Category Archives: Xbox 360

Review: Toy Soldiers Cold War

Originally posted by  MYASHARONA at GamerFitNation


Chances are that if you were born sometime after 1987 then your recollections or impressions of the cold war are easily unimpressive if existent at all. The “cold war” refers to a long running political conflict between the communist soviet states and, primarily, the United States from 1946 to the early 1990s. The result of this long running conflict, aside from the obvious civil wars, revolution combat, invasions, and military conflict, was a fascination with related toys that spanned decades. What better setting for Toy Soldiers: Cold War to take place than in the bedroom of a 1980’s child fascinated with military trinkets.

Signal Studios’ sequel to Toy Soldiers, Toy Soldiers: Cold War, is a fun new take on their initial tower defense gameof the same name. The setting, specifically the era, allows for a great amount of movie and toy box nostalgia for those of us in the 30+ demographic, and incorporates all of the fantastic cheesy action that made the 80s so great. The game features 1980s-era military technology, and is like previously eluded to it is based around the idea of military aggression escalating between the United States and the USSR. Toy Soldiers: Cold War features a blend of third-person action and strategy.

The toy box is your tower and there a number of places where you can set up your camps. The exciting part about your camps is that you can jump in and out of them to control them at any time. Often I felt as though I needed to participate in this first person action to ensure success. The ability to control your RC vehicles also comes in handy as you may choose to let your camps battle it out while you fly around in your RC helicopter unloading a wave of missiles so long as your battery is charged. Increasing your score also allows for special barrages and one of the very first barrages I achieved unlocked our good friend Rambo..erm..”commando”  who was released spewing a healthy dose of cheesy lines and bazooka blows while you lead him to take out a wave on enemies on the ground. There are all kinds of strikes and bombs to unlock to help you destroy the waves of toy soldiers, in all matter of military aggression, who are coming for your toy box.

As I played through the campaign the more waves I killed the more money I made. This is important because your camps will need repairs and upgrades throughout the game. You will need these upgrades as you prepare for the inevitable boss that comes at the end of the level. It seems like one foul swoop of the boss, or a simple roll over, and all your camps are gone, so it is important to consider your tower defense strategy in the midst of all of the action.

There are numerous multiplayer options available in Toy Soldiers: Cold War and given the campaign and the multiplayer modes this game is a great value for your dollar. Unlike more tower defense games Toy Soldiers: Cold War will keep you interested for a long time. While the game could easily become stagnant and repetitive, it rarely does. The Top Gun and Rambo references, the overt nostalgia, and the variety in game modes, all allow for hours of enjoyment. Becoming a decorated hero means earning achievements for things like using a fighter’s machine gun to destroy a soviet fighter or surviving more than 9 rounds in any survival game. Decorations will help you squeeze even more value for your dollar out of Toy Soldiers: Cold War on Xbox Live Arcade.

Toy Soldiers: Cold War by Signal Studios is available on XBLA and according to their official website we may be in store for some upcoming DLC.




Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 at X’11 Canada

Originally posted by MYASHARONA at GamerFitNation

Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 is the new sequel to Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, the #1 fitness game on Kinect. At a recent Xbox event, in Toronto Ontario, I had the opportunity to meet with game designer Nicola Godin and try out the new title. Not only was this my first time with Your Shape but also only a handful of times I had ever tried the kinect. I had a TON of fun and can’t wait to try it further!

Sharon and Nicola pose in front of Your Shape FE 2012.

Exercise your way with a customizable, social and fun experience that delivers serious results. As one of the most extensive fitness offerings on the market, Your Shape includes over 90 hours of activities. Your Shape provides an even wider array of activities to suit your tastes and fitness goals, including zen classes, latin dance and boot camp. The state-of-the-art motion tracking has been pushed to the next level with brand-new floor movements and an enhanced feedback system that guides you on how to improve your technique and results.


