Vacation season is on the horizon. Travelers will be planning adventures and lining up sitters to care for pets. But while they're packing their bags, they shouldn't forget to load up the iPad, PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS with plenty of games.
Whether it's wasting time during a flight delay or keeping a child busy on a long voyage, these new titles are bound to be lifesavers at some point of the trip.
"Haunted Hollow": Developed by Firaxis, this lighthearted monster game pits "spirited" mansions against each other. Players control one side, while a friend or the computer commands the other. The goal is to use creatures to scare all the unsuspecting villagers from their dwellings before the rival does.
It features a base building aspect as players construct mansions that spawn powerful monsters. Strategy is key as players figure out which houses to scare (generating fear points) and what monsters should be used in a fight. Players will have to manage the aforementioned fear points because the resource limits their actions each turn. Lastly, frighten enough people, and they will form a mob that can wreak havoc on the map.
"Haunted Hollow" plays like a modern-day board game, and it happens to be just as fun.(iPad, free with add-on packs ranging from $1.99 to $7.99, Rating: 9+).
"Guacamelee": Indie developer DrinkBox Studios released a top title on the PlayStation Vita last year with "Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack." As an encore, they created "Guacamelee!" -- a Metroidvania-style game based on luchadores and Mexican folklore. It also happens to be hard as heck.
Chalk that up to the platforming and combat, which has a high learning curve but is deeply rewarding. Players will have to shift dimensions from the land of the dead to the world of the living. It creates an "Ikaruga"-like challenge, especially when players have to overcome obstacles.
Fighting is just as challenging as Juan battles the Underworld King Calaca, who has kidnapped El Presidente's daughter for a ceremony to cause the apocalypse. Our hero has to perform exacting combos and use special moves to take out waves of foes. It works beautifully, but the amount of skeletons and creatures Juan handles can be daunting. (PS Vita, $14.99, Rating: Everyone 10+).
"Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move": This series spotlighting toy versions of Nintendo's famous characters has always been about the puzzles, and this iteration is no different. Players have to place tiles to create a path for the mechanical playthings as they move from start to finish. It sounds easy enough, but if you add in a constant stream of tiles, a time limit and obstacles, it can get hectic. Add in four modes of play and minigames, and this bite-size piece of gaming is a perfect time waster. (Nintendo 3DS, $9.99, Rating: Everyone)
Contact Gieson Cacho at 510-735-7076 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei.