This just in…
News happens all the time. But not all of it is game-related enough to write about on GamesRadar. Shame. Fortunately, there’s a way around this: Simply turn non-gaming news stories into video games. That’s what we’ve done and will continue to do each week, adding to this article every Sunday with the choicest real-world news from the preceeding week.
So bookmark this page and remember to click the ‘enlarge’ button on the top-right of each slide to see these games in their best light. And then wish someone somewhere would make them a reality.
This week: Tiny robot insects can finally fly after ten years in development…
“Dr Kevin Ma from Harvard University and his team, led by Dr Robert Wood, say they have made the world’s smallest flying robot. This “robo-fly”, built from carbon fibre, weighs a fraction of a gram and has super-fast electronic “muscles” to power its wings. Dr Ma even suggested that the robots could behave like many real insects and assist with the pollination of crops.”
You are a bee in the year 2027. Your species is on the brink of extinction. And now, all of a sudden, a strange swarm is causing a buzz by encroaching on your turf: The Bugs. They are metallic, faceless and completely non-stripy. You can’t stand for this. They must be destroyed.
So it’s up to you to bee the hero by defending your hive and local crops from these menaces before they force you out of business. Debug™ is a real-time strategy game with third-person chase-cam action as you manage the action within 3D environments. There may not be many bees left in the world, but you’re damned if you’re going to bee extinctified by robots. Time to bring out the big guns.
As a Honey Bee, you have several weapons at your disposal. First and foremost, you have your stinger. A quick jab of the X button will let you dash forward and give the unwitting recipient a little prick.
Secondly, you have honey–something these bugs don’t have. You can use it to booby-trap the crops so that the robot bugs get stuck to the blooms allowing you to come in and take them out.
You can also call in the help of other animals. Spider webs can be set up to protect your favourite nectar spots, sparrows can be brought into play with careful kiting and if your XP is high enough, you can even bring in more exotic weaponry like Venus Fly Traps. And frogs. You’ve got to be serious if you want to Debug™ your neighbourhood!
DLC for Debug will include: The Jeff Goldblum Pack where Jeff Goldblum gets his DNA mashed together with that of a robot fly and turns into a flying, metallic cyborg for you to defeat (best tackle this on four-player co-op if you want to bee in with even the slimmest chance of victory), the Achtung Baby where all the Bugs are wearing Bono shades and the soundtrack repeats ‘The Fly’ endlessly and, of course, the Zombees Mode Pack where all your fellow bees turn into zombies and try to bite you. Which, thankfully, is impossible because they don’t have any teeth. Win.
Harvest Planet: A Spaced-Out Life™
Want to go to Mars? Dutch organisation Mars One says it will open applications imminently. It would be a one-way trip, and the company hopes to build a community of settlers on the planet.
The year is 2023. Harvest Planet: A Spaced-Out Life™ begins with your rocketship touching down on Mars. It’s a barren landscape – but it’s up to you to start a new colony of human life amid the red rocks and solar winds.
You’ve brought a modest amount of food supplies with you, but it’s strictly rationed. When it’s gone, it’s gone – at least until the next supply arrives, which is months away. So it’s up to you to survive by planting crops and harvesting them.
Fortunately, you’re not alone on your quest. Some 20 fellow colonists have arrived with you and you must interact with them to complete your tasks. Later in the game, you will be able to begin dating, with the aim of marrying and boosting the numbers of your colony.
However! It’s an alien world so part of your time must be spent exploring. Looking for water, seeking prime locations for building new areas of the settlement and hunting any lifeforms that may be lurking amid the rocky outcrops… It’s an otherworldly adventure where everything is an unknown quantity!
Can you exercise enough to keep your muscles from wasting away? Can you find enough natural water to prevent the need for daily recycling? And can you build a space ship strong enough to carry you back to Earth when you realise living on Mars sucks?
Future DLC packs will include: The Kibo™ Pack where everyone’s favourite space robot turns up to keep you entertained and then goes rogue, turning the game into a survival horror spin-off, the Space Oddity Pack where David Bowie’s Starman, Space Oddity and Life On Mars plays over the colony’s sound system (and Bowie himself turns up, oddly around the time all your balled-up socks start disappearing) and the Mars Attacks Pack where Tom Jones and Michael J Fox are among the colonists. Oh, and of course Zombies Mode, where Bowie, Jones and J Fox are zombies and try to bite you and you have to stop them from trampling your turnips.