    • WHERE FITNESS AND MAGIC MEET – Your Shape will take players into a stimulating world showcasing an array of captivating visual effects and an environment that will transform as their workouts evolve in the game. The improved player projection will allow players to see themselves in the Your Shape universe and keep a close eye on their workouts.
    • FITNESS YOUR WAY – You choose how you want to play! Do you want a personal trainer to help meet your set fitness goals? Or do you want to focus on a specific muscle group? You can also build a program around the time you have to work out.
    • A WORLD OF FITNESS IN YOUR LIVING ROOM – Your Shape contains activities for everyone and anyone. Players will be able to try new workout routines such as Latin, Hip-hop, Pop, African and Bollywood. There’s a broad selection of classes and games available, including Zen, Kick Boxing, Boot Camp and Jump Rope. A new and unique feature called Run the World will enable players to run virtually through the streets of New York, Paris or London and enjoy the environment.
    • BEST-IN-CLASS TRACKING NOW WITH NEW FLOOR MOVES – With an enhanced feedback system, players can now get feedback on how to improve their technique and results. With this recent technology, Your Shape now tracks floor movements, allowing new activities such as push-ups and sit-ups.
  • MONITOR YOUR PROGRESS AND CHALLENGE YOUR FRIENDS – Using Your Shape Center, players can monitor their progress, challenge their friends and see how they rank against players from across the world. They can also share their achievements on Facebook or keep in shape using Your Shape mobile applications. With hundreds of millions of calories already burned, our goal is for the community to burn 1billion calories collectively by the end of 2012.
Check out the gameplay/interview here and be sure to watch for the Q4 release of Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012, just in time for holiday gift giving. *ahem* Santa, did you get that?

Is Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet the new Solar Jetman?

An ITSP review story by MyaSharona

Originally posted BY MYASHARONA at GamerFitNation

If you have kids, or ever spent time with one you already know how early our fascination with space can start. This is probably why any time I see an adorable spaceship (like the one found in Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet) I can’t help but sing the preschooler’s Zoom Zoom Zoom song and it may also be why I am fascinated with Nasa’s space stream on Roku. Regardless of the reasons, space is a beloved mysterious location that is perfect for the imagined dangers that can only take place in video games.

Just before I began my adventure with Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet I mentioned, in passing, to my boyfriend about my newest project. As I eluded to in the game preview (here), I was extremely excited to get my hands on the video game work of fellow Sheridan Alumni, renowned artist, Michel Gagne.  In typical retro gamer fashion my fella asked me if it was anything like Solar Jetman of NES fame. I of course had no recollection of the game (don’t worry kids, one day you too will complain of a memory that isn’t what it used to be) and decided to play the two side by side.


Here’s where ITSP and Solar Jetman are similar:

  • Multi Directional Shooter
  • SpaceShip
  • Unearthly Planet
  • Exploration

But that is about as far as I conclude the similarities are rooted. You will of course find the metroidvania style play in ITSP that is sure to appeal to the older more experienced gamer.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is an exploratory, puzzle solving, testament to the ‘art as video games’ mentality. With both a single player campaign and online multiplayer modes the short but satisfying experience may draw you in for multiple visits.  ITSP includes smooth controls and a polished game play experience which means there is something for everyone in this Summer of Arcade gem.

Your journey through the ominous sounding Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet begins on a small platform with an adorable alien. The assembly of his/your spaceship occurs and ‘voila!’ you are ready to navigate out of your home hub and into the planet. Starting with the bare minimum it is up to you to locate and discover your next point of interest. Don’t worry you are not completely alone in this task; your trusty map will point you in the right direction. During your gameplay you will navigate through various areas of the planet (organic, mechanical, etc), fighting foes, collecting weapons tools upgrades and bonus assets, all while solving puzzles. In familiar fashion many paths and points within the specific area you are exploring will not be accessible to you until you acquire the next tool or upgrade. For this reason you had best be okay with backtracking to previously visited areas.

The beautifully rich and creative environments and creatures are nothing short of artistically inspiring. The silhouette style presentation of the graphics are perfectly suited for this style of gameplay. Each and any screenshot is a prime example of the saturating experience with ITSP graphics.

