Thursday, 16 December 2010

Fire Season - Retailer issue & Christmas Orders

We were contacted by someone trying to buy Fire Season. This would have been fine, except that they had already ordered it from a retailer and wanted to know where it was. The retailer told them that they were waiting for delivery, but the book had now been out for a few weeks. We agreed this was odd and traced it back, placing a test order ourselves.

We were extremely disappointed to find out that the retailer had been taking orders for the book over the last months, without ever actually ordering any from the distributor. We are slightly surprised they are waiting for delivery of books they never ordered. When we did contact said retailer they were unable to explain why this was. Unfortunately as we are a small press, they did not seem particularly interested in making it right, or helping us to make it right to our customers.

Our apologies to anyone affected by this. We suggest that you cancel your order and use the link below to order directly from our Amazon store. We can't guarantee Christmas delivery but if we get the order by 10:00 on Saturday we'll give it a very good try.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Fire Season Released

Fire Season, our first mainstream novel, was officially released today. (Unofficially, the snow is slowing things down but we'll overlook that.)

The story of a small airstrip caught in the middle of a forest fire, Fire Season has received good reviews from the initial copies we sent out.

"the ending had me, literally, sitting on the edge of my seat!" Ruth, Goodreads

"Thought provoking, emotional and compassionate, this is a book I could read again. A recommended read."Clover Hill Book Reviews

Why not try it yourself? Fire Season is available to order (thanks snow!) from all good booksellers, or online from Waterstones, Amazon or more.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Featured Game - Lost in Blue 2

Title: Lost in Blue 2
Format: Nintendo DS

Lost in Blue 2 follows a similar story to the first game, Lost in Blue. Two teenagers are stranded on an island and need to survive and escape. It is certainly different to its predecessor, but not always better.

There are more things to do: a wider range of mini-games and more resources and items to make. It is possible to set up several bases and traverse the world, which is much larger. The island itself has slopes and odd angles, no longer the squared off edges of Keith and Skye's marooning, and the graphics and sound have improved.

The characters, however, are far less likeable. You can play as either, but your companion will be of limited intelligence and resents being asked to contribute to their own survival unless bribed. While Skye's helplessness is excusable - she's effectively blind - it's less forgiveable in an able-bodied adult.

Once again however, multiple endings and a lot of mini-games make this one fun to play and the additional of dangerous animals and natural disasters give it a whole new angle.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Featured Game - The ABC murders (DS)

Title: Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders (Nintendo DS)
Format: Nintendo DS

This is one of the few games that I am lukewarm about, but will highlight anyway because it may be good for its target audience.

Based on Agatha Christie's The ABC murders, the idea of solving the case as Poirot is delightful. Unfortunately this game does not live up to that promise, as the game is extremely linear. Rather than gathering clues and deducing information, the game is simply a series of interviews, with puzzles which have been worked in rather artifically. Nearly every witness asked you to work out a math or logic problem before they'll co-operate. The other issue is the touchpad which makes putting the right answer in trickier than working it out.

I have to admit I abandoned this when I got bored hlafway through. However for a younger age group or inexperienced gamers, this could be fun. The problems are of the level of standard school maths ("If two trains leave x at y o'clock at b speed, which train gets there first?") and the story is gripping.

If you can get past the touchpad issue, this might be one to keep younger kids amused for a while - just keep pad and paper handy for your workings!

(For adult gamers, the Adventure Company's Agatha Christie Series on PC and console give a beter experience.)

Friday, 24 September 2010

Featured Game - God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP

Title: God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)
Format: Sony PSP

Kratos came to the PSP with nearly the full God of War experience on Sony's handheld. Set between the first two games, it sees Kratos being sent to prevent Morpheus God of Dreams from taking over the land.

The game manages to pack in the brutal combat, superb graphics and excellent story we expect of this game line, and is well worth buying for any fan of the series. As you can probably tell, I loved this game.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Featured Game - Loco Roco 2 (PSP)

Title: LocoRoco 2 (PSP)
Format: Sony PSP

Loco Roco 2 is the sequel to the innovative Loco Roco, and continues where the first game ended. With the same bright characters and simple control system, this is an easy game to pick up and play.

Once again, the main task is simple to get all the coloured blobs - Loco Rocos - from one end of the area to the other, by tilting their world and letting them roll. As always there are dangers along the way, and you need to find as many of your fellow Loco Rocos as possible.

Although the main task remains the same, the scope of the game is wider, with more minigames and hidden extras. If you liked the first game, or are a fan of puzzle games in general, this game is for you.

This game, and its forerunner, were so popular that several versions have been released, including Platinum and Essentials editions.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Featured Game - Patapon (PSP)

Title: Patapon (PSP)
Format: Sony PSP

A simple rhythm game with basic graphics and addictive gameplay. You control a small group of Patapon warriors, who you move around the screen by beating out a rhythm on the drum they carry. Different rhythms mean they move, defend, attack or summon greater power.

