Category: Nintendo

Hype: The Swindle (31st July)

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UK Studio Size Five Games in collaboration with Curve Studios are releasing The Swindle next week on a variety of platforms! The game looks pretty interesting and I look forward to checking it out soon

“The Swindle is a steampunk cybercrime caper about breaking into buildings, hacking their systems, stealing all their cash, and quickly running away again before the police show up.

All the buildings you’ll be robbing are randomly-generated, so you’ll never get the same level twice.

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The Fall Review

RulezPlay Screenshot 2015-07-19 18-02-18

The Fall is a 2D sci-fi puzzle-solving action game set on what appears to be an abandoned space station of some sort, it looks like The Swapper which came to Xbox One recently although The Fall balances up the “puzzles” with more action scenes, giving you control of a weapon and its more about exploring the environments and connecting the dots between the different moments using your items to progress and not being a heavy puzzle focused title.

You play as ARID, an artificial intelligence which has been activated by your crash landing on this unknown place somewhere in space. The landing has left your suits functions impaired and you must get to a medical bay to help the injured human inside your suit.

The Fall1 (more…)

The Swapper Review

RulezPlay Screenshot 2015-06-04 23-13-56

The Swapper by Finnish developer Facepalm Games is an atmospheric puzzle game set deep in space, originally released in May 2013 on Steam, in August 2014 on Playstation 4, Playstation 3 and PSVita and now in June 2015 it finally comes to Xbox One!

As you land on a seemingly abandoned space station you soon find a mysterious device called “The Swapper” which allows the user to create clones of themselves (up to 4) and swap themselves between these clones and by using both of these different types of abilities you can fully explore the station. Game progress comes in the form of orbs, you get to certain doors and it will tell you how many orbs you need to collect to pass through.

RulezPlay Screenshot 2015-06-04 23-16-50 (more…)

Missed opportunities: Kojima, Metal Gear and Konami refocus

Kojima’s fairly public exit from Konami as Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain’s development wraps up is filled with intrigue and question from the gaming community: Why would they push out their rockstar, the guy who has provided them with big hits in the Metal Gear franchise?

Well, I’ve been thinking about this and this is what I’ve come up with, ultimately its all about money, or a lack of money generated, that is:

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots releasing only on PS3 and the franchise missing the peak years of Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii userbase

The Wii was a huge success and so was the 360 particularly in North America and UK, although the PS3 floundered greatly in its early days particularly in the markets where the Xbox 360 was the most successful (it eventually recovered very impressively other regions though) but Konami missed an opportunity to broaden the sales on other platforms and this was a huge thing for them, there were rumours Konami executives wanted Kojima to port MGS4 to Xbox 360 but that never happened. (more…)

E3 2015 Predictions!

E3-2013

Cross-referenced and updated with my 2015 overall predictions, 5 months in things change so if there are any anomalies put it down to time changing my thought process.

These announcements might not necessarily be directly in the conference, there could be pre/post-show stuff too but this stuff will be announced for E3 time if not at the event, the number in square brackets is for me to score each bullet points once the show is over to see how many I got right:

Microsoft:

