Tag Archive: psn

In anticipation of next week’s release of DuckTales: Remastered on PSN, Nintendo eShop, and Steam, and next month’s release on XBLA, Capcom sent a special package out to remind some of us of those great childhood memories we might’ve had playing the game.

At first we here at the EGM office thought it was just a lunchbox with the sweet art for DuckTales: Remastered plastered on the front. A fine piece of swag in and of itself. But, as I am wont to do with most packages that come into the EGM office, I gave it a good hearty shake before placing it down and realized there was something inside the tin bin.

Upon opening it, to our joyful surprise, we found the contents of the box were possibly as valuable as the whole of Scrooge’s moneybin. The lunchbox had been holding a limited edition golden NES cartridge for DuckTales (ours was numbered 107 of 150). Now, we don’t know if the cartridge is actually a legitimate, playable cartridge, but it has contacts and is well put together enough that we at least vow to bring an NES into the office tomorrow to try it out.

Along with the cartridge came a certificate of authenticity, several Duckburg themed coupons similar to those that you might find in an old school NES box, and advertisements from Capcom to check out some of their other classic games like MegaMan, Bionic Commando, and Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins.

You can check out the fully laid out contents of the box in the pictures below. Woo-oo!


The NES cartridge does indeed work after some tests (and several NES’s) and is the 1989 version of the game.

The battle for Middle Earth is about to begin

Some of my favorite comics growing up were Marvel’s “What If?”s. These comics would look at how things would change in the universe if one thing in the past turned out differently from what we could consider continuity. And when I started playing Guardians of Middle-Earth, a part of me flashed back to those comics of my youth because the concept of this game is much like those comics. Many of us know, or are at least mildly familiar with, The Lord of the Rings. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t recognize the names Legolas, Gandalf the Grey, Sauron, or Gollum. Well, what if 22 players, some more major than others, from The Lord of the Rings universe were all put onto the battlefield at one time. That’s what you get with Guardians of Middle-Earth.

Aside from the “What If?” scenario, there really isn’t much more to this story as Guardians of Middle-Earth is a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena). The basic purpose of MOBAs is that you and your teammates must assault enemy towers along three lanes of combat. Each character has their own unique abilities, even with all 22 characters falling into one of five classes (striker, defender, warrior, enchanter, tactician). Being somewhat familiar with some of the characters, like Legolas being an archer, and Gandalf wielding magic, will definitely accelerate your learning curve as you’ll find who fits your play style a little faster, but you don’t need to be familiar with Tolkien’s classic fiction to really embrace a character once you find one in your wheelhouse.

The most impressive thing about this game is that MOBAs are traditionally PC games and yet this is the first game in this genre that has found a way to transition the PC control schemes many MOBA players are used to smoothly over to a console. The transition isn’t completely perfect as there are some minor issues with aiming and just seeing your character when the trenches get full with a few characters from each team and suddenly it seems like fireballs, lightning bolts, and every other matter of magical attack is flying across a small space on your screen. But usually it works itself out rather quickly when someone pays the price. In regards to how it feels though, the game handles smoothly and I found myself losing hours at a time with this game in what felt like a blink of the eye.

Something else that Guardians of Middle-Earth brings to the table besides its controls is that it introduces a new 1-Lane mode. This mode is all about great, fast-paced action where you and your foes will grind the battle out in the trenches and only the team that works the best together and is most familiar with their characters will be able to push the line of conflict.

Along with the 1-Lane mode, there is plenty of Lord of the Rings flavor beyond the characters if that is the primary aspect of this game that is making you curious about downloading it. Once you reach a certain player level, you can start unlocking custom loadout belts that you use by placing a variety of gems in to boost your health, defense, offense, magic, or combination of those. The custom loadouts are great because this can help you master several characters instead of just one or two and gives you something to keep working towards as you move through the levels. Not to mention it can afford you some flexibility if your friends want to throw down in 1-Lane or traditional 3-Lane for a while.

If you aren’t familiar with MOBAs because you are more of a console gamer than a PC gamer, this is a great way to jump into the genre. If you do like MOBAs, you’ll be impressed with how smooth Guardians of Middle-Earth feels on a console. If you like Lord of the Rings, you won’t be able to not try every character and work towards unlocking them all. All in all, I was blown away by how much fun I had with this game and it is definitely worth its $15 (1200 MSP) price tag.

