Hungry Shark World, boss encounters of another kind!

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Hungry Shark World is an Action title from Ubisoft and Future Games of London. It is the sixth installment of the Hungry Shark game series, released on May 5th, 2016. A remarkably deep, single-player platformer, in which your objective is to keep your “Hungry Shark” fed. A player feeds their shark through traversing the treacherous waters of Hungry Shark World’s many unique levels. 

Objective-based incentives allow you to level-up your sharks and unlock rewards to customize your approach to each play-through. There are plentiful combinations of upgrades that can fine-tune your shark’s pedigree such as increasing health or consumption speed. There are even objectives that can only be completed wearing certain gear so your incentive to complete each task keeps bringing you back for more. Easy controls mean the game can be enjoyed by all ages. Children gravitate to its fun character design and being able to “eat” the beach-tourists via hilarious in-game animations. (You can turn the ‘blood’ off as a parental control). Advanced players can enjoy the increasingly difficult level-specific challenges. There seems also to be an addictive quality to pursuing larger and larger sharks to magnify the fun, as Hungry Shark World boasts a uniquely balanced experience.

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Where there are accessories there are in-game currencies, and your motivations include a bounty of Gems and Gold along with treasures and coins placed throughout each map. My experience with Hungry Shark World was encouraged by the degree of depth and ease of access to enjoying the games content. Setup your Shark in easy to navigate customization menus, choose your level, and watch your finned fiend dive for mealtime. The beat-the-clock mechanism adds a fun pressure level and requires that you maintain your movement.  There’s not a moment to spare nor a second to lose. Your eyes are glued and focus is a must. 

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Among the many challenges to find in Hungry Shark World are the games boss encounters. An element of the aforementioned objective based completion method, bosses in Hungry Shark World are extravagantly designed experiences and quite challenging. Whether its an oversized Goliath to chip away at, or a herd of malicious Great Whites. There’s no telling what awaits you at every turn. One wrong move and your health-bar will be rapidly depleted. This is where Hungry Shark World shines. Its brilliant catering to both casual players, and anyone hungry for, (pun-intended), a more challenging experience. You can spend hours enjoying the visual splendor of its well executed maps or engage in high-octane, high-speed predator hunts. 

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For the collector, Hungry Shark World is a great pickup with its incredible selection of gear and characters. Not only do you have your primary Shark character in each run, but you are accompanied by Pets that aid you on your quests. These pets can help with consumption, among a versatile array of equitable assets that come with each one you unlock.  As you progress in the game these unlocks become more essential to completion, so not only is it rewarding to unlock them, they can help you to eventually unlock Sharks or other gear. 

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With its engaging gameplay and attention to replay-value, Hungry Shark World is a win for all ages, and will keep you immersed in the fun for hours. I’d recommend it for both casual and advanced niche players.  Its available now for iOS, Android, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

FarCry Primal Review (Xbox One)

Let me tell you of Takkar…

FarCry Primal, the 10th installment in the FarCry series, dFar_Cry_Primal_cover_arteveloped by Ubisoft Montreal, places gamers in the Land of Oros, in 10,000 BC, at the end of the last ice age.  We assume control of Takkar, the game’s protagonist and warrior of the Wenja tribe.  Primal opens with Takkar and a group of hunters journeying to Oros, and preying on a herd of Woolly Mammoths.  Group member Tensay provides background to Takkar on the Wenja people.  The flesh-eating Udam tribe, and masters of fire; the Izila tribe, have brought darkness to Oros.  UII of the Udam has destroyed the Wenja village, scattering the Wenja throughout Oros.

While on the hunt, Takkar’s group is attacked by a Sabre-toothed Tiger, causing the group to flee. Tensay and Takkar are cornered and forced over the edge of a cliff.  Takkar survives the fall.  Tensay is not so lucky.  Tensay spends his final few breaths pleading with Takkar to continue to Oros to find members of the Wenja tribe, rebuild the Wenja village, and bring light back to the Land of Oros.

FarCry Primal is a first-person action-rpg set in an incredibly vibrant environment.  While it follows the mechanics of most open-world action-RPGs, setting apart FarCry Primal from other games within the genre is the rich experience of navigating its primitive world.  Ubisoft’s ambition is splendidly executed.  You will trek through photo4mountainous peaks and grassy valleys.  You will search through treacherous caverns, hunt along rivers and lakes, leap over waterfalls and endure the elements while attempting to survive nature’s primal gauntlet of predators and tribal warriors.

