Ghostbusters video game

The Ghostbusters movies are a timeless classic that many kids from the eighties grew up emulating. Ghostbusters themed parties, Ecto Cooler from Hi-C and even terrible NES video games. Now that nostalgia is relived in Ghostbusters: The Video Game for the Xbox 360 and other platforms

Platform Reviewed: Xbox 360
Developer: Terminal Reality
Price: $20 used from Gamestop

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The Room Three Review

The Room Three
Platform: iOS, Android (Reviewed)
Price: $4.99
Studio: Fireproof Games

Overview
The Room Three is the in popular “The Room” series. The game features a series of challenging but thoughtful puzzles that you must solve to progress through the game. The first chapter of the game is straight forward, having you solve one puzzle before moving on to the next one, but as you progress through the game the puzzles ramp up in difficulty. If you get stuck, there’s a tip menu that will nudge you in the right direction. If you still don’t get it, the tips get more precise but you have to wait at least 45 seconds before the next one unlocks allowing you to try the puzzle again. If you haven’t played the previous two Room games, don’t worry; no experience is necessary.

 

The story is a combination of Shutter Island meets Sherlock Holmes. The Room Three places your character on an island and you must solve puzzles left by a mysterious person known only as “The Craftsman.” The scenes are ominous and the music and sound effects reflect that.

The environments are very detailed

The environments are very detailed

This game is built for mobile; double tap to inspect and interact with objects, pinch to exit, etc. The game is also on rails so to speak. You can’t really travel to every inch of the room, but that’s good because the controls would be very cumbersome.

Most objects that you can inspect have many different pieces that you can interact with.

Most objects that you can inspect have many different pieces that you can interact with.

In App Purchases
There doesn’t appear to be any in app purchases for this game. You paid 5 dollars for it so why should you pay any more?

What I didn’t like:
There’s not too much to not like about this game other than the screen doesn’t stay on during gameplay. My screen is set to turn off in 30 seconds so during some load times, I have to unlock the screen if I don’t touch anything. I’m sure this would be something that can be fixed in the next patch.
Some people might be turned off by the fact that you can’t explore every nook and cranny of the environment, but I’m OK being lead around.

What I liked
The puzzles are challenging but not so hard that they’re frustrating. After figuring out a puzzle, I feel pretty accomplished. The game has a nice story that flows through each chapter seamlessly.
Final Thoughts
If you have five bucks lying around and you enjoy a good puzzle game, pick this game up. It’s already been out on iOS since November but Android users just got it on the 11th of January.

A word of warning: If you haven’t watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens that was released on Thursday of last week, stop reading anything Star Wars related and go see the God Damn movie already. I had to wait until Saturday to see Star Wars and I have to say that it was worth the wait. I went on an internet blackout to avoid any plot spoilers and I’m glad to say that it paid off. Star Wars is now back on my good side. I can finally come out to all of you and say that I am a huge Star Wars geek and this movie did a really good job of correcting the mistakes of the prequels.

All this movie had to do was not be as bad as the prequels. JJ Abrams when above and beyond making sure that the next two movies were just as anticipated as The Force Awakens. This isn’t a money grab by Disney. This is a full fledged Star Wars film that’s going to make a boat load of money for Disney.

Before Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released, I like other Star Wars fans, had some serious reservations. We’ve been hurt before. The prequels broke our nostalgia goggles and we were left wondering if there was ever going to be a film that was an original story and captured the magic of the original trilogy. 10 years ago George Lucas told 60 Minutes that there was never going to be an Episode 7. And with only a handful of Star Wars related cartoons, I had given up any hope that there would be a new movie showing what had happened to our beloved characters. If you don’t want to read the synopsis that I put in, you can click here to skip down to my thoughts about the movie.

