013 D3PRegularShow2013 D3PEDF20252013 D3PBen102013

Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW!
Regular Show: Mordecai & Rigby In 8-Bit Land
Earth Defense Force 2025
Ben 10: Omniverse 2

And they’re asking fans to get in on the fun. Well, you can’t actually attend this press-only event, but you CAN win a nice bag of game-related swag!

To enter follow @D3Publisher on Twitter, tweet which game you want to see the most and use the tag #D3Holiday13. Five (5) lucky winners will be chosen at random on Sept. 20th, notified and yup… SWAGGED. Simple, no?

*NOTE: Yes indeed, US entrants only. Sorry, my overseas peeps – them’s the rules, as they say…

Young Justice Legacy Hands-On Update: Still Kicking (and Punching) For A November Launch

YJL Logo (Custom)First, the “bad” news (which isn’t bad at all when you read the good news): Young Justice Legacy is coming out in November for multiple platforms, not September as noted a few updates back. The “good” news (which is actually great news): the delay (which is thanks to the started later Nintendo versions) will give developer Freedom Force more time to polish this already fun action “RPG-light”. The gameplay is heavy on the easy to tap out combo attacks and special moves, while the character customization should appeal to gamers who like to beef of their heroes to be better, faster and stronger versions of their already powerful selves.

LOYJ-Legacy_PS3_NOA_Wrapper_3D young justice Wii U LOYJ-Legacy_X360_Wrapper_3Dsm

Some additional hands-on time this week when Little Orbit dropped into NYC revealed that the game is really shaping up to be a solid and pretty decent game experience that’s not going to reinvent any wheels, but should please fans of the canceled show in terms of where the story fits into the canon and the dozen playable characters from the show. You’re getting an action-heavy pick up and play game along the lines of Justice League Heroes or Marvel Ultimate Alliance with more stylized visuals, a nice set of locales from and inspired by the show, a voice cast full of folks from the show and some classic DC villains to go up against solo or with up to two other friends offline or online.

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Lego Marvel Super Heroes Box Art: Heroes for Sale (Soon Enough)!

LM KeyArt HR RGB 1c Preview Thank you, WB Games and TT Games! So, now you kids know exactly what to bug the parents about and you adults who know you’re buying this for yourselves (raises hand) have something to copy and stick to your wall and moon over while you’re waiting for the game to hit retail this fall. It’s going to be on every console (except the Wii) and handheld (except the Nintendo DS), so it’ll be really hard to avoid.

How hard? Well, dear reader, if you wait until the release date and throw a boomerang with a cat hanging on for dear life into any game emporium, it’ll most likely come back with a copy of this game (and a very dizzy, pissed off cat). You DID remember to stick some money in the cat’s mouth or at least wrap your wallet around it, I hope. That game won’t be free, you know…

Review: Spelunker (Virtual Console)

spelunker_artPlatform: Nintendo Wii U (also on Wii, 3DS)

Developer: Tozai Games

Publisher: Tozai Games

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

Still going strong after 30 years, Spelunker is one of those great games that gets a lot of love and hate for what it puts you through. On one hand, it’s a challenging game packed with treasures to grab and a satisfying sense of accomplishment each time you clear a level. On the other hand, it’s a REALLY and infuriatingly challenging game thanks to “the weakest action hero in the history of gaming”, and yes, that’s a selling point of this gem, folks. If you’re no fan of trial and error, the combination of this terminally frail dude, the need for pinpoint control and collecting air supplies scattered around the levels while avoiding death from everything from a VERY short fall to the small assortment of enemies will have you screaming at your TV within seconds…
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E3 2013: Skylanders Swap Force Trailer: Easy Money, Guaranteed For Activision


 
There’s really not much to say about Skylanders Swap Force other than it’s going to be a big winner this holiday season. New developer, new engine, updated HD visuals for current-gen consoles, new gameplay, characters and more all indicate that this will be the best game in the series to date. Add in the fact that yes, all those older figures will work with this game and it’s pretty much a given that no matter which platform you pick, the kids will be happy with what they’re getting. Of course, if you’re a kid at heart hooked into the Skylanders thing, you’re thrilled even more because your own allowance is much bigger and you can stock your shelves with every figure you can get your paws on and then some. Er, you do look a bit pale, though – the game isn’t out until October 13, 2013, you know… plenty of time to get outside and work on that tan. That sunshine DOES have a few benefits, you know…