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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mini-Golf Now Compatible With Newer iPods
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple and Electronic Arts recently released a new version of Mini-Golf for iPod. The update makes the game compatible with newer versions of the multimedia device as well as the fifth generation iPods for which it was originally designed. Mini-Golf gives players the chance to try their hand at several miniature golf courses in colorful 2D style.

Putt your way through three themed courses full of hazardous obstacles and secret shortcuts - there's a tropcial tiki paradise, ancient Egyptian lands, and a freaky circus sideshow. Use a sinple interface to move the camera around and aim for that perfect shot, played out using realistic physics. Watch the ball wind down spiraling slopes, escape the windmill's blade, and drop into the hole. Play alone or challenge a friend.

• Putt your way through courses full of hazardous obstacles and secret shortcuts
• Unlock new, challenging courses (Tropical Tiki, Ancient Egypt, and Freaky Circus Sideshow)
• 3 game modes (Single Player, Pass 'N Play, Practice Hole)

Click on the link below for more information.

Macworld: Recent iPod Game News

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Inside Mac Games Reviews Colin McRae Rally
1:12 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of Colin McRae Rally, the latest racing game from Feral Interactive. Here's a clip from our review:

o learn that Feral Interactive had helped to bring Colin McRae Rally to the Mac, gave my gas pedal foot a spasm of joy only to be cured by the digital roar of a flat four cylinder engine, the sound of gravel hitting the virtual undercarriage of sparkling blue WRC car with the stars of Pleiades chromed on a -- yes -- simulated grille. After playing Colin McRae Rally Mac as often as the intrusive reality of life will allow, the truth is that the game is no less than amazing in most qualities. The engine braps at just the right frequency, a light brush with a tree scrapes the paint, and Nicky Grist calls out turns and speeds in traditional unintelligible radio chatter. The addition of a USB steering wheel and pedals makes this game more of a simulator.
To check out the full review, please follow the link below.

Inside Mac Games Review: Colin McRae Rally
Feral Interactive
Colin McRae Rally

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Drop Point Alaska Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Applelinks has published a new review of Bongfish's Drop Point Alaska. The action game gives players the chance to test their snowboarding skills on an Alaskan mountain, conquering weather, obstacles, and a variety of mini-challenges. Applelinks gave Drop Point a score of 3 out of 5.

From the review:

Now, the whole point of games such as this is to learn button combinations and timing to perform tricks. I get that. And so, as you speed down the mountain, you'll be not only concerned with getting to the bottom (if you can find it...the openness of the terrain does cause some confusion), but also with finding objects off which you can perform the tricks necessary to unlock higher elevations and additional drop points. There are natural objects such as snow mounds and felled trees, as well as man-made objects such as fences and the obligatory pipe. Do people really put pipes on mountains just so riders can smash their snowboards into them? Seems like a waste of good pipe to me, but what do I know about it? I've never climbed a mountain, never been on a snowboard, and never installed plumbing. In fact, my pipe experience is relegated solely to climbing in and out of them in the Super Mario games, so I'll let this go.

The gameplay in Drop Point Alaska has a natural progression to it. The first few times down the mountain, you'll be searching for trick points. Next, you'll work on the best way to get to them to perform your tricks. This leads to a lot of practice as you discover and master the various tricks that work best. You get combo points for stringing tricks together, so you'll find yourself spending plenty of time perfecting your moves on single runs before you're ready to advance. This gives the game a decent shelf life, but, more importantly, leads to one of the more interesting features, called Stick a Trick.

Some of the various trick points on the mountain are "owned" by other riders. As you approach them, you're presented with a video of what the owner has done. To claim ownership, you have to one-up the previous owner's trick. This wouldn't be all that cool, except that if you have a live Internet connection, you'll actually be fighting other living players for ownership. If you own the trick, a video of your performance is uploaded to the Net for others to see and beat. It's pretty cool, and it gives you something a little more interesting to play for. Bragging right really are bragging rights.
To read the full review head over to the site linked below.

Applelinks: Drop Point Alaska Review
Drop Point: Alaska
Buy Drop Point: Alaska

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World Of Warcraft Designer Interviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments has posted a new interview with World of Warcraft level designer Julian Morris. The Q&A focuses on the Austrailian's history and current work at Blizzard Entertainment as well as the new Sunwell Isle content scheduled for the upcoming patch.