Overview

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in the same way as the other films minus the 20th Century Fox intro. The story crawl announces that Luke Skywalker has vanished and there are people looking for him. One side is the Resistance headed by General Leia and the other is the First Order headed by Kylo Ren and General Hux. After we’re all brought up to speed, the movie starts on the planet Jakuu where we’re introduced to Poe Dameron and BB-8. Poe gets the map that leads to Luke Skywalker but Kylo Ren and the First Order are hot on his trail and capture him just after he sends BB-8 away with the plans. Kylo then orders the village purged and one lone Stormtrooper doesn’t fire. It turns out that it’s our new hero, Finn.

Now we meet Rey. She’s a scavenger that gets paid in food. Every haul she brings in is literally her meal ticket so she does her best to get what she can. During her dinner, she’s hears droid sounds and guess who it is: BB-8 has been captured by another scavenger and she sets him free as the other scavenger goes on her way. Rey feel sympathetic to the little guy and offers to let him spend the night and then send him on his way in the morning. While turning in her scavenge haul, she’s informed that BB-8 is worth a ton of food; enough to feed her for weeks. She considers the offer and then turns it down stating BB-8 is not for sale.

Finn helps Poe escape in spectacular fashion, Kylo Ren gets super pissed,  and they wind up back on Jakuu after their stolen TIE fighter is destroyed. There are no signs of Poe as the TIE fighter is devoured by a sand monster and Finn must trudge on to the nearest city for help. Finn is dying of thirst because duh, he’s been in the desert without water and decides to drink out of the watering hole where all the space cattle drink from. He turns his head to see Rey getting hassled by some bad dudes and decides to be a hero and save her. But Rey can handle her own and easily defeats her would be assailants. That’s when BB-8 notices that Finn has Poe’s jacket and tells Rey that Finn is a killer and must be destroyed. Rey doesn’t think twice and attacks Finn before getting told that Finn helped Poe escape but unfortunately he didn’t survive the TIE fighter crash.

Suddenly, Finn realizes that he hears the feint sound of TIE fighters approaching and grabs Rey’s hand to get out as soon as possible. Rey fights this because she doesn’t need saving, but quickly realizes that Finn has her best interest in mind and decides to get out as well. They need a spaceship and Finn points to a ship off screen, but Rey says it’s a hunk of junk and runs towards the new one. That one gets blown up and so they move toward the junk ship which just so happens to be the fabled Millennium Falcon. Rey flies it well while Finn shoots and they escape in typical Millennium Falcon fashion.

Now Kylo Ren has been let down twice and he’s not very happy about it. So he goes to his mentor for advice. Supreme Leader Snoke. We don’t really know much about Snoke much like we didn’t really know anything about the Emperor until Return of the Jedi. Turns out Snoke is pretty powerful in the dark side and knows that Kylo is conflicted but for right now we don’t know why.

Flashback to Finn, BB-8 and Rey: they’ve escaped in the Millennium Falcon and now learn their names. Just as they’re about to get further in their stories, the ship suddenly gets caught in a tractor beam and Finn is pretty sure it’s the First Order coming to take them away. They decide they’re not going down without a fight and decide to hide in a smuggling bay and gas whoever comes in. Turns out it’s Han Solo and Chewbacca! Nostalgia fills the theater and Han’s heart as he’s finally home in his glorious ship. Han quickly finds out that the ship isn’t empty and discovers Finn, Rey and BB-8 hiding and quickly askes them how they got the Millennium Falcon. Apparently it has changed hands quite a bit in the past 30 years.

Just before we get another plot advancement, Han is confronted by some bounty hunters who are of course demanding money that Han owes. Han of course tries to sweet talk his way out of it, but it doesn’t work because Han Solo is now notorious for being a terrible liar and weasel. Just when it appears that Han and Chewy are screwed, Rey inadvertently unleashes the smuggled cargo which are squid looking meatballs that go around eating everyone. Finn gets pulled off but is saved at the very last minute by Rey. Everyone gets back on to the Falcon and they escape leaving time to speak to each other and get the audience up to speed.

