Thursday, 6 September 2012

Blog Update - Semi-Permanent Hiatus

JUST A QUICK GOODBYE

Writing today to say that, basically, I haven't really been able to devote any time to the site in several months now... and that doesn't look like it's going to change any time soon.

I was only going to carry on with this if I could give it the time to produce at least semi-decent stuff, and I cannot push other stuff aside to make extra time for the site.

So this is a goodbye!

I may post an occasional update, probably a yearly round-up or something, but I can't make any promises.

Thanks for the support over the past couple of years and I will start making some noise if I intend to start this back up.

See ya everyone! Stay Safe and Stay Eclectic!


                                                           - Brighton Games Trader
                                                                      6 September 2012



Sunday, 17 June 2012

Blog Update - 17/06/12 [DAILY DOSE]

SUNDAY 17TH JUNE 2012 - DAILY DOSE

Hello, you.

Seems that it's been a little while since I posted any new content - 3 weeks in fact.

Basically I was writing up my last bunch of reviews, which are to follow in the near future, and found that they were being rushed out rather than thought out.

I wasn't really happy with them and so decided to give myself a week or so to write something better - then things got pretty busy. Between people coming to visit and various exams, work has been non-stop for the past 6 weeks now - so I've just not been able to give them any of my time.

I'm off work for a couple of weeks starting this Thursday and I'm planning on taking it a bit easy. The first full reviews will be posted on here at the end of my holiday - which is the 5th of July. I'll then start trickling out the dozens of half-written reviews that I'm tinkering with at the moment. 
They range from albums to apps, games to books, TV shows to films, and everything else in between. 
Hopefully the wait will be worth it.

At the same time, I'm toying with ideas for extra features like some sort of "rating" system, some guides and additional materials on here. Reviews will hopefully involve more multimedia content, such as video reviews, voice overs and plenty more screen caps. If anyone has any suggestions for things that could improve the experience, please feel free to comment below.

Otherwise, things will be back up to speed in a few weeks. 
Bear with me. See you soon.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Duke of York's Picturehouse Eurovision Party [BRIGHTON FRINGE 2012]

HEARING THE BEST (AND WORST)
OF EUROPEAN POP IN A BIG
CAMP, SAUCY EXTRAVAGANZA?


OOOH HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH.


The stage, screen and our camp compère.

What's It All About Then?
Event held on Saturday 26th May at the Duke of York's Picturehouse, Preston Circus, Brighton in honour of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.


The event ran from 7:45pm until 11:00pm - with a compère providing humorous commentary and organising the activities during the show. These included an introductory  song and dance number, some jokes, a raffle, games during the voting interlude and dancing on-stage throughout.


On each audience member's chair, there was a goody bag containing - a Union Jack flag, some Love Hearts, a glow stick, a Eurovision score card, a pen and a condom. I put the condom to good use, mind you - it made an excellent balloon.


The on-stage dancing for the Russian Grannies was joyous

So Was It Any Good?
+++ Big Fun Event +++
The show was fun-packed - although not a lot happened until about 15 minutes before the TV broadcast, there was a whole load of things going on in the theatre to get the crowd excited. 


To begin with, there was a short dance with some gymnast ribbons (see picture - right) and the compère provided the vocals to Eurovision classic, Waterloo. This was vaguely Olympics-themed (the guys came out with Olympic rings and did athletic-type dancing, I suppose) and the compère had an Olympics-themed chair to boot - complete with the 5 rings and there was some laurel branches stuck on top.



The audience were really geared-up to participate too - there were 2 people dressed as Jedward, complete with twin matching shiny silver outfits - some dressed as the Turkish entry (complete with a rendition of the fabric boat scene) - one woman dressed as the Azerbaijani entry and "performed" on stage with a huge, inflatable microphone - one guy came dressed as the German pretty boy who did a live rendition during the real entry's performance!


It was all very good fun and interactive - audience members were actively encouraged to get down on stage and dance during their favourite entries - so the catchy dance tunes from Cyrpus, Greece, Sweden and Russia gathered huge crowds of fans cheering and boogieing on down!


+++ Toilet Humour +++
The main source of the toilet humour was the compère - a very confident and funny host who relied fairly heavily on insinuations about the acts' sexual preferences - which was entertaining enough for the most part.


