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On a whim I decided to take a gamble on one of the loot boxes on green man gaming, they were fairly cheap and at essentially 50p per game I thought it was worth a little gamble and I got a pretty good win out of it as titanfall 2 is noted to be one of their lucky prizes and although it’s for sale on the green man gaming site for £50 it’s a lot cheaper on origin itself and discounted so it’s worth bearing that in mind if you’re planning on purchasing it but for the £3.50 gamble I think I did pretty well out of it.

Bear in mind that if you’re taking the gamble yourself that keys are random and what I got isn’t guaranteed what you’ll get and could be on any of the platforms listed and I did pretty well to get mostly games I didn’t already have too only getting one duplicate, but as duplicates go it’s not a bad game to get another copy of, you can’t guarantee anything you will win and you could get a cheap game or one with terrible reviews there’s absolutely no guarantee of the games but you’ll probably get at least one thing reasonable and worth the cost of the gamble so that’s what convinced me to go ahead with it, and who knows you could get lucky and get that $500 credit prize, I got titanfall 2 so pretty reasonable as prizes go.

Titanfall 2 obviously the main prize and a first person shooter, but it’s an origin only game

Toybox Turbo’s is a casual driving game a lot like micro machines and by codebusters so pretty good quality assured

Ballistick is a fun looking cheap stickman game that you might be able to get pretty cheap in a summer sale but still looks reasonably fun considering I got it cheap anyway

Post Master looks like a sim city style strategy game and I would have to play it to give my opinions on it but at 50p not so bad a risk

CTU Counter terrorism unit has some pretty bad reviews, but considering I got it at maybe 95% discount it’s probably worth the price

Vive Le Roi looks a pretty fun and cute puzzle platformer and is fairly cheap naturally and considering the price I paid I’m not going to complain for winning it.

Action Alien is the last game I won in the gamble and looks like a bit of a serious sam clone, would have to play it to get the feel of it, might not be bad and for the 50p price I got it for I’m sure I’ll get the price value out of it for enjoyment.

Those were the games I got in my gamble and I’m fairly happy with what I got on the whole, some games I’d enjoy and a major prize and those that maybe weren’t the most ideal are probably still not too bad for the price, so why not take a gamble yourself maybe you’ll get something pretty decent and maybe you’ll discover some fun looking games you’ve never heard of before like I did, some of which are newish games too. The pack can be anything though and that’s why I’d like to hear what you get out of the loot box if you do take a gamble, either way it’s a cheap game bundle just that what you will get is completely unknown and a mystery.

Get a green man gaming loot box for yourself at https://www.greenmangaming.com/games/level-7-loot-box/?tap_a=1964-996bbb&tap_s=4707-cadadd

Antihero is a turn based strategy game based in the victorian times where gangs of thieves and street urchin’s could rule the streets and has a cute storyline to go along with the art style as well as a fairly easy to pickup play system that makes the game fun and enduring.

The main campaign as it stands seems to act more as a tutorialisation for the game where you would spend the majority of your time in the online multiplayer having honed your skills on the streets against the AI and mastered the basics of the skill tree and play styles, while the campaign does a good job of introducing new elements and varying up the missions with some alternate victory conditions in locations where for example you have to infiltrate your enemies base with 12 urchins, or when there are map specific victory points such as infiltrating ships to steal their cargo and holding them through the enemies turn.

For the most part the gameplay is fairly standardised, where you have a base level master thief and your skill tree has three options the first being to be able to recruit urchins and infiltrate the location always opposite your guild that gives you more lanterns per turn to use on the skill tree and this is usually the correct first option, on some missions it might be ideal to get an early gang and take out an npc so you can get ahead of the curve with the individual gang upgrades where every kill they obtain allows them to level up either the money they earn on a kill, the damage they can do or the number of urchins they can evict from a building, and obviously this is where the strategy element comes in and how you wish to take down your opponent, what you choose ultimately effects what you can also unlock next turn.

The skill tree alone isn’t the only strategy you have to take into consideration, and also if you lack any smart move or need a little urgent cash you can choose some charity instead of an upgrade to get an extra couple of lanterns for future upgrades or emergency gold to get that unit you desperately need right away. All units tend to have a single move of their own, with urchins infiltrating buildings, gangs evicting and beating down opponents and npcs, and thugs either guarding the map blocking progress or joining gangs to level up their hp. Through all of this and scouting with your master thief the aim is to control as much of the map as possible and take as many specialist buildings as possible to maximise your chances of victory.

Victory points ultimately come in three forms, firstly through blackmailing the church this will always be three urchins in specific buildings, the second is to bribe officials with lanterns and the third is through assassination contracts that spawn on the map and move around, bribes and contracts become harder as you go along in significant ways which mean getting in their first is usually ideal as victory points will become harder and harder to get. Some maps have special victory points which add variety to the game, such as taking and holding guard towers to enable the crown jewels to be stolen for victory points, stealing masks from around the map to enable infiltration to a large party in order to steal their valuables, and also infiltration of a boat in order to steal the goods and hold the boat during your opponents turn while you offload the goods.

Ultimately the main story is a little short, I only had to replay one of the later missions once, and as a result it took me around 3.5 hours to complete the entire campaign on normal difficulty. There was a little cliffhanger that suggests the main story would be continued and I assumed this would be through the book club dlc however this seems to be purely cosmetic online avatars, however don’t rule out that they could make an expansion with some map specific goals and perhaps two levels per character, for example sherlock holmes could theoretically be attempting to solve a murder and you would have to gather the clues from houses and locations before he does and submit the evidence to the police headquarters for victory points, all while avoiding jack the ripper (or moriarty) assassinating randomly at intervals some character on the board which could include your urchins, gangs or thugs, or even incapacitating your master thief for a turn. Alice could be in a hurry to attend the mad hatters tea party, and the table sits a number of guests each victory point, increasing in guest size per party where one random lucky guest wins a victory point and on her secondary mission you must team up with the queen of hearts to take her head and provide thugs and gang members to the queens army to help capture her (and take her head), scrooge and tiny tim might play on the same map and where scrooge would have unlimited gold and no urchins tiny tim would be poor but have unlimited street control, where victory would be a challenge to take them both down together, before they team up on a secondary map where scrooge has given all his wealth away but ultimately still holds all points on the map to begin with where you have to take the city back and I’m sure they could add enough references to the ghosts of christmas past, present, future and bill murray.

