Zoo Tycoon only £14.99 at CD Keys. Click here to buy! >>
Zoo Tycoon was one of the most bizarre launch titles in console history. Partly because it tried to blend casual Kinect minigames with surprisingly in-depth simulation, but mainly because it actually worked. Though zoos could never grow large enough to be truly challenging, Zoo Tycoon was rather fun if somewhat overpriced. For £14.99, though, we reckon it's definitely worth a punt, even if GAME's stock of the physical version sadly ran out over Christmas.
Theme Park | GOG | £1.81 (RRP: £3.60)
What a classic. Theme Park is an excellent game that still ranks among Bullfrog's finest - and you can play it again at a 50% discount thanks to GOG (who guarantee Win7 and Win8 compatibility). Though Matt argues that graphics are "super important" these days, I'd rather play this than any number of shiny yet soulless games from the last few years. Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD!
Zoo Tycoon isn't the most advanced simulation you'll ever play, but it sure is fun and shows off Kinect to full advantage. Playing with your animals via the camera or barking out convenient voice commands to the interface works brilliantly. Also: fuzzly wuzzly cutey wooty animals aww. If you've got kids or just fancy a change of pace on your Xbox One, Zoo Tycoon is surprisingly enjoyable - and much better value at £39.85.
Thanks to mangoblank @ HUKD! We reckon it's a decent saving.
Bundle Stars' Superpower Sims Bundle contains Trainz Simulator 12, IL2-Sturmovik: 1946, Euro Truck Simulator, GT Legends, Agricultural Simulator 2011, Air Conflicts: Secret Wars, GTR FIA GT Racing, Rig 'n' Roll & Trainz Simulator: Murchison 2 for £2.97. Definitely a niche offering, but a huge saving for genre fans.
Thanks to someperson @ HUKD!
Platform: PC (F2P)
Developer: Piranha Games
Publisher: Infinite Game Publishing
There's nothing quite like stomping around in an enormous bipedal tank, crushing our foes under tons of steel plate while blasting out more ordnance than an entire armoured column. We used to look to BattleTech and MechWarrior for our fix, whether on a tabletop or glued to our monitors, but the troubled franchise has forced us to go elsewhere over the last few years, to the likes of Armored Core and Hawken. We've had it pretty good, but we still pine for our Mad Cats and Bushwackers. Thankfully, a new hope has finally arrived in the form of MechWarrior Online... and it's free.
MechWarrior Online has a lot in common with Wargaming's World Of Tanks, in that it's a free to play simulation-lite that hinges around constantly improving a colossal war machine and using it to destroy your foes in team-based multiplayer matches. After an extensive beta, Piranha Games' project finally hit v.1.0 last week, meaning that we're clear to strap in, power up the reactor and put it through its paces.
Before we begin, we do have to acknowledge a little unpleasantness. Infinite Game Publishing came under intense fire for disingenuous communication and community management throughout the lengthy beta process, which in turn lead to massive fan backlash over the last few months. However, this is a review, and thus will focus exclusively on the finished article and the new player experience. Know this going in.Click here to read more...
Silent Hunter Online, the free-to-play browser submarine sim from Ubisoft Blue Byte, has now entered its open beta phase. This ambitious project crunches down the classic Silent Hunter gameplay onto a Flash-enabled web browser, complete with a 3D graphics engine when you peek out of the periscope, and insanely deep planning on a tactical map.
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
Waiting is an inescapable part of the Arma 3 experience.
You'll lie motionless in tall grass for what feels like an eternity, scanning the expansive horizon for an enemy soldier to break cover before squeezing off the perfect sniper shot. You'll tread water in full SCUBA gear underneath a speedboat, waiting for a moment to sabotage its engines and disappear back into the depths. You'll scan enemy patrols through your binoculars, hoping for an opportunity to infiltrate their position or tell your team-mate to lob a mortar shell into their midst, or ferry squads of allied troopers into battle in a helicopter, waiting to see if this next trip will be cut short by bursts of AA fire. As a simulation aimed squarely at a dedicated PC audience, patience is every bit as important as a mouse or pair of beefy graphics cards.
