Mobile Games

Angry Birds 2 | Mobile Game Review

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this review. I just do it for the shits and giggles. Angry Birds 2 is copyright of Rovio. Images used for reference and commentary.

In the sequel to their popular movile game, Rovio’s avian suicide bombers are back with a vengeance!

Still flinging themselves in the faces of egg-stealing pigs, these birds are looking spiffy, with a bunch of gameplay changes and upgrades. You begin with Red and must unlock the other birds from their cages along the way. Choose wisely! In addition to birds you can also unlock spells. These are one-time use but can be handy in a pinch.

You can now choose the order of your birds and spells. No, this is a lie. You may choose from three, while the rest wait in the wings. Haha. I am so clever. Each level has multiple “rooms” you must tackle with your limited birdies. This makes it more difficult to complete levels but easier to score three stars.

The biggest change (and potential no-no for gamers) is that you now have five lives, meaning gameplay is not unlimited. Each life takes 30 minutes to grow back, unless you want to splash some cash or watch an ad, which are short and tolerable.

You can win (and buy) prizes to upgrade your birds, such as feathers. Whose feathers are they wearing? Their fallen kin? It is a touch morbid to consider. You can also get your birds hats to boost their stats. One of my birds has a pile of books on his head, which makes his score x1.  That is utterly redundant! What is really does is increase his stats by +1. Yes, Rovio can build a mobile game but not do basic math. Fail.

Angry Birds 2 tries to be more social. You can battle other players in the Arena – for the highest score, not à la cock fighting. You also win presents sometimes that you can send to your Facebook friends. This is the only option. Ugh. I’d rather keep the presents for myself.

My favourite new feature is the fast-forward button. You can press this so that you don’t have to wait forever for the birds to pop and the pigs to stop wiggling before the level is over. I do not like how far I must zoom out to see all the obstacles. It is hard to know if I have killed all of Kermit and Miss Piggy’s children when they are so tiny. Pass me a magnifying glass! Also, some of the Gen One birds are missing. Where is the boomerang bird? Where is the pink bird and the orange bird? Hopefully they will return in future.

Angry Birds 2 is another addictive romp for our fuming feathered friends. You can easily play without paying a cent, with only the lives system standing in the way of endless gameplay.

4 out of 5 stars


The Incredibles 2 | Movie Review

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this review. How dare they? Time to become a super villain! The Incredibles 2 is copyright Disney and Pixar. Images used for reference and commentary.

Warning: This movie contains scenes with flashing lights that may be unsafe for people with epilepsy or other photo sensitivities.

The Incredibles are back! It only took 12 years. Were you alive back then? The sequel picks up right where the first one left off. Bye bye fan theories that a grown-up Dash or Jack-Jack would be the new villain. Maybe in another 12 years?

In Incredibles 2, an eccentric hero-crazy businessman wants to lure the public’s affection back to the heroes. The secret? Good press! The best hero for the job? Elastigirl! Now she must leave her family to kick bad-guy butt, sway the public, and preferably stay alive. That would be a nice bonus.

Yes, Helen Parr is front and center. She was kicking butt in the first movie – and now she is kicking more butt! Whether it’s as Mrs. Incredible or Elastigirl, I cannot get enough of this lady. #TeamElastigirl!

Helen is a super hero and a super mom. And now Bob has to dad it up to her level. It ain’t easy! Props to Mr. Incredible’s characterisation – he is still one flawed man. He has a short temper, an inferiority complex, and he’s jealous of his wife’s success. Wow, he sounds like a tool. The realism is on point. His behaviour is not justified or excused, but who wants to watch a movie about some glamorised twit? It is very reflective of the times – then and now – to see a man struggling to come to grips that his wife is succeeding in areas where he has faltered and is unable to thrive.

Like the first movie, The Incredibles 2 is not strictly a movie for the kiddies. “Whaaat? But it’s animated! It’s rated for kiddies!” This is true. But both flicks deal with family, marital struggles, and the need to find – and follow – your purpose. Also, the humour seems to be more targeted at the old(er) generation. It never stops to pander and that is what makes it great.