“Researchers have so far failed to prove the existence of ‘dark matter’, the theoretical building blocks of the universe. Despite a £1.3 billion ($2bn) experiment on the International Space Station finding glimpses of dark matter, it has never been directly observed. However, a dramatic new theory claims it could be hiding a ‘mirror world’ that would rewrite our understanding of the Universe.”
Maggie Matter was just a regular little girl until her older brother and his wife were blessed with the birth of their first child. Staring at little baby Matter, Maggie realised she had become ‘Auntie’ Matter. Unwittingly sharing a phonemic bond with one of the most baffling mysteries of the universe – antimatter, it was at this moment she first looked into a mirror and saw… Mirror World.
As Maggie Matter, it’s up to you to make sense of your new gift and explore Mirror World™. By pressing triangle in front of any mirror or reflective surface you can hop between dimensions.
Mirror World™ is outwardly very much like our own, only with a few very subtle differences. Sweets taste sour. Haribo Tangfastics taste like sweets. And bankers are well-respected, honest people who are incredibly careful with their money.
However, this also means the safe, friendly places Maggie Matter knows and loves, like her bedroom, the nursery and the fairground, have become the home of terrifying monsters. It’s up to you to navigate between the two planes of existence and find a way to stop the inhabitants of Mirror World finding their way through the mirror that everyone has in their bathroom…
Dare you step into the Hall of Mirrors and confront the mysterious and ghastly Mirror Man? Will you find enough shiny brass buttons to zap you out of trouble in a jiffy? And can you avoid breaking a mirror and getting stuck in Mirror World for 7 years?
DLC for Mirror World™ will include: The Deed Poll Pack where you opt out of your heroic role by changing your given name from ‘Maggie’ to ‘Doesn’t’ and just enjoy normality, or augment the atmosphere by changing your surname from ‘Matter’ to ‘May’, which loops Rod Stewart’s greatest hits over the action. The Alan Partridge Pack sets the dark matter side’s day/night cycle permanently to mid-morning. Finally, Zombies Mode makes every reflective surface a portal for zombies to come through. They try to bite you.
Plans for a giant new £2bn theme park on the edge of London to rival Disneyland Paris have been halted – by a colony of rare spiders. Developers say the Paramount scheme will be the third biggest theme park in the world and twice the size of the Olympic Park. But an environmental audit of the 872-acre brownfield site in the Swanscombe Peninsula in Kent has found it is home to distinguished jumping spiders.
In Teem Park™, you play the designer of a brand new theme park, only you’ve got more to think about than just the price of rides and keeping the hotdog stands stocked and busy. You’re building on some very wild wasteland – and the wildlife wants to play too.
The wildlife in question is all kinds of creepy crawlies and things that go hoot in the night. Rare spiders, moths, beetles, owls and even kestrels are all on hand, causing mischief like skittering, swooping and fluttering at people’s faces.
Problem is, all of these beasties are protected. So while the temptation might be to squash them with your stylus, somehow you’ve got to keep the park running with the wildlife en suite.
It’s up to you how you do this. You can try to manage nature via the 3DS’s touch screen functionality, installing scarecrows, consigning park space to areas of natural beauty (that the public can’t access) and contructing hedgehog bridges so the spiny folks’ paths aren’t crossed by sandal-wearing tourists.
The other method is more fun – you can make the beasties part of the attractions. How about a ghost train where the walls crawl with beetles? Or maybe you can charge visitors for the privilege of feeding the wildfowl? Just make sure nobody gets bitten by a rare spider or you might get a phoned-in Tobey Maguire voice-over for the rest of the day…
Teem Park™ DLC will include: Zombies mode where zombies are a protected species meaning you have to somehow keep the park going without decapitating a single one (will you give in to the temptation?), the BGM Pack where you can manage your park to Blur’s seminal 1994 album Parklife (where everyone goes around the park hand-in-hand which makes rollercoasters a bad idea) and the 2013 City Pack where you can only play Teem Park™ online, only the servers don’t work and it’s your job to hold back the tears of horrible, horrible frustration.