  • Fable Legends = Summer release for open beta [1]
  • No Xbox One Slim but new platform branding (logo, marketing guff) [2]
  • New controller with share button, built-in microphone for voice commands, headset port announced for summer release [2]
  • Rare announce 30th Anniversary celebration collection and Battletoads (2015, cross-play/buy with PC) [3]
  • New Banjo-Kazooie announced [1]
  • Quantum Break gameplay demo “early 2016”, Scalebound gameplay = Spring 2016 [2]
  • Alan Wake Remastered announced [2]
  • Halo 5 Guardians gets a second BTB beta and Halo Reach port for MCC, Limited Edition console announced [3]
  • Gears of War Remastered announced for Xbox One/PC for November with cross-play and Gears of War 4 teaser with small gameplay demo (for Xbox One only) [4]
  • Joe Montana NFL Football 16 announced for late July release date with console bundle, does have the NFL license [3]
  • New IPs announced from Press Play and Twisted Pixel [2]
  • Decisive Games announce their strategy game for PC/Xbox One, cross-play/buy for 2016 release [2]
  • Short Hololens section teasing a game in development [1]
  • OS/platform section showing Windows 10 on Xbox One with new platform features and unified store [1]
  • Games with gold announced for July as Tomb Raider Definitive Edition or Ryse, two games a month moving forwards [2]
  • Big indie section featuring Below and other new titles, Summer of Arcade style promotion announced [2]
  • Gigantic = August (open beta launch), Forza Motorsport 6 and Rise of the Tomb Raider = September [3]
  • Minecraft cross-play between Xbox and PC versions, cross-buy on Windows 10 store, Xbox exclusive dedicated servers using azure, other exclusive content, Telltale’s Minecraft Story Mode revealed [4]
  • Two more IP revivals from the OG Xbox catalogue [1]
  • Killer instinct Season 3, State of Decay Year 2 (sequel with co-op) announced [1]
  • More digital only first-party download games announced [1]
  • First-party MOBA announced [1]
  • New AAA IP announced for 2016 from a new development partner [2]
  • Popular/upcoming free-to-play MOBA and FPS announced for Xbox One from new partners with Windows 10 cross-play [2]
  • Third-party exclusive announced for 2016 [1]
  • New smaller and thinner set-top box style Xbox 360 announced, $99 [1]

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Black Friday: The publisher rush to meet the holiday deadline

When a decent number of titles get moved back to the last week before Black Friday in America its starts a ringing noise in my ears that publishers are determined to make that date whatever happens to ensure they get their sales without putting into consideration whether the game is actually fit to make that date. Battlefield 4 last year springs to mind immediately but this year we’ve seen a lot more of titles delayed to just before.

This week and next week in the retail gaming space is packed with this choice of big names titles: Halo The Master Chief Collection, Assassins Creed Unity/Rogue, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, Sonic Boom, Dragon Age Inquisition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto V, LittleBigPlanet 3, WWE 2K15 (XB1/PS4), Shadow of Mordor (360/PS3), Watch Dogs (WiiU) – there are many others too both in for retail release and store only games but this sufficiently covers my list of games for my point without going overboard.

To add to the conspiracy theory element I’d also like to point out when review embargoes are lifting on a few of the titles. Earlier in the year we saw review copies go out the day before it shipped, Destiny was then reviewed and given barely above average scores by a lot of the bigger name websites, on the other hand titles like Forza Horizon 2, Shadow of Mordor and Sunset Overdrive lifted the lid on earlier before launch and also gave reviewers lots of playtime to form their opinion and got a great critical reception. You could argue Bungie’s point of wanting reviewers to experience the game with everyone else to give a better idea of what the conditions were like when it was released but I’ll say: that’s a big ol’ pile of rubbish, they knew what was coming with the criticisms they got.

Fast forward to today and Dragon Age Inquisitions review embargo ended a full week before launch and it got great reviews and looks a shoe-in for Game of the Year awards to me, contrast that to Assassins Creed Unity which launched today and 4pm (UK time) on launch day the reviews are still embargoed for another hour. It doesn’t exactly suggest that Ubisoft have a lot of confidence in their title for one reason or another and we can see users are reporting some big frame rate issues with the title and if you dive further into the thread you’ll see this nugget from a reporter at Joystiq.

It doesn’t sound particularly promising.

Looking at the titles above, Dragon Age Inquisition, Assassins Creed Unity, WWE 2K15, Shadow of Mordor were all due to be released earlier and pushed back to that date, its unclear if GTAV was ever delayed because they didn’t announce the release date until early September and games like LBP3, Halo MCC and Far Cry 4 were announced for those dates when they were given their initial release dates.

Of those, some Halo MCC users have reported issues with matchmaking and other technical bugs which are a huge shame for such an anticipated game, from what I can say in my experience is that when I played it last night it didn’t run wholly smoothly for all of it but I’d say 90% of the time it was fine and I wonder if the issue was partly due to it not being fully released worldwide by that point and there was a low player count combined with some services not being turned on. Digital Foundry made an article of the technical issues that Halo MCC suffers from, perhaps it should have had a bit more time in the oven to fix these problems which do seem particularly disappointing.

It could be that publishers feel they can give developers the extra time to get a game just right such as could be the case with several of these titles, I’m not saying that all these games will have big issues etc, I just think that if it were any other time of the year, a lot of these games would be pushed back further than the week before Black Friday – the biggest shopping week of the year in America and it seems incredibly obvious why its still that date.

