Wednesday, 28 December 2011

And the Number One Video Game of 2011 is...


Yes, it's official, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the best-selling game of 2011. The open world RPG has sold over 10 million copies worldwide and has proven to be extremely popular this Christmas.

Skyrim also successfully beat the previous favourite to win, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which ended up in a respectable third place. The full Top 20 games chart is as follows:


This WeekTitle
1The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2Just Dance 3
3Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
4FIFA 12
5Saints Row: The Third
6Battlefield 3
7Assassin's Creed: Revelations
8Mario & Sonic London 2012 Olympic Games
9Need For Speed: The Run
10Professor Layton And The Spectre's Call
11Batman: Arkham City
12Mario Kart 7
13Forza Motorsport 4
14Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
15Super Mario 3D Land
New entry16Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo
17Zumba Fitness
18LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5 -7
Re-Entry19Sonic Generations
20ABBA: You Can Dance

  It is very unusual for a game to knock an EA title off of the Christmas number one spot. In fact, Electronic Arts have successfully secured the number one spot for the last eight years, so Skyrim not only makes a refreshing change, but its victory could also mark an important change in the kinds of game we can expect to be successful in 2012.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Mini Gamers Big Christmas Gaming Quiz 2011



Welcome to our new look 'Big Christmas Gaming Quiz' 2011. Although their are no prizes for doing this quiz, we thought that all our blog readers would appreciate this just-for-fun pop quiz.

Unlike last year, this quiz is computerised, meaning that you will instantly know whether you have given a correct or incorrect answer.  This year's quiz questions deal with all-manner of gaming general knowledge.

HOW TO PLAY

Click on the Start button below to begin the quiz.

Each question features a 120 seconds time-limit. Answer quickly in order to gain the maximum amount of points.

At the end, you will be shown your individual score. Sign in and add yourself to the leaderboard to see whether you are the king or queen of gaming knowledge!

So, may we at Mini Gamers just take this chance to wish all of you who celebrate it a very Merry Christmas 2011! Good Luck!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Doctor Who Game Heading To PC, PS Vita and PS3 in 2012...


Yes, it's true! Everyone's favourite Extra-Terrestrial Doctor will be making his appearance in a new videogame entitled Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock, which is set to debut some time in early 2012.

Very little is known about the game's content at this time, but we do know that the main plot will feature both the Doctor and River Song as they journey together in the TARDIS. The game will be split across multiple time zones, and actions that players choose to take in one time zone will have a direct affect on what happens to events in the other zones.

We also know that the game promises TV-quality graphics, which have been designed using full motion-capture technology, meaning that the characters look very lifelike.

In addition, both Alex Kingston and Matt Smith, (who play the TV versions of River Song and the Doctor,) have been busy adding full voice-overs to the game, so the characters will not only look authentic, but will sound authentic as well.

It could be argued that past attempts to bring Doctor Who into the videogame era haven't always been that successful, with Doctor Who: Top Trumps (most game formats), Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth (Nintendo DS), and Doctor Who: Return to Earth (Wii) seemingly failing to strike a chord with the majority of their intended audiences.

So will Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock finally turn out to be the videogame that everyone is waiting for? Well, when you consider that the game is being produced by SuperMassive Games, who won a Develop: Industry Excellence Award earlier this year, things are definitely looking good.

The BBC has also released its first teaser trailer of the game. It doesn't give a lot away, but we do think that the game certainly sounds intriguing. Have a look for yourself (see below) and see what you think:


Remember to check in with Mini Gamers in the New Year for all the latest news about this exciting project, and please join us here on Christmas Eve 2011 for some 'just-for-fun' gaming trivia!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Nintendo Launches EuroSport Video Services...

Nintendo have launched a new Eurosport 3D Video service, which can be downloaded for free from the 3DS e-shop. The Eurosport service is completely separate from the Nintendo Video service which launched in July this year, and will focus exclusively on sport.


The new video service allows for Spotpass downloads of  various two or three-minute 3D Sports clips, all provided by the popular WATTS programme. The videos are expected to feature funny sporting outtakes and various 'sporting action' clips, all shown in fantastically clear 3D.



All of the videos can be replayed again and again until they get replaced by new content. However, it is not yet clear whether the videos will be updated on a weekly basis (like some videos in the Nintendo Video section) or in a more sporadic fashion.

