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E3 Press Conference Schedule The Electronic Entertainment Expo is held in June each year in Los Angeles, CA. Each year the major publishers in the video game industry hold major press events where they fill auditoriums with the press (as well as investors) and show off the games they are releasing. If it helps, you can picture the press events given by Tim Cook over at Apple when they announce the new iPhones. Below is a list of the different press events that are being held. Sunday June 14th Bethesda Software 6pm PST Bethesda has never held an E3 press event in its history. It appears that the vast majority of their conference will be focused on Fallout 4 which isn’t exactly a family friendly title. But, Bethesda has a whole bunch of development studios so they could surprise us. It is also worth noting that their games are events, so anything that they release will have a HUGE impact on other video game releases. Think of it like movies. No one would release an action movie the same day as The Avengers 2 right? This is a similar type of phenomenon.

Monday June 15th

Microsoft

9am PST Microsoft came out of the gate in this console generation with a massive messaging problem. Their dedicated fans from the 360 era were jumping ship to the PlayStation brand quickly thanks to a more expensive Xbox One and the inclusion of the much-maligned Kinect. Those days appear to be behind us and Microsoft could very easily make up lost ground in 2015 thanks to an amazing lineup of exclusive games coming this holiday (HALO 5, Forza Motorsports 6, and Tomb Raider). This year’s E3 press event is reportedly going to be laser focused on exclusive, first party content (meaning that many of the games will be developed by companies Microsoft owns).  It will be exciting. One thing for parents to keep in mind: Microsoft owns a little company called Mojang. They made a small arthouse game that you might have heard of once or twice called Minecraft.

Electronic Arts

12pm PST Electronic Arts is the company behind the Madden Football, FIFA Soccer, and a number of other sports series. We always hear about the tech dedicated to those games at the E3 briefing. But, EA will likely be bringing a lot more thunder this year thanks to their exclusive contract with Disney for Star Wars related games. We already know about Star Wars Battlefront that will be releasing later this year. We will probably even see some gameplay footage. But, I would be stunned if that was the only Star Wars game released this year considering the buildup to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Ubisoft

3pm PST Ubisoft is the company responsible for the Assassin’s Creed franchise so we can rest assured that we will hear a LOT about the much anticipated Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. But, they have also released several Rayman titles, Valiant Hearts, and Child of Light in recent years. We will never really know what is coming from them until the show is over.

Sony

6pm PST Sony is riding high on the success of the PlayStation 4. It is among the fastest selling consoles in history and is maintaining momentum nicely. Their issue, however, is that their slate of announced first party exclusives is very light over the rest of the year. Sony needs to come out at this E3 press conference and announce enough games to keep the fires burning. It is worth noting that Sony  has announced the release of a virtual reality headset currently called Project Morpheus in the Spring of 2016. If this launch is going to happen on schedule we should expect to see some VR announcements during their press event.

Tuesday June 16th

Nintendo E3 Event

9am PST Nintendo has skipped out on holding a stage show at E3 for several years now instead favoring the release of a video that shows off their upcoming games. The last few videos have been very entertaining and have readily shown off Nintendo’s quirky and fun persona. The only question this year is “What will Nintendo show? We know that they have no intention of discussing next installment in The Legend of Zelda series. We also know that they will not be talking about the upcoming, and unannounced, Nintendo NX console. So… what will they say? The reality is that there is a lot of mystery surrounding their presentation outside the assumption that they will talk about games coming out later this year like Yoshi’s Wooly World, Mario Maker, and Star Fox.

Square Enix

10am PST This is a peculiar one. Square Enix has not held an E3 press event for years, but it appears that they have enough games coming down the pipeline to make it worth the expense. A good portion of the program will likely be dedicated to games in the Final Fantasy franchise. Final Fantasy 14’s expansion “Heavensward” will release soon and will need some stage time and Final Fantasy 15 should be releasing at some point soon too. Square Enix is also responsible the Tomb Raider franchise. A sequel the violent reboot will be coming out later this year to the Xbox One exclusively. On a personal note, I am hoping for some information regarding Kingdom Hearts 3 even if it is just a screenshot or maybe a short movie.

PC Showcase – Sponsored by PC Magazine

6pm PST PC Gamer, a gaming news magazine, is holding their own press event at E3 to help shine a spotlight on PC centric games. We don’t have a lot of details yet, but as the PC gaming space is very open we can expect to see a wide variety of games of different genres and sizes. It promises to be very interesting.

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Activision held an event at the Best Buy Theater in NYC today to give a small group of reporters a first hand look at Guitar Hero Live and Engaged Family Gaming was lucky enough to get an invite!

I represented EFG at the event and got a LOT of hands on time with the game. There were only three songs available, but all of the difficulty modes were active and I took my time to go through them all to see how it would all play out.

The difference in the presentation was clear from the minute I strapped the guitar on. Each song started with a first person view of a backstage area while my bandmates and I prepared to rush out on stage and begin our set. Activision was showing us the massive outdoor festival locations today, so running out on stage drew thunderous applause from the massive army of fans spread out before me. Every time the camera panned out across the audience I got a little more nervous even though I knew it was just a video. Activision made it clear during their presentation that they wanted to make a game that actually gave players stage fright. This definitely felt like it was working (although it could have just been the ever-so-cheerful PR person or the large group of other press watching me).

Guitar Hero Live Screenshot

It looks different, but the gameplay will be immediately familiar to anyone who has played before!

After a short intro and several generous looks out across the crowd it all came crashing down on me that I had to actually play this thing. The vertically aligned bars that have been the hallmark of the Guitar Hero franchise faded into view and a series of black and white guitar picks glided down the lines as opposed to the colored gems I was used to from before. The difference was alarming since I was very used to the older style, but it was very intuitive. I really don’t think that new players will struggle to pick up the controls.

In fact, the rookie difficulty level only included three buttons so it should be even easier for novices (and younger players) to pick up than previous. I tried that difficulty and had the crowd fired up quickly and kept them going. It was a  lot of fun playing and really getting into the rhythm of the music along with the fans.

That all changed when I switched over to more advanced difficulty levels that used both the top and bottom rows of buttons. Making those transitions was very difficult without practice. I got a little bit better over the course of a few songs, but it left me feeling a bit frustrated. There is room for improvement though. I could tell immediately where I would need to improve if I wanted to succeed moving forward. Parents should definitely be ready to step in with help for more ambitious kids. Keep in mind that you can change difficulty mid song, so if it just isn’t working you can always step it down.

The entire experience was great and I was left wanting more. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait long since the game will launch this fall for just about every console under the Sun.

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Anyone who has ever dreamt of rocking out on stage in front of thousands of fans should definitely take note. If you have then this fall is going to give you the chance to “unlock that fantasy” and feel like a rock star with the newly announced Guitar Hero Live.

Activision is the publishing giant behind a few art house games that some of you may have heard of, Skylanders and Call of Duty, and they are taking a stage dive into the rhythm game genre again after a five year absence. This time, however, they have several tricks up their sleeves to help differentiate themselves from the competition.

First and foremost, they have completely redesigned the iconic guitar controller. Fans of the previous Guitar Hero games will recall the five distinctly colored buttons that lined the neck of the guitar. those buttons have been removed in favor of two rows with three buttons each. They did this because they found, while doing research regarding the way that players used the controller they found out that the vast majority of players only used three fingers anyways. They knew that fans would likely lose their minds because gamers typically hate change, but this had the added advantage of making easier modes far easier (allowing for greater accessibility) and the harder modes even MORE difficult by using chord shapes that involve buttons on both rows.

Guitar Hero Live New Controller

The new controller looks amazing!

Second, they have done away with the animated action. Every frame that you will see is a live band performing in front of a live audience. Even better, each song was recorded separately with a crowd in venues of different sizes ranging from a small lounge all the way up to a massive outdoor festival with tens of thousands of people. Even the player bandmates were filmed.

Thirdly, the entire experience is designed to give players as authentic of an onstage experience as possible. The reactions from both the fans and the band themselves are tuned to the players performance, just like in real life, perform well and the audience will buy in and sing along! But, if you start to falter you boo and harass you; even your bandmates will start to give you the evil eye.

The entire package looks like it will be a rocking good time and will be releasing this fall on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and even some mobile devices.

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One of the more exciting premiers to come out of the 2014 Game Awards was King’s Quest: Your Legacy Awaits. Activision announced that it was returning earlier this year as part of their re-launch of the Sierra brand as an indie publisher. It is being developed by a company called The Odd Gentlemen, a small company whose previous work includes the quirky puzzle game called The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom.