I have a lot of respect for the titles that delayed completely out of 2014, The Witcher 3, Evolve and The Order 1886 now ship in February, Project CARS and Battlefield Hardline (although the fact that they ever had a 2014 release date for BFH after the Battlefield 4 issues seems like they were still trying to push their luck) hits in March and Batman Arkham Knight releases all the way in June. Giving titles that extra time to bake in the oven is important in this consumer driven and socially connected industry because I don’t think releasing titles are unpolished, buggy and broken is a particularly good idea both for your brand or consumer enjoyment, the above tweet about greed and systemic management failure seems is something I think publishers need to have more common sense about.

I can completely understand and sympathise with not wanting to miss the big holiday season but if a game needs more time, it needs more time and with a lot of games having more robust online features and being larger in scope generally than games probably ever have been before publishers are doing themselves a disservice by not letting the developers get it right because I think generally publishers aren’t the ones that suffer the backlash for these issues from fans.

It will be interesting how the titles launch over the next week are critically and commercially received as well as user opinions on them and with that how the titles delayed into 2015 end up as well. That being said, this perfect world of delays improving titles doesn’t always work out looking at something like the launch of Driveclub where it was delayed for 11 months and still had massive (and ridiculous) online problems for weeks after launch, culminating in the delay of the PS+ version indefinitely perhaps this mystical world where delays mean everything works out isn’t always the case.

The fact that The Crew is still currently just about hanging on for  2014 release date in December is something I quite amusing, originally due in summer 2014 when it was announced, it was moved to the same Black Friday week slot as others above and now is set for December, considering user reactions to the public beta seem to be fairly middling if they can delay it a bit longer and work towards a better launch that would surely benefit everyone?

Coming soon: Holiday 2014 Xbox One downloadable games

Whilst there are plenty of games planned for release on all platforms this holiday here’s a small selection of the ones for Xbox One that are coming up soon:

 

Ori and the Blind Forest

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Moon Studios incredible looking “metroidvania” platform adventure game is due for release sometime this holiday where you play as Ori, a white guardian spirit who has his mother taken from him the game is the story and his new friend Sein and their quest through the Blind Forest. Extended gameplay video from IGN at Gamescom 2014:

Developer: Moon Studios – Publisher: Microsoft Studios – Release date: Holiday 2014 (2015 for Xbox 360) – Platforms: Xbox One, PC, Xbox 360 – Official website

Styx: Master of Shadows

Styx

Styx: Master of Shadows is an infiltration game with RPG elements from Cyanide Studio and Focus Home Interactive due out next week on next-generation consoles and PC. Styx is a two century old master thief who is intent on getting to the top of the Tower of Akenash, relying on stealth who wants to get to the top and with that gain the power and riches that go with it, it seems like there is a story of discovery for Styx as well as he learns about his true origins whilst on this heist.  Styx looks like it has some interesting gameplay mechanics to go with using the shadows to sneak around and thats really why im interested in it.

Here is a 15 minute gameplay video from E3 2014 to see more:

Developer: Cyanide Games – Publisher: Focus Home – Release date: October 7th – Price: $29.99/£24.99 – Platforms: Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC – Official website

Spectra 8 Bit Racer

SpectraScreenshot05

Spectra is a fast paced retro style racing game with a distinctive art style. Featuring 10 unique music tracks procedural levels are generated you must navigate around obstacles and collect points whilst trying to avoid following off the track, a simple premise but one that looks fun and as you get further along the levels the gameplay speeds up to become more frantic requiring more skill to complete. The game is in certification with the XBox team (Via Gateway Interactive’s twitter feed) so hopefully should be out soon.

Gameplay trailer:

Developer: Gateway Interactive – Self-published via ID@Xbox – Release date: Coming soon – Platforms: Xbox One (also Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8) – Official website

How to Survive Storm Warning Edition

How-to-Survive-Storm-Warning-Edition-reroFollowing the release for last-gen consoles and PC last year How to Survive makes it way to next-gen in the Storm Warning Edition featuring all the DLC. How To Survive is an isometric zombie survival adventure with two player co-op with your character ending up shipwrecked on an island you must collect the page of the survival guide and find key items such as food, water and shelter to help you survive (!) whilst you try to figure out what’s going on. There are over 100 handmade weapons and tools, 3 characters to choose from with different characteristics and a skill tree to level your characters and adapt to your new surroundings, it also features an interesting sounding challenging mode as well to play with a friend. EKO said via twitter that they are working on certification with Microsoft and Sony so hopefully it should be out soon.