IGN AU: You're an exterior level designer – what exactly does that entail? Can you give us any examples of work you've done in WoW that you're particularly proud of?
Julian Morris: The exterior level design team is responsible for designing and building all the outdoor areas in World of Warcraft, including all the zones and Battlegrounds. From Azeroth to Outland we shape the mountains, forests, seas, lakes, rivers, roads, and every land feature in between. We also texture the terrain to support the environment concepts. We basically create a base for the layout and placement of every city, town, building, rock, tree, ancient ruin and all the thousands of other objects that make up the cultures and details of the world.

IGN AU: Sunwell Isle is part of the next big patch. Can you tell us a little about the raid dungeon Sunwell Plateau and the five man dungeon Magister's Terrace? How is it significant to the world as a whole?
Julian Morris: Sunwell Isle is located just north of Silvermoon City, and contains two new dungeons: a 5-person normal or Heroic dungeon (Magister's Terrace) where players will face Prince Kael'thas, and a 25-player raid dungeon (Sunwell Plateau) culminating in a battle against Kil'jaeden, one of the most challenging boss encounters we have developed to date. In addition, the island has a new daily quest hub, and the daily quest limit is being increased from 10 to 25. The Aldor and Scryer storylines will also reach their finale on Sunwell Isle, as the Shattered Sun Offensive reputation is introduced.
From a lore perspective, this patch is of great importance to the Warcraft world. Sunwell Plateau will serve as the final chapter of the Burning Crusade storyline. Players will learn additional back story for Kael'thas and they will fight to survive as a critical chapter in the Sunwell's history unfolds.
Sunwell Plateau is currently on the public test realm (PTR). Players across the world are testing the new content and we look forward to their feedback.
Head over to the link provided below to check out the rest of the interview.

IGN: An Aussie Working On WoW
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

A Word On Scrabble For iPod
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

A new review of EA's Scrabble for iPod is now available from iLounge. The game offers varying difficulty levels, multiple styles of play, stat tracking, and the ability for up to four players to compete. ILounge gave Scrabble a letter grade of B-.

From the review:

Though the dictionary and point tallying will be acceptable to most players, Scrabble purists may not be completely satisfied with the way they work. In addition to intentionally omitting certain obscure or obscene words, as the game discloses, the dictionary sometimes didn’t pick up on ones we knew and subsequently verified with to be legitimate. Consequently, we’d lose a triple-word-score opportunity without any ability to appeal—the sort of thing that serious Scrabble players find themselves whipping out dictionaries to remedy. We also noticed that, in situations of unusually high tile density where tiles were being laid down, the word checker sometimes appeared to be fixating on checking the wrong word rather than the one we’d laid down. On balance, these issues are not huge ones for casual players, and the dictionary clearly has plenty of brainiac-level words, but you’ll be happier with Scrabble if you go in with lowered expectations.

Since there’s no way to consult the game’s dictionary directly, we discovered the game’s linguistic limitations through a potentially game-changing feature called Best Word. Selected by the player from a pop-up menu on the screen’s left side, Best Word lets the computer help you by searching its dictionary and the board for both the best possible use of your tiles and the optimal place to drop them on the grid. You can approve or disapprove of the choice, but unless you have a brilliant use of your current letters planned a move ahead, you’ll probably approve it and rack up the points. Using the tool is limited to four times per game per human opponent, which in our experience suffices to beat the computer pretty consistently on the middle of three difficulty settings; the computer has a better than average vocabulary on that setting, but a Best Word-caliber one on hard. We liked this feature, particularly because it can speed up a relatively slow-paced game with only a couple of button clicks, but wouldn’t have minded also having less aggressive, educational option such as a viewable dictionary or list of acceptable words to consult. That might not be part of Scrabble’s old rules, but then, neither is Best Word.
Read the full review at the link provided below.

iLounge: iPod Scrabble Review

Mac Games News for Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Apple Games Features Pirates Of The Caribbean: Aegir's Fire6:00 AM
Build-a-lot Available For Mac6:00 AM
iPod Scrabble Released6:00 AM
The Future Of Introversion6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, March 4, 2008 on one page

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