Scientists have met to discuss the possibility of bringing back 24 animals back from extinction. But a real life Jurassic Park is not an option, it is said, because dinosaur DNA is just too old. The so called ‘de-extinction’ of a number of species was discussed at a TEDx conference in Washington DC sponsored by National Geographic.
Turns out the scientists spent so long wondering about whether they could, they didn’t stop to think about whether they should. As a result, nature is back to bite us – quite literally – in the ass.
Many of these extinct species were wiped out by humans in the first place so it was hardly likely they’d come back and give us a hug. No, they’re all-too-familiar with the prospect of ‘genetic memory’ and they’re declaring war on the human race. They’ve broken free from their pens and cages thanks to unforeseen mutations caused by the DNA-swapping process and wiped out almost all of the remaining scientists. An ad hoc eco-system is being established – and you’re no longer top of the food chain.>
Dodos, Tasmanian Tigers, Wooly Mammoths… even Passenger Pigeons are out to get you. Worse still, they’ve trampled almost all the ammunition, leaving you to fend for yourself with just a few tranquiliser darts and occasional live rifle rounds to see off these de-extincted adversaries.
The game takes place in a free-roaming, 3D island environment (which looks suspiciously like the one in Far Cry 3), spanning an entire island off the coast of Costa Rica. The behavioural characteristics of these long-dead species have been altered by their ungodly creation, causing the animals to behave erratically. They think nothing of leaping to their deaths from high above you just to exact their revenge. Some will run backwards, charging at you with their butts. Others will simply shuffle towards you like the nurses in Silent Hill. This is Erratic Park™ – and it’s a nightmare.
Can you escape Erratic Park™ without becoming extinct yourself?
Downloadable content packs include: The Chaos Theory Pack, which sees you joined by NPC Jeff Goldblum who keeps asking whether you ‘think they’ll include that on the tour’, Zombies Mode where the island is infested with zombified versions of the scientists who tried their own cloning methods on themselves (badly) and the BGM Pack where you get to fight the feral hoards to such uplifting tunes as Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses by Thom Yorke, What’s new, Pussycat? by Tom Jones and Monkey Gone to Heaven by The Pixies.
Independent Seat of Rage™
Controversial MP Eric Joyce has been arrested over his alleged involvement in another bar brawl at the Houses of Parliament – just over a year after headbutting a Conservative MP in a similar incident.
According to eye-witnesses, Mr Joyce ‘wrestled’ with the attending officers – of which there were around a dozen – before he was handcuffed and taken away in a police van. One policeman’s hats was knocked off during the scuffle on the floor outside the bar – which was packed with around 150 people, it has been reported.
You have decided to forgo the normal career path and put your political life on the line. You are without weapons, but possess great hand-to-hand combat abilities. Take them into the heart of the political system and battle the most dangerous wave of bad dudes and chicks ever assembled. Make the country a place where political candidates no longer have to sit in the Independent Seat of Rage™!
As independent political candidate ‘Indy Pendant’, it’s up to you to knock some sense into your political peers. You start off at a riotous rally for your local seat in the English Parliamentary system, where things get out of hand and you’re forced to take out supporters of all the major political parties with your fists.
The hand-to-hand combat system can be augmented with context sensitive environmental moves and bolstered with any objects you find, such as using the ballot box as a bludgeoning weapon. For extra score, you can knock the hats off police officers and participate in a Karaoke minigame.
As your political career progresses, you take the fight to several key arenas in the British political system, fighting past such iconic backdrops as the front door at Number 10 Downing Street, live on air in a televised electoral debate and finally on the famous green leather chairs of the House of Commons.
Downloadable content includes: US Presidential Pack where you can fight as President Obama or First Lady, Michelle Obama, The Hislop DLC pack where the action is described by Private Eye Editor Ian Hislop and the Prescott Pack where former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott steps in to demonstrate how it’s done.
Shark Ranger: Son of a Beach™
“Coming into March, we’re getting tens of thousands of sharks close to shore. In one flight from the Boca Raton Inlet to the Jupiter Inlet, we counted over 15,000 sharks less than 200 yards from shore.” Dr. Stephen Kajiura, an associate professor of biology at Florida Atlantic University, speaking after thousands of sharks forced closure of several beaches in southern Florida.