Main missions task Takkar with seeking out lost Wenja, each with unique skills or abilities to enhance the Wenja village.  Complete objectives to bring each tribe member back to the Wenja village.  Each objective allows Takkar to build huts for those he has saved, unlocking new skills, abilities, weapons, and resources along the way.  Players improve Takkar through a standard skill-tree, with each tribesman representing a set of unlockable skills and abilities; hunting, gathering, crafting, and beast-master (taming the predators found in Oros for cooperation) abilities are amongst the categories used to enhance Takkar on his journey.  Looting is a big part of the experience.  Gathering resources from deceased warriors, skinning beasts for food and crafting purposes, grabbing plants, clay, and rock from the land are consistent parts of the action and vital to giving Takkar the necessary skills to progress through the entire game.

photo6The most unique element of FarCry Primal is the ability to tame beasts.  Upon unlocking Takkar’s beast-master ability, players can distract beasts with bait, sneak up on them and through holding the X button can perform the tame action.  This allows Takkar to be in control of the animal as it hunts alongside you, protecting you from other predators.  There are varying degrees of predator ferocity, ranging from Dholes, Badgers, and Lions, to Bears, Jaguars, Panthers, and even the mighty Sabre-toothed Tiger.  Takkar can also learn the ability to ride atop a Woolly Mammoth, making for some awesome stampedes through rival villages.

Takkar can instruct his companion to attack rival tribesman or other beasts while maintaining cover, giving the game an element of strategy and espionage.  Takkar can even learn the ability to summon an Owl to scout areas ahead, placing markers to track enemy tribesman or attacking them without triggering suspicion of Takkar’s presence.  The animal interplay in FarCry Primal is an engaging element.  Watching a Sabre-toothed Tiger duel to the death with a Mammoth that has been isolated from his herd is quite awesome.  

Don’t worry if your Tiger isn’t up to task; if your tamed beast is killed they can be both revived or summoned again.  Once you have tamed a beast you can summon them again if you have thephoto5 necessary resources in your inventory; such as the rare plants found throughout Oros.  As long as you maintain a focus on looting all of the resources you see around you as you complete objectives, you shouldn’t find yourself without the necessary resources to enjoy all of the game’s mechanics.  I didn’t run out of what I needed at all throughout my play-through.

Takkar has plenty of weapons of his own at his disposable.  He uses clubs, bows, spears, firebombs, sting-bombs (a hive of bees that swarms and kills tribesman in it’s vicinity), and berserker bombs (throw this to turn an flesh-eating Udam against his own people).  Secondary weapons include projectile shards, traps for larger predators and a sling.  Takkar is also equipped with a grappling claw to ascend to hard-to-reach peaks throughout Oros.  Each weapon can be enhanced with fire if you have the necessary resources. If at long-range; shoot an enemy tribesman with a flamed-arrow for extensive damage.

There are numerous dynamics found in FarCry Primal that make the game continuously engaging and versatile.  The Wenja, Izila, and Udam all speak in unique dialects and are dressed in unique gear with distinguishable face-paint and mannerisms.  

Primal’s dynamic time makes the experience very different depending on whether it is day or night.  During the day you may see a herd of Mammoths peacefully drinking from a waterhole, or deer galloping through the hilly Oros landscape.  At night, apex predators lurk in darkness.  Packs of wolves prey on Takkar, and can even be seen in the distance pack-hunting rival tribe members.  The night is aptly far more dangerous for Takkar, though various camps scattered throughout Oros allow Takkar to rest until the light returns.

Though I don’t typically play many first-person games, (this was also my first experience with a FarCry game), I thought the first-person perspective was perfect for Primal.  The in-your-face cut-scenes with exchanges of dialogue showcase the fantastic detail of each character.  Their body language and dialects bring a very unique visual experience to the game.  You must tread carefully at night, as predators may ambush you from behind, a situation far more suited to first-person view. The perspective adds to the overall experience of the game.

photo1Aside from the game’s main objectives, there are numerous side-missions and location-based events to help Takkar unlock the entirety of his skill-tree.  You can unlock the majority of Takkar’s skills through the main objectives and through collecting animal skins as you travel throughout Oros, but the secondary objectives give the game a good degree of replay-value once you have progressed through the game’s main storyline.  As I played, I focused initially on collecting all of the rare animal skins for crafting, but I could have shaved 10 hours or so from the 40 hours it took me to complete the game had primary missions been my focus.

I did not find FarCry Primal difficult.  The main missions are mostly quick missions, not the lengthy, time-consuming endeavors found in most open-world titles.  I thought this was a smart approach by Ubisoft, as it kept me interested in the game and not bogged down with an eternity of repetitive tasks to complete in order to finish the story.  It is a game any level of gamer, casual to hardcore, can enjoy and complete.  Once I got into the meat of the game I couldn’t put it down, it was an enjoyable experience from the opening cut-scene until the final credits.  I would recommend FarCry Primal to anyone interested in experiencing the primitive Land of Oros.

– All in-game photos and clips were captured on my initial play-through. FarCry Primal was provided by Ubisoft for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Ubisoft.  

– Ryan Kosinski

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate Review (Xbox One)

 

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate Review

(Xbox One)
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By Ryan Kosinski

 

“Whoever controls London, controls the world.”  A statement that both sets the tone and envelopes the central theme of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, Ubisoft’s 2015 entry into the acclaimed Assassin’s Creed franchise. Syndicate is the follow up to 2014’s Assassin’s Creed: Unity, a polarizing release, met with criticism due to many launch-day bugs, a less-than-engaging story, and a disappointing protagonist.  Syndicate has addressed the issues that plagued it’s predecessor, and the experience is reminiscent of what I felt playing through Ubisoft’s original Assassin’s Creed (2007)Syndicate places renewed emphasis on both visual and mechanical elements that have long made Assassin’s Creed a successful franchise.

111Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate places gamers in 1868 London, and in control of two playable protagonists: twins Jacob and Evie Frye.  Immediately setting Syndicate apart from recent Assassin’s Creed games are its charming and likeable main characters.  Both are quick-witted and engage in frequent exchanges of banter reflective of their sibling rivalry.  Jacob is brash, carries himself with a seeming air of invincibility, eager to lead (The Rooks in particular).  Evie is more cunning, contemplative, and calculated in her actions.  These characteristics are also inherent in each character’s play-style.  Syndicate allows the player to swap between Evie and Jacob to accommodate the skillsets required by a particular task.  Jacob is the brawler, more physically imposing and strong for combat-heavy missions or tasks.  Evie’s strengths are her quickness and using stealth to elude her adversaries.  Evie is great for infiltration and kidnapping targets.  The main characters compliment each other brilliantly.  The use of dual-protagonists in Syndicate was a genius maneuver by Ubisoft to add depth to the overall story and to engage the player in strategizing their character choice as they attempt to proceed through the game.

 

Syndicate’s central plot pits the Frye twins against Templar Grand Master Crawford Starrick, and the reaches of his influence, which include Maxwell Roth and his gang, the Blighters.  Gamers are tasked with utilizing the Frye twins to free each London borough of Blighter control.  In doing so, the Frye’s also foster the growth of their own London gang – The Rooks – in an attempt to overthrow Templar influence.
111With strong protagonists in place, and an engaging story as the backdrop, Syndicate truly shines with its beautiful reimagining of London circa 1868.  Although the story and characters both are strengths in this release, the London backdrop was the reason I kept going back for more.  Free-running through the boroughs I am consistently enamored with the black-smoke-heavy skyline.  Factories churn out the industrial revolution while the Frye’s catalog mission objectives through viewpoint synchronizations; (‘synching’ a viewpoint places location markers on your map for important tasks).  The NPC’s have a reasonable and bearable degree of exuberance.  I found the groups of young children playing on street corners and roadsides to be a charming occurrence representative of the game’s chosen setting.  Conversely, attention is called to child labor practices, and many side missions call for the rescue of imprisoned groups of children.  Horse and carriages are littered throughout the London streets.  Hooves trot over reflective rain puddles on stone sidewalks.

 

Essential to any Assassin’s Creed game are the accurate depictions of significant geographical landmarks.  There is no shortage of those in Syndicate.  Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, Victoria Station, the Monument to the Great Fire, and London Bridge Station are all represented, among many more.  I was especially impressed with the landscape at night.  The city glistens against a starry backdrop, lighting and visual effects are gorgeous, and the dynamic weather conditions enhance how real the experience of traversing through 19th century London feels.

