London Studios’ Diggs Nightcrawler isn’t designed for adults, forcing lofty old folk to physically get down to a child’s level and sit cross legged on the floor. This isn’t a point of criticism however, as such unabashed commitment to the entertainment of our little’uns is commendable and, in actual fact, the gumshoe adventures of book-worm Diggs Nightcrawler prove to be surprisingly endearing, even for those of us who are a little long in the tooth.
It’s not hard to see the allure of the rhythm action genre for game developers, providing as it does a framework within which to work while at the same time enabling some hugely idiosyncratic and downright eccentric experiences. When executed well, the tension between interactivity and aural feedback can be wonderfully liberating, but problems can arise when these two worlds fail to meet; as unsatisfying mechanics flounder to connect with aural elements. The latest title to attempt to seamlessly meld these two elements into a cohesive – and toe tapping – whole is Fun Unit’s Groove Heaven for the Nintendo 3DS, but does it find perfect harmony or ear-drum perforating dissonance?
My reaction to Microsoft’s long awaited reveal of the follow up to its hugely successful Xbox 360 can be summarised in looking at one small moment. 45 seconds into a video piece in which Infinity Ward staff talk through the latest instalment of Call of Duty, subtitled Ghosts, our attention is drawn star of the show - namely your character’s arms.
“The arms in MW3 were beautiful at the time,” we are told, “but the new engine allows for significantly increased texture resolution”
Delivered as it is without a hint of irony, it’s a statement both ludicrous and crushingly dull in equal measure, dryly espousing the given aspect of any next gen console (namely: better visuals) while also encapsulating the lack of imagination and excitement behind the Xbox One announcement as a whole. Yes, yes, it’s all very clever…but where’s the magic?
A change in platform isn’t usually enough to justify re-reviewing a game, but in the case of Black Market Games’ Dead Hungry Diner we’ll make an exception. Released on the PC back in June 2012 (and reviewed by Gametaroo at launch), this horror-themed time-management game was a title out of place; though its mouse-driven form was plenty entertaining, the button-clicking mechanics prevented it from achieving potential that was evidently there to be mined if only it could find its way on to a more suitable host: namely a touch-based device (a sentiment that we took pains to reflect in our review).
‘Guacamelee!’: it’s a bloody great title for a game isn’t it? It wrestles your attention (pun absolutely intended), does a great job at capturing in a single word the game’s Mexicana-theme and penchant for ass-kickery, and makes you want to play it before you’ve seen a single frame of actual gameplay. It may also make you hungry, but this is something of an aside. But, of course, a witty moniker alone does not a great game make, so does Guacamelee! the game live up to Guacamelee! the name?
Today, Monolith Soft’s Disaster: Day of Crisis on the Wii taught me a valuable lesson: Not only does touching flames set you on fire, but doing so is also not particularly good for your life.
With three instalments under its belt, Gears of War can without question be considered as something of a veteran, but here in the twilight years of a generation, such an old hand has to try that much harder to impress a gaming audience that has seen it all before, quite possibly on numerous occasions. The latest chapter – Gears of War: Judgment – sees a new developer take the driving seat, but have People Can Fly steered the soldiers of the COG into fertile new ground, or settled on ploughing the same old furrows?
I’ve just seen the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain trailer, and - as a piece of promotional material - it’s really quite brilliant. Building on the intrigue laid down by The Phantom Pain trailer (shown at the Spike Video Game Awards 2012), it gives you hints of what the game will consist of, while leaving you thirsty for more. It is also masterfully edited and soundtracked beautifully with a track by Garbage and, all in all, is a pleasure to watch. And did I mention that it features a flying, flaming whale? Well…it does…and it’s awesome.
Reviewing new tables for Zen Studio’s Zen Pinball series is becoming quite a difficult task as there is only so much you can say about how authentic it feels and how lovingly it pays homage to whatever licensed property frames any given table. Though this might sound harsh, Zen Studios should actually take it as a compliment, reflecting as it does the consistently high-quality of the DLC support lavished on its flagship title. If the studio’s partnership with Marvel and, more recently, PopCap has proved anything however, it’s that finding the right IP can have a huge impact on the allure of a table and, with this in mind, it’s hard to imagine a combination appealing more heartily to one’s inner-nerd than that of pinball mixed with Star Wars…
Despite the indirect influence it has had on the world of videogames, Studio Ghibli has resisted dipping its beautifully animated toes into a title all of its own. That’s all about to change, however, with the launch of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch on the PlayStation 3; the fruit of a partnership between Studio Ghibli and JRPG experts Level 5. The road to this point hasn’t been an easy one, however, as Ni No Kuni has had to undergo a lengthy localisation process since its Japanese release in November 2011 so that Western audiences can finally explore The Another World (the literal translation of ‘Ni No Kuni’). The potential of animation royalty joining forces with a video game veteran is clear for all to see, but do these two giants merely serve to water each other down?
Regular readers of gametaroo! may remember the high-score furore that Imangi’s endless-runner, Temple Run, caused at my place of work last year, and if so probably won’t be surprised to hear that today’s launch of Temple Run 2 caused a small buzz of excitement to sweep the office.
Though my interest in the original did wane with time, I was still intrigue to see how the Washington D.C. based developer would follow up a bona fide smash hit. After a short amount of play time with Temple Run 2, the answer appears to be…more Temple Run with a few twists throne into mix; mine cart-rides, death-slides and the ability to use gemstones to extend your play-time upon death among them.
So, now 2012 is done and dusted it’s time to take a look back and identify my games of the year; the games that left an indelible impression, be it because of gameplay, aesthetics, plot or something else entirely.
The titles I have settled on can be found below, and I have to admit even I find it to be quite a curious selection. The iOS version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, for example, is in many ways a fairly meat-and-potatoes racer in the broader scope of things, but somehow it manages to feel fresh and exciting. What I do know is that these are the games that really floated my boat in 2012, and they are all games that I am either still playing, or that I have every intention of replaying at some point in the future.
So, without further ado…the winner is…
Since its debut in 2000, Paper Mario’s unique take on the Mushroom Kingdom has ably stood alongside Mario Kart as one of the portly plumber’s premier side-projects. For the latest instalment, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, the series pushes into some new directions that may leave fans divided, but it has undoubtedly found a perfect partner in the Nintendo 3DS - who would have thought that the most two-dimensional of materials could make a 3D handheld sing?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or, in fairness, you simply have no interest videogames….) it can’t have escaped your notice that today marks the launch of Nintendo’s new console - the Wii U.
After a morning spent patiently waiting for the courier to arrive with mine, I am now waiting for the console to install the (now infamous) update; it started 10 minutes ago and appears to be about a sixteenth of the way through. So, rather than sit around looking at a slowly-increasing install bar, I thought it might be a better use of my time to knock up a blog post.