Ever since the big Kickstarter boom of 2012, there's never been a short supply of developers looking to get their next title going through crowdfunding. From metroidvania action-RPG titles referencing the golden years of game...
“When in doubt, switch them out.” Sage-like advice, really. That’s what Mekazoo’s creative director Jarrett Slavin had to tell me to do when I showed obvious struggles playing his demo. I’m no stranger to platformers, but this one has a learning curve about it that’s difficult to grasp, but so rewarding once you find a rhythm.
His suggestion was one that developers Good Mood Creators coined whenever someone seemed to temporarily forget that Mekazoo features a dual-animal system. It’s easy to fall into the trap of cruising right along with your game-assigned, tech-glimmering creature -- so much so that repeated failures of a section are likely less a case of “you’re bad at this game” and more “you need to try with the other animal.”
Half the reason that Mekazoo players have a tendency to put strategy on the back-burner is because the game looks so damn enchanting. Sporting a “2.5D” aesthetic, the camera has a way of wrapping and zooming around in a controlled frenzy that adds depth to the levels. When it’s time to slow things down again, a standard two-dimensional approach is taken.
When I learned that Netherlands-based Two Tribes Studios (Toki Tori & Toki Tori 2) was bringing its snazzy metal-wrecking, robot-hacking, twin-stick shooter RIVE to PAX East this year, I jumped at the chance to set up an appointment to see the current state of the game.
I finally caught up Two Tribes co-founder Collin van Ginkel at the RIVE booth where he sat me down for a little hands-on with the game. I'd had some time playing an earlier version that was released last fall before leaving for the show, but what was on display at PAX East this year had obviously seen some major improvements.
For starters, the demo on hand had my previously ground-based, spider-like vehicle transformed into a nimble spacecraft, dodging and blasting its way through an asteroid belt on route to the facility to where the rest of the demo takes place. The addition of side-scrolling flying sections was a pleasant surprise and I hope that in the final version, there's even more of them.
The touchy but precise movement controls while flying were a little tricky to get used to, but by the time I had passed (collided with) a few asteroids I had full control of my ship, chewing through all that was in my path and easily outmaneuvering the spinning, laser-firing turrets that appear towards the end of the section.
When Nintendo first unveiled the Wii U, my mind raced with ideas for games that could be created with the two-screen interface. A lot of the cool stuff that the DS did could be transferred to the big screen. Better yet, titles like those that made use of Game Boy Advance-to-GameCube connectivity could surface in a more accessible format.
In practice, it has taken a while for developers to do really interesting things with the GamePad. A lot of the most lauded titles would work fine without the second screen. Affordable Space Adventures is one of the few Wii U titles that feels like it could not be done on another platform. It plays to the console's strengths, finally producing the type of experience the Wii U was made for.
Everything you could say about Soul Axiom feels reductive. It looks like Journey mixed with Tron, except when it looks like Tron mixed with Tron. It’s a puzzler that evokes The Talos Principle in both its non-linearity and its environmental conundrums. And the story is a spiritual successor to developer Wales Interactive’s previous title Master Reboot. This is the kind of stuff I try to avoid when doing previews.
But it’s still accurate, and it doesn’t diminish how interesting this game looks. Soul Axiom is an unsettling and compelling techno/cyber-thriller, with a killer visual style that matches its high-concept premise. Whether it actually delivers on its many promises is another thing entirely, but there’s a lot to be excited about so far.
I recently got my hands on Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo Wii U, and holy Bowser babies, are there a lot of new and expanded features! In fact, there is so much new stuff that I could hardly cover it all, so instead I am sharing my boiled-down list of the 8 most interesting things that I think Nintendo has done well for Smash U, and the 8 things I think could use some work.
Say what you will about Ubisoft, but they've got a knack for trying something a little different for their DLC offerings. After the incredibly successful launch of Watch Dogs back in May, it seemed like they've been biding their time with the release of some smaller DLC packs to one of their best-selling new titles. With so much content packed in Watch Dogs, I was curious to see how a single-player campaign DLC can stack up.