Nevertheless, Mini Gamers is certain that the Eurosport video service will make an exciting addition for Sports fans and will no doubt encourage a few more sales of the 3DS handheld console in the Christmas rush.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Sony Says Only ONE PS Vita Account Per Console After All...


It seems as though Sony have got themselves a little bit confused lately. A recent article by Wired.com suggested that the new PS Vita console would allow users to have multiple accounts on the one console, as long as each account was set up on different memory sticks.

This caused a mixture of surprise and anger from the gaming community as the PS Vita Memory Sticks have already been said to be very expensive - often triple the price of most other memory sticks on offer in the shops today and much more expensive than the memory sticks previously used in Sony's other handheld console, the PSP - so having to purchase more than one in order to have multiple accounts could be deemed as a little bit outrageous.

However, things have got even more complicated, as Sony has backtracked from their original statement and now claim that the PS Vita will only allow for ONE account per console.

A Sony representative has since provided the following statement: “[The] PSN account is tied to the hardware and the memory card, not just the card...In other words, PlayStation Vita is intended to be played by only one user”  [Sourced from: http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2011/12/sony-vita-psn/]


The PS Vita launches in Japan tomorrow, and is expected to reach the rest of the world by the 22nd of February 2012. It is unclear what kind of reception the console will get when it reaches UK stores, but all this early controversy is probably not helping its reputation at all.

Keep checking in with the Mini Gamers blogsite for more news on this topic in the coming months.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Top 2011 Christmas Gifts for Handheld Gamers: Kids and Teens



Welcome to our third and final blog post about the Top 2011 Christmas Gifts for Handheld Gamers. With Christmas now only ten days away, finding that perfect gaming gift is even more important, thus Mini Gamers now looks at what is available for the younger gamers - Kids and Teens.




Top 2011 Christmas Gifts for Handheld Gamers:  Kids and Teens


KIDS ONLY (5-12yrs)


Cooking Mama 4 (3DS)

Yes, Mama is back, and this time she is cooking up a storm in an entirely new dimension! With over 100 brand new recipes to try out all displayed in full autostereoscopic 3D, this seems like the perfect game to turn kids into the next generation of super-cooks, what's more, this game also features a  multiplayer mode and it encourages kids to tidy away the plates and untensils after they have finished cooking with a special set of mini-games

This game is best suited to children aged between 6-10 years of age and will probably appeal to girls slightly more than boys. The game can be found at all good video game retailers, and is expected to cost around £30 to buy.


FLIPS: INTERACTIVE BOOKS (DS/DSi)

Produced by EA Games, the Flips videogame series turns the DS/DSi console into an E-reader. Each standard game cartridge contains between 6-8 unabridged novels from several popular children's authors.
The books are aimed at both boys and girls aged between 6-12 years of age. Obviously, basic reading ability is necessary for this product. Each book is completely interactive. As well as using the stylus to turn each page, the stories contain sound effects and animations, hidden items to collect, (such as coins or codes,) simple explanations about various characters, and the chance to unlock bonus content such as interviews with the author or further short stories.

The Flips videogame series is available from most videogame retail outlets and usually retails at around £14.95.
FIREMAN SAM (DS/DSi)

Does your little one desire to be a Fireman when he gets older? If so, this could be the perfect game for his Christmas stocking. Join the  famous TV Character and all his friends as they explore the local town of Pontypandy and play lots of exciting mini-games which will encourage children to develop logic, memory and basic problem-solving skills.

The game can be found in all good videogame stores and usually retails for around £19.99.

KIDS & TEENS (10-16 yrs)

The following games and or/game bundles will appeal to both children and teenagers:
CORAL PINK 3DS/
NINTENDOGS + CATS BUNDLE
This sweet little bundle will appeal to most female gamers, including young teenagers (up to fifteen years of age.) The bundle includes the latest 3DS  Coral Pink console, and a copy of Nintendogs + Cats: Golden Retriever and friends. This game bundle will appeal most strongly to animal lovers.The bundle is available in all good video game stores and retails for around £164.99.
ICE WHITE 3DS/ SUPER MARIO 3D LAND BUNDLE

This Ice-white 3DS and Super Mario 3D Land Bundle could be just the thing if your man happens to be a retro Mario fan. The ice-white 3DS is the pefect colour for male gamers who found the Cosmic Black 3DS a bit boring and the Flare Red or Aqua Blue 3DS colours a little over-powering.

