Video game companies still haven’t realized they don’t have to pander to kids anymore. The entire industry still tries to cram as many of their top games as possible into the last quarter of the year, simply to cash in on that all-important Christmas buck. While this means that you simply won’t be able to play every AAA title that comes out, at least you’ll have games to pick up and play (for cheap!) well into the new year.

In catching up ourselves, we’re bringing you impressions of the ones we missed.



For this first installment, we bring you two titles that work better depending on what you bring to the table. It’s all about user-generated content today.



BUY IT FROM AMAZON: RIGHT HERE!
PLATFORM: PC
ESRB RATING: E 10+
DEVELOPER: Maxis
PUBLISHER: EA


What’s it about?

Will Wright (The Sims, SimCity, SimAnt, SimCopter, SimIBS) makes the be-all, end-all of Sim games. It was even originally called SimEverything, if that tells you what they were going for. A title that brings you from a single-celled organism through multiple stages of evolution until you’re a space-faring civilization with dreams of taking over the galaxy.

How’s it play?

Five games in one! Play all your old favorites, except updated and simplified! We’ve got Pac-Man, Command and Conquer, even Civilization (in the stage of the same name)!



Seriously though, imagine dumbing down a bunch of great games and stringing them together. The last stage (the space one) is the only one with any meat to it, and it will only take you a couple of hours to get to that point. The game’s almost completely open ended, since there are literally a million planets you can explore, terraform and inhabit. You’ll have to deal with enemies and crises of your own, of course. You’re left on your own then, and can keep playing at your leisure.

Best bit-

Putting together a monstrosity that should not be, with claws and a mouthful of jagged teeth and demon wings and blazing red eyes taken from the firey abyss of hell… and making him do a booty dance. 
 
Moment that’ll piss you off-

When you get to the space portion and realize… that’s it? Yes. That’s it. You can keep playing forever, but will you want to?

Worth a purchase?

Only if you’re an artistic person. The gameplay doesn’t offer a whole lot so the only replay you will get is from creating new creatures, ships and buildings. The editor is amazingly intuitive and fun to use, and it’s a thrill seeing your creations walking around and imagining them infesting other people’s games. (Every object you run across is someone’s work!) But this is not the innovative be-all, end-all that Wright told us it would be. Bummer.

What we would score it-

8 out of 10



BUY IT FROM AMAZON: RIGHT HERE!
PLATFORM: PS3
ESRB RATING: E
DEVELOPER: Media Molecule
PUBLISHER: SCEE


What’s it about?

You play as Sackboy (sack as in burlap, not ball), a little creature that explores the world, helping people and getting killed a whole lot on the way. The big innovation with this game is how customizable it is- you’ve got thousands of choices of what to dress your little character in, and there’s an on-the-fly level editor that lets you easily create (or edit) levels and publish them online for all to see.

How’s it play?

It’s a platforming game- the controls are familiar to anyone who’s ever played a videogame before. You jump and you can grab and swing from things and that’s about it. But the big mystery is how they managed to make it so goddamn fun. Half of it’s the pure simplisitic joy of running and jumping through a 2d platformer again (although there are multiple planes to jump in and out of) but perhaps the level design is where the game really shines. There are some incredibly tricky and clever levels here- it’s just a shame there’s not more of them, Course, when you beat the game you can go online and play through hundreds of levels other users have made, or simply create your own. There’s a lot of great stuff out there, too.

Sure, the game’s just too damn cute, but it’s a manly kind of cute.

(Ahem.)

Best bit-

Getting together with 3 friends and trying to find all the hidden stickers and objects in a level. You’ll need to play co-op to get them all, and god damn if watching those cute little characters jump around isn’t endearing.
 
Moment that’ll piss you off-

Missing a jump because of lag. There are still plenty of problems with the online portions that keep it from being as much fun as it should be, but hopefully the new updates will start to help the problems.

Worth a purchase?

Absolutely- so why aren’t you buying it? The game is not selling nearly as well as it should be, especially considering it’s probably the best reason to own a PS3 right now.

What we would score it-

9 out of 10