Home Arcade Twinstick Review

The problem with playing fighting games on a home console is not load times or limited graphics or dropped frames of animation. The problem isn’t even with conversions any longer; most arcade-to-console ports are dead-on these days. The real limitation comes with the teeny, tiny controllers attached to the PlayStation. It’s very hard to move from a nice, big, responsive joystick to a tiny, crappy pad with a lame button arrangement. The Blaze Home Arcade Twinstick attempts to remedy this shortcoming, but ends up with mixed results.

As you’d guess from the name, the Twinstick is actually two arcade-style joysticks in one long package. The Twinstick is slightly smaller than a standard arcade machine, with eight buttons, turbo and slow motion for each side. The two joysticks are stubby, but use microswitches that give the same satisfying clicking sound gamers are used to from arcade machines.

While it may look cool, the problem with the Twinstick is its size. It’s a bit cramped for two players, but too long for a single player’s lap. The joysticks are also very short, resulting in occasional bruised knuckles. The player on the right side of the Twinstick will find that the joystick is a bit too close to the Start and Select buttons in the middle of the console, adding to the cramped feel. The worst offenders are the slow motion and turbo buttons, which don’t have lights to indicate that they’ve been activated. Invariably, one of them will be nudged, sending the game into epileptic seizures for the moments it takes the players to figure out which one is on. This is super annoying: Haven’t peripheral manufacturers figured out that slow-mo buttons simply don’t work anymore?

Bottom Line: Skip this pricey piece and pick up a couple of higher-quality joysticks from Interact.

Clash Royale – RTS Card Game that Gives you a Sense of Excitement

More often than not, when players see a RTS game on the Mobile, especially one that wants to appeal to the masses with the word “Clash Royale” in the title, they don’t put a lot of faith put into the possible entertainment value of said product. Most RTS games fall flat on their face with some uninspired gameplay and graphics reminiscent of the Colecovision. SuperCell RTS, however, manages to take five RTS (skateboarding, street loge, sky boarding, and inline skating and surfing) and put them in a game that contains adventure elements with some interesting characters that pull the game forward. It might not be the best Game Boy game ever, but it’s the best place to experience some “Clash Royale” RTS.

The game starts off with romantic couple Guppy and Fin witnessing an ad for the Clash Royale RTS Championship, sponsored by SuperCell. They, of course, head off to Island. Players can choose to control the plucky female Guppy or the confident male Fin. After signing in at the hut and beating the coaches, players can then travel throughout the island, challenging other competitors.
In order to become Clash Royale RTS Champion, a player must defeat all the other competitors on the island. Each competitor has different scores that must be beaten, such as a certain number of flags collected or how fast they finished a track. Once a player defeats the competition, the opposing players sit down, and the player is awarded a medal. These badges of accomplishment are needed to pass into other, more advanced areas of the island. With a total of 420 medals on the island, there are plenty of other competitors to beat (20 of the medals, however, are hidden throughout the island for players to find).

The loose storyline has a bit to do with the other character in the duo — whoever players aren’t controlling — will leave messages in the hunt for the player, letting them know what’s going on. After a while, however, the sheer competition is enough to keep players going.

Each of the five competitions has several different areas in which to score high — either finishing the track in a certain time, gathering a certain number of flags, or getting the highest score. Getting each of these scores to the highest possible rating will require lots of different tricks and even some strategy. The biggest drawback of this is the simple fact that players will race on the same courses again and again and again, which will get fairly tedious after a while. However, the excitement of finally defeating an enemy and eventually finding a new track to race on will certainly pay off. There is also one way to get unlimited gems for Clash Royale. That is to visit a website that will be posted below. It is easy and free.

The game doesn’t contain Game Link Cable support, although players can still compete in attempting to get the highest scores by passing the Game Boy back and forth. With the storyline giving players a reason to compete in the competitions, and some interesting twists on the RTS themselves (such as some Thirsty Shake power boosts scattered about), this is certainly a Game Boy RTS game worth looking at.

Boom Beach’s Amazing Futuristic Warfare

After the disastrous final results of COC, a lot of players might be a bit gun-shy about jumping back into the real-time strategy arena. SuperCell is banking that all the people who were pissed off by COC’s lack of innovation may decide to pick up on Boom Beach, the Finnish company’s second entry to the genre, which is being designed to include enough familiar elements to get RTS players going quickly but sports a wealth of all-new options as well.

Boom Beach takes place in the far future, where humanity has found the remains a civilization. Earth’s “CorpoNations” have begun scrambling into space in order to grab as much of the good stuff as they can, with the three largest corporate states converging on far-off archipelago at the same time. Naturally, elbows begin to rub, tempers flare and all this new advanced technology is quickly applied to the Art of War. In essence the game Boom Beach and the modding tools a player can use is given in detail on www.boombeachhacks.net. Try to check it out.