But now, it seems Ubisoft felt that four months was enough for players to explore the city of Chicago as Aiden Pearce. With a new playable character, a new set of tools, and new missions to dive into; players can see the streets of Chicago through a fresh perspective, and can even bring a friend along for the ride.
Anyone who has played Super Mario 3D World knows what to expect from Nintendo's upcoming Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. That's because Captain Toad made an appearance periodically in his own levels throughout 3D World to lend a slower, more methodical style to the cat-suited platforming that mostly defined the game.
Nintendo realized that it may have a hit on its hands with the Captain, and thus Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was born -- a game comprised solely of those bits where the protagonist hunts his way through puzzling levels for coins and gems. It's a simple concept, and one that our own Darren Nakamura covered in depth in an E3 preview.
Mighty No. 9 is probably one of the most anticipated games of 2015. After a massive Kickstarter, creator Inafune and developers Comcept and Inti Creates have kicked off a long line of products to hype it up, including Mighty Gunvolt and a potential cartoon.
After all that hype though we finally have a chance to play the game. I have to say, it has the feel of a Mega Man game, but a few aspects definitely took some getting used to.
During a Nintendo showcase event at PAX Prime, I wanted to say "screw it" and just play Hyrule Warriors for an hour (or more) but with only two demo stations available and lots of other nice games media types eager to check it out above other titles, that wasn't an option.
I also wanted to play as Midna because she looked badass in her character trailer, slapping fools left and right -- but that wasn't an option either, damn it. We were encouraged to try pummeling crowds of enemies as Ganondorf, what with him being new and all. Okay, sure. He's cool too.
Minor confession to make: I haven't played Bayonetta. Yeah, I hear it's good, but I just never got around to it. It happens. Heading into a quick hands-on session with Bayonetta 2, I figured my inexperience wouldn't matter much.
Wow, was I ever wrong. Now a few hours removed from the demo, my head's still spinning from trying to discern exactly what the hell just happened.
Costume Quest, like every Double Fine game, is charming. It's a fresh-feeling, low stakes take on the JRPG genre, more Earthbound than Final Fantasy. Though, as Chad put it in his review, it's "RPG Lite," accessible for all ages.
Double Fine doesn't want to sacrifice that, but does want to make Costume Quest 2's combat a bit more engaging. I was engaged with Paper Mario (or Final Fantasy VIII) style timed button presses that help your attacks do a bit more damage. Similarly, a well timed tap on defense will reduce the damage you take. This engagement, though, make things a bit easier so long as you can hit those button presses.
Nearly ten years ago, Kirby: Canvas Curse graced our original Nintendo DS handhelds, showing us (once again) that Kirby games could be about things other than floating around, ingesting bugs, and vomiting stars. Canvas Curse also had the responsibility of showing that fully touch-controlled games could be worthwhile, and by most accounts, it succeeded in that endeavor.
That same gameplay hook is back with Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. Now on the larger screen of the Wii U GamePad, players will still tap Kirby to make him move and draw rainbows for him to use as platforms. What is new is the clay aesthetic, which brings to the game its own neat mechanics.
Super Mario 3D World was fantastic, and one of the reasons was its incredible variety throughout. Captain Toad made his first playable appearance there, with his levels acting as a sort of palate cleanser between Mario's running and jumping cat suit antics.
The basic premise of the levels is that Captain Toad wants to help Mario collect stars, but since he is slower and cannot jump, he needs to rely more on puzzle-solving ability and keen perception (along with smart level design) to get things done. Fans loved it and clamored for more Captain Toad, so Nintendo explored the idea even further with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. As it turns out, the basic premise really has legs -- legs that still cannot jump.
Yarn Yoshi is a pretty good name. Yoshi's Woolly World is an okay name.
Yoshi's Yarn is a better name and what the game should've been called for the sake of alliteration and Yoshi's Story symmetry (a yarn is like a story!!!). I'm going to keep writing Yoshi's Woolly World as Yoshi's Yarn. Sorry.