Welcome to The TPS Report, home to video game blogs, mix sets and even the odd piece o' 3D art.

Broke arse student, freelance games reviewer and rambling obsessive that I am, I currently seek work in mags and web sites throughout the world. If you're in a position to make that happen - and like what you see around here - let me know. I've published work with the likes of IGN and Gaming Steve.

-Matt/Diggler

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Future Plans For the Site
28/7/2012 22:31

Preview Time! Games to Look Out For in 2011
8/1/2011 5:54

2010's Games of Shame
6/1/2011 22:47

My Fave Games of 2010!
6/1/2011 20:12

StarCraft II Review - Dig Loveth the RTS!?
7/11/2010 12:48

10 Must-Have iPhone Games
2/6/2010 18:09

A Little Hotlink to An Article I Stuck Up On GiantBomb
21/4/2010 15:01

Aliens Vs Predator is Here! Woo! Oh, Hang On...
6/3/2010 20:58

iPhone Games!
6/3/2010 20:40

WTF? Dig's Getting Hitched!
18/2/2010 23:39

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If interested in discussing writing opportunities for on or offline gaming publications - either UK based or abroad - please contact me via E-Mail. Sparkling CV available on request

 

 

Dig Asks...Why the Hell Are There No Gun Power-Ups in Geometry Wars 2?!
Posted by Diggler - 2/8/2008 23:44

...because that aside, it's kinda perfect. The (proper) sequel to 360 launch masterpiece Geo Wars is finally here, and it's a long-awaited follow-up that I'm pleased to say does not disappoint.

Like its predecessor, it's another Live Arcade game of course - so don't be expecting something with the content of say, Geometry Wars Galaxies (reviewed in a Wii round-up here). Do expect far more for your 800 space bucks than what was found in the original game though, as GW2 straddles a pleasing line somewhere in-between. Rather than make do with one, albeit near perfect masterpiece of a game mode like last time, it offers up six individual such modes now you see, all of which I'd say more than earn their place.

Let's Have a Looksy

Click to enlarge
The return of the king - Geo Wars is back! Speaking of which, the new "King" mode - pictured above - is sure to prove a fave
You unlock said modes one by one as you play, with each - for the most part - ramping up in difficulty sequentially. Kicking things off is "Deadline", what can only be described as the token Championship Edition mode. It rids you of the annoyance of lives, and essentially just chucks you into an arena for three minutes to score as much as possible. Standard twin-stick pew-pew Geo Wars gameplay then - as you roam the rectangular world and mow through luminous shapes - but the new quick-fire "in 'n' out" nature most definitely suits those of us who had to previously put upwards of 45 minutes into the original to even come close to bettering our high scores. This, I approve of.

"King" is next, and proves a riotous departure to just about anything seen before in this series. You spawn in a protective, stationary bubble, from which no enemies can enter. Safe from harm, you're free to blast the frakkers away in all directions, laughing like a TF2 Heavy as you do. The downside being, this bubble'll start to decay almost instantly, and any time you're outside its protective condom-like shell, you can't actually shoot. "King" therefore plays somewhat like you're flying around on hot coals, as you charge helplessly from bubble to bubble before the onslaught can continue, defenseless the entire time. You get one life, no bombs, and thus games don't last an age, but it's fun, different, and has a fantastically bastard-ized achievement tied to it in which you must dash between 30 such bubbles without firing a shot. Bloody hell.

Click to enlarge
GW2's "Evolved" mode is a more brutal, arse-kicking take on the original. It's far more punishing now, with games - once again - hella fast this time, and part of me misses the old marathons
"Evolved" is more akin to the bog standard Geometry Wars action of the last game. You're given three lives, three bombs, and no time limit, to cause as much ruckus as poss before exponentially increasing enemy spawns wipe your arse out. That said, there are some noticeable differences this time around worth mentioning. Your multiplier for instance, is now tied directly to the collecting of little green "Geoms" from fallen enemies. They'll see you ramping your multiplier up into the hundreds (and indeed thousands) pretty darn quickly, with a suitably ludicrous score to match. Particularly as - oddly enough - you don't lose this multiplier each time you die now. I question this decision, as it sorta feels like cheat codes have been engaged, but it at least removes a huge dollop o' frustration found previously. Evolved is noticeably "easier" in terms of racking up high scores then, with me netting an easy 10mil on my first go, but it's over so damn quick now, vets might miss the more lethargic pace of the original.