In this conversation, Rey lets on that they’re in possession of a droid that has the map to Luke Skywalker. They then say that some bad dude named Kylo Ren is searching for it too. That’s when we’re given the bombshell that Kylo Ren is actually Han Solo and Leia’s son who was trained by Luke Skywalker and turned to the dark side forcing Luke to go into hiding as there are no Jedi left in the universe to help him. Han offers to take Rey and Finn to someone who can help and that’s where were a new planet and swatch of characters are revealed.

It also should be noted at this time the Resistance and the First Order know what BB-8 has and has put out an APB to everyone in the known galaxy. As soon as BB-8 is recognized in the bar, both sides are alerted to his presence. While we’re waiting for the battle to start, Finn decides to peace out and leaves Rey to live her life with Han and Chewy. As Finn leaves, Rey hears some cries for help in the basement. She follows them to a room full of junk and a small chest with some artifacts in it. One being Luke’s original lightsaber that was last seen falling down a bottomless pit in The Empire Strikes Back. Once Rey touches the lightsaber, she hallucinates everything in the previous trilogy and some of her own fears as well. When she finally comes to, Maz, the little alien oracle tells Rey that the lightsaber has magical powers that have been awaken in her and she must find Luke Skywalker and before she goes any further, Rey says “nope” and runs away.

During Rey’s force trip, the Starkiller base (AKA Death Star 3: Bigger and badder) fires up its super laser and takes out not one, not two, but 4 major planets including what looks like Coruscant, the capital planet that was a major scene of the prequels. Maybe Jar Jar is finally dead. OR IS HE!? Well since these lasers are huge and everyone on Maz’s planet sees other planets explode, they all collectively lose their shit. But they don’t have time for that because the First Order is here for BB-8 and they’ve never been afraid to cause collateral damage. While they’re destroying everything, the Resistance X-Wing squad shows up fashionably late to the party and a giant battle ensues. Also we discover that Poe is very much alive.

During the battle, Finn decides that he needs to save Rey and goes back to the bar to find her but instead finds Han, Chewy, and Maz left wondering what to do next. Finn decides it’s time to fight, but he doesn’t have a weapon. But Maz does! Luke’s lightsaber is now in Finn’s hands and he has no problem using it on his old work buddies. While he’s fighting off Stormtroopers, Han and Chewy kick ass and kill plenty of First Order troops.

Flash back to Rey as she’s running aimlessly into the forest trying to come to terms with what she just experienced. This is where she runs into a very real Kylo Ren who senses that she has seen the map to Luke Skywalker and decides to take her instead of BB-8 to extract the information. Finn and Han look on helplessly as Kylo loads her up into his ship, and then a resistance ship shows up right at their footsteps. Out steps General Leia who greats Han and Chewbacca. It’s clear that they haven’t seen each other in years and it’s all because of Kylo turning to the dark side. They still have feelings for each other obviously and this romantic moment is interrupted by none other than C-3PO. Proving once again the droid has no social awareness.

Back on the Starkiller base, Kylo has Rey in the torture chair that seems to come standard on every evil base. He tries to break into her mind and try to steal the map that she saw. Rey tells him to take off his mask and Kylo obliges. The face of actor Adam Driver is revealed and we find that Kylo is just as fresh faced as his rival Rey.  Kylo attempts to extract the information from Rey but she uses her new force powers to get into Kylo’s head and find that he’s worried that he’s not going to live up to his grandpappy Vader. This freaks Kylo out and he storms out of the room to seek advice from Grand Supreme Taco Leader Snoke. This leaves Rey alone to use her newfangled powers to convince a Stormtrooper to let her go so she can escape. When Kylo returns to the empty chair he gets understandably angry and destroys the room.

Back to the rebel/resistance/republic base – we don’t really know what’s the resistance is at this point because they keep using different descriptions of it.  Finn catches up with Poe and gets to keep his sweet jacket. We also find R2D2 covered up and collecting dust. It turns out he’s been in low power mode since Luke left and everyone just accepted it. BB-8 senses that R2D2 has the rest of the map to Luke, but everyone writes him off because he’s a droid. And droids don’t know any better.