They have taken on a huge responsibility with this project as the King’s Quest series is one of the most iconic franchises in he history of gaming. This is similar to the pressure on Christopher Nolan when he took on directing the Batman series. Failure is just not an option with so many fans waiting.

The good news is that it appears they are up to the challenge. The game looks amazing so far. All of the art and animation assets we have seen so far look as though they were pulled directly from the pages of a storybook.

They plan to maintain the adventure game roots, but have changed up the controls. Historically, games in the franchise have been point and click adventure games. This entry will be a puzzle based platforming game. It is an odd choice when you consider the recent resurgence of point and click adventure games like Broken Age chapter 1 and the Telltale games series. I am willing to reserve judgment because it looks so beautiful, but I am hoping that the platforming doesn’t get in the way of anything.

I’m looking forward to being able to share this game with my children. What do you think? Sound off in the comments.

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By: Andy Robertson of FamilyGamerTV

The Crew Guide

Our friends over at FamilyGamerTV who a parent’s guide to The Crew. It covers what makes this game great to what to watch out for. The video is the ultimate two minute guide!

Genre and story

The Crew is a racing game set in an open world version of the United States. In the  campaign you work through the ranks of an illegal street racing gang, with missions you can carry out alone or with other players. Beyond that, it’s a “living world” with lots more for players to do and explore.

As you drive around this open world version of the US, which lets you drive from coast to coast (albeit much more quickly than you would be able to in real life) you encounter different challenges.

For example, Follow gives you a racing line to follow that gets thinner the longer you manage to stay on it, and Precision gives you a succession of smaller and smaller gates to pass through. The game will record your attempts so that you can try to beat them or let your friends see if they can do better.

You can also create your own crew made up of yourself and other players, and challenge other crews to races and other challenges. The game requires an internet connection even if you decide to play alone. There’s no local multiplayer.

Throughout the game you have the opportunity to drive a wide range of cars from different manufacturers, from Ford to Ferrari.

Developer

The Crew is the first game from French studio Ivory Tower, which includes developers who worked on games like Need for Speed, V-Rally, and Test Drive Unlimited.

Format

It’s available for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox 360, but not for PS3. An app for iOS and Android lets players build cars for the game.

Cost

For PS4 and Xbox One, The Crew costs £54.99/$59.99. For PC, the game costs £49.99/$59.99. On Amazon, the 360 version costs around £40/$55. A season pass, which gets you two exclusive vehicles and four car packs to be released monthly, costs £19.99/$24.99.

You’ll need PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold for some of the online features.

Duration

The campaign is around 20 hours long, but because of The Crew’s open world, side missions, and online multiplayer, players will spend much more time with the game than that.

UK and Europe – PEGI rating and additional consumer information

In the UK and Europe, PEGI rates The Crew as only appropriate for those aged 12 and older, with content descriptors for mild bad language and violence causing minor injury only. PEGI also mentions that the game “allows the player to interact with other players online”.

The Games Rating Authority expands on its PEGI rating by expanding on the violence and language, stating that “there are some cinematic sequences containing minor violence, one of which shows a man trying to attack another using a wrench”. While the scene is described as “very realistic”, “both men are unhurt”, which means it’s only “considered as minor assault”. As for language, “mild language occurs frequently throughout the game and includes words such as ‘asshole’, ‘bastard’, ‘bitch’, and ‘shit’.”

US – ESRB

In the US, the ESRB rates The Crew as T for Teen, with content descriptors for language, mild blood, mild suggestive themes, and violence, also mentioning “online features that may expose players to unrated user-generated content”.

Some of the violence is in the game itself, e.g. in Takedown missions that “prompt players to ram into other vehicles, eventually causing targets to crash”, while “cutscenes depict more dramatic instances of violence: a man fatally shot; a bloodstain on his shirt is briefly depicted”.

The ESRB is also concerned about “suggestive material” such as the protagonist “watching a woman in a short skirt; the camera briefly lingers on her posterior as she walks by”, as well as dialogue like “You hitting that? Mind if I take a run at it?””

Common Sense Media

No yet rated.

Themes

While the focus is on driving, the campaign is set up like an action adventure game, and the focus is around gangs, crime, and violence.

