Sunday, August 23, 2009

King of Fighters XII: Why Bother?


We're fans of fighting games. We like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, no question.

We respect the fact that sometimes, when it comes to fighting games, graphics can take a back seat, while the very idea of a plot line is laughable.

Let's face it, it's all about the action. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

So, King of Fighters XII comes out, and we take a look at some of the gameplay videos before we get our hands on the game, and we say to ourselves, "Well, the graphics aren't really impressive, but there's a devoted following for these King of Fighter dudes, and maybe they know something we don't."

There was also quite a lot of press surrounding the release of the game. That's par for the course; you spend money making games, you spend money publicizing the games so the fans will spend their money buying the games, right?

But there's only so far we are willing to go when it comes to shelling out $60 hard-earned dollars for a game.

And King of Fighters XII left us cold.

It's not just the problems with online and multiplayer gaming right from the get-go, requiring patches straight out the door, though they might have waited to release the game until they got the kinks worked out.

[Blizzard is one of the few franchises that get that right, btw. They've pushed back Strarcraft II more times than we can count, but at least we have faith that when Starfcraft II comes out it will be godly straight out of the box.]

No, there're so many things wrong with King of Fighters XII that we couldn't find many willing to take it on just to go through them all here. Hence the delay for this review. We don't like sticking it to the game people, but the King of Fighters XII that won some early awards in pre-release play somehow morphed into this lackluster, 2D sprite fighting game with few options and frustrating game play.

Twenty-two fighting characters, first off. Twenty-two. I don't know about you, but if I'm playing a fighting game, I want to scroll through hella more choices than that.

And then what's with the backgrounds? There's what, five different backgrounds? Again, you've gotta be kidding me. Double that, at least, is what I'm looking for in a good fighting game. Though in this case, that might actually be worse. Bright, colorful, but bizarre, they actually take away from the game by pointing out how dreary and dull the sprite fighters look against them.
What the hell is going on behind us?!

No final boss. You think I am fighting for my health, here? We're already short on all the unlockables we were hoping for. Maybe we're showing our age, but we expect some kind of reward for toughing out the matches.

Now, I know the King of Fighters franchise fanbois think we just.don't. get. it.

Maybe they're only 22 frickin' guys, but they're your guys. You love your KOF cast, right?

Oh, yeah? Well, not only are you missing a lot of your guys in this game, but some of them have been seriously re-worked. We're talking bulked up or--how do we say this?--sexed down. In other words, you can only chose between have these huge brawny fighting guys, or these metrosexual gender-neutral anime emo sprite dudes (dudettes?), pale shadows of the franchise heroes.
We'e confused about our sexuality. Let us duel to the death.

Which is why we ask, when it comes down to King of Fighters XII--why bother?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Army of Two: 40th Day Weapon Design Contest


Yesterday, EA Montreal announced the return of the weapon design contest for ARMY OF TWO: THE 40th DAY.

From June 23, 2009 to July 12 2009, participants can submit their ultimate weapon at the game's official website for a chance to have it included in a future EA Game.

To enter the contest, gamers will need to submit an image of their weapon and a brief 200-word description. Please click on the game's official website to view the contest rules.

Once gamers submit their designs, the images will be posted to the site for the community to vote on. Starting on July 20, 2009 the top weapons will be reviewed by the development team who will then pick the two best designs.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ubisoft (Cheap!) on Impulse

Ubisoft titles are NOW available on Impulse . Additionally, all titles from Ubisoft on Impulse are 10 percent off!

Ubisoft Titles Available:

Far Cry 2 is the next-generation first-person shooter that takes you deep into the most beautiful but also most hostile environments in the world: Africa! More than just a visual and technological achievement, Far Cry 2, the true sequel to the award-winning PC game, will provide you with an unprecedented gaming experience. It is now available on Impulse for $19.99.

