Every so often (from now on), I’ll go through the list of new Community Games and play them so you don’t have to. As I play through them, I’ll sit by my computer, and keep the thoughts that I have about them in writing. This will allow me to sample plenty of community games and decide which ones are deserving of being bought. Hopefully I won’t have the problem of not finding a game worth buying, but if I do, I’ll find an older community game worth your money. There’s quite a few games here, so I’ll try to keep it interesting. The worthiest of your money is at the bottom, and has a full review to go along with it. Other games may also be worth your time, but only one game got the works.
We’ve got 12 games, so we’d best get going.
Price: 200 mp
Do you feel the excitement?
I just stepped into something of a text adventure. The background is neon orange, and I can feel my eyes beginning to bleed. After pressing start I’m shown a picture of my camel in the corner, along with a bar at the top showing my camel in relation to an “Oasis” of sorts, and by that I mean a palm tree. I’m given the choices of: “Drink”, “Walk”, “Run”, “Sleep”, “Status” or “Wait”. I opt to walk. A picture shows up next to stationary camel showing a vibrating camel… okay, my camel likes this pace evidently. How about a little run? A harder vibrating camel showed up. This is weird. The camel in the bar at the top has moved closer to the tree, my goal is to reach it.
Uh oh, I’m thirsty. The excitement’s ramping up already, I take a swig of water and continue on. Something just showed up behind my camel. I think it’s a fat headed midget. I honestly don’t know what to do, so we’re gonna book it. I select “Run”. Hmm… I rode my camel to death and died in the desert. That was fun.
Recommendation: Try it – If only for the novelty
Price: 400 mp
The title screen is much less abrasive than neon orange, and I’m given more options than just “Press Start”. While I was typing this a demo screen showed up, a couple of cars are racing around a half circle track, bumping into each other and zipping around corners in excess of 20 mph. I get out of the demonstration and consider hitting the exit button. I man up and choose “Quick Race” instead.
A “U” shaped track is what I’m given, and the countdown begins. I paused the game to type this, and I feel I must point out the rather extreme music that is gracing my ears right now. Of course by extreme I mean “Pop” and by gracing I mean “Assaulting”. I unpause.
Before the first lap is finished, I’ve been shoved off the track twice. The saddest part about this is that I was shoved off the track by the token loser car who’s only there make sure you win by at least one. The tracks are evidently covered in some kind of space age concrete that while being neigh frictionless, will allow skid marks and screeches to happen all over the place. I’m now in third place and try to cut across one of the tracks. A little cross appears over my car indicating a “no-no”, so I say screw it and just start driving backwards along the track.
The demo ends with the asshole loser car getting second because I stopped in front of Senior Firstplace’. I felt like I’d accomplished enough, and shut it off.
Recommendation: Ignore It – There’s nothing here you haven’t played before, and probably better.
NextWar: The Quest for Earth
Price: 200 mp
Not Shown: On my TV with tiny unreadable text
Up next is a Tower Defense game, mostly found on computers. Let’s see if that’s for a good reason. I could read the instructions, wait no, actually I can’t. I find that the text is too small for those of us with puny standard definition televisions to read. I won’t hold this against the game though, because rich people deserve to be catered to.
I hop right in and due to my eyes only having 20/20 vision, I can’t decide what to put down. I begin randomly laying out towers to kill the… let’s just call them enemies because I haven’t the slightest clue what they are. I laid out a bunch of little red squares that are evidently lasers. They go about killing the little asteriks that float by. It’s like a slower version of Geometry Wars. The waves come by and I don’t have to do squat. Now would be the time to point out that if you enjoy actually playing games, Tower Defense games likely aren’t for you. One thing I do like about the game is the menu. It’s very intuitive, and I’ll give it that. I may not buy it, but if you like Tower Defense games, I’d recommend this for your console TD needs.
Recommendation: Try It – I can see the merit in TD games, I just don’t like them. Especially try NextWar if you’re a fan of the genre.
Price: 400 mp
It looks exciting, but that little ball moves at about .2 mph
This is a game that I was actually counting on. It looked intriguing when I saw the screenshots, and while it remained intriguing throughout my playthrough, it wasn’t necessarily intriguing in a good way. As always, I say “Screw you tutorial” because I’ve played many-a-game and I know my way around a controller. The description said something about jetpacks, so I figured everything would work out fine in the end. Oh contrare said the… ball. I went into singleplayer and found my self playing as a small, what I assume to be metal, ball, and I can roll around using the Right and Left triggers.