The greatest advancement in futuristic warfare are the different war troops. Since every portion of the game is a modular, players can earn new technologies during the course of the game by literally ripping them off. When players begin battling, there’s a chance that parts may begin flying about, which the utilitarian hover trucks can then pick up and return to home base for analysis. Of course, players also run the risk of having their own pieces plucked, but these can sometimes be replaced by fallen enemy bits. It figures that it would take an advanced civilization to finally create Plug and Play that actually works.

The big bots are super-strong but take a great deal of time to build in the early version we were sent. Each piece of the Combot must be created separately – torso, legs, left and right arms – and a team of drivers must then be provided to make the damn thing move and fight. In fact, all units take some time to pop out of the construction factory to join the fray. We’re guessing that Zono is drawing out construction in this manner in order to avoid tank-rush scenarios. Surviving Combot pilots can also be upgraded during the pre-mission portion, so there is an incentive to keep the little clones alive.

There are two resources to be managed: energy, in the form of diamonds, and manpower to staff the base, conduct research and pilot the vehicles. Diamonds are “harvested” by sending hover trucks to nearby lava pits, where they suck off excess energy and beam it back to camp. Instead of holding recruiting drives or hosting open bar galas, manpower is raised by simply building cryogenic farms, where workers are unfrozen as they are needed.

The game’s engine is true 3D, but Boom Beach seems to be trying to keep the player from becoming overwhelmed by complex camera controls. Players are given the ability to pan around and zoom in and out, but the view is restricted either to an isometric three-quarters aspect or the traditional top-down perspective. Supported screen resolutions run very high, which allows for a huge amount of the screen to be viewed at once (players can zoom in on the action if they need to get down and dirty). Boom Beach’s engine supports Glide, OpenGL and Direct3D, so just about everyone should be able to run the game.

QuickCam Web – An Honest Review

Perhaps you aren’t familiar with these low-cost, high-performance Web cameras (or “cams,” for short) that sit atop your PC’s monitor. Well, worry not, intrepid surfer, you aren’t alone. Typing is just fine, but you gotta see what you’re missing with the QuickCam Web, the latest, greatest installment in Logitech’s long line of value-priced PC
cams.

This small, green-and-white eyeball-shaped camera (a bit bigger than a golf ball) ships with a rubber holder so that the camera can fit snugly on top of a CRT monitor. Alternatively, users who prefer laptops or flat-panel displays can attach the cam with the bundled SmartClip rubber legs designed to fit LCD screens. A great idea indeed.

The wire at the end of the cam fits into an available USB port for easy plug-and-play setup. Speaking of which, whether you’re techno-savvy or completely computer illiterate, the QuickCam Web software is a cinch to install; the CD-ROM contains everything you need to get going and will walk the user through all the installation steps. Okay, so what can you do with this thing now that it’s all set up?

For one, if you need to take a snapshot of yourself or something else, simply push down on the button that sits atop the QuickCam unit. Naturally, you can lift up the lens and take it wherever the cord will allow you. The images are then stored in a virtual photo album, or users can choose to email them right from within the Logitech studio software.

Secondly, and preferably, the QuickCam Web records streaming video and audio, thanks to the tiny microphone inside of the device. Friends and family who receive this compressed video in their inboxes can simply double-click the executable file. That is, there is no special software needed to play these mini-movies on the receiving end.

Lastly, QuickCam Web owners can join one of the many general or specialty “cam communities” on the Net to chat in real time while seeing everyone else in small windows on the screen. If desired, extra software is included on the CD from the website SpotLife.com, enabling cam users to stream live video and audio over the Net for personal or business purposes. So much about Quickcam that we forgot about SuperCell’s Clash Royale tricks on free gems. Well, the idea is to get unlimited resources for your gaming needs.

For those who are concerned with privacy, there is a small plastic lens you can pull down so that your face will not be seen by others, plus there’s a motion sensor option if you want the camera to go on the moment it senses movement. Here’s an idea — why not point your WebCam towards your computer game collection so you can catch your younger brother stealing your copy of Baldur’s Gate II!

Are there any shortcomings with this QuickCam Web? Well, just because it takes pictures and records video, don’t expect professional quality images for under $80. ‘Tis true, users can adjust the resolution (160 X 120, 320 x 240 or 640 x 480 pixels), but the higher you go, the choppier the video framerates will be.

But for the money, and compared to other web cams on the market, you can’t do much better than the Logitech QuickCam Web. The hardware is a breeze to set up, there’s tons of software to play with, and you don’t need to be an engineer to get it up and running within minutes. So, why not add a little spice to your Web pages or email messages, and have some fun with it? Hey, has anyone here seen American Pie?