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Review: Monster Tale

Mar 23 // Colette Bennett
Monster Tale (DS)Developer: DreamRiftPublisher: MajescoReleased: March 22, 2011MSRP: $29.99 When you hear that the team behind a game is the same as the people behind the award-winning Henry Hatsworth series, you tend to sit up at take notice. That is the case with Monster Tale, and what we got out of the preview was that that pedigree definitely made for some great gameplay (at least for the early levels we checked out). But could they hold up the quality for an entire game? In Monster Tale, you play the role of a plucky young girl named Ellie who is whipped away by magic to a world populated with semi-threatening monsters. Ellie makes a friend named Chomp, who will be her companion for the rest of the game, and also doubles as an excuse for a ton of really interesting interactive game mechanics. The concept behind Monster Tale is still a simple one, but thanks to Chomp, it'll keep you busy! Ellie and Chomp's main mission is to defeat the Kid Kings, who are actually children from Ellie's real world that have gotten their hands on a bit too much power. To do that, you're going to do a lot of back and forth platforming, similar to the style of Metroid and old-school Castlevania. If you've played any Hatsworth title, you're sure to see the influence here, as Ellie kind of moves a lot like the old chap, but the differences are enough to make it feel like its not a bite stylewise. Ellie defends herself in the game by using a band which powers up through the use of different abilities she gains as she progresses. You'll get a little fireball spell to start off, as well as a melee attack. Once you meet Chomp, you can rock out with all kinds of new powers, because he interacts with Ellie in a such a way that it really opens up the possibilities of what you can do during play (although it won't be that way right off the bat ... give him some time to develop!). He's pretty good just as a sidekick who stomps baddies alongside Ellie, but after Chomp evolves a bit, he can do a lot. You can stick with his original form, which kind of looks like a Croissant with cute eyes, or you can change to different forms later down the line. Each of the forms earns experience separately, so you'll need to be handy with swapping out abilities and making sure you give all of his forms some fighting time. Otherwise, you won't be able to access all the cool stuff he has to offer. Speaking of using Chomp, you'll need to be aware of his petmeter as well. When he is on the top screen fighting alongside Ellie, he gets tired. However, he has a cool little mancave on the bottom screen called the Pet Sanctuary, and you can send him there with a touch of the X button. He'll regenerate energy there, and any pet items you find during your travels will also be found down there. If he goes down to eat them, he'll get little stat boosts to experience, use them as weapons, and more. Plus, it's really cool to watch him eat. Boss battles in Monster Tale feel just like playing the Super Nintendo, from music to boss size (as you would hope, they mostly fill the screen). If you played that system when it was in its original run, you're going to swoon over that nostalgic feeling. I know I did, and it reminded me of some good old times back in the day. As for gameplay, it flows forward in a pleasant manner. I found Monster Tale to be moderately challenging, but never quite as much so as Hatsworth was, so this is obviously aimed at a slightly different audience. One thing the game does do is handhold, which will either be handy to you or piss you off, depending on what you prefer. It'll always tell you where to go next and show it on the map. I personally like this as there are times where I forget where I've already been in this map style, and it can be useful to have a guide. One thing I did not like about Monster Tale was the backtracking. You'll revisit each area at least once, and Ellie's not exactly a speed demon. That's okay, though, because the fun of the game's partner mechanic and ease of play far outweigh the annoyance of having to retrace your steps a few times. If there's any major weakness the game has, its that its almost too simple, but I get the feeling that DreamRift wanted it to be something both kids and adults could enjoy, and it certainly fits that bill. A full playthrough lasted us about 8-9 hours, which was plenty of amusement for the price.
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You may recollect back in January we brought you a preview of a cute little platformer coming soon from Majesco called Monster Tale. A sweet title with distinctly retro flavor, Monster Tale used some cool tricks to keep us ex...

Destructoid chats about Orcs Must Die!

