Hockey Nations 2010 Review

The iPhone’s been out for awhile and there has been hockey games on the system, however none have been a full 6 on 6 game like this one. Developed by Distinctive Games this is their shot at the first full game of hockey on the app store, does it succeed as a great game? Not exactly, while the foundation of hockey is here, it lacks that special something while also suffering from problems.

The graphics are the best part of the game, when you get up close to the players, they don’t look great, but when the game is moving and you’re playing, it does the job fantastically. There’s only 1 arena, it doesn’t look great but it does the job, my only real problem with it is there’s no animation in the crowd. Menus look good, excellent in-game presentation with replays and text overlays for penalties and offsides and the such.

The sound is where it starts to fall apart. It’s not bad, it’s just pretty much non-existent. The menu music is generic guitar rock, the crowd murmurs through-out the game, only cheering for goals, nothing else. There’s no skate noises sadly, no hit noises and the only stick noise is on shots. You do hear the post when you hit it as well, but it doesn’t seem like anyone notices in the crowd.

The gameplay is a great first step. What’s there for $4 will entertain you for a good long time. I like scoring goals, playing is fun however there’s plenty of problems with it. Take that picture for example, if you ever see a goalie in this position, it’s going in the net, nothing’s going stop it. The goaltenders are bad, and I mean bad. They might as well be a brick barricade, those are as smart.

There’s 2 main modes, exhibition and tournament. Exhibition has play now, practice and shootout, while tourney has go for gold in which you have to seed a position before going into the brackets, or you can choose to skip the round robin seeding games. The faceoff is the first thing you’ll do either way, it’s a simple mini-game that a puck appears and you must touch it quickly. It does the job, nothing too fancy here, but faceoffs have never been a focus of hockey video games. The shootouts also has a similar mini-game for the goalie side of things, but either way that mode isn’t great, like I said the goalies are bad and it’s pretty much impossible to not stop the puck.

The controls are simple, you have an on-screen movement stick and 3 buttons. One will always be boost which you have a stamina meter for, and the other 2 will depend on the situation. On offense you have shoot and pass, both of which you can hold to perform stronger and on defense you have poke-check and body-check. You have very little control over the shots though, sometimes you’re left with a wide open net only to shoot it right on the goalie.

The first time you’ll play this, you might think the AI overall is cheap and does stuff you cannot. For example it catches up to you very quickly and takes the puck away fast as well. Their passes also seem awfully accurate when compared to yours. But as you play you’ll noticed you have similar skills. The hitting pretty much floats you to your closest opponent without wasting any stamina and then once you’re there, you can poke-check the puck away quite easily.

The rules are also another place this title needs work. The offsides work when you pass the puck, however if you skate it into the zone with a delayed offside, nothing happens. The icings are also wrong, they only call them when the team that dumps the puck in, touches it up. Another thing when I had a delayed penalty, I was able to touch the puck and and roam around, which shouldn’t happen. Also the opposing team scored while I had a delayed penalty, which would normally cancel out the infraction, but that didn’t happen.

Anyways it’s a great game when you consider that it’s on your phone. Comparing it to a console game brings nothing and it’s about time we get this! It can only get better from here, not only am I looking forward for 2011’s version, but Distinctive have already announced plans to update this year’s title with improvements and additions. I would easily suggest this to anyone looking for a hockey game for their phone. You can get it on the app store page.

Hockey Nations 2010 Coming To iPhone

The first full feature hockey game is coming soon to the iPhone. Distinctive Games are the developer and claim they’ll be able to fit all the strategies and action of the sport, on the device. They even did some mo-cap work for the player animations. The game does not feature the NHL license, but we’re right off of the Olympics and you’ll be able to play as 14 nations. It’ll feature a quick play, practice, tournament and league game modes, have penalties and offside and more. The game is set for release this month and will cost $4.99 on the app store.

GTA: Chinatown Wars iPhone Delayed Until 2010?

Rockstar announced that Beaterator, which is already out and GTA Chinatown Wars would be coming to the iPhone this year. However there’s very little time left for the title to be released in 2009, especially when you add the fact that Rockstar has no comment regarding the game. A delay wouldn’t necessarily effect the sales of Chinatown Wars, if anything with Xmas just around the corner, they can probably release it early 2010 and have even more people get it.

