Thursday 19 October 2017

GAME ON: UEFA Euro 2012

For years, reviewers and gamers have bitched about EA's grubby policy of issuing a mid-year update to FIFA and aligning it with whichever big football event was nearby -- Champions League Final or Euro Championships. The cheek of selling a full-priced, cut-down version was breathtaking. It was usually nothing more than an expansion pack with different strips.

But whether a dose of the guilts (as if) or simple economics is responsible, this year's installment comes as a download-only expansion pack costing about €20.

You must own FIFA 12 (let's face it, you should) and, obviously, have your console connected to the internet.

Don't expect any gameplay improvements -- FIFA is already sublime anyway -- so what you're paying your substantial investment for is a series of extra game modes. Oddly, you can't play any Euro 2012 qualifying rounds and many teams don't have the proper players.

But you do get Expedition mode -- start with a team of total duffers and build a Euro-conquering side through hard slog -- and live challenges related to events within next month's tournament.

So kudos to EA for finally listening to feedback but shame the expansion pack isn't the full shilling.

Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure

Nintendo 3DS

RATING: 9/10

Professor Layton duets with Elite Beat Agents in this deliciously quirky music rhythm game. Dozens of mini-games -- from beat-matching to lock-picking -- are hung on a frankly loopy story about a master art thief.

Wrapped in gorgeous cel-shaded graphics and an infectiously silly soundtrack, the result is irresistible.

Incoboto

iPad

RATING: 8.5/10

Funny and beautiful, this gentle puzzler takes a few cues from classics such as Super Mario Galaxy and Loco Roco. Mixing 2D physics puzzles with a whimsical storyline about a universe where all the suns have been extinguished, your little blob's job is to restore light where there is darkness.

It starts easily enough, traversing planetoids via portals, jump pads and tractor beams; an easy task with swipes and prods. But as the puzzles turn more wickedly complex, the controls become an issue, as with many iOS games.

Still, you're never far from the next witty slice of dialogue or pretty scene, making Incoboto a €3 bargain.

Burnout Crash

iOS

RATING: 7/10

For some players, crash mode was the best bit of the legendary Burnout racing series, indulging all your destructive instincts to create the costliest road smash possible.

Now the pile-em-up comes to iOS as a standalone game and the collision isn't entirely successful. As always, you guide a car into a busy intersection trying to take down as many vehicles in the process.

On iPhone it's difficult to track exactly what's happening in the top-down view on the small screen. You get a better sense of the action on iPad but it's never quite as good as the 3D view of the original. One for fanatics only.

Irish Independent

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