Tagged "Minecraft"

Aug 25
By Matt Gander In Features No Comments

The last-gen formats have reached the age where they’re being handed down to younger siblings, with the Xbox One and PS4 taking pride of place under the main TV instead. Both consoles have also fallen in price heavily over the past year or so, making them affordable (and more viable) for children.

Unlike the Wii and Wii U, the Xbox 360 and PS3 never saw a steady slew of children’s games – just the odd movie or cartoon tie-in here and there, plus the usual LEGO, Skylanders and Disney Infinity games.

The aim of this guide is to highlight some of the alternative kids’ games out there while sorting the good from the bad. Contrary to popular beliefs, kids can tell the difference. They may not be able to exactly point out why a game is bad, but they know the difference between boring and entertaining.

With this guide you hopefully won’t be hearing “this game is boring” too often.

The obvious choices


Let’s get these out the way first, as chances are your child already owns a few of these. We’re talking about the games that are always prominently placed in supermarkets and GAME, such as LEGO, Skylanders, Disney Infinity, Just Dance, FIFA Soccer and Minecraft.

Disney Infinity was axed earlier this year, meaning retailers are starting to clear out stock. The first DI features Disney and Pixar franchises and packed in a lot of content, with worlds based on Monsters Inc, The Incredibles and Pirates of the Caribbean. You do however need two characters from the same universe to play two-player in these worlds, which obviously goes against the whole ‘Infinity’ aspect.

Disney Infinity was axed earlier this year

The second DI favours Marvel superheroes and has a quickly cobbled together feel to it, with just one campaign that soon becomes tedious. The Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man add-on packs also scored poorly by the gaming press.

For the third and final DI, Star Wars is the theme and this iteration focuses heavily on the premium priced add-ons. Despite featuring characters from all different Disney lines, the majority can only be used in the Minecraft-style Toy Box mode…which is due to go offline next year. It can still be accessed, but the ability to share creations with the community will cease.

Children are likely to lean towards their favourite franchise, but for our money, the original DI is the one to go for. With three campaigns lasting around 3-4 hours each, it offers the most out-of-the-box value.

As for Skylanders, we recommend the recent Skylanders Superchargers – which has online co-op play and Mario Kart-style races – and Skylanders Giants, which wasn’t too demanding when it came to extra figures. Although Skylanders Giants is also knocking on a bit now, it’s the prices for the giant figures have hit rock bottom. A full set can easily be obtained for around £20.

While not bad games – the Skylanders games have a rare consistency to them – both Trap Team and Swap Force lock a lot of content away, with the former requiring £5 coloured crystals to capture bad guys in, and Swap Force adding new areas that only Swap Force characters can enter. These two are by far the most money grabbing.

LEGOMovie (1)

Then we have the LEGO games, which too are constantly good…and sometimes even great. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones and The Lord of the Rings are generally seen as some of the weaker entries, while Harry Potter, Star Wars, Batman, Marvel Super Heroes and The Avengers are perceived as the best.

LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga are the ones commonly found in bargain bins nowadays, both of which are recommended.

LEGO Dimensions stuff meanwhile is slowly starting to come down in price due to the arrival of season two. The starter set hasn’t quite hit the magical £30 mark yet, but it’s almost there. Out of all the ‘Toys to Life’ franchises, LEGO Dimensions is the most demanding on the wallet, and the upcoming second season looks set to be even more so with packs based on Sonic the Hedgehog, Gremlins, Adventure Time and dozens more. At least LEGO tends to hold its value, eh?

This leaves us with Minecraft, which needs no introduction. Several years from launch, it’s still a big seller and just as popular. Thankfully for parents, it isn’t a full price release – expect to pay between £15-£20. If your child is into Minecraft in a big way, also be sure to check out Minecraft: Story Mode – which features a collection of episodic adventures to play through – and Terraria, which is often referred to as Minecraft’s 2D cousin. It’s slightly trickier to master, but chances are your child has friends who’ve already learnt the ropes and will be keen to show off what they know.

Read more

Sep 03
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

This week’s new releases are an odd assortment of bits and bobs. We’d wager that this is because no publisher in their right mind would launch anything major in the run up to Destiny’s release.

The same goes for next week too, which is also looking rather random. Nintendo Phonics Fun with Biff, Chip & Kipper, anybody?

Reviews of the PC only The Sims 4 should be starting to appear online as you read this. It was actually released in the US on Tuesday, so the lack of coverage is slightly worrying.


