Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Call Of Duty: Black Ops Is Clear Winner This Christmas.


Activision Blizzard's new First Person Shooter (FPS) game Call of Duty: Black Ops has been confirmed as the UK's number one videogame this Christmas. The game has beaten many other popular titles to clinch the top spot in the Christmas gaming charts, including FIFA 11 and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.

Call of Duty: Black Ops has sold over 3 million copies since launching last month and is one of only three titles to top the £100 million revenue mark in the UK. In fact, it has now been revealed that the title's total sales in the week before Christmas managed to amass a colossal £345 million in total revenue.

The full top ten for the week was as follows:
  • 1. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard)
  • 2. FIFA 11 (EA)
  • 3. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (EA)
  • 4. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft)
  • 5. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft)
  • 6. Gran Turismo 5 (SCEE)
  • 7. Donkey Kong Country Returns (Nintendo)
  • 8. Medal of Honor (EA)
  • 9. Wii Fit Plus (Nintendo)
  • 10. Prof Layton and the Lost Future (Nintendo)
Source: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2010-12-20-black-ops-takes-uk-christmas-number-one

For fans of FPS games, this title is definitely one to own. If you haven't managed to purchase a copy yet, it might be worth spending a little of that Christmas cash and trying it out for yourselves. We promise that you will not be disappointed.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Answers To The Big Gaming Quiz 2010


Today is the 26th of December 2010, and as promised we will now provide you with the answers to our Big Christmas Gaming Quiz. However, before we start. Here is a quick reminder of how the quiz is scored:

There are twenty questions in total. A correct answer is worth 5 points. Maximum score is 100 points. Correct answers are written in green. Good Luck!

IF YOU HAVEN'T TRIED THE QUIZ YET, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE QUIZ SCREEN...

1) The Mario Brothers recently celebrated an important anniversary, but how many years has it been since their creation? 

  • 10 years

  • 25 years (5 pts)

  • 35 years

2) What is the name of the mysterious character in the Nintendo DS game 'Rooms'?

  • Mr. X (5 pts)

  • Mr. Strange

  • Mr. Lurch

3) Kratos is the main character in which well-known videogame series? Is it:

  • God of War (5 pts)

  • Metal Gear Solid

  • Resident Evil

4) The game Call of Duty: Black Ops was launched on the 9th of October 2010, but where was the Official UK Launch Party held?

  • Battersea Powerstation (5 pts)

  • The NEC Arena in Birmingham

  • London's Apollo Theatre

5) What is the technical name for the process that the 3DS uses in order to create 3D images? Is it:

  • Stereoscopy

  • Autostereoscopy (5 pts)

  • Motion-Image Relay

 6) Which game has the slogan "Play With Life"?

  • The Sims 3 (5 pts)

  • Metal Gear Solid

  • My Baby 2

7) Which of these titles is NOT a Lego Game?

  • Lego Indiana Jones

  • Lego Universe

  • Lego Starship Troopers (5 pts)

8) What is Professor Layton's first name?

  • Herman

  • Hershel (5 pts)

  • Henry

9) Which is the name of the cute virtual pet who has recently been launched for the PSP? Is it:

  • EyePet (5 pts)

  • Wonder Monkey

  • Tiddles the Super Cat

10) Which of these Soap Operas is scheduled to be turned into a Nintendo DS game in late 2011?

  • Coronation Street (5 pts)

  • Emmerdale

  • EastEnders

11) Which of these titles is NOT a real Nintendo DS training game?

  • Sight Training

  • Face Training

  • French Training (5 pts) 

12) Which of the following characters is featured in the Sonic the Hedgehog videogames series?

  • Bowzer

  • Sackboy

  • Tails (5 pts)

13) What other type of Nintendo games cartridge can be played on a Nintendo DS or DS lite console?

  • GBA (5 pts)

  • SNES

  • 3DS

14) Kyle Hyde is most commonly known as the main character in which Nintendo DS game?

  • Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (5 pts)

  • Secret Files: Tunguska

  • Lost in Blue

15) How much is the 3DS console estimated to cost after it is launched in Japan next year?

  • 25,000 Yen (5 pts)

  • 35,000 Yen

  • 45,000 Yen

16) Where is the latest Tom Clancy Ghost Recon game set?

  • India

  • Sri Lanka (5 pts)

  • China 

17) What is the title of the new Doctor Who DS game? Is it:
  • Earth Escape

  • Survival Earth

  • Evacuation Earth (5 pts)

18) Which popular Game Developers are responsible for the games series Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy?

  • Level 5 inc

  • Square Enix (5 pts)

  • Clap Handz

19) Which two popular characters are set to go head-to-head in a joint adventure game on the 3DS in late 2011?

  • Lara Croft and Violette Summer

  • Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright (5 pts)

  • Mario and Sonic

20) Comedy Actor and TV Presenter, Stephen Fry lends his voice to the narration of which PSP game?

