game review

TRANSFORMERS: Devastation_20151025071510

Activision has put out a pretty consistent stream of Transformers games, each one getting progressively better in graphic detail and gameplay. After playing several of the last couple of Transformers games, how can the games continue to be outdone? The answer is take it back to Transformers G1 era with Transformers Devastation. Leave it to PlatinumGames to deliver a strikingly faithful throwback to the original Transformers cartoons. It doesn’t get better than this, playing the Transformers instead of just watching them on TV.

TRANSFORMERS: Devastation_20151025153948

For the plot line, I won’t spoil it for you but you can pretty much bet that it’s the usual nefarious ways of Megatron that are behind the incursion. Kick it off with the most well known Autobots, including Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Grimlock and more. Key Decepticons are here, ranging from favorites such Megatron, Starscream and Soundwave, all in faithful character with their personalities intact.

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The voice acting is pretty spot-on to what the original cartoons were, because the original TV series voice actors are here. The faithful cartoon style throws you back to the simple, straight-up Generation 1 nostalgia where Transformers began. Growing up at the peak of the Transformers cartoon, it was joyful hearing those actors again and seeing the cartoon-like graphics. The rock/metal/synth-laden music captures the 80s era cartoon as well, thanks to Vince DeCola’s scoring of the game. What a treat. It took some time, but here is truly the Transformers game as how it was meant to be experienced.

TRANSFORMERS: Devastation_20151025155258

Transformers Devastation takes place in a fast-paced third-person perspective, putting you in the role of the Autobots. You are able to switch-up and decide whom you would like to use, making gameplay controls and weapon use varied. Speaking of weapons, there are plenty to find, upgrade and research – from blades, lasers, missiles and one of my favorites – Soundwave’s Loudspeaker blaster!  Abilities of your select Autobot can be upgraded as well.

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Missions take place on linear levels, although some offer some optional missions. There’s standard fodder Decepticon soldiers, mid-level Decepticon bosses and some huge boss battles (where multiple Decepticons combine into a larger Transformer such as Devastator). Switching to robot and vehicle form, or dinosaur form for Grimlock, happens at the press of the trigger. Expect several high speed pursuits or vehicle slamming special moves, each unique to the individual Autobot.

TRANSFORMERS: Devastation_20151025071043

In PlatinumGames’ style (such as in Vanquish) the gameplay perspective changes up, making for some arcade gameplay shooter levels and platform gaming. A fun change up to the primary third-person action view.

Transformers Devastation is a single-player game. You can choose how speedily or deep you want to digest this candy. Where the extended game life comes in is with the Challenge Missions, Autobot upgrades, weapon unlocks, in-game side missions, difficulty settings and unlocking concept art hidden throughout levels. The biggest joy and value that Transformers Devastation offers is in it being a very faithful and fun adaptation of the cartoon classic. Kudos to PlatinumGames for making such a fun and bold throwback to the original Transformers. If you were a fan of the Transformers cartoons that started it all, you do not want to miss out on Transformers Devastation. Roll out!

TRANSFORMERS: Devastation_20151025155356


Transformers Devastation is available for the PlayStation 4 , Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360. This review was done on the PS4 platform. Disclosure: Activision provided a review code for Transformers Devastation.


The Witcher 3:Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the new gold-standard in action role-playing games. If you enjoy fantasy adventures or even just open world games with awesome storylines, The Witcher 3 is definitely worth owning. The game is vast in areas to explore, has some incredible graphic fidelity, entertains with great character acting and entrancing background music, is highly customizable and unique to each player, and… well, the list goes on and on as to why I highly recommend The Witcher 3. Too vast to capture on video, I decided to share my adventures through the screenshots I took during my complete playthrough of The Witcher 3. Click the link below to flip through over 100 screens and please read the brief captions for a little explanation and details on The Witcher 3. For those of you looking for a quick number, 5 out 5, 10 out of 10 – yes, yes, it is excellent and gaming perfection. Ok, so there are minor things you can point out in the game but the great far outweighs the minor things you may come across. The Witcher 3 is a true labor of love. Don’t let the “3” in the game turn you away either. There is plenty of story and back story to take in. No prior Witcher game experiences are required to enjoy the adventure. See and read more below for a review of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt!

Flip through the screen by screen review here (no spoilers!).

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is available for the PS4, Xbox One and PC. DO IT!



There are not enough games that are powered by music. I don’t mean the games where you play or dance to a list of pre-selected songs, but games where you play against the music tracks you load in. Beat Hazard and Audiosurf are great examples of this, as each session is generated by the tempo and overall complexity of the song you chose. Drive Any Track (DAT) from FOAM Entertainment and Firebrand Games is an excellent addition to the scarce genre of music powered games. DAT features very fast paced, frantic at times, gameplay with amazingly tight controls and visuals that will captivate anyone playing or watching. Fueled by the MEGA (Music Environment Gaming Algorithm) Engine, this Early Access game has everything it needs to become among the greatest music based indie games.

