Tag Archives: Local Multiplayer

Overcooked review

It turns out too many chefs doesn’t ruin the broth; Overcooked proves that the more chefs you have the more fun you can have. But can this delightfully deranged arcade cook-a-thon satisfy your hunger or is it a mere snack?

In Overcooked you are tasked with preparing a multitude of dishes for hungry customers. You must dash around a variety of kitchens, collecting ingredients, chopping, cooking, plating, serving and cleaning dishes to the whim of customers with particular cravings, scoring more stars depending on how quickly and accurately you serve up your dishes.

It sounds so simple, and indeed the concept is, but in execution it turns out to be anything but. Organising your cooking method to efficiently create your meals is a unique challenge to overcome, one made more difficult by the absurd kitchens you have to cook in. What starts as ordinary kitchens, where learning their layout is your biggest challenge, soon turns into crazy scenarios, such as two trucks with half the kitchen in each, speeding down a road and only crossable during small windows of alignment. It offers a special brand of insanity that’s wonderfully humourous to play within and equally difficult to overcome.

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It’s a pleasant surprise to see what concoction of kitchen chaos is presented in each level, and achieving the full three stars is a satisfying goal. Moreover, just as you think you’ve seen all kinds of layouts, new challenges are introduced, such as rats that steal ingredients. But even on the most ordinary of kitchens there’s still plenty to keep you occupied. Performing all the aforementioned tasks swiftly and efficiently is made all the more interesting by having to watch for food burning on the stove and fires blazing as a result, requiring a blast from a fire extinguisher to quell it.

On your own you control two chefs, able to switch between them at the press of a button and share out the tasks. But Overcooked is by far the most enjoyable when you have a friend or three join in for some local multiplayer. Organising your group of chefs requires constant communication and quickly leads to a room full of people shouting for vegetables, meat and plates, or screaming about fire amongst panicked hollering as things get hectic. It’s delightfully entertaining. Additionally you can play competitively, which offers a fun but fleeting experience, cooperative play is certainly the better bet.

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On your own however, Overcooked is still a lot of fun. It feels like a very different game, one that’s far less hectic and silly and more of an odd puzzle experience as you try to manage the two chefs so that one isn’t idle for too long.

Unfortunately the multiplayer mayhem is restricted to local play, although it’s certainly well suited to this style, making it hard to fault. It even supports the shared controller method of yore where two players can use each side of a controller. Indeed, as one mistake can send the whole kitchen into disarray and get everybody shouting, local play certainly offers the better experience, although having the option for online would still of been appreciated, and may come in the future.

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Driving your group of chefs in their quest to chaotically create meals is a wonderfully ridiculous story. The Onion King and his dog, Kevin, have summoned you to satiate the appetite of The Ever Peckish, a giant spaghetti monster. The collection of crazy levels acts as your training grounds. It’s a simple, odd and amusing way to set the scene that does a tremendous job of setting the silly tone right from the get-go, along with its cute, comical art style.

Indeed, Overcooked offers a terrifically fast paced, multiplayer focused experience, with an incredible variety of levels with additional challenges beyond the primary mechanics, such as icy surfaces you can slip on or ghosts moving things. Meanwhile, a well thought-out single player component keeps things entertaining when you don’t have a room full of friends to cook with.

Thanks to Xbox and Ghost Town Games and Team17 for supporting TiX

Toto Temple Deluxe review

Local multiplayer games seem to swarming Xbox Live at the moment, the latest offering is Toto Temple Deluxe. TTD is a fast-paced, local-multiplayer king-of-the-hill title that will be fun for adults and children.

Developed by Juicy Beast, TTD is a very simple game to play, in Tournament mode, there is a classic game, where your characters objective is to get the goat while stopping your opponents from stealing the goat from you. The whole time you’ll be scoring points, the first to reach the limit wins. The other mode is Bomb, in this game, you’ll need to reach the bomb and keep hold of it until it explodes, if your opponents get caught up in the blast you win, otherwise a new bomb will appear until a winner is found. The action is fast paced and caused a lot of laughter (and as many tantrums) between my two boys while I watched them play. The extra modes available for those with 3-4 controllers, are team version of the modes I’ve already talked about, and this was where we all had the most fun, because of the way the levels are designed, it’s very hard to escape each other and it always results in close fought matches.

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My favourite and the most challenging part of the game is the Target Challenge. In this mode you need to collect as many targets as possible to score as much as you can. The key to doing well in this mode is to chain as many targets as possible, as you hit  target, smaller coins are released that you need to collect to give you more time to move around the level to the next target. The idea sounds simple but in practice I found this mode quite a challenge, at the end of each round you are given a score, which will help you unlock achievements and some more levels in the game.

The first things my children noticed were the bright colours and the cool characters, personally they reminded me of Uglydolls, which is a good thing! The sounds effects and music suited the game really well, but the menu, although different, was a bit of a pain to be honest. At £8 Toto Temple Deluxe is fun little title that the whole family can enjoy and thanks to the cute catroony style and well designed levels, you’ll spend more time playing this game than you’d think!

Thanks to Xbox for supporting TiX

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Monkey Pirates review

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Monkey Pirates, from Henchman Studio, is a naval combat multiplayer game for up to four players taking up the role of one of four unique simian captains, each with their own special abilities.