  • ModNation Racers

  • Echochrome

  • LittleBigPlanet (5 pts)

 TOTAL SCORE:        /100


How many questions did you get right? Check to see how well you did... Why not leave us a comment to let us know your final score? Who knows,  you might just be a gaming genius!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Mini Gamers Big Christmas Gaming Quiz 2010

Christmas Eve has finally arrived, and as this is our first Christmas since the creation of the Mini Gamers blogsite, we wondered how best to mark the festive occasion... Thus we have developed a Christmas gaming quiz which readers can use to test their gaming knowledge and they can even print out multiple copies of the questions and try to compete against family and friends over the Christmas weekend.

This quiz is Just For Fun, so there are no actual prizes to be had, but at least you will be able to gloat in the knowledge that you are King or Queen of gaming trivia...or maybe not?


HOW TO PLAY


Print out a copy of this blog post  and then circle what you believe to be the correct answers to the  questions below.


A correct answer is worth 5 points. Maximum score is 100 points.


The correct answers will appear on the Mini Gamers blog on the 26th of December 2010.  Good Luck. 

 Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it!


1) The Mario Brothers recently celebrated an important anniversary, but how many years has it been since their creation? 

  • 10 years

  • 25 years

  • 35 years

2) What is the name of the mysterious character in the Nintendo DS game 'Rooms'?

  • Mr. X

  • Mr. Strange

  • Mr. Lurch

3) Kratos is the main character in which well-known videogame series? Is it:

  • God of War

  • Metal Gear Solid

  • Resident Evil

4) The game Call of Duty: Black Ops was launched on the 9th of October 2010, but where was the Official UK Launch Party held?

  • Battersea Powerstation

  • The NEC Arena in Birmingham

  • London's Apollo Theatre

5) What is the technical name for the process that the 3DS uses in order to create 3D images? Is it:

  • Stereoscopy

  • Autostereoscopy

  • Motion-Image Relay

 6) Which game has the slogan "Play With Life"?

  • The Sims 3

  • Metal Gear Solid

  • My Baby 2

7) Which of these titles is NOT a Lego Game?

  • Lego Indiana Jones

  • Lego Universe

  • Lego Starship Troopers

8) What is Professor Layton's first name?

  • Herman

  • Hershel

  • Henry

9) Which is the name of the cute virtual pet who has recently been launched for the PSP? Is it:

  • EyePet

  • Wonder Monkey

  • Tiddles the Super Cat

10) Which of these Soap Operas is scheduled to be turned into a Nintendo DS game in late 2011?

  • Coronation Street

  • Emmerdale

  • EastEnders

11) Which of these titles is NOT a real Nintendo DS training game?

  • Sight Training

  • Face Training

  • French Training

12) Which of the following characters is featured in the Sonic the Hedgehog videogames series?

  • Bowzer

  • Sackboy

  • Tails

13) What other type of Nintendo games cartridge can be played on a Nintendo DS or DS lite console?

  • GBA

  • SNES

  • 3DS

14) Kyle Hyde is most commonly known as the main character in which Nintendo DS game?

  • Hotel Dusk: Room 215

  • Secret Files: Tunguska

  • Lost in Blue

15) How much is the 3DS console estimated to cost after it is launched in Japan next year?

  • 25,000 Yen

  • 35,000 Yen

  • 45,000 Yen

16) Where is the latest Tom Clancy Ghost Recon game set?

  • India

  • Sri Lanka

  • China 

17) What is the title of the new Doctor Who DS game? Is it:
  • Earth Escape

  • Survival Earth

  • Evacuation Earth

18) Which popular Game Developers are responsible for the games series Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy?

  • Level 5 inc

  • Square Enix

  • Clap Handz

19) Which two popular characters are set to go head-to-head in a joint adventure game on the 3DS in late 2011?

  • Lara Croft and Violette Summer

  • Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright

  • Mario and Sonic

20) Comedy Actor and TV Presenter, Stephen Fry lends his voice to the narration of which PSP game?

  • ModNation Racers

  • Echochrome

  • LittleBigPlanet

That marks the end of the Mini Gamers Big Gaming Quiz 2010. How many questions did you get right? Answers to the quiz will be posted on the 26th of December 2010. Check to see how well you did... Why not leave us a comment to let us know your final score? Who knows,  you might just be a gaming genius!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Unique Christmas Gifts For The Gamer In Your Life...


Christmas is almost upon us, and with it comes the frantic scramble to find the right gifts for your family and friends. It could be said that Gamers are one of the worst type of people to buy presents for,  usually because they already own every game in existence and, unless you have been told to buy them a specific game, it can be a nightmare trying not to duplicate items that they have already bought for themselves.

Never fear though! Mini Gamers has come up with a few ideas of what you could get gaming fans this year. We have searched high and low to find the best and most original gaming-related gifts that will satisfy most gamers and even appeal to the gamer who has everything. This is our shortlist:

1) Assassin's Creed Collectible Figurine











This highly decorative figurine is the pefect collectible for fans of the highly-aclaimed Assassin's Creed series. However, as this figure is limited edition, its price tag is not cheap. This figure retails for around £30. We found that online stores like play.com and Amazon were selling it slightly cheaper at £24, but this is still an expensive but exquite gift piece for most gaming fans. This item can be purchased from the GAME stores.


