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Hybrid Wars Review


If you are like me, you have discovered a fondness for most games under the Wargaming.net banner beginning with World of Tanks, a game that blew up on the scene about six years ago. They’ve shown up at E3 throwing great tournaments and parking tanks out front but most importantly they show up with solid, remarkably well balanced PvP games.  They didn’t stop at tanks – instead, they added World of Warplanes and most recently World of Warships, all while also expanding onto mobile devices and console platforms.  All three of these games have had the same 3rd person/first person play perspective with occasional top down and the general idea being why fix what isn’t broken?  Well Hybrid Wars is changing the game for Wargaming and it will remain to be seen if the fans will make the jump with them.

First Shot:

I play all the Wargaming.net titles on all their available systems, many as early as Alpha phase.  I have the U.S.S. Texas challenge coin I bought with hopes of winning a free code (no luck but it looks nice in my challenge coin collection), I have a World Of Tanks cap I won at a World of Warplanes contest, and I have a couple little plastic World Of Tanks artillery tanks that are similar to the ones my nephew was certified on and used in Iraq and Afghanistan. My dream toy would be one of the World Of Tanks remote control tanks they gave away at E3 2011 as prizes.  I want all this out there so you know just how much I was looking forward to Hybrid Wars when I heard Wargaming was bringing us exoskeletons, helicopters, and mechs all in one game!


Then a very strange phrase started popping up: top down shooter.  WoT used that for artillery, and WoWs used it for carriers but it was all done very strategically, you shot with artillery but with time in between and understanding “leading targets” and “splash damage” and WoWs carriers was giving orders.  Hybrid Wars is a top down shooter set in the style of ’90s with hyper waves of enemies coming at you from all sides such as Jackal, 1942 or well the fact is though it was considered a ’90s style gameplay it hasn’t gone anywhere, dozens of games come out every year with this format quite often the theme is really the only difference.  Some notable recent ones would be the terrific Alien Breed Trilogy and Livelock but the main difference usually winds up just being what you kill and general theme.  Zombies have been a huge one for sure, swarming as you spin in circles shooting.  So the key question is why will people play Wargaming’s top down shooter besides brand loyalty.

One thing in it’s favor is that you have different characters you unlock much like you unlocked vehicles in the other games.  Each character has a tech tree to build up, as well as favorite vehicles with tech trees.  These help you to definitely customize your experience. You might like the exoskeleton build of one character but the mech of another so you choose which your more likely to spend time with your play style.  This is one of the key differences from most other top down shooters but very similar to Wargaming’s other game builds, it’s not about getting new weapons as much as upgrading and modifying what you are working with.  At the same time though if you have ever played a top down shooter you can jump right into the game shooting everything and even destroying many parts of the environment.

There is a single player campaign and multiplayer is Co-Op which are two definite departures from play format.  The campaign is a bit short and mostly consists of “ok now go destroy these enemies, now protect this tower by destroying those enemies” which felt a bit thin.  Without PvP multiplayer like Wargaming’s other titles I’m not sure how many people will be willing to spend their money on the game.


That is another big change.  Players of previous titles are used to being able to play for free only playing for premium vehicles (like the Ripper I dream about so much) so that if they wanted they could get a great experience without hitting their wallet and there is a price tag on Hybrid Wars as well as a price to get more characters for it.

Last Thoughts For Now:

I get the feeling we will be coming back to Hybrid Wars. It has a season pass which is currently for sale and it will be interesting to see what they come out with.  It is already a lot of fun with lots of replay value, even if just considering building up each character’s traits and vehicles, though you only start with one character with the prime game, two with the deluxe and a third possible if you link to Wargaming.net, and at Wargaming.net you can buy even more expensive sets to get in game gold.  Let’s just hope it brings in the sailors, tankers and pilots who have been playing and making one of the best gaming communities on the net.

Hybrid Wars Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
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Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex-First Assault Online Review


When our Editor-in-Chief asked if I wanted to play a first-person shooter called “First Assault Online” I said sure since I had a bit of time available.  Then when I downloaded the game I found out it was “Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex-First Assault Online” and I was so happy I had taken the review.  One of the first anime movies that I really got into was Ghost In The Shell and I have enjoyed watching the televisions series on Adult Swim particularly when it came to Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex.  It is well written, the animation is really well done and it had a habit of being rough on it’s characters developing their true grit.  Sometimes as a show goes along they will stray away from the core of a character’s beliefs to make it fit a storyline.  Not a problem here though, this show is always solid.  So here was my chance to play a game based off of one of my all time favorite anime shows, will Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex-First Assault Online hold up to the series?  time to find out.