Obviously these are just a few suggestions they could implement to include these characters, the last getting pretty obsurd but it would be nice to have an expansion to the main storyline, and it does seem like they left it on a cliffhanger where they intend to continue the story, but for the most part this game will ultimately live or die by it’s online games and obviously as a new release it’s hard to judge by the online at present as depending on how well the game is taken up and how well it sells will determine how successful the title is, the game is robust and fun, not too challenging to pick up so it’s fairly easy to get into and have fun with and the skill tree is pretty well thought out, it’s not over saturated and when you ultimately need something it’s always fairly easy to work towards and get hold of especially the special characters which can turn the tides of the match like the sisters and the truant officer. Getting them free with an upgrade definitely strategises when to purchase and the threat of the saboteur is fairly real as not only can he take all of your master thiefs actions away he can also keep those expensive units on the field to be taken out without ever getting to be used.

All in all the game is very well designed it plays well and there aren’t too many things to worry about as it could be very easy to oversaturate the game with complex mechanics, they keep it fairly simple with the power of threes, there are three victory points (with bonus map specific ones) each that get harder as the game progresses, units purchased on that turn become more expensive to strategise when to purchase, and there are three skill tree’s to progress through and it’s rare you ever complete a skill tree fully in fact I never have. Furthermore there are three basic characters all with a single action, the urchin to infiltrate buildings to gain resources and victory points, thugs to hold board control and bolster gangs, and gangs to evict urchins and defeat enemies. There are then three support roles which have a single use, the truant officer who can fully evict a building of all urchins immediately, the sabateur who can trap a building for two turns stunning whoever triggers the trap leaving them on the field, or taking all the master thiefs actions for the turn, and the sisters who can deal 6 points of damage immediately.

There are a few minor gripes that you will have to put up with, firstly when you’ve got your actions down and you know exactly what you’re going to do you may feel the animations are holding you back from playing as quickly as you would be able to if they didn’t happen but you have to accept that this is important because in online play you will need to see the animations to see what your opponent is doing on their turn so disabling such animations would make online play essentially impossible and not strategic, the second is sometimes it isn’t so clear you have to double click your upgrade option in the skill tree especially when you know exactly what you’re getting and what you want it might be nice to be able to just have the one click purchase as it seems a little odd to confirm throughout the entire game when you’ve got a handle on what all the upgrades do and you’re upgrading the skill tree fairly automated and perhaps miss that you should’ve confirmed after selecting, but it’s only a minor gripe.

I like the game and I hope they add an expansion to the single player story soon, and I will continue to look at the online multiplayer and probably bring you some combat video’s soon, ultimately they have added a casual online multiplayer option but in strategy games like this I personally don’t enjoy playing out waiting days for an opponent to take their turn as you’re out of the moment and out of the match and ultimately won’t play and enjoy the title as much and can make some fairly glaring mistakes you might not have made whilst in the heat of the moment, I can’t say whether this will hurt or help the online mode as on one hand some people may just opt for casual matches if they can’t find online matches, and on the other if there wasn’t a casual mode people could abandon the online play altogether if they can’t find a match.

Ultimately I will say if you’re buying this you’re probably buying it to play online as at present the main campaign is very short, but the game is good and definitely makes a good online turn based strategy game which is different to anything on offer presently, and games do feel just about the right length of time so you’re not tied in for hours in a single match the balance is just right and keeps it fun.

Check out antihero for yourself on steam, it’s a fun strategy game and worth a play http://store.steampowered.com/app/505640/Antihero/

Othello is a board game translated to steam, also known as reversi, it involves playing on a board of black and white stones which can be flipped as you play your pieces to flip every one of your opponents pieces between where you place your stone and any connecting stones of your colour on diagonal and straight lines, and you have to strategically place your pieces in order to end up with the most of your colour stones at the end of the game to win.

The game is noted to be easy to learn but take a lifetime to master as strategies constantly develop and while it is easy to pick up in order to defeat the better players you have to adapt and learn new strategies. There are AI modes with sometimes unfair computer opposition as well as online ELO rated matches and local play options so you can play this either against people online or as a friendly local game with just one copy of the game.

There are a few glitches I have noticed in that sometimes the game will allow opponents to take turns when it isn’t their turn or you to take double turns, and sometimes even place the wrong coloured piece and glitch the game entirely by the board somehow flipping pieces which were unflippable as though someone tampered with the board while you were away. This is a little unfortunate especially in an elo rated game, but I have reported these issues to the developers and hopefully they will be resolved and removed so that the game can be enjoyable without faults.

Another problem is the timing, while you can set games to be 1 minute, to an hour in integers the timer doesn’t start until your opponent joins the game and if this happens while you are away waiting for someone to join they can time you out and you will automatically lose in between, and the fact that you only then have the option of 1 day or 7 days and no timings between mean you can be waiting up to 7 days for your opponent to make a move when perhaps you would like to limit it to 2 days, although live play is more fun catching someone online while the game is relatively new is difficult.

The problem is that this is a board game, and while it is fun and enjoyable the market is obviously going to be smaller than in other games available on steam, so it might take a while to build up games to a level that there are abundant games so you can always setup a game and enjoy a live match, but it is still enjoyable over a timed basis longer than this just waiting for days and perhaps forgetting as a result of the wait can be an issue for me.

Other than these faults which can be easily enjoyed it is good to have a reversi game on steam for times when I’m not feeling like playing something major, and in university I always used to play reversi that came with xp, however latest windows versions lack this game so having a steam version becomes an essential if you’ve always enjoyed the game. I would also suggest that perhaps other layouts like in battle panel in ergheiz could be a fun variation for starters in the game, opening up to new strategies and evolving gameplay beyond the traditional 4 square central beginning, but who is to say if this will be taken up.

Either way if you enjoy reversi this is the game for you as now you can play it again, and rank up your elo against other players on steam.

Get othello on steam now (also known as reversi) at http://store.steampowered.com/app/307430

With the average UK household said to be wasting £60 in food every month tesco have introduced measures to cut down on their own food waste by launching a community food connection program which donates surplus food from their stores to local charities, alongside this they are introducing “perfectly imperfect” ranges to take more fruit and veg from their suppliers which wouldn’t fit the normal standards, but essentially is a replacement for the value ranges rebranded and perhaps repriced.