SUMMARY:  Easily as deep and addicting a MOBA as you’d find on the PC, Guardians of Middle-Earth should appeal to newcomers and veterans of the genre alike. Add in the Lord of the Rings flair and this should be money well spent for most gamers.

  • THE GOOD: Sets a high standard for future MOBAs on consoles
  • THE BAD: Sometimes difficult to tell just where you are when the action gets overly frantic
  • THE UGLY: Gollum. Always Gollum.

SCORE: 9.0

Guardians of Middle-Earth is available on PS3 (PSN) and Xbox 360 (XBLA). Primary version reviewed was for XBLA. 

One MOBA to rule them all…

J.R.R. Tolkien’s massive Lord of the Rings universe has provided us some of media’s most memorable characters. From Gandalf to Gollum, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone not familiar with this fantasy realm. Rarely though do many of these great characters ever exist in the same place at the same time in the books or movies and so in the vein of a classic ‘What if?’, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is bringing us Guardians of Middle Earth.

This MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game allows players to control one of 20 different iconic characters from the main series, as well as the expanded universe, as two teams of five players battle to eliminate their opponent’s towers. The major difference for this game, however, is that unlike most other MOBAs, Guardians will be available on consoles. Normally, this would be a problem in regards to the control schemes of most MOBAs that dictate a mouse/keyboard combo as the proper way to play. But Guardians of Middle Earth blew me away when I went hands-on with an Xbox 360 controller and found it had been simplified to a point that made it manageable, yet still a ton of fun.

Each character has a simple basic attack set to the right trigger and a variety of special powers that unlock as you level up with them set to the four face buttons. You could also carry a hodgepodge of different potions that perform the expected functions of restoring health or boosting stats for yourself or your party.

There are also the expected character classes depending on whom you choose. Sauron is a tank, Gandalf is your magic user, and Legolas is your hit and run ranged character. Along with these series staples there are characters from the expanded universe you can use like Wulfrun, a dark magic user best utilized as a defender, and who may be recognized for his role in The War in the North video game. There is also Hildifons the Hobbit, who is only briefly mentioned throughout Lord of the Rings canon, but who makes his first spectacular appearance in this very game as a brilliant tactician whose powers can set up barricades and force opponents into well laid traps.

We also saw for the first time customizable loadouts. Depending on which Guardian you wish to use, you may wish different abilities or buffs and by equipping a gem-laden belt, you can boost many different attributes of your characters. Also, there is a one-lane option aside from the MOBA standard three-lanes so depending on what match you may wish to take part in, may change how you wish to fortify your chosen Guardian.

When all was said and done, although our time with Guardians of Middle Earth was short, I walked away very excited for this game considering its status as a download title. With a bevy of competitive options ready to be explored and with all the attention to detail you’d expect for any game set in the Lord of the Rings universe, I can see myself pouring way more hours than I should into this title as it stands to be the first legitimate offering of the MOBA game style on a home console. I can’t wait to see how ‘precious’ this game ends up being when it hits December 4th.

Clash of the Classics

When I was just a boy, my friends and I would argue for hours on end on the playground about what superheroes would win in an imaginary fight when pitted against each other in all different kinds of wacky combinations. We didn’t just mix up teams from a particular universe, but came up with all kinds of scenarios that put our favorites against all manner of pop culture heroes and heroines. So, when games like Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs Capcom breathed even more life into these conversations, you can easily imagine why we were hooked.

Flash-forward nearly two decades, and these games have led to the production of one of the most successful and beloved fighting game franchises there is. Because of this, Capcom wanted to make sure that not only us older games didn’t forget our roots, but also show a new generation the foundations of what set us on our hypercombo-ing path.

Marvel vs Capcom Origins is no ordinary old-school compilation, though. Included with these two original games—which have also had some HD graphic upgrades—are 8-player online lobbies with spectator modes, replay saving, dynamic challenges that unlock levels, and points you can spend on unlockables like characters that were hidden in the originals, end movies, or concept art.