As a side note, I went to the toilet at the same time as a guy in a full-over bodysuit who needed his friend to completely unzip him before he could use the urinal. From seeing the view from behind, I'd say that counts as toilet humour too.


Anyway, during the voting interval there was a round of audience participation - 4 lucky contestants got to play a round of "Penny in the Crack". In case you hadn't heard of it, Penny is a game where the contestants must take turns to hold a penny between their bottom cheeks and make their way across the stage - in front of 200+ people - and let it drop into a pint glass on the far end of the stage.


The four contestants made a damn good go of it - one guy perhaps being a bit overconfident and dropped it halfway - but most got the penny into the glass or near the glass. The audience roared with applause to congratulate these 4 brave souls for their embarrassingly-public show of arse strength.


So that was Round 1.


Next the host stepped things up a notch - now they were playing Picked Onion Up The Bum - where each contestant now has to (yes, you guessed it) carry a pickled onion fresh out of the jar and soaked in vinegar between their bum cheeks across the stage. 


One guy's strategy here was to suck all the vinegar off to make it more bearable - but then just ate that onion instead. He was given another to make the stage crossing. I felt most sorry for the 2 women in skirts and tights who had to complete the tasks but neither shied away from the task at hand and got their onions in on just missing the glass.


So that was Round 2.


Finally - and I bet the contestants were glad this was finally - came the Raw Egg Up The Crack round. This was a show of arse cheek control rather than strength (obviously) but the 4 were all admirable contestants for the finale. Luckily, none of them experienced the problems that the host warned them about during the game - such issues as "getting the egg in your vag" and "making an omlette in your arsehole". These were very funny and the crowd was really involved - cheering everyone on as they completed the last round.


Through a vote by way of cheers, it was the guy who ate the pickled onion who was voted the overall winner - Ant from Abergavenny! Well done Sir!


The guys playing "Penny in the Crack" - brave, brave people....


--- Wouldn't want to be German ---
All the camp, silly, cheesy and dance acts got some great reception - but some countries didn't even get a chance before the big boos started. In particular, I wouldn't have wanted to have been German going along to support my country due to the loud booing from across the audience as soon as they were announced!

It was a shit act though - bored the pants off me so much that I may have chosen to boo - but to get such a vocal negative reaction from the mention of the country? 

Surely there's more worthy "boo" recipients in the competition? A small smear on an otherwise amazing night.

The rush on the stage during the Swedish act's encore.


Conclusions
The Eurovision Event was as suitably big, fun and camp as you could wish for.


There was plenty of humour and energy throughout the show from both the host and the audience - seeing everyone get involved added to the evening's entertainment.


A brilliant show - I think I'll have to get dressed up for next year's party!


FULL EUROVISION 2012 RUNDOWN

#Eurovision2012 #Moldova 
Weirdest dance of the evening but that mare me like them. That guy must've been on some STRONG drugs...


#Eurovision2012 #Ukraine 
Cheesy dance tune plus men in pink skirts? I'm in love. Probably not a winner though


#Eurovision2012 #Serbia 
Not quite sexy or quirky enough to work. Even ponytail pipe guy couldn't prevent the #yawn on this one. Next please


#Eurovision2012 #Ireland 
Say what you will about #Jedward - they're in their element during #Eurovision. But they're still utterly shite.


#Eurovision2012 #Macedonia 
Nightwish FTW! Pales in comparison to... yep.... here they come.... it's #Jedward


#Eurovision2012 #Malta 
Generic catchy tune. Foot shuffle dance. Fingerless gloves & silly hair. Classic #Eurovision. Bit of a flip too. Nice


#Eurovision2012 #Germany 
Has just led to a round of boos. Sexy man got some interest. Bland song and performance though. Major #yawn


#Eurovision2012 #Spain 
Very intimate dancing on stage @DukeofYorks. Song reminds me of Leona Lewis' cover of Snow Patrol Run. 
Nice finale though.


#Eurovision2012 #Turkey 
Eurocamp gay fantasy meets Borat. More than a little turned on. Wave those capes, bitches! Boat with cloak scene recreated on stage by some drunk revellers @DukeofYorks. Amazing stuff - @DukeofYorks love it! 