However, we'll also have to wait several weeks - if not months and years - for Bohemia's simulation sandbox to fully realise its clear and obvious potential.
Click here to read more...
Platform: PC (Browser, F2P)
Developer: Blue Byte
Depth is the key in Silent Hunter. As an unterseeboot (U-boat) captain patrolling the deadly oceans of World War II, you'll stalk allied targets beneath the waves, quietly slipping back into the deep leaving only burning hulks behind. Both predator and prey, omniscient and uniquely fragile, you'll play a deadly game of cat and mouse against ever-tightening odds as the Royal Navy deploys the best it has to offer in an effort to send your crew to the bottom of the Atlantic. Knowing when to surface and when to crash dive will save your life, not to mention the Kriegsmarine's war effort.
However, depth is also the watchword for one of the most hardcore simulation franchises on the market, which has arguably seen better days. After the shocking mess that was Silent Hunter IV and the DRM-stricken Silent Hunter V, Ubisoft made the decision to set course for Free To Play waters, with Blue Byte promising to deliver a new take on the classic series.
Silent Hunter Online is the result: an experience that tries to shoehorn "everything great from the series" into a browser window, along with brand new 'Wolfpack' multiplayer and compelling persistent elements designed to keep captains coming back on a daily basis. From what I was able to play over at Blue Byte's Dusseldorf headquarters, there's certainly no danger of it being shallow.
Click here to read more...
Haemimont Games CEO Gabriel Dobrev is a hard man to find. Tracking him down to a secret speakeasy operating underneath Central London (no, really), I presented the doorman with my password (Tony "Two Gun" Tucci sent me) and eventually came face to face with the kingpin behind Omerta: City Of Gangsters.
Having gotten hands on with the prohibition-era blend of city simulation and cut-throat strategy, it was time to interrogate the big cheese. Be sure to mug up on our Omerta: City Of Gangsters preview first, capiche?
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): Thanks for talking to us, Gabriel. First things first: why 1920s America? Haemimont have been all about ancient history and tropical islands thus far...
Gabriel Dobrev (Haemimont): As a child, I was really interested in gangster stuff and read a lot of books about it. I had absolutely no idea that there would be some point where I would be working on a setting like this. When the idea came up, both me and the entire team just liked it, because there was so much potential to do so many things that people know about that era that we can use. So it was instantly liked.
We had several different ideas to pick from, like we could do 'this' or "this' or 'this,' but [Omerta] stood in front of everything else.
Click here to read more...
I want to be angry about SimCity requiring an always-on internet connection in order to play. I want to rant and rave, to rend my garments in twain while wailing from the rooftops. I want to become incandescent with fury, shouting about how my singleplayer passion has been forever tainted to anyone who'll listen. On principle, as much as anything.
But I can't. I won't, because Maxis came to E3 2012 to show us exactly what this internet connection will be used for. Over the course of twenty minutes, it became apparent that collaborating with friends to create a little piece of heaven in a persistent virtual world is going to be SimCity's most important selling point, and one that promises to elevate the already-impressive simulation into something unique and rather wonderful, even by Maxis standards. Cities will finally work together, sharing their populace and resources, all while gradually building towards grand works that will benefit everyone. It's a genuine evolution, not just an alternative gametype.
So, dear reader, here's how I learned to stop worrying and love the always-on.
Click here to read more...
Capcom have released a demo for their upcoming Kinect-based Steel Battalion. The original title came bundled with a ludicrously complex, 40-button controller, but for this reboot, Capcom have stripped things back, replacing many of the button inputs with Kinect gestures, used in conjunction with a regular gamepad.
What's that? A developer has finally realised that Kienct can be used alongside a regular controller? Why yes, yes it can. It's not like we haven't been tearing our hair out waiting for something like this!
You can queue up the download of the demo here at Xbox.com, provided you're a Gold member of course.
