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Plugged In

Lego Pirates set sail this week

Plugged In

Monster Truck Destroyer

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean [Wii, X360, PS3, DS, 3DS, PSP, PC]

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Walking the Plank

They've done Star Wars. They've done Batman. They've done
Harry Potter. They've done Star Wars, again. This week, season developer
Traveler's Tales' takes aim at the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, giving all
four films (including upcoming release 'On Stranger Tides') the Lego game
treatment. Recent outings in TT's Lego game series have met with mixed
receptions -- can a little Jack Sparrow swagger steer this series out of the
doldrums?

One thing's for sure: it's experiencing a much more consistent critical
reaction
than the all-over-the-place scores of March's Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars.

Take Eurogamer. Obviously impressed with the trademark Lego, tongue-in-cheek take on the movie's dark and occasionally bloated plot, writer Chris Schilling singles out
its interpretation of star Jack Sparrow (and his memorable gait) for particular
praise.

"That walk - half stagger, half swagger - is even more of a hoot in miniature," Schilling writes. "He constantly looks on the verge of toppling over, leaning backwards then forwards as he capers along." He hands out a healthy 8/10, calling it "formulaic but tremendously enjoyable."

IGN's score is roughly on par, but points out an omission that may rankle some
fans: there's no online play.

"The drop-in/drop-out split-screen mode is fun," says Richard George, "[but] the fact is that you'll no doubt want to play with friends that don't live down the street."

All the same, George dubs the game "an absolute blast for fans of either franchise," heaping praise on its authentic presentation and strong musical score. Some issues -- like confusing objectives and problematic controls -- persist from the older games, he says, but we're guessing fans are pretty well familiar with those by now.

Also noting the lack of online multiplayer, Gamespot's review, at a 6.5, is rather less positive.

"The game is as colorful as a tower of Lego bricks, but unfortunately, it's not much sturdier," quips writer Kevin VanOrd, who clearly found the game's laundry list of minor problems and issues overwhelmed its style and humor.

Should that stop you? Not on your life. Remember, review scores aren't exactly rules --- they're more like...guidelines. It's pretty clear that if you're a Pirates fan, or one of the millions who loved the earlier Lego games, you'll be perfectly happy with the newest, regardless of its quibbles. Savvy?

More Info: (Buy on Amazon | Search)

Tamara the 13th [Y!]

Meet Tamara. One day, she's a regular girl, the next she's a
13th-generation witch, gifted with all manner of mystical and probably socially
awkward powers. Don't you just hate it when that happens? Tamara takes it all
pretty well -- and considering she's immediately thrust into a strange world of
puzzles and hidden objects, that's for the best. Harder than your average
hidden-object puzzler, this one's perfect for the more experienced
seek-and-finders out there.

More
Info: (Try It)

Brink [X360, PS3, PC]

Parkour-inspired multiplayer shooter Brink also launches
this week, and it's doing so amid a dramatic variety of reactions from the
press. Does it deserve, per http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2011/ma /10/brink-game-review">The Guardian, "to be ranked among the finest co-op games available?" Or is it, as http://www.1up.com/reviews/brink-review">1UP has
it, " an unpolished, poorly executed mess of ideas?" We'd suggest holding off
until the game has had a chance to find its feet.

More Info: (Buy on Amazon | Search)

Fisher's Family Farm [Y!]

Farming fans are freaking over this fantastic find. Fisher's
Family Farm, a failing freehold full of fishes and foliage, is facing
foreclosure. If you have a flair for finances, and you fancy yourself as a
farming firecracker, this'll be a fine fit.

More Info: (Try It)

Virtua Tennis 4

Long-running arcadey series Virtua Tennis gets another
installment this this week, and its imaginative career mode and tight (if
rather old-school) controls are getting excellent reports. One caveat: the
motion-control options on Kinect and Playstation Move don't get much love from
critics, so if you're looking for a Wii Sports Tennis replacement, this
probably ain't it.

More Info: (Buy on Amazon | Search | Watch Video)

MX vs ATV Alive [X360, PS]

Launching at a discounted $40, this off-road racer already
has a head start on its more expensive competition. We like the sound of its
detailed, realistic controls and its single-player story mode that'll see you
improving your racing skills, RPG-style, as you rack up the wins.

More Info: (Buy on Amazon | Search | Watch Video)

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