The Mega Man franchise is without a doubt one of the most daunting and difficult franchises to date. Having played my fair share of them, I should probably have known this going in, but appearently it’s been a while because I forgot exactly how hard they can be. You can’t hold that against Mega Man 10 though. Even more intimidating than the normal game is the hard mode which is unlocked after finishing the game on normal, which I could only imagine would be insane.
On the far end of the universe, there is Geometry Wars. It is the cold, dead space of twin-stick shooters. On the empty playing grid, your only belongings are a couple of bombs and a gun that changes firing rates ever so often, and you’re left to fight a never-ending horde of gruesome geometric shapes. Once you lose your lives, you’re finished.
In another galaxy, the rules have changed. The atmosphere is still cool, but more relaxing. The background occasionally shifts from a spacey blue to another color of the aether, and your ship along with the enemies changes as well. It’s strange, but the stars have a certain attraction to your ship when you’re charging the lasers. They hug around the ship as you unleash your fire of cold blue death, and you almost feel bad when the little candies shrivel away. They aren’t as daunting as those edged foes, but they’re just as deadly and just as unforgiving. The color-changing candy armada will you to see your end, and once you’re gone, there is coming back. You’ll just have to surrender your precious little points.
I’m quickly beginning to realize that there are people in the world who will exploit absolutely anything for the chance to make a buck.
With that said, I got the chance to play another of Silver Dollar Games’ offerings to the Xbox Live indie scene. Who Did I Date Last Night is a quick-witted, fast-paced Guess Who-style game that delves deep into your own subconscious and asks you to reveal the mysteries of your own past, all in the interest of revealing the identity of a mysterious woman you spent an enchanted evening with, and due to unforeseen circumstances, you can’t remember exactly who she is.
Got a thing for nostalgia? Yeah me too. That’s probably why I picked this title up on a whim. At $10, it hits the perfect price point of being worth your time and money without having the guilt of feeling as though you paid too much for a title that is ten years old.
Perfect Dark is one of those games that sort of got lost in the mix when it was first released on the N64, just as Dreamcast and PS2 were getting big. While I never had an opportunity to play much of the original, I consider myself fortunate as it was nearly unplayable at its blazing 10 frames per second. Fortunately for us, 4J studios redid all of the textures and bumped up the resolution to 1080p, placing everything in the positions where they once were. For an XBLA game it looks glorious.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Man, I love Modern Warfare 2, but sometimes, I dunno, I wish there were something I could play where I shot things. Something that still has the fast-paced reflexes needed to succeed in Modern Warfare 2, but something a little less hostile. Oh! And something that has a geometric shape as an enemy, because screw geometry.”
Have I ever got the game for you.
Block Killer is an indie title on the Xbox 360 that seems simple at first glance, but quickly grows in both complexity and scope. All indie games seem to have very simple controls, and Block Killer is no exception. You start out able to move left and right, and mash the A button to shoot. As you progress through the levels you are introduced to blocks of varying attributes: namely blocks that take more shots to kill, blocks that can dodge your shots, blocks that refill your health and more.
York Peppermint Patties were one of my favorite candies when I was a kid. I loved chipping away the hard chocolate shell to reveal the gooey minty innards, and I’d relish the occasion that one was dropped in my candy sack on Halloween. But as much as I loved eating peppermint patties, I never could bring myself to actually buy one because they were so tiny compared to a bag of Skittles or a real candy bar.
Decay Part 1 is a lot like my childhood peppermint patty conundrum. The game is joyously satisfying and does a wonderful job of impinging a feeling of dread and oppression, but its abbreviated length taints what otherwise is a fantastic revival of a dormant genre.
There are varying opinions on how much of a game needs to be played before a competent review can be written. Is a reviewer obligated to play every potentially grueling hour of an RPG before formulating an opinion? Does he/she owe it to the game to see it through to the end? Would a film critic walk out after half a movie and write a review?
Thankfully, such a quandary doesn’t exist for A Killer’s Dream, because it can be finished in less than five minutes.
I was actually a bit intrigued by the game’s premise: you play the role of a psychic detective who can go inside the dreams of homicidal maniacs to try and determine their identities. If handled correctly, the concept could be fleshed into an innovative game involving interesting characters, puzzles mixing real-world and dream clues and a strong narrative. A Killer’s Dream incorporates none of these elements and is a thankfully brief one-trick pony, which squanders a potentially great idea.
Soul reached out with its warm fuzzy ball of light and sucked me in before I had any idea what it was even about. I feel superficial to say I like a game because of its style or because of the graphics, but Soul’s aesthetics are so charming and endearing, yet grimy and intimidating, that they captivated me before I could finish the first level.
Soul opens with a person dying in the grungiest, most decrepit, rundown excuse for a hospital ever conceived. Flies hover around the toilet, clothes hang out of ramshackle furniture haphazardly and the walls are barely covered by a coat of cracked lime-green paint. Out of that fresh carcass emerges its soul, represented by a glowing blue orb, which is probably quite intimidated by its oppressive, seedy environment. Trapped in some form of dreary limbo, the goal of the game is to guide the soul to a heaven, a task made more imposing due to a network of mazes, puzzles and obstacles that lie in your path, not to mention the black oil demons that arise from the floors and ceilings to devour the poor little soul in one wide-mouthed gulp.