2) Super Mario Bros: Super Mario Chess: Collectors Edition













This zany little chess set is perfect for fans of those superb Italian plumbers, The Mario Bros. However, as another collector's item, this gift also carries a hefty price tag. Expect to find this item for just under £50. If you can afford it, however, the item can be purchased directly from The Super Mario Store for £47.99.

3) Gaming T-shirts/Hoodies













Online retailer Play.com features a large number of game-themed T-shirts and Hoodies. Prices vary but rarely go above £11.99. It has to be said, that the T-shirts do seem to be aimed more at men than at women, but they will make a useful and affordable present for many male gamers. Gaming T-shirts can also be found at HMV and other clothing or memorabilia stores.

4) LittleBigPlanet Sackboy/Sackgirl Beanies











These cute six-inch beanies come in a variety of designs aimed at both male and female gamers of all ages. They usually retail for around £6.99 and can be found in many highstreet stores such as GameStation and HMV.


5) Raving Rabbids: Travel In Time Blister Packs 1, 2 and 3




















This gift idea is aimed at slightly younger gamers who like the Raymans Raving Rabbids series of games. There are three separate blister packs. Each containing approximately three different figurines from the latest game in the series - Rayman's Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time (Wii). Each blister pack retails for around £6.99 but is guaranteed to provide little gamers with hours of imaginative fun with their favourite characters. This item can be found in many GAME and  HMV highstreet stores.


6) PAC-MAN Alarm Clock















Arcade or retro fans and gamers who grew up in the 1980's are sure to love this novelty alarm clock. It wakes up its owner with the authentic sounds of the original game. Not to worry though, if the novelty wears off, you can turn off the alarm feature and simply use it as a standard clock.

7) 80's Stress Ball











shaped like one of the blob-like aliens from the original Space Invaders game, this nifty little gadget is both a practical and nostalgic piece of memorabilia which will appeal to Arcade gamers. This item usually retails for around £5, but they can be a difficult item to track down but is sold by online retailers such as Play.com, however they might end up being a belated Christmas gift due to delivery schedules at this time of year... Be warned!

8)  The VTech: Storio




















The link between fun and learning is considered to be pretty strong these days and many video games (especially for the Nintendo DS) have attempted to educate our brains in a variety of fun and exciting ways, but for children who are yet too young to have their own Nintendo DS, comes a nifty little handheld reading tutor.

The VTech Storio Animated Reading System is aimed at very young children between the ages of four and six and can increase their confidence as well as develop reading and language skills.

Children can play a number of reading games, interact with the story and develop basic comprehension skills. Alternatively they can read along with the story, watch the animated screen or simply listen to the narrative.

The actual Storio system is not cheap and costs around £60 to buy,  but a number of Storio accessory  packs can then be purchased for around £12 each, featuring characters like Tinkerbell, Toy Story or Dora the Explorer. The packs vary depending on the age of the child and will help them learn to read more easily. It also covers basic English Language skills from the National Curriculum such as phonics, vowels, spelling, capitals and more.

This is a great little handheld gadget and very useful to little ones. The VTech Storio can be found at toy stores including The Entertainer and Toys 'R' US amongst many others.

So that completes our wonderful and wacky tour of  unique or collector gifts for gamers. These items are great as both a main present and as a compliment to the actual games.

We at Mini Gamers  hope that this post has given you some last minute ideas and that you have enjoyed exploring what type of gaming memorabilia is on offer in shops today.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Buzz: Ultimate Music Quiz Delayed Until 2011!



Buzz: The Ultimate Music Quiz is to be delayed until 14 January 2011. The game was supposed to be released on the 17th of December 2010, but, like so many of the new PSP games that we have been promised this year, it has so far failed to reach the shop shelves.

Mini Gamers has reported on several different PSP titles which have been either delayed or cancelled without any apparent reason, including Patapon 3, which was supposed to be released in early November this year, but which for some reason has been further delayed until the 25th of March 2011 now.

The game itself is the tenth game in the Buzz! series, and is essentially a Music Quiz but with all the satirical humour of the rest of the Buzz Games Series. The PS3 version of Buzz: The Ultimate Music Quiz has already been released to the public and it would be nice to see the game appear on the PSP as well.


 Sony's overall decline of sales in Europe and the SCEE's decision to stop PSP Dev Kits earlier this year could explain why so many PSP titles have failed to reach their release date. Nevertheless, it has to be said that so many unexplained delays is both unsettling and annoying to the many gamers who have pre-ordered games only to be disapointed over and over again...