Here’s a short gameplay trailer

Developer: EKO Entertainment – Publisher: 505 Games – Release date: Coming soon – Platforms: Xbox One, Playstation 4 – Official website

Project Totem

TOTEMs

Press Play makers of 2013 platform adventure Max The Curse of Brotherhood announced a side project earlier this year in Project Totem, a puzzle game where you “control two pieces of a totem pole at the same time with the same input, the challenge, the two are not always on the same path!” With couch co-op available too it looks like an interesting game and one that will probably frustrate me considerably but it looks very fun and charming and will tide me over until Press Play’s next major game due for announcement next year.

Comic- Con 2014 gameplay and interview via Gamespot

Developer: Press Play – Publisher: Microsoft Studios – Release date: Holiday 2014 – Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360 – Official website

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

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The newest entry in the incredible Geometry Wars series resurrected by Activision as part of their new Sierra branding will be released this holiday period on all major platforms. Some big changes are 3D levels, bosses and a host of multiplayer modes which will be interesting to see how they affect the tried and true Geometry Wars formula perfected with Retro Evolved 2 on XBLA.

Gameplay trailer from PAX Prime:

Developer: Lucid Games – Publisher: Sierra – Release date: Holiday 2014 – Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, PC – Official website

Never Alone

never alone

Never Alone is an atmospheric puzzle platformer (for one or two players) built in partnership with the Alaskan Native Community which delves deeply into the traditional lore of the Iñupiat people of the Arctic. You play as either the girl or the fox to complete puzzles using both characters unique skills and abilities across Arctic environments in a game I never thought I would see. The E3 trailer shows a bit about the game and how it looks, it’s coming on 18th November for $14.99 (around £12 or slightly under depending on how generous each platform holder is with exchange rates) and tells the story of Kunuuksaayuka as told by a master Iñupiat storyteller in the spoken Iñupiaq language. It looks fun and I hope to see more before release, I love the idea of the setting though, quite interesting.

Developer: Upper One Games – Self-published via ID@Xbox – Release date: November 18th – Price: $14.99 – Platforms: Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC – Official website

#IDARB

idarb

“#IDARB is a chaotic 8-player eSport jumping jetpack future arena ball game that is as inspired by Bomberman and Smash Bros. as it is by cans of soda, paint-by-number books, and driving five miles faster than the speed limit.”

I didn’t think I could give a better description of #IDARB than the one given on the website, its multiplayer mayhem, looks fun with friends and its good to see Other Ocean developing the game with the community. Its recently gone into certification so will hopefully be out soon.

Gamespot did a very long gameplay video of it which has plenty to show off the game

Developer: Other Ocean Inc – Self-published via ID@Xbox – Release date: Coming soon – Platforms: Xbox One, PC – Official website

 

Castlestorm Definitive Edition impressions

 

CastleStorm_PS4_03

Castlestorm is an action-strategy game in which you defend your castle, crush the enemy and destroy their castle (or take their flag). Your best friend in Castlestorm is your ballista to fire weapons (such as spears, bombs and rocks etc) to destroy the opposition castle and their army together, it plays like a more hands on tower-defence game, with only 1 tower (well, castle…) which is customisable before you go to into battle. You can go up close to the action and fight as a Hero on the ground to knock back the enemies as well as playing the side missions or other modes which let you take out enemies using arrows, swords or flying axes. The Definitive Edition includes the original Castlestorm (released on Xbox 360, PS3, PSVita, WiiU and PC) along with all the downloadable content and some new content such as battles, modes, spells and other features, it has also been upgraded to run at 1080p and 60fps on the next-generation consoles. With all this content there is also some multiplayer modes – versus, survival and hero survival for both local and online multiplayer which are pretty cool as well.