There are two game modes available, multiplayer and challenge, with the latter being the “single player” component, but seeing as this is primarily a local multiplayer game, the challenge mode could be classified more as an extended tutorial.  These challenges test your sailing skills, shooting accuracy and your ability to drift (dropping your anchor in order to quickly slow and change direction) and serve as a good way of improving your skill level in each area.

Sailing is a simple and familiar process. Each direction on the compass surrounding your ship has a different strength of wind which varies your speed greatly. Red brings you to a complete stop, green sets a normal speed, whereas yellow sets you to full speed. Changing tack to make use of the best wind to get you into a firing position.

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The multiplayer on the other hand is quite extensive with nine completely different maps within which you can compete in three different multiplayer modes. Stand by the Board is a free for all battle where you have to utilise the multiple items, power ups and unique skills to defeat your friends. Jolly Roger mode has the first pirate to shoot down an opponent becomes the Jolly Roger, who then has to defend themselves against the others from that point onwards, but without the benefit of power ups which makes picking your fights a necessity in this mode. Finally, Banana Race is a score system where you need to collect as many banana barrels as possible. Each enemy killed drops their bananas, so it is essential once again that you pick your fights and decide whether a contested barrel is worth challenging. The winner in these games is decided by who scores the most points.

Each game mode also contains a variety of offensive, defensive and arena based power ups that make each map that bit more interesting. Offensive and defensive range from bouncing bombs, broadsides, speed boosts, armour and even oars which negate all wind speed requirements. Arena power ups are a bit more varied in their influence. These change the arena in many different ways. Typhoon’s swap all players position in the map, Coconut juice reverse all your controls, where voodoo masks rip all existing offensive and defensive power ups from your enemies. Picking up the three varied types of power ups can completely change the course of a game in a matter of minutes.

Thankfully, unlike some other local multiplayer games I have played, Monkey Pirates has a distinctly intelligent AI which can be applied should you wish to have a go when less than a full complement of friends are available.

Monkey pirates has taken the naval combat from older games, such as Sid Meier’s Pirates! And Overboard, and redefined and polished them into an enjoyable, if somewhat limited, couch multiplayer.

Thanks to Xbox and Henchman Studio for supporting TiX

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Orbit review

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Couch multiplayer has been making somewhat of a comeback in recent years, making it the done thing to have friends back to yours for some multiplayer video gaming. 4bit Games, a small independent team from Norway have launched themselves into this arena with their inaugural release, Orbit.

Orbit pitches up to four players into multiplayer space combat that is one part asteroids, one part lander and one part Sunburn. Players must balance their limited power which controls their thrusters, special power and weapons, all while negating the effects of the many stars, planets and comets that make up the arena.

Orbit comprises of three game types, Tournament, Mayhem and Foundry. The main mode available is Tournament, playable over one to four rounds, each of which is randomly selected from a list of game types and battled out on a randomly generated system of planets.  Mayhem is identical to Tournament, but contains mini games between each of the rounds, and Foundry allows you to select specific game modes for your tournaments.

For each of the game modes, players must first pick their special ability; Warp which transports you forward a short distance, Shield which protects you from enemy fire for a limited period and Ballista which fires a high power missile at your enemies.

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Once in the arena, each “sun” at the centre of the circular map, and each satellite or planet in its orbit, have varying degrees of gravity that will affect you and your projectile’s firing arcs. Some gravitational forces will slow you and your missiles, some will speed them up, whereas some will deflect them entirely. Learning to utilise these different forces at play is key to winning each round.

Game modes include your standard deathmatch called Destroy, where you must be first to get to 10 kills, Conquer where you must capture areas around the sun and its satellites by setting yourself into a geostationary orbit for an extended period of time, Annihilate which limits you to six lives which will be depleted by any means including collisions with the environment, and survive which pits you against your friends, the environment and a whole shower of asteroids, as if navigating the zone unscathed wasn’t difficult enough.

Should you opt for more than one round, you will also be able to upgrade your ship after each, allowing you to give your ship more speed, reduce the gravitational effects on your ship, or even make you invulnerable to your own missiles.

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Orbit has a very simple, streamlined style, with much of the ships and planets made up of simple wireframe models and basic sprites which are very in tune with its retro influences, but with a thumping dub step soundtrack that keeps the pace of the twin stick combat pumping.

Playing with three or four players is undoubtedly the way this is meant to be played, with hectic gameplay balancing your power levels against the gravity of the environment, and the requirement to dodge multiple missiles as they follow their gravity influenced trajectories around the map, Orbit is local multiplayer at a highly polished and refined level.

Sadly, the greatest drawback in my mind is its primary design. With local competitive modes only, if you do not have a willing group of nearby friends to play with, this is sadly a bad purchase as there is no online matchmaking, nor the ability to have AI sub in for real players.  Furthermore the fact that each of the game types are just derivatives of the same style, makes it somewhat lacking.

If you happen to have a close-knit group of friends that frequently, or occasionally meet for gaming nights, this game will easily slot in as a go to game to finish the evening on a high with its frenetic, fun and intelligent gameplay. Sadly, this is not for everyone and you will find yourself with a deficit in your pocket and your hard drive if the aforementioned is not the case.

Thanks to Xbox and 4bit Games for supporting TiX

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