The 14th of January 2011 might only be about 3 weeks away, but the fact that Buzz: The Ultimate Music Quiz has already suffered from two release date delays already this year does not fill us with much confidence. Mini Gamers hopes that this and the other delayed games will soon be on the shop shelves, but at this moment in time, there is just no way to know for sure. Only time will tell.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Harry Potter Potions Help

It seems that a few of you are struggling to make the new potions in the new Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1  DS/DSi game. In truth, the potions in this version of the game are not very difficult to produce once you know how, so this is our Mini Gamers easy guide for completing the potions.



Locate The Ingredients:

The first thing that you will have to do is to track down all the ingredients needed to make each of the three potions included in the game. This is fairly easy as the potion ingredients are hidden in objects in each level of the game. Use the magic wand to cast spells at various objects (including everyday objects like chairs and tables etc) and you should stumble across the ingredients fairly easily.

Once you have collected enough ingredients to make a potion, a message will be displayed on screen and you will be taken to the Potions mini-game where you can start to brew your potion. Please note, you should obtain all the ingredients to make the Wiggenweld Potion by the end of the very first level.



Brewing The Potion:

Creating potions is basically a timed mini-game. There are several activities that must be completed before the timer runs out if you are to brew a successful batch of potions.

Firstly, you may be asked to chop the ingredients. This will be very familiar to anyone who has played the Cooking Mama games. Simply slide the stylus in the direction of the on-screen indicator to chop up the ingredient, and then add it to the cauldron as quickly as possible.

Another activity you may be asked to perform is to shake the bottle. Simply select the highlighted bottle from the potions shelf and move the stylus up and down on the screen to shake the bottle. A themometer will appear above the cauldron. The themometor will have a yellow indicator arrow on it.

As you shake the bottle, the bottom of the themometer goes cloudy. This can be hard to see, so you will need to be very careful. Shake the bottle as quickly as possible until the cloudy substance reaches the level of the yellow indicator arrow.

Put the bottle down and it will then bubble and errupt. Add the bottle to the cauldron as quickly as possible.

You may also be asked to pour a potion ingredient into the cauldron. Again, Simply select the highlighted ingredient from the potions shelf.  Hold the bottle over the cauldron to pour. A themometer will appear above the cauldron. The themometor will have a yellow indicator arrow on it.

Be careful to only pour the ingredient up to the level of the yellow indicator.

Next, you may be asked to stir the cauldron. simply select the brown stiring utensil from the potions shelf and stir the cauldron in the indicated direction. Remember that the timer will be counting down very fast now.

You may also be asked to heat the cauldron. To complete this task, simply Rub the base of the cauldron with the stylus. Follow the direction of the on-screen indicator.

You may also need to crush up certain ingredients. Follow the on-screen stylus guide to crush them up correctly.

You may also need to juice the ingredients. Use the juicer and catch the falling drops in the on-screen container before the timer runs out. This is not easy so practice is essential.

If you have completed all these steps correctly, you will be rewarded with a fresh batch of potions to use against your various magical foes. If not, you will be given the chance to retry the potion. Remember, practise makes perfect...



Did you know...

You can practice making  all of the potions in the game by selecting the Potions Tab in the Main Menu screen. However, you will not be able to actually create potions for use in the game unless you have found enough ingredients.

So, that is a basic run down of how to brew a potion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. We hope that you find it helpful. Remember to check in with the Mini Gamers blogsite for more Harry Potter game news as it happens.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Gaming Gadgets We Wish We Could Add To Our Christmas Lists...

 
Yes, it is that time of year again when many people are busy wrapping up presents and putting up the fairy lights, so we at Mini Gamers thought we would do something a little bit different and think about the handheld gaming gadgets that we would love to put on our Christmas lists for 2010, but which sadly will not be available until some time next year at the earliest... This is our shortlist:

 THE NINTENDO 3DS 


 The Nintendo 3DS is set to revolutionize handheld gaming between the end of February in Japan and by March 2011 in Europe, by making it possible for people to experience 3D gaming without the need for specially-designed glasses.

The technology works through a process called  autostereoscopy which uses twin motion-tracking cameras to create the 3D effect rather than via coloured lenses worn over the eyes (Stereoscopy). This process has also recently been used in some cinemas and it means that the colour and quality of the graphics will be unaffected.

 The actual cost of the Nintendo 3DS is yet unknown, but it is set to retail in Japan for 25,000 Yen, which equates to £192 in English money.

This makes the 3DS the most expensive Nintendo handheld to date, but when you consider that it also features a 3.5-inch widescreen LCD display with a 3D depth slider control on the side of the system, allowing players to choose exactly how much of the 3D effect they want, and two camera lenses on the outside of the system so that users can take pictures and view them in 3D, then the heavy price tag becomes much more justified.

The 3DS is said to be completely backwards compatible with the earlier Nintendo DS and DSi systems and also features Automatic Wi-Fi Detection which means that the console will actually search for Wireless hotspots and online opponents even if it is in 'Sleep Mode'.

An exclusive website about the 3DS has just been launched. To access the website please click here. For an exclusive sneak-peak of the 3DS' graphics and gameplay capabilities, please click here.