CastleStorm_DE_Meteor

I go through phases with tower defence games of playing them a lot (Kingdom Rush being my current favourite) and while it’s not strictly a tower defence game its a nice variation. The basic idea is to protect your castle and your flag, having your castle destroyed (via the enemy ballista) or the flag captured by enemy soldiers and then returned to the enemies camp or castle – it varies on the level, will result in defeat. At the same time capturing the enemy flag or destroying their castle will gain victory, or surviving all the enemy waves as not all the levels are the same. It’s fairly simple but fun, multitasking in battle between fighting the oncoming soldiers and protecting yourself from the oncoming ballista provides a good challenge as the difficulty heats up and as your castle crumbles you lose the ability to train solders from rooms that have been destroyed and so on. Killing multiple enemies with the ballista quickly will result in a kill streak which can get you a nice bonus of being able to rapidly fire your projectiles without having to wait for them to cool down and brings in more gold too, helpful for bringing down the enemy castle.

CastleStorm_DE_HeroThere is an editor where you can customise what castle, what it looks like and more importantly what it has in it, this affects what soldiers you can call upon (only 5 slots allowed), what bonuses you gain from specific rooms such as extra gold, soldiers allowed at one time and produce food quicker to buy soldiers with among others, building a secure castle but still filled to the brim with rooms is the key to victory and using the editor is quite fun to build your castle too, there also some preset castles if you’d rather just get on with playing. All of your available equipment (rooms, soldiers, spells etc) can be upgraded using gold earned in battle to make your life easier when attempting to destroy Vikings, bring down flying turkeys or vanquish trolls, there are lots of different items to unlock and upgrade so there’s always plenty of choice available if you want to mix things up or find a more powerful weapon.

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When fighting castle to castle I found I mainly focused on using my ballista, blowing up the opposition castle with bombs and rocks then using spears to bring down the oncoming troops which come in waves and get stronger the further into the level you get. The computer  (during the campaign) focuses on using troops more often to try to break down my castle gate and steal your flag instead of using the sort of firepower I have to attack my castle. Theres a big choice of enemy types which all vary in levels – beserkers, boars dire wolves, trolls, dragons and more, which are different levels and fun to kill with headsets of my spear or other weapons.

CastleStorm_PS4_01The campaign has a light story to go with it and set-up the different levels which doesn’t add much to the game overall if I were to be completely honest but its serviceable and light-hearted. I liked the cartoony art style is simple but looks very nice in 1080p/60fps and I didn’t notice any slow down on the frame rate even when there was a lot of activity on-screen. Zen Studios have added 46 achievements (for the Xbox One version) which range in difficulty, I don’t fancy completing some of the levels on hard to get them all though but its nice that they have put some effort into them and you can unlock plenty as you go through the levels without performing doing anything specific – a challenge for later on.

The game boasts several modes along with the campaign including skirmish, survival and hero survival which are fun to play if you just want to relax and rack up some high scores and as I said earlier you can take survival, hero survival and versus online to play with friends or in ranked matches which is fun too (especially if you win) as well as having three difficulty modes – casual/normal/hard. At the end of each level you get stars out of 5, with 2 for accuracy, 2 for difficulty and 1 for a bonus objective which can range from anything between a certain amount of headsets, completion within a specific time, an amount of gold earned etc which is something to watch out for too if you want to unlock more levels and items.

As someone who hadn’t played Castlestorm before I found it to be a fun, light-hearted game that I could play in a quick blast or for longer periods if I had the time and there’s a ton of content to keep you busy with and having all the downloadable content from the original plus even more added means there literally is a ton of content – 4 campaigns plus the 3 other single player modes and local or online multiplayer which is nice to play with friends and protect your expertly built castle! I would certainly recommend Castlestorm if you like quirky tower defence like games (or action-strategy games), I’m not sure you’d get a lot of mileage out of it if you played the original release but for newcomers and big fans of the game I thought it was really good and a nice overall package for owners of the two new consoles.

A video of a couple of viking levels

 

 

Price: £11.99/€14.99/$14.99
Formats: Xbox One (played), Playstation 4
Developer: Zen Studios
Publisher: Self published
Official website

Stick it to the Man! impressions

Stick it to the Man! the psychic puzzle-adventure game from Zoink! Games and Ripstone made its way to Xbox One recently, a story about Ray a hard-hat tester who has an accident at work and gets a giant spaghetti hand coming out of his brain that no-one else can see and gives him the ability to read minds. Using this ability Ray has to complete puzzles by reading minds and giving people what they want in the way of stickers found from other people or places to progress. Whilst Ray is coming to terms with his new-found powers he is being chased by “The Man” and his agents to get the hand back so he can complete his dastardly plan.