Of course this doesn’t reduce the fact that households waste so much food on average, instead that would come down to changing the way you shop and the way you use the food in your household, where various suggestions are made, through a leftovers tool where you can look up recipe’s to use the leftovers in your fridge rather than allowing them to go to waste, along with recipe’s at lovefoodhatewaste which has been launched to help waste less.

I received vouchers to try the perfectly imperfect fruit range with apples and pears currently available but these would change throughout the year with whatever fruit and veg they have growing which would have imperfect options, along with a voucher to try the eat fresh, keep fresh chicken range at £2.50

Perfectly Imperfect Range

The perfectly imperfect range is fruit and vegetable products which may just be off shape or a little small or large, but could have other imperfections too. It would seem they are a replacement for the tesco value range by another name, and as such varieties in the fruit and veg would vary from week to week depending on what products are available at that time to tesco to fill the range, and these would not last all year but be very seasonal, however while they’re there you can get necessary fruit and vegetable fulfillment at a reasonable price.

Finding the products proved to be rather difficult, and while staff would promise a new delivery every day if you went in 4 time in a week and a half like I did they never had a single delivery, and staff will use the go to “there’s a delivery tomorrow” without actually checking if the range is coming in or not as the products never got refilled, I ended up having to resort to talking to tesco’s twitter account to get help sourcing the product as even though deliveries were stated it never arrived either, and I got sent to another store which had some in stock, price may also seem to vary from store to store as my store stated 70p for the apples but I got them for 60p in the store I went to where they were in stock.

The range is fine, and when I worked at festivals the fruit would often be gala apples much the same as those in the perfectly imperfect range, and the conference pears look perfectly fine to me, maybe they don’t have noble shoulders but that doesn’t matter and eating them it’s simply that these fruits haven’t aged properly, there’s no pips inside, but once they’ve ripened and gone softer they taste perfectly fine, and if you’re into hard pears you’ve got them off the bat! All in all the range is perfectly fine, and the fact is other than looks you’re really going to get the same product at a cheaper rate, maybe you might have to peel the fruit and remove the imperfections if there are nips in the flesh, but that’s minor and you’re likely to get that in most instances anyway.

Eat Fresh, Keep Fresh Chicken

The “eat fresh, keep fresh” chicken range contains 300g of chicken which is more expensive than the willow farms range which is £1.89 for the same amount of chicken, the only variation is that both breasts are together in the willow farms where the tesco keep fresh range has two separate compartments, but at nearly 60p extra this probably isn’t ideal. With the 60p extra you could buy some clingfilm to wrap the second breast and this would last hundreds of packs not just one, and at nearly 25% off for exactly the same product it seems a rather wasteful range, especially if most people would cook both breasts together if they’re having a meal with a partner, and single people can store the other breast fine without it’s own vacuum sealed pack, unless they’re really silly and leave it uncovered several days straight, or even out of the fridge but that’s their own fault then and a lack of common sense in consumers doesn’t justify such expensive packaging options which is actually very wasteful in terms of product packaging.

Cooking the product itself it is an inferior chicken breast also, as it has a lot of added water. because the juices coming from the breast when cooked on the george forman grill were mostly water, having cooked a lot of meats and chicken on the grill I know the fluids that come from these and this was very watery, also when cooked the flavour was missing and it was a very disappointing product, you can definitely find chicken which hasn’t been pumped with preservatives and water as much as this for a better price, and at £8.34 a kilo you expect unmessed with chicken not something that is inflated with water to make more profits. (For reference beef brisket on the counter is £8 a kilo or you can get pork for significantly less) I just found the chicken very disappointing, and is probably the worst chicken I’ve ever had.

Another thing I would change is that the skin is removed, with such a product if the skin was left on the breast it could easily be removed if someone didn’t want it but those who like the skin it’d be nice to have it included, but if as it seems the chicken has been inflated with added water injected then it’d be a flag saying hey this is so much bigger than the skin so you can see why they’ve had to remove it, but a nice piece of crispy skin on the breast is very nice, and if the “added water” is supposed to keep it moist, that’s the job the skin would do, keeping the moist breast during cooking and leaving a very tasty crispy outer layer, and I know a lot of people don’t know just how good a salted crispy chicken skin is, it’s chicken crackling and it’s very good. (just keep an eye out some celebrity chef will eventually steal the idea when they realize how good it is)

Reduced To Clear

One way tesco reduce the amount they waste is reducing products to clear so they’re cheaper and affordable with those who cannot afford to pay full retail, the problem with this comes two-fold in some instances the shelves contain out of date products not reduced more than 25% as they wont reduce the full range, and the other major problem comes in the fact that the price reductions occur at the same time every day and in my local store there’s a group of 6 women that act like piranha’s and block the isle with their trolleys and take absolutely everything that the assistant reduces to 80% every single day (quoted by the staff at the tesco store I visited) not only do they block the isles but if you do get past to look at the reduced produce, they will try to push you out and then grab and hold every single product to hold onto and pass to the assistant so nobody else gets reduced to clear produce.

Now I’m not suggesting reducing to clear is a bad thing because there are a lot of things I would rely upon reduced in order to live, it just needs a little reform where people every single day with entire trolleys of reduced products are clearly either selling on or wasting all of that food, which goes against the food waste scheme, as if they’re taking so much home simply because it’s cheap just to waste it this isn’t good. The other problem is that some ranges such as the ready meals and meat don’t seem to get reduced and get ignored so much so that on the 6 visits I made in short succession over a few weeks trying to get the apples at various times on 3 occasions I found out of date products in the stores ( and in my own personal shopping I keep coming across out of date products in tesco not reduced below 25% and that’s why they go unsold, sure they might go to charities but people would buy them to use and not want to rely upon the charities if they got reduced enough to actually sell)

The reforms I would suggest would be not to take products off the shelf to leave unreduced or even reduced at a small ammount of 5-10%, instead starting off at 25% the night before at the same time everything is reduced 80% save a job by doing it all together. There are people who would then buy it at 25%, with at least an extra day on the range, then in the morning/noonish it could be reduced to 40-50% and then later reduced to the 80-90% savings. I can guarantee some ranges get skipped as I have even gone in an hour before the store closed and asked the staff at the reduced section if the products were getting reduced any further and they were not, and this was one of the occasions where there were out of date products on the reduced to clear, and most of the range was only 25% off which was not good, and with discounters in the area offering similar products at much cheaper than even those reduced to clear prices it becomes a hard sell for those who are price savy and shop around.

