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I recall at one point we had a new members guide or something here many moons ago... do we still have one of those or should perhaps one of us step up to the mark?

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since 23/04/2003


LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS4) 23/03/2017

Playing Sack Dolls With a Friend!

LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS4) LittleBigPlanet 3 is one of those weird games that is kind of made for children and yet is also more than playable by adults. In fact, once you get to the later levels it is probably made for older children and adults as I can’t imagine younger ones managing. However, younger children rarely complete these kind of games anyway from my limited experience, and will be quite happy having fun on the levels they are able to do. From an adult perspective this is one of the very few games that I have in the collection that I keep solely for multi-player gaming; useful for when my fiance’s sister comes round! LittleBigPlanet is a series of exceptionally cutesy puzzle-platformer games which revolve around cuddly toy like characters who all have special abilities and play styles. You have Sackboy who is made of sack, OddSock who is a four-legged kind of dog who can run and wall jump, Swoop who is a cute bird thing who flies and Toggle who can become Big Toggle or Little Toggle depending on what you need him to do. There are also level specific characters who only show up once or twice for specific reasons; a lava level might require a heat proof yeti for example. Don’t ask me… There are multiple aspects to gameplay; the core game revolves around playing through colourful and cheerful platform levels with definite puzzle elements. These are 3D platform levels and in fact have you going back and forward between levels of the screen as well as up, down, left and right. It’s a clever ...

Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer (N64) 21/03/2017

Pod Racing Doesn't Plod Twenty Years On!

Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer (N64) I’m officially doomed. Downstairs now lies the N64, the MegaDrive and I’m working on sneaking the Gamecube down as well… to pair with the PS4 and the Xbox 360. How my long-suffering fiancé hasn’t cancelled the wedding and run off with the money I do not know. Star Wars: Episode 1: Racer was a game that I absolutely adored as a child and it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I booted it up as the first game to be played on the N64. Because there’s always a level of trepidation when dealing with childhood loves that may prove to be utterly crud. Star Wars: Episode 1: Racer was the first and, in honest truth, the only racing game I got into. It has also been one of the very few Star Wars games I have got into – Lego hold the dominion on my Star Wars gaming hours. But for someone with little interest in Star Wars and no interest in racing, what was it that attracted me to this game? What was it that caught my attention and held it way back as a snuggle faced sprog… and indeed, managed to catch and hold me near twenty years later? Well, it’s fun! God’s honest truth, this game is absolutely awesome fun and that makes up for everything bad I would usually find about racing games. There is no attempt at realism; you are racing pods for pities sake, they aren’t all that worried about wheel spin and surface grind or whatever the technical words would be for such things. You are racing in little pods, bouncing through the air with boosters and the chance of blowing up if ...

Pokemon Pikachu Zip Hoodie 19/03/2017

Piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiika? *ZAP*

Pokemon Pikachu Zip Hoodie I have always been a huge fan of the Pokémon games, particularly the older Pokémon games; from Pokémon Black onwards Nintendo have fallen into the trap of dumbing them down, making them too easy and involving none of the grinding or skill or strategy that was always required in the older games. Pikachu was one of the very original Pokémon, and still is one of the most easily recognisable and famous Pokémon released; the small yellow electric mouse was Ash’s original partner and is known for being cute but powerful. This particular hoodie is made in Pikachu’s honour and you certainly can’t miss it, considering it is bright electric yellow. Yep. Bright, bright yellow. Design wise, it is aimed at the Pokemon fans without a shadow of a doubt. The hood section of the hoodie has a Pikachu face designed into it with the big eyes, pink cheeks and two big ears; amusingly it is the ears that yet the most attention as they are separately attached to the hood and actually really quite large and padded. On the back you have the zig-zag tail of the Pikachu painted up the middle of the back and the brown back stripes across the lower back. There is then the Pokémon logo printed nearly in blue on the top right hand breast. Functionality wise, it’s a zip top hoodie made of medium thick material which can be worn under a coat or jacket; in fact you could easily put a soft shell jacket over the top and then a larger coat for the real winter weather. It’s sold in S, M, L and XL with the small ...

Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed (PS Vita) 14/03/2017

Uninteresting and Uninspiring

Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed (PS Vita) I own a number of weird and wonderful games for the PS Vita. Some downloaded on a whim, others because they looked interesting and occasionally games that I knew what I was getting into before I bought it. Akiba’s Trip is most certainly one of the former and for the life of me, I cannot quite understand what possessed me to purchase it in the first place. It’s RPG but not really my usual kind of buy…and that’s saying something. Nanashi is the main hero of the game and it is safe to say that he is a broke and unemployed so when he sees an advert for a strange job, he goes and investigates. Unfortunately this ends up with him chained to a table with a strange man prodding you and apparently you have signed your life away. You are now part of an experiment that has turned you into something inhuman and there is only the final stage to complete. You are promptly rescued by a random girl as you try to bargain your way free and it turns out that you’ve been turned into a Synthister and by forming a blood contract with her you can save yourself from a doomed life of sucking energy in a vampire like fashion. Synthister’s are vulnerable to sunlight (vampire reference obviously) and so the best way of beating them is to apparently… strip them. Yes, you heard me right the first time. You literally have to beat the clothing off your enemies with weaponry in order to kill them dead; you do this by beating them up because clearly, that is going to work. Game logic. Hey ho, the same is ...

Lush Herbalism Facial Cleanser 12/03/2017

Going Green!!

Lush Herbalism Facial Cleanser Nettles, rosemary and rice bran vinegar work to cleanse the skin, removing dirt and grease, leaving bright and beautifully clean skin. I’ve recently been running through Lush cleansers in an attempt to find a replacement product for Fresh Farmacy which is a little too harsh for my skin now I’ve changed contraceptives. Herbalism isn’t quite the top dog in my search but it’s a quite close second or third all in all, which isn’t bad going at all. I was rather nervous of this one as it’s known as one of the harsher ones and my experience with Dark Angels led me to believe I may lose several layers of facial skin…thankfully, this wasn’t the case! This is a fresh cleanser and as with all of the other fresh cleansers Lush offer, you have to make it up from powder into a smoother cleansing agent with water. There are positives and negatives to this approach; you have a far greater level of choice in how much product you want to use and how heavy a cleanse you want on the day. If you want a thick and heavy cleanser, just use less water. However, it is time consuming and more difficult to get right than using a regular cleanser; too much water and you create a liquidy unusable mess and too little and it’s unspreadable. Personally, I use about a five to twenty pence piece worth and gradually drop water onto it until I get the required consistency. Looks wise, this is weird whether it’s in powder/paste form or made up into a liquid consistency. It is bright green for starters and ...

Final Fantasy XV (PS4) 08/03/2017

Doesn't Quite Do Final Fantasy...

Final Fantasy XV (PS4) Final Fantasy is one of those series that I have followed since a teenager; I fell in love with Final Fantasy VII and played all the way through to XII (with the blip of Final Fantasy XI being ignored as I pretend it didn’t exist). However, they then fell out of favour with me. Final Fantasy XIII did nothing for me and I barely scratched the surface of the game before tutting with disapproval and going back to my tried and trusty VII. XIV was even worse, having gone back to MMORG gameplay (lots of real people being jerks in an online world you are forced to share with them) and was never even bought. There was that 0-HD one in there somewhere as well which I barely class as Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy XV is therefore my first real Final Fantasy on the new generation consoles. Was I excited? Hell, yeah, I was excited! Final Fantasy XV is however a game that I am utterly conflicted about from a reviewing standpoint. It’s a decent game, don’t get me wrong. The gameplay is interesting and easy to pick up, there’s an absolute ton to do and it has kept me fascinated for many, many, many hours. From that stand point alone, it is a good game. Is it the best game I have ever played? No. But it’s good. But is it Final Fantasy? Well, to answer that question I have to briefly explore what I think Final Fantasy is… other than a game series, obviously. Final Fantasy is: * In depth and complex storylines that span 50 hours or more of play time for the basic quest following moral ...

