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Sideway: New York – Demo Impressions

I need to play Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure.

So I wrote about Eufloria yesterday and the thing I’ll likely remember most about it is its minimalist art style. Directly after playing the demo for Eurfloria I tried the demo for Sideway: New York and its art style will probably be the thing I remember most about it, although it’s a very different art style.

For some reason the character I played as was turned into graffiti art. In this state, he was confined to moving along the sides of buildings as he searched for a way back to his normal self. Confined as he was, movement was limited to a 2D plane, although I could walk on any surface I could get to.

As you can see here, dude is on a rooftop.

Progressing between different walls and buildings was very cool to watch. As long as there wasn’t something hindering my path, like a rain gutter, I could walk to different sides of a building, roof included. When I did this the camera would swing around and revert to a view from the side. Being able to walk like this also added a few puzzles based around gravity, thanks to multiple ways to get onto some surfaces.

I came across a few different types of collectibles but didn’t pay much attention to what they were for. There were also enemies and this brought to light a problem I had with Sideway: New York. I didn’t like the amount of health my dude had; he would die very quickly. Another thing, because of the art style, it was sometimes hard to decipher what I was approaching. There was graffiti all around me, and unfortunately, the enemies and obstacles resembled non-interactive art when they were stationary.

This dude's a different type of pusher.

Those are minor gripes though; I could’ve taken it slower and paid more attention to my surroundings. I think Sideway: New York is a styling platformer. It looks really good in motion and the hip-hop soundtrack matched the game well. Sideway: New York was developed by Canadian based Playbrains and published by Sony Online Entertainment. It was released on PSN on October 11, 2011.

Links:

Sideway: New York
Playbrains
Sony Online Entertainment

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Rochard – Demo Impressions

There was a song in the demo that made use of synthesizers really well. It evoked discovery.

Rochard is a recently released platformer that includes puzzle solving revolving around gravity. With the aid of his G-Lifter, John Rochard can pick up and shoot objects. As John Rochard I was also able to affect the level of gravity around me, utilizing low gravity for many things. I played the demo for Rochard and got a feeling for the game’s story and gameplay.

John is an astro-miner for Skyrig Corporation. He leads an unproductive team, the least productive within the company in fact. The demo opened up with John returning to his team. This intro video featured a cool bluesy song while John was flying back. The soundtrack was actually composed by Markus “Captain” Kaarlonen, which if you’re like me doesn’t ring a bell, but he is a member of the popular Finnish rock band Poets of the Fall.

Once he landed, I gained control of him. I could only walk to the left and the right meaning Rochard is a strictly side-scrolling game. However the areas I played through had a lot of depth; everything looked nice too. The character’s were cartoon-like and the garments they wore, like the stages, had depth; I could notice John’s vest rising over the rest of his clothes. The dialogue was funny; it garnered a chuckle from me whenever John first ran into enemies. Another star to add to Rochard’s credits is Jon St. John providing John’s voice. Jon St. John is probably best known for being the voice of Duke Nukem.

Knowing where my object would land when I shot it was super helpful.

During the demo the crew made a great discovery, one that pleased Skyrig’s president very much. The demo never told me what I had found, but I suspect it’s related to ancient aliens as per the game’s website. The following day, a group of bandits breaks in and begins wreaking havoc. But John wasn’t defenseless.

John has a G-Lifter and this factored into everything I did. Using the G-Lifter was simple. After picking up an object, it stayed in my G-Lifter’s beam. I could aim with the right analog stick and a series of arrows would appear showing me the trajectory my object would travel.

By picking up crates I could use them as a shield and a weapon against my foes. More importantly, I needed the G-Lifter to solve a handful of physics-based puzzles. Tying into many of the puzzles was John’s ability to trigger low gravity. About halfway through the demo I reached a gravity generator, once I fixed it I could trigger low gravity whenever I wanted by pressing L1 or L2, I forget. I had to manipulate gravity from here on out and I came across at least one puzzle that had me stumped for a couple of minutes.

I got an upgrade for the G-Lifter that allowed it to shoot bullets. Very helpful.

The story seemed lighthearted and the graphics were pleasing. The gameplay is where Rochard shined though. The mechanics were simple to grasp and fun to implement in the puzzles. I hope the difficulty amps up slightly over the course of the game. But for ten bucks it seems like a good deal. Rochard is the first game developed by Finnish game developer Recoil Games. It was released on PlayStation Network last week, published by Sony Online Entertainment.

Links:

Rochard
Recoil Games
Sony Online Entertainment