The title of Nintendo’s newest Zelda game describes much of its charm and ingenuity. This entry stands as a link between two design philosophies: the old, much beloved Zelda formula perfected by A Link to the Past, and the new, more freeing, exploratory format that gives players what they want as soon as they want it. A Link Between Worlds stands at the crossroads of these two different game types, melding them seamlessly. It shows Nintendo isn’t afraid to adapt and try new things in an effort to spice up the Zelda formula before it runs out of steam. [Read more...]
I think I’ve figured out the problem I’ve had with the Mario games since Super Mario 3D Land back in 2011: it’s all about the design. Super Mario 3D Land was varied, with the developers tossing out new mechanics left and right that never feel overused, and level designs that were colorful and unique. But then there were those other pesky New Super Mario Bros. games. Those were the ones that felt stale; they lacked creativity and that spark of something special that made games like 3D Land so much fun. Super Mario 3D World continues the philosophy of 3D Land, as well as the philosophy of most modern Nintendo games: it’s varied and quite enjoyable most of the time, but also has the tendency to get stale quickly. [Read more...]
There may be no television property more ripe for a video game adaptation than Adventure Time. A lot of its stories are, by the creator’s admission, structured like mini-Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. It’s easy to imagine throwing the huge list of characters and the shockingly well-defined world they inhabit into an RPG, getting the writers to cook up anywhere from 20-40 hours of endearing plot, and finding a developer who could design a satisfyingly simple combat mechanic. Paper Mario comes to mind.
Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! (henceforth referred to as Explore The Dungeon) is not that game. [Read more...]
Developer Rocksteady did something that only few super hero games have accomplished, and something no Batman game ever had before. They found that by balancing Batman’s stealth, acrobatics, fighting skills, and world class detective ability, they could make Batman feel like so few had even attempted to before: the whole package. Blackgate still consists of all these elements, and after playing it I was left to wonder; if this game has everything its console predecessors have, why is it so bad?
Earlier this year developer Simogo released Year Walk, a narratively driven adventure game with a chilling atmosphere. Year Walk used iOS devices to great effect and created something genuinely unique for the platform, thoroughly engrossing players into a strange and terrifying world. Simogo recently released their newest game on iOS called Device 6 and people should most certainly play it. [Read more...]
(We would like to formally apologize for the crass and unfair review of Beyond: Two Souls that ran yesterday. We have updated the review to better reflect the quality that is expected of us. -- ed.)
Beyond: Two Souls tells stories. [Read more...]
Beyond: Two Souls is bad at telling stories.
Telltale struck gold with the critical and commercial success of The Walking Dead last year. Now they’ve decided to bring a different comic book series to the adventure game genre with The Wolf Among Us. The first episode covers a lot of ground very quickly. It acts like a pilot episode of a serialized television show, establishing a complex world and characters with around two hours of content. It’s messy, but that doesn’t hinder the impact of its narrative. [Read more...]
It’s a little difficult to understate the importance of 2010′s Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It was responsible for a resurgence of interest in gaming’s horror genre (which had been a bit on the wane for the past half-decade), taking some of the core tenets of horror games to their logical extremes. Removing any sort of combat, The Dark Descent was a series of terrifying stealth sequences where the very process of hiding itself would wreak havoc on your sanity. The Dark Descent lost itself a bit in its last third where it relies too heavily on mediocre puzzles, but it stands as a highly influential title, one still largely used as a blueprint for many horror games today.