THE PSP PHONE




Rumours about the possibility of a new Smartphone with integrated PSP technology have been circulating for months now, and it has to be said that Sony is still being very tight-lipped about whether such a device is actually in development. Nevertheless, Sony Ericsson have recently indicated that a new Xperia phone might indeed be based on PSP gaming technology.

Current rumours also contain specifications for the new phone, which is said to feature a standard PSP control pad, with square, triangle, circle and cross buttons etc,and a new multi-touch trackpad instead of the traditional analogue stick.

The phone apparently uses the Android operating system,  The settings menu themes however matches those in the PSP system. on the back of the PSP Phone there is rumoured to be a megapixel camera with an LED flash and a second lens on the front of the phone which might be used for video calls, although this has not been properly confirmed yet.

It is difficult to tell whether this phone is even in development at the moment, so a late 2011 release date is likely but not yet confirmed. Nevertheless, we still think that this phone would make an excellent gaming Christmas gift regardless!


PANASONIC JUNGLE PORTABLE MMO DEVICE


Panasonic first announced that a portable MMO device was currently in development earlier this year. The Panasonic Jungle features a QWERTY keyboard and will allow gamers to play whilst on the move. Public testing of the device has reportedly already started on the Panasonic Jungle gaming device in the US and it has so far received mixed reviews.

There is now a small number of MMO games in development for the Panasonic Jungle including an online Battlestar Galactica game, but details of what they might entail have sadly been very scarce so far. Nevertheless, this is a gadget which MMO gamers would really benefit from.

No release date has been given yet but an exclusive website has been launched which provides all the latest news updates for this intriguing console. To visit the offical Jungle website please click here.

Unfortunately, these gaming gadgets won't be under anyone's Christmas tree this year, but Mini Gamers hopes that all of these devices will be at the top of next year's most wanted Christmas gifts list and we look forward to bringing you further news about all these devices as they develop.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

James Bond 007: GoldenEye (DS/DSi)

James Bond gets set for another round of espionage in 007: GoldenEye (DS). Rather than being a simple port of the earlier Wii version, this game has been specifically produced by videogames' company n-space, who are also responsible for bringing three high-quality Call of Duty games onto the DS.  It also features an updated Bond as played by actor Daniel Craig.


The game itself is essentially a first-person shooter, but it does put a lot of emphasis on stealth during each of the in-game Bond missions,which helps to recreate the feeling of being an international super-spy. This game uses the D-pad as its the primary controller for Bond's movements and the shoulder buttons  (left and right buttons) are used for firing weapons. The stylus is used for focusing the camera so that Bond can examine his surroundings and look up, down, left and right.

Nevertheless, a stylus-based control system has also been included in the game for those who prefer to use it. This control system is quicker than the D-pad controls, but may not be as accurate overall. At the end of the day, the control system you choose will of course depend upon which one you find the most comfortable, but it is still nice to have the choice.


n-space's own 3D engine has been used to recreate the look of the main characters. As a result, the graphics are top-quality, which is still somewhat of a rarity on the DS consoles these days. The designers have also kept much of the original voice work from the main console versions, allowing Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench to play Bond and M respectively.

Furthermore, the game boasts an impressive AI system, which means that enemies will anticipate your attacks and will even think twice before entering a room where Bond is hiding. This makes the game missions very challenging to complete.

However, the same AI is also the main source of frustration with this game. Despite Bond's array of weapons, the control systems (both stylus and D-pad) sometimes seem to fail when Bond is aiming at enemies, whilst the AI enemies seem to be so sharp on the weaponry that Bond may as well just be standing there with a white flag in his hand as opposed to a gun.


The game features a strong multiplayer mode for up to six players  in several different modes using a variety of modifications, some of which will be recognisable from the original Wii version whilst others are exclusive to the DS.

Furthermore, the single player mode offers new content after the original story has been completed, including unlockable time trials, bonus missions and unlock cheats, which greatly increases the game's replay value.


This is a great game overall, but the difficult controls can lead to frustration when facing various enemies. Nevertheless, this is an excellent attempt to bring a high-quality Bond game to the DS and is likely to appeal to most First-Person Shooter fans and Bond enthusiasts alike. Overall rating: 7/10.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Handheld Games and UMDs To Help Get You In The Yuletide Mood


December has arrived at last, and most people's thoughts are inevitably turning towards Christmas. However, for some people, Christmas is a burden which somehow seems to arrive earlier and earlier each year... Thus, Mini Gamers has compiled a list of festive video games and accesories that will make even the most grumpiest, die-hard Scrooge feel Christmassy!

Nintendo DS/DSi Christmas Games

1. Disney's A Christmas Carol


This game puts a very interactive twist on one of the oldest and most-loved Christmas stories. Players must help move the plot along by using the stylus and DS microphone to aid Ebenezer Scrooge as he learns about the true meaning of Christmas.