Portueguse website Techtudo gave it an 8.5, praising the freedom and customisation options but panning the amount of overall content. The Geekiary felt the same, criticising the fact that many features (such as swimming pools) which were available in The Sims 3 are now oddly absent. “If EA actually makes players pay for swimming pools, toddlers, or other things that were present in previous core games, then the future of the franchise will be in danger. Fans can tell when a company is trying to take money from them without giving anything of worth in return,” they said. Oh dear.

We’ll be honest – it’s hard to tell if Crimes and Punishments: Sherlock Holmes will be making an appearance on PS4 and Xbox One this Friday. Amazon has it down for release this week, but the publisher’s site says 30th September. Zavvi and GAME meanwhile report 3rd October. Nothing like a spot of consistency, eh? Frogware’s previous Sherlock Holmes games have been rough around the edges – The Testament of Sherlock Holmes seems to be the series’ peek, with a Metacritic of 73%. It’s hard to say if the jump to next-gen will improve things, or simply make them worse.

Danganronpa 2 Goodbye Despair

NIS’s visual novel Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is definitely out on PS Vita though. What’s more is that there are plenty of reviews around too. Hurrah! This sequel to Trigger Happy Havoc has gone down well, bagging a 9/10 from God is a Geek (“If you even remotely enjoy great stories and narratives, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is an absolute must-buy”) and an 8.0 from GameInformer (“it sticks with you long after you’ve watched the credits roll”).

The original didn’t make the UK top 40, but it did make #1 in the PS Vita chart when it launched earlier this year. Will it repeat this minor success?

Read more

May 14
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

As much as we like Kirby, we always feel that if you chose to ignore a game starring the pink hued dude you wouldn’t be missing out on much. Certainly not to the extent of overlooking a new Zelda or anticipated Mario game, anyway.


Reviews would suggest though that Kirby: Triple Deluxe is well worth a look, and not just because there’s very little else out on 3DS currently. “Triple Deluxe knocks spots off the insipid, sluggish Yoshi’s New Island – it’s more generous, more inventive, more alive” said Eurogamer before spitting out an 8/10. US Gamer meanwhile said that “Even if you tend not to care much about Kirby games – understandably, given how toothless they can be – Triple Deluxe merits attention”. They went on to give it 4/5.

A pink 2DS is also being launched to tie-in with Triple Deluxe. Shame it doesn’t have a copy of the game itself bundled with it.

Over on PlayStation 3 two new releases are up for perusal. Minecraft is getting a retail release for around the £13 mark, with PS Vita and PS4 retail releases following in the coming months. As you’ve no doubt noticed, Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition has performed incredibly well at retail. In fact, we don’t think it has left the UK top ten since it was released. As such, it’s believed that the PlayStation retail versions will be amongst this summer’s biggest sellers.

That other new arrival on PS3 is Nascar ’14, which has been picked up for a European release by Deep Silver. Where the Xbox 360 version has got to we aren’t sure – it’s not even available to pre-order on Amazon. This is Eutechnyx’s third stab at Nascar, and word has it that not much has changed from the previous two. “Most of its improvements are either minor enough or exposed by other flaws that the sum total of the experience doesn’t equate to a lot of positive momentum” said GameInformer.

It should however be noted that the last couple of Nascar games weren’t released in Europe, so the fact that it’s a lazy update may not be all that much of an issue.

The only other retail release for this week is The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on Xbox One. We’re still unsure as to why it’s making a belated appearance, especially seeing that it was available to download on Xbox One at launch. Eurogamer’s 2/10 review paints a very bleak picture, so approach with extreme caution. There are better ways to spend your money on Xbox One.


Super Time Force is one such example. We’ve seen barely a bad word about this pixel-powered shooter, with Eurogamer in particular claiming that it provokes memories of Treasure’s 16-bit days. It’s out now on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One, priced at £11.99. It looks like only the Xbox 360 version has a demo though if you’re thinking of trying before buying.

Also arriving on Xbox One is the first dose of Titanfall DLC – the Expedition map pack. The Walking Dead: In Harm’s Way also crawls onto XBLA, PSN, iOS and Steam. Eurogamer put the 90 minute or so episode through its paces earlier today.

A blast from the past can also be found on PSN this week, in the form of Cel Damage HD. A launch title for both Xbox and GameCube, the colourful car combat title gained a small cult following upon release. It was also given a second lease of life much later on as a £9.99 PlayStation 2 title, albeit in Europe only. It’s out on PS4, PS3 and PS Vita with Cross-Buy support, priced at £7.69. Sadly, online play isn’t included in this HD revamp.

Read more

Apr 15
By Adam Philbin In Features No Comments

It appears voxels are in this season. California-based indie developers MyDream Interactive have recently finished their successfully funded Kickstarter campaign for MyDream, a co-operative world building game that takes inspiration from the likes of Minecraft and LittleBigPlanet.

After surpassing their Kickstarter goal and receiving backing from high-profile figures such as Ultima Online creator Richard Garriott, the development team are eager to complete the project.

We talked to CEO Allison Huynh to find out more about MyDream.

Where did your inspiration for MyDream come from?

The founding team all had an amazing childhood exploring open world environments in Alaska or living in national parks. They wanted to create such a sandbox world, very expansive, with some traditional elements of RPG.

At first glance MyDream seems to build upon Minecraft, ramping up the co-operative and social elements. Aside from the world building, what other features are you planning to differentiate MyDream from Minecraft?

Our kickstarter stretch goal is to add unique elemental creatures to the worlds.

Our main differentiator is the ability to do questing and make quests for other people. We have caches and various items and treasures players can use to design their own virtual geocache.

Our kickstarter stretch goal is to add unique elemental creatures to the worlds. You can collect them, harvest them, even combine them to make new elements. At the bewitching hour, they turn into troublemakers. Players need to keep them happy or havoc may ensue. These monsters have dynamic properties and are not one-dimensional baddies.
We were very much inspired by the Gargoyles in Ultima 6.

The game seems to be largely based around player-created worlds, but will there be any narrative or main quests before easing players into the sandbox mode?

Yes, we will have the main quest, very much inspired by Myst. We stand on the shoulders of giants and we love that game. Players will go from world to world solving mysteries and clues and glue it all together. Our real measure of success, unlike Myst, is not if they solve all the main quests but how many narratives they make on the way.

Terrain in MyDream

You’re giving players amazing powers to shape the game world, are there any plans for player-made characters and items?

In the long term, there will be the ability to potentially evolve animals and plants from an initial configuration into something complex and unpredictable. These plants can be harvested to create dyes and paints for blocks. The plants can be pressed to make special oils to power interesting machines and tools.

Read More

Apr 11
By Adam Philbin In Features No Comments

Texas based indie developer Steamburger Studios have just launched their campaign on Kickstarter to help fund the development of their colourful new camping adventure game, Let’s Go Camping! We had the chance to chat and find out more about their plans.

With its beautiful, simple visuals and mix of open world exploration, monster hunting and camping, Let’s Go Camping feels a bit like the lovechild of Zelda and Skyrim, with elaborate narrative replaced with playful camping adventures. The Kickstarter campaign is a week in so far, and this is one game that we really hope reaches its goals.

Steamburger’s Brian Mayberry and his team took the time to answer some of our questions:

We love the idea of Let’s Go Camping – it seems a bit like a Minecraft-ified version of Skyrim. Where did your inspiration and desire to create it come from?

Believe it or not, I started off making a lowpoly Starfox clone. Late one night I opened up one of the levels and dropped in a first person controller. I started wanting a bow or something to shoot, so I made one, and quickly got really inspired.

You’ve previously worked on games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic and Defiance – how does indie development compare to working on traditional console games?

I started off making a lowpoly Starfox clone

It’s such a different experience! From a 200+ team in close quarters working on a huge project, down to just 4 guys connecting on Skype to make a smaller single player adventure camping game. There are some tools and development cycles that translate over quite well and we do communicate in a similar way when updating assets and setting tasks. The best difference is that everyone can really bring their ideas to the table from the start; nobody is left feeling like a small cog in the big machine.

A big part of the game seems to be using the bow and the realistic bow & arrow physics. Any plans to add other weapons and tools or will it all be spectacular archery action?

Yes! There will be a few alternate weapons, but they will not completely replace the bow. The bow is your key weapon, and most of the combat and design will be tailored around it. There will be items that give you new ways to navigate the overworld, and allow you into places previously unreachable.

Let's Go Camping

The game’s lowpoly visuals and barebones gameplay seems really appealing – what will you be doing to keep players hooked in and progressing?

Let’s Go Camping! is all about exploration and discovery, clearing those dungeons and finding that perfect camping spot. Lore and role play fans will enjoy the openness of the story, since we mostly leave it up to the player to work it out for themselves. There is a kind of linear progression to the game which will become more apparent as we get further into development; an ultimate destination so to speak. Item, camping gear, and arrow/food management will also play a part to keep the player motivated to place themselves in more dangerous situations.

Read More

Jan 27
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

It would appear that Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z’s mediocre reviews haven’t harmed sales – the brawler has managed to enter the UK chart at a respectable #10.

It’s at #7 in both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 charts, and #1 in the PS Vita chart.

This just goes to show how popular the anime franchise remains, although chances are that it didn’t have to sell all that many copies to chart as highly as it has done – sale figures were down heavily last week.

In fact, Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition – currently at #6 – was the only game in the top ten to see an increase in sales, and even then it was only by a mere 2%. FIFA 14 – which is no. 1 for a fourth week running – saw a 14% sales decrease, while Assassin’s Creed IV dropped a colossal 35%.

With FIFA 14 on top of the chart, the rest of the UK top five looks like this – Call of Duty: Ghosts at #2, followed by Battlefield 4, LEGO Marvel Superheroes and Assassin’s Creed IV.

Killzone: Shadow Fall remains in the top 10 at #7 while Forza 5 continues to be the highest charting Xbox One-exclusive at #12. Of course, both of these are bundled with their respective consoles. Even Knack is still knocking around due to being available in a bundle, albeit at #25.

Finally, Mario Party: Island Tour – the only other game to be released this month- is currently at #17, up one place from last week.

Dec 19
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Three releases are arriving at retail just in time for Christmas, but they aren’t exactly ones we can elaborate on.

To wit – the 3DS version of the manky Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon, Zumba Kids on Wii and a ridiculously priced re-release of Red Faction Guerrilla via new license holder Nordic Games.

If we turn to the world of digital downloads though, we find much to talk about. That’s especially the case on PSN where Minecraft arrives for a modest £12.99, with an additional ‘Festive Skin Pack’ priced at 79p. Doesn’t it look suitably jolly?


Seeing how well the Xbox 360 version has sold at retail, Sony would be fools not to arrange a retail release for Minecraft in the not too distant future.

With PS Vita and PS4 iterations due next year, this leaves just the Nintendo consoles without a version of the perfectly pixilated voyage into self-discovery. Hopefully 2014 will change that – it really makes no sense for it not to be released on Wii U or 3DS.


The small army of pinball fans out have two new sims to choose from – the apparently pretty good Pinball Arcade from System 3 and the well-established Zen Pinball 2.

The former features tables based on Star Trek, The Twilight Zone and more while the latter has Star Wars, Plants vs Zombies and Marvel-themed tables. Both are free downloads offering the chance to trial tables, with prices starting at a few quid each.

Also making an appearance on PSN are Backgammon Blitz for PS Vita and PS3, time travelling FPS Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter HD, overwhelmingly cute virtual pet thing Aabs Animals and top down sea-faring sim Rust Bucaneers.

Then on PS Vita only there’s Half Brick’s Age Of Zombies, the A-Men 1+2 Bundle Pack, BitTrip Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, MotoGP 13 Compact and Broken Sword – The Serpent’S Curse (Part 1). That last one has a 20% discount for PS Plus members.

It’s a busy week for Nintendo formats too, with developers wanting to get their games onto eShop before everyone slouches in front of the TV for the entirely of Christmas.

Read more

Sep 10
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

As a console enters its twilight years, it’s inevitable that the amount of budget priced software beings to increase, especially if that console has a sizeable userbase.


It happened with the PSone – which survived off a diet of £9.99 titles for a good three years after the PlayStation 2 was released – and also the PlayStation 2 itself.

We can even trace this trend as far back to the days of the Commodore 64 – for its final year or so Commodore Force magazine was filled with reviews of budget re-releases and little more.

This general drop in software pricing occurs for a couple of reasons. Firstly, due to reduced production costs – whereas the Xbox 360 and more significantly the PlayStation 3 gave developers a few ‘teething problems’ at launch, at this point in their life the tools, game engines, art assets and more are readily available and more than familiar. This opens the door for lesser-known publishers and developers to knock out smaller, quicker to produce games at a relatively inexpensive cost.

Further, when new consoles are released we start to see a shift in demographic. Older consoles are handed down to younger siblings and as the price of consoles fall towards that magical £99.99 mark they become viable options for those on limited income.


With a younger demographic the demand for pocket-money priced games starts to grow. We attributed Minecraft becoming the UK’s number one – a month after it launched – to the fact that the kids were off school that week and that it only costs £12.99 (or thereabouts). Of course, it also helps that Minecraft is a fascinatingly brilliant game.

Development costs are perhaps still too high at the moment for us to envision a publisher wheeling out a range of £9.99 console games, but in the future that may be a possibility. Those chances could improve somewhat if a publisher looked to the Eastern world and start localising Japanese games, like Midas Interactive did for almost their entire PlayStation 2 back catalogue. There are perhaps more random Japanese Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games that would be suitable for a Western release than most of us realise.

Read more

© 2001-2017 Games Asylum