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Top 5 Scary Halloween Games 2008

So this list is going to focus on more recent scary/dark games that I played over the past year.

5. Psychonauts

Not really scary, but for some reason when i think halloween this game comes to mind. The levels are based on people's nightmares & minds which can be creepy...weird is probably the best description for the game though.

4. Dead Space
Just came out, but it's pretty freaky and visceral.

3. The Darkness A very riveting 1-player campaign...and while it lacks jump in your seat moments, It certainly is dark and disturbing. Really good game.

2. Condemned 2
Play this is the dark, and you'll be creeped out. fact.

1. BioShock
If the Little Sisters, Big Daddies, genetic loonies and twisted dystopia of Rapture don't creep you out, then you're made of stone. The whole storyline and city is pretty f'ed up in this it's an incredible game and a must buy.

The Force: Unleashed Review

The Force: Unleashed is the latest game from Lucas Arts and takes place between Episodes III and IV. The game uses the Euphoria Engine along with the standard Havok Physics. The game sets you in the shoes of Darth Vader's secret apprentice and has you traipsing across the galaxy in standard 3rd player action fare, despite all the hype of unleashed force powers, the euphoria engine and other techie buzz words.

Gameplay: 7/10
Pros: The story is definitely interesting especially for star wars fans. The game starts out with a bang and the force powers are increbily entertaining to use and toy around with in the first 2-3 stages...
Cons: The game gets less fun and more frustrating as you move along. Enemies become cheap, and immune to your nifty force powers or are just too overwhelming to use the entertaining force grip. Leveling up doesn't really unlock anything new...combat gets repetitive.

Graphics: 7/10
Pros: The graphics are definitely AAA and the levels are all gorgeous. Using real actors to motion-cap adds authenticity.
Cons: The enemy animations are fantastic but oftentimes at a distance and wasted. Act 2 has you retread all the same planets from Act 1, as a result enemies are reused and it all just gets repetitive.
Sound/Music: 9/10
Pros: The Star Wars scoring and sound fx as always are excellent. The voicework is definitely above par for a video game and just as good as one of the canonical star wars movies.
Cons: I'm pretty sure they got some impressionists for Princess Leia and Vader...just not the same.

Lasting Appeal: 5/10
Pros: The Story is definitely worth seeing through to the end.
Cons: No real replay value, no multiplayer or noteworthy modes other than the single player campaign.

Average: 72.50%
Tilt: -0.50%

This is an absolutely perfect game to rent, beat and throw away. The gameplay is very fun in the first few hours and after that the story is worth suffering through the repetition and cheapness in the final levels. I guess if you are a huge star wars fan this warrants a purchase, but otherwise this game just has no legs other than its story. It would have benefited from a lot more RPG character leveling and more force abilities.

Verdict: 72%

Announcing: The Indie Game Magazine

Graduate Games' Blog is too big for its own good. After having some fellow bloggers critique and evaluate our video game blog, we have decided to refocus the blog on:

  • Current (next gen) Video Game Reviews
  • Developer News/Updates
  • Retro Gaming
  • Gaming Top 5 Lists

Indie Game Reviews are all being moved to The Independent Game Magazine is a physical/digital magazine that gaming enthusiasts can have mailed/emailed to them. All the reviews can be read online too. Indie Game Mag is the ONLY game magazine that focuses solely on indie & casual games. It is with great pleasure that we announce the release of the first issue!

Please visit to learn more about this new exciting indie game developer-focused game site & magazine. You can order the magazine there too!

Kudos 2 Review

Kudos 2 is the sequel to Positech Games life simulator game, Kudos. The game puts you in control of making your character's everyday decisions from their 20th birthday to their 30th. If you are familiar with Kudos, then you definitely know what to expect in the sequel. Not much has changed since the first one except a significantly enhanced style and presentation.

Gameplay: 8/10
Pros: The same strategy gameplay from Kudos returns to Kudos 2. The game is very simple to play (but definitely hard to master) and surprisingly addictive. The new ability to customize your avatar really adds a lot to the experience.
Cons: Gameplay consists of clicking and navigating menus. The tutorial/instruction of the game is a little scant. Your friends are way too needy! and your never seem to have enough cash (ok maybe this simulator is hitting close to home).

Graphics: 10/10
Pros: I actually didn't notice how much better the graphics were till I looked at screens between the two games. Kudos 1 had freaky blank-faced character models and a washed out and colorless presentation (I guess it took place in Seattle or London) whereas Kudos 2 has slick customizable characters, and vibrant menus and a colorful presentation.
Cons: An utter lack of animation permeates the sequel, but then again, animation isn't really needed for this type of game.

