Things sure have changed in the music business. Lindsey Stirling is part of the new wave of artists who not only produce their own albums, but also completely control the marketing and release of these productions. And I have to say, dub-step violin sounds very intriguing. Our game reviewers remind us that warmer weather turns teens’ attention to baseball and golf, and the latest releases from MLB and Mario Golf are sure to make summer down time fly by.
Shatter Me, Lindsey Stirling (Lindseystomp Records)
This is Lindsey Stirling’s second independently released album, and her unique dub-step approach to playing the violin is just as good the second time around. While her debut album was made up of catchy, happy songs, this album is much deeper on an emotional level and musical level. This is a much more “in your face” kind of sound and she seems to be pushing her limits rather than playing it safe. Full of vibrant use of tempo, chords, pizzicato, and instrumental percussion along with richer composition and orchestration, Shatter Me makes for a superb sequel. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with in the future. Check out “We Are Giants,” “Heist,” “Shatter Me,” and “Beyond the Veil.”—Uma N., grade 11, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
Mario Golf: World Tour (Nintendo 3DS)
Nintendo does a great job of livening up the game of golf by adding Luigi and the Mushroom Kingdom to the mix. While this is a solid and enjoyable golf game, it doesn’t feature anything truly new or exciting. Mario Golf: World Tour features two main modes of play: Mario Golf and Castle Club. The on-course action in Mario Golf is lots of fun, whether playing on bare courses or trying to snag coins needed to meet a challenge or buy gear. These optional items, such as an Ice Flower freezing water or wind resistant Bullet Bill, give the game the cartoonish edge in the action. Players can choose from three full 18-hole courses, but these are lacking in content. More fun are the smaller courses that provide much more variation in how you play, with boost pads, coins, championship courses and dozens of challenges. Playing online with friends is a definite bonus. Castle Club is a different experience where you play as your own Mii (digital avatar), interacting with the denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom. This is similar to a campaign mode and while entertaining, it is pretty superficial. Mario Golf: World Tour is a sound installment in the Mario franchise but just don’t expect the wow factor. Rating: E for Everyone. Platform: Nintendo 3DS.—Devon C., grade 8, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
MLB 14: The Show (Sony)
Baseball fans will certainly enjoy this installment of the MLB series as players will continue to be challenged with managing the statistics and mechanics of the game. The developer, Sony, believes that players don’t need to see every pitch so has included an option called Quick Count to cut play time. Quick Count simulates a count every time you step into the batter’s box that is based on two years’ worth of data from MLB.com. Another new feature is Player Lock where you can play as one player throughout the entire game. Similar to Road to the Show mode, you take all of the player’s at bats and fielding opportunities What is really great is that you can turn this off at any point or pick a different player. Using Player Lock is the fastest way to play especially if you couple this with Quick Count, but you do sacrifice a certain amount of control for speed. Another nice feature is Community Challenges where you play user-created situations. These are quick and used to attain a specific result like a certain hit or strike out. MLB 14: The Show is a visually awesome way to play baseball in using a multiple of different options. Rating E for Everyone. Platform: Play Station 4, PlayStation 3 PS Vita.—Stephen E., grade 12, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
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