June 25th, 2009

This is what the box looked like. But who needs boxes?FlatOut 2 is an arcade-style racing game developed by Finnish studio Bugbear Entertainment and published by Empire Interactive. It was released in the US in August of 2006 for PC, Xbox, Playstation 2, and again in October of 2008 for Mac OS X.

FlatOut 2 is a racing game that offers something for everybody. Single race, stunt or derby modes will best suit the dabbler. Just pick a mode, a track, a vehicle, and get to racing, death-defying, and destroying your way to victory. There is nothing to unlock, to buy, to sell or to upgrade. Some prefer to earn their keep, though, so for the arcade-racing purist there is a full career mode complete with the aforementioned unlocking and shopping as well as classes, cups, tournaments and special events. FlatOut 2’s modes can also be taken to multiplayer games via party-play (local), Internet (where a healthy group of people can still be found playing), or LAN. No matter your poison, FlatOut 2 is always all about the mayhem with its destructible environments, brutal crashes, tons of debris, and AI-controlled drivers that are not afraid to get their hands dirty.
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May 28th, 2009

Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon PC coverBroken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon is the third entry in Revolution Software’s adventure game series. The Sleeping Dragon was released for the PC, Xbox and Playstation 2 (EU/JP) in 2003 and it marked the franchise’s first venture into 3D as opposed to using 2D sprites.

Though the same whimsical spirit familiar to players of the previous entries of the Broken Sword series is present in The Sleeping Dragon, certain gameplay aspects differ greatly when played on PC, mostly due to the fact that it was designed with gamepads in mind. This is not a 2D point-and-click game as the previously-featured Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror is. Rather, players control the 3D incarnations of George Stobbart and Nico Collard using arrow keys for movement and WASD to interact with other characters and the environment; the mouse doesn’t even come into play. Regardless of this deviation from convention, Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon has just as much of what fans have come to love from the series in the way of interesting puzzles, quirky characters, humorous dialogue and a great cast of voice actors. Except Beatrice; she’s fired.
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May 14th, 2009

DUN DUN DUNNNN!Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble! is a genre-bending puzzle-role-playing game in the style of a board game. It was released in 2008 for PC and Mac after over two years of development. Created by independent designer Keith Numitz of Mousechief Co., Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble! has won many awards including the Casual Games Assosiation’s 2007 award for Most Innovative Game, and numerous Game of The Year awards from GameTunnel.com including their Innovation Award. The game was also a finalist at IndieCade 2008 and was the only independent game nominated for Best Writing in a Video Game at the Writers Guild Awards in 2009. Its competition included Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, Tomb Raider: Underworld, Fallout 3, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
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April 29th, 2009

Prince of Persia: The Sands of TimeThe original Apple II game Prince of Persia (play it for free), created by Jordan Mechner using an industry-first rotoscope technique, was not only a critical success at the time but is today considered a landmark in the history of games. So in 2001, when Ubisoft approached Jordan to help produce a re-imagined Prince of Persia using modern 3D graphics and storytelling, expectations were naturally high. Therefore it’s a testament to the quality of the game that when it was released in 2003 it didn’t disappoint, instead winning several awards and eventually selling over 10 million copies on multiple platforms.

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April 3rd, 2009

GOG.com is running a weekend sale until Monday, April 6th that’ll get you Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror and Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon together for just $9.98. Of the two games we’ve only featured Broken Sword 2, but I can also vouch for the quality of Broken Sword 3, so save a couple dollars with this pack while you can.

March 26th, 2009

Dude, box art!Sid Meier’s Pirates! is the 2004 remake of a game by the same name originally released in 1987 for the Commodore 64 during Sid Meier’s tenure at MicroProse. Arriving first on PC, this Firaxis-developed remake of Pirates! was later ported to the Xbox, the PSP and Mac OS X.

Sid Meier’s Pirates! is a genre bender of a game featuring aspects of real time strategy, turn based strategy, simulation, stealth, exploration, adventure, and even some even light role-playing elements. Though Pirates! could be described as an amalgam of “mini-games”, that would be selling it short. There’s more depth to it than that, and everything is tied together nicely by the main character’s objective which is tracking down the evil Marquis de la Montalban who has enslaved his family. Activities such as sword fights, ship-to-ship naval battles, upgrading ships, turn-based land battles, trading with port merchants, capturing cities, and earning fame and fortune surpassing that of nine historical pirates are the locus to reaching this goal.
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March 11th, 2009

The GraveyardThe Graveyard is a very short experimental game nominated for the Innovation Award in the 2009 Independent Games Festival. It was created as “An experiment with realtime poetry, with storytelling without words.” by developer Tale of Tales.

Not much more can be said without spoilers, which I’ll save for below, so give this game a play first by downloading the trial through Steam or, for Mac users, from this link. The entire game can be played in the trial, though $5 unlocks one feature. Think of it as a donation.
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