Archive | August 2014

World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition available now

World-Cup-Dreams-Extra-Time-Cover-BLOGI am happy to say that the Extra Time Edition of World Cup Dreams is now available. It was to be print exclusive but it was only one extra click of a button to put it on Kindle so there is an e-book version as well. You can purchase the print edition for £3.60 or the Kindle edition for £1.84. Both are exactly the same. However, if you purchase the print version then you can download the digital version for free. Thank you to anyone who buys the book, I hope you enjoy it. If you do not want to spend the money and do not mind missing out of the six extra short stories then the free version is still available on Smashwords and will continue to be.

You can buy World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition from…

Kindle UK Store (e-book)

Kindle US Store (e-book)

Amazon UK (print version)

Amazon US (print version)

 

Right I am off to proof read ‘I can hear you pain’ so that it will, hopefully, be up in the next few weeks. It feels good to get some projects completed you know!

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Luigi’s Mansion 2

Luigi's Mansion 2 does what few sequels, improves on the original

Luigi’s Mansion 2 does what few sequels do, improves on the original

Computer games are one area of life I have had to sacrifice for family, work and other hobbies. When I do end up buying a game it is generally played sporadically in any half an hour I have spare. Very few games now get me wanting to come back and play again and again unlike the old days when I could not wait to get back onto the game once more. Whilst I have liked recent games I have purchased, including Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8 and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (yes I am a bit of a Nintendo fan boy!), none have really given me that buzz I used to get as a teenager. I bought Luigi’s Mansion 2 on release date but it has been sitting in its cellophane wrapper waiting till I got time to play. Other games have been elevated above it due to my gaming preference but this summer I finally got around to starting it. At present I am about seven hours into the main game and I am thoroughly surprised, maybe it is that thing I have mention so often where you do not expect a lot and thus get more than you bargained for.

The original Luigi’s Mansion was quite an easy game with a clever control system for hoovering up ghosts, this was limited as it was all that the Gamecube could handle at the time and thus it was quite quick to complete. The novelty of the game, playing as Luigi and having to light up areas and hoover up ghosts, made it an instant classic but it was clear a sequel was always going to be more of the same and probably not very exciting. Whilst it was a classic when you delve into the mechanics it was not really the sort of game that set the world alight (if you pardon the pun!). That is probably why it has taken so long for a sequel to appear.

Enter the Year of Luigi and we got Luigi’s Mansion 2, yes there are the same functions of shining a torch on a ghost and stunning them then sucking them up but there is so much more substance. Having different mansions and levels within the game gives a clear progression, especially as you can go back with new equipment to collect secrets such as gems and coins as well as capture Boos. What I have found really clever, though, is the puzzles in this version. For instance, in the original you could suck up water, ice and fire but in this version you have to interact with objects such as pulling cobwebs onto a fire to set off a chain reaction or using a special light to find hidden objects. One of my favourite puzzles so far was using a bucket to set off a switch, however I needed to fill the bucket full of slime first so it was heavy enough to activate the switch, which added a little bit more thought to the game. The ghosts are harder to catch as well, moving a lot faster than those in the original. There also seems to be clearer differences, some ghosts hide and you need to find them whilst others wear items that need to be hoovered off them first. There are even ones that spit dirt at you that you need to avoid as you suck them up. Further to this there is more of a scoring system. Rather than just the amount of treasure you get rated on health lost, ghosts hoovered up and speed of completing a level. These make you want to go back and retry levels to not only find more secrets but also to beat a previous rating. This adds replay value which the original game did not have and makes it overall a lot stronger. Finally, and possibly the cleverest addition, is that of multiple mansions with their own unique twists and styles. It is like playing a Mario Bros. game where each world has a theme. The puzzles are based around these themes and as such that makes the game more enjoyable and the puzzles a lot cleverer.

All in all I am loving Luigi’s Mansion 2, it is a clear step up from the previous game in the series and that is something I have struggled to say with so many games in current series that are being churned out. I think only Animal Crossing: New Leaf (which I reviewed previously) and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword have done that in the past five or so years. Even games such as A Link Between Worlds and Super Mario 3D World were a little disappointing when compared to their predecessors. If you have a 3DS and are worried that Luigi’s Mansion 2 is just like that Gamecube game you played years ago then don’t worry, sometimes you need to wait for a sequel and that is most definitely the case for Luigi’s Mansion 2. Basically, get out there and buy it!