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Bytten Ernie Awards 2009

Best Attention to Detail - New Star Soccer 4 by New Star Games
In this 4th incarnation of the popular series, the addition of a 3-D stadium and player models, as well as believable ball physics, elevated the franchise from great to brilliant. There's very little else that could be packed into this game, that not only serves as an excellent soccer game in it's own right, but moreover a career simulator that can span well over 20 years. It's capable of simulating pretty much any or all soccer leagues in countries all over the world, and keeps detailed statistics not only for each game that any team might take part in, but also for every player involved. The level of detail is truly astounding, yet the player is never forced to wade through pages of stats (unless they want to!) Action and dilemma, pain and glory are all just around the corner, and interesting and meaningful decisions are plentiful.

New Star Soccer 4 Zaticon

Best Strategy Game - Zatikon by Chronic Logic
A notable mention in this category this year goes to "Space War Commander", which I have played a lot of over the last couple of months. In the end, I have selected Zatikon because it was one of those games that I took one look at and really wasn't looking forward to reviewing. Reluctantly, I installed and booted it up to discover one of the most absorbing strategy titles I had played in a good while. Chess players will bond immediately with the geometry of the game board and associated strategy that is inherent with that style of game. At the same time, the gazillions of units available for play and their special abilities and magical and ranged attacks will be utilised best (at first) by the gamer that has been brought up on more conventional computer based strategy games or perhaps pen and paper games like D&D. The tactics for success in each individual game differ based on objectives (there are a few different game modes) as well as friendly and enemy army composition, which is rarely known before the match starts. An impossible game to master since just when you think you've got all covered, a situation is thrown at you where you might need to improvise a less than ideal response, or just cop an embarrassing defeat and head back to the drawing board.

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Published on 16 Apr 2009
Written by Andrew Williams and Steve Blanch