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A Beginners’ Guide to Transformers Legends

Transformers Legends banner

Transformers Legends is a collectable card battler game produced by DeNa / ngmoco and run through the Mobage portal. It’s currently ranked by Think Gaming as #97 on the list of top grossing apps worldwide. It’s safe to say that it’s pretty successful, and has been since launching early in 2013.

Transformers fans will recognise the game’s subject matter in a heartbeat: it draws on the old Transformers TV show and comics (known as ‘Generation 1′ by aficionados) to populate its game with various Autobots and Decepticons.

You remember the TV show, right? That wonderful old cartoon, from an era when writers and animators really cared about their craft, and which featured so many memorable moments. Who can forget Powerglide using a magic pond to turn into Fabio and fall in love with a gondola, or Optimus Prime’s right arm being mounted on top of the Empire State Building? (Most of the rest of Prime was built into a robot alligator and dumped in the sewers. Of course!)

Did you know there was even an episode featuring a planet of people who sang badly? No shit! That episode was also an early triumph for gay rights on the small screen, as evidenced by Decepticons Galvatron and Soundwave rejecting martial machismo and holding hands.

Two Best Friends!

Two Best Friends!

But that’s enough with the wonderful nostalgia trip. Ha ha! Old stuff was great.

Transformers Legends is a card battler much like Dino Dominion, about which I wrote last year. Legends is a more polished affair and is less stingy with its goodies. Because I think it is so utterly brilliant, I thought I’d write a guide to playing the game. I hope prospective players find it useful!

Getting Around

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Brighton’s Pop-up Arcade, Sept 2014


JS Joust

This past weekend Brighton hosted a first-time event courtesy of Press Fire To Win: the pop-up arcade, a part of September’s Brighton Digital Festival. Press Fire To Win is run by Profaniti, who – and here I’m a little fuzzy – either run or are involved with running other events like the Wild Rumpus, Feral Vector and the EGX Indie Arcade.

The pop-up arcade kicked off on Friday with a launch party. The event was ticketed, but a fiver for an evening’s entertainment and a free beer from the Naked Beer Co. ain’t half bad. (I can confirm that Naked’s Freudian Slip is absolutely delicious.)

Of course we weren’t there for beer any more than we were there to stand in a hot room (kindly loaned to the event by Lick). We were there for games, and were not disappointed. Virtually everything on offer were multiplayer titles, with a good mix of competitive and co-operative play to be had.

With the event chiefly sponsored by Unity it’s little surprise that many of the games there were created using the development toolset. Among these was Gang Beasts, which I was only able to play briefly. It’s apparently popular enough to be played regularly in Unity’s own London offices, and I can’t say I’m surprised. The game essentially involves between two and six players running around small levels attempting to dispose of one another or, at least, not accidentally fall to their own deaths. The controls were a little bewildering; each character’s arm appears to be controlled by a different button and grabbing another player seems to involve running at them and scooping them up. My confusion led to me describing it as the QWOP of cute 3D brawlers. I look forward to playing it again, whether or not I manage to work out what the hell I’m doing; it seems that this cluelessness is half of what gives the game its x-factor.

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AR Podcast #19: Redonkulous

The seagulls are back for another podcast about fighting dragons, microtransactions, Kinect features, word puzzles, knights, beer can noises, more dragons, and tanks. Lots of tanks.

Reticle or ‘reticule’ is the word of the podcast.

(For the record, we named this podcast when it was edited on August 20th. Sometimes podcast serendipity just happens.)


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Irresistible Backlog meets Movable Object

[Advance warning: this article does not contain any spoilers, but it does contain personal experiences and may be regarded as navel-gazing. In it I talk about some problems I have had with my game collection and what I've been doing to mitigate or combat them. I try to make a few jokes at my expense to make it less dull. Read on and consider yourself warned...]

I’ve been getting ruthless with myself over the last few months. As ruthless as I can be, anyway. I only recently began eating meat after ten years of vegetarianism; I’m largely pacifistic and prefer to avoid or defuse violent or tense situations. I like everything to be chilled out and ruthlessness does not come naturally to me.

But I’m not talking that kind of ruthlessness. I’m talking about dealing with the aftershocks of reckless spending. Not ruthlessly hunting down bankers and city boys, boiling them up and serving them to our hungry new lost generation. Though I’d certainly play that game.

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Review: Sniper Elite III

Sniper Elite III cover

Sniper Elite v2 did a lot of things right at its release back in 2012. There was simple delight to be had in watching a bullet travel three or four hundred yards before ripping through bone and tissue, all in the name of saving Europe from the Nazis.

The problem was that although the sniping was great, everything else floundered. The stealth was never particularly good as it was hard to gauge when you would be instantly spotted and when you would not. The AI, on being alerted to your presence, would adopt one of two routines: either run down the very linear, corridor-driven level design straight at you or instead crouch behind cover for a bit and then occasionally pop their heads up, allowing you to get a glorious slow motion sniper kill.

This one note AI and level design reduced the game to being a shallow but fun romp that was made even better by playing in Co-Op, and I pretty much said as much in the preview a few years ago.

Sniper Elite III improves on its predecessor in every respect.

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Review: Dark Souls II – Crown of the Sunken King (DLC)

Dark Souls II is at its absolute worst when it’s brilliant.

I resent those brilliant moments, because they’re always over so quickly. A brief reminder of how good it could have been, before it crashes back to ‘great, but disappointing’ and leaves you longing for From Software to have done their sequel justice, not for five seconds at a time now and then, but for a whole game’s worth. This must have been how Good Will Hunting’s teacher felt, before Robin Williams showed up to give him a crash course in inner-potential-realising.

It’s safe to say that Dark Souls II has been a success, but one tempered by a rising tide of criticism. Amongst the fans, talk of what could have been pervades discussions and articles, including this one, and the not-so-affectionate nickname ‘the B-Team’ has taken hold as the popular way to reference the Dark Souls II development team. Meanwhile, the same critics who were pushing Darks Souls’ word of mouth success a couple of years after release by writing articles about how wonderful it is are now finding that they’re more interested in all the ways Dark Souls II failed to deliver.

It’s not what From Software or Bandai Namco had in mind.

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