The game has a really festive feel to it and contains several Christmas-themed mini games including snowball fights, building a snowman, cooking a traditional Christmas dinner, decorating Christmas trees and even singing Christmas Carols.

As well as the main storyline, each scene in the game contains festive items such as snowflakes, bells, angels and presents to collect. All the collected items can be placed on a big animated Christmas Tree at the end of the game.

The game is quite short, which makes it perfect for younger gamers, but adult gamers can't fail to be charmed by this little Christmas adventure either. This is the perfect family game.


2. Enchanted Folk and the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry



















This game is a life simulation which is played in real-time. That means that when it is Christmas in real life, the inhabitants of this magical little town are also busy 'Decking the halls' and preparing for a visit from that cheerful little guy in the red suit.

As well as finding festive items such as Christmas Stockings, Christmas Cards, Presents and Christmas Trees appearing in the local shops around the town, players will also be asked to take part in several Christmas-Themed Mysteries whereby they will meet winter magical beings including faries, and even get to lend a hand to Father Christmas himself!

Furthermore, a special Winter festival gets underway in early December each year. Players must collect several different coloured snowflakes that fall on the ground around the main town, forest and beach areas. Players who manage to collect one snowflake of each colour before the deadline will get a special prize.

This is a great game for fans of Life Simulations all year round, and the festive preparations of the virtual inhabitants will instantly make the December evenings feel even more Christmassy.


3. How The Grinch Stole Christmas



















To be honest, this is more of an anti-Christmas game, which of course makes it perfect for anyone who wishes that Christmas would go and bury itself in a very large pit and never come out again. Nevertheless, fans of the festive season will also enjoy this simple strategy game in which The Grinch must try and steal all the Christmas presents and Decorations from unsuspecting human families.

Players must utilise The Grinch's arsenal of Christmas stealing tricks such as sneaks, slithers, dodgy and whacks in order to complete tasks. Each of these techniques will open up their own mini-game where you will have to use skill and timing to succeed.

Adapted from the best-selling children's story written by Dr. Suess, this game features simple cartoon graphics and plenty of Christmas items and festive fun. The game also features several levels of difficulty, which makes it a perfect Christmas game for all the family.

PSP Christmas UMD Movies and Festive Film Downloads

Unfortunately, the PSP does not really have any Christmas-themed video games of its own (bah, humbug), but that does not mean that PSP owners cannot use their PSP to get themselves into the Christmas mood this year. Instead of festive games, why not treat yourself to a selection of Christmas UMDs or downloads instead? 

Mini Gamers has cherry-picked our festive favourites from the host of new and traditional Christmas UMDs and downloads on offer. These are the films which made our top five:













Jim Carrey stars as the cantankerous old  Mr. Scrooge in this imaginative re-telling of the yuletide classic. The film features lots of spectacular C.G.I action sequences and plenty of recognisable Christmas characters and festive fun. This film is both heart-warming and enjoyable for both adults and children alike. 

The film is DOWNLOAD ONLY and is available to either rent or buy from the Playstation Network Store now. Please note that a PSN Store Account will be necessary to allow purchase of downloaded movies or games. 




















This film takes a whole new look at the legend of Father Christmas and chooses instead to focus on his  elder brother, Fred. Fred is tired of being the brother of a worldwide figure of giving and selflessness and is highly disenchanted with the whole Christmas tradition.

Nevertheless, when Fred requests that his brother (who, let's not forget, is Father Christmas) send him £5000 in bail money, St. Nick's patience finally wears thin and he demands that if Fred wants his money he must agree to come to the North Pole and work over the Christmas period. Fred reluctantly agrees, which is when a whole host of Christmas hilarity ensues...

This film is a refreshing change from traditional Christmas stories and even though it has a PG certificate, it still contains plenty of inferred adult humour which is sure to entertain. This UMD  film can be purchased from stores such as Play.com or HMV or  directly downloaded from the PSN store.


3. Santa Claus: The Movie























This film has been digitally restored from the original 1985 version and stars the late Dudley Moore as an ambitious and imaginitive Elf known as Patch. When Patch loses his position as 'Head Elf' at the North Pole he decides to leave and finds himself in New York City where he meets a greedy toymaker who is keen to exploit the naive elf's creative ideas.

However, Patch's toys are poorly made and soon children from all over the world are suffering from the effects of Patch's shoddy workmanship. Can Santa Claus locate his missing elf and create a new batch of toys in time for Christmas Eve?

This film is a true Christmas classic. It tells the story of how Santa Claus became the figure that everyone knows and even attempts to explain how Santa's reindeer can fly and how a fat man can somehow fit down the chimney. It might be over twenty-five years old now, but this film is as ageless as the legend of Father Christmas himself.

The film is DOWNLOAD ONLY and is available to buy from the Playstation Network Store now.


4. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation



















Join Clark Griswold and his family as they prepare to celebrate the Christmas season with each other. Packed full of hillarious slapstick and witty dialogue, this film will have all the family roaring with laughter.This UMD  film can be purchased from stores such as Play.com or HMV or  directly downloaded from the PSN store.