First Assault:

I understand why my EIC shortened the game name since it is a pretty big mouthful so until the end I will just be calling it First Assault Online.  First things first it definitely feels like you were just dropped into a firefight in an episode of GITS.  You use actual characters from the show and futuristic talents that feel like they should belong to each of the characters that they are assigned to.  The voices are great, the locations fit and futuristic, anime is spot on, it really is a gift to fans of the show to be able to play it.  Even when I was off my game and not pulling my best KDR I was still having fun just being in the world and fighting in it.  You fight cyborgs and robots which have a gratifying mechanical breakup instead of bloodshed which feels like it belongs here.  I wasn’t able to find anything that didn’t fit the show and it’s atmosphere.


Once you get past that the game is really a straight forward FPS.  You unlock weapons and as well as attachments, you level for new talents and prizes, you try to get them with getting got.  The physics are some of the most solid of any FPS I have played, I can’t think of any instances where I thought otherwise.  It has a built-in anti-cheat program which hopefully is catching most of the cheaters and probably most importantly the best auto-balancing systems I have seen.  Maybe it is because the classes are so well balanced but I never saw a blowout game, even ones I was choking on someone else was pulling up the slack.  Not sure what algorithms it uses but I was impressed and this review probably would have been done sooner if I could have convinced myself I didn’t need another day of play when it wasn’t needed but just wanted.  This can be an addictive play.  It even seemed to detect spawn campers quick and shift spawn points.

I guess one of the only things I could ask for would be a single player campaign, just to go through so GITS stories.  That puts a wistful smile on my face when I think about the idea but as a general rule a game needs to be great at single player or great at multiplayer, it has to be a huge franchise to be both and this is a play for free with pay for more faster unlocks and experience.  When you consider that the fact that this game is so good is amazing.


Last Shot (For Now):

Time for me to get back to playing it but first a quick summary.  Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex-First Assault Online is one of the best first-person shooter games I have ever seen and is exceptionally true to its anime roots.  The game is free when it would have been a steal at $15 so you might want to buy a bit of unlocks and extra experience just to make sure this game gets to stick around.  It’s well balanced, has a great anti-cheat and it’s auto-balancing is some of the best on the market.  Okay, time to head back in game.

Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex-First Assault Online Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com


The Bunker Review


It is 5:00 AM and  I am showered with my clothes laid out for the day and I’m in my pitch black media room.  Well almost pitch black, before me my gaming rig is fired up with The Bunker about to start.  Why so early in the morning? The same reason I started it in the dark of night and that is because we here at http://GamingShogun.com are dedicated to getting you a review of the proper experience of a choice based horror game in the vein of Until Dawn or, to us, really old school games like Dragon’s Lair and Night Trap.  So with my headset on, blinds drawn, and no lights save for the screen it was time for The Bunker.

Hands On:

The Bunker starts with your birth in a British nuclear bunker right as the bombs hits.  You are born nice and healthy, but you’ve got 30 years of bunker time to look forward to with yourself being the last survivor.  This isn’t a spoiler, it is the first couple of minutes and you then spend a few minutes after that with a very point and click “on rails” narrative.  That is kind of how it continues for quite a while, you have to be careful in cutscenes because sometimes it will want you to take action to show you are still paying attention and every once in a while you also get a strange jump scare.  There doesn’t feel like a real sense of urgency though at the beginning, and that is kind of why the suspense winds up catching up to you without you noticing.  Little flashbacks hint to possible problems other than radiation in the bunker’s history and maybe not everyone died of old age.


Most of the point and clicks aren’t too bad even though they wind up breaking up what begins to feel like a well done movie, but others are click as fast as you can which can be difficult getting fast enough with a mouse.  A couple times I held the mouse in the place it needed to be on the screen while I took my other hand and clicked the button like crazy.  It was a bit awkward and took me out of an otherwise suspense filled moment.  During one cut-scene, I made the mistake of taking a drink from my beverage and died for my trouble, having to go back a couple of those click happy moments.  I wish I could say the point and click and fast clicking went away but it follows you right up to whatever ending you wind up living, it stays mostly on the rails the whole way despite clicking with only a couple choices made.

The one thought that got stuck in my head early on though was how they managed to have only one baby in the bunker, why didn’t they have more? How had it come to be that the first born baby was also the last survivor?  It’s not a pick up line to say “we need to make babies to save Britain” if it is obviously true.  There is a sort of reason given in the plot but I still think the old phrase “children are our future” especially applies when you think you might be the last folks on Earth.