In Assassin’s Creed* it’s 1191 AD in Jerusalem. The Third Crusade is tearing the Holy Land apart. You are an elite Assassin sent to stop the hostilities by suppressing the powers on both the Crusader and Saracen sides. But as you carry out your missions, a conspiracy begins to unfold. You find yourself tangled up in a conflict that threatens not only the Holy Land, but the entire world. Assassin’s Creed can be purchased for $19.99.

Also coming to the Impulse lineup is Heroes of Might & Magic V: Tribes of the East. For the first time, play as the Orc faction and recruit heroes, build armies and manage cities as you explore and conquer legendary lands. Use tactics, skills and magic to outsmart fantasy armies while developing your heroes and unveiling the dark plot that threatens to tear the world of Ashan apart. This epic chapter can be purchased on Impulse for $19.99.

*Editor's Pick! We loved this title on Xbox 360! Must-have for your collection.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Call of Duty 4, Prototype on Impulse

Stardock announced today that Activision's Prototype and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare are now available for download on Impulse .

With Impulse, users purchase their game and can then immediately download and install the game through the Impulse client which seamlessly manages updates, community features and more. Games become part of that user’s account such that when a user purchase a new machine, a user can simply re-download the Impulse client, logon to their account and re-download all their purchases, even years into the future.

Prototype lets gamers feel the power of being the ultimate shape-shifting weapon. You are the prototype: Alex Mercer – a genetically mutated man without memory, armed with amazing shape-shifting abilities, hunting your way to discover what created you and determined to make those responsible pay. As Alex, gamers tear through a densely populated contemporary New York City with Parkour-style agility, consuming anybody that gets in their way, assuming their physical identity, memories and abilities. Available for $49.99.

In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, you are armed with an arsenal of advanced and powerful modern day firepower and transported to treacherous hotspots around the globe to take on a rogue enemy group threatening the world. As both a U.S Marine and British S.A.S. soldier fighting through an unfolding story full of twists and turns, players use sophisticated technology, superior firepower and coordinated land and air strikes on a battlefield where speed, accuracy and communication are essential to victory. The epic title also delivers an added depth of multiplayer action providing online fans an all-new community of persistence, addictive and customizable gameplay. Available for $39.99.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Natsume Announces Lineup for 2009

Here are the latest scheduled game releases, straight from Natsume:

Adventures To Go (PSP)
It's adventure served your way! In this hilarious and innovative
strategy RPG, players take control of Finn Courtland and his band of
misfits in their quest for fame and riches. Each dungeon is randomly
generated according to the player's specifications, so the game offers
endless replayability and a guarantee of new surprises every time
players pick it up. The grid-based battles challenge players to think
strategically and make the best use of each character's abilities.

Animal Kingdom: Wildlife Expedition (Wii)
In Animal Kingdom: Wildlife Expedition, players take on the role of a wildlife photographer exploring the exotic and diverse wildlife of Animal Island. Each day, they'll be given new photo assignments, such as taking pictures of particular animals, an animal herd, or an animal
in a particular pose. Players will see a variety of exotic wildlife on their expedition, including gazelles, gorillas, and elephants. Each animal is realistically detailed and behaves just like the real thing!

Afrika (PS3)
Explore the wildlife of Africa in this revolutionary safari game! Players will capture lifelike images of everything from lions and zebras to giraffes and cheetahs in this breathtaking PlayStation® 3
game that features photorealistic environments and animals that move and behave exactly like their real-world counterparts. Like real-life
photographers, players will need to be careful if they want to take photos of the animals without disturbing them, and make the best use
of their equipment in order to capture that perfect shot. The photography in the game is as meticulously modeled as the animals themselves; players will need to learn to compose their photographs with the eye of a professional photographer if they want to earn top dollar. Money can be used to purchase new licensed cameras and equipment, all of which behave just like their real-world counterparts.

Cheer We Go! (DS)
Take on the role of a cheerleader in this exciting rhythm adventure game! Use your stylus to guide your cheerleader through increasingly complex dances and cheerleading routines. The game's story mode takes players on an adventure through school as they try to work their way
up to star cheerleader! Players can completely customize theircharacter, enjoy a variety of mini-games, and may just find a little romance as they strive to become the best cheerleader in the school!

Harvest Moon: Animal Parade (Wii)
In Harvest Moon: Animal Parade, a divine tree which once stood in the middle of the Harvest Goddess' pond has begun to weaken, the creatures are beginning to leave the land, and the five bells have lost their power. Only the strength of the Harvest King can help revive the earth and bring the tree back to life. It's up to the player to ring the five bells, bring the Harvest King back to the island, and help revive the Goddess' tree and the land. Players will also help the ringmaster when the circus rolls into town. When the giraffe, hippo, and lion escape, players have to find them, befriend them, and bring them back to save the show! Players will find plenty of activities to experience in Harvest Moon: Animal Parade, including cultivating crops and caring for wild and exotic animals. Players can take their exotic pets out for walks, teach them tricks, and even ride them around town!

Harvest Moon: Frantic Farming (DS)
Something strange is happening on Sunny Island. Crops are popping up everywhere and growing out of control! If something isn't done soon, the once-tranquil island will be buried in an avalanche of vegetables! It's up to the players to solve the mystery of this produce predicament as they try to tame the crops and gather as many
vegetables as they can. Set in the world of the recent DS hit Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness, Harvest Moon: Frantic Farming continues the
tale of the island and its residents. Players can choose from 12 playable characters, each with their own unique story. See how the mystery unfolds from each character's perspective, and who they meet along the way. The game features a variety of modes including Story Mode, the brain-teasing Mission Mode, and the action-puzzle excitement of Score Attack and Free Play Modes. Players can test their farming skills against their friends and family in multiplayer. Players can also unlock character art, music, and some special surprises in the Collection Room.

Harvest Moon: My Little Shop (WiiWare)
Harvest Moon comes to WiiWare! You've just opened a shop in Clover Town. It's up to you to decide what items you're going to stock. Once you decide what to stock, you'll make the items in a series of fun and exciting minigames using the Wii Remote. Can you build a bustling business that will help Clover Town prosper?

Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands (DS)
The islands are in peril! Years ago, a powerful earthquake struck the Sunshine Islands. In Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands, it's up to the player to raise the sunken islands by finding the magical Sun Stones. By finding and collecting the Sun Stones, and using them to unlock the
islands, wild animals and crops, players can bring peace and prosperity to the Sunshine Islands and prevent such a disaster from ever striking again. Harvest Moon: Sunshine Islands continues the story of Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness. Players will encounter all of the beloved characters from that game, as well as a number of newcharacters. Players will grow and harvest crops, care for animals, mine, fish, and compete in festival events in their quest to restore the Sunshine Islands to their former glory. With a little luck, they may even find true love and start a family along the way.

Reel Fishing: Angler's Dream (Wii)
Reel Fishing: Angler's Dream brings the most true-to-life fishing experience yet to the Nintendo Wii! Featuring a magnificent 3D fishing engine, lifelike fish, and soothing environmental sounds, Reel Fishing: Angler's Dream puts players on the banks of pristine lakes, raging rivers, and tropical oceans filled with the biggest, fiercest fish around. Players will be able to keep their best catches in aquariums, grow them, and then release back into the wild for an even bigger challenge. Get expert advice from the wise Fishing Master and learn how to fish like a pro. With a variety of realistic stages, tons of fresh and saltwater fish, and over 100 pieces of tackle, players can really make their fishing experience their own. Special Boss Fish will challenge even the most veteran anglers. Players can also take a more competitive approach to fishing with Versus Mode and compete with 1-4 other players. Players can try their hand at lure, bait, and fly fishing, using the WiiT Remote as a rod, and the Nunchuk as a reel. With all the sights, sounds, and action of real fishing, Reel Fishing: Angler's Dream is the closest you can get to the real-life fishing without putting on your waders!

Squishy Tank (DS)
Squishy Tank is a fun-filled puzzle adventure game! The gameplay challenges players to quickly match and destroy tiles before they run out of time. Wacky items and powerups keep the action fresh and exciting. The game also features a story mode that's sure to charm players of all ages with its whimsical characters and dialog.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Terminator Salvation--The Resistance Goes Live Tomorrow

Now that you've played some version of the game on Facebook, iPhone and Twitter, we know you'll want to check out this Terminator Salvation launch trailer to get really psyched for tomorrow's console release!
video

Friday, May 15, 2009

Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Athena (Xbox 360)

does this tattoo make me look fat?


We really wish we didn't have to post this review of the new Riddick game, because that means we have to stop playing it.

This is one addictive shooter. We have two Xbox 360's set up here for reviews, and we keep sneaking the game out and swapping it into whichever one has OUR saved progress on it.

We're all, "Oh, man, you HAVE to play this part!"

and

"DON'T TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!"

and

"Are you done yet? My turn. Dude? Dude! DUDE, my turn."

Awesome.

me so scary
Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Athena
consists of a hi–definition re-imagined version of The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and also adds on an entirely new chapter in the Riddick Saga.

And, on top of all that new hotness, for the first time, players can take part in intense online multiplayer combat.


The Chronicles of Riddick
series of games takes the player deeper into the universe of Universal Pictures' films The Chronicles of Riddick and cult classic Pitch Black, which first introduced Vin Diesel as enigmatic anti-hero Riddick. In The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena the player takes the role of Riddick using stealth and action to overcome the merciless crew of the predatory Merc-ship Dark Athena which awaits its prey in the dark reaches of space. Cheating death through a series of spectacular battles and events, Riddick will fight for his life amid a storm of malevolence and horror. via

In the original (but now HD re-mastered) game, although darkness is your friend because of your stealthy ninja skills, you don't start out with the super eyes that glow, and so it's worth playing just to go through that whole metamorphosis when Riddick becomes godly.

Or schizophrenic. Dude hears voices.

As Riddick himself notes at the time his vision changes, "I thought it was the pain talking. But then, it always knew its place before..."

That's another great thing about the Dark Athena game, by the way: the voice talent. Vin Diesel again lends his voice to the role of Riddick, and I don't think anyone else could have given that same gritty intensity to the character. It's really pivotal to the game, that dry, ultimately chill tone of utter badass.

just chillin'

In the new Dark Athena chapter, you are once again the prime target for bounty hunters, who want to pick you up and lock you away for good, yada yada yada. When will they ever learn?

The Dark Athena prison is seriously rough, though. It's really a step abobe Butcher Bay in that regard.

You're down in the mines, there's cage fighting, it's typical cut-throat Riddick material.

As in Butcher Bay, you can't use the DNA-coded weapons--but there is a loophole in that prisoners have uncoded stun guns they wrestle from others. Getting one as soon as possible, as well as the iconic prison shiv, is a wise tactical move in the game.

A couple additional hints as you go along the game:


If you've never played the original Butcher Bay campaign:

Remember that not only are you at your best in the dark, sometimes you have to actively bring on the darkness to gain that extra advantage--shoot out lights and even look for light switches to turn them off in some levels.

In what seems counter-intuitive, the guards in the big robotic suits are NOT weakest in the tiny face mask. Think backpack.

For the new chapter, Assault on Dark Athena:

Yes, weapons are frowned upon in the cage fights. But since when have you worried about what people think? And shivs are easily concealed...

Good luck playing Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Athena. Obviously, the game is highly recommended, and we haven't even tapped into the online play yet.

Now we have to go back to kicking some Dark Athena ass.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fuel the Rebellion is Konami Coded!

Remember the old Konami code? Type it in while you're on Fuel the Rebellion, and see what happens!



Thanks to Paul Irish for the Cornify coding secret, and to sciurus, who posted the Konami Code Sites to Metafilter, where we promptly stole the hell out of it.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Coming Soon--Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Athena Review

Stay tuned for our review of the new Riddick shooter. In the meantime, play the game demo yourself on Xbox Live or the PS3 Marketplace or check out the videos below.







Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Terminator Salvation

X-Men, Series 1 and 2, Now on DVD!


Just in time for the movie release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine comes the DVD release of the animated television series, Marvel's X-Men.

The Engineer and I used to put these on when the kids were little, as much for us as for them, as we really enjoyed the series.

In addition to the fiercely independent Wolverine ("I go where I want to go"), the cast includes better-known characters Cyclone, Storm and Rogue, Professor Xavier and his protege, Jean Grey, plus Morph and (my personal favorites) Gambit and Beast.

In the first episode we are also introduced to young X-man-to-be Jubilee, a teen who wreaks havoc with electricity, who the other mutants refer to as "child" (or in the case of charming Cajun Gambit, "petite").

The series allows us the chance to get to know each of the X-Men better than the movie franchise has.

Storm, for example, is prone to flamboyant gestures and over-the-top prose: "Storm, Mistress of the Elements, commands you to stop!"

Rogue, (a fiery redhead with a killer body in the animated series) doesn't so much drain other mutant's powers as she does their strength; like Storm, she has the ability to fly. She's prone to colloquial allusions like, "Nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs."

Gambit, who for reasons unknown never made it to the movies (a helluva shame, in my opinion), is a card-carrying Cajun who has the ability to transfer kinetic energy to inanimate objects (in other words, he charges up playing cards and shoots them, like exploding grenades, at enemies), while simultaneously charming all the ladies he meets. Watch for some heat between Gambit and Rogue later in the series.

Adorably blue Beast is fond of Shakespeare and the classics (in one rescue, he disparages a less-than-worthy opponent with, "A minor quote from a minor poet"), while also having the agility to bounce from wall to wall, swing 'round posts and hang from ceilings.

Cyclone, the leader of the group (though Wolverine flouts his authority at every possible opportunity), frets over his command decisions all the while he is shooting solar-powered beams from his behind his specially-designed visor.

And Morph, as the name suggests, changes his shape (and voice) at will to confound friends and enemies alike. His jarring, cackling laughter sounds more villainous than heroic.(Spoiler alert: he doesn't get the last laugh after the first episode).

Surprisingly, Morph is Wolverine's best friend...for a while. (Even bigger spoiler alert: don't count Morph out too soon).


Which brings us to the villains*. There's a whole host of great opponents, from human to mechanical to fellow mutants, for the amazing X-Men to dispatch. You've got Juggernaut, Siren and Magneto, just to name a few.

MARVEL'S X-MEN (Vol. 1 & 2), with 32 episodes in all, comes out today on DVD.

*I'd go into detail about Professor Xavier and Jean Grey, but to be honest, they always annoyed me in the cartoons. Patrick Stewart finally won me over in the movie, but I couldn't wait until Jean imploded into Phoenixey ashes (second movie and second season of the animated series).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blue Dragon Plus (DS): RTS/RPG Strategy at its best



We're big-time strategy fans, and it's nice to see a DS game that's as dedicated to those of us who enjoy a good RPG as Blue Dragon Plus is. One of the reasons for this little game's appeal is the work put into it by Final Fantasy vets Hironobu Sakaguchi (who wrote the storyline) and Nobuo Uematsu (who composed the music). They've stuffed 30 good solid hours of gameplay into a well-paced single-player campaign.

If you aren't familiar with the earlier Blue Dragon game (and we weren't), it's probably because the original didn't do so well in the North American market when it was released for the Xbox 360 in Fall of 2007. A quick search on Wikipedia brought this up:

Blue Dragon follows the story of five friends: Shu, Jiro, Kluke, Zola, and Marumaro, as they travel across the world to confront the evil King of the Grand Kingdom, Nene.

The reason the original was not so popular, from what we can gather, is that it was turn-based rather than a true RTS, an error that is corrected to good effect in Blue Dragon Plus.

Blue Dragon Plus, btw, is not (thank god) a card-swapping game, or a Pokemon clone, though it does have traditional Japanese anime characters. The gameplay is pretty straightforward if you are used to RTS strategy games (if not, you're going to want to use the tutorial to get the basics down). The game does a good job incorporating some really pretty cut scenes into the game to get you up to speed on the storyline, which goes something like this:

You are Shu, who apparently triumphed over Nene, that evil king sorceror guy who was causing trouble in the original, only now some new stuff is stirring up (there is a long cinematic intro to the game to give you that, "Wow, the world is in real trouble if we don't do something," feeling of foreboding). It seems that, just for starters, a huge, three-headed dragon has it in for you.

Luckily, you've got your gang hanging with you, ready to fight alongside with their "blue shadow monsters".

Blue Shadows

A lot of the early game is just pure fighting, without a lot of exploring or treasures or even puzzles to figure out until you get past the initial battles. When you do get the chance to explore, you'll want to take the loot you've earned and split it up among your characters. Besides just being common sense (you'll have a more balanced team), you will end up splitting into smaller groups before the game is done, so it is to your advantage to gear everybody up and balance out their abilities as best you can.

There is no spoken audio in the game, though you have narrative in the form of text cut-scenes, like the one pictured at the left).

Blue Dragon Plus run-down:

The Good Stuff

Cut scenes and cinematic artwork are first-rate. Gorgeous.

Each character is unique, with different skill sets.

RTS rather than turn turn-based play.

Lots of gameplay, including battles galore and tons of loot to re-distribute among your characters (approximately 30 hours).

The not-so-good Stuff:

There's a lot happening on-screen, which makes it hard to zero in with your stylus.

All the action on the little screen means that, despite their unique abilities, it's hard to discern which character is which, so that you can pick out the right one(s) to help you win your battles.


Blue Dragon Plus (DS) released on Feb. 24th, and it retails for $29.99. Right now, you can catch it at Amazon for 27.99.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel


We're looking ahead to Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, a new action-RPG which promises it's going to be unlike anything we’ve ever played before.

We're talking massive, hand-designed game world, hundreds of monsters, two distinct campaigns and six unique character classes. Sacred 2's immersive environment, "combines the best elements of hack ‘n slash gaming, roleplaying and an engrossing story about a magical world on next-generation consoles".


Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is set to release March 24th for PC, PS3 and the XBOX 360 (Rated M for Mature, SRP 59.99).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Blue Dragon Plus (DS)

Check out the latest RPG for the DS from RocketXL and Ignition Entertainment, officially releasing today: Blue Dragon Plus.

We'll be reviewing the game for you soon here at Fuel the Rebellion, but until then, check out the Blue Dragon Plus widget, below, to get a feel for the game yourself. And feel free to share--that's us, give give give.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

MacGame Store Holiday Bundle: Definitely Decent (and cheap!)

We're giving a score of "decent" for the recent Holiday Bundle offered to MacGameStore.com members (yeah, see, we DO TOO cover games for the Mac!). The price is cheap, and the games are a mixed bag.

For the low, low price of just 24.95 (seriously, that's like, what? less than half of a PS3 or Xbox 360 game? Ever tried playing half a game?), they offered up a total of 12 digital downloads, including the bonus, Jewel Quest III, because they went over some kind of minimum order requirement that we can't quite remember right now (too much eggnog over the holidays, you ask? Well, it may just be so).

Okay, so, what you get, broken down:

Some decent puzzle games, which come in two basic groups: narrative "storyline" scenarios and the "match three or more of the same colored things" games we've all seen before.

hey, you, get off of my cloud

The best of the bunch of the first kind is about an amnesiac who won the lottery and then was attacked. Though the resolution isn't really surprising (spoiler: the husband's a rotter), Hidden Secrets: The Nightmare is full of challenging gameplay.

