You’ve probably heard of the Humble Bundle – a bunch of indie developers sell their games together in a complete package for a pay-what-you-want price, letting you split your cost however you want between the developers, the Humble Bundle operators, and charity. The games themselves are DRM-free, compatible with Windows, Mac, or Linux, and – almost without exception – a mix of high- and low-profile games from independent developers that you might not have ever had the chance to try otherwise. Yesterday, that changed. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: November 2012
Think back to the NES days. Or even think about now. Do you still have an original NES? No, not the top loader, you fancy rich jerk. That old gray box shaped like how people thought the future would look like back in the 80s. How many times would you have to blow into the cartridge to get it to boot up? Remember when it just kinda turned on, but it was all glitched out? Did you try to play it anyway? Add bass drops to that and throw it into a browser and you’ve got yourself Skrillex Quest. What the crap?
Skrillex is known as “the Prince of Dubstep,” a genre of music that, for all intents and purposes, is already dead, less than two years after it burst onto the scene all across the world, burning far too brightly to even outlast a single elephant’s gestation period. But now he has a game. It’s kind of like The Legend of Zelda, or maybe 3D Dot Game Heroes. There are hidden collectibles and secrets to discover all over this world that happens to be constantly on the verge of glitching out, taking you and everything you’re trying to save with it. And it’s all because a little hair got in the cart.
The art style is very reminiscent of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, but on acid. The gameplay is simple: just move and slash. It’s a little graphic-intensive for my 5-year-old Dell laptop on wi-fi (there is always SO MUCH going on!), but all the slowdown kind of added to the intensity of the glitch battles. There’s a lot of glitching.
I dunno, I guess I don’t really have a lot of exciting things to actually say about this game; I just reeeeeally wanted to make you aware of its existence. Mostly because it’s so weird. It’s important to play some weird games in your life. It’s short, and the gameplay is simple, but there’s a replay value here that’ll keep you coming back again and again. My first playthrough, I got a whopping 15% final score. And I’m pretty sure that’s only because I know the Konami code. There’s so much I haven’t seen in the world yet.
On second thought: you might not like Skrillex Quest if you hate dubstep. Every sound effect in this game is dubstep, every backing track in this game is dubstep, and every glitched out world feels like you’re in a dubstep. The beats match up with the action in meaningful ways, putting those old movies you watch while playing your favorite Yes album to shame. There might even be a Skrillx in the game, doin’ Skrillex stuff like smoking and cooking. But you knew what this was.
It’s Skrillex Quest – the best game to ever feature Skrillex. Also probably the last game. Good job staying relevant, dubstep.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star is a very good game. The sticker battle mechanics take a minute to wrap your head around but then are great, requiring a lot of rhythmic skill to master. The story, characters, and world contain a level of charm and tongue-in-cheek humor simply not found in 99% of all other games. And the shiny stuff, secrets, and collectibles pushed every one of my magic buttons that keeps me playing a game. In fact, I haven’t been this completely into a game since Skyrim. And on a handheld with PaRappa-style graphics? That’s incredible.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star also has its flaws. Continue reading
I’m about ten hours into Paper Mario: Sticker Star. For the most part, I really like it. It brings back the turn-based RPG battles of the first two games and leaves out the failed jokes and forced third dimension of the Wii’s Super Paper Mario which, frankly, felt unplayable to me, for a variety of not-quite-tangible reasons. This is lucky; given the name of the platform it’s appearing on, it would have been all too easy to rehash the 3D mechanic in this latest entry.
The level-up system is a bit strange to me, though, in that there is none. You find new one-time-use stickers mostly by random spattered throughout the world, and the only thing that ever increases throughout your dozens of battles is the number of gold coins in your pocket. And, since you can only buy too-weak or too-strong stickers (making the bosses either too hard or too easy), you end up not buying anything, instead relying on the weaponry you find in the field almost exclusively. With no levels to increase, and not enough things to spend your money on, Nintendo has given us no reason to fight any battles. This is less than ideal. And it’s all in the name of simplicity. Continue reading
Liberation Maiden is by far the least weird Suda51 game. I mean, sure – there’s still flying robots and *gasp* a female president, but compared to Killer 7? No More Heroes? Using those as Suda’s typical benchmark, this is about as tame as games get.
This time around, Suda and Grasshopper Manufacture teamed with Level 5 to “bring AAA production values to the downloadable space.” For $7.99, you get a flying mech shooter game with solid voice acting, sharp graphics, and Rez-style gameplay that wouldn’t feel out of place in a third-generation PS2 game. All they put into the game comes at a price, however – it’s only about an hour long. Continue reading
I’ve written before about my love affair with physical media. The look, the feel, the smell, the touch. But Paper Mario: Sticker Star comes out today, and instead of driving allllll the way over there to pick up a copy, I’ll be downloading it from the 3DS eShop for $39.99, while I sleep. I will receive no physical manual. I will have no spot for it on my shelf. I won’t even be able to re-sell it if it sucks.
Never fear: I haven’t given up on the good ol’ hard plastic cases. I thought too long and too hard about this, and I made an exciting list of the reasons why – at least in the case of Sticker Star – I’ll be eschewing the tangible for the digital. This is the first full retail game I’ll have ever paid for and not held the physical game in my hand afterwards. Sure, there’ve been lots of full free PS+ games, but this is a big deal for me! Continue reading
“What’s inside the cube?”
Peter Molyneux’s new game (maybe “experience” is a better fit?) is all about human curiosity. Can the entire world work together, each doing their part of a repetitive, mundane task with the promise of a grand reward for just one player at the end? Curiosity debuted on the App Store just two days ago, and things are already off to a good start. Continue reading
You remember the edutainment games from when you were growing up in the 90s; Number Munchers, Mario Is Missing, and Treasure Mountain were staples of my youth, back when every school computer lab had Apple IIs, or – if you were lucky – iMacs. Frog Fractions starts off like one of those games. You move around the bottom of the screen, protecting your fruits from being eaten by bugs with your long tongue a la Missile Command. For every bug you eat, you are awarded points in fractions instead of full integers. That’s when things get weird.
That’s when Frog Fractions becomes one of the most interesting, self-aware video games I’ve ever played. Continue reading
Halo 4 – the long-awaited reboot of Bungie’s beloved Xbox-exclusive series by internal Microsoft studio 343 Industries – is coming out on November 6th. The review embargo broke this morning at 12:01 am PT. A lot of people were impressed. Shocking. “Game of the year!” “Thrilling!” “A worthy successor to the Halo legacy!” Back-of-box quotes abound. Did you know that 343 was created just to make Halo games? And that’s it! Hope the series doesn’t flop or everyone will be out of jobs.
But! Which website had the best Halo 4 review? Which online publication is most worthy to get free games weeks before they’re released to the common folk, in order to better serve the public by telling them how much they should buy the latest AAA blockbuster? I read a lot – a LOT – of Halo 4 reviews, and I’ve learned that… first of all, don’t do that. They all kind of say the same thing (“Buy Halo 4“). Second of all, there are lots of different flavors of sites – some are basically tabloid trash, and others are snooty snoot-fests like Edge where everyone discusses games while smoking fine Cuban cigars and sitting around a fireplace in their silk bathrobes, drinking aged brandy out of hollowed-out orphan skulls. You’re sure to find one somewhere that speaks to your level of maturity. And if not, go make your own site. Whiner.