As its full title suggests, Home is a unique horror adventure. The 2D side-scroller wasn’t scary per se, but the disturbing story at its core was chilling. Created and published by Toronto, Canada-based indie developer Benjamin Rivers, Home debuted in 2012 and is available on a variety of platforms including the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, where I played it. Blending nostalgic pixel graphics and creepy, minimal sound design, the game emanated a sinister vibe that kept me on edge as I uncovered a series of murderous events.
Assuming the role of an unlucky fellow awaking to find himself away from home and not sure why, I retraced his steps, exploring unsettling scenes along the way in the hopes of finding clues. They didn’t bode well. But maybe things weren’t all that bad, either. Taking certain items, putting others back, answering yes or no questions influenced the game’s outcome in a “choose-your-own-adventure” sort of way. Regardless of the choices I made, the endings were somewhat ambiguous, leaving plenty open to interpretation and further rumination.
It took me anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour to complete a playthrough, depending on how thorough I wanted to be. Because of dual trophy support on the PS4 and Vita and the game’s brevity, I played through the entirety of it twice, like a madman! It looked and sounded great on the big TV, but man was it perfect for the Vita. I can’t say that Home blew my socks off or anything, but its dark tale and interactivity was novel and thought-provoking.
The year is 2069. Once common forms of government now occupy historical archives on the dataverse, having been supplanted by mega-corporations decades ago. These mega-corporations, or syndicates, are few and amongst them Eurocorp is dominant, thanks to their invention of the DART chip: a neural implant allowing access to the dataverse. Unique syndicate specific versions are embedded in roughly half the world’s population, creating a societal divide between the haves and the have nots, metaphorically illustrated by the lush skyscrapers users live, work, and shop and the destitute “downzone” areas on the surface. As they’ve vied for control of the populace and protection of their intellectual property, corporate espionage and outright warfare have become standard, necessitating the need for bio-engineered agents enhanced with the latest in chip technology.
While I have a soft spot for them, I just don’t have the time to devote to lengthy RPGs like I used to. So before I started Xenoblade Chronicles, I was fearful it’d take me months to complete. Instead, I was immediately hooked on Monolith Soft’s seminal Wii RPG and saw credits within a month, having found a couple hours for it each night. Originally published by Nintendo of Japan on June 10, 2010, it took the grassroots Operation Rainfall movement for it to see the light of day in the United States. Half a year after it was localized for the European market, and with British voice-acting still intact, it released here on April 6, 2012. Featuring an enthralling storyline, active combat reminiscent of MMORPGs, a robust collection of interlocking gameplay systems, and expansive areas chock full of enemies and distractions, it was a supremely enjoyable, highly addictive experience that has me seriously contemplating jumping into Xenoblade Chronicles X. Continue reading Xenoblade Chronicles [Wii] – Review→
Gunman Clive has been installed on my 3DS since acquiring it in the first Nintendo Humble Bundle back in May 2015. It released on the eShop in December 2012 and I remember thinking it looked promising then, especially for the couple of dollars Hörberg Productions was asking for it. Nonetheless, I skipped over it every time I turned on my 3DS until yesterday. Searching for something I hadn’t played and preferably a game I’d be able to complete in a brief amount of time, Gunman Clive immediately came to mind. It satisfied both objectives and was a distinctive platformer in the vein of the NES-era Mega Man games. Continue reading Gunman Clive [3DS eShop] – Review→
After spending three hours with Pokémon Dream Radar, I can thoroughly report that it more closely resembles a tech demo than a video game. And if spending that much time with a glorified tech demo doesn’t sound appealing, hopefully the prospect of receiving a handful of legendary Pokémon does, because that’s the true purpose of this product. It plays almost entirely with the Nintendo 3DS’ augmented reality functions, tasking players with collecting orbs and catching Pokémon using the forward-facing camera of the handheld. It’s a novel prospect for the first few rounds but it quickly becomes clear that’s all it is: a novelty. Regardless of my Pokémon fandom, the hours I spent playing this purchasable object resulted in little more than a dreadfully boring grind… and legendary Pokémon. Continue reading Pokemon Dream Radar [3DS eShop] – Review→
I haven’t played much of Dyad, outside of a quick level or two. Its Tempest style gameplay is something I should enjoy, but generally don’t. It isn’t the first game to riff off of Tempest with a psychedelic style (that’s Jeff Minter’s wheelhouse), but it was the first one available on the PlayStation 3. Controlling a particle, players slingshot through a tunnel taking inspiration from the Large Hadron Collider. Slingshotting and lancing through other particles extends one’s combo, and thereby score, which, at its core, is the name of the game. I’ll likely play this more, at some point.
Dyad was developed by Shawn McGrath and published by Right Square Bracket Left Square Bracket. It was first available on PlayStation Network July 17, 2012, with a PC release following on April 24, 2013. Perhaps best of all though, is the PC commercial.
When you have a video game collection like mine, it can be hard to play all of the games. This is especially true when additions are made on an almost weekly basis. Still, I appreciate nearlyevery game I’ve accumulated for this reason or that. In the hopes of improving my writing through continuous effort and promoting ongoing learning of these games, I’m going to compose brief, descriptive articles.
