Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

How to ACTUALLY have a baby in The Sims Freeplay (Android HTC Desire S [HD])

April 26, 2012

Hi guys, just a quick tutorial on how to actually have a baby and get married on The Sims Freeplay for Android. I found a few other videos on YouTube which didn’t really explain everything you need to do so thought I’d put one together myself.
Enjoy.

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The Sims FreePlay Android Review [HD]

March 18, 2012

The Sims FreePlay is EA’s follow-up to 2010’s Sims 3 for Android. I don’t normally review free apps (and certainly not apps that are free and then ask you to pay later on) but this one caught my Sim-loving heart.

 

As I mentioned in my previous Sims 3 review; I’ve been a big Sims fan from day one. Since its original release there have been lots of spin-offs and expansions – all of which I have avoided. Give me the simple ‘make-your-Sim-happy-and-get-a-better-job’ style gameplay and I’ll quite happily play for hours. Add in stupid dating or magical expansion packs and I’ll look elsewhere.

And this is why I have been playing Sims FreePlay every day for three weeks now. 

You start the game with an empty town map and you’ve got to select your plot to build on. Your initial build will come without a fee (and it’s not a bad house either) just to get you going and then it’s time for the fun part – creating your Sim.

I was quite surprised at how much you can play around with the look of your Sim. When compared with The Sims 3 there must be ten times as many clothes, hairstyles and personalities to choose from. You could quite easily spend twenty minutes just making your Sim look how you want him to.

Once created it’s time to move your Sim into their new home. The tutorial does a great job at introducing you to how the game works and what you should be doing to get your Sim up and running in their new place. This is when you realise that ‘real-time’ really does mean real-time. Events that occur in The Sims FreePlay take as long as they would in the real world. Send your Sim to the toilet and they’ll take 10-15 seconds to perform the action. Washing hands – 10 seconds. Fancy a good night’s sleep? That’ll be 7 hours please.

This real-time gameplay may not be to everyone’s tastes but it does work for people who, like me, have things to do during the day – like work! Send your Sim off to work in the morning and when you get home from work yourself they’ll have finished as well.

Each action your Sim performs earns experience points (or ‘XP’) and in some cases money too. The more XP you earn the more things you unlock in the game and the more money you have means nicer things for your Sims.

If you want your Sim to earn more money and XP then you’ve got to keep your Sim happy just as previous Sims games would have you do. By fulfilling the usual Sims needs (hunger, toilet, cleanliness, fun, social and sleep) you can make your Sim feel fulfilled. A fulfilled Sim earns more XP/money for actions performed and if they perform the action in their own household they get even more still.  This is where the management of your Sims comes in. Keep your Sims fulfilled and doing things in their own home may seem a bit anti-social but it helps you level up a lot quicker. There are some cases however that you may want to have all your Sims in one house and make them fulfilled there – mainly because it means you don’t have to keep switching between houses which will save vital seconds of time.

As you progress through the tutorial you’ll notice you receive ‘Life Points’ for completing goals. Life Points are for the impatient amongst us who don’t want to wait 12 hours for a house to build or can’t wait any longer for their Sim to finish in the bath. Using up a Life Point will instantly complete an action/task and save you having to wait around. This can be useful when you’re building things around town such as new houses or workplaces. Think of Life Point as gold dust because that’s pretty much what they are.

The whole reason The Sims FreePlay is free is because they rely on people getting hooked on the game and also getting impatient. If you run out of Life Points or Simoleons (the Sims’ currency) then you can buy some from the Sims Store – with real money. This is the part of the game that makes me feel a bit sick. A measly 6 Life Points costs £2.37 but you can actually purchase 1000 for £71.39. How they can get away with this I do not know. Patience is a virtue my friends, I’ve only used a few of my Life Points up (one time being when the tutorial forced me to) and another when I needed a new Sim quickly but paying for them is not an option for me – especially at those prices.