Why people play

Since the best thing about owning a vehicle is the freedom it gives the owner to go wherever they want, an open world racing game in which players can pick and choose missions at their will makes a lot of sense. Naturally, the game couldn’t represent the entire United States, but the fact that it has created a relatively big representation for players to drive across lends the game a sense of realism.

Given that driving games rarely have a particularly interesting campaign, it’s a positive that The Crew has several hours of story. But as the name of the game suggests, multiplayer is the focus, and will be what keeps players coming back to that open world again and again.

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This article was originally published on Pixelkin.org. They are a site with similar goals to our own, but with a specific focus on teenagers  and the challenges involved in being a part of their gaming lives.

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By: Courtney Holmes

  Costume Quest 2 the sequel to Double Fine’s 2010 Halloween RPG Costume Quest, made me laugh out loud, many times. It’s a kid-centric Halloween romp through time and space, and while aspects of it were far from perfect, overall I had a really fun experience. The game is rated E10+ for fantasy violence, and it’s available for PC, Mac, and Linux (and soon, for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Wii U). It was developed by Double Fine Productions and published by Midnight City.

Monsters

Story

Wren and Reynold are just two ordinary twins who love costumes and candy. One Halloween, they spot the dentist Orel White cavorting with a time wizard. With the wizard’s help, White uses time travel to steal a magical talisman and eventually become supreme dental overlord of the world, outlawing candy and costumes. The twins must use time travel (and magical Halloween costumes that transform them into awesome fighters) to take down White and rescue Halloween.

Like its predecessor, Costume Quest 2 is a very kid-centric story, and the enemies tend to be adults. But it’s not just another kids-versus-adults storyline. Many of the grownups in the game are allies to the kids. Costume Quest 2 is full of adults who treat children with respect, and not condescension, which I love. The children are confident and smart, and generally behave in ways that are very emotionally mature. Overall, this strikes a really good tone. And the humor, for the most part, is spot on. I regularly found myself retelling jokes out loud to my coworkers, which I’m sure got annoying fast. But they were just so funny!

There are two things in the story, though, that make me uncomfortable. The first is that the game champions candy, but makes no mention of health or oral hygiene in a positive light. The game doesn’t make all dentists into the enemy—Orel White, specifically, has a developed character and some solid motivations for hating Halloween. However, I would really have appreciated a couple of positive notes about dental care in the game. Going to the dentist is a scary enough process, even for some adults, that it really doesn’t need to be vilified any more for kids.

tourist

The second thing that bothers me are the rare yet undeniable fat jokes, thrown in throughout the course of the story. Specifically, the people being made fun of are tourists and the very wealthy (see photos), but I found these jokes totally unnecessary. Considering that candy is an enormous part of the game, and that healthy methods of moderation are not mentioned at all, this makes me feel like Costume Quest 2 is sending some mixed signals.

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These aspects of the game are a huge bummer, because there are so many other things about it that I just love. Positive messages about teamwork and friendship and creativity are rife. I love Halloween costumes, I love what they can do for kids’ imagination and mental health, and Costume Quest 2 clearly gets it.

feel like myself Costume Quest 2

Overall, Costume Quest 2 does a really good job of crafting self-confident young people who know what they want and how to get it. They are respected and trusted by adults and by each other, and they are savvy about the world around them. Plus, there is a ton of great race and gender representation. This game features multiple interracial couples, and zero aspects of the story hinge on gender or race. You can choose to play as either Wren or Reynold at the beginning of the game, but the actual effect this has on your gameplay is nonexistent.

costume fight

Gameplay

There are two main aspects to Costume Quest 2’s gameplay: exploration and turn-based fighting. The game is broken up into numerous areas to explore, and in each you are tasked with going door-to-door collecting candy. At some doors, bad guys are waiting to attack you, which will launch a fight scene. Each area also has secret chests, clever missions, and hidden caches of candy to discover. The goodies were enough to keep me invested in each map and mission, and I really enjoyed looking for all of the hidden tidbits and talking to all of the people in each area, in case one of them had something special to offer me.

The fight scenes were also pretty entertaining, if somewhat tedious. When a fight starts, the kids are transformed into whatever they’re dressed up as at the time, and each costume has associated attacks that are delightfully humorous to watch. Thomas Jefferson’s special attack is particularly awesome, but they were all entertaining in their own right.

