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Another week, another "talk about video games a bit"-session. By now I've managed to spend a lot more time with my birthday games from last week. In particular, I've beaten Contrast, The Stanley Parable (at least as far as you can "beat" that game) and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. I've also spent some more time with the other games, but not quite enough yet that I can really talk about them.

Contrast is a bit of an interesting case, and not necessarily in all the right ways. The game has a lot of faults to be sure, but I still liked my time with it. In Contrast, you play as a lean acrobat-girl who can merge into the shadows at will. If anyone played Lost in Shadow (A Shadow's Tale in Europe), which honestly I doubt anyone has, it's kind of like that. The game is pretty stylish and has an interesting story ripped right out of the gangster-era (which is what, 20's and 30's or so?). You escort a little girl named Didi through some family troubles, as her father that always gets in deep with the bad people tries to make things right but fails miserably.

The platforming is wonky at best and the game has a tendency to boot you out of your shadow-form for seemingly no good reason, making level-progession more of a pain than it needs to be. Overall it's a decent game, but most people will be better off watching it on Youtube or something. It's not that long anyway.    


- The game also channels some LIMBO sometimes.

In fact, the game couldn't contrast more with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which is just joyful in every way, shape and form. It feels a little shorter than Returns did, but it's soooooo good. The level design in particular is quite something this time around; you can tell Retro poured all their creativity into this thing. I don't want to spoil anything, but just know that there's a lot of cool stuff this time around, including some nice throwbacks to Returns. In fact, as much as I liked Super Mario 3D World (I did. A lot.) there are some levels in DK that I think may very well top what Nintendo EAD pulled off. If nothing else Tropical Freeze's levels get a lot more epic than anything Mario has done this side of 3D World's ridiculously awesome final boss. And even when it's not "epic" as such the levels still look gorgeous, especially in World 5. Long story short, if you're a fan of 2D platformers you have no excuse not to pick this game up.

Apart from the design of the normal levels, the bosses stand out as well. In fact, I would put most of Tropical Freeze's bosses up there with Rayman Legends as some of the best in a 2D platformer. Much like in Returns, at the end of each world you are confronted with some kind of animal that wants you dead. I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed that two of them don't really fit the "Snowmad" theme (both of those are also gameplay-wise the weakest in the game, funny how that works), but for the most part you're fighting thematically-appropriate seals, polar bears and the like. Each of the bosses as a fair number of tricks up its sleeve, which makes what looks at first to be a really straight-forward fight (dodge, jump on head, repeat) much more interesting as it goes on. And then, of course, there's the kick-ass music that accompanies each boss. All of them have a different theme and all but one of those are really good.

On that note, the soundtrack to Tropical Freeze is still fucking brilliant. Last week I had only had a taste of what was to come, but I can assure you that it does not let up. Most levels have a unique song, and almost all of them are memorable and fun. The boss themes are a special treat and can get unexpectedly metal, but several level themes also stand out in my mind. Last week I mentioned that David Wise's latest was in terrible danger of becoming one of my favorite soundtracks ever, up there with NieR, Xenoblade, Trine (2) and some others, but by now I can pretty much confirm that. And even if it doesn't enter the Top 3 (it might), it's already Top 5 material for sure.


- This is the last one I'll post, promise.

The moral of this story is that you must get Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze right fucking now, or at the very least go listen to dat OST.

* - Marche100 made us a really cool visual novel. The good news is that all of your favorite Dtoiders are in it (and I'm not, so that's DOUBLE good news!), the bad news is that you can't have pretend sex with any of them. I guess we'll just have to settle for real sex then.

* - RedHeadPeak is an awesome teacher who rewards his students for good work by playing video game music. That is the most wonderful thing I've ever heard.

A - More video game music, as Oscarno is back this week to dissect Proteus. That's an odd one, definitely.





I - Unstoppable Butt is new and has the best username this side of My Enormous Hairy Downstairs Kitchen.

C - Meanwhile, Jack the Ripper feels like his blogs are underappreciated, so give him some tips on how to blog gooder.

R - A video review for inFAMOUS: Second Son (did I spell that right?)

T - Bry159 offers what is probably a more positive view on Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes than you may have become used to.




- Not only is this guy the coolest, his name is Bashmaster. Bashmaster.

C - Arcades are dead, you say? Not at Coachella they're not!




- Finally, I've been playing some of Alice: Madness Returns, which is treating me much better than the middling reviews had led me to believe. But that's probably for next week.



- ShadeOfLight
May you always find water and shade

FPotD
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