Monday, February 29, 2016
You can get Braid at http://braid-game.com/
A puzzle platformer with gorgeous art and a beautiful soundtrack. Your main tool is the ability to rewind time, and several related mechanics are introduced over the course of the game. The various ways they interact force you to stretch your brain through a series of unbelievably clever puzzles, one or two of which will have you reaching for YouTube to understand what must be done. There is no shame in this. The story is ambiguous and usually disconnected from the gameplay - but when they do connect, the emotional punch is quite strong.
Friday, February 26, 2016
Monday, February 22, 2016
You can get rain at https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/rain-ps3/
rain wants to be atmospheric and moody, and sometimes - briefly - it is. Other times the game supplies unnecessary text narration telling you how to feel. The puzzle platforming nearly always boils down to finding the shiny piece of the environment and hitting the interact button, with the only added complexity being time pressure via instant-death enemies. Mechanics are introduced and then ignored instead of being explored and combined to create interesting situations. Bizarrely, the level design features many pointless dead-ends - until you beat the game once, and can then return to those dead-ends to find collectibles that ostensibly add context to the game's story, but don't really clarify anything and leave things just as vague and contradictory as before. It's an uninteresting way to lengthen the few hours of gameplay. (I mean, do you really want to explore the world again, after effectively being punished for it the first time? You do if you want all the trophies!) Still, the premise is cool, the aesthetics are consistent and enjoyable, and the soundtrack is pretty great.
Friday, February 19, 2016
Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald
You can get Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald at http://store.steampowered.com/app/409160/
Monday, February 15, 2016
You can get HuniePop at http://www.huniepot.com/
HuniePop is a match-3 dating sim, because why the hell not. The match-3 gameplay is surprisingly deep and compelling, while the dating sim mechanics are serviceable at best and feel rote and shallow by comparison. Their interactions cause some unfortunate implications, such as it being mechanically to your advantage to stop dating a girl once you've slept with her. The art is decent, the writing and voice acting give the girls distinct (if one-dimensional) personalities and the soundtrack is entirely forgettable.
Friday, February 12, 2016
Monday, February 8, 2016
A Bird Story
You can get A Bird Story at http://freebirdgames.com/games/a-bird-story/
A Bird Story is a well told and emotionally engaging short (an hour or so) story about a boy and a bird, wrapped in the language and logic of dreams and memories (and told with no dialog). But the sections where the player has control present such limited options and are over so quickly, it's not often clear why the game bothers with them at all - this might have been better served as a non-interactive experience.
Friday, February 5, 2016
Rock Band 4's character creator is... surprising.
Footage from Rock Band, Rock Band 2, Rock Band 3, and Rock Band 4.
Royalty Free Music from Bensound
Monday, February 1, 2016
To The Moon
You can get To The Moon at http://freebirdgames.com/to_the_moon/
To the Moon is an interactive story wrapped in the style and presentation of a SNES RPG. For folks with the right nostalgia, this is a very effective format and I personally would love to see more like it. The premise is compelling - you play as a pair of technicians who can rewrite the memories of the dying to grant them their life's wish. The characterization and aesthetic are quite strong and the writing treats the player with a lot of respect. The central mystery is answered fairly explicitly, but there are a lot of related questions and hints that do fit together and make sense but which the player is left to connect on their own.