Thomas Jefferson

Plus, because the experience points are tied to the kids and not the costumes, you can feel free to try fighting with lots of different costumes, without having to put yourself at a major disadvantage.

In an attempt to make each fight have a meaningful impact, Costume Quest 2 initially made it so that you did not heal automatically after fights. Therefore, if you entered two fights back-to-back without going to a water fountain to heal up, you would be put at an enormous disadvantage. The creators have announced that they’re updating this with a patch after receiving complaints from players who were tired of constantly backtracking to find a fountain. I agree, it got annoying, though I appreciate them attempting to make the fights meaningful in a wider context. Hopefully the patch will be able to strike a balance.

A final note: if you can, play this game with a controller, instead of your keyboard. It will make moving around much easier.

Thanks, Monty!

The Takeaway

Costume Quest 2 is hilarious, satisfying, and refreshing. It’s got jokes and a plot that is entertaining for kids at multiple ages, and it’s a great way to get excited about Halloween. I loved playing as a confident, sassy kid with awesome abilities and a kind heart. That said, the story did not always stick the landing (some jokes were questionable and some opportunities for positive messages were missed).  A family discussion about this game’s content could be a good idea.

I’d still recommend giving this game a shot, whether or not you’ve played the original Costume Quest. If you’ve played the game, be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Destiny, a multiplayer online first person shooter that will release later this year, held its open beta this past weekend. People came. They shot guns. They battles aliens and robots. They explored. They even did the Harlem Shake. So many people played that Activision is reporting that it was the largest beta of this console generation (over 4.6 million players took part in it)! We learned a LOT about Destiny and how it will play. I spent a lot of time in the beta. I did everything you could do and I have to say that I came away very impressed with the entire experience. It really feels like Bungie and Activision have something here.

 

Visuals

I’m just going to get this out of the way. Destiny was gorgeous. I might have had a slightly different perspective since I was playing the game on the Xbox One, but it impressed me every single time it had the chance to do so. The level of detail Bungie was able to achieve in this post apocalyptic sci-fi world was phenomenal and we were only able to see Earth and the Moon. There are still several planets to visit in the full game and I am sure that Bungie has spared no effort in fully realizing their alien landscapes. If you like games where you can sit back and enjoy the scenery this should be high on your list.

 

The Family Factor

I won’t go so far as to say that Destiny is “kid friendly.” It has been rated T for Teen by the ESRB, but it earns every bit of that T rating with its intense action. All of the conflict resolution is done through gunplay. Its saving grace comes in the fact that, at least through the content in the beta, all of your enemies are irredeemable, monstrous, evil aliens who attack you on site. There are no moral choices here. You’ve got bad guys to deal with before they deal with you. It also doesn’t hurt that players turn into a glowing blue ball of energy when they die as opposed to falling over and laying their like a corpse.

At its peak the action is a roughly as intense as the final action sequence in The Avengers. Destiny is ever-so-slightly more intense as a result of the first person perspective. In the end, the decision to let your children watch you play is going to be a judgment call, but if you let them watch the Marvel films and other similar action titles, then it really comes down to your opinion on guns.

All content aside, this is a very challenging game. First person shooter games are incredibly difficult for inexperienced players to control. If this is the first time a player has had to use one stick to move and another to aim this will be a VERY difficult game to play. The developer includes some aim assistance to help players, but it isn’t really enough to make the game playable.

The MMO connection

One of my biggest questions going into the beta was about how much MMO was going to bleed into the game. MMO’s spiked in popularity in the last 5-6 years thanks to World of Warcraft and other games like it. But, that style of game is slowly losing its hold on the gaming audience. The long term success of the game hinges on how well they balance their shooter game play with the structure of an MMO. I came away from my experience pleasantly surprised.

Destiny is framed around a single narrative that revolves around a powerful being known as the Traveler. Players take on the role of Guardians who are led on a quest to help defend the Traveler and Earth’s last survivors. Bungie appears to have found a nice balance between pushing the framing narrative forward while still encouraging players to explore the lush worlds at their own pace.