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS Vita) 06/03/2017

What Final Fantasy should be!

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS Vita) Final Fantasy X is one of the highlights of my childhood and is a game I remember ploughing in tons and tons of hours into the game. When I realised it had been remastered for the newer consoles, this was a game I simply had to have. I have to admit, it wasn’t a game I had played in quite a while as when I drag the Playstation down I tend to get distracted by Legend of Dragoon or the early Final Fantasy games. Buying it on the PS Vita however was a no brainer and I happily booted it back up with fond memories of childhood days sat on the carpet arguing with my brother over who got the rights to the TV this time. The biggest draw to Final Fantasy was always the narrative and unsurprisingly, this is something Final Fantasy X carries exceptionally well. Even having played it before on the PS2 many moons ago, I still found myself being sucked into the weaves and tangles of this intricate story with its spell binding characters and truly wonderful world building. Yes, I just used the words intricate, spell binding and wonderful in the same sentence. That should give you some clues here. Set in the fictional world of Spira, your main character is a spunky haired chap named Tidus who is apparently thrown forward in time from his home town of Zankarkand to some one thousand years in the future. Here he discovers, somewhat bewilderingly as you can imagine, that the very home town he came from was destroyed by Sin a thousand years ago. Sin is a creature of some sort which still ...

Legend of Legacy (Nintendo 3DS) 02/03/2017

It's Legacy is its Difficulty!

Legend of Legacy (Nintendo 3DS) Legend of Legacy is somewhat of a novelty game for Nintendo. Why? Because it is difficult. Hats off to Nintendo here, usually they water down their games to the point of vapidity and refuse to let you off the child leash until at least hour six… here, they drop you in at the deep end and let you fend for yourself. And it isn’t just refreshing, it’s damn brilliant! There are niggles, there are always niggles, but the challenging elements to the game more than make up for these. It is rather sad that such excitement can be gained from a game that takes off the training wheels, but hopefully it’s a good sign for the future. Legend of Legacy starts off difficult and the learning curve never decreases; it is a game with no training wheels and it forces you to learn quickly or die lots. There are seven hero’s and heroine’s to pick from when you start your gaming mission and you find yourself in the town of Initium which becomes your base for the adventure. Within this town there is a king and that king is several shades of eccentric to say the least. Either way, after a brief conversation with him it turns out that you are to go exploring local areas chock full of monsters, report back and keep whatever treasure you may find. Sound simple? Yeah, it’s not. Get that thought right out of your head now! One of the first things you will need to do is create a party. Up to three of you can go dungeon trekking and you will need to find and recruit willing slaves… ah, party members to ...

Rune Factory 4 (Nintendo 3DS) 28/02/2017

Sword and Scythe

Rune Factory 4 (Nintendo 3DS) As the final instalment in the games beginning with R series (I got distracted and missed the deadline, shh), I have moved into the modern time, much to everyone’s great relief I would imagine. Don’t get too enthusiastic mind. The Megadrive is still downstairs and there are many reviews yet to come… However, for my final R, I have come back to my much beloved 3DS console and the Rune Factory franchise with Rune Factory 4. I have long been a fan of both Harvest Moon and the spin off series Rune Factory, and so when Rune Factory 4 was released it went without saying that I was downloading it. The base game of Harvest Moon is focussed around the act of farming and it comes as no surprise that this is also a huge part of the Rune Factory series. The main difference with the Rune Factory series is that farming isn’t the only focus, and perhaps it isn’t even the main focus. Rune Factory focusses just as much on exploration, dungeon crawling with the resultant fighting systems, quest taking, taming and caring for monsters, random festivals and wooing the local peoples. As with nearly all of the Rune factory series, you start off with amnesia except this time around you are mistaken for royalty and have to take requests and such like from the people of the town. All in all, as with many of the games in this series, it is the gameplay that makes it quite so addictive. There is, quite simply, something both quirky and charming about running your own little farm whilst bashing ...

