Thursday, 19 April 2012

Paint Park [PS Vita] Review - The Game That Gives A Whole New Meaning To Finger Painting

Paint Park is the latest free game to grace the PS Store. As its name suggests, Paint Park is a drawing and painting application, which allows users to engage with the PS Vita touchscreen in order to create some interesting works of art.

Paint park is relatively simple to use. Users can choose from four different paintbrushes, which vary in shape and size, and a nice pallette of twelve colours, including the usual shades of white, black and grey, a way that gamers can use photographs as a background for their artistic creations and a magnifying glass so that gamers can perfect those finer details.

Nevertheless, whilst Paint Park will probably thrill most users who are looking for five minutes of fun, it does have some minor bad points too. For example, although the game does allow users to share their creations with others and take part in drawing competitions with friends, there is no online mode, so pictures can only be shared via Ad hoc mode.

Also,  this game does not feature an eraser tool, which is rather strange for a drawing application, but  users do have the option of using the white paint tool to correct any mistakes on the standard canvas, so this needn't be too much of a problem.

Despite its obvious minor flaws, Paint Park is a lot of fun and, as it is a totally free application, it is easy to overlook its bad points. This game is perfect for some hands-on drawing when you are out and about. If you are budding artist, this might well be the perfect game for you. Overall rating; 8/10.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Treasure Of Montezuma Blitz - A Gem of a Freebie, Or A Crystal Clear Rip Off?

Treasure of Montezuma Blitz is a gem-matching game which recently became available on the PSN store exclusively for the PS Vita, and best of all, the game is completely FREE - or is it?

The game itself is excellent, featuring a number of unlockable items including special Totems, and various items to give players an advantage during the game. 

Nevertheless, whilst the game itself is completely free for users to download, it does contain a number of small, hidden optional costs, which have the potential to make this game one of the most expensive PS Vita  titles you could own.

First of all, the in-game currency is called Crystals, and this currency can be used to purchase various totems or gem-bursting items etc, but up 1100 'Crystals' are also extracted at the start of each  of the game's five rounds as well.

The game starts with a good amount of Crystals, and there is a chance to win some Crystals back during the game,  but it is surprising how quickly the required number of crystals needed to even start a game seem to disappear. So how can you play the game now?

Well, players can win bonus Crystals by playing a daily scratch-card mini-game, which takes place once per day and features random amounts of Crystals (from 200-100,000), but even then, it could take a few days before players have one enough currency for even one round of the game.

The only other option is for players to purchase more Crystals via their online PlayStation Network accounts. There are different price packages available from the PSN store, the cheapest of which is just £2.99 for 1000 gems  or up to £15.99 for 100,000 gems.

Nevertheless, although the game does feature a 'free' way to win new Crystals, it is more likely that players will be tempted to choose the easier and faster option of buying more Crystals, and as the game uses a high proportion of Crystals per round, this apparently 'free' game suddenly becomes circuitously expensive.

Worst still, this game only allows the user five lives, which means that after five rounds the game is over, and users cannot play the game until the lives have been replenished. Again, there are two ways that players can replenish these lives. The free way is to wait fifteen minutes before starting the next five rounds, during which time, all five of your lives will be atomatically restarted.

Nevertheless, players are once again given the opportunity to purchase another five lives immediately. This time for 79p. Although this might sound like a small amount, the cost can quickly mount up.

 Furthermore, there does not seem to be any valid ezplanation as to why players' crystals are being extracted at the start of each round, but the more cynical amongst us might reason that the game has been specifically designed to encourage gamers to splash their cash.

The sheer brilliance of this game is not in question, but the fact that it includes potential expenses does raise a serious challenge to the notion that Treasure Of Montezuma Blitz is  a 'free' game just because it costs nothing to download. When it comes to this game, the old adage of 'you don't get something for nothing' is only too apparent.


Have you downloaded this game yet?

What are your thoughts on the potential hidden costs involved?

Should this game be described as a 'FREE' game?

Whatever your  thoughts on this issue, please leave your comments in the comments box below. Mini Gamers looks forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Game of the Week: Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure [3DS]

Have you ever fancied trying a Professsor Layton game but worry that you might get stuck on some of  the more difficult puzzles? Well, this might just be the game for you.

Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure features a gripping Layton-esque storyline, but replaces the usual brainteasers and conundrums with some truly stunning rhythm and dancing minigames.

The main story is set in Paris, and follows the life of Raphael, an infamous thief known for stealing famous works of art only to return them days later. A few years ago, his father disappeared, leaving behind a coin, which contained a mysterious symbol.

Upon discovering that a bracelet on display at The Louvre bears the same symbol, Raphael goes to investigate the mystery behind this symbol, and soon encounters a girl named Marie, and an elusive enemy who seems intent on impersonating Napoleon.

The gameplay is varied. Each of the rhythm minigames utilises different aspects of the 3DS, including swiping the stylus to match up with other dancers, tapping the touch screen to hide behind statues, pressing buttons to fight off groups of enemies and tilting the console to dodge attacks.

The game also features parodies of past Sega rhythm games such as Space Channel 5 and Samba de Amigo. Throughout the story, players will visit various locations where they will solve puzzles and earn coins used to unlock special bonuses such as extra chapters.

This game is beautifully animated and is truly engrossing from start to finish, but the main storyline can be completed within a relatively short period of time, which is its only major flaw as far as we could see.

If you love puzzle RPGs or if you want a 3DS title to rival Rhythm Paradise, then this is definitely the perfect game for you. Overall rating: 8/10.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Google Creates Augmented Reality Glasses...

There have been some truly futuristic advancements in recent years, but now Google have taken things one step further, with their new Augmented Reality glasses

The development, which has so far been codenamed as Project Glass, will allow users to access current weather, date and time information, route planners, and even appointment and event reminders as well as send SMS messages to friends and much more. The glasses feaature a pop-up-head display, and the main functions can also be voice-activated.

Google has recently released this video trailer which showcases the glasses' main abilities:

These glasses really do seem like something that we would expect to see in a science-fiction film, and the fact that something like this is possible in reality is truly a cause for celebration.

There is currently some debate over when the glasses will actually be released to the public, but some experts claim that the final product could be available for purchase by the end of 2012, although this is yet to be proven.

It is also unclear how much the glasses will eventually cost, although a price range of around £250-£500 is thought to be realistic at this stage.

Augmented Reality has proven popular in recent years through handheld gaming devices such as the 3DS and PS Vita, and it is good to see that the technology can now be utilised in wider applications. Nevetheless, the high price of the technology may serve to dampen its popularity when the glasses finally hit the shelves. Only time will tell...

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Internet Privacy Challenged?

The Government could soon make a serious challenge to the United Kingdom's right to Internet privacy, it has emerged. 

The Government wants access ts to all emails, text messages and Internet use and will propose new legislation in order to give permission for the police, MI5 and other intelligence agencies to monitor personal communications throughout the UK.

The Home Office claims that the legislation is necessary to "obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public." [sourced from:]

Nevertheless, the decision has been heavily criticised by groups such as Big Brother Watch, a civil liberties organisation, who consider the govement plans to be an open attack on civil rights:
"This is an absolute attack on privacy online and it is far from clear this will actually improve public safety, while adding significant costs to internet businesses," said Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch.
The new bill is a highly controversial piece of legislation and is likely to have a direct impact on how people now choose to access Internet applications such as Social Media sites like Twitter or Facebook or Skype.

So, what do you think of the Government plan? Why not vote on our latest poll and let us know your opinion.