MARS: PDP Brings Lightgun Arcade Fun Back For PS4 And Xbox One Players

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Talk about a vacation from hell…

I’m smiling too much while playing a detective on holiday (and on a few replays, a cheery British gal pyromaniac) aboard a huge cruise liner that’s suddenly become filled with zombies. A few comically big-headed biters go down with ease, M-rated blood splashing and splattering when they’re hit, but I’m soon jumping out of my skin when I spend too long on a large pack of undead that suddenly appear to my left (oops), and I get waylaid by some swarming in from the right (double oops, and GAME OVER). Ah well. A few shots to the menu later, I’m trying again and yes, having a blast. Yeah, some pleasure cruise vacation this is turning out to be, huh?

The game is called:

voyage-of-the-dead_logo_600pxIt’s an Unreal engine-based rail shooter downloadable PS4 or Xbox One title from developer Gaming Corps Studios, one of three games currently available for PDP’s new MARS LIGHTCON (lightgun) peripheral and IR STATION camera setup ($99.99, game included).  The wireless LIGHTCON is sturdily built and came with 2 AA batteries installed that gave it a nice heft, but it’s light enough to be comfortable for long play sessions. It’s not cheap feeling at all, mind you, but something that’s very well-made and made to work precisely for the games that come out for it. I did replace the alkaline batteries with rechargeable ones because that’s how I roll these days.

Oddly, you need to have a wired or wireless controller handy to initialize or pause the games and definitely a wireless one if you happen to have an external hard drive plugged into a USB like I do. The IR STATION requires one port, your main controller another if it’s not wireless. PDP also sent over a nice controller charger set (I’ll review that in a separate article), but the PS4 has always suffered from a lack of USB ports. Personally, I think the console should have shipped with an extra side port and/or one on the rear because of peripherals like this and the fact that heavy users like myself need a larger storage.

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The Orangesicle color scheme is familiar, but the tech is modern.

Back to the game, it’s quite fun overall and offers up enough zombie types to keep things interesting (aliens, voodoo, and magic using undead pop in as the missions go on). The PS4 version generally runs smoothly, but there are a few areas with hiccups in the frame rate, and some scene transitions aren’t as smooth as they could be. That said, it’s got a certain charm and makes a good first impression.

The game also packs in eight characters to play as (some unlocked via mini-games), a single-player mode, a versus mode, six mini-games for up to four players (I’m especially fond of the quirky pinball , UFO, and “golf” games here). Overall, it’s worth a look if you like all things zombie-related. While it’s not rated for kids, given that there are a great deal of wee ones that find zombies awesome and kind of hilarious, if you’ve got them (kids, not zombies!) and you’re OK with the gory stuff, they might find this pretty cool.

While the campy voice acting gets repetitive, the audio design and soundtrack are quite excellent overall. You can expect about 2 hours or so in Story mode (well, experts will probably blow through in less time and nope, I’m no expert). unlocking everything in every mode depends on a player’s dedication to seeing it all as soon as possible or on their own time. While you need to restart the game each time (like most arcade games, there’s no save system in place), the game does track all your stats so you can see that progression if you’re curious.

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Ematic Switch Controllers: Solid Alternatives For Budget-Minded Gamers

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Surprise, surprise – these two budget controllers are pretty awesome.

 

Generally, when it comes to peripherals, I’m mostly a first-party OEM guy, particularly when it comes to controllers. That said, once in a while I’ll stumble across a third-party item that not only does what it needs to do well, it does it well enough to recommend without hesitation. I’d initially planned a review of the otherwise decent officially licensed Horipad Wired Controller ($19.99) and was just about done writing when I got an email from an Ematic PR rep asking if I was interested in taking their Wired N-Switch ($19.99) and Wireless N-Switch ($27.99) Switch controllers for a test drive. Of course, I said I’d love to and shortly afterwards, both arrived and were indeed, taken for a few spins and assorted tests over the past two weeks.

switch horipadI’ll say first and foremost, that licensed Switch Horipad is an excellent official controller that’s lightweight, simple to set up out of the box and a really well-manufactured unit that works fine with every game I tested it with* with no real weaknesses outside the lack of vibration, NFC, and motion control functions that give certain Switch games that extra kick. Yes, that low price point means you get not a hint of feedback which is disappointing unless you really don’t care and just want a solid, inexpensive and very reliable controller for yourself or the kids.

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For some reason, the Horipad looks as if it’s got a slight frown, while Ematic’s has a “Hey, check me out – I’m cool!” smile thing working for it.

