News Bytes


Announcement
Last Call

By Jorge Figueiredo - February 19th, 2015

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It was bound to happen: we have finally reached our limit. Toronto Thumbs will be closing, in a manner of speaking. In our zeal we have made too many friends in the worlds of gaming, technology, and entertainment. Sure, other sites post multiple articles a day and have a decent revenue stream – this is not the case with us.

Toronto Thumbs has always been a labour of love. All of the content-creation ninjas here have full-time jobs; whatever extra time we have is devoted to creating conversations about the things that we like (and sometimes don’t) – and the reasons why. However, the queue is so packed that we are in very real danger of letting articles slip past the point of being “fashionably late”.

Sure, we could attempt to bring on new writers, but I am picky, and ‎have not been all that impressed with recent applicants. Toronto Thumbs could also scale back; but choosing what gets reviewed is not really fair to anyone, as everything deserves a fair shake. We could also consider crowd-sourced funding – but at just over 350K in page impressions (per month), we are not really going to be able to justify getting people (who will most likely be friends – let’s not kid ourselves here) to give us their hard-earned dollars. Finally (and personally), I am also being selfish; I write the lion’s share of the articles, but I also have a full-time job and a family – eventually I am going to just burn out (and frankly, I have been neglecting other personal goals).

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Drink of the site all ye can, folks!

So we will work our way through the last part of the queue (20-30 articles) and then call it a day. The site will stay up so that those searching for honest, unbiased, and (mostly) constructive‎ reviews have someplace to go; once the hits start to dwindle, we will shutter the site for good.

So yes. Last call. This title may be a bit melodramatic, since it will take a few months to work through the remaining content (I’m not going to be killing myself with daily posts), but I felt that all of you Thumbs-readers out there should know seeing as you have been supportive for so long. So stay tuned and keep reading until the very end – there may be a surprise or two along the way (and possibly still some contests to enter).


Reviews
Master & Dynamic
ME03 Headphones

By Jorge Figueiredo - January 29th, 2015

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There are really two choices when considering the purchase of headphones: go big or go home. This may not sound like the most sage advice, seeing as most of us are not fabulously wealthy; but it does carry some merit. Skimping usually results in headphones that break too easily, usually due to cheap build quality‎ – it also tends to mean robbing yourself of a better audio experience. Now, if you are super-careful and you don’t really care about audio quality, then there probably is no lower limit to your headphone budget. However, if you are someone who doesn’t mind spending more to get more, then you might want to consider a pair of ME03 in-ear headphones. Once again, New York’s Master & Dynamic (makers of the MH40) have merged form and function to create something truly special.

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Reviews
The Crew

By Jorge Figueiredo - January 28th, 2015

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With the release of both Forza Horizon 2 and Driveclub at the end of last year, one would think that everyone’s racing needs were met – but this is not the case. While both of those proved themselves to be great videogames, one would be remiss if they did not try out Ubisoft’s The Crew. While perhaps not as pretty as Forza or as technical as Driveclub, The Crew brings new meaning to the term “open world”. Sure, it’s not perfect; the game occasionally suffers from repetition and a silly story – but if you love arcade driving games it is probably one of the most fun titles out there in the genre – and the social aspect makes for some really great experiences.

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New Year’s Resolutions
Shape Up
Review

By Jorge Figueiredo - January 7th, 2015

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‎Years ago, Ubisoft ushered in a videogame fitness revolution with their Your Shape series on the Nintendo Wii. It wasn’t a surprise when the Kinect came out for the Xbox 360 that Ubisoft was on top of the situation with a Your Shape game specific to that platform. Of course, other developers ended up populating the space with superior products. Ubisoft’s Your Shape series was decent on its own, but in comparison with other fitness games, it didn’t deliver enough benefits relative to its serious tone, and would become less engaging as time went on. Now, Ubisoft has changed gears, releasing Shape Up for the Xbox One. This Kinect-exclusive fitness title puts more of am emphasis on the “game” aspect in an attempt to get players to exercise more. Honestly, this game is a lot more fun than any other game in the Your Shape series, thanks to a great exercise list and hilarious presentation.

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How Much Do I OUYA?
Toto Temple Deluxe

By Jorge Figueiredo - December 24th, 2014

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It is a universal rule that goats make everything more amazing. Juicy Beast, the developer behind Toto Temple Deluxe clearly subscribes to this rule1. At Gamercamp earlier this year, I hung out with some of the Juicy Beast folks and played a few rounds of their fun and addictive goat-based arena-battle title.‎ Shortly thereafter, they sent me a code so that I could spend more time with the game, checking out all of the different fun features in this crazy battle platformer.

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Fashionably Late Reviews
Assassin’s Creed: Unity

By Jorge Figueiredo - December 17th, 2014

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As a fan of the Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series, I look forward to the annual release of the next chapter in the franchise every year. Some may say that this gives me a bias towards the series – and they would be right. However, I would argue that biases are formed for a reason, and while my love of the series makes me somewhat forgiving when something goes awry, it also makes me very sensitive when odd design choices are made and issues exist within the games that I play. Assassin’s Creed: Unity is an ambitious project; incredibly detailed and absolutely beautiful – the first true next-generation Assassin’s Creed. At times, though, it feels as if Ubisoft places more importance on the tech than the story, so the game spends a little time wandering aimlessly (in a sense), leaving the player to truly guide the experience. I have not finished the game yet, and while I do have some negatives to speak of in my review, I am enjoying the game a lot (thus, I wish to take my time). It is a title that demands some patience and understanding, and as a player, you will have to work for your fun; but the game will constantly reward you for your loyalty and persistence, slowly feeding you the story and bolstering the big picture.

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Reviews
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

By Jorge Figueiredo - December 13th, 2014

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In what I would like to call a “Texan gambit”, Nintendo has taken the Super Smash Bros. franchise to the next level by making it even bigger (and better) than any other Smash Bros. that has come before. Four-player multi-player fights with some of your favourite Nintendo characters in weird venues? Pffft. Say hello to local 8-player multi-player battles with access to an even larger selection of wacky Nintendo legends in even more wild and vibrant locales! And while Nintendo has chosen to add a new aspect to the title (and their games in general) with amiibo figures (which will be covered in another article), the core experience of the game has not changed, making it one of the best games for the Wii U to date. If you are one of the three people that don’t own Super Smash Bros. for Wii U yet, you should just take my word for it and grab it right now; but if you’d rather read a glowing review…

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