Now this is the sort of game that gets me excited about video games! There’s something about the zany concepts and systems that video games of Japanese origin tend to have that really excite me. So when I first heard about this title, I figured I’d be into. Fast forward to many months after its initial release and it happens to be discounted to $0.99 on a PSN sale and of course I bought it. Fast forward to today when I’m writing this, and I still haven’t played it. Jenny has played it somewhat, stating that she thought it was weird and kind of difficult. From what I gather, it’s a survival game set in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo where you play as an animal and attempt to procreate and ensure your future lineage. Pomeranian dogs seem to the favored avatar too. That’s what I’m talking about!
Tokyo Jungle was developed by Crispy’s! in conjunction with Sony Computer Entertainment’s Japan Studio. It was originally released physically for the PlayStation 3 in Japan on June 7, 2012, and had its North American release exclusively on PSN on September 25, 2012. I’m not familiar with the developer, although it appears they’ve developed a handful of other games – mostly Japanese only.
When you have a video game collection like mine, it can be hard to play all of the games. This is especially true when additions are made on an almost weekly basis. Still, I appreciate nearly every game I’ve accumulated for this reason or that. In the hopes of improving my writing through continuous effort and promoting ongoing learning of these games, I’m going to compose brief, descriptive articles.
Shortly after getting a Wii U this summer, Target ran a promotion on Wii U games – buy 2, get 1 free. At the behest of my friend, I chose this game in one of the transactions. What a smart choice! After taking a hiatus from the series since the first game, I was wowed by the improvements that had been made to the core mechanics. We sat down with this game for extended sessions, and while the progression was much improved from the first game, so too were the creation options. Our sessions devolved into creating random combinations of items/creatures and watching the world react to them. We have yet to actually complete the game, but the enjoyment we’ve eked out of it is hard to top.
Scribblenauts: Unlimited was developed by 5th Cell and is the product of Jeremiah Slaczka, one of the studio’s cofounders and its CEO and creative director. It was published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. It was released on the Wii U and 3DS in North America on November 13, 2012, and came out on the PC a week later – November 19, 2012. Curiously, this game was published by Nintendo in Europe, excluding the PC version.
I’ve gotten a kick out of the games I’ve purchased through Humble Bundle. One of the better bundles in recent memory was the Mobile Bundle 3. I’ll highlight a few games from it starting with SpellTower. It’s a word-making game that I’ve been playing on my Google Nexus 7. There are a few gameplay modes, leaderboards, and even a multiplayer mode that I haven’t had the opportunity to test. I’ve found it to be a fun diversionary game at bedtime.
Each of the four modes is centered on high scores. By swiping together adjacent letters (even diagonally) and making words, I scored points. Longer words or ones using uncommon letters would net me more points. In Tower Mode, I did so using a set number of letters. What I found more enjoyable were the Puzzle, Extreme Puzzle, and Rush Modes. The puzzle modes started with a few rows of letters. Every time I completed a word a new row would be added. I could take as long as I wanted and this was a good exercise in crafting worthy words. Rush Mode also started with a few rows of letters. However, more were added over time. This was more an exercise in quick word making.
SpellTower isn’t a game designed for extended gameplay sessions. When played in small chunks, I imagine it’ll remain in ones queue for many weeks. Especially if one has friends who also have it. The Twitter hooks are in this game and it’s hard not to boast about a new high score. I overloaded early so I’m a little burned out on it at this point. However, from time to time, I get the urge and pop it on for a round or two to see if I can top my best score. Can you top my best word?
Best word: jillets – 616 points. Definition: giddy or flirtatious girls or young women.
Released on the 3DS eShop courtesy of Level-5, Liberation Maiden is a part of the Guild01 series of games. Each of the four games in the Guild01 series was developed by Level-5, but designed by recognizable Japanese developers. The impact of Goichi “Suda51” Suda and his team at Grasshopper Manufacture is unmistakable on this game. Few others would concept out and help bring to fruition such a nutty game.
The teenage protagonist, Shoko Ōzora, has assumed the presidency of New Japan after her father’s passing. She’s inherited a hell of a mess too. So much so that she takes to the skies of New Japan in a giant mech to combat the troves of enemies siphoning the country’s energy. She gets much assistance from Kira, her second-in-command, who chirps in constantly to feed her status updates and mission objectives.
Controlling Shoko with the circle pad, I could freely move her anywhere in the 3D stages. Pressing the left shoulder button enabled a strafing mode, locking her movement to the sides. She had two types of weaponry; one locked onto enemies as I dragged my stylus across the screen and released when I did. The other was a simple laser that attacked where I touched. I didn’t prefer one to the other and found both equally usable. Finally, there was an added strategic element due to her ammunition also acting as a barrier from damage.
There are five stages in the game, playable via the story and score attack modes, and they’re completed briskly. It took me about an hour and a half to beat and another hour to unlock 90% of the backstory and character bios. I’m partial to Suda51’s work and enjoyed the nutty narrative in Liberation Maiden. More than that though, I enjoyed the gameplay. The bosses that capped off each stage were repetitive and Kira constantly chiming in created a stop-and-go effect, but I enjoyed my hours spent.