Summer vacation calls for cool tunes and lots of screen time. Daft Punk’s latest album promises to put them front and center on the U.S. music scene—tracks from Random Access Memories will be blasting from car windows. To escape the heat, our reviewer recommends hitting the virtual race track with Grid 2, a car racing game. And for fans of everything Mario, add Minis on the Move to the collection for puzzle fun and games.
Random Access Memories, Daft Punk (Columbia)
This fourth studio album from the French duo Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo reflects the disco style of the 70’s and 80’s. It is a mix of soft rock, pop, disco, and some stadium–dance productions inspired by the one and only Giorgio Moroder, an influential Italian record producer and founder of the Oasis label. Known for a funny and playful essence, this 13-track album continues the trend. Full of catchy beats, the musical sound on Random Access Memories veers from cinematic to disco to jazzy to post-modern funk, using only live instruments, a synthesizer, and vintage vocoders. The opening track “Get Lucky” starts things off with a bang, compliments of Nile Rodgers’s distinctive guitar style. From then on, the album is an all around great ride. Tracks to check out include “Lose Yourself to Dance,” “The Game of Love,” “Touch,” and “Within.”—Geena G., grade 11, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
Grid 2 (Codemasters)
I have always been drawn to car racing games and am happy to report that Grid 2 makes the cut for me. In this game, players promote the World Series Racing league (WSR) by participating in various racing events around the world to determine who is the best racer. ESPN provides live coverage of your races, and along with your evolving garage hub, this helps increase your fan base. There are 50 cars spread among four tiers, with each tier offering better challenges, vehicles, and events. The different events include Overtake, Checkpoint, Touge, Face Off and Live Route events. The diverse environments add to the excitement and impressiveness of the game. The realism factor is also a plus factor where the extensive detail makes you forget that you are in your own home. The game will provide hours of action-packed fun in a spectacular environment, sure to please all kinds of car racing fans. Rating: E for Everyone. Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC.—James M, grade 11, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move (Nintendo)
Minis on the Move is primarily a puzzle game in which the player guides toy versions of Mario, Princess Peach, Toad, Donkey Kong and others around different terrains. The moving characters advance by the player putting the correct directional paths in front of them and avoiding the obstacles. Starting simple, the game gets more complex without becoming frustrating. New elements such as bombs, cubes with springs, and hammers that rotate are introduced every couple of puzzles, keeping things engaging and entertaining. There are 240 stages in the main game, giving the player a lot to contend with. There are four modes in the main game—Mario’s Main Event, Puzzle Palace, Many Minis Mayhem, and Giant Jungle. The most challenging are Many Minis Mayhem and Giant Jungle, and you also have the ability to create your own puzzle to share. Minis on the Move provides hours of fun, but with a more impressive gameplay twist it could have been so much more. Rating: E for Everyone. Platform: Nintendo 3DS.— Nick M, grade 10, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
This article was featured in School Library Journal's SLJTeen enewsletter. Subscribe today to have more articles like this delivered to you twice a month for free.