Coming Soon – The Sims 4 (EA Games)

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There aren’t many computer games that females of all ages get excited about, but The Sims franchise is one that has women glued to the screen for hours.

EA Games have released an official trailer for the latest and greatest, The Sims 4 which will be launching in Australia in 2014. The most realistic simulation game yet, the characters are more dynamic and for the first time emotions play a part in their moods and the way they interact with others in the game – just like in real life.

You can watch the video for The Sims 4 here:

Your Sims will be more intelligent and lifelike and the graphics better than ever before. You can earn rewards for completing achievements and share your creations and downloads extras in the online community. There are new and improved creative and design tools in the game to enhance your experience.

The possibilities are endless, you can make your Sims happy and successful or simply drive them crazy – the choice is yours!

I am really looking forward to this one; the countdown is on for The Sims 4! Are you a fan of The Sims?

This is a sponsored post but opinions are my own.

GAME: The Promised Land

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Alawar has recently released a new strategy game to entertain and excite the intrepid explorer. Control your colonists to build a bustling new empire in this uncharted territory.

You arrive with 5 colonists in a deserted land and it’s up to you to direct the growth of your colony. Buy new colonists to gather food, build required facilities, work said facilities and trade with the old world, while always exploring new terrain.

The graphics are vibrant and detailed, gameplay moves at a reasonable pace and the interface is well set out. This is a game that will suck you in and eat the hours as you try to get a routine happening, keeping everyone productively employed and happy while advancing game play to open up new areas.

promised land

You need to employ your colonists and keep everything moving forward at all times. Buying more colonists is a great idea, as long as you have somewhere for them to live so maybe don’t get too many in too quick. This is a game you need to always keep the balance in mind. You need to build and you need to grow but if you try to do one too quick you’ll lose your way, your colony has to be large enough to support your colonists and you need to have enough colonists to grow your colony – it’s a fine line.

The soundtrack is pleasant enough, not that I listened for long, but it wasn’t mind-numbing and annoying which is sometimes the case. The characters have been given cute little personality traits to let you know you are doing the right thing and you really need to keep an eye on it because if you’re colonists aren’t happy in the jobs they’ve been given they will become unproductive and even unwell.

There is an in-game, onscreen tutorial to help you keep on top of where you should be at and how to keep the game moving forward which is always helpful, and there is a mini game along the lines of angry birds where you get to take on the pirates.

The Promised Land is engaging casual gaming with over 24 hours of gameplay to complete the game, the literature says there is complete freedom of play which is true but there is also an order in which things need to be done to progress the game and over 50 characters to bring to your colony.

Bright, fun and entertaining – to get your free demo head to: The Promised Land

Zuma’s Revenge

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PopCap Games is a world leader in casual gaming, and I can see why. Zuma’s Revenge is a Match-3 game that has me hooked. I go to play one level just so that I have it all fresh in my head when I come to talk about it and next thing you know hours have passed and I completely forgot what I was supposed to be doing.

Zuma’s Revenge is a shoot-em-up Match-3 game that has a freaky looking frog shooting balls to break the chain and please the Tiki Gods. There are 4 different modes of play, though two of them can’t be played until they are unlocked by completing Adventure mode.

The soundtrack is not something that really does it for me, which isn’t really an issue because it’s easy to switch the music off, or just your speakers.

There are 6 islands to work through, stopping the balls getting sucked into the skull at the end of the wire. There are times the balls seem to be neverending and once the skull gets them you lose a life. Fortunately there are checkpoints every 5 levels that allow you to restart your game from if you lose all your lives, which is something I am going to love because the idea of having to start from scratch every time gives me the shivers.

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Capture powerups and bonuses of all types by destroying the ball they’ve been attached to and you can change the direction of the balls, remove all of that colour from the gameboard, pick up an accuracy aimer and a laser to destroy single balls. All of which make clearing the board a great deal simpler.

The important trick to get the hang of is to destroy a string of balls and shoot through the gap you created to captures the bonus fruit or, more importantly the further you get, destroy chains further back along the wire.

Game play is fluid as it grows more complex and the balls roll much quicker the further you get but it never loses it’s appeal.

PopCap games has also developed new level layouts  for Zuma’s Revenge which have your frog hopping between two lily pads or rolling on a horizontal track at the bottom or screen as opposed to always sitting in the middle spinning in a circle.

Challenge mode gives you 3 minutes to collect as many points as you can, shooting as many strings of balls as possible. To advance through this mode it’s about beating the challenge score and unlocking new challenge levels.