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Pop Scope: Looking To Make You A Better Cameraphone Shutterbug Soon…

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So, I got a Pop Scope sample to play around with a few days ago and it’s a pretty cool little peripheral for those of you with normal-sized smartphones looking to take some cool selfies or other arty shots and have them look as if you’ve either got super-long arms (or a friend helping you out). This cool little device is a tripod/reach extender that’s lightweight, simple to use and supports phones up to 170 grams (5.99657 ounces… oh, let’s say 6 and get that out of the way). Pop Scope works with any photo timer app (there are a number of free to download timers available for iOS and Android phones), extends from 6.5 to 21 inches and its swivel head can tilt up to 90 degrees, allowing you to get a few formerly impossible angles when you’re out and about by yourself.

Setting up a Pop Scope is fast – just clamp your phone (with that timer app installed, of course) into the holder, pop out the legs, place it on a flat surface, adjust the height as required and you’re all set. As it’s made mostly of lightweight materials, it’s not something you’ll want to whip out on a really windy day. But as the song goes, (warble) “On a clear day, you can see forever…” While it works quite well (and yes, some curious people WILL ask you what you’re attaching to your phone when you use this), if you’re a big tablet user or have one of those fancy curved screen phones, you’ll want to hold out and see if the folks at Pop Scope can whip up something for you in the future. I’d gather they’re looking into that, but for now, the company is going to be running a Kickstarter starting August 21 for this model, expected to sell for around $44.99.

Poke back at that link above around then and if you’re smiling because you’re now thinking of some really cool ways to use that Pop Scope, well… it’s your move.

Tech Review: PDP Afterglow Prismatic Wireless Gaming Headset

PDP Afterglow Prismatic Black Box The fine folks at Performance Designed Products (or PDP for short) have taken their Afterglow Wireless Headset, significantly improved its looks and fit, added in a few features and overall, have made a superior product in the Afterglow Prismatic Wireless Gaming Headset.

Featuring a sturdy redesign and the ability to connect (via an included cable) to any device with a standard headphone jack (as well as any TV or video game console with the proper audio out) plus a wireless dongle that allows it to be used for PC, PS3/PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, the Prismatic is a great and very affordable ($99.99) first model, replacement for that standard company headset or any model headphones that aren’t quite as flexible as what PDP has crafted… Continue reading

Weekend Update (Kinda Sorta)…

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For some reason (or all the updates this week), it took THREE days to download one game from Steam and I still have to get another one. Boo. Anyway, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II will get some playtime, but the new chapter of The Wolf Among Us will have to wait for a bit. In the interim, I did read a Fables collection a friend lent me to help supplement Bigby’s episodic adventures in The Wolf Among Us, so I’m glad I got that done finally. I also have an APP review to write, but not for an app, exactly. That’s the name of a pretty cool horror flick that uses a downloadable app to inform you of a few things as you watch the movie and guess what? It’s actually quite good and nowhere near as annoying as I thought it would be. So that’s also going to get done up in a review. Yeah, yeah… E3 is right around the corner and yeah, yeah, I’ll cover what I see and like as the show progresses. I also have some peripherals on the way from PDP, but I missed the Fed Ex truck by about ten minutes on Friday, so I’ll need to haunt my doorway come Monday like a vulture waiting for a not so fresh meal.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I can’t believe I did over 150 posts this month (which went by too quickly), but I think I’ll have more as June rolls out thanks to so many games being announced and my poor brain doing back flips over stuff that grabs my attention. I’m not quite sold on everything “next gen” consoles have to offer, as much of what I’m seeing on the indie front can be done on the PS3 and Xbox 360 and a lot of the newer games are disappointing like most launch and launch window titles tend to be. At this point, it’ll be best to scoop those up when they’re marked down considerably, as I’m not exactly rolling in disposable income these days (as aren’t a lot of gamers in this current economy). Er, I think that’s it for the month… see you in June (or tomorrow, for at least a post or three)…

Surprise! Nintendo Gets The Jump On Super Smash Bros. Wii U Fans With A Game Cube Controller Adapter

GC_WiiU _AdapterWell, this is quite cool. Earlier today, Nintendo dropped a little video about the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Invitational Tournament they’re holding at (or near) E3 this year and at the end of that video, BOOM! you’ll see that there’s a Game Cube Adapter coming for the Wii U, price and release date TBA.