The controls of your spaceship in ITSP are very intuitive and was probably the biggest relief for me when switching from Solar Jetman. Navigate your ship and your tools using the analogue sticks and a quick hit of the bumper will reveal your wheel of weaponry. Use your weapon wheel to assign four quick access tools to the XYAB buttons. In some of your larger battles/puzzles you may wish that you could more easily switch out your four tools for faster reaction to the environments and enemies but the game is easy enough without giving you everything.

This brings me to my only real criticism of the game. ITSP is easy, short and easy. The length can be forgiven by the fact that the game also contains an online multiplayer experience (with up to 4 players) called ‘Lantern Run’. Lantern Run will add some replay value to your purchase and the chaos contained therein will guarantee loads of fun for you and your friends.  Aside from getting crazy with more players and more lanterns, though, ITSP is a pretty easy game. Achievement hungry players will have no trouble getting all of the ‘bwoop bweep’ they desire in one play through. Even though there are no verbal cues there are visual ones and it won’t take your hard earned BFA to pick up on them.

Even though your experience may be brief, and not at all like taking the SATs, it will be a satisfactory one. The audio and visual cinematics keep you wanting more. Upon discovering the final boss battle of this oh so twisted planet I found myself hoping that it wasn’t.

So is Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet the new Solar Jetman? My answer is no. ITSP is a new and visually delicious puzzle game with fluid controls, polished gameplay, featuring unique characters and environments.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is available NOW on Xbox Live Arcade.

Grab a lantern and let’s play!

Insanely Twisted Summer of Arcade

Originally posted BY MYASHARONA at

Game Preview: Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

The XBLA Summer of Arcade has kicked off to a fantastic start. With Bastion and From Dust already sitting snugly in our 360′s tomorrow’s addition of the anticipated Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is going to be a great addition! That’s right tomorrow, August 3rd, get ready to

“[Challenge] the notion that videogames are not art.” -Xbox Press Release

The game style has been compared to that of Metroid, Castlevania, and Shadow Complex, and the animation is born from the mind of renowned artist, Michel Gagne (who is not only a fellow Sheridan alumnus and a fellow Canadian, but has worked on some of my favorite animated films of all time). The colors, the textures, the minimalist details are artistically engaging but more on that in my upcoming review.

“Blending exploration, intense shooter action, and puzzle-solving with gorgeous artwork, rich storytelling and Hollywood quality presentation, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet draws you into an epic journey full of surprises, danger and wonder.” claims the E3 press release.

Insanely Twisted Game Features Include:

  •  Striking and appealing visual style by renowned artist Michel Gagné.
  •  Innovative and intuitive puzzle design mixed with intense action sequences.
  •  Unique and visually stunning creatures and environments.
  •  Rich worlds and captivating back stories.
  •  Explore the worlds of Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet with friends with multiplayer.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is available Wednesday August 3rd through Xbox Live Arcade. And if you still aren’t sold then check out the official trailer and be sure to check back soon for my FULL REVIEW which will be posted at


I am playing TOO MANY games!

…at the same time.

I like to believe that my use of interactive entertainment  is not all that different from how ‘mainstream’ masses use but the truth is I have no idea. What I do know is that I currently have a slew of games that are either half played, just started, or otherwise need my attention.

My immediate attentions are being diverged among:

Assassins’s Creed Brotherhood – 360

I LOVED the second game in this franchise and part of the reason, I suspect, is because over the course of a few months I played this game every night for approximately 1-2hrs.  This wildly enjoyable bedtime routine had me dreaming the world that was AC2 and changed the way I look at old church towers and haystacks. Currently in Brotherhood I am stalled. I have hit a challenging part in the game. I am at a mission that requires timing and stealth and for the life of me I can’t get past it. I play and die about 10-15 times and then walk away from the game only to return with fresh eyes a week or so later. Wash, rinse, repeat.  The only thing that keeps me from giving up all together is how great I am going to feel when i finally get past it (it’s still at an early part in the game) and this kick ass story that I know is waiting for me on the other side of this tricky spot.

Borderlands – 360

Now this game I love. Oddly enough I have not had the opportunity to play this game extensively despite my instant like of it (glitches and all). As of right now I am playing very casually with a friend (maybe once or twice a month)and I can’t wait to play with her again. Rarely do I ever want to participate in multiplayer games, as I prefer most single player campaigns, but for some reason this one really strikes with me. I probably should level up a new character so that I can jump in with others or just play on my own but part of the fun, I find, has been going through this game with a friend.