Based off the infamous Geo Wars achievement of the same name, "Pacifism" is a sweet little quick-fire game type that rids you of guns and extra lives, and has you merely outrunning enemies for as long as possible, unarmed. By charging through moving gates, you can at least set off small detonations that kill anything in the vicinity, but for the most part this is a case of dodging and weaving like there's no tomorrow. One awesome achievement has you dry humping against all four outer walls without dying, while a sickening, sadistic second one has you then do it twice in a row. Fuck awf.

Click to enlarge
One of the hardest achievements once again rids you of weaponry and asks that you survive eight waves of enemies in a row
We already played "Waves" as a bonus game in PGR4 last year, and ultimately little's changed here. Long lines of orange dudes wipe their way across the board in sequence, with you having to blast holes through 'em to survive the craziness in increasingly rapid numbers. Far harder than it sounds.

The game finishes with my favorite mode of the bunch, "Sequence". I proclaim it so, as it - to a bit of an, ahem, expert - is the only real mode that truly stumps me . I'm flat-out rubbish, in fact. So much so, I still can't finish the fucker. "Sequence" rids Geo Wars of its random quality you see, and puts you through 20 pre-scripted arenas in a row, each lasting a mere 30 seconds. Learning attack patterns, planning when to use bombs, and good old fashioned skill all play equal parts here if you're to complete them in the allotted time, in a pleasing change o' pace next to the random noisy nonsense we're used to. What happens on completion, I have no idea, but it's nice to get some truly hardcore, borderline unbeatable Geo Wars action with a definite end to work towards for a change. I can see this stealing many months of my life.

My Mind is Glowing

Click to enlarge
You can play GW2 with up to 4 players in each of its modes, either co-operatively or against each other. You can even play in teams if you like, or, hilariously, have one guy steer while one shoots. Choices abound
That's your modes, but there's other new-ness worth a mention. New enemies appear by the bucket-load, who I'll resist spoilering so that you can introduce yourselves in person. Graphics have seen a lovely upgrade too, so insanely colorful and luminous as to feel like you've been staring at a rainbow for a couple hours too long. And then there's multiplayer of course...four freakin' players worth. Sadly, it's 100% offline, which is understandable given the hundreds of enemies and millisecond-caliber timing required, but 'tis a mild pity all the same.

That aside, I guess there's very little to nit-pick here then. I semi-seriously touched upon the lack of gun power-ups earlier, a bizarre nerf if ever there was one, but it's hardly a deal breaker by any means.

I suppose if anything, it would have been cool to see the Geo Wars gameplay and presentation we know and love taken into a more Mutant Storm-style scrolling universe, one with missions, bosses, moving levels and such, but then again, perhaps a more structured campaign like that would take away from the simplistic, high-score frag fest of awesomeness that Geo Wars has become synonymous with. This game very much embraces such antics you see...arguably more than just about any before it.

Click to enlarge
GW2 just about matches the first for quality, and is a fab accompaniment that's well worth your Microsoft euros. It's a whole lot tougher in my opinion...but offsets it by being arguably a fuck-ton funner
There's no better example in fact than the superb, arguably genre-defining manner in which friends leaderboards have been built directly into the menu system here, allowing you - nay, forcing you - to compare scores with your pals across all six modes simultaneously each and every time you start up a new game. Clearly Bizarre get it. They know why addicts like me continued to hammer the original right up 'til last month. The art of dominating our buddies. In keeping with the game's sub-moniker of "Retro Evolved", Geo Wars' emphasis on leaderboards and high scores is a fantastic throw-back to the 80s that Live Arcade - and indeed this series in particular - have brought back full force, and a feat one simply cannot downplay. An addiction, I'd argue, that affords Geo Wars its own, bizarre multiplayer-y twist almost making up for the lack of any real online action.

I'm gaggin' to get back to it right now and start showing them fools who's boss actually...despite the fact that with four bleedin' hours clocked on the sucker today alone, my thumb is in borderline medical-attention needing agony. It's quite literally turned grey with sweaty controller juice.

I guess it's pretty sad to get so worked up and excited over a mere ?7 2D game where you shoot colored squares for hours on end, but hey, ya know what? A good game is a good game. They come in all shapes and sizes. All forms of simplicity and complexity. And for an all manner of different prices. And this series is most definitely one of the best.

Still.