Stick It To The Man_(9)

What stood out to me personally in the pre-release materials and when I started playing the game was the art style and graphics, the paper story boards style and stickers, I thought was really nice and something that set it apart from other games. Lots more games these days have interesting or different art styles if not necessarily unique but I thought this was quite interesting and with the consistent look throughout I thought it looked great.

As I mentioned above you need to read people’s minds, hear what they’re not saying and fulfil a need (e.g. love) or give them a physical item (e.g. can opener…!) and this leads to new stickers popping up which can help other people who are in need, the story is based around these puzzles as well as some platforming. The spaghetti hand coming out of Ray’s brain also gives him the ability to grab on to pins and get to places he wouldn’t otherwise be able to making traversal around the levels easier and there are sections containing agents where you need to find a way past them using different stickers, mind-reading and the hand to jump quickly to new places which is also fun and can be quite fast paced if the plan is to just outrun them.

Stick It To The Man_ (4)

There are 10 chapters in the game which are of reasonable length (depending on whether you want to do literally everything or not) and the achievements aren’t related to story progress so its possible to play the game and not get many achievements – thank god for chapter select(!), but are a good example of a developer trying to get the player to do more in the game and get more out of it to fully experience everything that’s been put into it which I think it’s a nice way of doing it.

Playing through the game itself I found to be fun and quite charming overall, reading people’s minds can be quite funny and thought the general gameplay of getting stickers to be enjoyable and rewarding. You can press X to see an overview of the level and all the places where there are interactions to help complete the level (shown in the screenshot below) which prevents it from getting frustrating and its rewarding seeing all these different question marks disappear as you go through the level. I also enjoyed the platforming, finding a way to evade agents is fun and you can try to just run through, or read their minds and manipulate them that way especially when more appear later in the game.

Stick it MapFrom a technical standpoint the game was pretty flawless, it ran really well with no hiccups except for one strange bug when pausing the game and changing scenes where the screen would just go black and not let me do anything, with the sound still going in the background. Fortunately there are plenty of checkpoints but there was one section where it kept sending me back to the start of the chapter which was a little frustrating, it wasn’t a regular occurrence though and might be something they are preparing a patch for.

I thought the story was quite fun and lighthearted as you’d expect and overall I enjoyed Stick it to The Man! There are lots of games out there that are a bit different – compared to the sorts of games I would usually play and I think it’s a fun game to relax with and enjoy, especially if you enjoy puzzle games.

Stick It To The Man_ (2)

If you haven’t experienced it on other platforms and you enjoy quirky puzzle games I think there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had, its a lot of fun with good writing and as previously mentioned I liked the graphical style, they’re not anything mind-blowing but Zoink are clearly a talented developer who knew exactly what they wanted to do with Stick it to the Man! and executed it very well. Making something fun and engaging but enjoyable is always a good thing and the game is priced appropriately as well if that will sway anyone that didn’t get the chance to check it out on PS4 via PS+ or other platforms.

 

Thanks to Michelle at Ripstone for providing me with a review code

Price: £6.39/€7.99/$9.99
Formats: Xbox One (played), Playstation 4, Playstation 3, PSVita, WiiU, Steam
Developer: Zoink! Games
Publisher: Ripstone Games
Official website

Stick It To The Man Logo

UK-based independent game publisher Ripstone and Swedish-based independent developer Zoink! Games recently released Stick it to the Man on Xbox One via ID@Xbox following the critically acclaimed release on PS3/4/Vita/WiiU and Steam earlier this year,is about Ray, a hard hat tester who has a bizarre accident at work, here is the synopsis from the developer:

“Ray has a bizarre accident and wakes up with a giant pink spaghetti arm sticking out of his brain! With his awesome new powers he can read minds and change the world with stickers but soon enough he finds himself on the run for a crime he didn’t commit. Can you help Ray out of this sticky situation?” (Via Stickitgame.com)

Stick It To The Man_(3)

I will releasing my review of the title sometime this week.