Who is to say how the reduced to clear range may change with the new system, perhaps more ranges won’t get reduced because they will be passed onto charities, but in that instance tesco really are wasting more food, sure it’s going to charities but when there are people who would buy just what they would eat without wasting it if it was reduced to a price they could afford then reform might need to be done to ensure everything gets reasonably reduced so more gets sold, because surely it’s better to sell than to simply pass the buck to charities to seem like nothing is getting wasted.

What Can You Do To Reduce Waste Yourself?

The main reform which would need to occur is with yourself when you are shopping, if you are one of those wasting anything close to £60 of food every month you might want to think about what you are buying, do you need it, will you eat it? Will it go to waste? How much have you already got in your fridge going to waste? And if you’re reduced to clear shopping don’t take the entire shelf just because it is cheap, just take a few things some treats and some essentials and only what you know wont get wasted. Be kind and polite so other shoppers can also take advantage of the reductions, and in turn you might notice there are products left for you on other days too rather than a mad rush to grab everything in a sea of piranha munching your flesh if you put your arm in the section.

Other than that if you know you have some food which will be going to waste, cook it before it goes off, freeze it, or use a recipe to use it all up and enjoy the food you’ve purchased rather than throwing your money directly into the bin.

I was sent a voucher for tesco meat products in order to put up my opinion’s of selected by tesco wine’s but I didn’t receive any discount off the wine perhaps for a variety of reasons, partially from the government changes which have been implemented to “prevent” cheap alcohol being sold, which far from preventing drinking problems just makes alcohol more expensive in the lower quality end of the market and those with drinking problems will still have those issues and spend whatever the cost to maintain the habit. So as always www.drinkaware.co.uk and stay responsible.

In store you wouldn’t get a lot of the information put in the campaign with food suggestions and pairings or any highlight on the selected by tesco wines, and regardless of the sales and promotional side perhaps if the wine section selected food pairings (as part of the responsible theme being portrayed of enjoying with a meal) on the shelves along the wine this might encourage people to try the suggested accompaniments, however in store you would not know anything special about the new range as they are hard to spot on the shelves and hard to spot on the bottles, supposedly to make pricing easier despite clearly not being the case shelf wide as other wines remain on promotion and with money off so only the selected by tesco range of usually cheaper wines avoids being put on further promotion and I do question heavily the true nature of the change.

The selected by tesco labeling is rather well hidden on the wine, not highlighted and easily spotted, and amongst other wines on the shelves it can be hard to find the particular bottles in the range, and the price variation is definitely not any different to existing products, so claims it is perhaps somewhere between full retail and discounted for convenience all year round seems incorrect as it is simply full retail all year and never discounted ever again while more expensive wines may be discounted to this price range and give a better quality of wine.

Something else you wouldn’t know by simply purchasing off the shelf is that all the wines are taste tested and selected by the master of wines james davis, however tasting the £4 merlot I purchased heavy in tannin and very inferior it is hard to see how this was “specially selected” amongst merlot’s to be sold on the shelf as the best tesco could offer and specifically selected by tesco to be sold for around £4 when I have tasted much better merlot’s for £4 with no tannin ready to drink and of a good quality.

The recommendations listed in this campaign for a sunday roast are a rioja reserva at £6.50 for red meat and an australian chardonnay for £3.95 for chicken, which may have been reasonable suggestions however with my own studies of wines and spirits with an intermediate WSET wine tasting certification which involved tasting a lot of wines and champagnes both high end and low I can safely identify the qualities of wines as well as know what foods to pair with which wines and I would always recommend a merlot with red meat dishes, whether a roast or a steak even though a rioja is adept and as a reserva and knowing the quality of their merlot perhaps it was a better suggestion out of the two wines, but going in blind I would’ve found a better merlot if I was tesco’s master of wines!

So not receiving a discount on the wine I chose a £5 meat voucher out of the choices, and cooked up a roast dinner with a tesco counter brisket and the making of this will be over at wackykitchen.co.uk The other choices were tesco cheeses, where the wine recommended is a bordeux superior again no mention of this on the shelves near the wine nor the cheese selection. The tesco party food selection suggests an australian shiraz £3.95, and a rose zinfandel £4.50

The blurb that prices are being simplified rather than half price promotions seems a little stale when prices vary so much ranging from £3.95, £4 products to £4.50 £6 etc etc so rather than being simplified it seems that all the wines tend to have their own prices and do not pertain to the quality of the wine, as you will be getting a cheap tasting wine, in the case of the merlot at the very least as this was definitely a bottom of the range wine that needed perhaps another year or two aging to remove the tannin and to open up the flavours as it was very bitter and hard to identify any flavours behind the tannin, perhaps if this was decanted for a week it would be drinkable but freshly opened it lacked the quality I expected for something seemingly “selected” especially for tesco by wine tasting experts, which again you could get a £6-8 merlot often discounted to £4 of significantly better quality than this, there seems to be no noticeable saving and simplification, instead this is a fully retailed £4 wine which really should be discounted to possibly £2.50 to be of any noticeable value and my recommendation would be to look for the wine discounted to £4 from a higher price which will be the good quality ready to drink merlot with good flavour.

It does state that perhaps the selected by tesco wine range will make it easier to make your selection and this may be the case, that you avoid the selected by tesco range and look for a better quality wine discounted, as often the discounted merlot which is reduced to £4 will be noticeably better than the full retail merlot of £4.

The meat counter brisket however was good quality and definitely recommended, I just wish the wine was as the quality is stated to be and not the tannin filled disappointment it turned out to be as anyone unfamiliar with merlot would buy this once taste it and think never again simply because this was released far too soon and utterly bitter with tannin.

Human Fall Flat is a physics based puzzler in which you take control of bob, a morph like character who you can paint to any theme or meme you desire as you explore the 8 dreamscapes of the game. Obvious similarities have to be noted to gang beasts and your character as the control and shape of the main character are obvious however where gang beasts is a multiplayer adversarial brawl in human fall flat the objective is to make your way to the emergency exit through any means at your disposal, and while there are obvious laid out paths with a little human ingenuity there are a plethora of intended and unintentional ways to progress through the game.