Through more experimentation, I found out that X lets me use the jetpack, and A lets me fire rockets. There’s little targets around, so I start firing rockets off at them, I destroy them, and I move to the exit pad. I repeated this process again, and also discovered that by pressing the Left and Right buttons, I could switch my weapon. I may have only had two, but rocket launchers and grenades have always gone good together. Of course, there’s a catch to all of this that I haven’t mentioned yet.
Battle Havoc is another shameless Worms rip-off, albeit a real time Worms rip-off. You move around at a snails pace, and your weapons are fired based on trajectory and power, i.e. point and decide how far you want it to go. I don’t mind the trial and error of it all, but I do believe that this type of game is better off in a Turn Based environment, as opposed to everybody’s firing off at the same time (Insert: That’s what she said).
Recommendation: Ignore – Just download Worms off of Xbox Live for a similar, yet more entertaining experience.
Price: 200 mp
This is exactly as terrific as it looks
I normally like sandbox games. Let loose to do what you want in an open environment. No holds bar, just go about your business. Solar takes this idea to whole ‘nother level, letting you loose in a galaxy. The main difference between Solar and say GTA though, is that Solar just wants you to relax.
I see the merit in games like flOw and flOwer. Take what you’re given, and grow it. Just have a good time, unwind. No worries, no goals. Solar is much the same way. You’re a sun, and you go around collecting planets. The tutorial was rather lackluster in its explanation, and it took me about 7 minutes to find out that I don’t want to consume every planet that I get to orbit me, but I can forgive that, because I had 3 solid minutes of just floating around the galaxy, collecting planets, and having them collect asteroids. As the planets collected asteroids, I could either leave them be, or have the planets consume the asteroids, making them larger.
There’s no enemies in Solar, and there’s no way to lose, but you can most definitely extend your game time. If an asteroid chose not to be taken up by one of my planets gravitational pulls, it could instead smack into my planet, reducing it back to its original rocky/ dilapidated state. There were also other solar systems floating around that would threaten to ram into me, though not by their own devices. Perhaps what I liked most about the game was that I wasn’t the only sun going about this. Once when I had two planets orbiting me, I passed a fledgling sun getting pelted in a rain of asteroids, and I stopped to laugh.
It seems like a good way to unwind, but would you ever really need a game like this for more than 10 minutes at a time? I suppose that would be for you to decide, but if you don’t, you can just play the demo whenever you want to.
Recommendation: Try it – I recommend downloading it at least. If you like flOw, you may even buy it.
Fish Racer Arcade
Price: 200 mp
Yup, that’s a ninja fish.
This is a pretty colorful game. Instead of being given a menu, I’m taken right to a screen with 8 different fish. One looks to be injured and in a cast, one appears to be Jason Vorhees, ones a punk, there’s also a ninja, baby, pirate, cat, and clown. I’m gonna play as Jason for now. I’m also given the option of deciding how many A.I. fish I want to play along with me. I’m going all out and having 3.
It’s me against catfish, baby fish, and clownfish. We’re all taken to a screen where we commence to bump into each other. In the background is a screen detailing the games goal and collectables, and before I finish learning about starfish, we’re all thrown into the ocean. There’s rocks and hazards, and all I know is that I don’t want to run into them. A pirate ghost is ahead of us, and we all do our best to avoid him. As we go by a rock, I shove the clownfish into it, and he floats belly-up to the top of the screen. As we glide along, I see a can near the ocean floor, I make for it, and so does catfish, but unfortunatly baby fish gets it. It turns her/ him into a puffer fish with long spikes, and due to our proximity, catfish and I die.
Baby fish won, and a short video plays of baby fish sucking on its pacifier.
Recommendation: Try it – I actually had a decent amount of fun with it, and I could see it being more fun with actual people.
Price: Anything is too much
If you want to avert your eyes, I won’t blame you.
Very few games have actually made me believe that had I not played them, I would be living a happier life from then on. Rocket Fart, on the other hand, beats subtly to death with a lead pipe, and instead tells you to fly around eating tacos thanks to your incredible flatulence. The story is a flimsy one, where our hero has fallen into a volcano, and the only way to not die is to let loose. Of course, you have a fart meter off to the right, and you must eat food thrown from all directions (except from the magma below you of course) in order to refill said meter and stay afloat.
No other game, none, has actually managed to give me a headache through sound alone, and had you told me that Rocket Fart would be the first I… well actually, I may have believed you. Every press of the A button propels the protaganist upwards, and also causes a sound of a flatulent nature to occur. The only goal of this game is to not fall into the magma. It isn’t a difficult game by any stretch of the imagination, and I finally offed myself after getting 30,000 points because I wanted to retain some level of self respect.
Recommendation: Try it – I want you all to go through the hell I just endured.
Go Go UFO Smackdown
Price: 400 mp
I suppose they could be giant crabs holding signs at each other and bouncing a ball.
But what do the signs say?
Four-way Pong in space. That’s my description of Go Go UFO Smackdown. It was entertaining enough I suppose. It at least got the bad taste of Rocket Fart out my mouth (eww). Anyways, like I said, this is basically four way pong. You play an alien with a paddle, there are 3 more aliens with paddles on different sides of the screen. You can move left and right (or up and down depending on what side of the screen you inhabit), and you have to block meteors from getting behind you. Behind you is a planet, and if it gets hit enough times, you lose. A special catch to this game though, is that you can affect the gravity of the planet that is behind you.
I was at the bottom, and before I knew what was happening, meteors were flying all over the place at rapid speeds. I found that if I increased my planets gravitational pull, I could have a meteor hit my paddle going very fast, and it would bounce off and become the other players problem. As more meteors showed up, things became more hectic, and to make a long story short, I lost, like always.
Recommendation: Ignore – I played it once and it was okay. I can’t really imagine it getting better as I continue.
Price: 200 mp
No, you can’t “win” anything by hitting the most flies.
Before I begin, I’m just going to apologize for even including this game. I haven’t even played it yet, but because I have eyes and have looked at the screenshots, I know it’s going to be a bug swatting game in the vein of what you can play for free if you find the right banner ad. Although it does have one thing going for it, and that’s that from far away, the exterminator kind of looks like Doc from Back to the Future. Kind of.
(Minutes Later) I… I don’t understand what just happened. I was playing this “game” and swatting bugs, when I was suddenly told that I had lost. I began again and decided that swatting the bugs must be morally unjustified, and the game saw this, so I didn’t hit anything. Once again I lost. I tried smacking them again, and lost again.
(Reads instructions) Ohh… okay. Apparently all bugs are not created equal, and I’m only supposed to kill the black ones.. I mean flies. I go back and do this, and quickly become bored with the game and disturbed with the racist over-tones. I quit.
Recommendation: Ignore – Please, for the love of god. Ignore.
RBR – Fading Memories
Price: 200 mp
This is the most difficult simple game ever
RBR stands for Red Box Reality. I don’t know what that has to do with anything, but seeing as this game has a story, I would probably have to play through the whole thing to find out. From the screenshots, this game looked interesting, though I didn’t quite understand what the point was. I now do though. The point of RBR is to make you feel like a complete imbecil. Video games help your hand eye cooridination huh? Really? 3 minutes with RBR and you’ll feel like you only just got your thumbs.
I don’t blame myself though. I blame the developers of this game who obviously knew that this game was nigh unplayable when they released it (unless the creators are robots or something). You have two glowing balls, one green, one red. Your goal is to collect green “memories” that are leaving the girl’s head, while using the red ball to destroy incoming attacks. The green ball is mapped to the right analog stick, and the red one to the left analog stick. You’re then forced to control both of these at the same time, keeping track of hitting red balls coming in, and green balls heading out. It sound simple in theory, but really, it’s not. This game only served to bring my fart induced headache back.
Recommendation: Try it – Maybe I just suck at this game. It could be fun in theory, but in practice the controls are just too complicated, and that most definitely means something’s wrong when you’re only using the analog sticks.
Price: 800 mp
Why… is it called SLAM?
Cruel fate, why must you do this to me? Why could you not have me play Slam earlier, when hopes were high that Community Games would be a goldmine of fun? For now I have reached the second to last game and it is actually fun. Why not after Rocket Fart? Or at least The Exterminator. Oh well, I am glad that you at least brought us together.
The fun you attain from Slam will be directly proportional to how much you enjoy games like Breakout!. I happen to think they’re pretty fun, and at least a good way to waste an afternoon. Of course, this isn’t just a Breakout! game. Slam takes place on a circular plane that your paddle can rotate completely around. All bricks are located in the middle, and often times they’ll be jumping around and rotating as opposed to just chillin’ in the same spot. Your paddle comes equipped with two features at all times. The first being the ability to tilt it, and the second being an almost game breaking magnet which will attract the ball to the paddle and keep it there. The magnet will re-charge fast enough there’s almost no time when you can’t use it.
There’s the standard power-ups here too, and 100 levels to enjoy. Not to mention 2 more difficulty levels, and some pretty slick 3d backgrounds and objects that are of a higher quality than I’ve found in other Community Games.
