It’s the holiday season and there’s a hell of a lot of cheer going around. So I’d like to call you back to one of your less pleasant memories. Recall opening up your presents on christmas morning as a wee tyke. You’re drunk on the last six weeks of advertising and nothing eclipses your love for a toy car playset. There’s gonna be ramps and loops and racing and crashing, and it’ll be the best toy ever. Now recall what it actually was: a bunch of boring plastic that barely fits together and is fated for the first garage sale of the season. Remember that disappointment. Joe Danger: Special Edition promises to right that wrong, and for the most part it delivers.
Entries Tagged as 'Review'
December 19th, 2011 Comments Off
November 30th, 2011 1 Comment
It’s hard to believe that just a few short years ago tower defense was mostly confined to cultish flash games. Indies have have since stretched the genre into multiplayer, dropped player perspective to the trenches, and even stripped out the walls. Orcs Must Die is best understood against that backdrop. It’s a payoff game that emerges from so much industry to refine innovation into polish.
November 16th, 2011 Comments Off
Data Jammers: FastForward teases apart the difference between casual and easy, which is a lost nicety in modern gaming. It’s also concise, tightly designed, and pretty, but it’s best distinguished as a casual game with fangs. All this is comes as a surprise from a game whose closest evolutionary relative is the racing genre, but there’s just no accounting for indie creativity.
October 11th, 2011 Comments Off
Developers tend to have a signature–a type of game they make. Nippon Ichi makes grindy strategy games. Bethesda makes overambitious open world RPGs. Bioware remakes KotOR every few years. It’s not ubiquetous or anything, but when you’re in the biz, you tend to stick to what you’re good at.
Vanillaware’s makes a particular kind of brawler. They take a rich cultural tradition of myth, realize it lovingly in pixel art, and then insert some characters to punch everyone in the face. They did it to Norse myth (which didn’t really need more face-punching), and they’ve hit Japanese myth now with Muramasa: The Demon Blade. Mercifully, Vanillaware seems to have learned something between the two games, sparing Muramasa the ennui that ruined their first brawler.
September 12th, 2011 Comments Off
Valkyria Chronicles distinguishes itself as the most callous time-waster I’ve played. This is a terrible shame because there’s about five hours of genuinely good strategy mired in the cruft, load times, gotchas, and overlong story. I suppose a briefer experience would waste the game’s magnificent take on cell shading, but so does this drudgery.
August 31st, 2011 Comments Off
Deus Ex Human Revolution isn’t as much a sequel as it is a remake. It takes the principles that made Deus Ex a landmark and recontextualizes them in modern design. The result feels familiar and polished, which is a narcotic mix for gamers of a certain age. It’s a bit worrisome to see the franchise so static a decade later, but it’s hard to argue with compelling play.
August 9th, 2011 Comments Off
Cthulhu isn’t usually my go-to guy when I’m vetting global saviors. Elder gods are pretty infamous for decending from the stars, driving men mad, and then consuming the world to slake their unknowable hunger. Still, Cthulhu Saves the World makes a compelling counterpoint, though that may just be the madness talking.
July 26th, 2011 2 Comments
Content is overwhelmingly visible in games. Mechanics, art assets, narrative, and design spring to salience because those are the interactive parts. Really, what else matters? Bastion is a rare game that answers that question, and it’s a revelation. You owe it to yourself to play this game because it can change the way you look at others.
April 28th, 2011 Comments Off
It’s hard to talk about Portal games without spoiling them. However, it’s fair to say that a strong lineage carries a burden of expectation. Portal 2 rises to that burden with a combination of diverse content, expert craftsmanship, and brilliant writing.
March 15th, 2011 1 Comment
Flower is less game than toy, but it will be one of your favorites. Its freeform flight and elegant design make it a flight sim with sandboxy undertones. You won’t find love here that makes your heart race, but something more soothing and companionate.