Leia brings everyone to the command center where we now have schematics of the Starkiller base and Han says what the audience is thinking “How do we blow it up?” Good question, well it turns out that Finn knows a ton about the Starkiller base and how to defeat it. How does he know so much? Do all Stormtroopers get a manual on how the Starkiller base works and what its weak points are? Well that’s really a moot point right now because Admiral Akbar says that the shields can repel any attack that’s thrown at it so we’ll need a rag tag team of crazy guys to go to the base and disable the shields so a full on attack can commence. Of course that team is Finn, Han, and Chewy. Just before they leave, Leia reconciles with Han and asks him to bring their son home.

The Millennium Falcon jumps into light speed and it’s going to come out of light speed right on the Starkiller base because the shields pulse and can’t block anything going that fast. They get to the snowy base, crash into some trees and slide to the edge of the cliff stopping just short of falling off. Phew. All three walk to the nearest entry point undetected and proceed to look for a way to disable the port and prevent the base from firing off another super laser. They find Captain Phasma and force her to disable the shield. Phasma then tells Finn that they’re pretty stupid and their plan won’t work to which Solo replies- isn’t there a trash chute to throw her down? We never see her again and the search for Rey continues. As Finn is ranting about finding Rey, Han sees her conveniently climbing outside and to another corridor.

Rey is quickly reunited with the gang and they move forward with their plan to disable that one area of the base that will prevent the entire base from destroying planets. Outside the Resistance is kicking ass and taking names. They’re moving closer to the trench they need to destroy the base and deal a huge blow to the First Order. I have no idea how this architect of Death Stars keeps getting work if he keeps putting in one fatal flaw in each one of his designs.

Kylo is on the hunt for Rey because he’s been humiliated three times now and he’s not going to let her get away this time. He wanders into a big empty room where Han and Chewy are placing thermal detonators and still can’t find anything. It’s now time for Han to confront his son and try to bring some sense to him. Han calls him out by his real name “Ben” and approaches Kylo casually. Kylo unconvincingly tries to tell his father that Ben is dead and there’s only Kylo to talk to. Han sees through his bullshit and tells Kylo to take off his mask. Kylo again takes off his mask and tearfully explains to Han that he needs help and only his dad can help him. He places his lightsaber in Han’s hands, looks at him and then turns it on and thrusts it through Han Solo’s chest. Han is shocked, but not surprised, he touches his son’s face one last time and falls into the abyss. Chewy lets out a vicious roar for his fallen friend and obliterates any Stormtrooper in site, then detonates the explosives opening the way for the Resistance.

We’re now outside and still reeling from Han Solo’s death. Kylo catches up with Rey, force throws her into some trees and knocks her out. Finn fires up Luke’s lightsaber and fights Kylo Ren cutting down trees as they go along. Finn ultimately loses and looks to be dead. Kylo goes to pull Luke’s lightsaber to him and it looks like he’s going to succeed but it’s actually Rey who grabs the lightsaber and starts to fight Kylo. The intense battle goes on for what seems like 15 minutes and Kylo tries to bring Rey to the Dark Side. It’s unsuccessful, Rey cuts Kylo’s face and runs away just in time for part of the base to create a huge chasm between them. Luckily Rey is on the side where Finn is. She picks him up and they run to the Millennium Falcon where Chewy is waiting to take off. They leave the base just as it explodes revealing a sun underneath the crust.

The ride home is bittersweet. Rey, Finn and Chewy have succeeded in their mission but at the cost of Solo. When they arrive back to the Resistance base, Leia knows Han didn’t make it but also knows that he died trying to save their son. When Rey gets to the base, R2D2 decides to wake up and project his part of the map which is conveniently only missing the part BB-8 has. We now know where Luke is located and Rey goes with Chewy in the Millennium Falcon to find him. She climbs up the mountain where a robed hermit is standing. He turns around and it’s Luke Skywalker with a glorious beard and Jedi Robes. He says nothing as Rey reaches out to hand him his old lightsaber and the credits roll.