For fast paced fun in bright colours with a freaky frog and Tiki gods to defeat this is a great way to spend some downtime.

For your FREE 60-min trial head over to: Zuma’s Revenge – Adventure

Peggle

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This PopCap game has got me hooked. It is like a retro combination of a pinball game and Breakout and it has got me chained to the mouse. I go in to play a level or two to get a feel, get some inspiration for what to write and next thing you know the clock has jumped forward.

If I had to list the number of ways this game grabbed me it would be quite a long list but it all started with the cartoon unicorn that greeted me on opening the game. Anyone that knows me knows the game had me at the unicorn.

Peggle is set up almost like a pinball machine with your chute of balls down the left hand side, they shoot out at the top centre of screen and you need to direct their bounce to hit as many of the pegs distributed across the gameboard as possible.

The blue pegs are there to help make the pattern.
The orange pegs are the ones you need to clear to successfully pass the level.
The green pegs (there are 2 per level) give you a special power that coincides with the cartoon Peggle master controlling the launcher.
The purple pegs multiply your score.

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Each level provides you with a set number of balls which can be increased if you catch the ball in the bucket before it falls off screen or if you achieve a high score with an individual ball.

The adventure mode is made up of 55 levels that become increasingly challenging, every 5th level or so you unlock a new Peggle master who will oversee your game and bring a special power to help you through, they will also often impart a piece of wisdom before the level begins.

If Adventure mode doesn’t do it for you then there’s Quick Play which will let you jump to any level that you have previously unlocked. If you can’t decide what you want to play there is a random option that will throw up levels you have unlocked in any order, and you can play as any Peggle master so the power you use isn’t necessarily the one you had to unlock the level.

Duel gives you a 2 player option where you can play a friend or take on the computer, in any level you have unlocked playing Adventure mode. You also have the Random option in this mode. There are only 6 balls per player in Duel and catching your ball gives a bonus but no free ball. Both players are using the same game board so it can be quite annoying if the other player gets the good pegs.

The last mode is Challenge, this is an extra 75 Grand Master Challenges which are unlocked at the end of Adventure mode.

There is a lot to be said for the addictive nature of this game. It all comes down to the luck of the bounce really, but that doesn’t mean there’s no skill involved. If you can work out the precise angle from which to strike…

It is bright and vividly coloured which means it’s extremely eye-catching for the younger players, my Miss 8 became rather entranced with just standing watching. It really is a great game for all ages because there is nothing that could be suggestive or offensive. It’s fun and it’s a FABULOUS tool of procrastination, I’m just lucky I got to call it work. Definitely a game I put off coming to write about so that I could continue playing it.

Great for calming stress relief, I think I will come back to it for an end of evening wind down on a regular basis.

To download your FREE 60 minute trial: Peggle Deluxe

Plants vs. Zombies

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PopCap Games you sure know how to twist my arm and make me stay!

I popped on to play a few rounds and get a bit more of a feel before I came to tell you about the game and what do you know, there goes my early night and all the work I had planned. Ahh, it really is hard when I can spend my night playing PC games and then turn around and call it work.

So, you’ve all heard that I love my vampires and I am missing them desperately at the moment (if you’ve read any of my other reviews you would) so spending an evening with brain eating zombies seemed like an endeavour that would scratch my horror itch.

Not sure about the scares but it certainly kept me amused.

The Plants vs. Zombies page over at PopCam boasts that the PC version of this game has 50 Adventure levels. Now I don’t know proper gaming terminology but I think it’s more time management than adventure. Yes, the scenery and the game board change which to an extent means the objective changes but it’s still a matter of making sure that you have your plants properly placed, you’re making sunshine and you’re using the right weapons because if you’re not ‘The Zombies Ate Your Brains!’ will be splashed across your screen in big green letters.

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There is definitely challenge, and I am certainly addicted. If nothing else I wanted to see what whacky zombie would get the munchies for my brains in the next level, and what worthy weapon I would get to plant against them.

The imagination inherent in the characters of this game were enough to keep me involved, even though night-time gardening is extremely hard work with no sun – it’s no wonder I felt a little zombified at work today because the zombies had a fair feast on my brains last night.

The colours are vivid and the zombies are fantastic. The night time levels are richly coloured but understandably not what you’d call vibrant.

I love that you can turn full screen off and play in a game window because it is too isolating, and easy to lose HOURS and hours when playing full screen.