As you progress in the game you will then need to build your Sims somewhere to work. After all, they’ve gotta pay the bills sometime. This is the first time I fell over in the game. I built a science lab which was the best-paid job on the town map but what I failed to realise is that the working hours were from 10am ‘til 6pm. Because I go to work at 9am (I’m talking about real life now) I wasn’t around to send my Sims off at 10am. You can send your Sim off around 60 minutes early to work but sadly I wasn’t at home to do so. Well, that was $10,000 wasted. So I had to save up and I built a sports stadium instead. The work hours were much better for me and my Sims as they now work from 8am-12 noon. Your Sims will get promoted and earn more money and experience the more they work so make sure you keep them going. Sending them to work in a fulfilled state is not only amusing but also helps increase the amount of XP and money they bring back at the end of the working day.

Pets! Who doesn’t want their Sim to have a loveable companion? Well you don’t get a choice with your first Sim as they’ll be given a very handy golden retriever. You don’t have to feed or ‘water’ your pets but they do come in handy. If you leave him alone for long enough he’ll find hidden treasures in the garden. These range from $1 to $100 and even Life Points (although these are quite rare). Simply tap on the barking mutt once he’s found something and he’ll dig it up for you. Other than that, pets don’t play a huge part in the game, they’re mainly for show but also help out every now and again with the bills. If you build a pet shop in town then you will be able to purchase different breeds of dog but these can only be purchased by using up some of your Life Points When you see your gold retriever is actually worth 100 Life Points the thought may cross your mind to have him put down and sold but sadly this cannot be done. Fancy a retired greyhound? That’ll be 5 Life Points. 25 Life Points if you want a scary looking a Labrador and there are many others to choose from.

A great source of income is from growing your own fruit and vegetables (try telling that to British farmers). You can quickly, well, every couple of hours, rack up hundreds of XP and Simoleons by growing some potatoes for example. Have a few or more Sims doing that at the same time and you’ll be able to afford that new flat screen TV you wanted. Along with having a job and planting crops you can also bake things in the kitchen. These baked goods are nice but they don’t give you anywhere near as much when compared to farming.

Sims can go for a drive around town to cool off and they can also visit each other’s houses. The lack of free will however means you have to get them to all interact with each other. This is OK in the main but it’s time consuming work for sure. There is also a lack of dignity between Sims. For example: you can quite happily have 4 Sims in the bathroom at any one time. One in the shower, one washing their hands, one in the bath and the other clearing out last night’s curry in the toilet – and they won’t batter an eyelid either. This (however disgusting) is actually quite handy when you’re trying to satisfy multiple Sims’ needs – and it can also make for some quite amusing situations.

Up next: Build Mode is here! That’s right; you can now fully build your Sims home from scratch on your mobile device. It’s one floor only at the moment but it’s a start if nothing else. If you’d rather not select one of the pre-made houses for your Sim to move into then why not just buy the plot and come up with the grand design yourself? The build mode works really well indeed. It’s so easy to create rooms, doorways and windows that you could spend an age just building one lot. Don’t forget however that houses cost money so make sure you’ve got enough in the bank before you start doing so. You don’t want to end up with an unfinished house for your Sim to shelter in do you? Or do you…?

Along with building houses and re-sizing your rooms (at any time in the game) the buy mode lets you add furnishing and items to your house. There are hundreds of objects to choose from ranging from crappy little CRT TVs to beautiful tall fridges with ice making capabilities.  Some of the items are very expensive and some, again, require Life Points to purchase but you can normally get yourself a bargain if you search hard enough. The quality of the item you buy does affect how long actions performed with it last however. For example, if you buy the cheapest possible bed it will take your Sim 7 hours for a good night’s sleep and only 725 XP points. However, upgrade to one of the 3-star beds and your Sim can be up and refreshed in just 6 hours with 825 XP points to boast. This works the same with other object around the house; it’ll even take longer to go to the toilet if you buy one of the cheap ones!

It’s this mixture of pros and cons that make The Sims FreePlay interesting and fun to play. There’s no requirement to ‘add friends’ to be able to progress further as in other real-time games and this is a big plus. As much fun as it would be if you could visit your friend’s towns it’s nice to have FreePlay as a standalone game.