Mortal Kombat – PS3

For the record I am quite partial to the Mortal Kombat world; so much so that I am willing to deny the existence of some of the less stellar releases that have made their way into my hands over the years. I am slowly working my way through the story mode in an attempt to practice and become familiar with the mechanics once again. Let’s just say I am not ever going to compete professionally with my (lack of) skills in Mortal Kombat, but a deep rooted history and a strong desire to challenge some friends online, and this game is still in my so called regular rotation.

War 2 Victory – Mobile

I’m working on a review of this game so I won’t tell you too much about it other than the fact that I have been playing it for about 3.5 weeks now and I think I am about as far into it as I am going to get. This  MMO strategy mobile game is one that I have put to the test and will tell you all about in an upcoming article.

Trino -PC

This contest wining game indie game is so much better than I expected. So far I have only put in about an hour and twenty minutes of game time but it has a fantastic marriage of simplicity and complexity complimented with a really compelling soundscape. I am determined to find a way to use my USB gamepad to play this because I just know that I will have infinitely better success. With leader boards, achievements and all, I am looking forward to getting the controls mastered and kicking some butt with this one.

Pokemon White – DS

Yep, I am STILL working my way through my first ever adventure into the wacky world of Pokemon. When I first purchased this game I spent the better part of 3 or 4 days with my DS attached to my fingertips. Later I found myself catching pokemon before bed or with my morning tea, as one would with a good book, and now I find myself battling my way through the subway system about once a week. I have not given up yet. I have one more gym badge to obtain and then from there I hear the story really opens up.

Terraria – PC

This game did not catch my attentions at all when I first took a  peek at it. After doing a bit of research and reading some reviews I decided that the low price was about all my budget could currently afford me(actually beyond it, but I digress) and that it might keep me entertained for a while. Very quickly this game has become one of my favorites and I haven’t even begin to scratch the surface of it’s capabilities. Within the first 48 hours of owning this game I have played 18hrs (do you see a Sharon pattern emerging? I do!) and if I didn’t have other worldly obligations I would probably continue at that pace until I leveled up far enough to jump into some online play. YES multiplayer! I can not even wait to try that out.

Also in the works:

  • NES Challenge #2 & #3

  • Uncharted 3 Beta

  • Darkest Hour

Yeah… so I am playing too many games at once. It might be time to focus and bang these out one at a time or at least until the next shiny thing pulls me in a distracted new direction.

What are YOU playing these days?

XBLA will be Splodin this July

Origianlly posted by MYASHARONA at


When will mad scientists learn? You can’t accidentally make an explosive woman without tipping a few lab beakers.  From our last Twisted Pixel adventure with Splosion Man a new splosion man has emerged from the smoke, MS Splosion Man!

Ms. Splosion Man is the action platform adventure to sequel Twisted Pixel’s 2009 hit Splosion Man. Those crafty scientists, were so ecstatic with their capture of Splosion man that they filled the entire lab with celebration.  They never realized that their elated  hastiness (or clumsiness) would be their falling. see for yourself, take a look at the shenanigans in action.


I recently had the opportunity to get into the Ms. Splosion Man beta and what you can expect to find is an all new adventure, new puzzles and ways to solve them, new game modes and of course the same Twisted Pixel humor.

Much like Splosion Man your goal is to ‘splode your way through a series of exciting escape based puzzles by utilizing the explosiveness of your entire self.  There are nifty rails to help you zip through areas, rotating cannons to help shoot you through the air with all the style and grace you would expect from our *ahem* dainty heroine.

The multiplayer mode is one crazy adventure with completely different puzzles. With double the explosiveness, players must work together to solve problems and at times explode into one another to make larger jumps and get to otherwise unreachable heights. I jumped into multiplayer only to anger my co-players with my ineptness. In fairness I did have a bit of troubling finding people to team up with online which might explain why some of the people I met in multiplayer may have had less patience with my learning curve. The number of people playing online is not going be any kind of issue once the game is released. I’m not going to lie, I will enjoy multiplayer local as well. Even my non gamer friends will be able to pick up a controller (upon my insistence) and create all kinds of chaos by my side. Somehow I feel that the silliness of coordinating your adventure will be much more fun with someone you know rather than a random.