Feb 25 // Colette Bennett
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During my recent visit to Robot Entertainment, I got to do all sorts of fun things: hang out in the "beer garden" that they call a conference room (which includes little chill-out stations to take breaks and play games, of co...

Hands-on: Orcs Must Die!

Feb 25 // Colette Bennett
[embed]194575:36601[/embed] Orcs Must Die! (PC) Developer: Robot EntertainmentPublisher: Robot EntertainmentTo be released: 2011 My first thought when I sat down for my playthrough of Robot's first original IP was that it reminded me a bit of how it felt to sit in front of World of Warcraft (or any similarly-themed MMO for that matter). Orcs Must Die! is a single-player game, but everything from viewing your character in a third person perspective to the use of hotkeys for spells and traps reminded me of that MMO feeling. However, I prefer to play games that have finite endings, so already Orcs Must Die! featured something to please me that MMOs cannot offer. Playing as an nameless main character who is rather brawny and looks a bit like a Dreamworks hero, I started on a dungeon-like map called The Hallway that was fairly simple. My job was to protect the Rift, a glowing source of power at the end of my map, from the oncoming waves of orcs. In my arsenal in this early level of the game, I had at my disposal several traps such as spikes I could lay on the floor and walls and a bog-like muck which causes slowdown. I also had a sword in hand, so for any orcs that managed to somehow make it past the traps I laid, I was able to go in and stop them with a few slashes. Take that, beasts! The average brand of orc was slow, so they were really better to practice against in the early level I played -- I wouldn't call them a challenge. These early orcs are best for when you are trying to get a handle on how to use the traps you have and figure out what works best.  Speaking of traps, there are going to be quite a few of them (and best of all, they can't hurt you -- I guess they only have it out for orcs). Robot has not confirmed a specific number, but in addition to the spikes and bog-muck, I also got to play with larger scale traps such as a swinging mace, which you can mount from the ceiling, and a spiked rolling log you can send down a flight of stairs. Pots of boiling acid were also mentioned, but we did not see them in the levels we played. I have to admit that there is something really absurdly rewarding about sending a pack of orcs flying with a spring trap and watching them drown in a nearby lava pit. I also like that your character makes smartass remarks as he sends the denizens of the underworld flying to meet their doom. In the second level we got hands on time with, the Sorcerer's Tower, things got complex and we got a peek at the possibilities of the game in its middle stages. This level had a door at the bottom, with the aforementioned lava pit off to one side. The path the orcs can take spirals up the tower, with plenty of environmental goodies you can use (there's even a big gun on the highest level.) This level also introduces several new types of orcs (Robot tells us there will be eight types in total.) Some heavies ambled in, which I expected, but most annoying were some smaller, faster guys who make a kind of shrieking noise as they roll past. It's a shame you can't step on them. This level also taught me that certain types of attacks with my melee bow were more useful than others. A headshot took an orc down faster, for instance, than body shots, and appeared to generate more total points for my score. I also had gained a new spell (fireballs!), and Orcs also dropped resources such as health and loot. It was easy for me to see how the game could grow challenging as it progresses, as you only have ten slots for traps and your melee weapons combined. Once you have more than ten traps at your disposal, you're going to have choose which ones you want to take into each level, so there will be some trial and error involved there. You can also call for help and have an archer come in and shoot orcs in the face alongside you. Nothing like some teamwork to make a killing spree worthwhile! Orcs Must Die! is still in development, so although it will be shown off at this year's PAX East, there are still many more developments in store. Robot tells us that DLC is definitely possible and that a Mac release has not yet been decided on, so if you want those things, be sure to give them your feedback if you play the game at PAX. I'm looking forward to more delicious orc slaughtering when this one hits later this year.
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Just to be fair, I'm going to throw this out there before I go one word further: I LOVE tower defense games. With all my heart. As soon as I saw the first preview for Orcs Must Die! during my trip to Robot Entertainment ...


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Earth Defense Force ... on my iPhone?