Final Credits:

I wish I could say that the point and click gameplay just engaged you in the action rather than distracted from it and that you felt you were actually making choices rather than riding the rails of a preset narrative but that’s not the case.  This is a wonderfully acted suspense thriller movie that lasts a few hours because it does the equivalent of hitting pause regularly.  I think if they had made it into an independent movie and put it on the festival circuit it would have been an acclaimed hit from the score and cinematography to acting and directing.  Both endings are solid too.  It even had Adam Brown (Ori in The Hobbit) and Sarah Greene (Hecate Poole in Penny Dreadful) starring in it.  In the end though it did remind me of the old school games like Dragon’s Lair where you didn’t have a choice of what you did just a time in which to do it.  I’m actually double rating this review as a game and what I would have rated it as just a movie.

The Bunker Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

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Zombie Night Terror – A Review (PC)


Today, I review Zombie Night Terror, the second zombie themed PC game this month.  Yes, I can hear you saying it, “not another zombie game”.  One thing that can be said about the video gaming industry is, like the movie industry, when a theme or a genre is popular, even for a moment, then we get tons and tons of content from that idea.  Zombies have become the new World War II shooter in today’s market, so it takes something different or fresh to really get me to take notice.  While Zombie Night Terror isn’t the greatest zombie game in the world, in reminded me of another game from the early nineties that I used to play a lot of, Lemmings.  This connection alone made Zombie Night Terror, by NoClip, much more interesting and worth my time then I originally thought it would be.


Zombie Night Terror centers around a mad scientist who has created a new street drug called Romero (as in George).  This new street drug has a horrible side effect on the user, and by horrible I mean it kills the user and they return as one of the walking dead.  Apparently, the mad scientist didn’t concern himself with returning customers that were still breathing.  You are the hive mind behind this newly created horde, and you are out for blood.  And brains, brains too.

The story for Zombie Night Terror gives you a framework for why you are doing the things you are doing in the game, but it doesn’t really drive the overall game play.  The story is told through in game cut scenes, or through dialogue boxes that come in the shape of news reports.  Usually, these news reports are telling you about a new ability or feature that you can do, but more on that in the Game Play section.  Each level gives you a certain amount of humans you must eat and convert to move onto the next level, but there are also challenge objectives that can be done, like find the secret drug stash or kill every last human on a level.  Ultimately, the story is pretty simple to follow with nothing substantial or ground breaking, but it is a zombie game so what did  you expect.


Game Play

Zombie Night Terror plays a lot like Lemmings, a lot.  For those of you that are on the young side and don’t know what Lemmings was all about, let me describe the game play style.  You are placed in charge of a horde of creatures that have no mind of their own.  This horde will walk right into dangers and perils, without any thought of their own safety.  Your job as overlord, is to complete the task set in front of you, by commanding your horde in a way to preserve the most numbers.  As you loose members, you become less efficient, and it becomes harder and harder to complete the level.  That perfectly describes what Lemmings and Zombie Night Terror are at their core.

So, how does Zombie Night Terror differ from Lemmings?  Mostly in theme, but you have a few other things you need to worry about.  First, you can get a certain amount of syringes filled with Romero to infect humans anywhere in the level.  This could give you a tactical advantage, or help you kill off hard to reach humans.  You can find more Romero in the level as you play, but it is always a limited amount so what you you stick.  You will also have access to special zombie types that will help organize your horde.  Like the Overlord, who will block a path and tell your zombies to walk the other direction, or the Exploder, who can destroy certain walls on the level.  You also only have a certain amount of DNA to use, and you need this DNA to create special zombie types.  You can burn your own zombies to get more DNA, but must watch because the less zombies you have, the less effective your horde is.

As you kill humans, your horde becomes stronger and stronger.  The humans, however, won’t stand idly by and let you just eat their brains, oh no!  You will encounter tougher enemies, like bat wielding tough guys, or even SWAT officers, who could easily decimate your entire horde if you are not thinking ahead.  Controls are fairly simple, once you get used to them.  You use the arrow keys to move around the camera around the level. The HUD has a dashboard on it that allows you to choose your zombie type or use certain powers.  The rest is pretty much point and click, then watch humanity die.

Zombie Night Terror plays extremely well and is a great take on this genre.  Yes, it’s another zombie game, but it’s a zombie game based on Lemmings!  That’s something we haven’t seen at all yet. It will take some tactics to complete each level, you just can barrel through the game without thinking, but it will take some real planning to hit all of the challenges.  Zombie Night Terror allows you to pause the game by using the space bar, and this will allow you to think ahead and plan.  You can also use this time to see each route through the level.  There will be doors you need to break down or stairs you need to climb, and you will need to tell your horde to do just that by clicking on the icons near each feature.  These icons can be switched at any time, and doing so will help guide your horde or keep them locked in the attic until you have figured out your next move.