There is a mode that, while locked in the beta, looks really interesting called Two Girls, One Controller. This mode allows one player to control two Splosion Gals simultaneously on the same controller. You use the left analog stick with LB button for one, and the right analog stick with RB for the other. It takes a keen eye and a whole lot of dexterity to keep these two girls on target, but once you get the rhythm right you’re off and sploding. This mode sounds not only INSANE but also right up my alley. I cannot wait to give it a try.

The beta is only around until the 26th but if you didn’t get into the beta you won’t have to wait long. Ms Splosion Man will be released on July 13th as part of Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade. I’ve already got my points ready, how about you?


Forza4 Races into our Hearts

Forza 4 Races into our Hearts

Originally posted BY MYASHARONA at
October 11the of this year Forza 4 will speed its way into living rooms across North America.  The highest-rated racing franchise of this generation returns. Unrivalled in its innovation and quality, Forza Motorsport 4 pushes the racing genre forward, delivering the most stunning graphics ever seen on the Xbox 360 platform, radical experiences only possible with Kinect, groundbreaking social features through Xbox LIVE, and a landslide of new content, cars and new ways to play. Launching this October exclusively on Xbox 360, Forza Motorsport 4 is an entirely new automotive experience.

Top features include the following:

Platform-defining graphics. Forza Motorsport 4 sets a new graphical standard for the racing genre. Featuring dramatic Hollywood-style camera effects and an all new lighting engine, Forza Motorsport 4 creates an unparalleled, dramatically realistic graphical experience — all running at a silky-smooth 60 frames per second.

Xbox LIVE showpiece. Forza Motorsport 4 is making racing more social than ever. Create a Car Club and build the ultimate dream team of drivers, tuners and painters from the Forza community. Share your custom cars and dominate the other clubs. With the all-new Rivals Mode, play against your friends whether they are online or not by challenging them for bragging rights and rewards in a variety of different game types.

Industry-leading innovation with Kinect. Autovista Mode brings the automotive experience comes to life. Walk around the car in a virtual showroom, crouch down to look at the details, or open the doors and hood using the power of Kinect. Immerse yourself with Kinect Head Tracking, which pans the camera view based on how you naturally look into the corners when you’re hard charging. Take the virtual wheel with Kinect as you sit on the couch with your friends and family — no controller required. You can even take advantage of Kinect voice control to easily navigate the game’s menu.

More of what you love. With more than 80 manufacturers, the most in any racing game available today, Forza Motorsport 4 features unrivaled diversity and more of the cars you love. The all new World Tour Mode boasts new tracks, unending choice and hundreds of hours of gameplay as you travel the globe with your favorite car. With the most accurate physics engine, cockpits and damage on every car and assists that allow even the most casual player to race, Forza Motorsport 4 redefines the genre.

Forza Motorsport 4 is piloted by Turn 10 Studio of Microsoft Studios, the creators of the Forza Motorsport franchise.In 2009, Turn 10 released its most recent title, Forza Motorsport 3, garnering “Best Driving Game” from USA Today, SPIKE TV and IGN.

This game looks so delicious I have to share some of the promo pics with you. Take a look.

Microsoft E3 2011 Press Conference: Impressions

The Microsoft Press Conference has been anticipated, predicted, and discussed at great length and today it happened. A lot of games and features were discussed at the E3 press conference so let’s break it down and have a look at the meat and potatoes of it.

What was looked at during the press conference?