Jan 06
// Colette Bennett
I feel like all the sudden, my precious Earth Defense Force is going through some sort of renaissance. A few months ago, I was happily replaying the 360 version with one of my best friends in mad pursuit of the Genocide Gun, ...

Preview: Monster Tale

Jan 04 // Colette Bennett
The first thing I noticed about Monster Tale -- and the thing that you likely won't be able to help noticing either -- is that it feels so much like playing something on your Super Nintendo, it's not even funny. For that alone, I love Majesco for this. Not everything retro-flavored is good ... but if it's done right, it can be wonderful. When Monster Tale opens, you'll meet Ellie, the blue-haired girl you are going to play. Ellie finds herself in a mysterious world with an adorable creature named Chomp who follows her around and just so happens to be willing to assist her during battle. This is where your adventure begins ... and while it's not exactly a unique premise, it does give the developers the opportunity to put some really fun game mechanics into play. The second thing you are going to notice about Monster Tale right off the bat is that its map system works like Castlevania's does in the more recent DS titles. By no means is this a bad thing, either. After Chomp's introduction, you'll be gently eased into the ways he can be used. I especially appreciated the speed at which we are introduced to new mechanics here -- it does a wonderful job of explaining without making the user feel talked down to or left in the dark. As shown in the screenshot above, both screens are cleverly implemented by dedicating the bottom screen to something called Chomp's "Pet Sanctuary". The little critter can swoop down there to regain health, eat powerups you find ("pet items"), and learn new skills by reading scrolls. It keeps you busy and dices up the sidescrolling part of the adventure, but never feels like a chore. Monster Tale also manages to pull off another challenging feat in being cute without being annoyingly so. It is not as difficult as the sidescrollers it seems to be inspired by, but remains challenging enough to be worth playing. As Chomp develops, you can carefully customize him by using the money you find on weapons, powerups and more, so his performance is really what you make it. You'll want to choose wisely too, because there are lots of epic bosses coming that you'll need to be ready for! Monster Tale comes out this March for the Nintendo DS and will retail for $29.99. If you want some quality gaming time reliving the joy of your 16 bit days, you just might to check this one out!
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Sure, the DS is choked with cute platformers -- we all already know that. Still, when I hear that a game is coming our way that not appeal to my retro sensibilities, but also is being headed up by the same folks who took the ...

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One Chance: consequences in gaming


Dec 07
// Colette Bennett
As we see games evolve, we find that our experiences within them become more realistic. And yet, there are basic tenets of gaming that still are determined to defy reality: monsters that drop money, treasure chests in the mid...
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Exclusive: EDF Insect Armageddon gets local co-op, more guns


Nov 01
// Colette Bennett
If you hang around here a lot, you may already be aware that I am a little obsessed with a game called Earth Defense Force: 2017. I've been hoping for a sequel for a while now, and when Insect Armageddon was announced la...
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The Fight Nerd hosts their first Fall Brawl event


Oct 15
// Colette Bennett
Our friends over at The Fight Nerd  let us know recently that a big event is coming up for them this weekend. Called The Fall Brawl, this event will be held in New York tomorrow at 8 Bit and Up Video Games from 12 noon on....

Review: Space Invaders Infinity Gene (PS3/360)

