Game On!

 

Disclosure- I received the below in order to facilitate my review.  All my opinions are my own and honest.

Looking to connect with the kids in a virtual way, but still hang out together in the “real world”? Check out these fun systems and games, perfect for rainy days, nights, and family fun for most ages.

Ouya started life as a Kick starter campaign, and quickly became fully funded and then some. Ouya is an android, 4.1 jelly bean, based micro console. The hardware does its job well and because of Ouya’s open source thought process has great potential for upgrades and do it yourself add-ons.
Currently there are over 400 games available for Ouya ranging from racing games to role playing to action games, all of which feature a free to play element in the form of free levels, free trials or being completely free. With the free to play element, you can actually try every game before buying it- meaning you will never pay good money for a not-so-good game with the Ouya.

The console comes packed with one Blue Tooth controller. Additional controllers can be purchased and other Blue Tooth controllers can be paired with the console in a pinch. Ouya retails for $99 and is available at fine stores everywhere as well as from Ouya.tv.

With every new console innovation a bright shiny new technology is expected, but with the Nintendo 2DS handheld system, some components are improved or altered. The handheld is based on the 3DS, but has tweaked it a bit to have a lower price point, and more accessibility to kids. This, in addition to a big design change, gives players a new way to play their 3DS and DS games.

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 The 2DS in comparison to the 3DS is now one solid unit, no hinge in the middle, which also makes it harder to break. Also it has a more tablet-like feel, with a slight tilt when put down, to rest easier on a hard surface. The 2DS can play most DS games as well as all 3DS games,with crisp sharp graphics and some incredibly fun games like Pokemon X and Y and Legend of Zelda, A Link Between Worlds, which makes the entertainment and value for your dollar quite high. With the reduction of 3D the price of the 2DS was also reduced, leading to a more wallet friendly way to get the newest system and games in the hands of you and your kids.
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Ouya Gaming System

ouya

There is a spot in your living room right now that is one of the most sought after spots in America.  No, its not that spot on the couch where Sheldon sits or Dad’s recliner.  It’s the game console, hooked to your TV.  With the holiday season upon us and the forthcoming releases of two power house systems, this spot is happening.

In our house, there are more video consoles then there are TV’s.  We have a problem with video games.  Video games are a fun distraction from everyday life that are creative and engaging.  One of the inhibiting factors with video games can be cost.  Video game consoles have been creeping up in cost over the years as have the games themselves.  With this in mind we are taking a look at the new kid on the block- Ouya.

Ouya started life as a Kick starter campaign, and quickly became fully funded and then some, becoming one of the most funded projects.  Ouya is an android, 4.1 jelly bean, based micro console.  The hardware itself is quite small, measuring only 2.95 and cubic in shape, it is about the size of half a pound of butter, but with way less calories.  Under the hood the console sports a Quad-core 1.7 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 MP Core and 1 GB of RAM.  The hardware does its job well and because of Ouya’s open source thought process has great potential for upgrades and do it yourself add-ons.
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Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver Video Game

Disclosure- The products below were provided to me in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and honest. I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC Guidelines. Please see “Disclose” tab for more information.

Hot Wheels are known for their small cars and big fun.  With creativity, any location can become a road and or track for your little ones.  So now instead of having tiny tire tracks on the TV, Hot Wheels has made World’s Best Driver, a video game.

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Family Video Game

The game starts out with selecting a team, each team specializes in a certain driving style, red is for tricks, green is for speed, blue is for drifting and yellow is for off roading.   The interesting aspect of this game is when hopping from team to team, there is a clear difference in vehicles which can be felt in their handling and speed as well as vehicle types.  Multiplayer takes a ‘hand off the controller’ type competition where each player takes turns, which can be frustrating to little ones, but to older players can teach them by example on ho to master the more difficult challenges.  Little Man’s favorite team to play was yellow, yet when watching Daddy play his favorite to watch was blue.  The bright colors and futuristic feel of the cars were quite appealing, but the drifting was a bit beyond his driving skill at this point in time.
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Turbo Video Game by D3

 

Disclosure- The products below were provided to me in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and honest. I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC Guidelines. Please see “Disclose” tab for more information.