The most interesting thing I discovered was that players can return to previously explored zones and look for glowing green beacons that will provide bite sized adventures for players to complete. As soon as you complete one another will spawn somewhere else on the map. This will continue infinitely and is a great way to relax while enjoying the social aspects of the game without the stress of the more intense strikes.

Playing Well With Others

Many online muliplayer games, like World of Warcraft, encourage players to communicate using chat channels. Players are constantly at risk of being bombarded by inappropriate content through these channels. Destiny safeguards its players by limiting their ability to communicate with anyone who is not on their “Fire Team.” This eliminated the biggest frustration that stems from playing other online shooters: other people. There are even options to mute voice chat entirely.

The best part about all of that is that players who chose not to use voice chat to communicate with others can still play with other people. They might have to get clever with their communication, but they will be able to group up and take on many of the challenges in the game.

Conclusion

I don’t regret my time with Destiny in the least. It was a very complete experience that avoided a lot of the frustrations that are common in other betas. Everything that I saw and did leads me to believe that Destiny will be a major player during this Holiday season and that this success will carry on for a very long time.

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Developer: Press Play
Rated: E10+
Release Date: December 2013 for Xbox One, May 2014 for Xbox 360
Reviewed on Xbox One
Price: $12

 

Overall Review:

Anyone with a younger sibling might find themselves drawn in (pun intended) when it comes to Max: The Curse of Brotherhood.  The title character finds his younger brother Felix smashing his toys, and in a fit of annoyance, casts a spell found on the internet to get rid of his nuisance brother.  In a move that’s reminiscent of the classic Labyrinth, a monster really does steal Felix away!  Max takes off in hot pursuit, muttering, unsurprisingly, that his mother is going to kill him.

Thus begins the side-scrolling puzzle platformer that is The Curse of Brotherhood.  Armed with a magically-powered magic marker, Max jumps, climbs, and swings his way after his brother.  Along the way, the marker gains new abilities: drawing pillars of earth, tree branches, rope-like vines, pillars of water, and fireballs.  Max uses these powers to get past obstacles and defeat the minions of the diabolical Mustacho, the villain who seeks to steal Felix’s youth for himself.

The mechanics of the marker are the most unique part of the game.  Getting from point A to point B isn’t always obvious, which is where the marker’s powers come in.  By creating (and destroying) items with your marker, you create platforms and ropes to jump to (or, in the case of the water spouts, be flung from) in your quest.  With frightening monsters chasing you, you need to figure out where you’re going, and FAST!

The graphics of the game are phenomenal and almost cartoon quality.  The voice acting is good as well, as Max occasionally provides verbal queues (“Up! Up! UP!”) as you scramble to safety.

 

Family Gaming Assessment:

There is a little bit of cartoon violence; some of Mustacho’s monster minions do meet unfortunate ends, but most of them are simply avoided.  And, of course, Max’s younger brother is kidnapped by a giant monster, locked in a dungeon, and experimented on.  That said, the E10+ rating seems appropriate, as the game is mostly about solving the puzzles of how to safely get from one side of the screen to another.

 

Playability Assessment:

Sadly, this does not look like a game to have a child work the controls, simply due to it’s complexity.  Certainly, having them there watching can be a boon (both to help solve the puzzles, and to laugh along when you try to make a jump and fail miserably), but if they do the driving, expect to be summoned for assistance for the tougher puzzles.

No reading is involved, but the puzzle solving aspects are significant.  Sadly, the marker drawing is done via the control sticks, which can be a bit tough even for a grown-up.  Still, this is a great chance for kids to work on their problem-solving skills; for puzzles that aren’t time-dependant, you can easily ask them for their opinions on how to get out of a sticky situation.  The death mechanic is fairly forgiving; save points are frequent, so failing a particular puzzle rarely sets you back more than a few seconds.

 

Conclusion:

Overall, this game is tough, but really fun to play and even to watch.  At $12, it’s a fairly good deal for some light-hearted yet challenging gameplay (and quite a few achievements)!

 

Disclosure: Review code was provided to Engaged Family Gaming by the developer.

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Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games and The LEGO Group have announced LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. It will release during the fall of 2014for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo WiiU, Nintendo 3DS, and PC.

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is the next installment in the LEGO series of games that has sold more than 100 million units worldwide. Simply put: These games are HUGE and there is no sign that they will slow down.