Since the alpha two extra levels have been added along with an expansion on the castle level along with additional plans to add steam workshop functionality which could lead to unlimited dreamscapes and puzzles as well as the possibility to create your own scenario’s, even without this though the main game itself will take around 6-7 hours in a single playthrough so if you go through a few times having fun experimenting and exploring the different area’s and ways to solve the puzzles there is a lot of replayability in the game, and if you have the capability there is local co-op as you can take control of an extra bob along with a friend which adds even more ways in which you could get around the obstacles that stand before you.

Each dreamscape has it’s own theme both in the level design and the methodology in which you can solve the puzzles, with simple box and button puzzles, manipulation of platforms, levers and switches along with brick walls to knock down! and even electronically themed levels with batteries and vehicles to drive. The range of items and solutions also means that steam workshop compatibility will allow for any creative idea to be realized due to the diverse range of puzzle items available for use in the gameworld with little difficulty.

If you want to create your own bob however this can be a time consuming process depending on how clean you want the final look to be as lining up paint jobs without accidentally painting on another surface can be a little difficult, and if you don’t have a good webcam, especially if you try to use an android cam service putting your own face on bob might not be as ideal as if they had the ability to simply upload a photo and resize this to fit bob’s face, but with a little human determination you can make this work, my personal second bob did take 2 hours to get right and still didn’t match what I would have liked for facial clarity!

Other features include adventure mode upon completion of a level however this is currently not as intended as bob will be unconscious on the floor while you move the camera around which doesn’t allow you to make mini-sodes much like on the remote control’s as bob lays sleeping on the job rather than moving with a dynamic camera and not even attempting to spawn a second character fixes this issue at present, but the developer is still working on some features and there may be more that happen in the future that aren’t available at the time of release of this review, but without all of these the game is a very fun game, even in a second playthrough finding new things and still enjoying traversing the levels again I can definitely recommend a purchase especially if you like what you see as there is a lot more fun in playing the game than simply watching someone else play.

Get Human Fall Flat on steam now at http://store.steampowered.com/app/477160 with a launch retail price of £12

I purchased through amazon some items including some thomson noise cancelling HED 2303 headphones and even though I selected free delivery it seems that my package was taped within amazon prime tape, perhaps this was just to advertise prime but I hope not to charge me for expensive prime services I did not want and would not use. The reason I splashed out on a purchase was a variety of reasons one being that I had been needing noise cancelling headphones for a while with my computer graphics card giving off ridiculously loud noise and they were definitely needed.

The headphones themselves were reduced from £70 to around £30 and amazon does tend to have fluctuating pricing so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on things see if you can find the product you want at a better price, and at these prices you do get free amazon delivery. This along with the fact that I had some credit from old surveys I had completed unspent needing to be used meant that I decided to splash out on a few things.

How Comfortable Are The Headphones?

The headphones do have softened ear pads and an adjustable strap on the top so you can resize to fit your head for the most part however the ear cups do seem to be a little small to contain your ear within the padded area, and so you have the pads pushing onto your ears which can be a little uncomfortable for long periods of use. If you have smaller ears or different shaped ears you might find things more comfortable but the tips of my ears which are a little more pointy do get sore wearing these for long periods as the pressure focuses down on this area.

How Effective Is The Noise Cancelling

The noise cancelling is probably the main reason you would want to buy a pair of headphones like this and with the retail price noted around £70 you expect it to be rather effective, and having tried noise cancelling headphones at shows like the gadget show in the past of a more expensive standard I had a baseline to compare to even though they were out in the open cancelling background ambient conversation noise rather than close by noisy repetitive fan whine.

This being said the fan the fan can still be heard over the noise isolation of the insulated cups, and there is a noticeable reduction of fan noise with the noise cancelling feature turned on as well as some noticeable audio noise which perhaps is a feature of noise cancelling where I may have gained tinnitus from the fan alone and as a result I am hearing the counter noise through the headphones, or perhaps the microphone just might be poorly calibrated at noise cancelling and is making additional noise in a separate frequency. Overall I feel there is some noise reduction but not to the level and standard I really expected for such an expensive set of headphones, as you do have to take things at their retail price and not the reduced price you might have purchased a product for.

How Is The Sound Quality?

With the noise reduction feature on the sound is as expected and clear as I have come to expect from headphones, however with the noise cancelling off as this amplifies the treble and muffles the base while switched on slightly due to the construction it could be how I have become use to headphones, if you prefer bass heavy headphones noise cancelling will reduce this and you’d prefer it switched off, however I prefer the sound with the amplified treble and lower bass so when the batteries run out switching it to noise isolating alone does sound a little unusual.

So What Are My Overall Thoughts?

The headphones do state that they should manually switch from noise cancelling to isolating when the batteries run out however as the batteries run lower and lower the volume becomes minuscule so you cannot hear anything and you are forced to switch manually from noise cancelling and even if you force it by switching up the volume again and again eventually you get very distorted sounds before finally the batteries run dry and you still have to manually switch off noise cancelling to hear anything, however the batteries do last a reasonable amount of time, using 900mAh Ni-MH (nickel metal hydride) rechargeable batteries the noise cancelling under heavy use would last at least 50 hours of constant use before needing a recharge or battery swap, perhaps longer if you force turning your volume up.

Are they worth the retail price, possibly not I would suggest to look for sale’s as at £70 it is a large commitment even with noise cancelling, but at around £20-30 then these are a reasonable purchase and only because of the added value of the noise cancelling, perhaps if the earphones were a little more comfortable for all ear types and the folding feature actually did anything rather than be pointless the cost might be higher but these might as well be generically shaped headphones you could get for £10-15. The fact that the product comes with a separate cable does add a little to the value as it means if you break the cable you don’t have to replace the entire headset which is good, however I have dropped these off my desk once and it did leave the sound a little strange for a few days, and the adjustable ear pieces if swiveled too far in one direction even though they are designed to swivel more to adjust to your head shape can knock off the noise cancelling feature perhaps due to a loose wire or something getting caught which is disappointing.

