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Aug 16, 2011
Rayman Origins, Assassin's Creed and Lumines are among the titles Ubisoft is bringing to the PlayStation Vita, the publisher has announced.
Asphalt, Dungeon Hunter Alliance and Michael Jackson: The Experience are also "currently in development" for Sony's new handheld, according to its Gamescom announcement.
No word yet on exactly what form that Assassin's Creed game will take, but we'll update as soon as we find out more.
"With its processing power, dual tactile screens and cameras, PS Vita allows creators like Ubisoft new and unique opportunities to develop innovative games," commented Ubi CEO Yves Guillemot.
"We've got a strong and varied line-up that will offer fun and immersion to all audiences of the PS Vita."
Jul 11, 2011
There seems to be a near-universal acknowledgement that the iTunes App store is, to put it bluntly, a bit crap. So why on earth hasn't Apple done anything to evolve it?
Perhaps the overwhelming sales numbers has convinced the company to stick with this 'winning' formula, but you can't help but wonder aloud how much more successful it could be if it made browsing a less painful process.
When browsed from a computer (where I tend to browse), a simple task like selecting iPad games is a bizarrely convoluted process, but the storefront itself must be a complete travesty to anyone actually trying to get their games in front of people.
Unless you're one of the lucky few that gets pulled out for selection in 'New & Noteworthy' or 'What's Hot', your game is going to get almost zero visibility. And even if it does, the chances of it staying visible are even less likely without a concerted PR push elsewhere.
It's much the same story in the Android Market, while the less said about Microsoft's efforts on Windows Phone 7, the better. Anyone would think they were trying to make the process of finding out about the best new games as much of a ballache as possible.
Which is where we come in. Look! Games!
- iPhone - £2.39. Free trial version available.
As part of Kairosoft's ongoing quest to simulate every facet of human existence, the Japanese studio turns its all-seeing-eye to education.
As with its other endlessly infectious efforts (Game Dev Story, in particular), the aim is to become top dog in your field through a mixture of diligent resource management, astute hiring (and firing) and building the right facilities at the right time.
As a formula, you'll know what to expect by now; it's presented in the exact same adorable pixel art style of its other trio of releases and features the usual drag-and-drop mechanics and simple drop-down command interface.
But while it gives the usual impression of instant accessibility, it crucially lacks an adequate tutorial (unlike the excellent Grand Prix Story) and largely leaves you to your own devices to figure out the ins and outs of building up your educational institution.
Without an a defined set of goals to shoot for, its likely that you'll spend early hours watching pupils and teachers wandering around aimlessly, until you eventually run out of cash and dive into the help menu to figure out what you're doing wrong.
Given time, though, and Pocket Academy gets under your skin just like the other Kairosoft efforts, largely thanks to the attachment to your pupils, the satisfaction from their eventual progress, and the burgeoning relationships with other pupils. It's enough to bring a tear to your eye.
- iPhone/iPad - £1.19 (Universal binary)
In light of the recent art attack perpetrated by Proun, it seems my lot in life at present is to oscillate between psychedelic racing games, pausing briefly to note down my findings.
Similar in concept, Jonathan Lanis' tumultuous first-person racer throws you into a teeth-grinding battle for survival as you hurtle along at face-wobbling speed.
The further you go, the better your score, so it's in your interests to weave in and out of the incoming obstacles and avoid losing precious seconds off your remaining time.
To keep things literally ticking over, you have to hit boost pads - but at the serious disadvantage of having less time to get out of the way of all the things blasting towards you.
This precarious balancing act makes Boost 2 a furiously compulsive affair as you return for more punishment, convinced that this time you'll get the better of it. Sometimes you'll get lucky and squeak by, but you mostly find yourself repeatedly kicked to the kerb by the ruthlessly uncompromising course design.
How long you'll tolerate this punishment will be down to you. For as much as I wanted to experience more of its restless, morphing environments, there's only so much personal failure you can take before it's time to wave the white flag of surrender.
Video: Boost 2.
As someone liable to dissolve in paroxysms of guilt at the mistreatment of a housefly, I find the idea that setting up elaborate torture traps for a defenceless rabbit could provide hours of entertainment troubling.
Kaxan Games casts you in the role of cold-hearted tormentor and tasks you with causing maximum pain and suffering to a quivering bunny, left suspended in a cage high up in your torture chamber.
In each chamber you're given a limited number of devices with which to inflict general pain and misery upon the bunny's person and can arrange them as you see fit. Once you open the cage, his fate is sealed, but you have to ensure that his descent to the ground is as agonising as possible. It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.
The further you progress, the greater variety of torture devices becomes available to you, and before long you're placing swinging blades, boiling pots and beds of nails with extreme prejudice. The longer the screams, the bigger the points tally.
And if that doesn't sound twisted enough for you, you can always use a photograph of your choice, and simulate the continual torture of your arch nemesis.
If you can divorce yourself from the fact you're playing an agony simulator, you would at least hope to extract some enjoyment out of the 'puzzle' nature of the game. But the humdrum truth is that there's not a great deal of challenge within Torture Bunny either - just a whole heap of trial and error and an element of luck.
Video: Torture Bunny.
- Xperia Play/Android - £1.99
Any list of the most important handheld games of the past decade wouldn't be complete without Q Entertainment's magnificent Lumines.
As one of the titles that justified being an early adopter of PSP, Tetsusya Mizuguchi's simple block-dropping formula not only combined Columns and Tetris to great effect, but integrated the soundtrack perfectly.
On a basic level, the idea is to create 2x2 squares of the same colour by rotating and dropping them into the playing field alongside other like-coloured blocks.
Meanwhile, a timeline sweeps across the playing field, allowing you the opportunity to create point-scoring combos. The more blocks you can remove in one go, the larger the combo, and so on.
All of this would - and should - equal instant mobile gaming genius. But despite not being the most technically taxing game in the world, Connect2Media's attempt to bring it to Android cuts corners, with only three modes (Challenge, Time Attack and Dig Down), unwieldy touch screen controls and an unacceptably low-bit-rate soundtrack.
Matters improve substantially on the Xperia Play thanks to the tactile controls, but this 'In The House Ibiza 10' edition is a pale shadow of the PSP original in every respect. It's cheap, admittedly, but in this instance you get what you pay for.
Aporkalypse: Pigs Of Doom
As the nation gorges daily on a diet of free-range puns, the heroes of ham have a, ahem, 'pig' problem as the impending Aporkalypse approaches. Nurse!
For those of us with enough sanity left to see through HandyGames' flimsy ruse, we're firmly in puzzle game territory, where negotiating 30 hazard-strewn environments hopes to become your favourite waste of time.
Viewed from a pseudo overhead perspective, the goal is to reach the level's exit by whatever means at your disposal, and getting there involves working together with your porcine comrades to open doors, create makeshift gaps and destroy enemies.
After easing you into the mechanics gently, you find yourself dealing with evil coin-stealing sentries that have to be dispatched before you can progress. Don't mock: this is serious stuff.
And no sooner have you become familiar with the gluttonous crate-swallowing ways of the Hunger Pig, he's joined by the missile-spewing War Pig, the contaminous [I don't think that's a word, but it should be - Ed.] Pest Pig and the ghostly Death Pig. If you're going to ham-bush the four Pigs of Doom, needs must.
If you want to be cured of the puzzle gaming blues, this goes the whole hog. Just don't wait until Fry day.
Video: Aporkalypse: Pigs of Doom.