The first question I had when I saw this box was “what the hell is this?”. Well, it’s a big box with 4 pre-built Magic: The Gathering (MTG) decks and a bunch of cardboard hexes. The game within is standard 2-4 player free-for-all MTG with the addition of a simple (but effective) exploration module. My second question was “who is this for?” and, it turns out, it’s been designed specifically for me. This box is aimed at anyone who knows how to play MTG—and likes it–but doesn’t actually own any MTG cards. This is a small niche, to be sure, but it’s one that’s inhabited by most of my friends. We love Explorers of Ixalan, but it’s easy to understand why it has struggled to find an audience. Continue reading
I finished Remember Me a couple of weeks ago, but I started it in May. Part of the reason it took me so long is that the game didn’t pull me back in the early stages when I had Rocket League or Street Fighter available. It becomes more compulsive towards the end and ultimately I’m glad I finished it, but the game doesn’t make itself easy to like. It’s on the edge of excellence. Remember Me is a game that needs to be better at almost everything, few aspects worthy of praise without caveat. It’s an ambitious game full of great ideas and I admire much of what it accomplishes, but its execution is so lacking that it undermines itself constantly. Continue reading
I want to make this brief so I don’t waste too much more of my time on this game, but if you’re reading this I’m wasting your time with a messy article. Blame Batman. The most enjoyable moment I had was it enabling me to sincerely type B:AO:B:DE in a text to a friend. I was excited about this Metroidvania game due to a long time love of the Metroid series. Metroid + Batman; sign me up. But it’s a bad cover band. Continue reading
I’ve had a massive backlog of Gen 7 games since pretty much halfway through Gen 7. I’ve tried to get through them a few times and started a separate blog to try to track it. All of these attempts have failed. Now I’m trying again. This time, I have all of my Gen 7 consoles with me in London, but my PS4 (with my Great Love Battlefield) is back in Belfast and I’m not bringing it over until this backlog is cleared; I actually want to play these games. Last year I think I only managed Bayonetta (which I loved to a criminal degree) and FarCry 3 (which I despised; it was like listening to a 14yo lecture you about the nature of humanity after they’d seen Apocalypse Now for the first time). The first game of 2015 was Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.
I really liked this game. Reductively, the game’s USP is its control scheme. You spend the entire game controlling the two eponymous brothers (or sons, I guess), one with each analogue stick, with the only action button being a context-sensitive “Interact” mapped to the corresponding shoulder. It works incredibly well, particularly keeping the interaction pared down to one button, allowing the player to focus on the meat of the puzzles rather than execution.. The older brother’s movement is mapped to the left stick, where movement is usually mapped in video games at large. The younger brother’s is mapped to the right stick and I tended to lose track of him. I think the designers were aware of this and used it to make the big brother seem more solid and leader-like. Brothers is fundamentally a puzzle-platformer where each new section has you manipulating the unique control scheme in an interesting way. The game is almost completely linear (not a bad thing) and I enjoyed all of my time with it. I was never bored; the game introduces many unique events that keep the gameplay fresh but they’re all based around the central idea of having two characters so I never found them token. Much of the platforming reminded me of Sands of Time; always a good thing. The game is paced such that the relaxed puzzle sections are infrequently punctuated by more thrilling, pressured sections and it’s judged perfectly to give those sections a welcome sense of tension. Continue reading
My friends and I bought Anarchy Reigns cheap recently for something different to play multiplayer. It’s certainly different. We haven’t really played much of it yet and all I do is complain about how much damage I’m taking when I play it (#maturity). It’s enjoyably baffling, obviously bonkers but pretty frustrating. In an attempt to get to grips with the controls and systems better I played through the campaign. Here’s what I thought.
Anarchy Reigns is a sequel/prequel/interquel to MadWorld on the Wii (I have it waiting to play so I haven’t looked up the connection) so for a lot of the story I couldn’t tell if I was missing information because I hadn’t played MadWorld or because it wasn’t given to me. But it’s a Platinum Games game (<3) so honestly it could be either. The storyline is some balls about two different characters that are trying to catch up to a third character for reasons that are never fully explained and with fantastically unearned high-emotion scenes. The whole tone of the campaign is like a 12yo who’s still young enough to play with action figures but whose older brother has shown him Robocop and Die Hard. And, as with so many Platinum Games, I can’t tell if they realise this or not. Continue reading
I’ve been very tempted recently by the Nintendo 3DS XL. There are just too many good games on that system to ignore and, as a Zelda junkie, A Link Between Worlds may well be the tipping point. When I was pricing the system I discovered that they offer a pink version and it made me think back to my old Game Boy Advance. In a time before the Internet I ordered my video games from a mail order company called Gameplay. They’re defunct now and I’m sad to see they don’t even have a Wikipedia entry. The catalogue had a picture of the Arctic (clear blue) GBA with the other colours listed alongside, text only, and some explanation of the more esoteric names. When I called they said the only one available was “Fuchsia”, listed in that catalogue as “Fuchsia (Clear Red)”. I said that was fine.
This is just a little bit of design I did as Community Manager for IndieCade. We wanted to show people what IndieCade games were playable at GDC 2014 but I didn’t want to just post a bland list so I put this together. I’m really pleased with how it turned out!