The best part of the dynamic challenges and unlocks, though, may be that they give both games an unprecedented amount of replayability. Plus, if you’re as big a fan as I am, you will absolutely geek out over the sketches and stills of your favorites heroes and villains, as well as the chance to easily unlock the hidden characters that we originally had to input an impossibly long code for—Dr. Doom and Thanos in Marvel Super Heroes and Gold War Machine, Hyper Venom, Orange Hulk, and Shadow Lady in MvC.

Another nice aspect of the game is that everything that made these fighters unique in the first place is still there so you can relive the experience as if it were 1995 again and you were feeding quarters into an arcade cabinet under pink neon lights. The gem system of Marvel Super Heroes (inspired by the Infinity Gauntlet story from Marvel comics) still allows you to enhance your players temporarily with the powers of Space, Power, Time, Soul, Reality, or Mind, and MvC still gives you dozens of assist characters and the Duo Team Attack where you and your partner can combine your hyper combos into one truly devastating maneuver.

Unfortunately, in terms of gameplay, the games are a little too demanding at times, as players who are used to modern fighters will quickly see the age on these classics. Sometimes a little clunky and even a bit frustrating, both these games—but especially Marvel Super Heroes—can feel stiff, and the smooth combo chains you may be used to from Marvel vs Capcom 3 are much harder to string together and pull off in these titles. It’s not that you won’t be able to get the hang of these characters eventually and have fun in the process, but if you play modern fighters like MvC 3 religiously and then expect to be able to jump right into these games, you might be caught a bit off-guard by the stark differences.

When all is said and done, Marvel vs Capcom Origins hits enough of the right nostalgic notes to make it a more than worthwhile purchase for long time fans. I mean, the game even offers zoomed out, angled camera camera views designed to replicate the experience of playing on an old wooden cabinet. Younger fans might be a little frustrated with the less than silky smooth controls, but they should still play in order to truly appreciate how far we’ve come with fighting games. They’ll even likely start creating fun memories of their own once they adjust to the outdate feel. All in all, Origins is a fine compilation that’s more than worthy of a download.

SUMMARY: Marvel vs Capcom Origins does a fine job of staying true to the originals, while the addition of dynamic challenges provide a new layer of addictiveness that helps to overshadow how much these games have aged in the past two decades.

  • THE GOOD: New leveling up and variety of unlocks compliment classic game play well.
  • THE BAD: Games show their age at times.
  • THE UGLY: Far and away, it’s Shuma-Gorath.

SCORE: 9.0

Marvel vs Capcom Origins is available on XBLA (Xbox 360) and PS3 (PSN). Primary version reviewed was for XBLA.

Fight for right with the might of the Dragon

Even after 25 years, few games have done more for a single genre than the original Double Dragon did for beat-em-ups. But the franchise has lain dormant now for years—content in its status as an all-time great, releasing some iOS ports, and enjoying its seeming retirement.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. And in the hopes of reeling in a whole new generation of gamers, Double Dragon is showing there’s no school like the old school in its first new chapter in more than 17 years—Double Dragon: Neon.

As the story goes, Marian has been kidnapped—again—and even after all these years, she clearly hasn’t figured out if she wants Billy or Jimmy Lee, as both chase after her assailants. But aside from this tribute to the original series, the story quickly takes a different turn, as a new foe known as Skullmageddon rears his skinless head soon afterward, with Marian strung up à la Kim Cattrall in Big Trouble in Little China.

And from that moment on, this goes from just a Double Dragon game and becomes a tribute to everything that was awesome about the ’80s. Whether it’s making your own cassette mixtape that changes both the soundtrack and your powers or bosses that spoof classic franchises like Mega Man, Double Dragon: Neon’s jokes may go over younger gamers’ heads, but those of a certain age should eat this up—and will be compelled to keep playing just to see what gets spoofed next.

Staying true to Double Dragon’s original key strength, Neon also adds some unique aspects to co-op—specifically the High Five. Another tribute to the 80s, the High Five is an over-the-top, flashy maneuver that you can perform with your buddy to share health, your special-move meter, or just boost attack power—but it does leave you wide-open for attacks if you time it poorly.