Video games can be difficult to gauge on the surface, especially ones which are franchises.  The gems of these are usually few and far between, but in recent years there have been some notable exceptions.  These include Toy Story and the popular Batman: Arkham series.

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To be a gem, the game has to tie into the move/cartoon/character while also being fun and interesting.  Turbo: Super Stunt Squad is the newest game by D3 featuring characters from the movie Turbo.  This game is a stunt based game.  Think the popular skate boarding games of yester year minus humans and skateboards and instead super speed boosted snails.
Initially there are a few levels open.  Each level is based on a  human environment, but from a snails perspective.  These settings include a kitchen at a fast food establishment and a nail salon.  In each level there are collectibles and upgrades which unlock new abilities as well as open up new portions of the level to explore and conquer.
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Spring Travel with Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo Gameboy

I can remember all my vacation memories growing up started with a long car ride. These car rides would drag when we were younger and would lead to angry parents and uppity children. Then my parents found the magic charm that is the original Game boy. The grey brickish, green screened dot matrix and stereo sound emitting wonder was the first time one could bring Mario and Tetris with you everywhere. Only drawback was Mom would want the Game boy for Tetris too.

Fast forward a few decades and now the handheld of choice is the Nintendo 3DS. Instead of big and grey they are now sleek and brightly colored, with two screens and a stylus. With bright, vibrant colors and graphics that are in 3D, long gone are the black and green screens of yester year. Instead of carrying around a case of games, an entire library of stellar games are now available with a few clicks and downloads directly onto the 3DS through the Nintendo eShop.

This Spring Nintendo is releasing quite a few gems to catch your attention. We are going to take a look at two of the ever expanding online library of 3DS games.

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First up we are going to look at HarmoKnight. HarmoKnight is a music/rhythm platforming action adventure game. Yes, its a mouth full but there is one more important characteristic you must know. This game is made by Game Freak. Game Freak is the developer best known for the always fun Pokemon series. HarmoKnight follows a little boy named Tempo and his friend Tappy the rabbit as they try to vanquish the evil Gargan and the Noizoids who are invading. Along the way, he meets a few friends like Lyra the archer and the warrior Tyko. Tempo also meets hoards or enemies to smack with his staff. The game has the simple control scheme of jumping and swinging your staff. If done correctly you jump and swing to the music gaining more notes, which unlock more features of the game. This is a game where you will need to have the music on so make sure you either have some headphones or everyone should be ready to hum along to the catchy tunes. Even though the game play may seem simple and a breeze to master, this is far from true, without an understanding of each level and the ability to keep in rhythm the game can be very difficult. But with practice and trial and error each level goes from an incredible challenge to a rewarding experience.
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Wii U Review

nesNintendo has a history of making big leaps in digital home entertainment. Some great successes, like the NES, SNES, and Wii, while some have been innovative but never really taken off, like the Virtual Boy. The consistency across all of their consoles has always been innovation, ‘game changing’, well built, and timeless. After a bit of cleaning and the proper cables even an NES can be plugged in and played today, some 28 years after being released. Most importantly the games are still fun!

WiiUThe next step in the history and future of video games is the Wii U. The Wii U is the sleek new console made by Nintendo. The system itself has next generation graphics, comparable to the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Textures are sharp, sound is clear and the characters in the games look like they will hop right out of the screen at you. Speaking of screens, the innovative game changer with the Wii U is its touch screen controller. The controller has two analog sticks, the mandatory 4 buttons to the right and a few important buttons as well, home, start, select, etc. The middle of the controller is a touch screen which not only displays game play/video/etc but also acts as an input source itself. Some examples of this are an in-game map, flinging ninja stars, a different perspective of the environment. The possibilities are only limited by the designers’ imaginations. As of now the Wii U is available in 2 sets. One the basic which includes a white system with 8 GB of internal storage, the Wii U Game pad, stylus, Sensor Bar, AC adapters for both the game pad and the console as well as an HDMI cable. The Deluxe includes a black system with 32GB of internal storage, as well as all the accessories of the Basic Set AND game pad stand, charging cradle, Console stand, and Nintendo Land game. The Basic retails for $299.99 and the Deluxe retails for $349.99. The Deluxe is a great deal, for the extra $50, there are 24 GB more of data, a game, easy way to stand up the console AND a charging cradle.
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