Oct 01 // Colette Bennett
Space Invaders Infinity Gene (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)Developer: Taito CorporationPublisher: Square EnixRelease date: September 14th, 2010 (XBLA), September 15th (PSN) I remember the first time I played Space Invaders Extreme 2 on my DS -- I was not remotely convinced that it was going to hold my interest. Until I heard the music, that is. New design goes a long way for these iconic games. Infinity Gene performs in a similar manner when it comes to bringing something new to the table, not only providing solid music but gorgeous new graphics to complement it. To start off, your ship will only be able to move left and right, but as you blast ships and rack up points, you'll fill up a little meter at the bottom of your screen. Once you fill it up all the way and finish a level, you'll get a cool little white flash and the screen will say "EVOLUTION", making you feel super accomplished and kind of like shaking your tailfeather a bit. Its so Darwin up in here, yo. One of your first unlocks is full screen movement, which is cool in that it does really make you feel as if you are watching the classic arcade game evolve into something new -- a cool feeling for a gamer that's been around as long as I have. It only gets better from there, though. As you complete each level, you'll see a little growth tree that fans out its branches and shows you your progress. If you unlock anything special, you'll see that here too. As you blow things up, you'll notice little gene clusters floating around the screen. Grab them to make your weapon more powerful. If you get hit they'll fly all over the screen, but you have a chance to chase them down before they vanish, which is another feature of the game I really love. The console version of the game offers several upgrades the iPhone version does not have, such as additional weapons, an increased lives limit, unlockable bonus stages and music. Of course there are leaderboards as well, but the new modes distracted me from them for a while. My favorite was the Music Mode, which will generate stages based on the music you have stored on your PS3 or 360. I tried this with some wacky stuff such as Vola and the Oriental Machine's new album Principle, and I had some serious fun watching the levels it came up with. A Challenge Mode is also available, which is 99 challenge stages -- ought to keep you busy for a while. There are times in the game when the monochromatic imagery suffers that same issue as the iPhone version did. You're not always sure what's going to kill you and what's just a part of the constantly moving design, but then again, its hardly a design flaw -- it just means you're going to have to play the level through a few times before you get fully acclimated. The levels are very short at first, but you'll see a serious ramp up in difficulty by the time you get further in. Blasting bosses also seems quick at first, but don't worry ... you're going to really like it once you get to the ones that take you more time. The game evolves from simple, bare bones to a full on shmup with bullets flying every which way, and I think you'll find plenty to both challenge you and keep you coming back. For $9.99, this seems like a pretty good deal to me, and something you'll be able to get a lot of replay out of. Score: 8.0 - Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)
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If you have an iPhone, you may have played Space Invaders Infinity Gene when it came out late last year. Why are we excited about a port then, you ask? Why, HD, of course. That, and the ability to use a gamepad rather than yo...

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PixelJunk Monsters sequel being considered, no more 2D


Sep 26
// Colette Bennett
Anyone that knows me well knows that I am unnaturally obsessed with PixelJunk Monsters. I still play the game at least two nights a week, and since I have finished the majority of the levels, I just try to get the trophies fr...
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Pre-order DJ Hero 2 and get free remixes from Amazon


Sep 23
// Colette Bennett
DJ Hero 2 is coming out next month on October 19th, and for those of you who are patiently waiting for the release I have good news for you: Amazon is offering a pre-order bonus in the form of two remixes. These exclusive son...
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Ico and Last Guardian films could one day exist


Sep 23
// Colette Bennett
So you already know that we are less than thrilled about the idea of a Shadow of the Colossus movie. I think I would be okay with it if Guillermo Del Toro was the one making it, but considering it's Misher Films behind it, I'...
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I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!!1 shirts hit Hot Topic


Sep 21
// Colette Bennett
The entire Destructoid staff more or less agrees that I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!!1! is easily some of the best fun you can have with a game on the Xbox 360. That costs a dollar, no less. Ska Studios has recently teame...
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Guardian of Light will get free downloadable content


Sep 21
// Colette Bennett
In our recent interview with Crystal Dynamics about Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, we got to find out all kinds of cool info about plans for the title, but there was one we didn't see coming -- new content.  Cryst...
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This modded R2 unit is going to blow your mind


Sep 17
// Colette Bennett
Just look at the R2D2 you see there in the photo above for a second. Do you see that SNES cart sticking out of one of his ports? WHAT IS THIS GLORIOUS THING? Kotaku posted images today (Via Fort90) of this incredible droid wh...
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D3 announces Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon


Sep 17
// Colette Bennett
 TODAY IS THE DAY I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR ALL MY LIFE. Okay, well, maybe that's exaggerating, but you all know I love Earth Defense Force 2017. So hard. And in fact, when that new teaser website popped up for Insect Arm...
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Namco announces Body and Brain Connection for Kinect