#Eurovision2012 #Sweden 
The dance is bizarre (and why the boob grabbing?) but daaaamn that was catchy. Could be a winner #Eurovision


#Eurovision2012 #Greece 
@DukeofYorks Crowd going wild for Greek Shakira. Booty shaking & bass normally goes down well. My booty is a-shaking


#Eurovision2012 #Denmark 
Too much like a crap pop song. Bimbo meets Sgt Peppers look could take off though. Xylophone solo! Mind blown! :-)


#Eurovision2012 #Romania 
This is more like it! Great outfits, dancing and a song you can boogie to! Love it! #Eurovision


#Eurovision2012 #Azerbaijan 
We have a parody performance complete with giant inflatable microphone here @DukeofYorks. Crap otherwise


#Eurovision2012 #Norway 
Justin Bieber will get a few votes. Totes thrown on for the gay crowd though. Shamefully love the campness :-)


#Eurovision2012 #Estonia 
Gary Barlow's singing is pretty good. Loads of wolf whistles here @DukeofYorks. Can see why. Phwoar.


#Eurovision2012 #Italy 
Not too bad. Now everyone quickly back to her dressing room for a quick line. Oh wait, that's NOT Winehouse.


#Eurovision2012 #France 
Good gymnastic shite but song ain't too inspiring. Flailing dress FTW! Go #Gaultier!


#Eurovision2012 #Cyprus 
At least you can dance to it. Live striptease here on stage @DukeofYorks! Could win points for sexy dancing ladies


#Eurovision2012 #Iceland 
Not a great song or performance - still prefer #RussianGrannies and #thehump!


#Eurovision2012 #Russia
#RussianGrannies were AWESOME! #BakeMeACake for the grannies! @StarlightRu #DOUZEPOINTS for grannies or #thehump #Eurovision
#RussianGrannies have swarmed the stage. @DukeofYorks
 Big support here!


#Eurovision2012 #BosniaHerzegovina
 How's that piano still playing!?! No skirt ripping? Wind machines? #yawn #nilpoints


#Eurovision2012 #Lithuania 
From blindfolded magician to Michael Jackson! Amazing! Loving that one! #Eurovision


#Eurovision2012 #Albania 
Getting mocked here at @DukeofYorks but the girl's got some lungs on her! Love the Star Wars outfit!


#Eurovision2012 #Hungary 
Leather-clad but bland. Nothing we haven't seen before on #Eurovision. Not a scratch on #thehump


#Eurovision2012 #United Kingdom
Gotta love #thehump!
Good singing but not too great a song or staging. May not get too many votes though.


Feel free to post comments or contributions to improve the experience!
Any images in this review were taken by Brighton Games Trader.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Radiant Defense [ANDROID REVIEW]

COLOURFUL SCI-FI STRATEGY GAME IS COMPLEX ENOUGH FOR A FEW PLAYTRHOUGHS - BUT EXPECT A HARD RIDE IF YOU'RE PLAYING THE FREE VERSION.


So What's It All About Then?
Free-to-play sci-fi tower defence (TD) game that has you defending humanity from waves of increasingly tough alien jelly thingies. The Radiant name has been used for a colourful side-scrolling shooter in the past and the developers, Hexage, have now made the action a bit more strategic but still  just as visually-awesome.


The story goes that a series of "vortexes" have opened up in space. Through these vortexes lurks an alien warlord - the Supercreep - who has his evil eyes set on Earth! You play each level by placing walls to guide the alien hordes through the level - keeping them away from your base for as long as possible. You can then place and upgrade a whole bunch of offensive towers (gun, laser, rocket, missile, flamer), a number of support towers (damage-boosting spotlights, cash-boosting tower) and other defences (such as mines and "power blades" to place in the baddies' path).


A limited version of the game can be play for free - this allows you to play through all levels using a very small selection of the available weapons. I have played this version for a while before upgrading to premium weapons - the four weapon packs cost 69p each - so £2.76 for a fully-unlocked version. I will outline how I found each version below.


+++ Colourful Fun +++
The game is full of bright colours and charming humour - each enemy, weapon and environment has a distinctive colour and visual effects to clearly distinguish what exactly is going on during big battles. I really love it when developers take advantage of the range of colours available to them - too often do games only use a flushed-out pallete of different shades of brown. Not here - Radiant Defense makes good use of the entire rainbow - meaning that your phone's screen will light up with face-melting prettiness. 