Meanwhile, the game itself contains many elements from the original Super Mario Bros franchise, but can now be viewed in full glasses-free (Autostereoscopic) 3D. To read a full review of the game itself, please click HERE.

The Ice White 3DS Bundle is available from all good videogame stockists, and retails for around £164.99.

LIMITED EDITION LEGEND OF ZELDA 25th ANNIVERSARY 3DS BUNDLE 

 This exclusive 3DS bundle includes a special version of the Black 3DS console which features the Zelda Gold Crest design, and a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS game. This bundle will definitely appeal to both male and female gamers, despite being marketed more at male audience.

However, parents who wish to buy this for their children should also be aware that the game carries a 12+ certificate, which means that it is unsuitable for gamers under twelve years of age. Once again, this bundle can be found in all the major videogame outlets, and retails for around £299 - a price which clearly reflects its Limited Edition status.


This marks the end of our exploration of the Top 2011 Christmas Gifts for Handheld Gamers. We hope you have found it useful.

If you are still unsure about what to buy, you could try checking out the following posts to see if they can provide you with a further spark of inspiration:





Good Luck and Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Top 2011 Christmas Gifts For Handheld Gamers: Women


 
Welcome to our second Christmas 2011 post concerning the Top Christmas Gifts for Handheld Gamers. This time, we will look at our shortlist of the best games and accessories which would suit women gamers.

Top Christmas Gifts For Handheld Gamers: Women

 A CORAL PINK 3DS

Is your wife, girlfriend, sister or mum a fan of pink? Then this is the perfect time to introduce them to the latest Nintendo handheld, the 3DS. This nifty little gadget is now available in a Coral Pink colour, and comes packed with a whole host of preloaded software, including six AR cards.

Furthermore, if the woman in question loves cute little animals too, this game also comes bundled with Nintendogs + Cats for that extra 'awwwwww' factor.

The console is likely to cost around £149 on its own, or £164.99 for the bundle deal. Go on, start earning those brownie points!
A BMCDigital Carry Case for DS/DSi/3DS



 This storage carry case for the Nintendo Console range makes the perfect female-gamer accessory this Christmas. The bag has enough room to store the charger and the console plus a few games, and also comes complete with a shoulder strap so that gamers can have the option of using it like a shoulder-bag or simply carrying it using the top handle.
 
This carry case retails for around £8.99 and can be found in online stores such as Play.com or in most videogame outlets.
 

 
PROFESSOR LAYTON
AND THE
SPECTRE'S CALL
 
The latest game in the Professor Layton series  makes a brilliant gift for fans of puzzle-adventures. The game's detailed and heartfelt back-story is woven fantastically into the game, and the charming graphics and the simple-to-understand but difficult-to-solve logic puzzles should be enough to keep recipients interested in this game well into the New Year. 
 
Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call is exclusive to the Nintendo DS/DSi consoles and retails for around £30 and can be found in most videogame stores or online. Hurry though, as this is a very popular game and online stocks may run low in the coming weeks...
 
LEGO HARRY POTTER: YEARS 5-7 
(DS/DSi/3DS/PSP)
 
The brilliant sequel to Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 is here! This fantastic and very humorous game sees players take on the role of Harry Potter and other characters from the book and film series, in a zany Lego production which has been lovingly brought to life by the talented TT Games. 
 
Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is available on ALL handheld consoles to date, including its debut on the Nintendo 3DS, and costs around £35 to buy.
 
DOCTOR LAUTREC
AND THE
FORGOTTEN KNIGHTS
(3DS)
 
Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights is a puzzle-adventure game which has been developed exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS.
 
The game follows a similar format to the Professor Layton series of games (see above), but features a lot more familiar logic puzzles such as Crosswords or Spot-the-difference, which might suit an older female gamer or someone who is new to puzzle-adventures.
 
The game also features an interesting back-story which is set in nineteenth-century France, and features several fun mini-games as well, which are woven into the game in the form of 'Quests'
For a detailed review of the game, please CLICK HERE.
 
Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights is available to buy from most videogame outlets, and usually costs around £35-£40 to buy.
 
 
 
That marks the end of our Top 2011 Christmas Gifts For Handheld Gamers: Women post. We hope you found it interesting, but you can also try the following posts if you are still searching for a bit more inspiration:
 
 
 
Good Luck!
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Latest 3DS System Update Brings 'New Look' 3D Video Recording Features...