Sep 16
// Colette Bennett
We got word of a new Kinect title aimed at powering up your noggin from Namco last week, with the famous Dr. Ryuta Kawashima on board, who is behind Nintendo's famous Brain Training series. Today, Namco spilled the rest of th...
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Alundra, Arc the Lad getting a PSN re-release


Sep 16
// Colette Bennett
I love the golden era of PS One RPGs. I recal so many games from that time with such fond feelings. One of them was easily Alundra, an action RPG that I plowed many hours into back in the day. I may get to relive those wonder...
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White PS3 comes to Japan October 21st


Sep 16
// Colette Bennett
White PS3 slim? Yeah, we knew that was coming. Originally we thought these 320GB HDD versions of the console were coming July 29th, accompanied by a smaller version as well (160GB HDD), but according to Sony's official websit...
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TGS: Sega announces Phantasy Star Online 2 for PC


Sep 16
// Colette Bennett
Someone cares about Phantasy Star Online, right? I mean, I am sure it is a good game series. All I know is, when I first read this, my brain transposed the order of the words and I read "Phantasy Star 2 Online." And for a min...
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Atlus announces a Greatest Hits version of Demon's Souls


Sep 15
// Colette Bennett
Demon's Souls, a game so notoriously hard that our own Dale North admitted he could not even finish it, has earned the grudging respect of many gamers because of its crazy level of challenge. Still, the game earned very high ...
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TGS: New Last Guardian screens appear


Sep 15
// Colette Bennett
Team ICO fans have had so much to rejoice in the last 24 hours, it's hard not to still feel giddy. After all, the HD re-release of Shadow of the Colossus and Ico was just about the best news we could imagine. Let's not f...
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Final Fantasy live-action trailer has hot Japanese people


Sep 15
// Colette Bennett
I felt a little sketchy about Final Fantasy XIV when I first saw the trailers and such, but since I've seen more I admit I am considering playing it. If I hadn't already been convinced, though, this trailer would hav...
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Capcom brings Marvel vs. Capcom 3 to Chicago


Sep 14
// Colette Bennett
[Update: We guess you'll want to know where you're supposed to be going, eh? If you're headed to the "Fight Club," you'll want to put this address in your GPS: 437 N Wolcott AveChicago, IL 60622 We've also been told that th...
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Live action Pokemon is a thing that is happening


Sep 14
// Colette Bennett
Well, in someone's fantasies, anyway. We caught this hilarious trailer over at Shogun Gamer, which is most certainly not for a real film -- the full version was screened at Anime Evolution earlier this year -- but is...
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Valkyria Chronicles 3 showing at TGS this year


Sep 14
// Colette Bennett
We've given very high marks to both the entries in the Valkyria Chronicles franchise in the past. Considering that the first game had some sales issues before it got a price cut, we were a bit worried for a while there -- but...