Stick it to the Man is available via Xbox.com and the Xbox Games Store on Xbox One priced at £6.39/€7.99/$9.99

Xbox One launch trailer and images

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition impressions

Super Turbo Championship Edition! A super name for a super game, Drinkbox Studio’s Mexican-themed Metroidvania about a guy called Juan, his quest to become a luchodor and save the Princess, a captive of the antagonist Calaca who plans to use her as a sacrifice as part of his evil plan.screenshot_A The game is both bright and dark, deep and full of well executed mechanics that show this off to be a labour of love for Drinkbox, not a simple game by any means and one I found to give a reasonable challenge which is finely tuned and incredibly polished in every aspect. As I proceeded through the game I was surprised at just how much my progression changed my traversal of the places I was familiar with from the beginning of the game. On your quest to find Calaca and save the princess you gain many new abilities; special attacks like an upwards/sidewards swipe, a heavy drop attack, double jump and more that I won’t spoil which add a lot to the game and how you move around. At every stage through Guacamelee each new ability something extra to how you play; opening more combat choice when tackling enemies, routes to go through levels, the ability to get treasure which was inaccessible and complete side-missions. There is a lot of treasure to find around the villages of Mexico, my final completion level (when I had finished the story was at 57% in almost 11 hours) but luckily you can go back and get the stuff you missed after completing the game which is a task for a rainy day. screenshot_E As I said when I called Guacamelee “bright and dark”, the art style on the living world is bright and lively with a wonderful direction to it and lots of detail. When you go into the “dead world” it becomes similarly (and deliberately) lifeless to show the contrasts between the two realms which Calaca is trying to combine to become one. The gameplay focuses very much on the platforming and combat, as you progress the platforming becomes more about problem solving with your newly gained abilities to complete the puzzles in your path which need thought along with trial and error. Once you get certain abilities it’s incredibly satisfying to complete sections even if there might be a hint of frustration at times that comes with the trial and error of seeing what works and what doesn’t, a lot of the later platforming and puzzles need quick thinking and reflexes in your movement which is fun. As an example a few areas rely on Juan to get quite far across with seemingly no platforms in site but by using your abilities they make it possible, there are also some nice sections with things like razor gears which need incredibly precise jumping and sliding around to manoeuvre around and get to the next stage, trust me its more fun than it sounds. screenshot_I The combat is your standard beat-em-up affair with mashing of X or using combos with a handy moves list provided, heavy hits gained from the abilities mentioned above, throwing enemies and using the environment to advantage at times, it becomes deeper as you progress which will help with different enemies. At other times you have to do combos to enemy destroy shields so you can take health off of enemies and there is a decent variety of enemy types to keep you on your toes. There is a lot to do as I said in Guacamelee with collecting treasure giving you stamina and health upgrades, the INTENSO combat mode can be upgraded too so you can kick more dead Mexican themed baddies in the ass, not to mention the side missions – usually fetch-quests and killing enemies and grabbing treasure can give you money or silver coins used to buy upgrades and costumes in the store, some of the alternate costumes are very cool as well although I liked to play as vanilla Juan in my first play through. There is also a challenge room with 17 challenges to complete for medals which is tough but satisfying, I spent a long time on some getting gold medals and again the new abilities helped cut my times and make some of the levels a bit easier. screenshot_N With a game that offers a big package even outside of the story, aforementioned side-quests and treasure (luckily there is a quick travel between areas) map is useful in showing layout of the villages so if you want to go treasure hunting then its possible to do so without getting yourself lost, it seems like a basic thing but it’s implemented well and I appreciated it the annotations showing what was where. Once you have completed it on normal a hard more unlocks for those looking for an extra challenge (or more gamerscore!) too. Little bits in the game show off the humour of the game as well in the some of the posters around the villages “Super Lucho Force” and many others which are fun to see and some of the talking is quite funny as well which just fit in well with the rest of the game and its light-hearted approach to the peril that the villages of Mexico face. screenshot_P Super Turbo Championship Edition builds on the original PSVita/Playstation 3 release with a lot of new content to make it worthwhile for double dippers or people new to the game – the DLC released is included, two new areas – Canal of Flowers and Volcano, I thought the Volcano had some cool areas in it so that was certainly a welcome addition, new abilities, enemies, multiple save slots and a dual currency system to support permanent unlocks, it’s obviously a “definitive” edition of the game but with so much content packed in it completely justifies the price of $14.99/£11.99 although rather nicely it was available on Games With Gold for Xbox One and PS4 users in Europe could upgrade if they had previously purchased the game on PSVita or Playstation 3. It is a bit of a shame that the content hasn’t been made available to users on other platforms too but an upgrade for a new console at a low price is a nice gesture from Drinkbox. Like the original release too it has a local co-op mode which lets you plough through the game with a friend however its a shame it isn’t available online as I haven’t been able to check it out with only one controller however I think the game would be a lot of fun to go through with a friend. screenshot_K Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition is a great, humorous metroidvania which is fine tuned to perfection and filled with a ton of content. The game has clever puzzles, fun combat and platforming soaked in a vibrant art style and great setting, I had a lot of fun playing it and I became a big Drinkbox fan they’re obviously a very talented studio and I’m looking forward to seeing what else they make in the future – I’m definitely in if it has the same charisma and great execution of Guacamelee.