Upon launching DAT, you are presented with a menu that is very easy to navigate and makes it quick to get into the action. You choose your song, pick a vehicle to race with and, voila, you’re racing your music.


A straight to the point menu. Clicking on “New Track” brings up a window to navigate to your music.

I have to admit, when I loaded up my first song into the game I was not immediately sold on it. Unlike most racing games where you start the race idling, you are launched immediately at top speed into a three-beat countdown in time with the song. I chose a ridiculously fast Happy Hardcore song so this caught me way off guard. I could not read the on-screen instructions as I was distracted with my runaway vehicle and very pretty flashing colors everywhere. On top of this I was failing to grasp the controls because I think I was trying to play it like Mario Kart which I quickly learned, you cannot do. I was hitting every barrier and launching off the track with every jump and it was not until about half way through my first song where I figured out what you had to do. Also, dropping use of the keyboard and plugging in an Xbox controller to play made me finally understand how the game handles.

There are a series of electrified lines that are traveling the track with you, which represent the “Sync” of the song. If you slow down by hitting barriers or walls you will fall behind the first Sync area, which is between the first two Sync lines. This means you are a bar behind the song and will earn less points. When you either fall too far out of sync, wipe out or fly off the track, the game will re-sync you just behind the first two sync lines which is a very welcome feature since trying to catch up to the sync lines would otherwise be near impossible. Along the tracks there are small boxes that, when hit, fill a meter displayed on your vehicle which represents your boost ability. When the meter is filled you can propel yourself forward with a button press to catch up with the sync lines or launch ahead into the “Super Sync” area, which gains you more points. The stay-in-sync gameplay is very well implemented and is incredibly fun.


Falling out of sync after hitting a barrier. You can see the first sync line further down the track.

Without realizing it I ended up playing DAT for four straight hours after my first song and I was hooked. DAT  is very easy to get lost in. The track pulses along with the beat, and most genres of songs have their own beautiful visual aesthetic. The actual handling of the driving feels really responsive and the drifting works very well and is similar to drifting in the Gran Turismo games.


Blue and purple elongated hexagon style for Dance and Classical songs.


Yellow and orange block style for Rap, Hip Hop and Jazz songs.


Black and red angled style for Rock and Metal songs

The track, as far as I can tell, is loosely generated on the song provided. However, there were many times where there was a barrier, loop, spiral or jump section that I couldn’t really place in the song as a drop or an upbeat section. I think it works better for some songs over others. Either way, because you are driving so fast on these tracks, the fact that they sometimes don’t match to the song isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You need to stay very alert when playing as there are many times where twitch reaction is required to save yourself, for better or for worse. Due to the snaking of the track and the camera placement, it is sometime impossible to see or react in time to avoid barriers or jumps in front of you. Infrequently there will also be jumps that, based on your trajectory, force you to land on barriers, fall through a jump gap or launch you into the abyss as the track turns sharply either direction immediately after the jump. There were a couple of times that I also landed so hard after descending from a jump that the shock flipped my car upside down causing me to wipe out. These are more of a common occurrence in higher than three star difficulty tracks and can be pretty frustrating, especially when you are doing very well on a song and something unfair messes up your run.


Is there a barrier ahead? Who knows!

Along with the Boost Boxes, there are coins that litter the track. You are awarded the coins you snag during the race plus additional coins at completion of the track.


My cash out of coins after a race. I’m rich!

Coins are used to purchase additional vehicles or style packs for each vehicle in the garage. I like the inclusion of multiple vehicles and the ability to change their appearance although I could not figure out if the differing vehicles had unique attributes. They all felt the same when handling them and the speeds felt identical as well. Either way, there is a plethora of immaculately designed vehicles ranging from a sports car, to an SUV, to a pick-up truck.


Using my coins to buy a new car! Exciting!

At the end of a race you are awarded experience which goes towards your in-game level. It was unapparent to me what the point of the leveling system was. There is a possibility that it will be used for ranking in the highscore leaderboard feature that is already implemented. I love the inclusion of the leaderboard as it immediately makes the game competitive. Every song that has a track generated for the first time will also have the name of the user who created it. This is the same track that everyone who plays the song will race on. Each track has a worldwide top five ranking. If you achieve the highest score on the track, the game will generate a ghost of your race and put in online for everyone to see or race against. One thing to note about the ghost is it is completely opaque. I ran into a couple instances where a ghost obstructed my view from a jump or barrier making me hit it or wipe out. Lowering the opacity of the ghost would help this tremendously.


Opaque ghost threatens your eyesight.

Another really neat feature is the first person mode while racing. Tapping the Y button on the Xbox controller enables this mode which allows for an entirely new playing style. The first person mode feels faster than the regular play because you are closer to the ground but is just as gorgeous.


First person mode in its finest.

There is one major drawback to the first person play. The camera spins and angles itself with the car making some jumps and spirals to be very confusing and incredibly tough to land as the track goes out of sight. If the developers fix it so that the camera will always point towards the ground when you are airborne, you would easily be able to recover and land safely on the track.

