Holiday Gift Guide 1: Let’s Get Physical!

It’s been quite interesting living in an all-too digital world and seeing how gifting has changed for many folks who go that route with nearly every purchase. Me? I like giving and receiving actual product for the most part unless it’s a case where the only way to get something is via a code voucher of some sort. That said, I feel kind of bad for kids raised in this era where some parents or other tech-savvy adults seem to hate on the very idea of handing a kid something nicely wrapped that’s NOT another gift card that devalues over time if not used up for a place they’ll never visit in person. So, in the interest of getting you out of the house and offline for oh, maybe an hour or two, I’m tossing a few suggestions your way (which are also available in digital form if you like).

Lego Worlds PS4_NALEGO Worlds (PC/PS4/Xbox One/Switch)- Ever-busy developer TT Games pulls out all the stops in this great sandbox game that’s packed with content and a ton of freedom once you get past the tutorial and early story missions. This is one of those great family games that’s so much fun to play you’ll want to sneak in some time alone once that kid is asleep.

On the other hand, you’d very likely want to play this with your kid or at least have a second controller handy as the game supports up to 2 players in either online or offline modes. Hours will zip by when this is on, but at least you won’t need to worry about stepping on loose LEGO pieces or having the family pet making them disappear after they smack part of what you’ve built under the sofa.

 

Crash Bandicoot PS4_NACrash Bandicoot N. Sane Game & Sock Bundle Pack (PS4)- Can’t decide on getting games or socks for the holidays? Got a relative who auto-buys you socks because he or she has zero clue about games? Why not get BOTH with this bundle of completely remastered PS1 classics that include the first three games in the series lovingly reworked by Vicarious Visions with tons of new HD specific features?

Between the redone visuals, the ability to play as Coco Bandicoot in all three games and a bunch of great stuff only those true masters of unlocking will get to see (yes, the games are as challenging as ever)l you get SOCKS you’ll probably actually wear at some point. But don’t try and stuff those stockings on the box with the game, as that would make for weird gift to receive and probably stretch out one of those socks in the process.

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Review: Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations

Adventure Time Finn & Jake Wii UPlatform: Wii U (also on PS3/PS4, Xbox 360/Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS)

Developer: Vicious Cycle

Publisher: Little Orbit

MSRP: $39.99 (PS4/Xbox One, $49.99, 3DS $29.99)

ESRB Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10 & up)

Official Site

Score: B (80%) 

As someone who likes all the console and handheld Adventure Time games, it’s good to see a new one arriving so soon that’s even more of a throwback than the more action oriented titles that have come before. Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations is a fine homage to old school classic point and click adventures with some nifty combat portions to keep your fingers limber. While the game isn’t all that difficult to complete (particularly if you use the hint highlight system to find clickable objects and locations), it’s a great diversion for a rainy weekend as well fun enough to warrant additional installments. It’s also the first Adventure Time game with rendered 3D characters and environments with developer Vicious Cycle doing a mostly excellent job in making Finn and company look great in polygonal form.

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The game is set up as a series of “graybles” as (re)told by the alien Cuber (voiced by Emo Phillips) from his space station. While it’s not quite Game of the Year material, the story is pure Adventure Time: pretty darn amusing and as usual, chock full of goofiness and tossed off references fans will knowingly nod and grin at. Fans of the show new to this style of game will find that it’s easy to get into and play, but experts at pointy and clicky stuff new to the show may find the game lacks a certain level of challenge save fora few puzzles that require knowing how certain episodes play out. Then again, unless you’re really bad at following prompts and using a tiny bit of deductive reasoning, you can do a bit of trial and error with not a failure state in sight.

There are five “cases” to tackle in the Land of Ooo that have Finn and Jake meeting up with the usual suspects from the show and everyone is voiced perfectly as you’d expect. In terms of gameplay, most of the game relies on a simple menu system that allows you to choose Finn to do most of the investigative work while Jake assists in getting him in and out of trouble or to seemingly inaccessible spots in the environment. Talking to everyone if you’re stuck will get you some clues that range from mostly direct to somewhat obscure (yes, like the show), but you can solve bits of some cases before you’d think if you have just enough info and accidentally or intentionally talk to someone who starts giving you a short quiz about evidence you’ve gathered.