The latest system update for the Nintendo 3DS promises to bring with it some very interesting new features, including the ability to record video footage on the console and play it back in 3D!

The update which will become available after 6pm on the 7th of December 2011, will offer users the chance to take a set of 10-minute video recordings on their 3DS and also allow for some special 3D freeze-frame animation using the 'Frame-pick' video mode, which, incidentally, is just one of a few video recording modes on offer.

As well as the new Video Recording mode, 3DS users will also find additional game content in their Mii Plaza from today, including the ability to use Spotpass to download global content.

Furthermore, Nintendo has added a special Streetpass Map so that you can see where exactly in the country you have managed to obtain your current Streetpass Hits from, although unless you are a well-seasoned traveller, this probably won't matter too much.

 Finally, the 07/12/11 system update adds an all-new Streetpass Quest adventure, called - strangely enough - Streetpass Quest 2, although, we should point out that the new quest won't actually become available until you have successfully completed the original Streetpass Quest game twice through, thus collecting all the hats on offer... time to start collecting our coins again, methinks?

The latest 3DS system update has been long-awaited (having been delayed since early November), but the new features are very interactive and should help in attracting plenty of new 3DS fans in the run-up to  the 2011 Christmas season.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Top Christmas Gifts For Handheld Gamers 2011: MEN

It appears that Christmas is upon us once more, and once again it sends people scurrying up and down the highstreet in search of those perfect presents. If you have a gamer in your midsts, however, the whole thing does seem more complicated,  especially if you have no idea what is 'Hot' and what is 'Not' in the world of videogaming yourself, and this becomes even more restrictive if the person in question happens to be a handheld gamer, with many Christmas adverts choosing to target the larger consoles like Wii or PS3.

Never fear though - Mini Gamers has plenty of suggestions about what Gamers will want to unwrap on Christmas Day, so relax, put your feet up and have a quick read of this... Here is our guide to the Top Christmas Gaming Gifts of 2011.

 Each week in the run-up to Christmas, we will give our recommendations for the perfect gaming present for your loved-ones. This week, we look at the perfect (and sometimes unusual) games and gaming accessories for the Special MAN in your life:


Top Christmas Gifts For Handheld Gamers 2011: MEN
ICE-WHITE 3DS/
SUPER MARIO 3D LAND BUNDLE


This Ice-white 3DS and Super Mario 3D Land Bundle could be just the thing if your man happens to be a retro Mario fan. The ice-white 3DS is the pefect colour for male gamers who found the Cosmic Black 3DS a bit boring and the Flare Red or Aqua Blue 3DS colours a little over-powering.

Meanwhile, the game contains many elements from the original Super Mario Bros franchise, but can now be viewed in full glasses-free (Autostereoscopic) 3D. To read a full review of the game itself, please click HERE

However, this console bundle is definitely NOT cheap and can cost between £159.99-£164.99 even in local supermarkets like Tesco or Asda.







MARIO KART 7 (3DS)


If the person in question already owns a 3DS console, then a good game for them to have this Christmas is Mario Kart 7. This game incorporates some of the most beloved Mario Kart gameplay from yesteryear, but adds some paragliding and underwater races, and polishes it up with some stunning  glasses-free 3D visuals like you have never seen before. Mario Kart 7 is available from all good retailers, and costs between £34.99-£39.99 to buy. A definite winner for fans of Racing Games.






APPLE iPAD 2


Probably one of the hottest handheld gadgets right now is an iPad 2. Not only does this nifty little gadget allow users to watch films, play music, and of course, download and play top game titles such as Madden NFL 12 or Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD, amongst others, but it can also have access to thousands of downloadable Educational software and Business Apps (such as the fantastic OmniGraffle, which allows people to create simple presentation flowcharts and/or diagrams with a simple touch of the screen), direct  from the Apple Store.

Now for the bad news...Whilst this handheld device is great for both gaming and general entertainment and work needs, it does not come cheap. In fact, the various purchase options for the iPad 2 depends upon its downloading capacity and whether it uses Wireless 3G or not.

Thus the iPad 2 is available in most highstreet Electronics and Home Entertainment stores such as HMV, and is available either in Black or White, and comes in various downloading capacity sizes ranging from either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB  and can also be purchased with an additional 3G package.

 For this reason, the actual iPad 2 device can cost anywhere between £399-£599, with some of the downloadable 'Apple Store' applications costing an extra £40-50 to download. NOT an easy present to buy if you are feeling a little bit cash-strapped.