 

Thoughts about some the characters

Han Solo

I liked the movie very much and while I’m disappointed that Han Solo died, I’m glad that he went admirably. There’s nothing worse than a major character dying with no other reason than the writers thinking “wouldn’t it be cool if we killed off this guy?” Han’s death helped Kylo Ren’s story progress and now we’ll find out if he’s going to go deeper down the Dark Side or not.

Kylo Ren

I can’t help but think that this is how Anakin should have been portrayed in the prequels. And maybe that’s why they made the film 30 years after Return of the Jedi and not something like 5 or 15 years afterwards. It’s clear that Kylo is still conflicted, but JJ Abrams avoids the awkwardness of the prequels by just putting Kylo on the path to the Dark Side and letting the audience decide for themselves how that happened. One of the flaws of the Prequels is that there were no surprises because we knew that Anakin becomes Darth Vader and we know that all characters not in the original trilogy had to die or disappear. With the new trilogy set after Darth Vader’s timeline, we can establish new characters and have them grow without worrying how we’re going to write them out of future movies that the audience has already seen.

Finn

Finn is a great character and he is quickly a fan favorite by being a wannabe hero and also a wise cracking smooth talker that kept the tone of the film lighthearted even though it had some serious parts. It’s still hard to say what Finn actually is and that leaves a lot open in the next two films to see how he fits in the overall plot. He was a Stormtrooper raised from birth to kill, but all of a sudden he realizes that what he’s doing is wrong and decides to defect. The good thing is that there is so much that Finn is that is all speculation. He lies a lot so maybe he’s lying about his past as well.

Rey

I’m glad that we have a human female protagonist prospective Jedi in the film. While Prin.. excuse me.. .General Leia was a strong female role in the original trilogy she was constantly getting rescued. Times have changed and it’s perfectly acceptable to have a female lead in a film that was originally marketed as a boy’s wet dream involving saving the girl, and thus the day. They don’t even focus on Rey’s gender playing a big part in the movie because no one cares. All progressiveness aside, it’s clear that Rey isn’t a token character and she’s going to be fun to watch when she’s under Luke’s tutelage. Just like with Finn, there’s a mystery about her character that leaves the writers plenty of room to show how robust Rey can be.

Captain Phasma

Anybody else peeved that she didn’t get much on screen time? It seems that she was just a plot device so that we could get a Stormtrooper to shut down the shields. She doesn’t have any real character development other than she’s Finn’s asshole of a boss. Even when Finn gets up in her face, it’s like a bullied employee who finally gets to say he quits. I really hope Phasma returns in the next movie, because she needs proper development.

Poe Dameron

Poe is another character that I felt was just an afterthought. Poe disappears for the majority of the movie and really feels just like Phasma: we need to put a name to the commander of the army but we also need to make him/her look cool. Let’s do it. Again – let’s hope that Poe is solidified as an integral character in the next film.

Thoughts about the film:               

Overall the film is great. It’s clear that JJ Abrams and crew took this seriously and knew there was a lot riding on this. Star Wars fans are fickle and messing with the nostalgia of an iconic film is risky. The results have been disastrous in the past and now the healing can begin with this new age of Lucas free Star Wars Films. While watching the films, I was filled with the same feelings that I had with the first three films. I think I had even more of those feelings because I was in the epic space of a theater and not my small bedroom and TV. I’m glad there’s a new Star Wars film that managed to capture the feel of the original three. There were throwbacks, but not in a way where you got sick of them. The humor was also on point which seemed to be missing from the original trilogy. Sure there was Jar Jar, but I’m talking about smart, quirky jokes that aren’t slapstick like Jar Jar was.

The actors and actresses of the film also did very well. I am very impressed with the new characters and I’m excited to see them in the next films. One of the best indicators of a good movie is that you forget that these are people playing characters and actually start to feel attached to them. It’s really been a long time since I’ve seen a movie like this. Sure I care about some characters, but I was actually upset that Han Solo was killed. I’m passionate about Star Wars again, and it’s all thanks to this film.

