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Jul 9, 2009

July’s Downloadable Game Reviews

Kingdom for Keflings
Microsoft Game Studios, Ninja Bee
Available for download via Xbox Live Arcade

Give me the chance to build mini cities or control little tiny people in your game and you’ll have me addicted to it for hours. Kingdom for Keflings not only gives you the opportunity to control mini people in order to build a little kingdom but you can also kick them around while you do it. Bonus!

Playing as a giant or as your XBLA avatar, KfK has you controlling a kingdom of mini people called keflings in order to build their small village into a giant kingdom with a castle. You give these little people orders to collect resources or run buildings as you control the building of structure pieces and building completion. The game does offer a multi-player mode that allows up to 4 players to build the kingdom together.

This game can become mindlessly addicting, almost taunting you to keep going with its promise of another blue print and another building erected, but as you get into the later hours of this game, the process slows down and I found it all to be very empty. The building process became too lengthy and the management of all my keflings became so annoying that I soon tuned out. While the game does have some cute traits, I would honestly suggest that simulator fans stick to games like Sim City or The Sims to feed their sim addictions.

Pass on it!

Trash Panic
Sony Computer Entertainment Japan
Available for download via Playstation Network

If you’re like me when it comes to garbage maintenance, then you probably fill your trash can to the very brim before you finally cave and toss it outside. If so, then you will be an expert at playing Trash Panic, a new game on the Playstation Network that has you compacting trash into a bin much like Tetris pieces.

In Trash Panic, trash pieces like brooms, coffee cups, computer screens and even buildings are moved down a conveyor belt towards a large trash bin and you must move and rotate the pieces into the bin in order to fit them as compact as possible. Using techniques or items, you can break, burn, decompose or even blow up the trash to reduce its size in the bin. There are 6 level s to complete in main mode and 3 difficulty levels to complete them on. You also get an unlimited mode, a versus mode and a mission mode for extra game play, but the main mode is pretty hard even on easy to finish so expect to spend some time it.

I love that this game is fun and environmentally responsible. At the end of each level, you get a score based on how environmental responsible you were disposing of the trash. Plus the added stress relief of smashing pieces of garage is nice too. On the other hand though, some of the boss battles were incredible hard and if you didn’t prep your bin before hand, you were doomed to fail against them. Ultimately though, this is a unique and challenging game and I highly recommend it.

Buy it!

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years
Square Enix
Available for download via Nintendo WiiWare

Fans of the Final Fantasy series are about take a trip back to their childhood with the newest WiiWare release from Square Enix, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. Using 16 bit graphics and the original ATB battle system, FFIV: The After Years will probably have anyone who played FFIV or FFVI instantly in love with it after the first 5 minutes of playing it. I know I wanted to propose to it.

FFIV: The After Years follows the story of Ceodore, the son of Cecil and Rosa as he tries to restore peace to his world after the second moon returns and bring the reign of monster terror back with it. During his journey, he is helped by familiar faces from the FFIV story like Palom, Porom, Rydia and many more.

The main WiiWare game will set you back 800 points which will get you three chapters of the story to play through. Now these are lengthy chapters and they will have you busy for quite a few hours as you transverse through them, but in order to finish the whole story you will have to purchase 8 more add-on storylines. The 7 character based storylines will cost you 300 points each and the final add-on will cost you another 800 points. These add-ons will be released over the next 3 months and can be purchased via the in-game download menu.

While I’m not impressed about forking out another 2900 Wii points on top of the 800 I already spent to download the first game, I can’t help but defend this amazing game. Too be completely frank, Square Enix has been putting out some God awful remakes and sequels lately and this is the first throwback to the retro stuff that I have not only loved how great it looks and plays, but can’t help but smile while playing. This game is like the old Square Soft games I grew up with but new. If I have only one download to suggest this month and for the next 3 months, then I suggest you spend your money on this.

Buy it!

Hasbro Family Game Night
Electronic Arts
Available for download via Xbox Live Arcade

If you lived through the 80s, then there’s a chance you played at least one game of Battleship or Scrabble with your annoying parents or siblings. I remember many childhood fights that started over Scrabble and whether or not something was really a word. The problem with board games is that pieces go missing and the newer generation could care less about them when they have videogame and iPods to keep them entertained.

That’s where Hasbro Family Game Night comes in! Sporting the games you loved as child but now in a shiner videogame form for those easily distracted generation of kids. Hosting by everyone’s favourite spud, Mr. Potato Head, HFGN allows you to download 6 different board games: Scrabble, Battleship, Boggle, Yahtzee, Connect 4, Sorry and Sorry Slider, all which cost 800 marketplace points. Each game comes with various modes that allow you to experience the game the classic way or in new, advanced ways. There are also multiplayer modes, both local and online so you can play with friends and family.

While I was more of a Clue fan growing up, I definitely played most of these games and this is a great trip down memory lane. Mr. Potato Head is quite the little joker in the background during each game and free customizable background themes are a nice touch to your HFGN game lounge. Honestly though, spending 800 points per game is a bit much and I think EA could have dropped the price to maybe 400 instead. I know this game was released on Nintendo Wii as a full priced game in stores, but still it just seems a lot for board games you could pick up at garage sales for 25 cents.

I would suggest as a purchase only if you really like one specific board game and want to play it with your family and friends. Beyond that wait to see if the point price comes down on this before you consider this a purchase.

Pass on it!

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