5. Bad Santa












Billy Bob Thornton is Willie T. Stokes, a wise-cracking Department Store Santa who can't help but be more naughty than nice. Underneath his ill-fitting red suit, Willie is actually a safecracker who makes one big score every year - on Christmas Eve.

As shoppers head home from the mall, this Santa and his ingenious Elf - Willie's midget partner-incrime Marcus - crack the store safe and make off with their own holiday stash. But then comes Phoenix.

Here Santa and his Elf find their annual heist endangered by a store manager, a mall detective, a sexy Santa fan and an innocent but beleaguered 8 year-old misfit who decides to believe that Willie - as intoxicated, acid-tongued and felonious as he seems to be - is the real Santa he's been seeking?

This film is a very clever anti-Christmas movie which somehow still manages to make people feel festive. The dialogue is sharp and the action is brilliant - full of twists and turns. Nevertheless, with its 15 certificate, this is a Christmas film that will not be suitable for very young children.

This UMD  film can be purchased from stores such as Play.com or HMV or  directly downloaded from the PSN store. This title can be downloaded as a rental only from the PSN store as well.



So there you have it - games and films which are sure to make you feel in the mood for Christmas. The Mini Gamers blogsite will be here throughout December and we will be bringing you tips for all the top gaming Christmas presents for every different kind of gamer, as well as continuing to bring you all the latest news and reviews in the world of handheld gaming.



Saturday, 27 November 2010

Game of the Week: TRON: Evolution (DS & PSP)


TRON IS BACK! The cult classic from the 1980's has been given a new twist for modern audiences in the form of TRON: Legacy, which is set to debut in UK cinemas on the 26th of December this year. In addition to this, a new videogame called TRON: Evolution was released earlier this week.


TRON: Evolution is set during the era between the two TRON films.  It has been developed by Propaganda Games and Disney Interactive Studios.  The game has an independent storyline, which will help to bridge the gap between the main plots in both films and help fans old and  new to familiarise themselves with TRON mythology.
 Tron: Evolution is set seven years after the events of the first film. In the game, the original paradise of Kevin Flynn's world (the hero in the 1982 TRON film), is fast-becoming the dystopian police-state that will be portrayed in the new movie.
Gamers play as 'Anon', an impressive AI system monitor created by Kevin Flynn. Anon must investigate the mysterious emergence of new corrupt ISOs (a race of programs that are not created by humans but are entirely self-created) and the rise of the malevolent Abraxas virus. Anon's main function is to destroy Abraxas.
TRON Evolution is a third person Action-Adventure game. It mixes enemy battles with fast-paced racing action.There are three basic attacks which can be used against enemies: melee, light disc and special disc, which can be strung together into interesting combos.
Each attack's success varies depending on Anon's movements within the game. For example, sprinting whilst using the attack discs means that attacks will be weaker upon impact but they will be faster to implement, while a defensive stance will increase the power and range of your special disc moves, and also replaces your normal jump moves with a very helpful 'rolling dodge'.
Much of the game is spent jumping over chasms and avoiding obstacles around the dystopic landscape, which has some strong platformer elements in it.

The racing sections involve high-speed chases against enemy bikers. Players must expertly avoid falling objects which will attempt to block their path, as well as deadly luminous 'gates' which seem to descend out of nowhere, but which spell instant death to the game's main character when touched.

 the DS and PSP versions of the game also feature a Grid Games Championship section, where players compete in arena matches or in races. Grid games also feature local multiplayer with iconic TRON vehicles, such as light cycles and light tanks in both competitive and co-operative modes such as capture the flag and last man standing. PSP owners can also download bonus content from the PSN store.


This game is actually very enjoyable for a movie tie-in and will appeal to action gamers and platformer fans alike. It is also an interesting introduction into the TRON universe. Overall rating 8/10.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Game Of The Week: EyePet (PSP)


The ultimate virtual pet is here. EyePet finally came to the PSP handheld console yesterday. Mini Gamers first reported that Eyepet was coming to the PSP in June earlier this year, but despite its original early Spring release date, the virtual little critter was unable to make his handheld debut until mid-November. Nevertheless, it seems that this game was really worth the wait!



The game makes clever use of the PSP's camera attachment. Players can use the GO!Cam  along with the Eyepet 'Magic Card', which is included in the game. The result is amazing. Want to see your Eyepet sitting on your desk or kitchen table? This game actually makes it possible and gives Eyepet a greater realism than any other virtual pet game currently on the market.


However, the game also contains many other interactive functions which helps to engage the player into this virtual world. For example, Eyepet contains several mini games including Fishing, Gardening, Treasure Hunting, Trampolining and Bowling, amongst others. Each mini game contains different challenges, which can be unlocked as the player progresses. The mini games are usually timed and get gradually harder each level.