There are 26 types of zombies from a Simpson-esque Disco Stu (who drags in back-up dancers at the click of a finger) to well padded football players and everything in between, all of whom will go head to head against the 49 perilous plants. We have tiny little mushies to massive black bomb-shrooms, pea shooters and cherry bombs.

In addition to the 50 Adventure levels there are 20 mini games which you can unlock as you play through adventure mode. Along the way you will also unlock Puzzle and Survival modes as you collect the 20 new Achievements.

But that’s not all, you can even create your own Zombatar! There are fully customisable choices to make your very own zombie which will save on your desktop for your use wherever really… I wonder if my Zombatar would make a good Avatar on all my sites, what do you think? The funny thing I did find about my Zombatar was that she popped up in the very next level I played.

This is a game to entertain with a giggle for the strategist. Not necessarily heavy thinking strategy but definitely requires some forethought. A lovely way to spend a quiet evening at home!

Plants vs. Zombies is available for a long list of platforms as well as online and Facebook, head over to the website to check them all out.

To download your FREE 60-minute trial: Plants vs. Zombies Game

Behind The Reflection 2: Witch’s Revenge

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Alawar have done something a little different with their new Hidden object puzzle adventure game Behind The Reflection 2: Witch’s Revenge.

There is still the spooky music, dark and creepy settings and supernatural theme this is one that takes a different approach. Part of me wants to say that this would be perfect for the beginner at HOG, or the younger adventurer but I’m not sure that I’d let the younger ones play with all the witches, skeletons and soul stealing.

The sequel to last year’s hit Behind The Reflection sees a mother once again separated from her son by an evil sorceress and you have to help her search through five settings to track down the witch and save her son.

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I’m not sure about the original but I can tell you the Behind The Reflection 2: The Witch’s Revenge embraces a totally new approach to the hidden object genre, well totally new to me anyway. Throughout the locations this game will give you a block of pictures to find instead of a list of objects. You know exactly what you are looking for which can be quite helpful, especially as some one word descriptions can be ambiguous. This way you can see what you need to find with no confusion, as you find an item you drag it onto its coutnerpart and it lights up.

Don’t be fooled that this will make the game too much easier because it certainly doesn’t. And there are still traditional hidden object locations that will give you the list.

The soundtrack is suitably spooky and the sound effects are realistic – the creaky chandeliers were making my skin crawl. The graphics are sophicticated and the story plays out nicely on screen without too much disruption from the cut-to scenes.

The key features of the game:

  • Five settings
  • 36 locations
  • Over 45 mini-games
  • More than 20 hidden object scenes
  • Interactive help

The puzzles are challenging, the hidden object scenes are great at  hiding things in plain sight and the new way of using picture prompts to tell you what you’re looking for made the game new again, got the brain changing gear more often to go from visual clues to written clues.

Have fun with it, but don’t lose track of time too badly. That’s my only issue with full screen games, I can no longer see the clock at the bottom of my screen. So on that note, good night.

Download the FREE trial: Behind The Reflection 2: Witch’s Revenge

PREVIEW: Vampire Saga: Break Out

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As some of you may be aware Vampires are my genre; be it books, movies or TV shows if it’s got vampires you can count me in (even if I do then discover that Playboy vampire movies aren’t really so much about the vampires, but that’s a whole other story). I even tracked down the Vampire Weekend album, just because they were called Vampire Weekend.

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Those of you who follow my book reviews may also know that vampires have been a little scarce lately in my reading pile, and I don’t have time to be watching them. So you can imagine my excitement when I was asked to preview Vampire Saga: Break Out! I weighed up whether I had the time for playing games tonight and decided that for vampires, I could make time!

And that’s exactly what I did!

I didn’t get to play the whole game, which is probably not a bad thing or I never would have finished, but I played enough to get hooked.

This game takes place in the town of Hill Lock where you play the  role of Dr Crow, who has been summoned to perform an autopsy on a disfigured corpse discovered in the local mine. Your job is to steer the good doctor through many creepy locations on the run from terrifying creatures of the night that are often seen as inky black shadows.

Hidden object scenes abound, and they are of the visual variety. In this game the hidden object scenes require you to find multiples which was something new to me. They are also scenes that need to be revisited, each time the scene seems to be exactly the same and it’s just slightly different objects you need to find.

This is the third installment of the Vampire Saga, though the first I have come across so I can’t compare it to the early games. I can just tell you that I came, I played, I was a little disappointed when I finished the preview because I hadn’t had enough yet.

vampire saga

Complete with animated story scenes, a tutorial and a handy hint function you are sure to be able to get through any area that has you stumped. And there is a journal at the bottom of the screen to capture all of the important information, ensuring that you have all the info you need at  your fingertips.