Billy and Jimmy Lee also learn some potent new powers this time around, as they finally look to harness the full power of the Dragon. Fireballs, super spin kicks, shadow elbows, and more are all waiting to be learned and mastered as you collect mixtapes. Not only do these special moves keep the action fresh—many beat-em-ups have a bad habit of becoming dull quickly if you’re just mashing one or two buttons—but they offer a variety of strategies to overcome your foes. And you’ll need to mix it up against your enemies as much as possible, as the AI’s worthy of an old-school brawler. In other words, you’d better save all those extra lives while you can.

There’s one small flaw to Double Dragon: Neon, though—and I’m not sure if it’s just another part of trying to instill ’80s gaming charm into a new-look title or an actual flaw, but it irked me enough that I find it to be a negative. The hit detection in the game is, well, hit-or-miss. Much like many other side-scrolling beat-em-ups of the ’80s, the depth of field is usually difficult to judge, so you’ll think you’re about to wallop that pipe-wielding thug in the face with a devastating spin kick…only to miss completely. And when you think you’re out of range of Linda’s whip, she whales on you with a lifebar-punishing combo.

Double Dragon: Neon is still a ton of fun, and if you grew up with the genre or the franchise, then this’ll hit every sweet spot in your gaming core. If you’re not as familiar with the ’80s, lack a sense of humor, and have difficulty appreciating classic gameplay, then Double Dragon: Neon may give you some trouble. When you also consider this is a downloadable game with a fitting price tag, though, it’s an absolute must-have in my book.

SUMMARY: Some hit detection problems can’t hide the fact that Neon’s an awesome tribute to a bygone era—and it’ll bring a smile to the face of anyone who grew up playing beat-em-ups in the ’80s and ’90s.

  • THE GOOD: Classic brawler action with tons of charming references to a bygone era…
  • THE BAD: …but poor hit detection straight outta the ’80s is not one of those charming references!
  • THE UGLY: Highly detailed digital ’80s hair

SCORE: 9.0

Double Dragon: Neon is available on PSN (PS3), and XBLA (Xbox 360). Primary version reviewed was for PSN.

Worst. Movie Game. EVER.

Most movie games are rushed projects that require developers to take an idea loosely based around the corresponding film, staple some play mechanics together, and hope it holds up enough to warrant even making the game at all. So, when I heard that a game based on The Expendables 2 was coming out just before the movie, I definitely didn’t think we’d be getting a masterpiece—but it’s been a while since I’ve seen a pile of slop this bad.

Understandably, the game took the twinstick-shooter route, since it’s easier to create a fully realized 3D world in a short amount of time in this genre (just look at all of the twinstick-shooter indie titles on XBLA). This also allows for 4-player drop-in, drop-out co-op, the one thing that actually works here. But on every other level, this game is a horrible waste of time. Oh, The Expendables 2 Videogame, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways…

The first—and most obvious—offense to your eyes comes with the graphics. The models lack any sort of detail whatsoever once you enter a story chapter, and the game only utilizes two colors, it seems: brown and gray. Not only does this have the effect of blending everything together so you can barely tell who or what is shooting at you, but it also means that most levels blend together as well.

And while we’re on the aesthetics, let’s get to the second point of hatred: the putrid voiceover work. I appreciate Dolph Lundgren and Terry Crews actually lending their voices to the game (not like they got a lot on their plate these days), but the Stallone impersonator is just awful, and the dialogue is horribly written. “What’s the plan, Barney?” “Same as always! Kill everything between us and the objective!” Are you kidding me?! I know elementary-school kids who have a better grasp of dialogue. At least the music’s somewhat enjoyable and gives the game an epic action-movie feel, even if nothing else about the game does.

And just think—I haven’t even gotten to my hatred of the actual gameplay yet! Twinstick shooters don’t usually allow for a lot of gameplay variety—you simply mow down the same two or three enemy types for however many levels the game entails—so I appreciate the fact that the game attempts to break up the monotony that can sometimes plague these titles with some on-rails shooter levels. But bizarrely, the one element the game insists on realism is the gun clips, which cause you to constantly reload and never let you get into any sort of pace when on foot, making you miss many targets during the on-rails levels.

Plus, making the player hold the right trigger in order to fire when on foot defeats the purpose of using both sticks for much of the combat. And since only the sniper character has a laser sight, unless you’re constantly firing—which you can’t, due to the clip sizes—you have no idea where your chosen character is aiming, making the combat feel choppy all around. Additionally, the glitchy hit mechanics mean that you don’t even get proper feedback half the time on whether or not your shot actually hit an enemy, leaving you guessing until they mercilessly fade away instantly after falling to the dirt.