Like The Final Station last time, Zombie Night Terror uses outdated graphics to both help keep costs down on development, but to also make the aesthetic fit the game.  Zombie Night Terror looks like the old Lemmings game visually, using pixelated graphics that won’t win any prizes this year.  With that being said, Zombie Night Terror isn’t a bad looking game, not in the slightest.  NoClip chose to use these graphics with a monochromatic color pallete.  The game is almost entirely done in black and white, with the only two major colors being green and red.  Green shows the player where more Romero is, and red is, well, it’s the blood.  Lot’s of blood.

The sound design follows the visuals in aesthetics.  The characters all talk like they are rejects from a Sims game, speaking mostly the same type of gibberish, with all dialogue being shown in subtitles.  Again, a smart design decision that helps keep costs down for a small developer, while feeling like a conscience design thought.  If you are a graphics hound and only play games for the shiny, just skip Zombie Night Terror.  For those of you that are willing to look past the aging exterior, you will find a really, really fun game.

Final Thoughts

Zombie Night Terror is flat out fun and challenging.  This is a new take on a tired genre, and helped relive my high school years by bringing back memories of Lemmings.  Is it possible that I’ve been seduced because of my memory of another great game, sure.  I recommend this game anyway.  The theme and aesthetic work perfectly together, the game play and mechanics are finely tuned, and the game is just flat out fun.  What else do you need from a game that costs $12.99?  Zombie Night Terror is available now on Steam.

Zombie Night Terror Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

The Final Station – A Review (PC)


Do My Best Games and tinyBuild Games have just released a side scrolling action game by the name of The Final Station.  The Final Station is a zombie-like apocalypse game set in the future, with you playing as a train conductor, traveling through the vast forsaken lands, always trying to reach your next destination.  Is The Final Station worth the train ticket, or should you just stay on the platform and wait for the next rain.  Let’s find out!


When it comes to the story, The Final Station borrows heavy from the typical zombie-apocalypse tropes that everyone knows, except it’s never clear as to whether or not you are really fighting zombies, or maybe an alien life form.  You begin the game as a train conductor, working a freight train on a normal, beautiful day.  As you travel with your supervisor to the next station, you begin to hear reports about an occurrence in the north.  This occurrence has the locals baffled and scared, and talks of the “second visitation” begins to circulate.  For much of the game, what this exactly means is up to interpretation, but as you progress to the north, a black substance begins to infect humans.  These infected humans then begin to exhibit zombie-like traits, and attack you on sight.  Your job is to continue hauling important materials for the government through infected lands, and look for survivors at each stop along the way.


The story for The Final Station is interesting enough, but I feel that is suffers a little bit from translation issues.  The story always feels like it’s just out of reach with the dialogue, and not from just bad script writing.  It feels more like the writers tried to convey a sense of mystery, but due to a lack of knowledge with the English language, the mystery just comes off more confusing then mysterious.  I tried to find out where Do My Best Games is located to see if this is actually correct, but couldn’t find any information of where the developer is based.  The story is helped along by forcing you to make a stop at each station on the route for access codes.  It would be too easy for the train to just be able to leave one city and reach it’s destination, so you are forced to stop at each station and find an access code that will unlock the train and allow you to continue.   The story hold up all right, save for the translation bit, so if you are ok with a little bit of muddled story, then you will get through The Final Station just fine.

Game Play

The game play for The Final Station is broken down into two segments:  train and station.  On the train, you have to keep the train moving.  This means keeping an eye on certain components as your train speeds along.  These components each have a small mini game that allows you to keep them in working order.  If you don’t then the train runs the risk of taking longer to reach the next station, or breaking down entirely.  You also have access to an instant messenger station that allows you to talk to other conductors to find out more about what is going on in the world.


You also have to manage your passengers that you find along the way.  Your passengers will get hungry or have injuries that need tending.  The only way to solve this is by having food and medical kits on the train, then choose which passenger gets which.  This becomes a resource management game, seeing what the pas
senger will give you if you delivery him or her safely to the next town, to determine if they are worth the med kit or food.  Worst yet, the med kits are the same ones you take with you when you venture into each station, so if you have a bad time at it in a station you may not have med kits to give the passengers on the train ridge to the next stop.