However if you need a set of noise cancelling headphones these are the cheapest I could find at the moment and that is a good thing as they tend to be a lot more expensive, sure the noise cancelling isn’t as good as I hoped but there’s no guarantee’s that more expensive noise cancelling would do any better as I can’t test them with my computer fan either.

Don’t confuse “noise cancelling” with “noise isolating” which often get’s branded as noise cancelling, this is active noise cancellation technology and you will struggle to find another pair cheap at this time, perhaps this is the herald of cheaper active noise cancellation technology but for now if you’re not willing to wait a few years for prices to come down this is the best you will find at a very affordable price!

What About The Whiteboard?

I did get an “add on” item from amazon, something you have to buy other products of a minimum price to get, with toothpaste and a whiteboard, the whiteboard would normally be £15 but I got it for under £3, and it’s only really worth the price I paid for it, sure it come’s with a pen which magnetises to the board, 2 magnets and hanging strips but the whiteboard is a little flimsy quality seperated in half from the corkboard and looks like it could fall out or break off easily, which could be fixed no problem with something perhaps gluing the whiteboard down so it doesn’t flim flam around or if the corkboard simply was seperated with a little plastic divider so the whiteboard was held down, but this looks like a corkboard with a flimsy bit of whiteboard plastic attached inside it cheaply and it wouldn’tve taken much to make the quality better to justify the retail price, however at under £3 it wasn’t a bad purchase but would require you to buy other things on amazon to meet the £15 criteria and also to qualify for the free shipping.

Life is strange episode 5 Polarized has been out for a while now and did polarize people in many ways with some hating the whole series as a result of how the game ended and some still loving the overall theme despite how it ended, however many seem to have missed the possible explanations for why and how things have gone as crazy as they did in the final episode through the natural plot progression.

This review will contain heavy spoilers so I would advise simply buying the game and checking it out for yourself if you wish to avoid these spoilers, however if you have played and completed the game or don’t mind spoilers feel free to read on, in the meantime you can find the game at http://store.steampowered.com/sub/56692/

Episode 5 begins in a natural position captured by jefferson waking up from being drugged at the end of the last episode and attempting escape, it is worth noting how jefferson establishes that max has this way of staring blankly into space as though daydreaming perhaps as she always has and how under his drugged state allows her to fall into her daydreams feeling them to be real, and how the entire game has been max’s way of escaping what has really happened to her. There are many points in this episode where she “escapes” the dark room by focusing on photo’s to enter their timeline and enact changes allowing her to escape, however in a drug induced state these could easily be explained away as a daydream especially as in every instance within the game no matter what she ends up back in the dark room with jefferson even when reality had no way to establish her ending up there poorly explained as jefferson burning her photo album, however this was in a halted timeline so having escaped and not been his victim this should never have occurred unless she never escaped the room other than in her mind.

Max does initially manage to escape to a perfect possible reality in which she has won the everyday heroes competition, where the other entries in the gallery are more heroic themed photo’s like firefighter’s, people training for running, pets etc, however max’s wall of selfies somehow wins the competition perhaps simply for being award winning jefferson’s prize student, or as it is max’s delusion of true happiness of course she won the competition, however a nosebleed quickly reminds her that arcadia bay is doomed and she cannot stay in this reality. These nosebleeds continue in the darkroom with jefferson noting how it must be a result of using too high a dosage of the drugs to incapacitate her and leave her malleable. Don’t forget that in previous episodes in the rewind you can hear voices stating to “stay with me max” as though she is dying and attempted to be coaxed back to life.

To save chloe once more she rips up her prize winning photo, which she had always ripped up in the original timeline before “altering” thing’s with her powers in order to save chloe’s life in the first place, her childhood best friend who she had not had a chance to reconnect with since returning to town, who’s death in the original place may have lead her to investigate the situation in a similar manner to the main game plot but on her own and to investigate why nathan shot her and the unraveling plot from there leading to her inevitable kidnap by jefferson for snooping.

So why do I believe she is still in the dark room and always has been? There have been far too frequent opportunities throughout the entire game to “sit” at every opportunity as though it is a common theme that you’re always sat down in thought, and while jefferson was photographing you he kept the dose rather low, but at this scene just prior to “escaping” he notes how it will be the final time she will have to listen to one of his lectures knowing it will be the last time she is conscious and alive. It is at this point when she has the needle to her neck that miraculously she is saved by chloe’s stepdad cop, and being heavily induced by the sudden drug overdose she enters the storm itself attempting to save the residents of arcadia bay on the way to the diner to see warren in order to be able to save chloe, however altering the timeline on this occasion doesn’t result in escape or reality forming to her will instead she awakes back in the classroom again, with jefferson wanting her to say how chloe deserved to die, how her selfies are shit etc and max’s subconscious states how she doesn’t want to say any of the options provided however her drug induced compliant state means she has to make one of those options before she can leave the classroom which itself has reminders that max is in fact “dead” already, and after getting out of the classroom she enters the corridors of her dorm (and perhaps symbolic of her mind and memories) with kate talking like jefferson’s puppet stating how max was responsible for her death and everything that happened to her as though he is roleplaying her or saying these things to her on the floor as she slips away as jefferson had liked kate as his new muse and felt max’s interfering prevented him taking it further.

After a few crazy corridors with the facts of rachel, haunted memories of victoria and her own life and time’s flashing through as selfies on the wall the drugs overdose really starts to kick in with time flowing backwards while max moves forwards and everything being woozy before everything goes dark and she’s hiding from a plethora of jefferson’s coming to hunt her down and take her back to the dark room, now unfortunately she follows the symbolism that escaping the light is staying alive, perhaps as he flashes a flashlight across her eyes checking if she’s alive or even the possibility that someone has discovered her body perhaps on the side of the road where she begin’s the game attempting to revive her, but rather than go into the light and awake she hides from everyone and everything following the road to the lighthouse at the end of the tunnel, which if she was actually going into the light could be considered holding onto life but she does avoid it at every turn sticking to the dark. There is an optional bottle hunting mission here which can even be accidentally skipped without realizing, perhaps symbolic of your own torture trying to find that fifth bottle in the first place! However you once again return to the familiar seated position, where if you escaped and examined your chair you will note max “still feels the bind’s” as though she never escaped and was still tied up in that chair in that dark room.