  • Modern Warfare 3:
  • Tomb Raider
  • Mass Effect 3
  • Ghost Recon Future Soldier
  • UFC Ultimate Champion
  • Gears 3
  • Ryse
  • Halo Combat evolved HD
  • Forza MotorSport 4
  • Fable: The Journey
  • MindCraft for Kinect
  • Disneyland Adventures
  • Star Wars Kinect
  • Sesame Street Once upon a Monster
  • Kinect Fun Labs
  • Kinect Sports Season Two
  • Dance Central 2
  • “dawn of a new trilogy” = Halo 4

So there we have it, Kinect in core games was the ultimate focus of today’s Kinect Conference…erm, Microsoft Conference. With the inclusion of kinect’s motion controls now being included in more of the adult, historically core, gaming titles is the kinect about to become an xbox staple or is Microsoft trying to bridge the gap between casual, family, and ‘hardcore’ gamers? Whatever the case is the inclusion of Kinect in more titles means great things for gaming and health consumers who like games that get them up off the couch.




The Expected

We knew we would see news about Dance Central 2 and after today’s presentation we now know that Dance Central 2 will have two new features. Dance Central 2 will not only allow you to import all of your Dance Central Songs into the game but will also utilize multiplayer dance in game. Demonstrated at the Microsoft Press Conference to the Usher tune “Falling in love again”, the new multiplayer dance option is multiplying the possibility of fun.


Star Wars Kinect was on the radar of many going into this conference. Questions surrounding implementation and graphical style loomed before the conference and while on the conference floor our very own GamerFitNation staff was spotted blogging that “The graphics look really stunning”. Now call me a skeptic because not only was I not concerned with how it looked via stream but I also was slightly concerned for the frantic movements of the player. It did not strike me as a fun experience. Using Kinect motion control you can use the powers of the force, your lightsaber, and jump to vault over enemies.


Forza Motorsport 4 is a welcome and anticipated announcement. As a fan of the racing genre in general I find it all too exciting when I learn that Turn 10 Studios is going to such great lengths to simulate the driving experience. The inclusion of kinect means that gamers will now have an interactive moveabout the car, to inspect car specs, and that driving subtleties such has head tilt and voice command will make the experience all the more convincing.

The Unexpected

Of course you finished Halo 3 in legendary mode and now you know just where the newly announced Halo4 will pick up. That’s right, Master Chief is awake and making an appearance at E3 2011. Fans of the franchise were also pleased to learn more about Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, which is going to include six multiplayer maps from the original Halo Combat Evolved plus a FireFight map and use of the reach engine to allow for matchmaking compatibility with classic modes.



Read the rest of my impressions at

See you in September! Gears of War 3 Beta Wraps up.

It seems like it was only yesterday that we were fighting drones, capturing leaders, and lancing our way through the closest of enemies. Oh that’s right, it WAS yesterday. Today is a new day my friends and that means that the Gears of War 3 Beta is officially over.

Since early April the Gears of War 3 Beta has been tried and tested by fans from all over. At first you may have noticed that, unless you had purchased Bulletstorm, it was a little bit tricky to get your hands on one of the coveted Gears beta codes and many websites were running various giveaways and contests in order to best distribute them. By around May 4th players were encouraged to invite friends and by the last week, of this four week run of the beta, codes were being given away like candy; delicious, killing candy.

So began my brief encounter with the Beta. As I have discussed many times with friends, multiplayer aficionados, and Gears fans alike, I had no intention on joining the Gears beta. There were two reasons I had no intentions of getting into the action and I will share them with you too: 1. I plan to buy this game and 2. I am mainly a campaign player. But when friend and gamer DJ Spin offered me the chance to jump in just to ‘see’ what it was about curiosity got the better of me………….

Read more of this article at

Finally a new Hitman?

Agent 47 is back, and this time it’s personal!

Take one part assassin, mix with one part Glacier 2 Game Engine, and what do you get? The result is the long anticipated 5th installment of the popular stealth franchiseHitman Absolution. Developed by IO Interactive A/S, a division  of Square Enix Europe, Hitman Absolutionhas recently been announced for release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation3, and Windows PC in 2012.

You might be asking what makes this new Hitman title so exciting?  Well my friends you are in for a treat! Showcasing IO Interactive’s new proprietary Glacier 2 technology, the game has been built from the ground up. Boasting a cinematic story, distinctive art direction and highly original game design, Hitman Absolutioncombines much-loved……..

Head over to GamerFitNation to read the rest and see the teeny tiny teaser.