The other segment is the station.  Here, you get off of your train and venture forth in search of the access code, survivors and information in that order.  The access code is vital to continue along your trek, while the other items will make the trek easier and more interesting.  You have a limited amount of ammunition for your guns, and need to find more along the way, or purchase supplies whenever you are in towns.  You can also use parts of the environment to help defend yourself, but I found that aiming these items was touchy at best, so make sure you have plenty of time.  You will run into the zombie-like townsfolk in the stations, and they will be your biggest threat.  Each type has it’s own strengths and can be dealt with differently.  The standard enemy can easily be punched to death, while the armored type needs to be punched once to remove the helmet then can be shot int he head, and the shortest enemy is the fastest and the most deadly.

The Final Station is a fun game to play, until the repetitiveness of the actual game play comes into effect.  You only ride the train, then explore stations, that’s it.  It’s really fun in the beginning, and suspenseful and you play the first 10 or so levels, but then it just becomes repetitive and tedious.  On the good side, the repetitiveness of The Final Station wasn’t enough for me to stop playing the game nor not recommend it, I just have to caution that there really isn’t much more to the game then what I’ve mentioned above.  If you are fine with that, the The Final Station will work great for you.



The Final Station is a 2D video game that uses 8-bit style graphics, so even some of the oldest machines that are still functioning should be able to run this game.  It’s a good aesthetic for the game, and I know it helped keep the costs down.  The graphics do a good job in setting forth the aesthetic of the world, and the zombie-like creatures are particularly unsettling with just being black bodies with white eyes.  The music design for The Final Station is the real winner for setting the game’s aesthetic.  The music is moody and dark, and really helps keep the game feeling very much apocalyptic in nature.  Sound design works as well, and is much more realistic in nature then the visuals would imply.  No 8-bit gun shots here.

Final Thoughts

The Final Station delivers the goods on some solid game play for PCs out there that cannot run many games.  While the story line may be a little bit confusing and the game itself may fall into repetitiveness with the train-station-train-station level design, I still had a lot of fun with The Final Station. The controls were mostly responsive to get myself out of some sticky situations, and once you learn which zombie-like creatures you can punch, then ammo conservancy becomes a little easier.   Really, the choice to get this game comes down to what you are looking for.  The Final Station is a nice little, challenging, 2D shooter with some resource management mini games built in, and I was fine with that.  The Final Station is available now on Steam for $14.

The Final Station Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

F1 2016 Review


Formula 1 is truly one of the most international sports where rather being sponsored by teams it is sponsored by companies showing the support of the people through industry rather through governmental.  As a result these beautiful works of modern engineering are covered the emblems of those that support them and drivers names and numbers are on hats and shirts the way they would be supporting any other players and teams.  The biggest differences are these highly tuned machines can be effected by the most subtle of conditions that the fans discuss things right down to the fuel mix and probably the most important difference from other sports is teams can be fired or worse.  As a result when the racing season ends it is felt massively through the community but luckily sometimes there is something to help, in this case in the form of Codemasters F1 2016 for the Xbox One.


Hands On The Wheel:

First thing I have to note is that though there are many faces to choose from for avatars as well as primary sponsors and numbers, there are no female avatars.  To be honest I didn’t really notice this at first much to my cchagrin but when “Mrs. Ripper” went to give it a play (she is REALLY good at racing games) she went to start her career character and this discrepancy was the first thing she noticed.  There really is no reason one of the faces which were being designed to be generic avatars couldn’t have been given some more feminine features, even just one would have been a sign of good faith.  After that you choose a helmet that you don for the races so it isn’t quite as noticeable but we are in the days of women races.

Once you have your character all put together read absolutely every instruction and health guide you can find because the controls are extremely touchy and if you are like me and can’t quite afford a driving wheel and pedal set you are going to have one hell of a painful learning curve.  You can play a starter career with all the practices it gives you and single player quick races but really practice before you take on career mode, championship mode which is where you race real professionals’ times on the courses, or multiplayer where if you are lucky you will find someone who sucks worse than you but if the have the steering/pedal gear they will probably slaughter you if you don’t.

The game is definitely fun and if you are into Formula 1 it will be worth the long learning curve.  The graphics are also very nice, they did an excellent job of capturing not only the foliage and cars but the faces of the professionals you will have to deal with and the commentators’ voices.  Long after I accepted I might be a perma-spank player I watched the game handled in some good hands and it was beautiful to watch.  It was equally funny to watch though in the hands that couldn’t make the turns clean.


