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Tiny Tower For Gaming On The Go

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on December 31, 2011 by thedavewsc

Tonight’s review refers to something I’m currently experiencing: Gaming on the go. I’m currently traveling around a lot, on Christmas break from college (my last one…), so almost the only gaming I’m doing is mobile. The devices available to me, for the record, are an iPod Touch and a Droid Incredible (I don’t recommend the latter).

Tiny Tower is a game I recently discovered through the suggestion of a friend of mine (known only as DJ RiVal). The premise is simple enough. You own a tower which contains apartments and stores, and you continually add floors to it as you gain money from these floors. It’s one of those sort-of-addictive-but-ridiculously-addicting things.

Part of the genius is the humanization of the Bitizens (the name for the dwellers and other customers of your tower). They are all randomly-generated, with apparently possible combinations numbering upward of four million, so they all look different, and you can change each of their appearances through a little menu. Alternatively, you can give them fancy little costumes (like a surgeon or a big heart) for a small cost of in-game money. Another layer on this subject is the inclusion of Bitbook, which is the Facebook of the Tiny Tower world. You get to go read status updates from your Bitizens, which range from, “We really need to restock the candle shop,” a helpful little reminder, to, “I just like smiling, smiling’s my favorite,” an admittedly less helpful but funnier comment.

There are also countless different floors for you to get. When building a new one, you choose a category (residential, food, service, recreation, retail, and creative), and one in that category will randomly be built. I have no idea how many options there are for each category, but people with towers of at least 100 floors have had no repetition. For example, in my tower, for food I have a pizza place, a smoothie shop, asian cuisine, and a pancake house, and they each look exactly what you’d expect them to, and you can change the colors (my entire tower has a blue theme).

Another layer to this is that in each shop you can have three Bitizens employed. And you don’t want to do this randomly. Each Bitizen has a ranking of 0 to 9 for each of the categories, and the higher the rank, the more of a discount you get on the product they watch over. And on top of that, each Bitizen has a dream job, and if you place them in their dream job, they become overjoyed and you get two tower bucks (in the game there are coins, gained from selling goods and used for stocking more goods and buying new floors, and there are tower bucks, which are gained from special events and can also be purchased with real money).

Basically there’s a lot to this seemingly simple little game. And best of all? It’s completely free!

In my research for writing this review, I even found a wiki specifically dedicated to the game. And it has hundreds of pages. I had no idea.

As far as mobile, addictive gaming goes, Tiny Tower gets a 9/10 rating from this reviewer.


Bit.Trip Runner Review

Posted in Review with tags , , , on December 29, 2011 by thedavewsc

Bit.Trip Runner is self-described as a, “Rhythm-based Action Platformer,” with, “Classic NES-Style Controls,” and a “Pounding Chiptune-Inspired Soundtrack.” There’s really no other way to describe it.

The game stars Commander Video (for the record, I highly approve of the Dallas Cowboys-esque stars) as a running (constantly), jumping, and sliding hero who you must guide through over 50 levels, avoiding dangers along the way. One wrong move sends you right back to the start of the level, which can get frustrating as the game gets a little tricky relatively quickly (by level 6 I had to repeat each level multiple times).

I’m a very music-oriented person, so I really like rhythm games, and while you can play this game on mute, I find it much more entertaining with the sound blasting. Each action you must perform syncs with a beat of the music, which is constantly going and keeping you pumped-up.

I haven’t yet beaten the game, so I can’t tell you about replay value or any sort of story (which there doesn’t seem to be), but I’ll tell you I’m addicted.

Bit.Trip Runner gets an 8.5/10 rating from this blog.

Super Meat Boy: So Unreasonable

Posted in Review with tags , , , on December 28, 2011 by thedavewsc

I first played Super Meat Boy on Xbox 360. Here’s the story of that: My friend and I were sitting around in my dorm hall all alone, as it was Thanksgiving break but I stayed in the dorm and had him over. It got to be evening-ish, and we decided to find a new game to play, so we started browsing Xbox 360 Arcade games, as we tend to do.

We happened upon the weirdest-looking game: Super Meat Boy.

Long-story-short, we didn’t sleep until 9 AM the next day.

Super Meat Boy is one of the easiest-to-play, hardest-to-master games I’ve ever played. Basically you just run around, sliding on walls, trying to save your kidnapped girlfriend (classic). The thing is, the first two or three worlds go moderately quickly. The last three or four just get incredibly difficult and frustrating. But I assure you, it’s the kind of frustrating that will have you and the people in the room laughing your asses off. At least, that’s what was happening to us at 6 AM.

One amazing feature which just helps it be both hilarious and frustrating is that, when you finally finish a level, you get to watch a replay. But during the replay, you see every attempt you made. You get to watch yourself die potentially dozens (hundreds?) of times. But while you laugh at all the mistakes you made, you get to watch that one little Meat Boy successfully reach Bandage Girl! The hero! And it was you!

A whole other dimension of this game is… Well, the other dimension. There’s a dark version of every single level, which increases the difficulty a ridiculous amount. I won’t go over this in too much detail because it would only frighten you.

Also, you don’t have to be Meat Boy the entire time if you don’t want. You unlock various characters from other games (Gish, Commander Video, Alien Hominid, etc.), each of which have their own ups-and-downs. I’ll leave it to you to discover them all.

My advice: Get this game. I also advise you to get it on Xbox Live Arcade, as I find it significantly easier to control than the PC version.

Super Meat Boy gets an 8.5/10 rating (maybe 9/10 if you play it at 5 AM) from this reviewer.