Bowling is perhaps the easiest game to complete. Use your Eyepet as a bowling ball (not recommended for real pets, kids!) and knock down the row of pins that appear on your chosen 'Magic Card' surface. More and more pins appear each level and they change position from the previous level so that it gets harder each time. A successful amount of Strikes can unlock new customisable items for your Eyepet.

Fishing is probably the hardest mini game. You and your Eyepet must team-up to catch as many fish as you can within two minutes. However, only fish which appear on the itinerary will count towards your final score. This makes it very difficult to complete the task within the allotted time, however, with a bit of practise it can be achieved eventually. The Fishing mini game also includes a Free Mode which allows you to fish without a time limit. Any fish which are caught in this mode are automatically added to the aquarium in your Pet Home.


The Pet Home is where players can take care of their Eyepet's basic needs including feeding, washing and sleeping. It is also where players can style their Eyepet and even change its fur colour or style if they wish. Players can keep up to four Eyepets, so changing their fur length and colour can create some interesting variations between the different pets.


The Pet Home can also store photos of your EyePet and is the space where new car and boat toys can be created. Draw an image of a car or boat on a plain piece of paper and Eyepet will convert it into a 3D car, complete with a range of customisable style options.


The only potential negatives about Eyepet concern the 'Magic card' and the loading screens. This game is understandably very intricate and detailed. As a result, Eyepet features some lengthy loading screens, which might test the patience of  younger gamers.

Furthermore, the game's Magic Card has to be centred on the screen exactly at all times while out of the Pet house otherwise your little Eyepet will end up floating in a bubble in front of you and won't be able to complete any of the mini games etc.

It sounds easy, but Mini Gamers found that the Magic Card needed to adjusted several times before our Eyepet could be clearly seen. Lighting can also affect how well the Magic Card performs as well. If it is too dark or too light in the room then your card will not function correctly. Nevertheless, the positives of this unique game totally outweigh any negatives tenfold.


Eyepet on PSP really does have to be seen to be believed. This is the most innovative game to reach the PSP in a very long time. It is also a great game for all the family. If you have always wanted a pet, or  if the kids have put a pet on the top of their christmas lists but  you can't be bothered with unsightly messes, daily feeds or huge vet bills, then Eyepet on PSP is a viable alternative. Overall rating: 10/10.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (DS)

 

Everyone's favourite wizard, Harry Potter, will return both to the Big Screen and our handheld consoles in his seventh and final magical adventure tomorrow. So, what can fans really expect from the Nintendo DS version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1?

 The Nintendo DS version of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is a a puzzle-based game. It is also the first game in the series that takes the characters outside the relative safety of Hogwarts.  The characters must embark on a dangerous journey, which means that players will now be introduced to a whole host of new environments from city streets to new wizarding locations, which each contain different enemies to fight (including Death Eaters, Snatchers and Dementors), new challenges to uncover and quests to complete.



In the game the player will be able to control one of the three characters Harry, Ron and Hermione in a brilliant 3D top-down view. Each character has special abilities to move the player through the game. These abilities will affect how the game progresses and will make the outcome of the game easier or more difficult depending on which abilities the character posseses.




For example, Harry always casts very powerful spells, whilst Ron can use Decoy Detonators as a distraction technique against the Death Eaters, and he also has the magical Deluminator gadget (used by Professor Dumbledore in the first film,) which removes all visible light from a given area.

Ron's abilities do not work effectively in head-to-head combat however, but they can provide a useful commotion which will in turn disorientate most enemies. Hermione can slow enemies down with the spell Arresto Momento. The different abilities do help to create varied gameplay and greatly adds to the game's replay value.



Potions and potion-making also make a welcome return in this game. New potions included in this game are: Wiggenweld Potion, Herbicide and Exploding Potion. Each potion takes the form of a mini game in which the player must find all the ingredients and then brew the potion against a time limit.  For help with completing Harry Potter Potions, please click HERE.

Many of the Spells from the Harry Potter Universe can also be found in  the Nintendo DS version including Stupefy, Protego, Wingardium Leviosa, Expecto Patronum and Incendio. Furthermore, the game also includes some multi-shot capabilities and cascading jinxes which are extremely useful for defeating multiple enemies.

Other magical items will help the characters to move stealthy past enemies. Harry's Invisibility Cloak is very useful in this game, whilst the Polyjuice Potion and Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder can also help Harry and his friends to avoid detection and sneak past their adversaries.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 does have a two-player multiplayer mode, so players can now battle against their friends using Wi-Fi connectivity. Players can choose to be either a Dementor or Harry Potter and must engage in a magical duel. The winner is the player with the highest score.

Official DS Preview Trailer

This game is graphically stunning and  has really tried to make up for the disappointment of the last Harry Potter handheld game, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which featured very short and repetitive gameplay throughout.

The storyline of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (AKA Harry Potter 2010)  sticks closely to that of the film and the numerous magical battles and duels are difficult but not frustrating. This game will enchant existing fans of the videogame series and  Mini Gamers predicts that it will be at the top of many people's Christmas lists this year. Overall rating: 9/10.