Capcom have also dropped a really brief teaser trailer for the upcoming Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor short film, which is being directed by legendary anime helmsman Mamoru Oshii.Check it out after the jump...
It's bizarre that the 3DS' very first first-party title was an arcade submarine simulator, brought to awkward life by the unbridled imagination of Miyamoto himself. Controlling your submarine, launching torpedoes and navigating the expansive levels is actually a fun, refreshing and unique experience thanks to the touchscreen controls... but there are only seven stages. Even with the Steel Commander minigame, this is a shockingly brief adventure that only makes sense at this sort of price.
Shame, because it's surprisingly good for its niche audience.
Wargaming.net has released update 7.0 for World of Tanks, their fantastically popular MMO tank simulation. The latest update deploys numerous camouflage patterns, two new maps (Fjords and Swamp) and updated graphical effects such as salvos and explosions. Update 7.1, which will be arriving soon, plans to roll out the French tech tree that boasts 18 new vehicles to thunder around in.
We've got more details and a new trailer after the break.Click here to read more...
Genres mean nothing to A Valley Without Wind. Over the last few months, Arcen Games' upcoming epic has shrugged off any attempts at pigeonholing; gleefully transcending, blending and merging the traditional notions of what a game can be classified as. What, in fact, a game can do. However, with the beta in full swing, we've finally been able to get involved and try to make sense of it.
If you're desperate for a quick soundbite, A Valley Without Wind is a procedurally generated free-roaming side-scrolling platforming strategic role-playing survival simulation. A PGFRPSRPSS if you will. But more importantly, it's an incredible adventure and an unprecedented Indie masterpiece in the making. It's time to bite the bullet and take a look at exactly what this exciting project is all about.
A Valley Without Wind is set in the year 888, where humanity has been brought to the edge of extinction and technological doldrums by a cataclysmic ice age. The world of Environ is a horrendously inhospitable place filled with savage horrors, but a few heroic adventurers are brave enough to venture out of the tiny pockets of civilisation in order to pillage the ruins of an ancient culture. You, naturally, are one of these happy few - and after choosing a character (differing only in appearance and slight statistical deviations), the world procedurally generates and thrusts you into the action.Click here to read more...
Sebastian Vettel has made this year's Formula 1 championship less than nailbiting, so it was up to Codemasters to bring something truly special to the table with F1 2011. The KERS and DRS systems - not to mention the new Pirelli tyres and their artificial lifespan - have fundamentally changed the sport, leaving the studio with more to do than just add a fresh lick of a paint and rearrange the roster.
Thankfully, Codemasters have delivered on the promise of a 'more realistic' Formula 1 simulation, and in the most part recaptured the sense of glamour and occasion that come with the sport, making for a game that's infinitely more exciting than its current real-world counterpart.Click here to read more...
It's bizarre that the 3DS' very first first-party title is an arcade submarine simulator, brought to awkward life by the unbridled imagination of Miyamoto himself. Controlling your submarine, launching torpedoes and navigating the expansive levels is actually a fun, refreshing and unique experience thanks to the touchscreen controls... but there are only seven stages. Seven. Even with the Steel Commander minigame, this is a shockingly brief adventure that really needed thrice the content.
ShopTo's current price is only slightly cheaper than The Game Collection, but far outstrips absolutely everyone else.
I was deeply impressed with what I saw of World Of Warplanes, the recently-announced WW2 flight MMO from Wargaming.net. While you're waiting for the preview to hit, we've got a new trailer for your immediate attention as well as an impressive World Of Tanks video montage.Click here to read more...
GAME are currently offering a £4 saving on The Sims Medieval using their GAME25 voucher code... and not only is it the cheapest around, but it's also the limited edition (which includes 2 exclusive outfits sets and 3 throne rooms, if that means anything to you). The Sims: Medieval is basically a logical extention of the popular franchise that lets you customise kingdoms, engage in scandalous court affairs or just chill in your throne room. I'll let Turk from Scrubs try to explain.