I do have some beef with the film, however. I’m not too thrilled with the ultimate cliffhanger and I really don’t like that they didn’t include more of Phasma. I thought they were going to find Luke Skywalker in the middle of the film and go on from there. I’m also a bit heartbroken about Han Solo’s death because he’s such a loved character. I’ve grown attached to him and to have him around for such a long time and now he’s gone, it feels like a real death has occurred. Overall these are just superficial beefs and the film didn’t have plot holes like the prequels did. I look forward to seeing it again so I can catch the little quirks that I missed the first showing.

Cibele is the new game by Star Maid Games. The game revolves around a 19 year old girl named Nina who spends the majority of her free time playing an online game called Valtameri. There she plays with Ichi – a young boy who she casually talks to and eventually shares intimate feelings with. The story follows the two as they play Valtameri and grow closer and closer together.

Platform: PC(Steam) and Mac
Price: $8.99

Developer: Star Maid Games

 

Gameplay:
Cibele starts out on Nina’s desktop. From here you’ll be able to read her previous blog posts, poetry homework and saved pictures. There are 4 programs; Valtameri, Email, Files, and an Instagram clone. You can go in and look at all the emails and files to get some backstory on your character Nina and then jump into Valtameri to progress the story.

Nina's desktop allows you to check email, photos, and blog posts. Each item is interactive and gives you a more in depth story.

Nina’s desktop allows you to check email, photos, and blog posts. Each item is interactive and gives you a more in depth story.

screenshot1

Valtameri is the majority of Cibele. It’s a Diablo style point and click except everything is bright and colorful. In the game you play Cibele, Nina’s avatar and as your fighting monsters, you have an in game voice chat with Ichi, Blake’s avatar. When you’re playing Valtameri, other players in the game send Cibele messages just like a regular online game. You can also send replies which give the story more depth. After you kill enough enemies, a boss appears and you attempt to defeat him. The boss only takes on a handful of damage before fleeing and you have to kill more enemies to force him to appear again. After the boss is defeated, the level ends and a live action cut scene plays to advance the story into the next act. At the beginning of each act you have new items on the desktop as time progresses at least 3 months at a time. There are new photos, emails, and blog posts to read and of course a new level of Valtameri where Cibele and Ihci advance their online romance.

valaterie_home

the world of Valtameri is open and colorful

the world of Valtameri is open and colorful

lava_cibele

What I like:
The Story:
Cibele has an interesting story that some gamers may have experienced: an online connection with someone they’ve never met who lives on the opposite edge of the country. I’ve met plenty of people playing World of Warcraft and even though I no longer play, I’m still friends with these people. I even met my wife through the internet. In Cibele, you grow attached to Nina and Blake and follow their story, eagerly advancing to the next act to see what happens next.

What I didn’t like:
The Gameplay:
This is a point and click game and when playing Valtameri I’ve had issues playing the game. Cibele can’t walk on lava or through walls which but everything else can. Even Ichi has a godlike ability to go anywhere and attack enemies while I have to point and click Cibele to reach the enemies and bosses. This is frustrating because the boss moves all over the place which if he happens to run across on to the lava or through a wall. If the boss were to engage Cibele, it would be a huge improvement.

Length of the game:
This game is short. It took me 2 hours to play through the game and according to the press release, this was an intentional feature of the game. I could overlook the length of the game if the story didn’t end abruptly. I won’t spoil the ending of the game, but I wish that the story was longer and gave the player closure. It felt like I was watching a movie and the projector burnt out half way through.

Wrap Up:
Overall, Cibele has a lot of potential to be a great game. However, Cibele feels rushed and leaves me wanting more out the game than just one linear story. Ciblele does a good job of simplifying a complicated online romance without making the gamer feel confused about what’s going on. I wish that I could replay the game and get a different outcome or maybe choose to pursue a different person in the game if I felt that character was more appealing than Blake.

Even with it’s faults,  Cibele is an impressive game that was made with one programmer, one animator, and one writer. Star Maid Games employs a lot of talented individuals that have the potential to make a huge game given a larger budget and more time to complete it.