Finally, I hate the story. The dialogue definitely doesn’t paint a vivid picture, but what’s worse is that the game offers no opening cinematic to explain anything and just throws you right to the wolves. This left me hating the experience even more, as your purpose is constantly and consistently murky.

And that sums up The Expendables 2 Videogame in a nutshell: This game has no purpose. It’s one of the worst wastes of time I’ve ever had to review. It has no direction, shoddy controls, an ugly look, and possibly the most absent plot in the modern console generation. It’s an embarrassment, even as movie games go. I implore you to steer clear of this title at all costs.

SUMMARY: Aside from the seamless drop-in, drop-out co-op, this is one of the worst videogames I’ve had the displeasure of playing in a long time. It looks awful, controls horribly, and the plot is nonexistent. 

  • THE GOOD: 4-player drop-in, drop-out co-op.
  • THE BAD: Everything else.
  • THE UGLY: The one-liners, the voice acting, the entire premise…

SCORE: 1.0

The Expendables 2 Videogame is available for XBLA, PSN, and PC. Primary version reviewed was on PSN. 

Dust to Dust

Whenever we think of the apocalypse nowadays, it always seems to be vampires ruling the Earth, the dead rising from the grave, or nuclear fallout, and the various problems that would then result from surviving any of those hellish fates for the planet. But what if the biggest problem you would find yourself facing is your fellow man?

Driven to the brink of madness like starving dogs fighting over a single slab of meat, I Am Alive is an interesting glimpse at human nature as you play as Adam, a man who was stranded on the other side of the country when an event happened that shook humanity to its core and after a year of traveling on foot, has finally come home to look for his family. What’s most interesting about I Am Alive is that what happened before doesn’t really matter as your primary concern is dealing with its effects on the environment you find yourself working through now. Never specified, whatever triggered the apocalypse has pushed what’s left of humanity to their baser natures and your primary enemy has become other survivors, and the dust from the fallout of whatever cracked the earth in two.

The atmosphere that I Am Alive portrays hits you like a ton of bricks from the second you take over as Adam. Dark, bleak, and desolate, even the tutorial may make you want to give up hope. But, as you press on, you’ll come across other survivors as you search for your family. Some folks are friendly, and some not so much. And then there are others still who won’t attack you unless provoked and you have to choose whether a confrontation may be worth what they are hiding.

Once you peel back the layers of atmosphere though, you begin to realize that I Am Alive is a very bare bones game. The graphics are barely worthy of the last generation of consoles, never mind this one, and the combat is more like an intricate puzzle than something you would expect in a survival game. Many situations play out where you have four enemies encircling you and only two bullets. A surprise attack with your machete could take out one, but that still leaves one unaccounted for. At first this requires some fast thinking and faster trigger work, but once you realize there is no real A.I. and all the enemies slip into one of only two or three patterns and the game becomes repetitive and dull when it comes to the combat aspects.

The character development is also very poor and as sad and as bleak as this world you are in is, you have a hard time caring for many of the NPC characters and their simple fetch quests. I admit though, there was one shocking moment I had where I did feel bad for an NPC after I failed her. If only I had found a second food can in time.

The controls for the most part are a bit stiff, but you can work with them once you get used to Adam’s limitations. And the inclusion of a stamina bar makes a lot of sense and makes your exploration of this new world the most hazardous to your health as running out of energy while climbing a skyscraper could lead to instant doom. It also gives the game a bit more of that realistic atmosphere as Adam is clearly no Nathan Drake or Altair. Despite this flash of ingenuity though, I Am Alive’s strong atmosphere and interesting premise isn’t enough to pull it up to elite status everything considered.

SUMMARY: A wonderful job creating the bleak and oppressive atmosphere of the post-apocalyptic world you find yourself in, the combat and character development leaves much to be desired.

  • THE GOOD: Moody and atmospheric unlike most any other survival game out there
  • THE BAD: Repetitive, puzzle-like confrontations with poor enemy A.I.
  • THE UGLY: The last generation graphics are more depressing than the actual tone of the game

SCORE: 6.0

I Am Alive is available on Xbox 360 (XBLA) and PS3 (PSN). Primary version reviewed was on Xbox 360.

