Walking Dead Game May Get DLC


Telltale Games did a phenomenal job last year when they created the Walking Dead Season One for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, as well as IOS devices. Unfortunately the second season of The Walking Dead is going to be a long wait due to the fact that the studio is taking the essential time needed to create a powerful and emotionally gripping plot like the first. On a positive note, you will be happy to hear that more of season one is coming before the year is out. Writer/consultant Gary Whitta stated in a recent interview “You won’t have to wait for season two to play more Walking Dead but unfortunately the second season is way off.” He only added to this statement by mentioning that specific news on the DLC will be coming soon.

We can only hope that this news will be coming by E3 the latest. I myself played through the entire five episode game, and I can easily say it was one of my top gaming experiences for 2012. For more news on this or any other topic, be sure to keep it locked onto Gamers Xtreme, and as always “Game On!”

As 2013 Nears, Are Handheld Systems Fading Away?

With the recent spike and tremendous success in Mobile and Tablet/iPad gaming, it seems handheld gaming devices may be on their last leg. This past spring, Sony launched its new PlayStation Vita. Their initial hopes were that both the combined sales of the new Vita and existing PSP devices would create a 16 million dollar profit for the fiscal year. Just three months later, both systems combined only sold 1.8 million devices. Observing this, the company reduced its original expectations to now 12 million devices sold. Just this month, following another round of disappointing sales figures for September and October, the company has again lowered expectations, reducing its sales hopes to 10 million portable systems projected to sell by March 2013.

Globally, Sony sold 1.6 million Vitas and PSPs in the last three months. This is less than the 1.7 million original PSPs it sold during the same period last year. Keep in mind, this was before the Vita was released. While Sony has not stated specific sales numbers for both the Vita and PSP separately, it does seem clear that Sony was hoping the Vita was going to make up for the decline in PSP sales. Unfortunately however, the poor Vita sales figures have aided in dragging Sony’s gaming profit down, compared to last year’s $88.6 million profit.

In addition, Nintendo has reported a decline in 3DS sales by 1 million units for the year. However, Nintendo issued a statement explaining why they believe their sales figures have dwindled over the past 12 months. They attributed the loss in sales due to tough competition from mobile and tablet games. It is interesting to observe that both Sony and Nintendo were a tad too optimistic about the success for dedicated portable gaming. For the past two years, and in particularly 2012, the global market is now dominated by iPads, tablets, smartphones and $1 downloadable games. Most of these games are creating hours of enjoyable entertainment for their consumers at a fraction of the price of handheld systems from Nintendo and Sony. It is clear both companies are continuing to struggle with adjusting to a world in which portable games are not the dominant, solid money makers they once had been.

Well guys, feel free to sound off and comment on your beliefs below. Stay tuned to Gamers Xtreme and as always, “Game On!”

Punch Quest Review (iOS / Android)

There’s a few household names in the mobile gaming market that have come out over the past few years – Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride, Monster Dash – most of these titles are instantly recognizable by anyone with a handheld device or smart phone. Whether it’s a certain aesthetic, a catchy game mechanic, or just that special something, these games have become hugely successful, and are invariably going to set standards in their genres. At face value, Rocketcat Games’ and Madgarden’s Punch Quest could appear to be based on many popular mechanics, like Monster Dash’s run-and-gun style of gameplay. However, after just a few minutes with the game, it’ll be plainly obvious that Punch Quest is a unique, innovative, and downright addicting game that’ll be more than just a passing entry on the Top 25 list.

The concept behind Punch Quest is pretty simple, and at its core not that new – you play as a muscle-bound Punchzerker on a VERY bad day. After busting through a castle door, your punching spree begins. Your character runs forward constantly, so all you need to worry about is how to pummel your opponents. This is done in two ways: a straight Dash Punch which can be mashed to increase your speed, and an uppercut / overhead smash combo that lets you soar into the air to deal with aerial threats or lay the smack down on your enemies’ heads. It’s a simple system on the surface but boasts surprising depth once you get to try it out. And you get plenty of opportunities to use your fighting skills, as just about everything can be punched – skeletons, zombies, orcs, bats, wraiths, torches, chests, vases, idols, and even food can be bashed around, among other surprises. Chaining strikes together and juggling enemies increases your combo, which is the key to racking up huge score combos. There’s a ton of surprises to be had too – branching paths, special mini-games with laser-shooting raptors, boss fights, traps, treasure troves, and more.

When the going gets tough, the tough punch things. A lot.

As you accumulate experience by pummeling enemies, a power meter on-screen will fill. As it reaches three milestones, you’ll unlock two Skills and a Super Move, in that order. These Skills passively enhance your skills, like making your uppercuts jump higher or improving damage of overhead slams, or give you entirely new moves to perform, like a block that reflects projectiles back at the attacker. Super Moves make you significantly more dangerous for a limited time and are potentially very over-the-top. Make your punches more damaging, literally throw punches, or even make defeated enemies explode. More and tougher enemies will start appearing as you gain experience, upping the challenge but also increasing the potential reward. Punching anything – enemies or otherwise – earns you Punchos, the game’s currency, which can be used to purchase a whole slew of upgrades and customization options. There’s a ton of stuff to purchase, so the game will keep you coming back again and again to grab as much as you can. There’s even achievements to be had on iOS for the completionist.