Thanks to Tom at Plan of Attack for providing me with a review code

Price: £11.19/$14.99 (Free in July for Xbox One Games with Gold)
Formats: Xbox One (played), Xbox 360, Playstation 4, WiiU (Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, PC – original release and DLC)
Developer: Drinkbox Studios
Publisher: Self-published (Activision on Xbox 360)
Official website

Another World – 20th Anniversary Edition impressions

Another World – 20th Anniversary Edition takes a classic game and gives it a lovely new coat of paint over the old one whilst keeping the gameplay in tact and touching up the sound as well with a remastered track. It reminds me of Prince of Persia Classic and Halo CE Anniversary with the re-done graphics but also the ability to change between the two styles at the press of the Y button.

hello

I thought the new graphics looked really nice, it kept the original style in-tact perfectly whilst giving it a modern look and I liked to compare some of the areas with the old style too, it’s a very nice way of doing it.

Another World is about a young physicist called Lester who goes to work late at night and long story short when trying to recreate what happened when the universe was born, he sent himself to an alien planet instead, as you do and the game is about him trying to escape off the planet.

Its style being 20 years old shows through in that its an action-adventure platformer that’s quite difficult, you have to hit jumps perfectly, shoot multiple enemies and run away from things and this must be executed perfectly or you’ll die, there are three difficulty modes (easy/medium/hard) which adjust things a bit if you find the game too difficult. I did it on medium in my play through but I did use the Xbox One d-pad after a while because it was easier to control the character with.

Garnison

In this version there are a many checkpoints, presumably so that people don’t give up as I found if I failed something once then I would do so multiple times and if it put me back a long way I think that would have been very frustrating, but thankfully they’re regular and loading is pretty much instantaneous.

The game itself I enjoyed a lot, it’s not a long game specifically but finding everything, the trial and error and completing the game in your first go should still take a while (or it did for me anyway) as you work out where everything is and how you do it. I had a look on Youtube and saw a few speed run videos so if you’re into that sort of thing it’s definitely one to keep coming back to (the quickest one I found was just over 8 minutes I think).

I thought the gameplay had aged really well over time even though the character and controls were a little stiff but it is 20 years old and I didn’t find that off-putting at all, I found I got used to it very quickly and the controls were simple.

Friend

As someone playing through Another World for the first time I enjoyed my experience, it looks really nice and modern in this edition which shows the effort put in to updating the game but not changed the experience and all the old graphics and sound are still there if you want to use that instead. Its aged well and plays nicely which is the most important thing and tells a nice tale too which I won’t spoil.Bridge

For the price of $7.99/£6.39 I think Another World – 20th Anniversary Edition is good value especially if you like older titles and haven’t played it before, my advice is not to give up if you get stuck as I did though, it has a very rewarding feeling when you move forwards in the game. As a side note the achievements are pretty easy on Xbox One as well.

Thanks to Abrial at The Digital Lounge for providing me with a review code

Xbox.com store link – £6.39/$7.99
Formats: Xbox One (played), PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Martial Hesse-Dreville (20th Anniversary Edition), Eric Chahi (Original)
Publisher: The Digital Lounge
Official website