The Incredibles 2 has more, more, more than the first one! More Frozone, more Violet and Dash kicking butt, and more Jack-Jack. I have mixed feelings about Jack-Jack, the Gary Stu baby. If he was not an infant, the fact that he has 17+ powers would be irritable, not endearing. Instead, it lends itself to the story and the humour. But if they do make another Incredibles movie, set in the future, and Jack-Jack does still have all of these powers, he had better be a villain. Or I will be bored out of my mind watching him out-super Superman.

Oh, the villain! How could I forget? The villain is the Screenslaver – an anonymous dude who wants people to continue hating on super heroes. He uses the power of technology and mind control. Great stuff. Very unsubtle, comic book-esque, and lends itself beautifully to the importance of media in influencing the masses.

The Incredibles 2 is worth the wait. If you enjoyed the first one, you won’t be disappointed.

4.3 out of 5 stars

Console Games

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit | Game Review

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this review. Just the almighty need to protect this cinnamon roll! The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is copyright Dontnod Entertainment. Images used for reference and commentary.

This is a short free prequel to the upcoming game Life is Strange 2. It is about Chris Eriksen – a ten year old boy who uses make-believe to get through the harsh realities of life. It is all about escapism and imagination. There is no greater superpower than imagination!

The game is set in the lead-up to Christmas. You play as Chris, a kid who lives alone with his dad. The snowy scenery is gorgeous – and the music is beautiful. It draws you into this small little corner of the world where Chris lives and plays.

Because Chris is so awesome, he has invented his own superhero alter-ego – Captain Spirit. If anyone wants to know, I too have a superhero alter-ego – The Urchin – a hedgehog vigilante who defends the streets in the dead of night! Anyway… Captain Spirit fights against his evil arch nemesis, Mantroid. You must assemble Captain Spirit’s costume, fight bad guys and save the day!

There are several things to do around the house – both magnificent and mundane. Chris has a list of things to do, so make sure you check it if you want to accomplish everything and not miss anything! Some things are annoying to try and find. How hard is it to find some make-up? How hard is it? Where did you hide my make-up, Dad? Geez.

There are lots of things to discover around the house. There is the make-believe stuff, but also the daunting reality, including many things that hint at why things are the way they are for Chris and his dad.

Tip: Don’t wake up Chris’ dad unless you want to expedite the game’s end before you have had a chance to do all the things.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a sweet but serious mini game, which will give you a taste for what to expect in Life is Strange 2. I have not played Life is Strange yet, but Captain Spirit has left me wanting to give it a go.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is available for free on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

3 out of 5 stars


Deadpool 2 | Movie Review

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this review. Throw a dime my way. Not really, I don’t live in America anymore. Deadpool 2 is copyright 20th Century Fox. Images used for reference and commentary.

The sequel to a successful movie that no one thought would ever actually exist, Deadpool 2 delivers the same signature humour that carried the first one. Like the first one, it relies heavily on Deadpool’s flavour and flare – but now there is an antagonist that is worth his time. Sorry, Francis, ya’ basic!

Cable (real name Nathan, no wonder he goes by Cable) is a bad-ass cyborg mutant from the future, intent on killing a mutant kid for whatever reason. You’ll have to watch the movie yourself to find out why. Russell, the said child-person, is played by Julian Dennison of Hunt for the Wilderpeople notoriety. Let’s take a moment to thank Marvel for including a New Zealand mutant that wasn’t Kiwi Black. Whoever created and named that guy needs a kick right up Main Street.

I was not impressed by how they handled Vanessa’s character. I did not expect her to be out there kicking ass with the rest of them, but she was squeezed squarely in the love interest trope box and it was gross, boring and predictable.

Deadpool 2’s other main fail was that, for a movie dealing with time-travel, it messed up its time-line. There is a cameo by characters from the 80s in a movie that is clearly set – judging by technology and pop culture references – now. Someone thought they were being clever but was in fact being super stupid.

Highlights of the film were, of course, Deadpool – but also Cable and Domino. They were good counters to Deadpool’s extravagance, but in distinctive and different ways. I am looking forward to seeing more of them in the X-Force movie. When does that come out? Now? Now please.

Is Deadpool 2 just a jerk-fest for fans of the Merc with a Mouth? Yes – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an enjoyable one.

3.5 out of 5 stars