Punch Quest strikes a perfect middle-ground between the new and the old with its art and sound aesthetic, sporting an 8-bit visual and audio design highlighted by scintillating special effects and brass horn highlights. The game looks retro yet modern, sounds old-school yet delightful, and strikes every point just right. Anyone who’s played Final Fight, Streets of Rage, Street Fighter, or pretty much any old-school brawler will feel a sense of nostalgia from the get-go. The game can even be played in portrait or landscape perspective, and plays quite well in both, so it’s up to user preference which way to handle your device during play. Most importantly, though, the game has a unique charm that goes beyond the looks – the game’s quirky sense of humor is clever and cute, and despite being a somewhat inherently violent game, it’s got something for just about anyone, from the young to the not so much.

Need we say more?

Perhaps best of all, the game boasts a very consumer-friendly pricing model. The game itself is free, and Punchos are easy enough to come by through gameplay alone that most won’t feel the need to fork over real money to get some. The option is there, as well as a permanent upgrade that doubles all Punchos earned (not bought). It’s publically-known that Punch Quest isn’t earning Rocketcat a ton of revenue, but this leaves an interesting pivot point for players – the option of buying in-app content is more of a donation to the developers. Given the love and care Rocketcat has clearly put into Punch Quest, it’s a nice and very deserving gesture.

It’s very hard to find faults with Punch Quest because it’s a game that does so many things right – simple but engrossing gameplay with that “just one more” factor, an endearing and vivid aesthetic, tons of hooks and replayability, and best of all, provides the entire package in a no-strings-attached business model. If you enjoy the game (and you should – a lot), by all means, support the developer and make an in-app purchase! They’ve earned it, at least in this reviewer’s opinion. Punch Quest has earned its place in the mobile Pantheon right along Angry Birds and Jetpack Joyride.


Cubemen Review (PC/Mac/iPad)

Tower Defense games have come a long way from being simple custom maps in Starcraft. TD is quickly becoming its own major game genre, and tons of games have been released that put a spin on the classic formula. One such game, Cubemen, by Three Sprockets, aims to take everything we think we know about Tower Defense and throw it out the window. Rather than build static towers, you purchase and command a squad of “Cubemen”, soldiers with specialized gear and roles. Does Cubemen stand out in the crowd of Tower Defense games, or fall in line? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

There are several aspects of Cubemen that it shares with other Tower Defense games; namely, enemies spawn on the map and move towards your base to destroy it, requiring you to build defenses to stop them. What sets Cubemen apart are its unique gameplay twists; rather than building towers, you can use money (called “Cubes”) earned from destroying enemy Cubemen to purchase your own Cubemen, each with their own role. Your Cubemen will fight with enemy Cubemen, and each side will take damage. When a Cubeman’s HP is exhausted, it disappears. What’s nice is that you aren’t required to keep your troops where you put them; all Cubemen (except the medic) can be repositioned around the map as required. This is a good thing, because Cubemen’s maps might take some adjusting-to as well. Rather than playing on flat, open battlefields, each map is three-dimensional (and made of – you guessed it – cubes); some even contain walls and pillars to take cover behind. This allows for some complex strategies and makes every Cubeman useful. Try hiding a flamer behind a wall, waiting to ambush enemies who pass by, while perching a Sniper on top of a column to soften up enemies from afar. Mortars can fire over walls (given enough clearance). This is just a taste of Cubemen’s deep strategic opportunities, and rewards players with experimentation. The game even seems to steer the player towards producing a variable army, as each time you purchase a Cubeman, its cost increases by one Cube. This creates the hilarious possibility for the cheapest unit in the game to eventually surpass more powerful ones in price. Even so, your Cubemen work best when they can perform their specialized roles, so having a tough unit in the front while the much frailer Sniper chips away at enemies from a distance is an excellent idea.

While the game lacks a real “Campaign”, the single-player experience includes a staggering 35 maps to play on, each with varying difficulty, from Beginner all the way up to the Insanity level. Your score is recorded at the end of each match and uploaded to the global leaderboard, allowing you to see how you stack up against the rest of the planet. You can even rate each map out of 5 stars after you play it, both to remind yourself of what you thought and possibly for some other hidden feature that has yet to be revealed. Single player includes six different game modes, including Classic, Limited Players, Limited Cubes, Just Rockets, Endless, and Sudden Death, and each provides some nice variety on the core gameplay. Cubemen also has great Multiplayer offerings, including 1-on-1 Skirmishes and a Mayhem mode, where six players can duke it out together. Multiplayer has no shortage of maps either – there’s a whopping 25 of them. Multiplayer is very similar to single player, with every player spawning Cubemen periodically to automatically try to attack other players’ bases. Unlike single player, however, Cubeman purchasing costs do not rise as more are purchased, allowing a wider range of unit combinations and strategies. You can even apply some creativity to your Cubemen, as the game gives you the option to choose their color and give them a pattern. Want to wage war against Eyepatch (pirate) Cubemen with your own Ninja Cubemen? Go for it. Are you a hardcore Linux user and want to stick it to Microsoft? Proudly emblazon Tux on your Cubemen while plastering the Windows logo on your enemies. It’s simple, but a nice addition.

