Jun 10
Written by

Best Games of E3 2014

Now that all the big press conferences have taken place I think it's quite clear that Nintendo have definitely won E3 2014! They gave us games, games and some more games! Fun games, colourful games and games you really have to play! While Microsoft, Ubisoft, Sony and even EA had some stuff worth seeing, it was Nintendo that reminded us it's okay to just have fun.

It definitely looked fun having your Mii fight in Super Smash Bros. on Wii U, as Reggie and Iwata showed us before explaining the three types you can choose from - Brawler, Sword Fighter and Gunner - and their individual fighting style. As someone with the physical strength of a peanut I can't wait to see Mii finally go all kickass on my friends!

Nintendo also announced Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (Wii U), set in a beautiful hand sculpted clay world and Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U), a magnificent looking adventure to weave and unravel. Having a cupboard at home that strongly resembles the wool shop the dev interview took place in might make me slightly biased, still I think it's fair to say this is one of thee greatest looking games ever. And it's co-op! Wool done, Nintendo!

As if this wasn't enough we also got Splatoon (Wii U), a crazy paintball fight that looks like it's taking place in the de Blob universe. It's cute, colourful and likely to cause some chaos on game nights!

Oh and remember the awesome Captain Toad levels in Super Mario 3D World? Yeah, how about a game full of them? Really Nintendo, it's too much, you're too kind!

I could post Nintendo videos for ever but I realise there were some other great things announced at E3, so you can check out videos for the breath-takingly beautiful The Legend of Zelda (Wii U), the inspiring Mario Maker, the dastardly Bowser-controller Mario Party 10 and more at Nintendo's E3 site!

Microsoft showed us Insomniac's Sunset Overdrive which looks like over the top carnage with added OUCH, BOOM and POP! I'll admit my Xbox One has been kinda gathering dust recently but I'm looking forward to firing it up for this.

We also got treated to a bloody delightful new game for the PS4 by FromSoftware, Bloodborne. Felt like it could have a Resident Evil 4 vibe going on in it and has the potential to finally convince me to get a PS4.

You can check out the rest of the PS4 titles, including the intriguing The Order 1886, here.

Ubisoft made sure my Kinect will stop being a rather large paperweight with the announcement of Shape Up - a less social workout than going to a gym - and Just Dance Now - a more social way to dance in your living room, anyone with a smart phone can join! They also showed off Valiant Hearts: The Great War, a fantastic looking game built using the Child of Light engine, available June 25th.

Even EA's video showing very little of Star Wars Battlefront managed to get my heart racing, it may be a long wait but I think it'll be worth it!

This list is far from exhaustive, I could happily include videos for Rise of the Tomb Raider, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Rainbow Six Siege as well as many many indie games that both Sony and Microsoft seem to be falling over themselves to lock down to their own consoles. If you've seen the trailers you wouldn't blame them, particularly if you've spotted Woolfe, the one I'm most looking forward to!

I'm sure there's probably a surprise or two left but even if all the news is out by now it's still been a great E3! Congratulations Nintendo, you stole the show!

Jun 08
Written by

E3 Hopes and Wishes!

E3 starts later today (check the bottom for UK Press Conference times) and there are a few things I'm really hoping to see. A few of my hopes have been confirmed already but there's still loads I want!

Majora's Mask on 3DS - Please, Nintendo, PLEASE! (Fan cover by PoppinsDebo)

Grand Theft Auto V on Xbox One & PS4 - It still hasn't been released on PC, maybe the delay is 'cause Rockstar are getting it all new-gen ready too!

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Collection on Xbox One & PS4 - This rumour surfaced a few weeks ago and has no legitimacy as far as I can find but I can't help wishing it's true. Imagine all the old maps on the Xbox One, Vacant, Bog, Skidrow and Favela! I really hope this is announced! (Pic from GTA678 on Reddit)

Mario Maker - Nintendo Enthusiast got hold of this pic and reckon it could be something allowing us to make Mario levels!

To make sure you don't miss anything big here are the UK times for all the big press conferences.

Microsoft Monday 5:30pm
EA Monday 8pm
Ubisoft Monday 11pm
Sony Tuesday 2:00am (late Monday night, early hours Tuesday morning)
Nintendo Tuesday 5pm

Already confirmed are Battlefield Hardline and Mortal Kombat X, with MKX knocking my socks off already with just this trailer! Let's hope all this year's E3 news is as brilliant as this! 