Robots Hate Your Freedom

Very rarely can you gather the entire concept of a game just from the title alone. But publisher Ubisoft’s and developer Demiurge’s Shoot Many Robots does just that as the title simply says it all. You play as P. Walter Tugnut, a redneck who has been stockpiling weapons and beer for years in his RV just waiting for the robot apocalypse. And then one day it actually happens. After destroying his beloved pick-up truck, Tugnut knows his day has come to Shoot…Many…Robots.

As soon as I started playing the game, I felt like I had been transported back to a childhood arcade where I was still feeding quarters into Metal Slug as I was given this somewhat cartoony, but still modern enough looking hero, with a bevy of weapons and an even larger horde of enemies to take on in classic side-scrolling fashion. And when I say there is a large horde of enemies, I’m easily talking 20-30 robots on screen at once, and 200-300 robots per level. And I used everything from conventional weapons like assault rifles and bazookas to some more sci-fi inspired weaponry like freeze guns, to grind the gears of these gyro driven automatons into dust.

An interesting dynamic thrown into the entire game though is an RPG-like leveling up system where Tugnut could unlock new weaponry and armor that allowed him to slide, double jump farther, carry more health restoring beer, or, of course, do tons more damage. This reward system helped keep the game play satisfying as you mowed down the metal monstrosities.

Unfortunately, even with these unique features throw into the old-school side-scrolling dynamic that Shoot Many Robots gives us, it can get monotonous as you work through three or four stages per level and you just keep taking down the same robots over and over again for the most part. The look and sound of the game is rather dull and lacks the vibrancy you’d prefer in this kind of game to help keep your senses stimulated considering the monotonous game play. And with no real story to tie everything together, this is more a true arcade game in every sense, but this could turn off players who prefer a deeper experience.

There were also times where I wish I could upgrade the individual weapons with laser sights or other goodies as the aiming function was clumsy at best. More often than not I found myself trying to jump or slide into a better position, or use the bullet reflecting melee technique, rather than aiming as I couldn’t tell half the time where I was shooting.

There is also a steep difficulty curve with Shoot Many Robots as after the first couple of levels the robotic horde gets to the point where they can easily surround and start to engulf you. Mid-chapter checkpoints do help alleviate frustration in many instances, but it seems whenever a new foe or environmental hazard is introduced, you will likely meet your doom as you try to figure out what to do about them while still beating back the blade-wielding ankle biters that make up the majority of the robotic force as the game just keeps throwing more and more bad guys your way and barely gives you a chance to breath.

Aside from the mid-chapter checkpoints, the game does have another arcade staple fortunately that can assist you as well and that is 4-player co-op. Having three of your friends come on board so you can have a redneck death dealing parade and leave a swath of robot carcasses in your wake does help a lot and co-op like this always makes this style of game a better experience in the long run.

Still, I think that even with its strong positives and nostalgia inspiring experience that Shoot Many Robots is best served in short, but fun doses. This doesn’t seem like the kind of game you’ll sit down for three consecutive hours for. Instead, maybe just grabbing a friend for 30 minutes before tackling a more hardcore game seems to be the right speed for this title. But if old-school side-scrolling arcade shoot ‘em ups are your thing, Shoot Many Robots definitely hits all the right buttons considering it’s $10 (800 MSP) price tag.

SUMMARY: A frantic side-scrolling shooter reminiscent of classics like Metal Slug that may become tiresome in long intervals, but is more than enjoyable in short bursts.

  • THE GOOD: Fun, frantic action in an old-school arcade style
  • THE BAD: Even mindless mayhem can get tedious at some point
  • THE UGLY: Rednecks with guns are always a scary proposition

SCORE: 8.0

Shoot Many Robots is available on Xbox 360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN), and PC. Primary version reviewed was on Xbox 360.

Now You See Me…

Warp might be as unusual for a puzzle game as much as our pint-sized, traffic cone colored protagonist is for a hero, but the game’s ability to make you think combined with its unique game play dynamic revolving around teleportation makes this a surefire winner overall.

