What do you want out of a LEGO game?
Illustrious game designer Ron Gilbert has fascinated audiences with classic adventure games like The Secret of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion. He’s really the father of adventure games, and has been kicking around the idea for The Cave for a while now. However, frustrating design decisions and a myriad of technical bugs mars The Cave’s attempts to elicit old-school adventure game humor and style.
You know those times where we just talk about stuff? Well this time we talk about a lot of stuff. This past week was a whirlwind of a console launch and many, many video game reviews. We discuss some of the finer details that our reviews didn’t cover and how great some of those games are. We also talk about how not so great (but still pretty cool) the Wii U is as a console released in 2012.
I predict this for a number of reasons. It’s a launch title for a new system, and one developed by Ubisoft, a developer with a pretty spotty launch title record (Red Steel, anyone?). Every piece of information regarding the game before release has naturally focused on the Wii U’s GamePad, which could easily be read as a warning sign about the game itself. Also, the name of this goddamn game is ZombiU, like we’re living in some odd, Nintendo 64-esque era where such a title is acceptable. The whole thing reeks of a kind of disaster.
In reality, ZombiU is anything but. It’s a smart, scary, slow game marred by some predictable launch window woes.
As a kid, I always enjoyed using my imagination in crazy and inventive ways. I had this castle play set that I would use as a backdrop for an entire story. Then I’d bring in my Transformers or the different LEGO objects I had made that day. What followed was the blending of imagination and fun in this really unorthodox fashion. Scribblenauts games have tried to scratch that same itch of crafting anything your imagination can think up. I’ve tried playing Scribblenauts games before but they never really grabbed me. The original release on the DS was buggy and had an incredibly limited scope for an idea that seemed full of infinite possibilities. Scribblenauts Unlimited evolves on the core concepts of the past Scibblenauts games and very closely recreates the feelings I had as a kid armed only with a toybox and my imagination.
In 2007, the Wii launched with Wii Sports as a pack in game. That series of mini-games became ubiquitous to the Wii and defined motion control gaming for a generation. With the Wii U, Nintendo changed their controller drastically and Nintendo Land is their attempt at defining what this controller means to a new generation. I decided the best way to really understand what Nintendo hoped to achieve with Nintendo Land was to gather my family together and spend an entire day playing the various “attractions” of Nintendo Land. What followed was the most fun my family has had playing video games with me since Wii Sports, and that is exactly what Nintendo was hoping for.
Nintendo’s flagship franchise faces a problem that so many series’ this late in their game are susceptible to: fatigue. There have been five “New” games in about as many years, and we haven’t had a proper 3D Mario since 2010’s Super Mario Galaxy 2. Just earlier this year we had New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the 3DS, which was received in a decidedly mixed fashion. I think most people agree that Mario needs a jump-start, or a break, or anything that could mitigate what’s fast becoming over-saturation. New Super Mario Bros. U is an immaculate and pretty game that relieves none of that dread or tension.