In Shark Ranger: Son of a Beach™, you play as a plucky coastguard tasked with protecting the public from tens of thousands of sharks as they make their migratory journey past the sunny coastline of southern Florida.
To succeed in this top-down puzzler, you have several tricks at your disposal. Firstly, you have red flags, which can be put down to indicate that your beach is not safe for bathing. However, with only limited flags and sooo many sharks, it’s up to you to manage this massive ‘shiver’ of finned fiends in a different way.
Sharks are known to be drawn to orange and yellow colours as well as silver jewellery which looks like fish scales to their sharky eyes. So you can use a paintball gun to fire coloured paint into the water and manage the beaches via careful luring.
Advanced players can play hoopla with silver jewellery around those iconic shark fins when they surface. Depending on the size of the hooped shark, this can cause larger sharks to accidentally eat smaller ones. Careful use of further lures can create chain reactions, not dissimilar to the ever-expanding reaction frenzies of Every Extend Extra.
When all the sharks are eaten or have simply moved on, the level is complete and you’re graded based upon how many swimmers were eaten, how many sharks were eaten by other sharks and how many shark clichés you can tick off the ‘Dun dun dun dun’ checklist.
DLC packs include: Bikes where someone warns you about shark bites but you mishear them and have a dream where all the sharks have motorbikes, Zombies mode where the sharks try to bite you but they’re green and their fins are a bit mouldy and the Loan Shark DLC Pack where you have to avoid a shifty shark in a suit and tie until you can pay back his ludicrous rates of interest.
Can you find the bonus compressed gas cylinder for a mega-bang? It’s up to you, Shark Ranger: Son of a Beach™!
“KIBO the robot is set to join the crew of the International Space Station this summer – to act as their ‘space buddy’. He will be sent up with Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and will be able to talk to him in his own language which has been programmed into his circuits.”
KIBO™ is a survival-horror game set on the International Space Station. Playing as one of the crew, at first you and your team are delighted by the arrival of KIBO™, a walking, talking, adorably diminutive robot who is sent to help keep you amused during long and lonely weeks in orbit.
Your new robot pal is fitted with a camera, voice synthesiser and the ability to send back tweets and photos to Earth. Early stages of the game see you continue your daily life on board the Space Station, completing your usual chores (harder than it sounds in zero gravity) and keeping your colleagues and KIBO™ entertained.
As time passes, KIBO™ starts to become mischievous. Isn’t it funny that he’s turned off all the lights? And opened all the food…? Disabled the communication module? And wait… Did his eyes just flash red…?
Once everyone realises KIBO™ has in fact gone rogue, it’s too late. He’s missing. It’s up to you to survive, counter KIBO™’s dastardly attempts to destroy you and find a way of eliminating the super-cute robot threat once and for all.
Skilful players may be able to hack into his camera to see through his eyes and get one step ahead of his plans. You might also be able to intercept his tweets to try and find out his motives. You’ll also need to use re-route power from non-essential systems in order to help. Basically, it’s the Aliens game we outlined here.
DLC packs for KIBO™ include: The Laika pack where zombified space dogs attack the space station, the BGM pack which deactivates KIBO™’s voice synthesiser and instead plays Paranoid Android by Radiohead and the Chibi Robo pack which sees Nintendo’s adorable Gamecube hero tidying up around the space station after the massacre. And inevitably running out of batteries every five minutes.
No Brakes: Keys to the Popemobile™
“It is a miracle that I survived. There is no other word. Whatever happens, I am never going back in that car.”–French driver Frank Lecerf after spending an hour stuck at 125mph after his car’s speed regulator (allegedly) jammed and his brakes (allegedly) failed. In other, sadly unrelated real news, the Pope resigned this week, leaving the Popemobile temporarily redundant…
No Brakes: Keys to the Popemobile™ is the automotive equivalent of an infinite-run platform game. Tasked with driving the bullet-proof Popemobile back to the Vatican, you play as a valet who becomes trapped within its bullet-proof confines as the throttle sticks, leaving you careening through Rome at a white-knuckle 6mph.
