Monday, August 29, 2016

CAPSULE REVIEW: Dragon's Crown


Dragon's Crown
Capsule Review!

See also the And in the game? comic.

You can get Dragon's Crown at https://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Crown-Playstation-3/dp/B007V9QKH0

Transcript:
Dragon's Crown is a 2.5D brawler with action RPG elements. You can play alone or via couch co-op, but the game is obviously tuned to favor online co-op - there are six different classes with varying specializations and it's valuable to have multiple archetypes present, but there's also a lot of very slow inventory and skill point management that only one local player can do at a time. You can round out your party with AI-controlled members, but they're mediocre and require their own fiddly management between dungeon runs. There isn't much depth to the story, characters, or world, but the art is distinctive and gorgeous. Although the 2D art in a 3D space presents some positioning problems, the combat mechanics are otherwise extremely well-tuned, and the boss fights in particular are varied and engaging. That's good, because you'll be seeing them over and over - there aren't that many dungeons, and you've got to grind through them repeatedly to progress. The experience has much more longevity when played with friends.

Monday, August 22, 2016

CAPSULE REVIEW: TowerFall Ascension


TowerFall Ascension
Capsule Review!

Why you don't want an online mode in TowerFall

You can get TowerFall Ascension at http://www.towerfall-game.com/

Transcript:
TowerFall Ascension is a fast-paced, very precise 2D arena fighter based on shooting arrows and head-stomping. A few simple moves are combined to create a lot of strategic depth and a high skill ceiling. There are also a ton of modifiers and modes available for varied gameplay, such as giving everyone bomb arrows or even taking arrows away completely, and there's a co-op campaign as well that pits you against a variety of enemy types. The game is perfectly balanced, since all characters play identically, though this also means you can't pick a character to get good at and there aren't varied matchups. It feels good to play and especially to pull off skilled moves, but it's hard to enjoy alone, with single-player serving really only to practice the skills you'll then use in multiplayer, so it's worth noting that there's no online play, though there are good reasons - see Why you don't want an online mode in TowerFall.

Monday, August 15, 2016

CAPSULE REVIEW: Catherine


Catherine
Capsule Review!

You can get Catherine at https://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Playstation-3/dp/B004P7VGF2

Transcript:
Catherine is a game about a man going through a quarter-life crisis and, essentially, choosing between two women who represent commitment and freedom respectively. Gameplay alternates between the player character's nightmares, which are experienced as block-sliding climbing puzzles, and his waking life, experienced as adventure game-like sections with dialog and time-management choices and a pretty cool texting mechanic where you pick the mood of each sentence to send. The story features themes of maturity, fidelity, conformity, the need to move on and the fear of doing so. The game's atmosphere and visual design are great, but a lot of the rest of it feels clumsy. The middle of the story drags with the plot remaining static until you've climbed through enough levels. The implementation of the karma meter means choices matter both too much and too little, since you can't really change how most of the events play out, but you can easily be locked into endings that may have nothing to do with how you were trying to steer the story. Most frustratingly, the game doesn't end up having much of anything to say about the grown-up issues it raises - the endings tend to be wacky deus ex machinas that prevent the characters from having to deal with the consequences of their prior behavior. All in all, it feels like a missed opportunity and I would like to see a better attempt.

Monday, August 8, 2016

CAPSULE REVIEW: Broforce

Broforce
Capsule Review!

You can get Broforce at http://www.broforcegame.com/

Transcript:
Broforce is an over-the-top 2D pixel art shoot 'em up that affectionately parodies action movies and the war on terror. It's very chaotic, with terrain that can be destroyed by gunfire and explosives lying around that can result in screen-clearing chains of explosions at the drop of a hat. A single stray bullet can kill you, which is mostly okay as this just means you switch to the next randomly-selected bro, which adds enjoyably to the chaos since the bros are fun and varied and it's entertaining to figure out how to be effective with each bro's particular power set. The problem is that you have limited lives, and it can be frustrating to have to replay a level because of the game's unpredictable destruction or because you got stuck with a very limited bro who just wasn't useful for the situation. Regardless, the game is best enjoyed with a friend so you can laugh at the chaos and silliness together.