A GAMING CHAIR

Okay, so we admit it - a gaming chair is hardly a handheld device or accessory. However, a gaming chair comes with extra audio connectors, and can help gamers to relax whilst challenging their fingers, thumbs or styluses with various virtual delights, so we thought that we would include it...

There are a surprising number of gaming chairs on the market at the moment, depending on your price range and gaming mode of choice. Of course, the more sophisticated your gaming needs, the more expensive your chair will be.

 However, sticking with the overall theme of handheld gaming, the Senior X-Rocker Gamebag chair (available in a Football design, if desired) was one of Mini Gamers personal favourites, and was being sold relatively cheaply at just £29.99 in some cases.

The Gamebag chair is a type of bean bag seat, which features two surround-sound speakers for quality audio, and connectors that work with all types of home console and handheld devices such as the iPod, Nintendo DS consoles and PSPs.

To see examples of the different kinds of Gaming Chairs on offer at the moment, and their current price ranges, please click HERE.


A SONY ERICSSON XPERIA PLAY PHONE


Yes, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is a highly-functional Smartphone, which also allows users to play their old Sony PSP games like Little Big Planet and God of War in an entirely new format.

The Xperia Play is available with tariffs from Orange, O2, Vodafone, T-mobile and the 3 network. However, the price of each individual tarrif and contract does vary. Nevertheless, the Xperia Play phone itself tends to retail at around £189.

We also should mention that the Xperia Play is not the only Gaming Smartphone on the market at the moment, even though it has been extremely popular. To read our side-by-side comparison article,
'Gaming Smartphones: Xperia Play VS. Windows Phone 7 ,' Please CLICK HERE.





STILL UNSURE OF WHAT TO BUY?


Have we failed to help you find your perfect gaming gift? You might find it helpful to check out Mini Gamers 2010 Christmas post entitled: Unique Christmas Gifts for the Gamer in Your Life, which is packed with even more brilliant gift ideas. Who knows, you might find just what you were looking for...

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Professor Layton 4 VS. Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights: PART TWO

 VS.
Welcome to the second part of our 'Versus' battle between the latest Professor Layton game - Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call/Last Specter, which was released for the Nintendo DS/DSi console(s), and the brand new Puzzler, Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights, which was developed by Konami exclusively for the 3DS.


In Part One, we examined Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call/Last Specter. This time we take a look at Doctor Lautrec and his assistant, Sophie, as they embark on their first-ever puzzle adventure.

We have split the game down into sections and will examine Plot, Gameplay, Characters, and Graphics in order to see which of the two handheld games is also the best new puzzle game on the market to date...

DOCTOR LAUTREC
AND THE
FORGOTTEN KNIGHTS



PLOT

The game has a very strong back-story, involving "Living Treasure", or Treasure Animatus as it is commonly referred to in the game. Doctor Lautrec hunts this type of treasure and wants to tame the so-called Guardian Spirits which live within such treasure. Only the Doctor's trusty assistant, Sophie can sense and see Guardian Spirits, and therefore it is her job to tell the Doctor where to find the Treasure Animatus.

Unlike the games in the Professor Layton series, this game takes place in real 19th-Century France and therefore contains many real-life landmarks and historical events, which does add a charming touch of realism to the overall game.

 The main storyline also involves a hunt for some treasure from the House of Bourbon and often contains historical facts about 19th-century Paris etc, which adds a subtle yet interesting educational aspect to the game as well.


GAMEPLAY

Although this game has been somewhat criticised for 'copying' the characters and graphic-style of the Professor Layton series, the gameplay is remarkably different from its puzzle counterpart.

For example, whereas Professor Layton is more concerned with traditional logic puzzles such as shape, number or letter codes and riddles, etc, Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights contains more accessible, familiar logic puzzles such as Spot-the-Difference, Crosswords, Sudoku and Minesweeper types of puzzles, which are still difficult, but perhaps less demanding than those in Professor Layton, meaning that the game seems to move smoothly onwards without too much frustration over puzzles that one cannot solve.



MINI GAMES

The game also includes four distinct forms of mini-game, which are Hidden EntrancesQuests, Taming of the Treasure Animatus and Escaping the Catacombs. With the exception of finding the Hidden Entrances to various catacombs (by locating a hidden Fleur de-lis symbol on the building), three of these mini-games are often played together.

