Community Games Spotlight: Sport and Classic Games

SPORTS

Easy Golf
Developer: Barkers Crest
800 Points


Easy Golf is a game where for a moment you’ll scratch your head trying to figure out why the developer thought it was worth 800 points. Sure, the game does a good job with presenting smooth 3D graphics and an easy to use interface for playing golf, but it is still golf. There have been a lot of golf games, and if it this game had only been about just playing golf, I would be able to understand people complaining about the price.

The game is entirely worth the asking price for one reason: the course editor.

The course editor in Easy Golf is amazing. Honestly I don’t even like golf games very much, but I do like playing around with editing software. The Easy part of the title Easy Golf applies to more than just the uncomplicated gameplay, creating your own courses using the editor in this game is so simple just about anyone can learn in create a course in about 10 minutes. Place trees wherever, control the shapes of everything from water and sand hazards to the green, change the elevation of different areas, set the wind speed and direction and more. There’s just a stunning amount of possibilities with this tool set and if you like golf games, than at 800 points I’d say it’s worth it for just the course editor. The golf part is just a bonus.

Sometimes a game where creation is the main draw can be a deterrent for some people, but I’d suggest anyone even remotely interested to at lead download the trial and play around during the time limit with the editor.

Final Rating: Try

Petank Party
Developer: UFOgames
800 Points

The word Petank is apparently derived from the French word Petanque, which is the name of a French recreational game. In the game of Petanque a wooden ball is thrown and then the players must try to throw metal balls as close to the wooden ball as possible. Until I looked it up to write about the Xbox Community Game, I’d never even heard of this game.

Petank Party is an over the top recreation of this hobby. In the game you can choose between one of six characters, including an alien and what looks like the cross between a cat and a pirate. After choosing a character the game will randomly sort throw different Magic Ball power ups, then the wooden ball, or Jack, is thrown. After the Jack is thrown each player takes a turn trying to lob a ball hoping to get it the closest to the Jack. If another teams ball is closer to the Jack you have a chance of throwing a ball and knocking it out of place. At the end of the round the team with the ball or balls closest to the Jack earns points and the rounds continue until one team has 13 points.

The Magic Ball powerups add a little more strategy to the game, and also help the game from feeling either too simple or stale. The graphics are also well modeled in 3D and more importantly the physics engine used for the game is pretty good, which is very important for a game of this type. With 6 players and multiple modes it’s a good game, though at 800 points a little bit harder to recommend. Had it been 400 points I’d have easily recommended the game, but I can’t really see that the game has a lot of long term appeal unless you are a person who really loves Petanque.

Final Rating: Try

CLASSIC

Snake360
Developer: Aaron Teplitsky
400 Points

Here’s a game that just about everyone has played in his or her life at some point or another. Snake is the classic game where you control a line and move it around a 2D field while collecting items that extend the length of the line, which makes the game more difficult the longer you play it.

Snake360 takes this familiar concept and expands on it in a lot of different ways. In the main mode of the game you can select between 200 levels that are broken up into different stages that consist of 8 levels each. Then you have to choose between 3 different difficulty levels, the harder ones often change the stages by adding more obstacles. In the main mode of Snake360 you’ll try and collect 9 targets, each of which add length to your snake.

Co-Op mode is a similar mode only playable with two players. There are still nine targets to collect in each stage, and while it sounds easier to do this in co-op, it becomes a struggle to avoid running into the other player. There is also an easier variation of the main game mode that’s meant for kids and doesn’t have the same penalties for crashing.

Then there is a survival mode, where you select only one stage and then try to last as long as you can on a time limit. The time limit only increases when you collect a target, but then again so does the size of the Snake you control, so it becomes a battle between trying to stay within the time limits and trying not to crash.

Then there is a battle mode which is only slightly similar to the gameplay found in another Community Game mentioned earlier this week StarPilot. Battle mode is between 2-4 players and the point is to outlast the other players by either avoiding them or trying to cause them to crash into you.

One of the few games with a scoreboard, Snake360 will give you a code in the single player modes that you can enter at the official website in order to see how you rank against other players.

Graphically Snake360 isn’t really one of the better looking Community Games, the graphics are very simple with some decent background images, except a game like Snake doesn’t really need hi-definition graphics. What a game like this needs is precise controls, and that’s one of the areas which seems a little off. The 360 joystick and D-Pad aren’t really the greatest for this style of game, luckily the developer though of this and gives practically every control option you can think of for the game. The most accurate way to control the game from what I’ve played, is to use the face buttons, Y for up, B for right, A for down, and X for left. This takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you’ve got it down it works well.

On the audio side, the developers voice chimes in during different parts of the game, like for when you do a good job in making a quick turn, and I found this annoying really quickly. Other than that it’s fine.

At 400 Points, Snake360 packs in a lot of different variations of a classic game. While there are free Snak style games online, none of them even come close to matching the content of this one, so $5 isn’t that bad of a price at all.

Final Rating: Buy

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