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At certain points during play, “Combat Time” sequences become available, adding a bit of button jamming action to things. These sections are short and easy to beat, offering simple rewards in the form of collectibles Finn and Jake can use to decorate their fancy over-sized tree house. The game probably would have been fine without the swordplay and special attacks, but someone generally gets some sort of beat down at some point on the show, so you get to dish out the digital pain on a few folks who probably deserve it. Then again, without these smack laying down parts, the game might be less amusing and fun to play to some fans who expect a knockout or three (or more) before all is said and done.

While the game isn’t all that lengthy (as noted, it’s a rainy weekend special), it’s well done enough to warrant a sequel or two in the same style or at least more Adventure Time games down the road. Actually, it would also be really interesting to see if Vicious Cycle can handle the crazy and contagious energy of a more recent Cartoon Network smash hit, Steven Universe. It’s a completely different look and vibe on that show, but so far, every tie-in from the comic to the sole mobile game Attack the Light has been very well received. As usual, we shall see. In the meantime, you may as well support Little Orbit and Cartoon Network by taking Finn & Jake on a few Investigations, I say.

Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations – Mysterious Goings-On, Old School Style


 

“What time is it?” Um, 6:48pm as I type these words!. Hmm, that joke fell flat didn’t it? Fortunately, Little Orbit’s latest, Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations has far better writing than I can muster up and looks as it’ll be a total blast to play through. Available NOW on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo 3DS, the game takes the popular show and characters into a less sprite-ly space (the game is made up of POLYGONS! *Gasp!*) and pace as it emulates some of the older-school adventure games us well-aged gamers grew up playing.

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Not to say there’s no action and occasional stuff being broken for no good reason other than it’s amusing, mind you. Don’t believe me? Well, take a looky at these GAME FEATURES:

Sleuth your way through five cases set in the Land of Ooo, each of which plays out a separate chapter (like your own personal episode of the show).

See the Adventure Time characters and familiar locations for the first time in 3D.

Tackle puzzles by creatively using inventory objects and Jake’s shape-shifting abilities.

Combat evildoers as Finn using a variety of unique swords and Jake’s awesome attack forms.

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I stole that info above from the press release, so maybe that’s a SIXTH adventure that needs to be solved? Uh, wait. I just gave myself away as the culprit. Oops. Well, Jake and Finn don’t know and you won’t tell them at all, so I’ll be camped out in front of my TV waiting for them to slap the cuffs on. Or slap me around the room. I think I’m insured. I think.

Adventure Time Finn & Jake Box Shots 

So, yeah – get this game. Well, you don’t HAVE to buy EVERY version in that photo above. But if enough of you did exactly that, I sure bet Little Orbit and developer Vicious Cycle would be very thankful indeed. Perhaps a bit baffled… but thankful nonetheless.

Gallery: Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations

Gallery

This gallery contains 16 photos.

  All I know is there had BETTER be a line in Little Orbit’s upcoming Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations where someone says to Jake (and that someone should be Finn) “Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown…”. Okay, I’ll still … Continue reading

Little Orbit Wants Your Character In The New Adventure Time Game!

Adventure Time_CharactersAre you a BIG Adventure Time fan with an artistic bent? Well, Little Orbit wants you! Or more precisely, they want your artwork! The publisher is running a contest where one lucky winner will have his or her character design used in the next Adventure Time videogame coming to consoles and PC. When? Well, I dunno, but the contest only runs for a short time (as in NOW until February 17, 2015).

The rules are simple (and below the jump) and if you win, you’ll be able to brag all over the internet and deal with people trying to bash your dreams into powdered atoms because that’s what they do these days. Yeah, well… just avoid the deathtrap spiral that comes from commenting to every dope who wants to rain on your day and you’ll do fine. Contest info and links below the jump. Go do some finger-stretches or whatever it is artists do before drawing, read on and go win big!

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SDCC 2014: Little Orbit’s Got A Pair Of Nice Surprises For Gamers Soon…

As a fan of last year’s Adventure Time game (released by D3Publisher of America), I’m happy to see that this year’s installment, Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is going to be closer in spirit to a Legend of Zelda game as opposed to a Gauntlet and Diablo-inspired chase & chop. Sure, I’ll miss playing as Marilese and some of the other characters, but as long as this new game delivers the goods, I’m not complaining at all. This one’s coming sometime in the fall for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC (via Steam) and Nintendo 3DS.