Reality begins to unravel further as the drugs take further hold, as you find yourself escaping reality within the snowglobe sat on chloe’s mantelpiece seeing yourself perform the actions you had made in the past, although knocking off the snowglobe and shattering it would have been a fitting snap from this scene transition to the next it’s not essential as max passes onto a room trying to find the combination from a million possibilities carved into the walls. If you find the combination it leads to a diner filled with all of the people significant to max with an etheric reality outside of the diner filled with all of the other meaningless souls which may have passed.

The diner is a mirror of symbolism for judgement in death, filled with all the people you’ve helped in life and those you’ve wronged to sit in judgement over your eternal soul, and you can hear the voices echo out to you some questioning why you didn’t help them and others thanking you for saving them or helping them resolve issues in their life which leads me to wonder whether there might have been a perfect possible ending to the game hidden away in which you help absolutely everyone there and turn all of the voices positive and perhaps allowing you to leave the diner and escape back into the room and take down jefferson once and for all with him being in shock at you surviving the overdose. However instead you talk to yourself the only true judge over your soul as to whether you are deemed worthy of heaven or deserve eternal damnation in hell, this perhaps is mirrored in your actual decision at the end of the game as you move on from the diner to watch the last moments with chloe you shared flash by as though your life was flashing by in the last moments before death, heading into the lighthouse at the end of the road, of course you return to a reality within the storm with chloe to face the final decision as to who to save.

The end choice here is rather a silly one and does render the entire game pointless as regardless of who you saved and what you did in the game everything is the same if you choose to save arcadia bay, you get the happy ending with everyone alive and happy, even kate regardless of whether you saved her or not. This does fly by in a flash though, with flashes of photographs quickly explaining how jefferson was taken down somehow by simply not saving chloe this resulted in him being arrested and kate never jumping! Ending on chloe’s funeral without a word being uttered as life fades away, and focusing on max’s face looking into the light perhaps happy fading away to heaven, whereas if you choose to save chloe you have doomed arcadia bay and everyone in it to utter destruction and you know that no matter what you will always be fighting to save chloe over and over never learning from your mistake as the world and universe continues to rain down destruction wherever you go hurting the lives of everyone around you and destroying the entire world for the sake of one life who never should’ve lived, truly creating hell on earth and always being in danger and with something to lose which you would always have to protect.

I do feel the ending could have gone better but if it is explained as either passing away peacefully or continuing to defy the reality of the situation as the drugs rage through your system to an inevitable painful death the crazyness at the end can be explained away, and this is the only way it leaves room for a sequel season, as if you are max again following on with the time travel abilities she knows she can’t change anything for fear of causing catastrophe’s or she fights on in a universe falling apart keeping chloe alive and neither would make a good game, however a narrative where jefferson (or someone else) has kidnapped a new victim knowing or not knowing they were kidnapped and drugged trying to come to terms with it (perhaps realizing later and actually having a chance to escape depending upon the choices made and the information gathered) could make for a good second season, and jefferson noted himself he wanted to kidnap kate again, so perhaps season 2 could focus on kate having been retaken by jefferson trying to figure out what is going on and using time travel abilities to gather the facts and attempt to wake up and escape from her inevitable fate. This would make a compelling second season and allow for different narratives and timelines and different effects and influences, as max was influenced by the stormy weather for her dreams perhaps kate or whoever is the new victim would have other thing’s going on around their delusional state.

Those who have played season 1 would also for the most part be unaware of what was going on as they took the time travel ability for granted and didn’t question the possible natures of realities within the game, so a reveal that she is kidnapped later would be a good twist to the plot and this allows for a narrative world to be established without having to be fully influenced by the factors of the first game as for the most part it was all in the delusional state of max’s mind as she slipped away inside jefferson’s dark room. If the victim was kate obviously thing’s could take on a more biblical front as she is very religious and takes influence from her experiences and thought processes, and the game could even begin with her in the hospital recovering and perhaps believing she has been granted these powers by god to change things for the better and that her life was spared for this very purpose.

Of course I am expanding and theorizing heavily on what could be coming for season two as nothing is known but simply following max would not make a compelling game it does need to be a new protagonist and with a reasonable explanation for what is happening, and in my opinion max dying in that dark room from that final overdose is the only thing that explains why the walls of reality collapse as much as they do, and the symbology used within the game at the end fits the theme’s of dying and the end of life far too well for there to be any other explanation. Go play life is strange for yourself and explore the game and experience the plot and the emotions as that is the point of a narrative game such as this, and make up your own mind as to what is going on.

The full season of life is strange is available on steam at http://store.steampowered.com/sub/56692/

The gadget show live returned to the NEC for 2016 and I received tickets and decided to take an unofficial review of the event along with trying a more on the go style of recording footage.

This year there were a number of record breaking attempts along with the usual gadget show live experience, and the plethora of stalls with all of your gadgety needs available to purchase. New to this year however there was also a yogscast special event, which it was lead to believe would be through the friday ticket but turned out to require it’s own ticket so while I would have attended it seemed I was unable to as a result of the ticket type I had been provided.

There were some new games on show and available to play both in regular form as well as a variety of 3d methods ranging from simple headsets utilizing your smartphone, through a unidirectional treadmill used to traverse a van gogh experience to the advanced 3d experience of the vive which allows you to interact while moving fully around your own room. I did have a press session with esper2 booked which I will be bringing you a review of separately later.

There were some other interesting events going on around the hall with a “robot wars” clone with competition to pit the other competitors as opposed to dismembering their robots.

I felt there weren’t as many items which were featured on the show to see around the halls and it felt simply like an excuse to sell gadgets, even if it was a range of products which had been tested during john bentleys trials it would have been something more associated with the show. There were some unique things available to buy such as getting your own 3d printed model made at the show however this would really be something to know in advance so you can ensure you would look as you wish for the model whereas if you show up not ready for a model then you’re not going to wish to purchase one as they aren’t inexpensive.

Previous years had featured a chance to queue to get something signed by the gadget show crew however this year there was no such stall, as I had stated in previous years the security had been pretty terrible telling you not to queue early telling you to come back at X time then when you came back the queue was “full” so I missed out meeting the crew and getting things signed on my birthday because of that useless security guard ruining the day, so that get’s removed by removing the chance to get anything signed entirely but it also removes another step of the actual event being related to the gadget show as you would have to attend the live session in the hall with tickets to such in order to see the presenters whatsoever, while in the hall you could queue for the yogscast to meet them and have things signed it seemed more like the yogscast were the main draw for many attendees on the day I visited.