Drive Any Track is an incredibly fun thrill ride. FOAM Entertainment and Firebrand Games have created a welcome addition to the music powered genre of games. It has already offered me hours upon hours of fun gameplay, and I will probably continue replaying it for a very long time; especially because the full version is targeted for release later this year with even more features. I look forward to the future of this game after a few of the aforementioned things have been fixed and the community becomes involved with the feedback process. The foundation has been set and is as strong as it possibly can be. If you like music based gameplay, you need to pick this gem up.

Review Score: 8/10


  • Very fast and fun racing gameplay
  • Tight driving and drifting controls
  • Sync gameplay feature implemented very well
  • Beautiful graphics that differ between other games
  • Online leaderboard, ranking system and race against ghosts
  • Infinitely replayable as long as you have music to play with


  • Camera placement makes for some unfair disadvantages
  • Some jumps lead to unavoidable wipe outs
  • First person camera is broken
  • Ghosts can obstruct your vision of the track
  • Leveling up has no point?


7 Wonders 3 (DS)7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven
Available for Nintendo DS
Game Developer and Publisher: MumboJumbo
Release date: December 3, 2011

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Review summary:
7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven sends players across the globe with traditional match-3 brick breaking fun, but wait – there’s a refreshing new twist! Guiding a Keystone through portals with a new revolving board gameplay mechanic adds a new layer of challenge. By making matches across varying boards and keeping in mind that you can twist the board to make combos, players will need be creative in this latest match-3 wonder. The boards and rune pieces feel a bit small on the DS screen, power-ups are few, and gameplay modes are fairly limited. Still, if you enjoy match-3 games and want a new layer of challenge, give 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven a spin to feed your match-making hunger.

7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven review:

MumboJumbo’s signature match-3 puzzle game returns for a new chapter for the Nintendo DS in 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven. The basic rule of play is to match three or more like-colored rune pieces to clear a tile beneath them. The player must completely break away the tiles to clear the level. But in 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven, players will have a new task to complete as the challenge evolves to a new level.

7 Wonders 3 (DS)7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven sends players and their background builders to complete nine distinct wonders of the world. The top DS screen shows the activity of builders, score and remaining time to complete the level. On the normal setting, the time and amount of matches possible are pretty forgiving, so the player won’t feel the pressure in that sense. On the bottom is where the rune-swipe matching action happens, and the new arrow controls are placed to turn the revolving board.

Each level has a differently shaped grid layout board, which must be cleared completely by matching like-colored runes. The rune pieces are easy to match by their distinct color, but they feel pretty small on the DS screen. Clearing runes in more than three matches or combos will release horizontal clearing Ice Ball power-ups (4 matches), Fire Ball power-ups (5 matches) or a Dice Bonus (when 4 power-ups are used). The variety of power-ups are limited in this game, but you will find them essential to clear out some hard to reach tiles. Once all tiles are cleared, players will experience the new puzzle element to 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven.

Now here comes the fun, original part of 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven. Upon clearing all tiles via match-making, a 7 Wonders Keystone will appear, along with a dotted path. The goal is to get the Keystone into a designated Key Hole. Players will need to clear the runes beneath the Keystone, as well as turn the board using the L/R buttons or arrows on the right side of the screen. I definitely preferred the L/R buttons rather than using the on-screen arrows. Guiding the Keystone to the Key Hole adds a clever new puzzle element to the game. Paths become more complex, which are further impeded by portals and locked Key Holes that must be cleared by matching a designated rune color. Getting to the Keystone & Key Hole challenge part becomes the highlight of 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven. There is another compass matching element that comes into play after getting three runes, which advances the player to the next region on the map. It’s a really simple element which doesn’t add too much to the game.

7 Wonders 3 (DS)Puzzle gamers will find 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven worth diving into for its new Keystone challenges. There are only Story and Free Play (replaying completed levels) game modes, so replay value is somewhat limited. Three player slots allow you to share save spots with other friends or family, which is great because you can pretty much bet once others see you playing the game, they will want to get in on the action too. 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven is a universally welcoming game, for experienced or casual players. For anyone who thinks the match-3 game cannot be amped-up, 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven breaks new ground with a fun and unique twist.


Thanks to MumboJumbo Games for making this review possible!

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Real Steel (XBLA, PSN) from Yuke's

Real Steel
Available for Xbox 360 (XBLA) and PS3 (PSN)
Game Developer: Yuke’s
Release Date: October 12, 2011 on XBLA, October 18, 2011 on PSN
Official website:

Review summary:
Real Steel is the videogame adaptation of the recent Hugh Jackman movie of the same name. The movie seems to have been well received but unfortunately (as happens all too often) the game is mainly a bucket of bolts. The graphics are sub-par, even for a downloadable game, and the DLC options scream “gimme your money.”

Game rating:

2 out of 5 stars

Read the full review here.

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