 

 

Publisher: Gnarwhal Studios
Price – 25.00

Slap .45 is the latest game from Gnarwhal studios. The card game that was funded by kickstarter this year pits you against up to 6 of your friends in a standoff similar to “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
Slap 45 is very easy to learn and a game takes about 20 minutes to complete. What’s different about this game is that it requires you to be on your wits and make split second decisions unlike other card games that require well thought out strategies. This game will test friendships.

We have a tendency to pick on each other. It's a good thing we can handle some friendly competition.

We have a tendency to pick on each other. It’s a good thing we can handle some friendly competition.

Unboxing
Slap 45 has some really high quality packaging and card stock identical to Cards Against Humanity (Gnarwhal’s other game) the box is compact and has glossy finish. The artwork on the box done by Kellen Jett is beautiful and gives the game a slick, western feel.
The bases have the thickness of coasters which makes them feel durable. They aren’t water resistant, so be sure to leave any drinks off the table when game play starts.

The box comes with everything you see here. No assembly required.

Set Up
If you’ve never played a card game in your life, you’ll still find Slap 45 easy to set up. First you hand out a random base to each member and then the six corresponding gang members. Now you’re ready to play.
Gameplay
Gameplay is simple – each person takes turns dealing one card. You decide whether to slap it or take cover. Nobody knows what the card is going to be until it’s flipped and that can lead to some really tense moments and some misfires. There are 4 different cards that can be flipped
Talkin’ Iron (Revolver) – if you slap this card you must point at the person you wish to shoot. If that person is undercover (their hand is on a base) then the shot misses. If you don’t raise your hand to shoot immediately, the shot misses and the round is over.
Big Gun (Cannons) – this card works just like revolver card above except there’s no way to dodge it. The only way to avoid being shot is to shoot first.
Move! (horses) – if you think your strategy is just to slap until you win, you might want to hold your horses (sorry) – if you slap a horse you get kicked and you lose a gang member. If there’s a horse in play, everyone needs to take cover. The last person to take cover loses a gang member and the round is over
Gold – Gold is a currency card that is recommended to be brought into play after everyone is familiar with the standard gameplay. Gold adds a new dynamic to the game that makes Slap 45 even more interesting. You can claim the gold for yourself by slapping it. If you point and slap, the person who you pointed it to gets the gold. You can also accumulate gold if you’re the one who deals a killing blow to another player. If someone gets killed by a horse, the gold is discarded.

The cards are the same quality as Cards Against Humanity. Which is not surprising since they came from the same printer.

 

The game of Slap 45 ends when there is one player left standing. When there are only two players left, the first person who got killed deals the hand. They can look at the cards and pick which one to deal out to confuse the remaining two. This offers the first person out some petty revenge.

Overview:
I backed Slap 45 on Kickstarter last year for $35. The expected delivery for the game was April 2015, but that was delayed when the quality of the product was not up to Gnarwhal’s standards. I got the game last week and I’m glad that they didn’t rush the game to the masses because I think this could have gone very poorly.
I played this game on Sunday with a bunch of friends. At first they were skeptical, but they learned quickly and we had a blast seeing who would get out first (it was me.) This will easily be a must play at future board game events.

A typical round of Slap .45

What I liked
I liked that Slap 45 is easy to play and easy to explain. Usually it takes us a bit of time to get the hang of games and we break a lot of rules our first time. We didn’t have any issues with Slap 45.

What I didn’t like
It’s not something that I didn’t like, but some people might not like that the game doesn’t last very long. It does sometime get difficult to decide who slapped first and if you’re playing with younger children, it might result in a couple arguments (The manual says that if you can’t decide who slapped within 5 seconds, the round is over. So that’s nice to have)
Slap 45 is a great game that’s really inexpensive compared to other craft board games out there. It’s a fun, fast party game that gets people interacting with each other. I strongly suggest you pick it up if you like card games like this. It’s now available on Amazon for 25 dollars.