For example, in Quests, Doctor Lautrec and Sophie must search for various Treasure Animatus around Paris. They must also Escape the Catacombs of each location by avoiding detection by the various guards on duty, and, they must also 'tame' any Treasure Animatus that they find.

The taming of the Treasure Animatus is the most challenging of the three mini-games. The goal is to reduce the Life Points down to a score below 100, so that it transforms into a relic which can later be used to tame other Guardian Spirits in the game. 

In order to tame a Guardian Spirit, players must place gemstones (collected throughout the game) and other relics containing Treasure Animatus Guardians upon a stone plinth in such a way that their attack power outnumbers the Guardian Spirit that players are trying to tame.

However, it is important to not completely reduce the Guardian's Life Points to zero, otherwise the Spirit will die and cannot be used in the final battle against a very powerful Guardian Spirit.



CHARACTERS

This game has a lot of different, humorous and quirky characters, who all have important roles to play in the unfolding storyline.

        
GRAPHICS

Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights uses many different types of animation, including 2D cartoon-style graphics and 3D block animation amongst others. All of the graphics are presented in full 3D, which adds greater depth perception to the various locations included in the game map.



SUMMARY

Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights will certainly appeal to fans of the Professor Layton games, but is also very interesting and challenging in its own right. We are sure this will be very popular at Christmas. Overall rating: 9/10.


FINAL VERDICT: LAUTREC VS. LAYTON:

Whether you opt for Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call/Last Specter or Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights this Christmas will largely depend on what type of puzzle-adventure you are looking for.

Professor Layton has now got a well-established fan base, and the puzzles tend to stretch the brain in more varied ways than we have seen in Doctor Lautrec, nevertheless, it is sometimes impossible to get the answer to the various riddles contained in the game, which can sometimes lead to frustration as we search for a good Walkthrough that can help us solve our current conundrum. Thus, Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call/Last Specter is likely to appeal to die-hard puzzle fanatics more than the brand new Konami offering.

In addition, the bonuses and mini games contained within Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call/Last Specter increase the game's replay value by around 1000%, which we cannot say about Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights, whose mini-games are only structured around the main storyline.

Nevertheless, Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights has a slightly more complex storyline to it than that contained in Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call/Last Specter, which might appeal more to a slightly more adult audience than Professor Layton, but the game contains familiar 'newspaper' style puzzles which makes it the perfect starter game for gamers who wish to try their first puzzle-adventure game.

To tell you the truth though, we here at Mini Gamers found good and bad points within both games, but still thoroughly enjoyed both games. If you are still undecided as to which game to spend your money on,  maybe the truly logical thing is to save up your cash and purchase BOTH titles as soon as you can. See, every puzzle [really does] has an answer...

Friday, 25 November 2011

Professor Layton 4 VS. Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights: PART ONE






VS.

If you are a puzzle-gamer but only have either a DS or 3DS console, then you should count yourself lucky that you have been spared the difficult decision of which brand new top puzzler to buy.

If, however, you happen to own both types of console (and are not currently swimming in cash), you might find yourself having to choose between Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call, and the new puzzler from Konami, called Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights, which both became available to buy this weekend...

Never fear though, as Mini Gamers has spent the last few days unravelling various mysteries and trying to discover what both games truly have to offer gaming fans.

Although the two games are considered to be quite similar to each other, the gameplay in each game is quite different. Therefore, we have reviewed the plots, gameplay, characters and graphics offered by each game in order to make it easier for other gamers to make their choice.

However, as both games are pretty action-packed, we have been forced to split this particular 'Versus' battle into two separate posts. Let us start with the newest game in the popular Professor Layton series.

If you would rather skip ahead and see what we think of the new Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights 3DS game, or if you would like to know our final verdict, please CLICK HERE.


PROFFESSOR LAYTON
AND THE SPECTRE'S CALL
(AKA PROFFESSOR LAYTON AND THE  LAST SPECTER)

PLOT

As you may already know, the fourth Professor Layton game is actually a prequel to the other three games (making it chronologically the first game in the series) and it tells the story of how the Professor actually met his young apprentice, Luke Triton.

Professor Layton and his new female assistant, Miss Emmy Altava, are summoned to the fictional town of Misshallery, by his good friend Clark Triton, to stop a mysterious Spectre that seems intent on wreaking havoc throughout the town.