It is a fun game but does require a sense of rhythm which, unfortunately, this reviewer does not possess. Despite that inor problem it is still extremely enjoyable and easy to get hooked.

Overall this is a simple yet extremely addictive game, and one you will find yourself tapping along to, hoping that the little creatures you control can make it to the end of the level without missing a beat.

It also has a sequel, Patapon 2, for gamers who couldn;t get enough the first time round.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Featured Game - Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command (PSP)

Title: Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command (PSP)
Format: Sony PSP

Playing as the hardened Ultramarines, your goal is to defeat the encroaching forces of chaos in this turn-based strategy.

You control a squad of six marines, each of which has selectable weaponry. The game is turn-based, with each side's movements and actions limited by their action points. Each scenario has a simple goal, which is usually to wipe out the enemy. The control system and options are not complicated but the camera is held in a (semi-)fixed position making it difficult to rotate the map to line up enemies.

If you enjoy Warhammer 40K, or are a fan of turn based strategy, this is one you should look at.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Featured Game - Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors (Wii)

Title: Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors (Wii)
Format: Nintendo Wii Console

Dragon Quest Swords is an odd game and one that lost out in part due to misplaced audience expectations. The look and feel of the game is pure Dragon Quest and a lot of familiar enemies and NPCs show up. Unfortunately this is misleading as it isn't an RPG. This game isn't a sprawling epic RPG, it's a first person hack'n'slash. This is definitely more Time-Crisis-with-a-sword than Final Fantasy.

The sidequests and exploration of the RPGs are missing. Instead you fight your way through waves if enemies while traversing levels where you can only move forward or back. The action sequences are on rails, and the plot is similarly linear. You can replay early levels for items and experience, but the gameplay itself is very basic, using the Wiimote as a sword to perform attacks and special abilities while your party member occassionally pops up to heal you or cast a spell.

Despite this, it is a fun game. Best played on a large screen TV with a bunch of friends who can mock mercilessly, it can be an entertaining way to pass the evening. Just don't expect a standard RPG.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Featured Game - Loco Roco (PSP)

Title: Loco Roco
Format: Sony PSP

This is one of the weirdest, simplest and most fun games for the PSP. You control a little yellow blob (a loco roco) which has to travel the level looking for other yellow blobs, while avoiding a host of strange creatures along the way. When you find them you can join up to form a larger blob, or try to move a swarm of smaller blobs to the level end.

The controls are as simple as they get: by using the controls you tilt the world and the Loco Roco rolls and falls around it as gravity dictates. With its bright colours and catchy tunes this is a game for all ages.

The game spawned a sequel, LocoRoco 2, with more creatures, areas to explore, and minigames.

The game was so popular that several versions have been released, including Platinum and Essentials editions.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Featured Game - Lost in Blue (DS)

Title: Lost in Blue (Nintendo DS)
Format: Nintendo DS (all versions)

Lost in Blue is the story of two teenagers stranded on an island after their boat sinks in a storm. As the only survivors, they have to find shelter, food and resources and eventually if they can, a way off the island. To make matters worse, Skye, the girl is functionally blind.

It's a simple concept and well-realised. Foraging, hunting and fishing are all covered by the game, as well as exploration of the island in an attempt to stay alive while waiting for rescue. Playing through as Keith unlocks a second mode as Skye, although this is decidedly more limited.

With multiple endings, and a second playthrough mode as Sky, the game has high replay value. Even better, it is suitable for almost all ages, although the very young may find it too challenging.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Featured Game - Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice

Name: Ace Attorney Apollo Justice (Nintendo DS)
Format: Nintendo DS

The last game in the Ace Attorney series, Apollo Justice introduces an entirely new cast. Cameos from existing characters tie the games together, but the focus is very much on Apollo as he tries to find his feet in the court system and win his first cases.

The prosecutor, a rock star called Klavier Gavin, is an unlikely someime-ally along with Trucy, an apprentice magician who proves to be tied closely with one of his cases. Apollo has his own ability to fall back on however: an uncanny knack of telling when people are lying.

Set years after the Ace Attorney games, Apollo Justice gives a new twist on the old format - even if in some cases it asks more questions than it answers. Definitely worth playing for any fans of the Ace Attorney games.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Featured Game - Beyond Good and Evil (PS2)

Title: Beyond Good and Evil (PS2)
Format:Sony PlayStation 2 Console

Beyond Good and Evil was a much hyped game when it game out, and it deserved the plaudits. A mixture of action, and RPG, you play Jade a young photographer caught on a planet that is being invaded.

Caught between the invading Domz and the Alpha section, Jade joins the resistance to find out the truth about what is going on. This involves sneaking into heavily guarded bases to catch events on film as they happen. These photos are then integrated with underground broadcasts to win over the people.

It's a simple concept, and despite the sci-fi overtones the world of Beyond Good and Evil feels real. The script is sharp, the characters beliveable, and the game a great deal of fun for gamers of most ages (the very young may find it difficult).