As far as visuals and audio go, Cubemen is pretty simplistic, but it works. The game goes for solid, metallic colors with neon lighting, and definitely gives off a huge Tron vibe. Even the sound effects, which sound like something straight out of an 80’s Atari game, fit this theme. However, this is perfectly evocative of the game’s style, placing virtual soldiers on a simulated battlefield. Cubemen is true to its name as well – just about everything in the game is formed from cubes or rectangles, from the maps to the Cubemen and the projectiles they fire. While it’s never going to compete with Crysis 2 in the graphics department, Cubemen succeeds at presenting a clean-cut, simple art design that fits the game perfectly. Perhaps the one place Cubemen falls flat is its music – there is really only one track to speak of, and it plays on loop throughout the whole game, whether you’re in the menus or playing a round. It’s a shame the developer didn’t add a bit more in the way of a soundtrack, but it doesn’t detract from the game either. And if you eventually tire of it, you can always shut the music off and play your own soundtrack on your favorite media player in the background.

Cubemen would have also greatly benefited from a map editor, and given how simple the maps are, it wouldn’t be hard for a player to pick up and start rolling out their own stages. It’s possible Three Sprockets may be planning to release map packs down the road, which would definitely make a map editor a bad idea. However, if that isn’t the case, I hope Three Sprockets plans to include one at a later date.

All in all, Cubemen is an excellent addition to the Tower Defense market, and brings many fresh ideas to a genre already full of variety. The single player component offers an excellent change for players to hone their skills, while the multiplayer component ensures tons of replayability. Cubemen is currently available on Steam, Desura, and the iPad App Store for $4.99.

Final Score: 8.0 out of 10 = BUY IT!

A special thanks to Three Sprockets for providing Gamers XTREME with a review copy of Cubemen!

Controlling Your Xbox 360 Via iPhone and/or Android Device

There is a new update today for iPhone, iPad and certain Android devices that certainly creates a nifty feature. Microsoft has now updated the iPhone/Android “My Xbox Live” app creating a wi-fi console controller using your tablet or cell phone device. The official “My Xbox Live” app for the iPhone, iPad, and certain Android devices allows users to connect and control their Xbox 360 remotely.

This is a free update allowing users to start games, launch apps and play movies directly from your cell phone to your console. An example of one feature is using your iPhone as a touch remote for Hulu, Netflix and the dozens of other movie apps. You can also connect your iPhone for access to a list of your recent activity on the console, as well as navigate through your content with “play”, “pause”, “fast-forward” and “rewind” for media controls.

In addition to the iOS update, “My Xbox Live” app included improved authentication for increased stability, plus high-resolution images for iPhone and iPad retina display. If you have an iPhone, iPad and/or certain Androids, as well as an Xbox, you should definitely check it out just from a technical aspect to see if it suits you. Sound off below on your thoughts and opinions, and “Game On!”

Will Pizza Making Change the Face of Gaming and Employment?

Brace yourselves everybody! Domino’s new employment Application/Game could possibly transform the way we order pizza and succeed at jobs. If you’re feeling puzzled right now, that’s a normal reaction and I will explain. Pizza Hero is a pizza-making video game that has been out since the fall of 2011, free on the App Store. The gamer’s objective is to make pizzas rapidly and precisely.

You will stroke your fingers on the iPad screen to roll out some pizza dough. You swipe your fingers in a circular motion to spread the sauce, then sprinkling cheese with the tap of your fingers. You tap toppings into place as well. Finally, you place the newly created pie in the oven. By now, I think everybody will get the overall idea of the game itself.

The catch here is that the game’s difficulty is set to such a high standard of perfection in pizza making, that the success rate is low. One ounce of cheese sprinkled over the crust rather than on the pie will be game over. Making a pie slightly off rather than a perfect circle will become a K.O. again. Even a portion of sauce larger on one side of the pie than the other will end your short-lived pizza making career.

The main goal here is to teach players that “practice makes perfect” and quality is everything. Thus, this brings in the notion or belief that this game will help people succeed at jobs…mainly Domino’s. This game is now a standard for Domino’s hiring process. Before an employee applies, they must successfully complete over two rounds of intense pizza making. There is one cool factor to all of this and that is the choice to actually place a real order via the app. There is certainly a sense of satisfaction completing the round to place your custom order. Ultimately though, if you’re in a rush to order pizza, this may not be the ideal method.