Last Lap:

Codemasters F1 2016 is definitely for players with a love of the sport, not a casual driving game player.  If you love Formula 1 racing and especially if you have the wheel/pedal this is a game for you to play and love and challenge your buddies too.  Just remember it takes a very steady hand…

Codemasters F1 2016 Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

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We Happy Few Alpha Preview


Describing a game as being “in alpha” can be extremely vague as it can represent such a wide scope of playable states.  I have played alphas where everything was so completed that they were just ironing out minor bugs and it was ready for market, most would consider this market beta but a perfectionist might call that alpha.  Others I have seen called alpha for over 2 years with almost zero developmental progression and none in sight.  I don’t mean to drone on (though I might have) about what entails an alpha but I feel I need to let the players, particularly all the Kickstarters who helped fund it know where the game is.


The We Happy Few alpha build, which is pretty much the same folks saw at E3, is 50% mapped with no story development yet for the three characters we follow.  In other words it is a world where you can take in the landscape and bump around with a few of the NPCs.  One choice is made at the very beginning of the demo and that choice will make a difference on how much world you get to explore (hint: not much, you will get to choose again).  You get to do a few quests and that’s what they are labeled, you get quests and side quests to get things going but mostly it is setting you up to just experience the what they have created of the world.


My first and vaguely disturbing thought of We Happy Few was that the game is an Orwellian 1984 Yellow Submarine.  Everyone is taking a drug called Joy, a nice little blend that makes you forget anything bad from the past and think the world is great.  So great that you want Technicolor all around you and mime paint on your face and nice clothes because shabby clothes denotes a “downer” mind and nobody wants to be or even see a downer.  If you fellow friends and townsfolk think you might have missed your Joy then ye shall be deemed a Downer and smacked upon the noggin until you can be dumped in the rubble and rambles with the other Downers.  There is no three strikes rule or anything (but then baseball never really took on the way cricket did across the pond).

At this point, the game is in an early enough alpha it could wind up like an entirely different game than I ran around in since we aren’t getting any of the story yet.  I welcome the idea of a psychedelic take on a New World Order as fiction when the reality of politics are what they are.  Give me my mime paint and bowler hat please. And don’t be a downer!

MilitAnts Review


I’ve been playing side-scrolling shooters since the first side-scrolling shooters came out in arcades and then on the first home game consoles.  If I didn’t own it my cousins did and, if by some freak of financial windfall, the three of us didn’t then the local video store knew not to expect their copy back for a while.  Of course, Contra held a place more nearer and dearer to our hearts than some family members but friends and family who challenged us and felt the frustration of getting their butts kicked by kids time and time again understood the excitement and fun of the video gauntlet thrown down each time.  Fast forward 29 years… OMG HAS IT REALLY BEEN THAT LONG!!! *deep gasping breaths* sorry just give me a moment… let’s just say fast forward a lot and here we are still playing the side-scrollers with the same love as yesteryear this time with a flair that Disney would probably appreciate.

Game On:

The Disney-like part and the aspect that makes the game different from other side-scrollers is in the name MilitAnts.  You play a sole soldier of the ant army who must defend the approach into the colony by a huge swarm of bugs lead by deadly and really, really hard bosses, all on a 2.5D.


First off to describe the horde you face.  You fight over 30 different kinds of enemies including an army of different termites and an air force of wasps, all willing to put their differences aside to come try to kill you and your kind off.  Talk about making someone angry.  Boss battles are frustratingly hard, luckily the save/restart point is right before so you don’t have to travel far but dying happens aplenty.

One of the best things about being a soldier ant: you may use 2 legs to stand but that leaves 4 legs for weapons.  At first this means next to nothing because it starts you off with the same two weapons (pistols) in your upper hands and the same type of weapons in the two lower arms which are blades.  Not sure why you have to have 2 blades instead a choice to have one gun and one blade, maybe one of the hands are underdeveloped and can’t hold more than a Swiss Army pocket knife.

So you start with two energy pistols that wear down fast and you want to buy some better gear.  To do this you beat down they enemies with combos so that they drop pieces of crystals which you then turn into crystals and buy stuff with.  You REALLY want to have some upgrades in place by the time you hit the second boss or you will find your time filled with cursing in more languages that your realized you knew (for me it was Chinese I think thanks to Firefly).  Adding to the challenge of getting that weapon upgrade is 2.5D.  In case you haven’t experience it it is when the game is given depth and there is a level deep.  So besides side scrolling and shooting those in front and behind you you also need to shoot them beside you.  The only way it ever works really well is with very few enemies back there which MilitAnt doesn’t do or with an amazing target system which begins the problems with the game.