May 28
Written by

Retro Review: Luigi's Mansion Gamecube

Luigi's Mansion, Gamecube 2002 (UK)

You win a mansion in a competition you didn't enter and surely alarm bells would start ringing, Luigi and Mario hear no such bells however and head off to see what's what. Luigi shows up to meet Mario but he's nowhere to be found leaving Luigi in the parlour of a creepy, cobweb covered mansion. He's attacked by a ghost and saved by Professor E. Gadd who takes him to his research lab to explain about ghosts and show off his ghost catching invention, the Poltergust 3000!

After a quick vacuuming tutorial, Gadd explains how 21 ghosts, once held in the pictures in the Gallery, now roam the mansion. This explains the main point of the game, catch ghosts! You also get to see your Gameboy Horror, a handy handheld that scans the environment around you to reveal hints and tips, giving a cryptic clue on how to catch each of the different gallery ghosts.

So we've got a story, our main gameplay mechanic and the tools we need to get going. Back to the mansion where we meet Toad and hear more about Mario going missing and poor Peach worrying her crown off! We go into the one room we can and meet our first ghosts. To catch you have to flash with your torch exposing the ghosts heart, then vacuum up with your Poltergust 3000. The Gamecube controller is perfect for this, the left analogue stick controlling Luigi while the C stick controls the direction of the Poltergust, pull away from the ghosts to catch them. The first few ghosts have 10 health and get sucked up pretty easily. You also meet the first gallery ghost, and once caught get a key and see the map for the first time.

The map shows the entire mansion from the beginning, displaying which doors are locked and unlocked and showing which door the key you just got is for. You can scroll through all the floors of the mansion giving you an idea of the overall size. Continue to explore and you meet some new ghosts each with something slightly different about them, some shake you about, some throw banana skins that make you lose suction if you slip while vacuuming. And of course you meet more gallery ghosts.

While the basic ghosts are pretty quickly dispatched of, the gallery ghosts often repeat an activity for a while before you get a chance to catch them. Some have attacks but never anything too hard to avoid. This gives you loads of time to see each of the gallery ghosts in all their glory. Luigi's Mansion generally looks great but these beautifully translucent gallery ghosts are really the best part. Each one is different and of course fits in well with their own room of the mansion. My favourites are the hair brushing Mum, the clockwork toy soldiers, Vincent Van Gore and the video game loving Melody who challenges you to answer questions on music from previous Mario games. The ghosts, equal parts gory, gorgeous and whimsical really build all charm and fun in Luigi's Mansion.

 

The mansion itself is well laid out with handy access to the additional items you'll need as you progress through the game. The addition of Element Medals allow your Poltergust 3000 to suck up fire, ice or water and squirt it out to open doors, light candles and aggravate ghosts. It's also pretty easy to know where to go next in the mansion as each room not completed remains greyed out on the map. The wide range of rooms ensure the mansion rarely feels repetitive, more often you're left wishing for the next room to see how much more fun awaits! From the conservatory to the dining room, the garden to the gym and the guest room to Nana's room, Luigi's Mansion if full of comical scares!

It's also full of fan service, with nods to other Mario games crammed into every nook and cranny. Literally in the case of the (hilariously named) Boos, who hide in furniture throughout the mansion. There's also a selection of Mario items to find, poison mushrooms and cheese!

While all these elements - gorgeous graphics, intuitive controls and numerous fun gameplay aspects - mix well to give you a really enjoyable, quirky game, Luigi's Mansion is rather easy and can feel a bit short as you fly through it without many tough challenges. It being easy and short (or at least shorter than some of the other big titles of that time) doesn't make the game bad (you can replay it but I won't get into that, there has to be some surprises for you!) and Luigi's Mansion earns its place as a must play game for Nintendo fans, action-adventure fans and fun fans!

 
May 27
Written by

Mario Kart 8 Wii U Preview

Had a chance to get a quick blast at Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U thanks to the demo pod at Game in Richmond Centre and it is that fantastic!.

Please note, this preview will contain very little technical info, the fangirl in me just wanted to talk about my most highly anticipated game this year!

 

The demo version offers single and multiplayer action and I opted for the multiplayer. My most feared Mario Kart foe was with me, (Troll Inc’s artist) Thomas is practically UNBEATABLE at Mario Kart, I’ve only ever seen him defeated once, until today.