Various iPhone News: Lumines, Assassin’s Creed II, Nova

So this is Lumines, if you don’t know what it is, it was originally a PSP launch title in 2005. You drop blocks of 2×2 and try to match colors again, 2×2 and there’s a line that clears the screen so you can build it up before it sweeps it up. It was an amazing looking game with changing dynamic skins and sweet music, look out for it soon from Q Entertainment.

So this is the sequel to Assassin’s Creed, you can check out our review from Fresh Air is Over-Rated right here. The video preview does look promising, it’s using a totally different engine from the looks of things, is only side scrolling judging from the video. Look out for Assassin’s Creed II Discovery on November 11th, day-and-day with the console versions.

Lastly this is Nova from Gameloft, a very Halo-esque looking game. I have no problem with this after playing Sandstorm: Modern Combat, since it essentially proved FPS can be done quite good on the iPhone. It’s said to include dozens of single player campaign levels, 5 weapons and most impressive of all, boast online play with voice chat. The release is said to be this holiday season.

Gangstar: West Coast Hustle (iPhone) – Mini-Review

So looking at the screen above, yes before you even ask, this is pretty much a GTA knock-off. It’s released by Gameloft, who keep pumping out a stream of pretty good games for the iPhone, is this one worth getting? So first of all the graphics are really nice, just looking at them is stunning, but they’re not prefect. The major problem with them is clipping happens often, and sometimes I just teleport at higher levels when I walk. If you don’t know what I mean sometimes when I walk up to a building, instead of getting stopped, I go on top of it. The physics are also a little wacky, especially with cars hitting jumps is awkward, turning is loose and you can drive through small objects like trees and light posts. Outside these minor problems however, these are some good looking graphics.

The sound leaves alot to be desired. The only real thing you can hear from the car sounds are the engine, there’s no skidding sounds. Then there’s the radio, which is basically just midi music, some might sound like popular songs you know. The only real thing of substance here is the radio commercials, that try to rip-off the funny GTA ones but for the most part fail.

The gameplay is where it’s at. There are many annoyances with it, but considering it’s running on your cell phone is amazing. The cops are brutally stupid, same thing with the enemies. They pretty much are programmed to only run towards you and shoot or punch, which means if there’s an obstacle in their way, they’ll just keep running in it and be stuck there.

So you can get a 3 badge rating and as long as you’re driving the cops are hard on you. The way you clear your wanted level is to stay out of sight for a bit or pick up badge power-ups.

The missions aren’t that varied, you get the basic drive here, do this and drive back missions, although you do get some pretty sweet moments in it. Some of these include sniping missions, photography missions, interrogation missions, these are truly to best ones in the game.

The controls and aiming systems are well done. When you’re on foot you have a virtual analog stick and an attack button, and in-car it varies. You can use tilt steering, on-screen wheel or a bar then for the throttle it’s either gas and brake icons or a bar. I preferred using the bars only because it’s more analog, with the gas and brake it’s basically full speed ahead!

The aiming’s an auto-lock system where you click touch who you want to shoot at, you can rotate your camera angle how ever you want by sliding your finger or thumb.

Story is not this game’s strong point, I loved the opening chapter but the rest felt stale and didn’t engage me at all. So you’re freshly out of jail from Mexico and now in the states with your hommie trying to build up rep.

I would recommend this game, but don’t go in expecting GTA 3 or anything. If you really want that, I’d say wait for Chinatown Wars which Rockstar has announced it’s coming to the iPhone in the near future.

Real Racing (iPhone / iPod Touch) – Controls D Gameplay

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This is Firemint’s Real Racing for the iPhone, available now on the app store for $9.99. If you were wondering Firemint’s last title was Flight Control for the iPhone. This has to be one of the greatest looking racers out there, alongside Need For Speed.

There’s 4 controls schemes, adjustable auto-brake, tilt sensitivity and more. I’ve yet to play it extensively, so I haven’t unlocked everything yet, but it’s looking to be a solid title.

Resident Evil: Degeneration (iPhone) – First Look

So Capcom released the cell phone port yesterday and I got my hands on it today for $6.99 off the appstore. [link]

The gameplay fits perfectly on a portable system, can’t move when you shoot, you can flick the D-pad while aiming to strafe and flick it backwards to do a quick 180. Overall I am impressed so far, look for more about it tomorrow on the show.