The game is a port, it doesn’t really hide the fact and the interesting thing is playing on the keyboard and mouse then PC with a game controller there were certain things better in each.  Using keyboard and mouse seems a little bit better at targeting though maybe a little bit slower going between targets.  When it comes to jumping however the controller wins hands down and holds its better in pretty much everything else.  That might be why in the PC online manual for it has controller directions only.  Personally I kinda wished they had just stayed with controller controls and not done the .5 part of the 2.5D.  It made a game I enjoyed whenever there was no creature back there frustrating when it would pop up and I would have to try to target it.

One thing I have to note is that the game is very beautiful, which a lot of players don’t care about but I think adds to the Disney way about it even more.

Last Thought:

I was really excited for MilitAnt which might also explain a bit of my frustration with it.  It is a decent side-scroller with the 2.5D gameplay and a bit of the Disney flair.  I think I might go take a break from gaming and watch one of the insect flix until I get angry at one of the bad guys and replay a boss or two.

MilitAnt Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
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Kerbal Space Program – A Review (Xbox One)


Kerbal Space Program is the very first game produced by Squad, an interactive entertainment company based in Mexico City.  Kerbal Space Program (KSP) is the dream of Felipe Falanghe, who was prepared to quit Squad to work on this game.   Adrian Goya and Ezequiel Ayarza, owners of Squad, told Felipe that he could keep his job and work on this game once his assignment was completed.  The final product is probably the nerdiest game I have ever had the pleasure of playing, allowing me to toy with both the science of space flight and the insignificant lives of the little green Kerbals that foolishly volunteered for my space program.


Kerbal Space Program does not have a story line in the conventional sense, but it does have a narrative depending on the game type you pick.  KSP has three game modes:  Career, Scientific, and Free Flight.  In Career, you have to manage everything for your space program, from funding to reputation to research and development.  This mode is the most story like, since you have to research new items and run the risk of ruining your space program.  Scientific mode does not have the funding or the reputation stakes that Career mode has, but you will still need to have successful launches in order to earn points to unlock more items for your space crafts.  Free Flight mode is just that, everything is unlocked and there are no stakes.  Just build your ship and let it fly.


I am usually one that feels when a game is lacking in story, the game is lesser for it.  KSP does not have a story line, nor any type of character development or plot, but I never once missed it.  I was so focused on keeping the reputation of my space program up, while developing space craft that would not burst into flames the second I hit the launch button.  The lack of a story here will not impede your joy with KSP, that is, as long as you get a kick out of playing as a rocket scientist.

Game Play

Kerbal Space Program is one of those games that is easy to get into, but hard to master.  There is some deep mathematics and physics going on here, but it never feels academic.  The tutorials do a great job in getting even the worst of us into understanding orbit and escape velocity.  Starting off in Free Flight mode allows you to really mess with the different ways you can build a space craft, and the ways it all can go wrong.  You will have access to quite a number of different options, from hull designs to engines to fuel storage and wings.  You can build the classic rocket or a shuttle type craft that can use a landing strip to launch and land.

I spent most of my time in Career mode, where you begin with a small amount of items based on an entry level space program and develop from there.  Building your first rocket is easy.  KSP gives you a cabin, parachute, and engine.  As long as the engine and the parachute fire off on different stages, then there really isn’t a way you can kill your first Kerbal.  A safe landing increases your science points for more items, and your reputation to keep the facility open.  On my second try, I was able to get my Kerbal into orbit, which really impressed me.  Then it hit me, how do I get him down?  Well, that particular Kerbal may still be orbiting the planet to this day, but the knowledge I learned from that flight was vital.  Being able to reset a flight immediately without penalty helps to, especially for the weak at heart who can’t stand to see their little Kerbals fall back to the planet.

Just escaping the planet is a task, but when you factor in the many planets and moons you can launch your Kerbal to, or what your Kerbal can do during a E.V.A., you will be busy for hours.  KSP is like having a Lego set that will occasionally explode into a fireball of debris and little green people.  For me, either Career mode or Free Flight mode are the way to go.  Science mode felt pretty much useless to me, and didn’t offer anything that the other two modes didn’t.



Kerbal Space Program will not win any awards for aesthetic, sound design, or voice acting.  The graphics and visuals are basic, but do the job that they are intended to do.  Sound design is exactly the same, you get the sound of the engines but I wouldn’t expect much more.  Voice acting is all but non-existent.  Beyond a few grunts or groans, the Kerbals are mute.  I couldn’t even get one to scream as the rocket plummeted head first into the mountain ranges that surround the space facility.  None of these lack of visual or audio polish should deter you from playing Kerbal Space Program.  The game is solid and fun to play, even without cutting edge graphics or a Hollywood celebrity voicing the Kerbals.