(Pictures courtesy of Bizarre Creations)

Untitled Document

The Polynomial. Like playing a rave

Untitled Document

Game
Fallout 3

Enjoying a fully modded out re-visit. Wow

Film
The Road

Pretty much due to the above

Show
Breaking Bad

Already shaping up to be the best season yet

Tune
Explosions in the Sky

Easing the pain of living in a post-Friday Night Lights world

Untitled Document

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1up.com's collection of weekly gaming podcasts, the pick of which would have to be ListenUP, full of juicy rumors and interesting banter week in, week out

Area 5
Formerly The 1up Show, since losing their jobs the old video editing team have continued doing what they do best, in an independent internet-based TV show, covering whatever upcoming games they can get their hands on, and various other bits and pieces

Fully Ramblomatic
A hysterical gaming blogger posting what he calls "zero punctuation" video reviews that have to be seen - and heard - to be believed

A Life Well Wasted
Freelance journalist Robert Ashley's internet radio show, with a far more interesting and professional demeanor than your typical podcast. Interviews, fast-paced editing and catchy tunes abound

On the Spot
The humongous gaming site known as Gamespot broadcasts a video show each week, in which upcoming games are demoed live on air, and viewers are invited to send in questions to find out more

The Hotspot
Gamespot's audio-based companion to On the Spot, in which site editors cover the week's news while simultaneously poking fun at all that is gaming

Gaming Steve
A more mature podcast, hosted by a long-time games industry professional armed with a ton of insider info and loads of interesting opinions. The Dig's been known to post articles and stories on here from time to time

Consolevania
Quick-fire internet-based TV show with console reviews and comedy sketches. Funny as hell

Major Nelson
An interesting "blogcast" hosted by a Microsoft employee, featuring stacks of exclusive behind the scenes news and interviews relating to all things Xbox 360

The Kojima Productions Report
Official podcast from the team of Hideo Kojima, creator of the much-loved Metal Gear franchise. Full of news and interviews relating to all things Metal Gear, it's probably one for die-hard fans only

Pure Pwnage
Mockumentary series on the life of a pro gamer. Episode five is possibly the funniest thing on the internet

Other Sites

Kotaku
What you could call gaming's homepage. Constantly updated news and links on the entire industry, from minute breaking headlines, to funny arse viral vids

Game Trailers
Easy to use multimedia-rich web site offering official trailers, video demos and sneak peaks at all the upcoming releases

Game Videos
Sister site to 1up.com, focusing on game trailers, video interviews and even the odd documentary

Gamespot
The Gamespot front-end, and the gaming equivalent of the Internet Movie Database. Includes detailed reviews and extensive video features on pretty much all systems and games ever made

Giant Bomb
Speaking of Gamespot, the controversial "letting go" of editor Jeff Gerstmann resulted in him starting up this new venture with fellow former writers of the site. Great podcast in particular

1up.com
Discounting the audio and video shows mentioned earlier, 1up's main site is also worth a visit in its own right. Not only bustling with quality gaming articles and extensive developers' blogs, it also doubles up as a massive friends network, ideal for meeting fellow gamers and joining like-minded communities

Live Marketplace Feed
The most up to date and reliable way to keep track of all the new Xbox Live Marketplace content, from new weapons and map packs, to movie trailers and game demos

Xbox Reloaded
360 backwards compatibility can be a minefield. This blog attempts to shed some light on the issue by playing original Xbox games for you and reporting back the results

GameFAQs
The ultimate resource for walkthroughs and cheats

Disposable Media
A wonderful (and free) E-zine, full of reviews and articles on gaming, movies, music and TV. Puts most high street mags to shame

X-Fire
A must-have for all PC gamers, X-Fire is a buddy list and communications tool that keeps constant tabs on what games both you and all your mates are playing, on or offline

Steam
A contender to the X-Fire throne that has pretty much overtaken it straight out of the gate. Valve's Steam client contains friends lists, downloadable games, Live-style achievements and plenty more to sink your teeth into

MyGamerCard.net
Convert your Xbox Live gamercard into an image, for use on forums and web sites for free. That's mine further down

Ain't it Cool News
The latest news, gossip and spy reports from the world of movies, TV and (occasionally) video games

Smodcast
Writer, director and actor Kevin Smith - he of Clerks fame - records a monthly podcast in which he and fellow pals discuss everything from trying to felate oneself, to the time his dog got covered in ejaculate. Riveting stuff

 

Matt Robinson, 2011

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