 

It should not be understated how fun simply free-running through London can be.  Syndicate’s free-run mechanics add a degree of control to the player by incorporating specific controls for running upwards and downwards.  Although these mechanics are counter-intuitive on occasion, overall they are smooth and I experienced minimal hiccups when free-running.  A welcome addition to the free-running mechanics is a zip-line, which allows Jacob or Evie to efficiently travel between distant rooftops.  The zip-line is a much-needed addition, and I found myself drifting from area to area without the desire to fast travel, although fast traveling is an option upon synching with a viewpoint.  Leaps of faith are still exhilarating.

Grammy-nominated composer Austin Wintory’s score is thoughtful, serene, and underscores the moral conflicts at hand throughout the game.  The music changes as you wander from borough to borough and compliment an artfully crafted environment.

 

The core game-play and combat mechanics are all vastly improved from previous Assassin’s Creed titles.  I consistently found myself playing “fight club” side-missions repeatedly, where Evie or Jacob can take on challenge-waves of Blighters.  Fluid combat allows for stringing together a multitude of attacks, and chaining lengthy combos – complete with devastating multi-kill finishing moves.  Bringing opponents “near death (indicated by a the opposing fighters hunched over highlighted in white) allows for one-button finishers, which can be used on one, or multiple opponents at a time.  These added maneuvers make the combat presentation continuously versatile.  Utilizing weapon enhancements mid-combo can make for some truly spectacular combo-chains.  You will utilize specialized brass-knuckles, swords, revolvers, knives, and hallucinogenic darts as you upgrade your characters’ respective skill-tree.  I found the combat in Syndicate to be the most satisfying of any Assassin’s Creed release.

 

Syndicate provides players a variety of types of tasks to complete as you conquer London’s boroughs.  The game contains no multiplayer, a direction that aided Ubisoft in returning Assassin’s Creed to top form.  Sequenced missions feature a variety of influential historical figures.  Syndicate offers players a chance to cross paths with Charles Dickens, Alexander Graham Bell, Karl Marx, and Charles Darwin, among many others.  For the purposes of income and resource gains, side missions are available at every turn.  Eliminating Gang-leaders in Blighter strongholds is a great tactical exercise.  Mix things up in kidnapping missions where you abduct targets, place them into a carriage, and escape by riding the horse-and-carriage at high speeds through the highly-populated London streets as Blighter carriages attempt to swarm and attack.  Hijacking carriages is fun, you can leap from roof to roof at high speeds and follow up with a ruthless execution of the driver.

 

I’ve played most of the Assassin’s Creed releases, and Syndicate is, without question, my favorite entry into the franchise.  It’s emphasis is firmly placed on what makes the Assassin’s Creed games so enjoyable: an immersive, rich landscape serving as catalyst to a strong criminal industrial complex narrative, fluid free-run controls allowing the player to engage with the environment in varied ways, and an enhanced combat system that can both test your strategic acumen through high-difficulty combo strings, or can be equally satisfying slashing-and-mashing your way through hoards of Blighters.   Syndicate unequivocally breaths new life into a previously stagnant franchise.  Ubisoft wisely went back to basics with Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, and the result is the finest installment in the franchise’s storied history.

 

*Disclosure:

I received this game for review courtesy of Ubisoft. All opinions are my own and reflect my own game play experience.

Horse Haven World Adventures Mobile App

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When I was a teen, the game “The Sims” came out for PC and I was hooked.

The game allowed you to basically raise another person and tell them what to do. Build your own new home, furnish it with the newest appliances, and the best part, find a job and make as much money as you could!

For me, I’d always be upset about the fact that my game play was so limited and I only got to play it when stationed at the desktop computer.

With all of the new apps out there, I am so surprised it took so long for a game like this to come out. Finally, UbiSoft got it right when they came out with this FREE app!

I am talking about Horse Haven; New World Adventures. This is every little girls dream! You raise and breed horses. Keep the stables neat and clean, and race and ride them!

If you have a young daughter, or if your like simulation games like I do, I suggest you check it oy! You can get extra diamonds and points to build your farm land bigger and better and the possibilities are endless!

The only quam I have with this game is I feel like they are trying to get you to buy and buy when it comes to speeding up r process, but I guess that’s how ever free app is now a days. They have to make money some how.

I give this game a 3 out of 5 stars because if the slight difficulty of use and the time lapse if you don’t pay for diamond, but I hope this is the start of more simulation games in the app store in the future!

As of 2018, Horse Haven is now available on PC making this game that much more fun!

Check it out and get it here:

https://www.browsercam.com/horse-haven-world-adventures-pc/