Final Thoughts

Kerbal Space Program is a blast to play.  Period.  It is a challenging, scientific, space simulator that feels just about right and realistic, without pushing it too far.  The physics in KSP behaves almost perfectly without being frustrating.  The sense of accomplishment one gets from a successful launch and recovery, will only push  you and your Kerbals to expand  your space empire further and further.  Having the three different modes means you will find a mode that is perfect for the type of game you are looking for.  Kerbal Space Program is a great game for those that are looking for a challenge and to be able to see if their creations can fly.  This one is a must own for anyone interested in a challenge.  Kerbal Space Program is available now for the Xbox One.

Product Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

LoveHandle Smartphone Grip Review


Let’s face it normally when you think of love handles you think of that patch of fat on your hips that refuse to leave.  If it is on your significant other it could be a spot of comfort that you hold onto in a chilly wind as you snuggle up, if it is on you it is the spot you glare at whenever there is a birthday party or wedding with particularly good cake.  But there have been a few products out there with the same name that are handles used to protect the things you love and the one I have found the most impressive by far is the LoveHandle electronics flexible band handle.


LoveHandles On:

These have been around for a while and have been an “As Seen On TV” product but there was something that always makes you feel a little nervous trusting your multi-hundred dollar electronics to a little strap of of elastic, plastic and adhesive.  The funny thing is that we often hold them by our hands instead which can become far more compromised and likely to be holding other valuables. LoveHandle uses high quality elastic bands wrapped into solid plastic with a 3M adhesive.  When you consider it all the weakest point in the whole process is the adhesive and there are few adhesives that have a strength greater or more trusted than 3M.  I use an iPhone 6+ and after attaching the band and deciding I fully trusted it I held the strap by one index finger and spun it as hard as I can (alright I was sitting on the grass so I did hedge my bet a touch) and kept doing it until my finger got tired then checked over the strap and saw nothing wrong and I am still using it.  I use a wallet case so I really don’t want to drop and lose my phone when recording Bellagio fountains or July 4th fireworks or take a picture out the car window of the newest somehow worse Hello Kitty on the Las Vegas Strip charging for pictures.  They come in different colors as well so it was easy to match my case or they can be custom ordered by companies as rewards for employees and customers with their individual logo on the elastic.


When my wife and I are going to bed at night we tend to wind down looking at our phones, I am usually reading a book on it and she is usually making last minute FB and twitter posts.  More than once the way we have realized it was time to go to sleep was when the phone slips from our hand in exhaustion and *SMACK* phone to the forehead if we are lucky, I have a bone disorder that can cause my nose to break from such a strike.  Now if I fall asleep my hand and phone attached to my fingers just drop to my chest.  I have enough LoveHandles for my wife to use one soon, I think a couple more decent self inflicted smacks at bedtime will do it.

Another great use for the LoveHandle is that not only can it keep the screen in your hand it can keep it out of the way of your hand.  Carrying groceries, coffee, FroYo, frozen dinners, hot soup, basically anything you would want to keep separated from a sensitive piece of electronics can be slid onto the back of your hand really easy using the strap so that it is kept safe.  I was recently on a walk, slid it around to the back of my hand and went to take a drink, the water spilled all over my hand where the phone had just been a second before. It may have been fine but I’m sure I didn’t have to worry and find out.


One last thing and this really should not be minimized. I have nerve disorders and damage in multiple places in my body which can cause my to lose feeling in half my hand.  That means the heavier the electronic and the more prolonged the use the more I have to worry about dropping them.  The LoveHandle comes in more than one size to accommodate larger electronics and hand size but even at it’s minimal size it can dramatically help people with grip handicaps handle their electronics safer.  The handles are so efficient I have plans on putting them on my game controllers so that when I am doing prolonged gaming I don’t have to worry about dropping the controller due to my own issues.  The plan is to put them on the underside of the handles so that my last two fingers which I have almost no feeling in will just be strapped on the controller.  It will definitely go on one of my iPad 2 cases and probably on the bottom of one of my laptops so that when I pull it out or put it back in a bag I won’t lose my grip.  Just as importantly no matter what I did the LoveHandle never lost it’s grip unless I wanted it to.

Last Love:

The LoveHandle is a rather simple idea that is a genius low cost solution on how to keep your valuable electronics safe without compromising use.  Besides all the consumer uses listed above I am sure folks will find tons of commercial and industrial uses for them as well, and as a handicapped individual I can tell you I will be coming up with more and more ways to use them than as seen on TV.

LoveHandle Smartphone Grip Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
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