I would highly recommend that all Sims fans give FreePlay a go. It may not be your style but it’s fun to just ‘pick up and play’ when you have a spare moment.

 

GAMEPLAY 8/10

The real-time gameplay of Sims FreePlay isn’t new to me but it’s the first of its type I’ve actually continued playing for more than a few days. The inability of being able to queue up actions for your Sims can be annoying at first but I suppose they can’t have you queuing things up for a day’s worth of actions or you’d just earn stupid amount of money and XP in a very short period of time. I do feel however you should be able to queue up smaller actions such as going to the toilet and washing your hands afterwards. Even with this limitation the game plays out very well. The Goals will keep giving you something to aim for be it to just buy a new coffee machine or to finally do the WooHoo.

 

GRAPHICS 9/10

The graphics have really come a long way since The Sims 3. They’re crisp, clear and smooth and this really helps bring the game alive. The amount of detail was quite surprising when you consider this is just a mobile game. You can zoom in and spin your camera around as much as you like and it doesn’t have any troubles coping.

There is a bit of slowdown every now again when all your Sims are together and fulfilled but this is just a minor glitch.

Flying around your town map just shows the level of detail the developers have gone into here. Traffic lights change colours (and cars even follow the rules!) and trees blow in the wind which give it a more ‘console like’ feel. I would put The Sims FreePlay on-par with The Sims 2 on PC graphics-wise.

CONTROLS 9/10:

The touch controls work incredibly well. They’re responsive and the 360 degree camera allows you to navigate round your Sim’s house with ease. This can be very handy when you have a house full of Sims and you’re trying to select an item that’s behind another one.

SOUND 8/10:

One of my big problems with The Sims 3 on Android was the terrible sound in-game. Where was the build music? Why did it keep glitching? All my worries and sleepless nights have been resolved in Sims FreePlay. There are different musical pieces in each mode just like in a ‘proper’ Sims game. The only annoying factor here is when you’re quickly switching between your Sims’ houses as the ‘house music’ will start from the beginning each time. I can overlook this however as there is variety in the different modes. If you’ve got a spare few minutes you can actually change the in-game music to something more preferable anyway – simply navigate to the location where your Sims game downloaded (normally in /sdcard/Android/data/com.ea.games.simsfreeplay_row/published/music) and you can put something a bit more to your taste in there.

The sound effects in the game are good too. Each action you perform has a different sound so you certainly know the difference between your Sim making a coffee or having a bath. You can even here your Sim typing on their keyboard as they play their own copy of The Sims 3!

OVERALL 85%:

It may be the lure of the Sims and their everyday lives or perhaps I just like watching my Sims shower in their underwear but the easy-to-learn and hard-to-put-down gameplay will keep you coming back for more.

Goodbye Android Market :( Hello Google Play :)

March 7, 2012

Yes my friends, it’s true. It’s over. The Android Market is no more. But wait; Google Play launched today and guess what? It’s pretty much the same as the Android Market. Phew.

Googe Play is here today

Googe Play is here today

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I wasn’t a fan of the name Google Play I must be honest. I think however it’ll probably grow on me.

Apparently, the name Android Market was not descriptive enough for…um…let’s call them simple people… too geeky-sounding perhaps? But either way, Google Play is coming to your handset and there’s nothing you can do about it*

So what will you notice? Well, not much to be honest. A new icon, new name and ‘all your entertainment in one place’. Google Play is to bring in Google Music to the app (not currently available in the UK) and then your Google Play app will be your central hub for entertainment.

Here is is in Google’s own words:

[Google Plus is] a digital entertainment destination where you can find, enjoy and share your favorite music, movies, books and apps on the web and on your Android phone or tablet. Google Play is entirely cloud-based so all your music, movies, books and apps are stored online, always available to you, and you never have to worry about losing them or moving them again.”

Basically it’s the same as before but a bit different – that doesn’t really make sense does it?