Rayman (PlayStation) 17/02/2017

Rayman... Still got a punch!

Rayman (PlayStation) The original Playstation was what I would call my first real gaming console; oh, I’d had a Megadrive and an even older thing I can’t remember the name of, and I’d even had a SNES but by the time I was old enough to truly understand gaming, I really got into the Playstation. This was the theme to much of my childhood and there are some games I recall fondly with equal amounts of entertainment, frustration and extreme screaming at the computer screen. Rayman is most definitely one of these definitive childhood memories for me. Released in 1995, we have now moved forward from the 1991 16-bit era of Mega Drive into what I believe was known as the 32-bit era. At the time I just saw it as great fun so don’t quote me on that… Rayman is what is known as a side-scrolling platform game and the central character is (surprise, surprise), Rayman himself. There are six lands to travel through and in the first five of these there are multiple levels that Rayman has to travel through, breaking cages which hold trapped Electoons. It is these cages which are crucial to the game as it is only when all of them have been broken that Rayman is able to reach the final land (Candy Chateau) in which he takes on the final big boss at the end. In typical platforming style, you have a set amount of lives and once you lose all your lives then it is game over. On the plus side you can gain extra lives by collecting 100 ‘tings’ which are small, blue spheres that you collect as you go through each level. ...

Rings of Power (Mega Drive) 15/02/2017

Do the Rings Still Hold the Power?

Rings of Power (Mega Drive) For those wondering, if you are not a fan of fishing (Reel Life etc), horror (Resident Evil franchise) or fast driving games (now that ones obvious surely), finding games beginning with R is somewhat of a chore. So, with great entertainment, I introduce you to ‘Rings of Power’. Is this a PS4 game, I hear you ask? No. A 3DS game? No. A PS Vita game? Nope, nope, nope. Oh, so we’re talking nostalgia gaming? Yes, and then some. Ladies and gentlemen, I am taking you all the way back in time to 1991 and the Sega Megadrive with this little beauty. Did I mention, I really had to search in order to find games!? The Sega Megadrive was the first console me and my brother ever had and in 1991, I would have just turned three years old. Needless to say, it was probably a little bit later that I was trying to play this particular game… Either way, I can’t remember a lot about it from that age, which means I probably got bored and wandered away to play Mario which appealed more to my simple mind. This doesn’t surprise me, because having booted Rings of Power up in modern day 2017, it is safe to say that it is difficult. It took me a good half an hour just to get the hang of what the hell I was doing, swearing fluently at this reviewing site for putting me through such hell for the sake of a fiver. It is worth noting that this was apparently one of the earliest Genesis games released and therefore, not only is it 26 years old this year, but it is also going to suffer from the quirks and ... 13/02/2017

Make your own Valentine's book... Lovebookonline was an idea for Valentine’s Day last year which I heard someone else talking about and had to go and check it out. The idea is simple, it is a way to create your own book for someone you love; doesn’t have to be a partner, can be your child or your parent, your grandparent or just a close friend. The site has a number of pre-set templates for pages but you can happily free hand style your own if that’s what you’d prefer. The Website The website is easy to navigate and very intuitive. Signing up is as simple as giving an email and a password. Once done you have an account you find the main page with three tabs across the top; the first is Occasions and gives a list of occasions that you could create a book for ranging from apology, wedding, graduation and best friend to the obvious anniversary or Valentine’s Day. Clicking on these doesn’t give you a lot of further information in reality as the pages are all very similar. The second tab is the How This Works tab and gives you a run through of the processes. The third tab is Pricing and Shipping and the forth is Testimonials. The bottom of each page has a really easy to link to the FAQ for further questions as well as a Contact Us with a contact form at the bottom. I have not had to use this so cannot comment on how quick they are to respond, but on the plus side, I had no issue that required contacting them further. What About My Book? Starting a book is easy; on the main page you can click Get Started Now ...