Platform: Wii U
Price: $59.99

Overview:
Super Mario Maker is a video game that we’ve been waiting for since Super Mario Bros. First came out thirty years ago. The objective of this game is simple: use a selection of items to make your very own Mario Level. If you don’t want to create, that’s not a problem: simply play through someone else’s levels that have been uploaded. As of this article there’s thousands of levels that range from very simple, to almost impossible.

Some levels can get pretty hairy

Some levels can get pretty hairy

Gameplay:
You use your Wii U Gamepad exclusively in Super Mario Maker which works great for me, because the Fiancée and I share the TV so when she’s watching her shows, I can play on the couch. Creating levels is as easy as taking items and placing them on the grid paper with your stylus. Levels can be as simple or complex as you want and the only limit is your imagination. Initially the items available to you were only released in waves so you would have to wait 9 days for everything to be available to you. This has been fixed with a day one patch that makes all content available at once, but you have to play constantly for the content to be released “early.” Or you can just advance the internal clock of the Wii U forward a day each time until you unlock everything.
You can choose between 4 different Mario styles: Super Mario Bros, Super Mario 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. Each style has different gameplay mechanics that you can take into consideration when building your levels. For example, I had a running level where you hit springs to jump. This part was broken in the New Super Mario Bros because you can pick up the springs. I switched to classic Mario and it worked fine.

The styles and mechanics change with each level.

Once you’re satisfied with how your level is built, you can choose to upload it for other people to play. To make sure there aren’t any “impossible” levels out there, Super Mario Maker forces you to clear the level yourself before being able to upload it. This also ensures that you didn’t put anything into your level that can break the gameplay incidentally.
If you don’t like making levels, that’s not a problem as there are thousands of pre-made levels for your gaming pleasure. Some are made by Nintendo and others are made by fellow players. There are challenges that you can take to tackle each level or you can just choose specific levels to play. For challenges, you have the 10 Mario and 100 Mario Challenge. The challenge has you complete 8 stages with 10 lives or 16 stages with 100 lives. Every time you play, the levels are different. You can earn up to 3 extra lives in each level that you play.

supermariomaker-campaign

100 Mario Challenge is really difficult on the “Normal” setting

Amiibo:
Do you have Amiibos? Well you can use them in Super Mario Maker. Each Amiibo unlocks different sprites and content for your levels. I only opened up my 3D Classic Mario and I was greeted with a special power up that allows Mario to spin around and fly. Also I can unlock CRT mode which makes the screen look like the old TV of yore with scanlines and everything.  The only issue is that some of the rare Amiibos like Little Mac and Villager will make it very difficult for players to have those sprites in the game as they’re the only way you can unlock the content. Nintendo has stated that they’ll be finding ways for fans to get their favorite sprite in the game, but that hasn’t been announced yet.

scan lines and everything!

scan lines and everything!

 

What I don’t like:
It’s hard to find things not to like about Super Mario Maker, but the one glaring issue is that you can’t categorize your levels or search by category. I would love to put my level under mazes or flag it as extra difficult so that players who hate super hard levels can avoid mine or make it really easy for others to find. The ranking of your level is determined by the number of stars people have given it. After you complete a level, you have the option to star it. Starring a level allows the creator to upload more levels (you can only upload 10 at the start) and it adds it to your favorites if you feel like playing it again sometime. While the system works in practice, it’s still hard to find newer levels and determine if a level is going to be good or not until you actually play the game.

What I do like:
The game is really simple and straightforward. You don’t need a degree in game design in order to develop levels, but if you are a game designer, you can make some really rad levels. Also with new levels being uploaded every day, you’ll have a really hard time running out of content. My hope is that most people keep coming up with original levels and don’t make lazy remakes of other popular levels. Also I like that I can use the Wii U Gamepad as a separate screen. Splatoon was a great game, but lack of extra screen prevented me from truly enjoying it because the TV was being used by someone else.

Super Mario Maker is a great game and I highly recommend picking it up. If you like Mario at all, you need to have this game in your library. This game should have been a launch title, but obviously hindsight is 20/20. What matters now is that this game is available to purchase and it will probably be one of the most influential Mario games of all time.