Particularly skilled or brave gamers can try to apply the brakes, which then raises the malfunctioning Popemobile’s speed to a breakneck limit of 12.5mph. At this speed, things get anywhere between ‘mildly perilous’ to ‘really actually quite unnerving’.
No Brakes: Keys to the Popemobile™ is also Better with Kinect, as you can shout at the microphone to get people to leap (read: walk calmly) out of your path. Shouting in Italian has a more pronounced effect, adding an edutainment element to the mix.
Any collision with other road-users, street café furniture or shops will take points away from your score, plus you’ll likely have to start all over again. Can you park the Popemobile at the Vatican just as the fuel runs out to see the end sequence? Can you make it out of Italy for a 10,000,000 point bonus? It’s up to you with No Brakes: Keys to the Popemobile™.
Downloadable content packs include: International Pass so you can attempt to survive the perils of England, France and Belgium, the BGM pack that gives you a looped version of the song ‘No Brakes’ by The Offspring (which also gets stuck on ‘play’ and cannot be removed, adding an extra layer of drama to the proceedings) and the Stereotypical Italian Voice Pack, which substitutes your character for Charles Martinet.
Monopoly Cat: Token Gestures™
“I think there were a lot of cat lovers in the world that reached out. Tokens are always a key part of the Monopoly game… and our fans are very passionate about their tokens, about which token they use while they play.”—Hasbro vice president of game marketing Jonathan Berkowitz, on the fan-voted decision to
replace Monopoly’s iconic iron with a cat.
We know what cats are like, don’t we? They’re much less happy to sit still than an inanimate iron! In Monopoly Cat: Token Gestures™ for Wii U it’s up to you to make sure the new Monopoly token does what it’s told. Depending on the game mode selected, you could be challenged to complete one lap of someone else’s game of Monopoly. Or perhaps you’ll choose the ultra-challenging Endurance mode, and play an entire game of Monopoly yourself while wrangling your token?
But you’re not alone with your feline avatar. You have a variety of tools at your disposal! These are:
The Laser Pointer: Use your Wii-mote as a laser pen and keep your kitty occupied while trying to remain inside the square you’re supposed to be on. But be careful not to shine it on the wall next to the table, or Monopoly Cat™ could be taking an early trip onto the floor.
Scratching post: The scratching post can be used as a distraction, keeping your kitty in place for the duration of a full turn. But you only have three at your disposal so use them wisely!
‘Stroke the kitten’ mode: Turn your pointer into a nice, friendly hand and stroke your kitty to sleep.
Piece of string: Witness the very finest string physics as you use your Wii-mote to dangle string in front of your cat token. Wii MotionPlus is fully supported, allowing for expert, 1:1 movement of your makeshift cat toy. Can you unlock the better toys by raising the Meow-o-meter?
Monopoly Cat: Token Gestures™ will bring its feline fun for all the family to Nintendo Wii U in the summer of Cat Year seventy-mouse.
Whack-a-Microbe: Ice One, Son™
“TESTS on water from a sub-Antarctic lake have shown signs of life, according to reports from the scene. Tests on water from Lake Whillans – located 2,600 feet below the surface of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet –
detected cells which glow green with the addition of DNA sensitive dye, according to reports.”
Whack-a-Microbe: Ice One, Son™ is a fast-paced whack-a-mole game for iOS, Android, PS Vita, 3DS and Nintendo Icecube. As a scientist based at Lake Whillans in Antarctica, it’s your job to bore down into the ultra-thick, ancient ice and then deal – physically – with whatever it is you discover!
The first level starts off with just one small hole to examine and document, but as you play, you’ll earn more funding based on the discoveries you make. Successfully harvesting previously undiscovered microbes from the bottom of the ancient lake can earn you enough money to buy new drills to make more and deeper holes.
But that’s when things get serious! Who knows what’s lurking under the ice? It soon turns out microbes are the least of your worries as larger undiscovered creatures with venomous tentacles lash at you in protest at having their slumber disturbed. And then there’s the problem of the local wildlife getting in on the act. Can you stop penguins and seals from venturing down into your dig site? Can you remember not to whack them on the head when they pop up somewhere else? Hilarity ensues.