I think this lovely video will explain things a bit better:

Google Play released in the UK today! March 2012

So what do you have to do to get it? Well nothing actually. Your phone will update itself and rename things next time you load Android Market up so there’s nothing to do on your behalf. It’s currently rolling out across the US and UK so expect to see it soon.

*unless you throw your phone in a fish tank

Let’s Play! Whale Trail Android App Review [HD]

February 18, 2012

Evening everyone. Today I’ve uploaded my review of Whale Trail for Android.

Absolutely fantastic and addictive game with beautiful graphics and funny music.

Full text review to follow.

Let’s Play! Bloons Tower Defence (TD) 4 Android Review (HD)

February 12, 2012

Evening people. Up today is my little play-through of Bloons Tower Defence (TD) 4. It’s running on my Asus Transformer so I could capture it full screen but it’s available on the HTC Desire S too – don’t worry 😉

Full text review to come soon 🙂

 

GTA III (3) Mobile coming to Android phones next week (HTC Desire S in the future?)

December 7, 2011

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Rockstar Games finally set the date for their gun driving, car wielding (that works both ways) 10th anniversary celebration of Grand Theft Auto. 15th of December is the date and the price tag will be $4.99 in the US which leads me to blieve it will be £4.99 in the UK – hey who needs exchange rates anyway?

The list of supported Android devices is reasonably small at the moment:

Android Phones: HTC Rezound, LG Optimus 2x, Motorola Atrix 4G, Motorola Droid X2, Motorola Photon 4G, Samsung Galaxy R, T-Mobile G2x
Android Tablets: Acer Iconia, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Dell Streak 7, LG Optimus Pad, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1, Sony Tablet S, Toshiba Thrive

Now, 90% of these devices aren’t even out in the UK unless they just go under different names here so it’s not looking great initially. Rockstar Games have however said they will be bringing it to older Android phones over the coming months so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw it on the popular HTC Desire S. Whether the game would even fit on the original Desire is another question – I’m going to say it probably won’t but we can but hope.

Expect a full review right here once I’ve finished driving around Liberty City pretending I’m a real, every day person.

The 12 Apps of Christmas – The Top 12 Christmas Android Apps/Games 2011

December 2, 2011

Evening fellow humans, I hope you’re enjoying the chocolate from your advent calendars?

Here’s my top 12 Android Christmas apps/games so let me know what you think and if you have any questions then you know where to leave them!

The top 12 are as follows:

1 Angry Birds Seasons
2 Bugs Circle Christmas
3 Penguin Launch
4 Noogra Nuts
5 Zombies Christmas
6 Santa’s Helper
7 iSanta
8 Christmas Presents
9 A Christmas Santa
10 Night of the Living Gingerbread Men
11 Xmas Pinball
12 Santa’s Village

Gameloft 9mm Android Review – running on HTC Desire S [HD video]

October 29, 2011

Happy Saturday people, today I’ve got a special review of Gameloft’s fantastic 9mm game. Check out the video and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Gameloft have been hyping 9mm up for the last few months so when it was released I obviously just blindly paid £3 for it and downloaded it straight away.

Have I been burnt by my silliness? No, it seems not.

Let’s get this out the way with first – 9mm is as close to Grand Theft Auto as you’re going to get on an Android phone (until Rockstar actually release Grand Theft Auto for Android).

The game put you in the rather lovely leather suit of one John Kannon who is the leader of a special team of hardened cops. John and the gang don’t mind bending the rules when it comes to dealing out justice and it is just this which lands them in trouble.

After killing off the brother of a local gang lord and stealing millions of dollars of drug money; Kannon and his colleagues become the target of revenge.

When Kannon’s family start getting threatened it’s more than enough to convince Kannon he’s going to have to take down the leader of the gang who’s hunting them and put an end to the violence.

Sound: 8/10

The attention to detail in this game is some of the best I’ve seen in a mobile game. Whether you’re walking past a burning bin or hearing the sound of your enemy’s head being blown off Gameloft have really outdone themselves here.

The music in-game (although not something I’d personally listen to) really does help to add to the atmosphere of the game. Intense gun battles are backed up by fast paced tunes and when the panic is over the music fades out and goes to some of the more relaxing rap/hip-hop sounds.