 

We started with our usual favourite characters, me as Peach and Thomas as Bowser. I opted for a bike and was pleased with the customising options available even in the demo version. I went with the standard bike, slim wheels and the Peach parasol. The customisable karts affect how you play on land as well as in the sea and air (as with the DS’s Mario Kart 7), providing even more variety to tracks I already imagined to be spectacularly and beautifully varied.

 

We selected Mario Kart Stadium, the first of 8 available tracks and immediately were struck by how F-Zero it looked! We got a taste of the new anti-gravity section and it even felt as good as F-Zero’s upside down feeling as you watch your foes all of a sudden appear on the ceiling above you! I managed to get my speed boost at the start of the level but Thomas didn’t, this proved fatal as I sailed through the course to take first place and beat Thomas making my first taste of Mario Kart 8 even sweeter! Yes, I beat Thomas!

 

The first track definitely left me wanting more, we also played Mario Circuit, Sunshine Airport, Sweet Sweet Canyon, Water Park and one more I can’t remember the name of (I was back to losing to Thomas by the 5th track and may have been huffing a tiny bit). As well as plenty of the standard Mario Kart features - boost pads, item boxes and baddies like snap-happy piranha plants and stacks of Goombas - we also got track specific set pieces like the out of nowhere airplane that appears as you boost into a gliding section in Sunshine Airport. Everything looked mightily impressive, as was expected in our first next-gen MK, the usual aesthetics are hyper defined and look smooth as ice, although I didn’t yet get to see an ice track. I was focusing too hard on trying to beat Thomas again so didn’t get to look too closely at the finer details (something to look forward to on release) you usually get from the brilliantly imaginative Nintendo minds but I was still blown away by the overall look of Mario Kart 8.

 

The usual weapons were present, banana skins, green and red shells, ink squirting Bloopers and I even got to see the return of the dreaded blue shell (though I suppose that just proves how far ahead of Thomas I was so I can’t be too annoyed). There were also new weapons, the most obvious one the boomerang I caught right in the bake as it returned to Mario behind me, and a few others that I didn’t quite work out from only one use, but again that’s something I look forward to playing with once MK8 is released.

 

I didn’t get to play a Boo (or even better a Luigi’s Mansion) level, which are generally my favourite levels in Mario Kart games but I was so impressed by what I saw that my usually high Mario Kart anticipation has been boosted to the level where I’m sure I’ll dream of this game every day until I get to play it again. I have the Limited Edition bundle ordered from Nintendo and hopefully it'll be dispatched in time so I have the game for Friday!

May 26
Written by

Troll Inc Release Jellyflug Antibody Assault On Android Press Release

Troll Inc, a small development studio in Northern Ireland, has brought back the popular germs and bacteria from their 2012 game Jellyflug in Antibody Assault, released on Android and iOS on Monday 19th May.

This ‘love letter to Pac-Man’, Antibody Assault is an exciting maze game featuring the cutest of the gross microbes in your body. You are the body’s first line of defence against bacteria as you eat all the germs and collect power-ups to defeat the enemies and get the highest score.

Featuring

Over 45 maze levels taking you all around the body.

Upgradable power-ups, such as invisibility, time freeze and magnets to boost scores.

Assault mode turns the tables on the enemies as you become the chaser.

Integration with Facebook makes bragging about your high score even easier.

Intuitive touch controls for simple movement through the mazes. 

Antibody Assault is available for Android and iOS devices for free from Monday 19th May. For more information and full press kit please click here.
Feel free to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

Assets:

Download Links
iOS
Android

Trailer

Screenshots

May 24
Written by

X-Men Days of Future Past Review

I must point out that I’m aware there is a Days of Future Past X-Men comic but I have never read it and know nothing of the story or main characters in it. My love of X-Men comes primarily from X-Men: The Animated Series, boosted by the films. As such, this review will not even touch on any similarity or difference between this film and the comic.