With new dig sites opening up as you progress and fiendishly addictive ‘just one more go’ gameplay, Whack-a-Microbe: Ice One, Son™ is well worth the asking price. And it never gets boring when you’re bore-ing.
Additional downloadable content includes: Tracking tags you can fire at the local fauna allowing you to see where penguins are before they appear, whether from above the sheet or from under it, the David Attenborough DLC pack providing narration from the iconic documentary-maker as you play and the BGM pack. This includes ice-based classics such as Ice, Ice, Baby by Vanilla Ice, Cold as Ice by Foreigner and Under Pressure (Ice, Ice Baby) by Vanilla Ice & Jedward.
Polokwane Snap: Gotta catch 'em all again™
“We’ve been recapturing them as and when the local farmers phone us to tell us that there are crocodiles on their property. In Weipe there were a lot, and I also heard there was a crocodile on school’s rugby field in Musina.” — Rakwena Crocodile Farm worker Zane Langman,
after releasing 15,000 crocodiles from his father-in-law’s farm into a local river in an effort to save the owner’s home from a flood.
As the plucky farm hand at a now croc-less Crocodile Farm, it’s up to you to bring home 15,000 escaped crocodiles. Working from your base in Polokwane, you must man the phones and listen to reports of croc sightings before taking to your trusty 4×4 and travelling to your destination through accurately mapped African countryside.
After travelling to your location, the action switches to GamePad as you use the Wii U’s gyroscopic sensors to scan the area in breathtaking 3D. Most croc captures take place at night, where you will be able to see your slimy targets by their eyes, which glow red in the dark just like in real life. Not that you’ll need to see any red with your ultra-cool night vision goggles equipped.
Things can get tense… especially when the crocodiles get snap-happy and start hunting you. ‘Clever girl’, indeed. With only the equipment you have on you and, just maybe, the help of other players on the Nintendo Network, you’ll need to be aware of your surroundings at all times if you want to avoid being turned into a fashion accessory for a middle-aged and fashion-blind crocodile.
As a special bonus for players who successfully recapture all 15,000 crocodiles, a limited edition set of crocodile shoes, belt and tears will be made available for your Mii. DLC is planned for the game incuding Polokwane Diamond where you can augment your farm with a diamond mine, Jurassic Polokwane where the crocs are replaced with velociraptors and, of course, the ever-popular Zombie Mode, where the crocodiles become zombie crocodiles and try to bite you. Which is totally different from the regular crocodiles that also try to bite you.
Polokwane Snap: Gotta Catch ‘Em All Again will be released to co-incide with the real-life recapturing of all 15,000 crocodiles, so expect the game to arrive in the Fall… of 2027.
Stealth Horse: Adventures in Burgerland™
“There is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horsemeat in their production process. In Ireland, it is not in our culture to eat horsemeat and, therefore, we do not expect to find it in a burger.”– Food Safety Authority of Ireland chief executive Prof Alan Reilly,
commenting on an investigation in which horsemeat was found in hamburgers being sold in the UK and Ireland.
Stealth Horse: Adventures in Burgerland™ is a third-person Stealth Action game for Nintendo 3DS, which sees players take the reins of the eponymous Stealth Horse™ and infiltrate a burger production line at various stages in an attempt to get into the burger business. Literally.
To do this, Stealth Horse™ must carry out a variety of strict, time-based challenges at various stages of the burger production process. Whether intercepting a convoy of delivery vans in high-speed chase sections or quietly locating and utilising a meat grinder in the factory, 3DS’ 3D capabilities are used to the fullest in this stylish, cel-shaded action game.
Choose your horseshoes carefully as you equip Stealth Horse™ with customised equipment for the next level. Will you go for silenced horseshoes for an extra edge while sneaking? Or perhaps titanium alloy for increased health specs and kick attacks? It could mean the difference between whinneying and losing.
Stages end with a series of vaults over hedgerows or production line equipment in order to build up enough speed to leap into the van or grinder. And if you fail at the main game, there’s always the chance to dive between two pieces of bread in the fast food restaurant showdown. Can you find all the hidden sugarlumps? Can you solve the mystery pig challenges to save your own bacon? It’s up to you, Stealth Horse™!
By Justin Towell
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