Recommendation: Try It – I would have gladly said Buy It, but at $10 Slam costs just a bit too much for most. And when other Community Games (including the next one) run for 1/4th the price it’s hard to recommend a purchase.
Philip Muwanga’s: Hexy Trench
Price: 200 mp
Feel the POWER!
This game got a bad rap from me from the start, if only because I’m not a fan of people staking their claim in any title of anything. Such as say, Clive Barker’s: Jericho. Of course, the difference between this game and Jericho is that Hexy Trench doesn’t blow. I was happy to find completely readable text this time, and the game even had me calibrate the screen size so it would fit right on my TV. After that was over, I opted to heed the lesson learned from Battle Havoc, and used the Tutorial to my advantage.
The basic goal of Hexy Trench is this: Your map is a simple geometric map, made up of hexagons. You will randomly be given tiles or “trenches” to lay out which can range from simple lines, to tiles that let you branch off in all six directions. There are bases scattered throughout the map that you must connect to. You must then place various units down that you will use to destroy your enemies homebase. Sounds simple enough, and it is.
Tutorial level 2 had me facing off against an opponent. This is were things became complicated in that I was supposed to place turrets that would fire off “grunts” at his bases, but if they weren’t timed just right, the bases would heal themselves and I would be s.o.l. Once I got the timing down, I defeated him and made my way through the final two tutorials.
I feel I should now tell you that Hexy Trench is the game that has a full review.
I went into a skirmish match this time, and it was a mad power struggle. The map was a hexagon this time, and it was me against Red and Blue. Red got out quick due to some crafty war play on Blues part, and it soon became a two way blow-up-athon between Blue and I. Bases were changing sides at rapid speeds, and there were as many turrets as trenches by the time we were halfway through. Unfortunatly for me, I was still a noob at this point, and Blue decimated me with its intelligent layout. Evidently I should have gone with easy mode the first time.
Hexy Trench’s concept is simple, yes, destroy the enemies “Home Base”, but my description does not do the game justice. The playing field is so chaotic (in a good way) that you may even face troubles beating a medium leveled opponent. After purchasing the game I found the map editor, which allows you to create levels of various sizes. You can set up the maps any way you please meaning that if you are particulary mean/ weak, you can create an already established network of trenches for yourself, and diddly squat for your opponents.
As you play your intricate trench systems will become something of a liability. This can be remedied though by adding turrets to each one of your trenches. The turrets protect you from “Grunts” which will come out of a different type of turret that you lay down. The grunts are what you use to destroy enemy bases and trench systems. The final unit to place in your trenches are the “artillary” units, which will unleash missles at your command. Artillary is mainly used to weaken turrets before your grunts attack and destroy them. The occasional pick-up item will drop, which will range from helicopters to bomber planes to the devastating, last ditch effort, the nuclear warhead. While playing against an A.I. opponent, I found that he had picked up a nuke. As I was about to defeat him, he used the nuke to completely decimate the battlefield, destroying mine and his: trenches, grunt dispensers, turrets and artillary. Leaving us with only our bases and “Home Base”, and back at square one.
Grunt Assault: As Simple As It Looks
As an added bonus, there is a mode called Grunt Assault. A basic Geometry Wars clone which keeps a leaderboard of the top players. Some more bonuses include a “Tournament” mode where you can create a league of up to 9 maps for 1 to 4 players (A.I. or human). There’s a 15 level campaign, a 4 level tutorial, and you can skirmish mode into infinity. To top it all off, you can take Hexy Trench online. Unfortunatly, you’ll have to speak with people ahead of time from what I can tell, because there is absolutly no one online as of this writing. But to me, that’s okay, because this game is really much like a board game, and therefore is better suited to the boardgame enviroment of playing with other people in the same room.
If you don’t have anyone to play it with though, don’t let that stop you. I’ve played multiple matches against the A.I., and have had them last upwards of 20 minutes. It’s not a difficult game to learn, so the A.I. will obviously not have problems being excellent at it. Once you get the hang of the controls you will find that they’re very intuitive and easy to use quickly, as they should be. They beauty of Hexy Trench is that it can be fiendishly heady, and/or ludicrously random.
If you get the game and find yourself doing terrible, I’d recommend sitting at the menu screen for about 30 seconds. A match between 2 A.I. opponents will start, and that will give you an idea as to some strategies to take while playing the game.
Recommendation: Buy It – It has the simplicity and depth of board games, but in real time! Plus, I mean, it’s just fun.
Phew, that was a long one. Over 4,000 words in fact. I hope that you found a new game to play, because Community Games really should be supported. Until next time!