The Professor soon learns that Clark's young son Luke, (also known as 'The Oracle' in this game,)  has the ability to sense the Spectre's attacks before they occur, and Professor Layton, Emmy and Luke team-up to try and save the town by solving a number of difficult mysteries and puzzles - but will they succeed?


GAMEPLAY

The gameplay in Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call/Last Specter follows the same format as featured in the previous Professor Layton games, which means many different types of logic puzzles including Peg Solitare puzzles, sliding puzzles, calculation, code-breaking and  many other types of  traditional logic puzzles that you can think of.

Luckily, both the Hint Coins and the Super Hint functions make a return in this game, otherwise  we doubt Mini Gamers would have got any further than the first chapter.

Nevertheless, the game also introduces a new way of finding Hint Coins and unlocking special Mouse Badge rewards, which involves something to do with scampering mice, but we are keeping schtum about exactly what this entails! Well, we don't want to ruin it for the rest of you now, do we?

As before, solving puzzles will earn you Picarats, which can be used to unlock several new bonuses at the end of the game. Each puzzle has a different number of Picarats attached to it, and the amount of Picarats that you earn also increases with the supposed difficulty of the puzzle that you must solve.


MINI GAMES

As with the other Professor Layton titles, this game has its own set of mini-games to complete. In this game, the three main mini-games are:

TOY TRAIN - (This is similar to the 'Car' mini-game in Professor Layton and the Lost Future). The Toy Train game is played by laying a railroad track down on the game board. The goal of this specific mini-game  is to get the toy train to pass through every train station on its way to the end destination.

To make things harder, the train must sometimes be timed correctly in order to avoid cars and/or other trains. The toy train also requires 'fuel' to move, which then limits the amount of track that can be placed by a player unless more fuel is collected before the track ends.
FISH TANK - Train the pet fish so that it can collect all the coins in the bottom of its tank. Place air bubbles at correct intervals to change the fish's direction so that it can intercept all of the required coins.

PUPPET THEATRE - complete the script of an on-going theatre play so that the story makes sense by choosing words to form specific sentences. If the chosen word is incorrect, the 'Play' ends and the player must try again. Once all the words are chosen correctly, the Play will end with an epilogue and an applauding audience.

MOUSE ALLEY - This is a bonus mini-game, which can only be unlocked once the player has collected a sufficient amount of Mouse Badges. The goal of this game is simple - Hit as many mice as possible within the time-limit, but avoid hitting Luke's pet mouse, Toppy.


CHARACTERS

This game introduces a lot of new fun and quirky characters, but still manages to keep the relationship between the characters in this game and those in past games, especially through Professor Layton and Emmy Altava's mysterious relationship which is resolved at the end of the game.


GRAPHICS

The quaint cartoon-style graphics return in this game. There are also more voice-acting and cutscenes in this game, which really help to move the story along.


SUMMARY

Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call is a fantastic game for people of all ages. The varied logic puzzles make it really interesting. The storyline is very engaging and well-thought out. A perfect Christmas present for puzzle fans. Overall rating: 10/10.


See Also :

THE SECOND PART OF THIS 'VERSUS' BATTLE: Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Doctor Lautrec Gets Playable Browser Demo Before Its November/December Release Date


Konami, the company responsible for creating the intriguing and long-awaited 3DS puzzle-adventure game Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights, have recently published a brand new website complete with a playable demo so that 3DS users can 'try before they buy'.

The game is still set for a November release date in the UK, but it has since been confirmed that the US version of the game has now been given a 13th of December 2011 release date, which replaces its earlier November one.

 
Thus, regardless of its release date the game should be out in the shops some time before Christmas 2011, and the new website and demo will no doubt help to tax gamers minds until the actual game hits the shelves... To view the demo for yourself, please CLICK HERE.

Mini Gamers was quite impressed by the cutscenes and puzzles on offer throughout the demo, which have all been adapted from portions of the actual game.

Although the game has been criticised in some gaming circles as resembling the Professor Layton characters and puzzles, we have to say that the puzzles which we have so far seen on the demo include everything from standard logic puzzles like Spot-the-difference and Sodoku, to more traditional logic tests to do with codes, numbers and shapes, all of which were incredibly challenging and brilliantly woven into the storyline. So, maybe this game will turn out to be more than a Layton-esque rip-off after all? Well, judging by what we've seen so far, we definitely think so! 

Remember to check in with the Mini Gamers blogsite for a full review after the game is released in the UK.