September 13, 2011
SkyDrift is a downloadable game released last week for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and the PC. It’s a racing game featuring airplanes and power ups, think Mario Kart and I thought it was pretty good. It was developed and published by the Hungarian studio Digital Reality; they also published Dead Block.
I played through SkyDrift’s tutorial learning how to maneuver my airplane as well as what the power ups did. It took me a few races before I really got used to controlling my airplane. I had to learn to plan my turns about a second before the actual turn. What helped was going knife-edge by turning with both analog sticks.
There was a decent blend of variety within the power ups. They were mostly focused on attacks but there were a couple of defense-oriented ones. I could hold two power ups at a time and if flew over a power up that I already had, that power up would level up and become stronger. Similar to Wipeout, if I didn’t want a power up, I could recycle it for boost. There were alternate ways to receive boost too. I got more for damaging and taking out other players or for flying close to the ground.
The demo also featured a multiplayer component but I forgot to try it out. There was only one stage in the demo, but it looked very nice. The demo ended touting a few more environments but I wonder how different the stages are visually. The soundtrack was very noticeable and it was rocking and upbeat, matching the tone of the races. There wasn’t much style to SkyDrift’s design; it seemed like everything was created realistically, but like I said, it looked very nice. I enjoy this type of racing game and SkyDrift seems like a fully featured power up-based racing game.
July 23, 2011
Dead Block is a downloadable action-strategy game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3; I played the demo on the PS3. It is set in the United States during the 1950s. Just as rock ‘n’ roll is coming to prominence, a zombie outbreak has occurred. Controlling three separate characters I had to survive a zombie onslaught while attempting to find all the pieces to guitar set. Once found, I would play a simple rhythm minigame to complete a stage.
The demo began with an introduction reminiscent to that of a TV show, and sure enough, each stage in Dead Block begins that way, as if each stage is a TV episode. I began playing as a construction worker named Jack Foster. I thought the camera was too close behind him, frequently making it hard to see things directly in front of him or on the ground.
He was inside a house and I first had to put wood over windows to prevent zombies from getting inside. I soon ran out of wood and had to break furniture for more lumber; I thought this was a novel idea. I was then tasked with searching the house. As I did so I came across much more furniture to break, windows to board up, and other objects that I could search inside of. Inside these objects I would find nuts (necessary for building traps), keys, and hopefully a complete guitar and amplifier set.
There are three total characters that I could control and switch between on the fly, although only two were present in the demo. Besides Jack Foster, I could play as Mike Bacon, an overweight boy scout. I was able to summon him to any area of a stage and he would proceed to break furniture and search for items. In other words, my ally was able to take care of himself.
Dead Block didn’t have the most original premise (remember Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel without a Pulse?) and really it didn’t have the most original gameplay. After all, it pretty much is the zombie mode from the Call of Duty series. But at ten dollars it’s not too pricey and I found the demo pleasant, but I don’t have any interest in playing any more of Dead Block.