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The Pokémon series of games has flourished for over a decade, with several diversions from the main path which have brought mixed success. Slap the name Pokémon onto a game and as long as you have adorable creatures which have both young and old chasing after them you will have a reasonable chance of selling a truckload irrespective of how the game plays.

One genre which the franchise has yet to dabble in is turn-based strategy, and the surprise here surely is how long it has taken rather than the fact that it has happened. Pokémon are a perfect pairing for a turn-based strategy game, but does Pokémon Conquest live up to the potential?

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I love it when a game blindsides me. I knew of Spec Ops although I had not paid much attention to it, I didn’t even know it was a third person shooter until I fired it up. That was when I got very pleasantly surprised, for once we are looking at a war based shooter with some sense of magnitude, a game that makes you think about your actions and delivers more than its fair share of sombre moments. It is also not often I feel the need to fully complete a game before committing to a review, but this time – I just had to know. Continue reading

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Unit 13 is Zipper Interactive’s latest console title. Available now on PS Vita it gives you most of the benefits of a solid full console game with the advantages of a portable console. Many may argue that a tactical shooter on a portable console defeats the purpose of a ‘gaming on the go’. But it’s been design exclusively with that in mind and delivers bite sized action for those with limited time. Plus there’s plenty to keep you busy if you have the time to invest and want more.

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Red Faction: Armageddon (Xbox 360)

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Here is another Bargain Bin Breakdown. An uber-quick review of games purchased on sale for $25 or less. The idea is to give a fast verdict on titles that may have been skipped by gamers at the time of release. Possibly due to average review scores or cash constraints. So, do these games now offer value for money if picked up on the cheap?

Red Faction: Armageddon was released in June 2011 and was the fifth and final game in the Red Faction series. Publisher THQ have shelved the I.P, partly due to Armageddon’s poor sales. It received a positive review here on Button Masher and generally ‘average’ reviews worldwide. The current Metacritic score is 71/100.

Price- I grabbed it on a Mighty Ape Daily Deal for $15 on Xbox 360 and it included unlock codes for bonus weapons and character skins. Currently Price Spy have prices ranging from $15 – $109.

Single-player- A 3rd person shooter featuring unusual weapons and destructible environments. The 8-10 hour campaign is solid fun and is bolstered by some basic levelling and skill trees.

Story- There is a bad guy who unleashes some buried aliens. Stop him and kill the aliens.

Gameplay- THQ were berated  by many reviewers for not sticking with the ‘open world’ ideas from Red Faction:Guerrilla, and rightly so. Another corridor shooter was not really needed. However the excellent core gameplay did remain the same. Cool weapons, used to pull the environment and enemies to bits. Lets face it, environmental destruction is always fun.

Graphics- It looks pretty good overall, with  interesting contrast between the brightly coloured enemies and the moody subterranean Martian environments. Only downside is when you really start ripping buildings to bits and alien goo starts flying. The screen gets way too busy and even the games performance suffers.

Multi-player- There is no competitive multiplayer, which is a shame. The M/P modes and weapons in Red Faction:Guerrilla made it  bit of a cult hit, but Armageddon only has a Co-Op horde mode and a leaderboard based destruction mode.

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10680582-the-word-verdict-on-a-wood-block-with-a-gavel-beside-it-representing-the-final-decision-judgment-ansThe original Button Masher review was bang on and a year later its a great buy for $15! The magnet gun and destructible environments are a nice change from the other 3rd person shooters. Frankly, there is just something about dropping a building on an baddie that fills me with joy. Its a shame the series won’t see another outing.

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Well, I have been struggling with this review for a few days now. Firstly, it’s Star Wars and all things Star Wars get an instant thumbs up from me but it’s Kinect, and Kinect hasn’t exactly spun my wheels yet. But if all the hype, along with the delay to rework the game, is to believed then Kinect Star Wars could well be the ‘Killer App’ we have all been wanting, waiting for, hoping for on Kinect. So is it the saviour Kinect so desperately needs? As the mighty Yoda would say, “ See, you will….”.

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Metservice

While it’s hardly the sexiest subject in the world, the weather is probably one of the most widely discussed topics of conversation in every day life. It often affects our ability to perform activities we had planned, can spoil or enhance events we are attending, and is even proven to affect our mood. Well now “there’s an App for that”.

MetService has just released the Metservice app, available on both iOS and Android. This is a review of the iOS app, but the Android app was developed in conjunction and is also functionally identical. The iOS app was designed by Shift (creators of the beautifully looking Herald iPad app) and developed by Wellington-based PaperKite (the team behind the Official All Blacks App as well as the “I can’t believe they made it” NZ Budget 2012″ App). MetService already has an excellent and informative free website, as well as a “mobile-optimised” version of the same site for smaller screens, so is it worth spending the $2.59 on this new release app?

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Flightless, the award-winning local developers behind a growing list of iOS games, have just released their latest universal iOS game Bee Leader. As the name implies, you take to the skies as a Bee, working to gather as much nectar to make honey while the sun shines. It’s obvious that the development team spent some time to study the life of bees in the course of making this game, but was all the effort worth it?

As soon as I fired I Bee Leader I was impressed by the visual style and upbeat soundtrack. The vibrant colours and “springy” menus were full of life, and promised a fun and unique experience. A quick start guide provides the necessary instruction for first-timers but within minutes you’ll be sent into the wings of a bee tasked with making as much honey as possible before the sun sets.

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Mario Tennis is back! A long seven years after the excellent Mario Power Tennis was released on the GameCube, the memories are finally rekindled but this time on the small screen. With Wii Sports tennis being the signature title for Wii, there were hopes that this would eventually lead into a Mario tennis title for Wii. Sadly however, the New Play Control! port of Mario Power Tennis was the closest we ever got, and with Wii U on the horizon it is virtually impossible that a full-blown title would ever make it to Wii.

Camelot having developed all the titles in the Mario Tennis series, and Mario Tennis Open looks and feels a lot like Mario Power Tennis. Obviously this time the screen is much smaller and a little more 3D, but the vibrant graphics style looks quite stunning on the 3DS.

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