The graphics were dark, which is to be expected with a vampire hidden object game, but I do find it makes it difficult to see into all the corners of a hidden object scene.

I enjoyed playing this preview, and I am looking forward to the game’s release on the 8th of March. That could just be the vampires but I think there’s more to it than that. I am intrigued to discover how the good doctors daughter fits into the storyline, and whether or not they can find a cure.

 

Tasty Planet: Back for Seconds

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Gobble up the entire Tasty Planet in this fun and exciting Adventure game! Grow in size and take on even more delectable items as you storm through level after level as an extremely hungry blob of grey goo.

Start off in a small science lab, but take on the entire city in Tasty Planet – Back for Seconds. Track down new treats and take over the Tasty Planet!

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* Exciting levels
* Tricky obstacles
* Take on Tasty Planet!

Download the FREE trial: Tasty Planet: Back for Seconds Game

Dora’s Big Birthday Adventure

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2K Play and Nickelodeon have come together to create a fabulous age appropriate fun filled game for Nintendo DS and Wii Consoles. This game is Rated G and sure to be a huge hit for all young girls, especially those with a love for Dora the Explorer.

Dora’s Big Birthday Adventure has all your favourite characters from the Nickelodeon children’s program, Dora and some of the other characters are voiced authentically which is important for the lovers of Dora that will be playing this game.

The graphics are smooth and fluid making for uninterrupted game play and are very true to the characters of the much loved program.

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This game can be played in story book mode, where you start at the beginning and work through from start to finish along the Adventure Trail, completing each level and earning stickers.

Alternately you can play Birthday Games which are the mini games littered along the Adventure Trail. If you have two remotes you can choose to play 2 player in the Birthday Games and Boots will be player 2.

The Adventure Trail is signposted all the way along so you always know whether you are heading in the right direction, a fantastic addition for the young and stubborn gamer who insists they can do it on their own. Brightly coloured to entertain any spectators along for the ride, it is very eye catching. Littered throughout with mini games it will be sure to retain interest for hours.

I think one of the best things I discovered about this game is the Helper Option in Story mode. This option can be turned on or off in the Options Menu and effectively what it does is allow an older gamer to help control Dora without having to step in and take the remote from your budding explorer. A Birthday Helper icon will appear at times in the lower right-hand corner of the screen and a second player can help out using a second remote. When the second player moves their remote the icon will glow.

Another fantastic option for this game, and I think a welcome addition to any rated G game, is the Wii Remote Motions icon that appears in the lower left-hand corner of the screen whenever a new movement is required. It clearly demonstrates to your budding explorer exactly what they need to do to complete the task.

Another helpful onscreen tool is the Snow Princess Crystal. The Snow Princess will appear in Dora’s Crystal in the top right corner of the screen to deliver instructions or give advice about the path ahead.

Overall this is an amazing Wii game for the young aspiring gamer. It is bright, colourful, active and imaginative while being true to the program and the girls playing this will have fallen in love with. It is age appropriate and contains enough on screen assistance and direction that most children will be able to play pretty self sufficiently.

Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting To Danger

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I like games that mix it up- add a little drama in between hidden objects, a maze or two and hidden clues and Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting To Danger checked all the “great game” boxes for this Sunday afternoon gamer!

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Having played a few hidden object mysteries lately, I wasn’t sure what to expect from teenage detective Ms Nancy Drew. Luckily I wasn’t going to be disappointed. Nancy is on another mission- to discover who is planting bombs around the luxury Redondo spa.

Posing as the new staff member, Nancy is called upon to give facials to the resort’s demanding clients, chase their pampered pooches and brew tea all while solving the mystery without putting herself in danger.

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Mixing it up between hidden objects, mazes, puzzles and memory quizzes, the game offers enough variety so that boredom isn’t an issue. Completing a challenge quickly earns you extra points and can lead you to becoming the ultimate super sleuth. You book of clues accompanies you everywhere helping you keep tabs on that mysterious saga!

The storyline is present throughout the game and the twists and turns make it easy to keep guessing about who the culprit could be. The likable lead and the fun graphics make it an enjoyable game to play.

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With six possible endings, Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting To Danger is an enjoyable game for girls of all ages and another well thought out game in the Nancy Drew Dossier series.

Download the free trial: Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting to Danger