Five things that must return in the EDF sequel

Sep 09 // Colette Bennett
1. MORE GIANT FUCKING ROBOTS Let me tell you something about these fuckers. For some reason, taking them down is like, one of the most satisfying things I've done in a videogame ever. Before you get your hands on the Lysander Z, one of the most powerful sniper rifles the game has to offer, these guys are a serious challenge. You won't see them early on in the game, but as the situation worsens in the fight for earth, they will eventually start popping up. They also shoot these insane beams at you that arc over the field and have the power to blow you across the screen, which is always really, really annoying. Watching them collapse and die is semi-orgasmic. I hope we get them twice as big and badass in Insect Armaggeddon. EDF 2017 Protip: Farm these in later levels to build crazy boosts to your armor rating, which you'll need if you want to finish the game in hardcore. 2. I WANT TO FIGHT MORE HUGE ASS MECH DINOSAURS I mean, look. Look at it. Seriously. It's a freaking DINO-MECH. And you get to fight it. I realize the sentiment is somewhat childish but you know what, I really can't bring myself to care. It's simply a blast to sink this thing, especially if you have a friend with you to help take him down.I've fought this fight at least twenty times and I still enjoy it. Maybe it's just me, I don't know. But trying to take down this fuck while he stomps around the city is just kind of excellent. I would like to either see an enhanced version return in Insect Armageddon, or a totally new mecha-beast altogether. Mecha-Pterodactyl? EDF 2017 Protip: Bring two Lysanders and snipe from afar. 3. I WANT MORE STUPID PHYSICS One of the best things about EDF 2017 that I dearly hope they hold onto for Insect Armageddon is the fact that as long as you have a rocket launcher, you can blow up absolutely any building in sight on the map. Anything. And there's something deliciously stupid about being able to do that. I can't count how many times I've gotten distracted blowing the crap out of things to have my partner say, "Colette! Please kill the ants!" Oh, sorry. Did you know I can blow up buildings, though?I It's pretty rad. EDF 2017 Protip: Blow shit up. 4. WORSE VOICEOVERS! Ok, so you're this guy, Probably not a guy who got a college degree, if you're out in the field blowing bugs away with a huge gun and all that good stuff. So I'm not making fun of him. However, he and his friends have just about the most awkward voiceovers I can possibly imagine in a videogame. When I hear lines like "Oh God, Jim is dead!" and "Go back to space!" uttered with complete seriousness, it just makes for a deliciously funny touch while I kill huge bugs. I'm not sure if they can do worse for the sequel, but man, I really hope they do. EDF 2017 Protip: Listen in the underground levels for some of the game's worst dialogue. 5. THE FINAL FIGHT HAS TO SOMEHOW TOP EDF 2017'S Movies have tried to duplicate the experience of the alien invasion of earth many times. Despite all EDF 2017's broken qualities, somehow it manages to give you the experience in a way that makes you feel all the chaos that the real event is quite real. A mothership that goes through several intense transformations is your opponent, with ships in the air attacking to keep you busy. As prepared as I am to play this level on hardcore, I always find myself yelling "OH FUCKKKK" to the person I'm playing it with as we both get tagged by lasers or forget the part where the giant legs come out or don't get far away enough to avoid being hit by it. It's always fun ... and that's not something I can say about many games on the first playthrough, much less the tenth. How could they do it better? I don't know. Maybe we could somehow fly up and fight it IN SPACE. Maybe you could oil wrestle a giant spider. Maybe all my guys can transform into flying robots. I don't know. I just know it has to be big and bad if it's going to work. I rest my case. What about actual IMPROVEMENTS? We'll be waiting, Sandlot (dear God I hope its you guys making this game). We hope you don't take out the cheese, because it makes the game. Just give us another fifty some-odd levels of alien-destroying action, add in online co-op (maybe 4 player? OMG THE POSSIBILITIES), vehicle control that actually works, a few new bug species (I vote for beetles) and we'll be happy. Ecstatic, in fact. Join me in the battle cry, now: "EDFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!"
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It's a funny thing that I just so happened to be enjoying a replay of Sandlot's Earth Defense Force 2017 with a good friend of mine when news of the website trademarked by D3 Publisher surfaced. Called Earth Defense Force:Ins...

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Realtime Worlds may get its saving throw


Sep 09
// Colette Bennett
The atmosphere has been turbulent in the industry since Scottish developer Realtime Worlds went into administration, with companies surging into the Dundee area to help provide support to the employees involved. However, Deve...
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Feelplus's Mindjack delayed to 2011


Sep 08
// Colette Bennett
I have such mixed feelings about Mindjack, the Square-Enix-published title from Feelplus that puts the player in the role of an FIA agent in search of a missing woman. I haven't cared for anything that Square Enix has publish...
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LittleBigPlanet 2 beta codes go out this week


Sep 08
// Colette Bennett
LittleBigPlanet 2 is on its way to us this November, so fans of the first game don't have long to wait. However, if you're lucky, you just might find yourself playing the beta a little sooner -- if you were a true enthusiast ...

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