Sound/Music: 9/10
Pros: Congratulations to Jesse Hopkins who does a great job with the music for this game. The music is very calming, laid back and subtle. The music does a fantastic job capturing the mood of the day and the atmosphere of the game. Sound is kept to simple clicks and what I would call "alert sounds" (ie. dog barking, rain falling, character coughing) that help notify the player of their situation.
Cons: Nothing really to complain about...

Lasting Appeal: 9/10
Pros: The bright and upbeat music and improved graphics of this sequel make a huge difference in the amount of time that you can spend playing the game. It takes a decent amount of time to live your life from 20-30 in the game, but the character customization and sheer amount of choices, skills and statistics add a lot of replay value.
Cons: I'm really not sure if this is a game or a simulator/strategy game. In many ways it's more similar to a board game with stat tracking character sheets than a video game. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but also makes this game not suitable to everyone.

Average: 90.00%
Tilt: +/- 0.00%

Kudos 2 is a life simulator and that's exactly what you get (and a vastly improved one at that) but if that explanation of the game alone makes you cringe than this game is absolutely not for you. It's a very relaxing and enjoyable diversion where you can live a virtual life. The sheer amount of choice in this game is ridiculous. I do have a suggestion for Kudos 3. I think it would be fantastic if the game placed you in your senior year of high school rather than your 20s as a poor waiter. As an 18 year old, you would have high school friends, finish out your senior year of high school, apply and select a college (or start in the workforce), and continue to try and maintain long time friends as you move away from school into your 20s & 30s. This would break up the game and vary the virtual life experience a little more. All in all, I look forward to Kudos 3 and thoroughly enjoyed Kudos 2. The gameplay is only subtly changed, but the overall package is vastly improved.

Verdict: 90%

World of Goo Review

World of Goo is the first game from Indie Game Studio, 2D Boy. Founded by Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel, 2D Boy's goal (according to their website) is to "make games that everyone can play, with gameplay nobody has seen before." Well, they have certainly met this goal with World of Goo. World of Goo is hard to pigeon hole into one game genre, but I guess if I had to label it I would describe it as a goo-construction physics puzzle action game. Basically, you drag and drop goo balls to build towers, bridges etc. towards a vacuum pipe that sucks up all the remaining goos. The game is definitely out there and utterly unique, but it's also incredibly sublime.

Gameplay: 10/10
Pros: The gameplay is unlike any other game out there. It's sort of like building with K'nex...except their goo balls with little personalities. Each level poses a brand new challenge and the game controls are pretty basic (drag & click). The game introduces new goos at a great pace which helps keep the puzzles and goo building fresh. There's sort of a story and its interestingly told.
Cons: The game is over too fast, but great games always are. Large goo structures can be tricky to build and frustrating tip over...but the limited level skips are always enough to keep you moving along the campaign.

Graphics: 10/10
Pros: The art style is probably the best thing about the game. It is very odd...especially the cutscenes and some of the level pieces (Girl Goo Heads, Wacky Hands, Creepy Robot Heads, etc) but utterly charming. The game's first chapter is very clean and colorful...but as the game progresses the art style starts permeating through and gets weirder and weirder along with the wacky story. All this oddity is a good thing though. The visuals never get boring and the presentation and execution is excellent.

Sound/Music: 10/10
Pros: The music perfectly fits the art style and mood, but what really makes the games auditory experience so excellent are the sound effects. Goo giggles, mumbles gibberish, inflates, etc. and the People of World of Goo speak emphatic gibberish as well...but all along the way convey emotion. That coupled with the sheer humor of the it all makes it incredibly enjoyable.

Lasting Appeal: 8/10
Pros: There are 5 Chapters and an Epilogue, with each world having a decent number of levels (~10) but when a game is this enjoyable and completely lacks tedium you alwasy want more. The Global Ranking score system add replayability and the meta game of using extra goo to build the tallest tower also adds longevity to the title.
Cons: Ultimately the game can be beaten over a weekend and every level played.

Average: 95.00%
Tilt: +2.00%

What it comes down to is that World of Goo is one of the finest and most original games I have played in recent years. It may not be the longest experience, but much like XBLA's Braid, Goo maintains an interest and high quality throughout every level of the game. The game is a fantastic experience that will be thoroughly enjoyed, but then you can move on. This approach to indie games is excellent because ultimately and indie studio cannot compete with the longevity of a commercial studio game. This is what they do best - Wow you with originality, art stlye and uniqueness and offer you a fantastic experience for the fraction of the price of a full scale commercial title. World of Goo is an exceptional game at an exceptional price. There's really no excuse not to experience the creativity, art, and fun that permeates this game.

Verdict: 97%

World Of Goo is Released on Oct 13th

World of Goo is coming out October 13th on PC and the Wii. Lucky for me, I preordered it and will be playing it a whole week early. Look for a review on the game next Monday and support 2dboy - a fantastic indie developer.