Lego Elves 41175 Fire Dragon's Lava Cave 10/02/2017

I Roast Marshmallows by Dragon!

Lego Elves 41175 Fire Dragon's Lava Cave Having had such success with the Lego Elves on the previous birthday, we thought that we’d keep going with a good thing and pick new ones for the small people’s last birthdays. Having learned my lesson from previously, I determined to buy Small Person A one larger set and Small Person B who has cerebral palsy two smaller sets. Lego was helpfully accommodating to this as there are three dragon sets which all went together thematically and so it wouldn’t look like I was buying simpler stuff for one of them. 41175 Fire Dragon’s Lava Cave was the set that I bought for Small Person A as she had previously received the fire themed bakery set, and it was the larger of the three sets by quite a way. At 441 pieces, I would put this squarely into the medium size Lego range and befitting its age range of 8-12. Once again, Small Person A was right on the boundary of the age, however she has the dexterity and the patience to manage to put something like this together. I would not have picked up this size model for Small Person B however as her cerebral palsy would make it exceptionally frustrating, both for her and for me. Effectively, the ages are always a guide not a certainty and it’s worth checking with the parent if you don’t know the child’s ability levels, as you could easily frustrate rather than excite in your purchase. As with all of these kind of sets, the build starts on the smaller side to warm you up although unlike many other sets the small build isn’t stand alone but is ...

Lego Elves 41073 Naida's Epic Adventure Ship 08/02/2017

Faerie Lego Sailing!

Lego Elves 41073 Naida's Epic Adventure Ship October before last we bought the girls a Lego set from the Elves series each for their birthday; always a tricky affair as they are a very bright set of twins however one has cerebral palsy which obviously impacts on her hand to eye co-ordination and her eyesight which makes present buying a bit of a pig. They both love Lego, however purchases have to be carefully made as you can’t buy one a ‘younger’ set as then hell would break out, but at the same time, it has to be accepted that Lego is something that one sister is far more capable at than the other. So my aim was, working purely off number of pieces, to buy similar sets from the same range however with the slightly more simplistic going to Small Person B. This didn’t quite work out the way I had anticipated as whilst 41073 is smaller at 312 pieces, it was by no means something she was able to do on her own or even without a huge amount of help. Having bought the set, it then fell upon me to do the whole building with child so that the house wasn’t brought down by screaming tempers and exceptionally annoyed child. Aimed at the 7-12 age range, this was always going to be a tad tricky as both small people were on the very younger side of this spectrum, however the sets are very cute and it was worth a go. It is simply worth noting that these Lego’s are not necessarily suitable for every child of that age range and that is very much down to parental judgement. At 312 pieces, this is what I’d call a small-medium set from ...

Lego Elves 41074 Azari and the Magical Bakery 01/02/2017

Elves meet Lego and the result is fantastic!

Lego Elves 41074 Azari and the Magical Bakery October before last in fact we bought the girls a set from the Lego: Elves range each for their birthday. Their mum very cleverly hands gifts for actual playing throughout the year rather than letting them go to town and then get bored of them quickly and have nothing else ‘new’ to play with. So it was actually only relatively recently that I got a chance to build them with them. LEGO Elves 41074: Azari and the Magical Bakery is the first to be reviewed and is now a retired product; as anyone who is a frequent reader of Lego reviews will know, this means the prices will have risen. Aimed at the 7-12 age range, these are significantly more simplistic than the Lego which my fiancé and I build over the course of many hours at home. That said, there are a significant amount of small pieces in this set and it is not one for young children. Our two are at the lower point of this age range and hadn't quite hit their eighth birthdays as they were opening and building. It’s worth noting that whilst Small Person A completed this particular model with no difficulties on her own and about three hours of work in total, Small Person B who has cerebral palsy affecting her hand to eye co-ordination and eyesight struggled more with her model (and would have with this) so needed significantly more help. At 325 pieces this is either a large-small set or a small-medium set depending on which way you look at it. However I think to make it any larger would make it off-putting for the small ...
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