The day was enjoyable and if you wanted to attend it would be recommended that you purchase the supertheatre tickets in order to get your moneys-worth out of the experience, other previous benefits have included discounts on products for show attendees and special competitions which only attendees could participate in, there were very few of these with most stalls being full retail and offering little in special variety or discount over online purchase, but most of the stalls were things to participate in with the likes of the gaming section, and a very large creativity section encouraging youngsters to learn about engineering and creativity through paperwork, and another large section with driving experiences from learning to drive and be driven in a small circle in a tesla motor car, for a ridiculously long queue and a rather fun remote controlled vehicle race section with prizes, unfortunately I played in the session directly after the finals for that day and won my race which would have placed me in the finals to win the trophy had I been able to play and it would have been good to try out for the trophy but I played too late.

I felt something was lacking during the experience and it was hard to put my finger on exactly what was wrong, but I think there was a distinct lack of upcoming technology or anything particularly special, sure there were a lot of vr experiences but it seemed that the show had been downgraded for a much younger audience as opposed to providing a variety of products to try and buy, also looking for active noise cancelling headphones in any of the audio sections proved rather difficult and I was only able to find one pair at a ridiculously expensive price, however this provides ample ground to learn for next year’s event, to provide a wider range of products, more from the show, and perhaps a better chance to interact with the presenters on the show floor, as they would be the main draw for any attendee.

Check out the gadget show live website for more details about upcoming events www.gadgetshowlive.net

I received a voucher to try products from the tesco finest party food selection for review, and along with a 3 for 2 discount I got a major price reduction on the food selected to try.

The tesco finest party food range was all designed to cook at the same temperature and be easy to heat up with minimal effort for party food over the seasonal christmas holidays and parties in general. Located on the shelves next to tesco’s regular range of party food in very similar packages it perhaps wasn’t ideal for choosing items in the same discounted range but for a shopper wishing to choose their party food for the holidays the entire selection was available in one convenient location.

Although there was a selection noted on the website to try I found the range in store had other products not mentioned whilst also finding it impossible to seek out some of those nicer products which were stated to be in the range.

•Tesco finest* Posh Pigs in Blankets
A pork sausage with cinnamon and ginger coated in a port and cranberry glaze, wrapped crispy bacon.*
•Tesco finest* Bourbon Beef Waffles
8 mini Belgium waffles topped with shredded Aberdeen Angus beef, Bourbon BBQ sauce and medium Cheddar cheese*
•Tesco finest* Mini Steak Pies*
Mini pies with beef and a cornish ale gravy in crispy pastry.*
•Tesco finest* Butterfly Prawn Selection with a Mango Dipping Sauce
King prawns coated in coconut and black & white sesame seed crumbs.*
•Tesco finest* Thai Chicken Curry Pastries
Pastry pockets filled with green Thai chicken curry, or Panang chicken curry with lemongrass.*
•Tesco finest* Oriental Selection
A selection of ready to eat oriental snacks, prawn and coconut spring rolls, chicken satay cones and Mussaman crouton bites.*
•Tesco finest* Mini Strawberry Trifles
Strawberry sauce, diced strawberry, sponge cubes with vanilla mousse topped with freeze dried strawberry*
•Tesco finest* Lemon Sherbet bites
Mini cheesecake with biscuit base, lemon cheesecake topped with sherbert dust.*
•Tesco finest* Swiss Chocolate Truffle profiteroles
Swiss chocolate truffle mousse in choux pastry, topped with a swiss chocolate sauce with “gold sparkled” butterscotch pieces.*

The majority of this list was impossible to find in store, especially the frozen and sweet treats, only finding the pigs in blankets, a selection of differing prawn based products, the oriental selection, an indian selection pack and some crispy chicken skewers.

Obviously there were some products I would have tried had I been able to find then however the variation in the finest range in the store I visited was lacking choosing to only have traditional party fare along with the oriental and indian selections lacking the choices in varied party foods, this could be a sign of the area however being stagnant full of old people set in their ways unwilling to try new and different food styles and only including the oriental and indian selections for natives in the area.

The products I took were very tasty although the indian party food seemed to be rather toned down unless you dipped the products in the included sauce which doesn’t seem very indian as usually all of their food is filled to the brim with flavours and sensations, and for the most part the combination required the sauces in order to get the full indian flavour. The chicken skewers I took also had a very good crispy coating far beyond what you would find in most fried chicken and with the ease of cooking is a definite recommendation and would be perfect to dip into any of your usual dipping sauces you could include with a party selection or to eat separately on their own.

Now ideally as this was purchased to be used as party food where it would provide something of extra sustenance rather than the usual selection of cheese and crackers, sweets, crisps and nuts and even provide something warm and satisfying as a variation. I would even state that these would be fine to eat cooled down after cooking however my mother set in her ways didn’t wish to have these on the christmas table after everything instead choosing to just lay out a selection of the usual cold snacks, so I had these on a separate occasion, but it’s the thought that counts right? I personally thought these were an ideal small nibble selection to put out on the table for those who want a little warm treat and something more wholesome than simple snacks and something very tasty that would fit perfectly on a party selection table, this is also the reason I didn’t take the oriental selection even though it looked tasty I wanted to go for something which would be warmed and offer variation, not that if I’dve taken those they would’ve been included as they were too different for my mother to include on the table.

All in all the party food range is very tasty and ideal for party situations and with 3 for 2 often better in price than the regular party food, or competitors counterparts which will be lower in quality and flavour.

Parts of this video are pre christmas where the deadline stated 5 days (with the same number of days til christmas) however visiting the next day while still preparing this it stated 34 days so priorities got reshuffled, apologies to the lateness of the review being that christmas is over, however these are ideal for any party, including the chinese new year, birthdays or even easter, any excuse for a party.

* All product names and descriptions adapted from tesco orchard as they are relevant to the review, to show the range stated and products which could not be found, their direct descriptions are not used as they desire to hold the “marketed” terms under federal trade commission regulations and as a result the products are described but without using their buzz terms. As this is used in a review this fulfills fair use statutes.