 

Days of Future Past starts out dark, really dark. We’ve got a future where terrifying mutant-ability-absorbing Sentinels are kicking the ass of mutants, potential mutants and mutant sympathisers, to the point of Earth being pretty beat up. All this as a result of Bolivar Trask’s Sentinel programme, which got approved due to his death at the hands of Mystique. How does one go about fixing such a problem? Send someone back in time to convince Mystique not to bump off Trask. Kitty Pryde can use her teleportation ability to send the mind of someone back but as it’s pretty hard going, the obvious choice of Charles Xavier isn’t going to work. Step up Wolverine, who, with Magneto and Xavier, showed up to help Pryde and her band of merry mutants (which also included Ice Man, Colossus, Blink and some others). So far so good. And it just gets better.

 

In one of the easiest to follow time travel stories ever, Wolverine teams up with young Xavier and Beast to break Magneto out of the Pentagon’s impenetrable, metal free prison so they can all go stop Mystique. To get Magneto out they ask Quicksilver for help, resulting in the funniest bit of the film. The comedy was well placed after the grim opening and the slightly heavy ability-killing drug addicted Xavier we found at the run down school.

 

Once Magneto joined the team it was onto finding Mystique. Mystique has always been one of my favourite characters, particularly Jennifer Lawrence’s conflicted and out of place Mystique from First Class. In DoFP, the young woman left alone due to government imprisonment of her most accepting ally (remember the “I want to see the real you” scene from First Class?) and the experimentation on (and presumed death) of the other surviving First Class gang, is hurt, angry at authority and willing to go to drastic lengths to ensure she does what she feels is just, mirroring many young woman’s lib supporters of the mid ‘70s (whether they were mutant or not) and giving her more depth and even more relatability. Her desire to kill Trask is shared by the audience, even though we know of the hell it will unleash.

 

We’re reminded of that hell as DoFP flashes every so often to the Sentinels moving in on the present day Xavier and co. This provides an already mutant packed film with even more characters that are easily kept track of for more devoted fans of the series. The past story moves along well with fan serving nods and references to people and incidents in the other films, including a Wolverine and Stryker bit and a reference to Wolverine’s bone claws being metal. None of these were invasive or offensive, rather they made sure to include some of the best bits of the weaker X-Men films.

 

All these elements - the huge number of mutants, the time travel, the paradox of Young and Old - added to the kick-ass action sequences and identifiable theme of ‘getting back on track’ to result in great storytelling that is improved further by the stellar cast. James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart, such different Xaviers but such equal passion and conviction in their portrayals. Hugh Jackman IS Wolverine. Jennifer Lawrence magnificently delivers a rageful, aggressive Mystique. Ian McKellen has a match in Michael Fassbender who steals the show!

 

All in, Days of Future Past is captivating, giving audiences something to believe in, root for and celebrate with in a story that, although widely spread and all encompassing, remains enjoyable and easy to follow. A must see for all X-Men fans and even a pretty good way to spend a night at the cinema for non fans, Days of Future Past makes the top 5 of my favourite superhero movies after only one viewing.

May 07
Written by

Jellyflug Antibody Assault Released on iOS and Android

You are Antibody, the body's first line of defence against bacteria! Eat all the germs while dodging enemies as you make your way through increasingly difficult levels in a race to the top of the leader board.

The most recent game in the Jellyflug series, Antibody Assault sees a welcome return to the well loved germs and bacteria in a whole new setting as platforming action is swapped for crazy maze fun where you are chased by big Bacteroids!

Power ups, such as Time Freeze, Magnets and Invisibility will give Antibody a boost, while Assault Mode lets you turn the tables on the Bacteroids and chase them down in this fun fast paced adventure!

Download Antibody Assault now on iOS and Android for hours of high score chasing fun across loads of levels!

Please click here for more information and press enquiries.

 
May 06
Written by

Welcome to Medical Me!

As mentioned before we were given two apps to develop for local students with the Creative Schools App Challenge, the first was Chicken Jumper, and the second is Medical Me!

Medical Me! was designed by Amy Mullan and Rachel McGivern of Thornhill College, and is intended to make sure that you never lose any medical documents and information again. The app will keep all your medical information in one place and under a secure password to make sure that no one else will be able to access your information.

Development of this app began shortly after getting Chicken Jumper ready, with a reduced size team and new software there were to be struggles ahead as we got to grips with the new software. We were using the Xamarin development suite to create the app, and Xcode for the visual design.

It was important for us to find a balance between a professional and a fun to use app, with a lot of changes early on in the development on the setup. We eventually found the best way to navigate through the app was to use a split view controller to have a master view to control the navigation and have a detail view to handle all the content.