First of all, you've got lots of "get the tools and then figure out how to use them" puzzles to solve, made more difficult because:

  • The animation is occasionally lacking ("what the hell IS that? A coin or a button?!").
  • They require a leap of logic akin to those old King's Quest days. Remember those games? If you did even one thing out of precise order you couldn't possibly finish the quest. Same deal here: you have to do everything in the order that the game designers thought made the most sense (even when it clearly doesn't).
Redeeming feature: this game includes a truly diabolical puzzle section with matchsticks that just boggles the mind. Really. At some points, the only thing stopping you from hurling your laptop out the window as you try to create less squares with more matchsticks is that elite Mac price tag, IFKWIM. AITYD. Oh, and it's timed.

Definitely worth the price tag for that game alone, if you ask us. But there's also Escape from the Museum, with a very similar concept (and yes, the same occasional blurry animation problems) but different puzzles to solve.

For example, there's loads of "find ten of these" screens, and some old-school puzzles reminiscent of that newspaper deal where you get two pictures and you have to figure out what's different between them. Solving puzzles in some rooms unlocks more rooms in the museum, which is frickin' huge by the time you're done. Another good value.

Then, there's the match 'em up puzzles, like Jewel Quest III, which is of course a fine game, and Deep Blue Sea, which is okay, mostly because it has mermaids in it.

Next, you got your "Rip Off The Game Show" type games, Wheel of Fortune Deluxe and Trivia Machine (Wow. Did we even play that second one? Don't think so. We'll have to give it a look).

Then, there's the "OMG, the customers are going to riot!" games that make you scurry around like a madman to satisfy your clientele, expertly preparing you for your future life in customer service. You know, like the classic Diner Dash series.

We have to admit, we're a sucker for those, which no one else around here seems to get at all. But judging from the popularity, we can't be on our own, can we?

The MacGameStore.com bundle offers up Fitness Frenzy and Burger Shop, and Burger Shop is by far the better of the two. Fitness Frenzy, which as it sounds takes place in a gym, gets boring and repetitive, which is always a risk with these types of games.

cowboys eat a lot of burgers

Refreshingly, Burger Shop introduces both psycho clowns and bacon-cheeseburger-eating aliens (yes, really) to keep the action lively. We had hours of fun with Burger Shop, trying to perfect the levels. If you're a Diner Dash fan, you will too. 'Nuther good value.

You've also got an eye-straining pixelated deal called Neon Tango, which even MacGameStore.com found hard to describe. Here's what they came up with:

Pixelated Warrior, Defender of the Bytes! Launch your cybership into battle against the forces of chaos across 50 stages of bitmapped treachery overflowing with glowing enemies and pulsating bosses. Conceived with a gorgeous minimalism, Neon Tango licks the shoot-em-up genre down to its chewy abstract center.
Gorgeous minimalism, that's a nice turn of phrase. We've got to give props on that description, but the game gave us all headaches.

Lessee, what else? Oh, there's Feeding Frenzy, which is just dismal. Not really worth the time.

What?

You want more of a description than that?

Fine.

A waste of good sushi

Here it is: fish eat little fish to get bigger, while avoiding fish that are bigger still.

That's it.

See? We warned you.

Lastly, there's Escape from Paradise. The name had us thinking (hoping) it was another of the puzzle games at first, but nope.

In EfromP, You're a survivor of a cruise ship that wrecked ('cause, oh yeah, that happens all the time), and you have to find a way off the island along with your other castaways, who for some reason are perfectly willing to do all the hard work you assign them, while you play fun minigames. Pretty standard fare all around, if a little repetitive.

So, summing up: Stick with the puzzle games, and the bundle is well worth the (meager) $24.95 price tag.

Oh, and definitely ditch Feeding Frenzy first chance you get.

Seriously.

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