The game is also filled with moments of brilliant humour - most of the conversations between the alien boss and the human defenders genuinely funny - breaking up the waves of action to reduce the likelihood of the game becoming stale. Take a look at the conversation snapshots below for a little example of this - mild but still worth a giggle.






+++ Strategic Variety +++
Plenty of ways to wear down tough enemies - and plenty of different enemies to test out your strategies. The enemy offensives include huge armoured beasts that take major damage before dying, mass cannon fodder bombardment, shielded enemies that need energy weapons to expose and speedy buggers that have regenerative health.


This means that you need a good arrangement of towers to beat all of these types of enemies - and it takes a bit of practice to know where to place your towers and walls. Knowing when to save your cash, when to buy brand new towers and when to upgrade existing ones all have to be factored in - perhaps try each level a couple of times to see what works best for each situation.


The walls add another dimension too - you set these up at the start of each wave to guide the enemies along and can be used to form very long paths for those tough enemies or to make shorter routes of concentrated fire if facing enemies with regenerative health. This is one of my favourite types of TD game - I find having the power to sculpt the route that the enemies take much more enjoyable.


When combined with the VAST number of towers and tools at your disposal in the premium version - over 15 towers to tinker with and upgrade to your heart's content - there should be many hours of play available here. 


Along with the weapons already mentioned, there are also "superweapons", which cost a great deal but can mean the difference between an overpowering alien invasion and large piles of dead space jelly. These are an extra little thrill to play with - finally getting the Omega Cannon after saving up for ten waves led to several cries of "Oh yes, Supercreep! Time to die!".




--- Unbalanced Difficulty ---
O.K. - let's make this clear - the free-to-play version is hard. Really bloody hard. The number of towers available is very small (only the gun, rocket and laser towers plus some support units), so only a near-perfect array of towers will stop the hordes from getting through. 


If you make a mistake in your set-up in earlier waves, it is near impossible to rectify it later, meaning that you have to restart the mission entirely. The developers were good enough to let you retry a wave if you fail it - but realising that your strategy just isn't going to work on wave 37 out of 40 is still horrendously infuriating. The screenshot below shows the level that I gave up on (mission 3 out of 9), as I could not save up the resources to kill the final boss when the time came.




The harsh difficulty level isn't much of a problem in itself - many TD games make it their business to be as challenging as possible. The real issue is that when I finally caved in and paid for the upgraded weapon packs, the whole game became much too easy! There are even cash boosters - so you can earn extra cash along with having vastly more useful weaponry!


Using the mines and power blades to take down the harder enemies - plus the sheer range of offensive tools - meant that no enemy posed much of a challenge from that point onwards! In fact, I haven't lost a single life on almost all of the later missions thanks to the premium weaponry. 


Perhaps if the mines and power blades could only be placed prior to battle - so once a power blade wears out, it cannot be replaced and so that you can't use mines as ad-hoc explosives placed in the middle of huge groups of baddies - then maybe there would be more of a challenge.


So, in summary:

  • if you like a really difficult TD game - get the free version.
  • if you like an easier TD game - fork out for the upgrades - it's still great fun but won't cause hair loss.



Oh, and if you were able to beat the game on the free version - I would love to know how. Seriously, just "how"?


Conclusions
IN MANY WAYS, RADIANT DEFENSE IS A MASTERCLASS IN "FREEMIUM" ANDROID GAMING - PLAYABLE FOR NOWT BUT WITH CLEAR BENEFITS IN UPGRADING.

IT'S WELL WORTH A PLAYTHROUGH TOO - IF YOU LIKE FUNNY, COLOURFUL STRATEGY THEN THIS SHOULD BE RIGHT UP YOUR STREET.

HOWEVER TO GET THE MOST OUT OF IT, YOU WILL HAVE TO CONSIDER PAYING A FEW QUID AND ACCEPT THAT IT MAY OFFER LESS OF A CHALLENGE.


Feel free to post comments or contributions to improve the experience!
Any stock images in this review are subject to relevant copyrights and are kindly provided by: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.hexage.defense&hl=en
All in-game screenshots were taken by Brighton Games Trader.
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