As for Falling Skies: The Game? Color me surprised and impressed. Sure, it’s basically a reworked version of the XCOM reboot from a few years back, but this is actually a good thing because I’d imagine the only other options were a boring run & gun game or some type of MMO that only a tiny percentage of people would actually play. While this one’s only coming to the PS3 and Xbox 360, I’m betting that it gets bought and played by gamers who like turn-based strategy who don’t mind maybe discovering a show they haven’t seen yet as well. This one’s out PS3, Xbox 360 and PC (via Steam) on September 24, 2014.

Double Dungeons Day! Adventure Time, Young Justice Head to “Last-Gen” Systems

Hey! Stop that whining that you don’t own one of those fancy new online tethered “Maybe she no-a work out of the box! for a few reasons” new consoles, kids! You can play BOTH of these new titles on what you already own and be happy (and definitely happier if you kept that PS3 around if your PS4 is blue-light bricking itself up the living room), so I say GET HAPPY!

 
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! is out NOW on the “old” Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Wayforward Technologies (the current KINGS of modern retro gaming on many fronts. RESPECT!). Old-school top-down action RPG action. Kinda like Gauntlet, but kinda NOT like Gauntlet (there’s no coin drop on you TV and the game isn’t like Gauntlet once you play it). One to four players. Sort of has drop in-drop out co-op play (so your friends can faint at the sight of a boss and you can keep going, darn them!). Rated E10+ (but most of you AT fans are much older than 10+, I bet). Yeah, you need this one yesterday, I say.

 
Young Justice Legacy is also out NOW for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS and PC (via Steam). New developer Freedom Factory takes a page from the still hugely popular Marvel Ultimate Alliance games with this fun one to three player action RPG that takes place between Seasons 1 and 2 of the seemingly now defunct cartoon series. Sure, the stylized visuals aren’t screaming 2013 at you, but this is one of those games that works if you love the fast-paced super-heroic stuff and aren’t overly judgmental about every game being a showpiece of visual techniques. From my playtime with a demo, solo play can be tough in some spots if you’re careless and rush into fights, so grab a friend or two and a couple of extra controllers (have your friends bring theirs, I say) and get the fist to face action going.

Yeah, you’ll need to invite them over as this (and Adventure Time) don’t have any online modes (not sure about the Steam version, but it’s good that I DON’T KNOW! – yet). Good, I say – people need to play MORE together in the same room because it makes them be MORE social. How so? Hey, if you have to bathe for company and maybe clean up a little… THAT’S making yourself MORE social. Get it? Got it? GOOD. Now go hit the pavement for some exercise and retail therapy. Class dismissed!

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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New Young Justice Legacy Trailer: This Hit’s Really Going to Hurt…

Little Orbit and Freedom Factory’s upcoming action/RPG might not help being the fan-favorite show back, but it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun to play for many out there who want more of these heroes in a more interactive form. Sure, it’s not packing the most amazing visuals, but there’s a ton of fun to be had busting heads and solving some straightforward puzzles as the game progresses. I got a bit of hands-on time with an earlier version of the game not too long ago, so I’m really hoping the final product adds even more polish and does well at retail. This sort of non-MMO hero-packed game used to be a bit more popular a few years back, but it would be nice to see this do well enough that this sub-genre makes a welcome return.

Young Justice Legacy Hands-On: Teens & Titans Collide In Little Orbit’s Upcoming ARPG…

GA_IceRiver_001One of the nicer surprises at the Namco Bandai Global Gamers Day event was a playable build of Young Justice Legacy, set for a fall release on PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, 3DS and PC (what, no Vita version?!). Fans of the show should be pleased to know that developer Freedom Factory is cooking up a fast-paced action/RPG in the vein of the X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance games featuring stylized 3D visuals and a nicely-sized roster of characters from the series. The game has a few months more cooking to do on the developer’s stove, but it’s definitely going to one of those the more dedicated fans of the currently canceled cartoon should dive right into as soon as it hits stores.

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