#2 Batman: Arkham City (PS3, 360, PC)

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment — Developer: Rocksteady Studios

Our Review

Batman Simulator 2.0 doesn’t disappoint, as it hits all the high spots gamers loved in Arkham Asylum and scatters them across an entire sandbox of a city to find. Rocksteady Studios is to be commended for continually getting what makes Batman fun. The double-edged sword here is – even though Arkham City is more robust than Asylum, gamers won’t get that stunning moment again where they realize that finally someone finally got a Batman game right. But the overall quality of the game is vastly improved, making it one of the year’s best. (more…)


Best Video Games of 2011 – Honorable Mentions


Pads & Panels will soon be counting down its Top 10 Video Games of 2011, but before we get to that point, we’d like to pay mind to 10 other games that stood out as top contenders for the year. They were all part of our discussion and all deserve some recognition for their achievements in gaming, even if they didn’t quite make the cut of the illustrious Top 10. All 10 of these titles were games that earned our attention and respect in one way or another in 2011, the list of them effectively serving as our 11-20 choices, presented here in no particular order. (more…)


Title: Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime

Platform: XBLA (PSN, PC)


Publisher: Atari

Developer: Behaviour

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Review by: Eric Stuckart

Since 2009, Ghostbusters: The Game has been sitting on my ‘to do’ list for quite some time, as I heard that while it might not be the greatest game out there, it had enough spirit and character to stir up the nostalgia factor and be a decent title to purchase once the price came down. That being said, when I heard that Sanctum of Slime, a sequel of sorts, was being released as a downloadable twin stick shooter, I was already losing hope. I’m sure that Atari probably lost a little bit of money with the last one, as it wasn’t exactly a high-profile release, let alone the type that would be demanding sales, but it wasn’t that bad, was it? (more…)


Title: Blacklight: Tango Down

Platform: XBLA (PSN, PC)


Publisher: Ignition Entertainment

Developer: Zombie Studios

Rating: ★★★½☆

Review by: Archie Easter

A downloadable title with big aspirations, Blacklight: Tango Down is a slightly futuristic FPS that’s no slouch in the graphical department. Dashing good looks aside, Blacklight’s central multiplayer mode is fun and includes much of the standard FPS fare in its seven modes like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Last Man Standing. Much in the same way as many popular shooters like Modern Warfare and Battlefield, progression trough the multiplayer allows players to gain ranks and unlock new weapons in addition to armor customizations. While the game’s presentation hints at an overarching storyline, the scant backstory of the game is buried in two small paragraphs in the “How to Play” section. The only single-player mode available is the 1-4 player cooperative “Black Ops” mode that consists of short mission objectives that lack any narrative against waves of AI opponents. In addition, the enemy AI in this mode is out to lunch, with enemies that get stuck behind cover and routinely run to the same positions. (more…)


Title: The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile

Platform: XBLA


Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Developer: Ska Studios

Rating: ★★★★★

Review By: Eric Stuckart

The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai was a surprise favorite of mine that I didn’t discover until last year, but I was glad that I did. Two-dimensional side-scrolling beat-‘em-ups are a personal favorite of mine, which may or may not be a byproduct of the games I grew up with, but I instantly fell in love with the art style and the fast-paced action of Dead Samurai. (more…)


#5 Super Meat Boy (XBLA, PC)

Publisher: Team Meat – Developer: Team Meat

Super Meat Boy is an addictive platformer that can be taken in short spurts or over a long haul, with a maddeningly steep difficulty curve, especially if you want to unlock everything the game has to offer. Team Meat has stripped down the very essences of hardcore gaming into adrenaline bursts, especially when the game starts to really get rolling. And that’s before players even discover that there’s a “dark world” (read: even harder) version of everything they’ve beaten once they’ve perfected their runs through each level. (more…)


Update: This contest has ended. Winners have been contacted and codes have been delivered to: Doug, of Leesburg, Ohio (fresh02_88); Guy, of North Bergen (totoguy); Andy, of Normal, Ill. (ajpacho); and Kimberly, of Sterrett, Alabama (IceeLady). Congrats! And thanks to everyone who entered. More contests to come.

Last month, EA’s Bright Light studio release Spare Parts, a robot-based platforming game that features both local and online drop-in cooperative play. The game focuses on that cooperative play, with special moves that can only be initiated by two players working together. The game is available on both Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, and Electronic Arts was swell enough to send us four (4) redemption codes for the XBLA version of the title to pass along to our fine readers, so by the end of the week, that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Read on to find out how easy it is to win yourself one of these codes. (more…)


Best Games of 2010 – Honorable Mentions

Creating a Best of List for Pads & Panels is no easy task. It involves everyone putting in feedback, a get-together and copious amounts of drinking, when we argue our cases for what belongs where on the list. Inevitably, fantastic titles don’t make it to the top of the tower, and we’re left feeling bad for not honoring the enjoyment some of these games provided us throughout the year. So that’s where the Honorable Mentions come into play. These are the list of games that didn’t quite make our Top 10, but we think you should be playing them nonetheless. Plus, it’s always kind of fun to make our readers wonder, with titles this great on the honorable mentions list, what is going to make our Top 10. They are essentially our #11 through #20 picks, but are presented in no particular order. Enjoy! (more…)


2010 Holiday Gift Guide – For the Digital Download Fan…

By P&P Staff


Super Meat Boy


This game is alternately heaven and hell for platforming fans, but it manages to toe the line well enough to always be stuck in that sugary sweet spot that makes it so addicting players don’t even mind dying a few thousand times in the game’s 300-some levels. Plus, the Xbox Live version is going to have regularly-updated free downloadable levels added, which only makes the game even better! (more…)


Hydrophobia (noun) – “a morbid dread of water” (also known as rabies) [Source: webster.com] Going into things, we thought this was a great way to start this post, but it turned out to be sort of an odd non sequitur. Sorry about that. But it is connected in that Hydrophobia is also a new game for Xbox Live Arcade from Microsoft and Dark Energy Digital. Microsoft was sweet enough to pass along an extra redemption code for the title to give away to one of our lucky readers, so that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Read on to learn how to enter. (more…)