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KickBeat for Xbox One–Impressions

KickBeat logo SE thumb KickBeat for Xbox One–Impressions

Kickbeat is a unique entry into the rhythm/music genre.  Developed by Zen Studios, it fuses elements of Guitar Hero/Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution, and every fighting game ever made.  The result is a rhythm game where you press buttons in time with the music, and each successful button press lands an attack on a swarm of enemies.  These enemies just love to get punched and kicked to the music, because they all get into position just in time to get whacked.  I’ll try to explain how it works…

Gameplay

The gameplay area is a circle with your character standing in the middle, ready to kick people to the beat of the music.  The music starts and the enemies start to circle you.  As they circle towards one of the cardinal directions, they land on one of the face buttons. (in the case of the Xbox One version, XYBA)  You press the associated button in time with the beat and the enemy on that button gets a vicious attack knocking him out of the fight. 

Faster songs have more enemies to defeat and with higher frequencies.  There are a couple variations to the formula, including; blue enemies who attack in off-beat patterns like up beats, red enemies who attack in pairs (meaning you’ll press two buttons like X and Y), and enemies who are tied together with a yellow streak whom you defeat by pressing and holding on the first enemy and releasing on the second.

Some enemies will have a floating icon over their head with a range of powerups.  Double tapping their corresponding button will give you the knockout and the powerup.  Powerups vary between score multipliers, extra points, health, chi and more.  Then you have the option to fire off your collected chi or shield move to either double points or save yourself from a difficult section.

Difficulty

There is an old saying, “Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought.”  The saying is in reference to being prideful and treating others as if they are less than ourselves.  But I am going to use it in the context of, “just because you can beat every Guitar Hero game on Expert and love rhythm games, don’t think that you should start KickBeat on anything above Normal.”

I have a confession to make.  When I first fired up KickBeat and completed the training, I figured I was prepared for the higher difficulties.  I was sorely mistaken.  KickBeat was, at this moment, “get your face Kicked in to the beat”.  Normal is challenging enough, you should start there.

Graphics and Sounds

Graphics are hardly the focus of a rhythm game so I won’t spend much time on them, but I will say I had trouble at times identifying the colors of the enemies.  Some times it was too late before I realized that the two enemies were red and would be attacking simultaneously.  Another issue I had, though also mild and infrequent, was the enemies occasionally becoming obscured by the player character due to the odd camera angle.

Sound is a completely different story here.  Sound is key to KickBeat’s gameplay.  The sound effects are few and unimportant beyond the sound of fist meeting face.  The music however, is the reason behind the (thin) story and what engages the player.  As you get better at KickBeat, similar to Rock Band, it will begin to feel like you are playing these songs.  But instead of playing the songs with instruments, you play with your punches and kicks.  Each blow delivered to your enemies is in perfect sync with the beat, guitar riffs, vocal lines or other musical accents.

The soundtrack that you will beat enemies up to is energetic but varied.  Rap songs, metal tracks, and electronic dance tunes are available.  And the set list seems to get better as you work through the story mode.

Better late than never

KickBeat has been out on other platforms for a while, but I came late to the party.  Xbox One owners who are fans of rhythm games should rejoice at this fun fusion of fighting and music.  It’s got its quirks, but the soundtrack is hard-hitting and the game shows off it’s excellent design at the higher difficulties.

Sunset Overdrive gets an UNofficial theme song

 

Sunset Overdrive, the open world action game set to release this October exclusively for Xbox One, oozes style and energy.  So far, in the trailers and gameplay footage we’ve seen from the game, there hasn’t been a song that represents the style and energy we would expect from such a game.

Yes.Mustache is a musical act that observed the previously mentioned “style and energy” and has released an “Unofficial Theme Song” for Sunset Overdrive.  It’s a pop-punk styled tune that drops quite a few references to the game.

It’s a fun song.  Check it out if you like your songs on the upbeat side with a helping of wall-running and exploding mutants.

http://yesmustache.toolofgod.com/sunset-overdrive-unofficial-theme-song-released/

Zombie Driver: Ultimate Edition Review

My Great Capture Screen Shot 2014 07 19 07 04 25 thumb Zombie Driver: Ultimate Edition Review

Note: This is an updated review of Zombie Driver HD for Xbox 360, but based on the newly released Zombie Driver: Ultimate Edition for Xbox One.  Review is based on a copy of the game given to us by Exor Studios.

There may be some time in the future (whether near or far, no one knows for sure) where it will be boring to face wave after wave of various types of zombies, smashing them into pieces with your car and watching their mangled torsos roll off of the hood of your car.  Now is not that time.