Graphics: 10/10

The graphics in this game are….*cough*….the graphics are really….*cough*….sorry; the graphics in 9mm are the best I have seen on a mobile game. Huge 3D environments look as good as anything you’d have seen on a high-end console 3/4 years ago. The lighting effects cast shadows well and the sun will blind your vision if you happen to peer into it.

The main characters are all animated well with good detail to their bodies John Kannon and his crew all look the part and so do the main bad guys. Some of the less important characters however can look a bit more basic but that’s to be expected really. I was quite surprised Kannon’s wife was not better drawn but perhaps she’s just ugly.

Controls: 7/10

The controls do take quite a bit of getting used to. Moving with your left thumb and looking around with your right is natural but you have to keep swiping around with your right thumb to get your character to look where you want him to. For a beginner this may be difficult but after some trial and error you can find a system that works for you. The thing that helps you along the way is the slow-mo mode. Once in this mode you have time to aim at your targets with pinpoint accuracy and this really helps get you out of some sticky situations.

The weapon select/reload in the top-right although handy is also a bit annoying. When scrolling through your arsenal you cannot keep scrolling one way to get back to the start; this can leave you in a sticky situation every now and then but you’ll soon learn the hard way.

Gameplay 8/10:

The game plays very well. The story is fluid and navigating your way round the levels is easy. Having a Max Payne-esque slow-mo mode adds another dimension to your battles. Whether you’re diving sideways to shoot some guys through a doorway in the room next door or throwing yourself back to avoid an explosion these Matrix-style jumps are really something.

Another nice addition to the game is QTEs – Quick Time Events as seen in other games (namely Shenmue if you’re old enough). Think of them as interactive cut scenes – although you’re not directly moving your character you determine the outcome of the scene by performing actions that are prompted on-screen. You may have to jump over an on-coming car or duck under an oncoming punch but these keep you on your toes and keep you involved in the game.

9mm even has online multiplayer for you and your friends (or drug-dealing enemies) to compete on. There are currently two different game modes – Free For All and Cops  & Robbers. I found the multiplayer quite frustrating at first – namely because I’m crap – but you seem to be able to be killed in just a bullet or two which when you’re used to flying through the air with your leg practically blown off in the single player mode is a bit harsh.

One tip I can give you is to use your left thumb in the top left of the screen to aim your weapon and then your right thumb to shoot. Using your right thumb to do both just doesn’t give you enough time and I can bet your foes have already worked that one out.

OVERALL 86%

The story as previously mentioned is really good. Although a bit over the top it’s interesting and keeps you wanting to come back for some more Kannon action.

With ideas taken from Max Payne, Grand Theft Auto and Duke Nukem (namely Kannon’s voice acting) this puts 9mm in another league.

Gameloft free game of the day: Order & Chaos Online

October 15, 2011

order-chaos-online-androidYep that’s right, Order & Chaos Online is currently free for UK Android users. Be sure to head over to the Gameloft mobile site (j.mp/and-store) on your handset and download it straight away (as there is only 1h 35mins to go!)

Considering the game is currently £4.99 in the Android Market you’re getting a pretty decent RPG for nothing!

Once downloaded be sure to back up your download so you can re-install it should you ever wipe your phone.

Have fun 🙂

OnLive UK Android running on HTC Desire S [HD] (and MSI Wind U135 review and bandwidth usage)

September 24, 2011

Hi peeps, today I’ve got a little preview of OnLive running on the HTC Desire S. Originally an HTC Flyer only application someone has managed to retrieve the .apk and you can now run it on nearly every Android phone!

As the Android experience is currently “view only” you can’t play any games on it yet 😦 but hopefully soon they’ll enable the on-screen controls so you can play a spot of Unreal Tournament III on your phone!

To give you an example of what to expect I load up OnLive on my MSI Wind U135 DX Netbook to show you you don’t need a huge powerful computer to run the software on!

Take note of how much internet/bandwidth the OnLive service uses during the video of me playing.


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