After the second week, we had a working app for iPad with all data entry saving and all emails and passwords working efficiently.  We started to look at extending compatibility and started to get the app working on iPhone. This was to include redesigning all the .xib files in Xcode to make the view actually contain data fields, we also needed to add in a scroll view to nearly every page, to allow all the data to be able to fit on the page, another step we had to learn. This added a week onto the project completion date, but was a necessary step to make sure that users are not only limited to using an iPad, especially considering the design was from local school girls who are more likely to have an iPhone than an iPad.

Now we have a fully complete and functional app that allows you to enter you contact details, register appointments onto the device, keep all your previous and ongoing conditions in easy access, keep your doctors information handy and even add photos to the app if you have photos of prescriptions or dosage instruction you can’t risk losing.

The app is available for download on iOS devices and can be downloaded now off of the app store. If you are constantly having to try and remember your medical details or you just keep forgetting appointments, this app is perfect to help you keep all that information in one place.

 
May 06
Written by

Medical Me! Now Available on iOS!

Medical Me! is the handy iOS app for keeping your own medical history up to date.

Designed by Amy Mullan and Rachel McGivern from Thornhill College as part of the Creative Schools App Challenge, Medical Me! is the handiest way to keep all your medical information in one place! Available free from the Apple App Store, and compatible with iPhone and iPad, Medical Me! allows you to:

Record your
- Appointments
- Medical Contacts
- Ongoing Conditions
- Inoculations & Injections
- Operations & Procedures
- Allergies
- Personal Details
- Prescriptions
- Next of Kin Details
- And More!

Store all this information safely in your phone with your password protected account.
Set reminders for your appointments.
Add your own notes, images and attachments.
Create multiple accounts to keep track of all your family.
Never lose track of treatments across multiple appointments and healthcare providers.

Try it yourself today and see how handy it is!

Please click here for more information and press inquiries.

 

May 01
Written by

Video Game Crafts

A great game can do many things, take you to kingdoms where princesses are to be rescued, abandon you in scary alien infested space, convince you there’s cake and make you time travel to 4am in a matter of minutes as you had ‘one more go’.

They can also inspire all manner of weird and wonderful fan made projects. Anything from Pac-Man to Portal can inspire some art or craft, I’ve gathered some of the best to prove my point!

 

Crochet & Knitting

As a needle and hook happy gamer myself I’m always most fascinated by these projects.

1. Knit Metroid Scarf by MadMouseMedia

2. Needlework Pokemon Master by Ally

3. Crochet Portal Blanket by DoctorMoo

4. Needlework Okami by Alison Harding

5. Quilted 1Up Mushroom Blanket by shan-E-bear

 

Perler and Hama Beads

Perfect for pixel art, there are millions of awesome Perler and Hama bead creations all over the net. I’ve been known to dabble with Hama beads the odd time (every pixel lover probably does), check out some of my own wee creations below.

I couldn’t possibly share all the great bead sprites out there but GeekCrafts.com have already created the Perler Crafts Round Up.

 

Paper

Another cool way to express your inner fanboy, from simple weaving to full on high quality poster printing!

1. Papercut Piranha Plant by Cutting Pixels

2. Stencil Art Mushroom by Vickie Howell

3. Post-It Pac-Man

4. Poster Bioshock Education by TheInkBlot

 

Plush

If you’ve got the talent for it you can make cool plushies, teddies, cuddlies or whatever else you want to call them. The Super Meat Boy is my favourite!

1. Plush Super Meat Boy by MelloReflecions

2. Plush Zergling by Ange

3. Cosy Achievement Unlocked by SewTara

 

Clay

I’ve seen a load of cool stuff done with clay but I’ve never attempted it myself. Luckily my very talented friend, Dearbhla Smith, can work wonders with the stuff so I’ll never have to learn! Check out her Game Boy earrings!

 

This and That

There are that many cool video related crafts that can be made from anything, here’s a collection of some of my other favourites that don’t really fall into any category.

1. Xbox Controller Ring by egyptianruin

2. Mass Effect Apron by Bryana’s Designs

3. Pac-Man Ukulele by celentanowoodworks

4. Wonder Woman Apron by Bethany’s Sew & Sew

5. GLaDOS Cosplay

6. Comic Bows by SherryKCreations