Of course, Nintendo went and posted a picture of this soon to be hot seller on its Twitter feed… and pretty much anyone who still has a Game Cube lying around in a closet somewhere (or hey, still under their TV!) probably fainted dead away, woke up to pinch themselves HARD and promptly fainted dead away again. I think it was that sexy music playing when the Adapter was shown, but that’s probably just me…

Yeah, I want one of those AND more Game Cube games coming to the Wii U on the eShop… which according to rumor, MAY just happen. I’d gather this rumor is true as making that adapter for ONE game is just insane and I know a LOT of people want to buy and play some of those classics from the GC era and have at it for old time’s sake. I’m in that crowd although I still have a Game Cube here and a big stack of games to play on it. That said, I’ll snap this thing up in a heartbeat…

Some Silly Stuff I Have Discovered This Week…

Mr. Bagel 2

1. Yeah, it’s a fuzzy picture of a cinnamon raisin mini bagel with two raisins that look like eyes and a big grin. Amusing and kind of creepy if you can imagine it suddenly talking or singing or something. This made me laugh because it wasn’t the ONLY one in that bag of bagels either. I think I saw three more, meaning someone at the factory was having a clever day and wanted to share, there’s a bagel-making robot that’s creating not so sentient life in an effort to try and start some sort of revolution, or there’s REALLY something funky going into those bagels that turns them ALIVE before they’re bagged. Well,I never did find out if the darn thing could speak, as I ate it before it could do anything funny.

Rez Plus2. Yep, that’s a copy of Rez for the Japanese PlayStation 2 and yep, that’s the infamous Trance Vibrator peripheral next to it. While I’ve played the game numerous times to completion, I’d actually never used that Trance Vibrator until earlier today when I decided to crack open the box and plug it into my Japanese PS2 to see what all the fuss was about. In a word. Oh. In another word. My. Yeah, I can see why it was marketed as and written up as just what some of you think it is. Shocking! Well, not in the least, because we could all use some good vibrations every now and then, right? Throbbing! Yeah, that’s more like it.

3. Uhhhh.I forgot what number 3 was and I blame number 2 for that. Back in a bit…

Virtuix Omni: Space Invaders For The New VR Horsey Set…

Virtuix OmniWith all the fuss and happy-happy fury about virtual reality gaming seemingly becoming an ACTUAL reality sooner than later (again, but in a few smaller, lighter and thankfully less expensive formats), you know someone had to take things to an even more intensive level of immersion. Enter the folks at Virtuix Omni and their rather innnnterersting peripheral that’s going to get your ass up of its ass and make you play those 3D games in a whole new way. Unlike some of those first VR terminals of the 1990’s where you stood and basically turned in place with your arm out, the Omni Natural Motion Interface will get you a workout you can’t believe and probably will get hooked on once your body heals from the first few days of wondering why the hell you’re REALLY running when you usually sit down to play that favorite shooter, action game or open-world RPG… Continue reading

KontrolFreek Is Back With More On Target Goodies For Console FPS Fans!

KFPhantomThey’re baaaaaaack! The last time I reviewed a few products from KontrolFreek, they ended up disappearing from the home office when some friends popped over, checked them out and decided that I owned them some freebies for making the trek all the way up here or something. Yeah, guess who’s not getting invited back, chumps? Anyway, fortunately, Casi over at KontrolFreek was kind enough to shoot over a set of the new FPS Freek Phantom (MSRP $19.99) and after playing through Call of Duty: Ghosts and a few other FPS and non-FPS games, it’s safe to say that they perform exactly as expected. Which would be pretty darn fantastic.

As noted in my earlier review, the FPS Freek series of analog stick toppers adds height to those sticks and precision to your movements, allowing you to use LESS pressure when moving normally, sprinting or shooting in games, allowing for more accuracy and less funny looking thumbs after extended play sessions. It’s all ergonomics, people – that’s all you need to know and even if you’re the most skeptical buzzard on the block, one try should convince you within seconds that this is the way to go if you’re a big shooter fan. I’d say you club-fisted gamers will NEED to learn to not jam those sticks around because you might occasionally pop one of the Freeks off an Analog stick (they’ll snap right back on). But other than that, this is money well spent if you’re a fan of those high-action shooters and want that extra edge in solo or online play. Anyway, go boogie on over to the KF site, check out what they have to offer and feel free to check out their upcoming PlayStation 4 and Xbox One lineup, as they certainly aren’t going to forget about you next-gen owners one bit. yeah, you KNOW you want that extra edge…

UGLYDOLL Goes Universal With Some Cool Monsters (And A Cooler Sale)…

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Yeah, aren’t these TOO darn cute? Go on ahead and make that squeaky sound you do so well when you see stuff like this. I won’t laugh (Really! I probably squeak like that myself, but I’ll never tell). And yeah, if you buy them all (feel free to click on that pic above and get shot like a cannon to the UGLYDOLL online shop), I won’t tell anyone that either. Shhhh. Oh, look – they all vanished like that and went shopping. Holy cats… I need to get my readers back. Um… FREE DAY OLD TOAST! Anyone? Bueller?… Bueller? Crap. Oh well, I guess that’s my good deed for the day, huh?