What would have happened had Admiral Chester Nimitz taken personal command of a battleship in the Pacific Theatre of World War II? What would have happened if the commander of the Japanese forces had personally decided to take flight in a bomber plane and attack Pear Harbor? Eidos Hungary's eclectic combat simulator, Battlestations: Pacific, answers these questions and more by letting you play as virtually every role player in the Pacific Theater of WWII.
Battlestations: Pacific, the sequel to Battlestations: Midway, is no mere World War II simulator/strategy game. Though most WWII strategy games let you experience the second Great War from one perspective, be it a foot soldier, fighter pilot, or battleship commander, Pacific lets you lets you play from the perspective of everything from a ship captain to a flight commander to a gunner on land. But like many sim-everything games, Pacific suffers from unfocused and unrefined gameplay.
While Battlestations Midway puts you in the shoes of one US Naval Officer as he rises through the ranks, Battlestations: Pacific dispenses with any coherent storyline. Instead of an individual character, you play as the omnipresent commander. Your omnipresence allows you to take command of almost any game vessel, vehicle, craft or gun at almost any point in time in the game without excuse. Unlike its predecessor, Pacific doesn’t confine you to commanding American forces only. For the first time, you will be able to command Japanese forces in a completely separate campaign from the American levels.
If you’ve been dying to get out of virtual suburbia, this is your chance. Electronic Arts' The Sims 3: Late Night expansion pack features an entirely new urban cityscape—“Bridgeport”—complete with high-rise buildings, celebrities around every corner, and a pumping nightlife. Not to mention all of the other features of cities—muggings, snobby socialites, and a rather dark supernatural underbelly. Okay, so you won’t find the “dark supernatural underbelly” aka “vampires” in NYC or San Francisco, but you never know!
The Sims 3: Late Night is an expansion pack, which means that you’ll need a copy of The Sims 3 in order to play. Late Night features a brand-new neighborhood for your Sims to explore—a small built-up “city” called Bridgeport, which appears to be modeled after San Francisco and Los Angeles. Bridgeport features high-rise apartment buildings where your Sim can rent a modest studio apartment (living the real city life) or purchase an expensive penthouse. While high-rise apartments have naturally limited space (you won’t be able to build outside of your apartment, obviously), there are plenty of new sexy furniture options, including an absurdly large wall-sized fish tank.
Dust off your spyglass and get ready to snoop; Her Interactive has another Nancy Drew adventure game ready for the Mac. While the developer—known for producing games for girls and women—has nearly two dozen Nancy Drew games available for the Windows PC platform, Shadow at the Water’s Edge marks their third release for the Mac. Like other games in the series, Shadow at the Water’s Edge lets players play as Nancy and features several other familiar characters from the popular Carolyn Keene series as they find themselves solving a mystery, this time in Japan. Shadow at the Water's Edge can feel slow due to the lengthy dialogue and challenging puzzles but the dynamic characters, beautiful graphics, and an enticing story ultimately make for a rich gaming experience.
The game begins when the well-loved teen detective journeys abroad to relax, visit some friends, and teach English in Japan. However, immediately upon arrival, Nancy gets wind of some strange goings-on in the traditional Japanese ryokan she’s staying at. While all of the characters seem to have their own take on the rumors that the inn is haunted, several encounters with things that go bump in the night lead Nancy to embark on one of her full-fledged investigations. The story unfolds nicely, and each clue offers its own piece of exposition, so there’s no need for lagging explanations at the start.
About a year ago, a group of developers at Candywriter with a love for word puzzles and Solitaire thought “why not combine the two?” and Word Solitaire was born. Now, after a successful run with that addictive title, Candywriter is releasing the sequel: Word Solitaire: Aurora and it's available for iPhone, iPad and Mac.
Word Solitaire: Aurora, like its predecessor, uses the basic game mechanics of traditional Solitaire, but instead of numbers or suites, each card represents a letter of the alphabet. Your task is to stack cards on top of one another to create words and expose more letters. Once all provided letters have been arranged into words, you can advance to the next level.
EA’s sports games always focus on getting the details right, and FIFA 11 for iPhone is no exception. The game requires 858 MB of space on your device, but all that data is put to good use: the graphics, gameplay, play-by-play commentary, and in-game audio all work well to make a fun, highly-replayable soccer simulation.
As has become the norm in touchscreen gaming, FIFA 11 uses a virtual d-pad on the left, with context-aware action buttons on the right. (Lefties can swap those controls around.) On offense, you get Pass, Through, and Shoot buttons, and on defense you get Switch (player), Slide, and Tackle buttons. (These are the Casual controls. Players can switch to Advanced controls, which employ A, B, and C buttons for passing, shooting, and “combo” moves. I preferred the Casual option.)
On Thursday, Capcom announced Smurfs’ Village for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Smurfs' Village is a free social game where players must help the blue cartoon characters rebuild their home after the villainous Gargamel discovered it and scattered the Smurfs throughout the forest. You’ll recruit recognizable Smurfs from the series, like Brainy Smurf, Papa Smurf, and Smurfette, and make the new Smurf village better than the last.
While the app seems inspired by games like the popular Zynga app, Farmville, Smurfs’ Village will stand out because the gameplay will offer more than just simple, mindless clicking. Entertaining mini-games litter the village, offering simple but varied fun. You’ll quickly learn there is more to Smurf culture than blue skin and farming.
If all you want for Christmas is a time-traveling DeLorean, you might be in luck. Telltale Games has announced that upcoming title Back to the Future: The Game is slated for a December release on Mac and PC, so you’ll be able to spend the holidays racing through time even if you don’t have a real flux capacitor.
The game picks up shortly after the events of the third Back to the Future film and features the two main characters of the series, Marty McFly and Doc Brown. The story will unfold across five episodes, with new episodes released on a monthly basis.