While many people may be bothered by use of zombies in…everything, driving your car into innocents isn’t as accepted as it may have been when video games were less mainstream.  Most folks are ok with killing zombies, so we won’t likely see the end of the zombie killing simulator soon.  And that’s ok, because it means we get fun, if flawed, diversions like EXOR Studios’ Zombie Driver HD.

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Xbox One Stereo Headset Review

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Today I received my Microsoft Xbox One Stereo Headset.
Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter

In the box

First off, very cool packaging.  The box opens up to reveal the headphones in a foam wrapping, but well presented.  Underneath the headphones are the Micro USB cable and the headphone adapter.

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Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition – Review

gameplay Screen Shot 2014 02 10 07 17 32 thumb Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition   Review

Last year, Crystal Dynamics created one of my favorite games of the year, Tomb Raider.  A reboot of a franchise that I am very familiar with, since it’s initial release.  The new Tomb Raider looked great, even on the aging hardware of the last console generation.  And though console gamers didn’t get the fancy TressFX and high resolutions that the PC release saw, the gameplay and story showed up in a major way and Lara became fresh again, if naïve and vulnerable.

Having thoroughly enjoyed Tomb Raider last year, I wasn’t thrilled about the announcement of a new and improved “Definitive Edition” on new gen consoles.  Was this just a gussied up rereleased cash-in?  Was there enough here to warrant the infamous “double dip”?

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What is Cuphead?!?

Studio MDHR taks the style of 30′s cartoons and with grand love and great difficulty applies it to video games with the running and gunning, ‘Cuphead’. While we have come a long way with the artistry and technology used to create our modern games, we can still find innovation and be impressed by looking to our past. Cuphead may look simple but it is by no means being phoned in. With hand drawn and animated characters, classic static, water color backgrounds and original music inspired by the toons of the era, Cuphead is looking to make worlds collide.

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Amazon Deal: $10 off ’3 Month Xbox Live Gold Card’

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For a limited time Microsoft and Amazon are offering up their 3 Monh Xbox Live Gold Cards at a $10 discount. What is normally $24.99 can be yours for $14.99. It is not known how long this deal will go for but one can assume it will not be for too much longer. With the recent launch of the Xbox One this is a great time to get on and try out Gold if you have not before or maybe add a few more months to your current Gold. Click the link below and switch to the 3 month option to order yours today. You can get a physical card or a digital copy of your code and there does not appear to be a limit on the amount you can order.

415TMngowzL. SL160  Amazon Deal: $10 off 3 Month Xbox Live Gold Card

Edit:  It looks it’s just the physical cards now.

Why do hackers bring down video game servers?

Seriously, why?

Some hackers brought down the PlayStation Network in 2011.  Were they Xbox fanboys?  Did they hate Asia based Video Game companies?

This week we have hackers running a DDOS attack on EA (Electronic Arts), preventing servers across all platforms from doing their jobs, that is, to serve data to paying customers.  Customers that have paid for a game in order to access it’s online features, such as multiplayer.  Do these hackers hate EA?  Do they hate Battlefield?  Are they head-over-heels in love with Call of Duty so much that they want to eliminate it’s closest competition? Read more

Hardcore Gaming on a Budget

Slashed Dollar Sign Hardcore Gaming on a Budget

Originally published January 15th, 2013.  There have been updates to the way gamers can save money as well as what systems are available.

As far as hobbies go, you can get more expensive than gaming.  That is not to say that gaming is an inexpensive hobby, but if you are playing more than just Angry Birds on your phone, you are going to start clocking up dollars pretty quick.  And if you consider yourself among the “hardcore” gaming crowd, you might be paying 500 dollars or more every year if you want to play the latest Halo, Battlefield, Call of Duty, Madden, FIFA, or other annual releases.

But if you are on a tight budget, or just looking to save a few bucks here and there, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the best that gaming as to offer.  Here are some money saving cheat codes to power up your game collection and your wallet.

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Max: The Curse of Brotherhood Review

 gameplay Screen Shot 2013 12 22 04 17 36 1024x576 Max: The Curse of Brotherhood Review    A review of Max: The Curse of Brotherhood from Press Play, on Xbox One, Xbox 360

When Max comes home to find his little brother, Felix, playing (rather aggressively) with Max’s toys, Max reaches his last straw and decides to run a web search on “How to make your brother disappear!”  He finds an incantation that, when recited, summons a portal and seconds later Felix is gone.

Max has a rather instantaneous change of heart and jumps in after Felix and his monster captor.  This brief cutscene is all you get before jumping into Max’s beautiful adventure.  The gameplay starts soon after and has you control Max in an effort to bravely acquire Felix from the evil kidnapper that has claimed him, the mustachioed Mustacho. Read more