Holiday Ideas
Give the Gift of PC Titles

By Jorge Figueiredo - December 2nd, 2012

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If you’re looking for a gift to give to someone (including yourself) over the holidays, look no further than your own PC. If you or your intended gift-receiver have a decent PC, Steam has a few titles that are worth a look. Take a look at some of the PC Software that we have been playing or using lately and maybe this list will inspire you!

Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken

Ricky took a crack at this title on the PSN, citing its roots as a Flash game developed by Ratloop Asia. With fast and fluid airborne stages, decent ground levels, and a kick-ass soundtrack, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken delivered a solid experience on the Playstation 3 – and left its predecessor in the dust. The title looks and feels like an Adult Swim production, with a unique animation style. Well, the title has gone full circle, and has returned to the PC with a vengeance.

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The premise of this game is so ridiculously awesome.

Available on Steam, the game has been vastly improved, even edging past the PSN version (in my opinion), sporting better graphics and tighter controls. If you are looking for a fun platforming title and have no problems with anthropomorphic special-ops chickens blasting away at each other, then you should grab this title, especially if you don’t have access to a Playstation 3. Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is currently available on Steam for around $10.

Sine Mora

Mike Jackson reviewed this awesome “bullet-hell-shmup” by Grasshopper Manufacture a while ago – and the XBL title passed muster in his opinion. The hyper-stylized design (with input from anime director Mahiro Maeda and a score by Akira Yomaoka) and non-linear story-line really kicked the side-scroller into high gear, creating a frenetic and fun experience. The rejection of a standard health system in favour of a countdown clock directly affected by enemy fire (and blowing up stuff) was innovative and entertaining; and the use of the phrase “bullet-time” was never more appropriate.

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It’s bullet time!

Now Sine Mora is available on Steam in all of its so-many-bullets-on-screen-at-once-I-have-no-idea glory. Those of you who have not bitten into this awesome title on account of not owning a console have no excuse now not to pick this up. Game-play is awesome (especially with a decent game controller) and the graphics are stellar. If you like old-school frustration with new-school graphics, check this title out! Sine Mora is another $10 Steam title that is available for download.

Trains vs. Zombies 2

We made reference to this little gem from RailSimulator.com just before Halloween and for good reason: it is pretty damned spooky. Since that article I have played it a few times and for a “boring ol’ train simulator”, this particular standalone scenario freaks the hell out of me. The adventure takes place along the Northeast Corridor of the United States (New York). It is fairly intense and makes full use of environmental controls like time of day and weather to deliver a pretty neat story. All dialogue is delivered via text boxes (with photos of who is speaking) – but this seems to add to the general spookiness of the whole affair.

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The only thing that could make this game better is Bill Paxton yelling “Game over, man!”

The quality of the graphics and sounds is no different than Train Simulator 2013. While slightly aging, the engine does a great job of making things look pretty realistic. The game is not a walk in the park; it will challenge you to make split-second decisions (the train you’re driving is pretty fast – and half the time your wheels are slipping in the rain) and will punish you for making the wrong ones. Given that this game will take you at least an hour or two to finish (if you’re lucky), I suspect you’ll get your money’s worth.

If you haven’t ever played Train Simulator and want to try a different take on the genre – give Trains vs. Zombies 2 a try – it’s on Steam for just under $20.

Primal Carnage

Do you ever get the urge to participate in an online multi-player game that pits dinosaurs against people? Of course you do! And that’s why the fine people at Lukewarm Media have created this awesome first/third-person-shooter just for you! This free-for-all blast-a-thon sports pretty good graphics and great sound design. Game-play is surprisingly fun given the fact that both sides seem balanced.

Each faction has advantages and disadvantages. Humans have access to big guns and other tactical equipment. Given that they are physically weaker than their reptilian competition, they need all the help they can get from gadgets and gizmos. The various classes are all useful – especially when they work together as a team. Coordination is key when you’re in the human faction; trying to play lone wolf might end up earning you a new title: appetizer. Dinosaurs, on the other hand, have no weapons or equipment – save what they were born with. Whether they can fly or spit noxious, slimy liquid, they are a handful to deal with.

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I like how everyone is shooting at the small dino while the biggie is snacking on their pal.

I made reference earlier to “first/third” – and that’s worth noting. When you are playing as a human, your perspective is first-person. When you shift to the dinosaur side of things, you play in third-person mode. It takes a little adjusting to flip between the two; but most of the heavy thinking is done as a dinosaur (funny enough): the third-person perspective can play havoc when you are trying to do anything from range (pouncing and spitting).

Graphics and sound seem a bit dated, which is probably not a big concern as the price-tag isn’t AAA. Game-play is solid and the servers seem to be fairly easy to hop onto, so there is very little waiting to do before you are thrust into the boots or the claws of your avatar. The title is around $15 on Steam and I enjoyed playing this title more than I thought I would! Give it a try! You might just like it, too!

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