LEGO Batman 3 looks like it will build off the momentum from last year’s Smash hit LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. This time around we will see the massive cast of characters from the DC universe jump into the action! TTgames has confirmed that the adventure will include over 150 member of the DCU cast including members of the Justice League and several LEGO big figures like Killer Croc and Solomon Grundy!

We will obviously hear more as the release comes closer. Keep your eyes here at Engaged Family Gaming for all your LEGO game news!

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Interactive games toys are taking over the video game space! Skylanders may have brought the genre to the mainstream, but Disney Infinity killed it during its first year on the market with 3 million starter packs sold and $500 million in retail sales. That is a HUGE figure for a new game series. So huge, in fact, that a follow up was inevitable.

Here are 5 things that we learned from the Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes announcement event:

1. Compatibility

Players can continue to use their favorite characters, power discs, toy boxes, and even the original BASE! This doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise, but it is welcome news. Parents shelled out a lot of money for Disney characters, so far, and it would be a shame for them not to work with the updated version (Besides, now we might get to see who would win: Thor vs Mr. Incredible!).

 

2. 18 Marvel Characters (At Least!)

They showed us six of the playable characters and their requisite figures.

  • Iron Man
  • Captain America
  • Thor
  • The Hulk
  • Black Widow
  • Hawkeye

Spoiler Alert: These figures are going to be a hot commodity this fall. I expect that collectors will be buying these figures up even if they don’t play the game. They are just that amazing.

More of the characters will be announced in a month at E3 (Don’t worry! We’ll have you covered there).

 

3. “Toy Box Games”

One of the biggest complaints made about the original game was that there weren’t enough game experiences outside of the play sets. The Toy Box itself was there, but a lot of kids struggled to build anything meaningful with it. Toy Box Games are the answer to that problem. They are essentially power discs that include pre-made, bite-sized game experiences. They will be based on different game genres and themes within the Disney Infinity game engine. The starter pack will come with a “tower defense” game and a “dungeon crawler.” This is an excellent value add because Toy Box Games can be released on their own down the line as mini-expansions. This has a lot of potential!

 

4. The Toy Box mode has been DRASTICALLY improved

One of my biggest frustrations with the original Disney Infinity was with the Toy Box mode itself. My sons struggled to build even the most basic environments, they would dabble for a short while, get frustrated and move on to something else.

The new Toy Box mode includes a number of improvements that will likely make it possible for even the youngest gamers to get in on the action.

“Brush Mode” is the most significant improvement. This setting lets players select an environment and paint an area of whatever size they choose, the game will then procedurally generate that environment! You want a big ol’ city? Sure. Select the city option and brush it onto a large open space in the Toy Box. BAM! The city will create itself. This is huge for young players just looking for a fast and easy experience.

 

5. The Starter Pack

The Starter Pack will include:

  • The Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes disc
  • Iron Man, Thor and Black Widow Figures
  • The Avengers play set
  • The Tower Defense and Dungeon Crawl Toy Box Games

The key difference here is that players will be able to play multiplayer inside a play set right out of the box (The Iron Man figure is also absolutely amazing).

 

We know that we’re excited here at Engaged Family Gaming, but what about you? Sound off in the comments!

Black Widow riding the roof of a car
Black Widow is a fast melee character whose moves will match her style!
Black Widow kick
Black Widow is a strong female character who can get in even the biggest bad guys faces!
Black Widow Kick
Black Widow does not mess around!
Iron Man ground punchIron Man slamming a car
Hulk isn't the only Avenger with strength!
Iron Man repulsor blast
Iron Man will have his signature repulsor blasts!
Captain America Jump
Captain America is a brawler. He has his shield to give him some range though.
Captain America shield throw
Captain America's shield will be great for keeping enemies at bay.
Hawkeye
Hawkeye's ranged attacks will do a lot of damage, but you'll need to be careful to stay at range!
Hawkeye
Hawkeye can take advantage of the high ground like no one else!
Hawkeye
Hawkeye won't be afraid to charge in though!
Hawkeye
Hawkeye is a ranged character, but he can mix it up if enemies close in on him.
The Hulk ground pound
The Hulk is a brawler character. (Surprised? Neither were we)
Thor hammer
Thor, and his hammer, will be joining the action as well!
Thor Lightning
We can't forget that Thor is the God of Thunder!
outdoor furniture
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