You play as an unnamed alien who has been the latest in a long line of captures by a covert government organization who dissects and analyzes creatures such as yourself. Unlike those who have come before you though, you have a lot more fight in you than they would realize and after running through a humiliating obstacle course, unleashes your fury on them in ways they could not imagine.

Using your teleportation powers, which you can upgrade over the course of the game by finding “grubs”, a nutritious pink slime that our nameless hero loves, and some ingenuity, you try to work your way through the underwater base and escape to freedom. Some of these upgradeable powers include casting an “echo” or ghost of yourself to draw attention of guards away from particular paths, or launching items like barrels across the room once you have teleported into them. Your main ability though will always be your ability to ‘warp’ through walls, into objects to hide in, or into people to make them explode from the inside out and carve yourself a gory path out of the base.

Each level offers different challenges, usually centering on your expanding repertoire of powers and building on all of them until reaching the climactic final level. This natural progression makes sure that the game does not give you too much too quickly and helps keep the addiction level at a nice even pace as you take on challenge after challenge laid out before you.

The stealth aspect is also a twist thrown into this game that really amps it up though and helps develop a protagonist who never speaks. Your objective after all is to escape this government base and you must work your way past soldiers with guns and automatic robotic turrets whose sole purpose is to put you down. So finding the quiet, efficient way to take them out first is just as much of a challenge as the physics based puzzles you’ll encounter.

There are a few minor flaws with Warp though that hold the game back. The first is the fact that although the game has some very fun and inventive boss battles that will test your abilities like no other moments in the game, there are very few of them and you wish there could be more. Also, even though the base is entirely connected, you really cannot backtrack with upgraded powers to go back and find collectibles you may have missed along the way and completionists may find that aspect irritating.

The worst part of the game though comes in the later levels where all the tight puzzle design through about 90% of the game seems to unravel before your eyes and a randomness that relies more on luck than on skill seems to take hold. This can lead to some frustrating deaths as you must walk a very fine line through trap-laden corridors.

All in all though, Warp can be a lot of fun and if you look at the collectibles as a part of the replay-ability for the campaign and combine that with the nine timed challenge maps with online leaderboards then Warp definitely has enough to offer to be worth your 800 MSP. I think puzzle fans will be pleasantly surprised by the stealth based conundrum solving throughout the game and with its high level of polish should be near the top of their downloadable title lists.

SUMMARY:  This inventive and unique puzzler is so much fun for the price that a few irksome late game flaws can be forgiven.

  • THE GOOD: Inventive blend of puzzle and stealth elements provide unique experience
  • THE BAD: Late game puzzles seem to rely more on luck than skill like some kind of carnival game
  • THE UGLY: Bouncing human body parts after tearing them apart from the inside-out

SCORE: 8.0

Warp is available on Xbox 360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN), and PC. Primary version reviewed was on Xbox 360.

THE BUZZ: Monolith Productions has announced the first DLC for their new downloadable online versus multiplayer shooter, Gotham City Impostors, will hit sometime in March for the whopping price of FREE.

EGM’S TAKE: A note I made in my review of Gotham City Impostors, which you can see HERE, was that Monolith needs to continue to support this game and that a major knock was the lack of maps. Well, this free DLC shows they are both committed to this game and also fleshes out your map choices.

The DLC will contain a new map set on the 25th floor of the Gotham Times. Along with this will be two new weapons in The Falcon Blade, a bullet deflecting katana, and the Kingmaker, a quick-draw pistol. I only hope that the pistol is three-feet long like the one Jack Nicholson used to take down the Batwing in the first Michael Keaton Batman movie. That would be awesome and fit in with the humor of the game I think.

Along with this is a bevy of costume choice additions, a new “Fun Fact” perk where you can capture Gasblasters in Fumigation or attach batteries in Psychological Warfare faster, and a new gadget in Toxic Gas that will obviously harm anyone who walks into it.

The biggest part of the DLC though might be the ability to join matches in progress now and some matchmaking tweaks that could help get you into the game faster .

What do you folks think of this? A free map, new perks and weapons, and some matchmaking tweaks. If you haven’t bought Gotham City Impostors yet, will this help sway you? What iconic places in Gotham should Monolith look into digitizing in the future? Let us know your thoughts below!