Although I played the PS2 version, this game is also available on Xbox and GC. The Gamecube version will play on the Wii.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Featured Game - Miles Edgeworth Investigations (DS)

Name: Miles Edgeworth Investigations
Format: Nintendo DS

Part of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series, Miles Edgeworth Investigations takes a new spin on it. Playing the eponymous prosecutor, it's a surprise that there aren't more court scenes.

Instead, Edgeworth works with the police and witnesses to discover what truly happened and who should be prosecuted for the crime. With gripping stories, and an overall arc that keeps you guessing, this is an excellent addition to the Ace Attorney series.

A host of regular faces appear, both as major characters and cameos, and it gives you a chance to fill in some of the backstory between the charcters that isn;t covered in the main Pheonix Wright series.

Overall this was a joy to play, and definitely one I'll play more than once.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Featured Game - Ratchet and Clank - Tools of Destruction (PS3)

Title: Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction - Platinum (PS3)
Format: Sony PlayStation 3

Ratchet and Clank come to the PS3 in this action platformer.

Aimed at a younger audience, it's a little formulaic, and there are few sidequests. Although it has a few funny moments and some interesting enemies, but there is nothing there which would challenge an odler gamer.

Tools of Destruction is a fun family game, and doesn't pretend to be anything else. There are few games like it on the PS3 and for its target audience it is an excellent game.

That said, dedicated or hardcore gamers may find it less than challenging, but then they aren't the people it is really aimed at.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Malefex Publishing Update

We are currently switching the print production for the Malefex line to Lightning Source. This will allow us to link directly with Amazon an other online merchants, improving order fulfillment, but also to managed POD and possibly ebooks to complement the short print runs we usually use. This will also allow us to replace the shopping cart software on the website completely, and finish our transition to PHP.

While this is underway there may be some delays on order fulfillment, but we hope to get the transition done as quickly as possible.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Featured Game - Brutal Legend (PS3)

Title: Brutal Legend (PS3)
Format: Sony PlayStation 3

Heavy Metal in-jokes abound in this tribute to the metal scene. Written by Tim Scheaffer, the creator of Psychonauts, and starring Jack Black as Eddie Riggs the best roadie in the world, Brutal legend is definitely a different style of game.

On the down side, the game itself is rather short and the sidequests get repetitive. Download content provides a few extras to help with this, although they don't entirely correct it. However the script is great, characters excellent (if scarily recogniseable) and the soundtrack has to be heard to be believed. The stage battles are an innovative mechanic, and - at the risk of sounding cliched - the use of a guitar as a weapon rocks!

If you're a metal fan, this game features metal, goth, glam and more, and is definitely one for you. And that's without going in to the range of jokes, landscapes out of heavy metal album covers, and the creative use of the Parental advisory label.

Also available on Xbox360: Brutal Legend (Xbox 360)

Friday, 2 April 2010

Featured Game - Eternal Sonata (PS3)

Title: Eternal Sonata (PS3)
Format: Sony PlayStation 3

Eternal Sonata is definitely something diferent: an RPG based on the music and life of Chopin. There are a lot of unique features about the game, from the near real-time combat system and its innovative use of light and dark, to the soundtrack, and chapter breaks which tell the life story of the composer.

It has a slow start, buts builds pace steadily. As the action cuts between Chopin's death bed and his dying dream the question is asked repeatedly about which world is real, and in fact whether it matters?

Beautiful cel-shaded graphics and, unsurprisingly, an excellent soundtrack, make this one to play if you can get hold of it.

Also available on Xbox360:

Friday, 26 March 2010

Featured Game - Skies of Arcadia Legends (Gamecube)

Title: Skies of Arcadia Legends (Gamecube)
Format: Nintendo Gamecube Console (also plays on Wii)

Sky pirates, privateers, a hidden civilisation, an evil empire and more! Skies of Arcadia Legends is a classic exploration RPG for the Nintendo Gamecube. A port of an earlier Dreamcast title, small sidequests were removed in favour of enhanced graphics and gameplay. The result is a gorgeous-looking game with an excellent plot that keeps you hooked right up until the bitter end.

We replayed this on the Wii recently, and it has lost none of its charm for the new console. If you are going to play it on the wii however you will need two things: the classic controller and a Gamecube memory card to save your game.

For a detailed review and trailers, please see the review lens here

Friday, 19 March 2010

Featured Game - Ghostbusters (PS3)

Title: Ghostbusters (PS3)
Format: Sony PlayStation 3

Released on a range of consoles, we played this on the PS3 version. The game is a light hearted follow-on from the films, where the four Ghostbusters have hired you as their new "Experimental Equipment Technician" (read "Guinnea pig").

With the return of well-known faces from the films, a strong script, and great characters the game can provide hours of enjoyment - particualrly for fans. In places the game is rather linear, and can become a little standard. However, any boredom is quickly dispelled by the range of one-liners delivered by the original cast and a chance to see notable characters again.

A PS3 Special Edition was also released which contains the film on blu-ray and can be distinguished from the usual release by the blue tint on the cover, instead of standard green.

Also available on Xbox360 and Wii: