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Found 17 results

  1. The folks at Lizardcube release their side-scrolling action-platformer Wonder Boy today. The vibrant, dream-like game follows the either Hu-Man or Hu-Girl as he/she ventures into Monster Land in search of the dragon's room. Unfortunately for our hero, the room isn't without its traps. The dragon curses Wonder Boy, dooming him to live in various animal-human forms. The trailer shows these forms in action: Lizard-Man, Mouse-Man, Lion-Man, Piranha-Man, and Hawk-Man. Each one has different advantages, like a fire breath attack as Lizard-Man or the ability to fly as Hawk-Man. Players will need to master each form in order to recover the Salamander Cross and remove the curse for good. As a nice added bonus, players can switch back and forth from the modern, hand-animated style or a retro 8-bit aesthetic. These changes can be made on the fly and even extend to the audio and sound effects. Wonder Boy is an old Sega franchise that had some of the strangest numbering and naming conventions, even by gaming standards. The series goes Wonder Boy, Wonder Boy: Monster Land, Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, Wonder Boy V: Monster World III, and Monster World IV. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is a modern reimagining of the 1989 Sega Master System title Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap for modern consoles and possibly an attempt to revive the dormant Wonder Boy IP for a new era. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch
  2. The folks at Lizardcube release their side-scrolling action-platformer Wonder Boy today. The vibrant, dream-like game follows the either Hu-Man or Hu-Girl as he/she ventures into Monster Land in search of the dragon's room. Unfortunately for our hero, the room isn't without its traps. The dragon curses Wonder Boy, dooming him to live in various animal-human forms. The trailer shows these forms in action: Lizard-Man, Mouse-Man, Lion-Man, Piranha-Man, and Hawk-Man. Each one has different advantages, like a fire breath attack as Lizard-Man or the ability to fly as Hawk-Man. Players will need to master each form in order to recover the Salamander Cross and remove the curse for good. As a nice added bonus, players can switch back and forth from the modern, hand-animated style or a retro 8-bit aesthetic. These changes can be made on the fly and even extend to the audio and sound effects. Wonder Boy is an old Sega franchise that had some of the strangest numbering and naming conventions, even by gaming standards. The series goes Wonder Boy, Wonder Boy: Monster Land, Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, Wonder Boy V: Monster World III, and Monster World IV. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is a modern reimagining of the 1989 Sega Master System title Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap for modern consoles and possibly an attempt to revive the dormant Wonder Boy IP for a new era. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch View full article
  3. For those of you that aren’t old enough to remember, there was once a mysterious video game feature called “local co-op” that dominated every gaming system known to man (except PC). For a long while, family and friends could bond by sharing a couch and enjoying the finer aspects of jolly cooperation. Then the internet happened and it seemed like the ways of local co-op would be lost forever to the ravages of time. With the rise of internet co-op, precious few video games even bothered to include the option to play with a physically present friend. In the midst of local co-op’s Dark Age*, a beacon of hope signaled that some developers still revered the old ways. Frima Games’ Chariot champions local co-op, emphasizing teamwork and creative problem solving. In fact, if it has one major drawback it is that such an emphasis is placed on the local co-op that playing through Chariot in single-player can feel a bit hollow. Chariot was reviewed on PlayStation 4. Chariot is a platformer that relies on increasingly complex puzzles built into its levels. Creatively making use of deceptively simple mechanics is required to progress. Players can sling a rope to either side of the chariot with one button and pull it forward or let the line grow slack with two others. Combine the rope mechanics with jumping and that constitutes the core of the player’s puzzle-solving arsenal. To further complicate matters, these mechanics are applied in different ways depending on the various environments players will encounter. The introductory caves give players a great opportunity to grasp the basics, but each new area, like the frictionless ice caverns or the lava-filled magma grottos, present their own unique challenges. Each level is fairly open and allows for a great deal of exploration. Intrepid players will be rewarded with valuable loot as well as precious item blueprints. Blueprints allow a friendly skeleton merchant to create useful items and upgrades for the chariot. Certain blueprints, like the royal lantern upgrade, are required to make progress into other areas of Chariot. To find the most powerful items and rarest treasures, players will need to grab a friend to play by their side. Many will be impossible to obtain for solo players. Co-op is the soul of Chariot and it is only when playing co-op that the full potential of Chariot shines through. There is no online co-op option; players will need to be physically present with each other. While it is possible to complete the game alone, it will be less frustrating to tackle the core story with a friend. During my solo time with Chariot, there were numerous instances when I wished I had a co-op buddy to provide backup on some of the trickier platforming challenges. When I was playing co-op, everything seemed to fall into place and, while there were still a number of falls and slip ups, everyone seemed to have a great time. I have mixed feelings about Chariot’s enemies. Called Looters, the small pool of antagonists don’t constitute a direct threat to the player; they’re only interested in stealing treasure from the chariot. At worst they pose an annoying inconvenience. Each player has an attack that can be used to fend off the attackers, either a sword or a slingshot depending on the choice of character. The problem is that Looters almost feel obligatory, as if Frima felt they had to include enemies because a platformer needs them otherwise it isn’t a real platformer. I can see why they might want to include enemies as a way of amping up the tension in tricky areas and to make the two characters feel distinct. It would have been a bold decision, but I think Chariot would have benefitted from a complete lack of enemies. The combat itself isn’t thrilling or complicated; most situations where enemies appear can be solved by standing on the chariot and mashing the attack button. These instances felt forced and broke the sense of flow that I had derived from the Looter-less sections. It wasn’t a huge problem, but it was a source of irritation. On top of satisfying exploration and mechanics, Chariot tells a simple story about a princess who, along with her fiancée, seeks to inter her father’s remains in a royal sepulcher**. The problem is that her father’s ghost haunts the wheeled coffin, aka the titular chariot, and demands a more suitable resting place as well as a hoard of treasure worthy of his kingly station. Chariot does a number of really refreshing and interesting thing with its simple premise. It is a welcome change of pace to see a leading lady in a platformer. This is clearly important given that I had to spend five or six minutes explaining to my six-year-old nephew/co-op buddy that the main character was, in fact, a woman. That really shouldn’t have to be so alien a concept as to invite a child’s incredulity. Chariot also succeeds in being an amusing, if not laugh out loud, experience. The voice acting for the king is perfectly petulant and demanding and, while it can get grating after repeated platforming failures, generally left me with a smile on my face. I’m somewhat tempted to dig into an analysis of Chariot’s messages regarding death and acceptance, but that can wait for an article all its own. Suffice it to say that there are more complicated and interesting things going on beneath Chariot’s surface than its friendly and cheerful exterior would imply. Chariot’s aesthetic perfectly complements its content. Though the premise, to be perfectly blunt, is to find a place to bury the protagonist’s dead father, Chariot manages to sidestep how potentially disturbing that could be by implementing an aesthetic that feels friendly and inviting. Colors really pop and every environment feels distinct. It has a painted, fairy-tale feel, as if it was adapted from a children’s bedtime story. The layered score lulls players into a state of zen as they make progress and roll the chariot on toward the next sepulcher. For those of you that aren’t old enough to remember, there was once a mysterious video game feature called “local co-op” that dominated every gaming system known to man (except PC). For a long while, family and friends could bond by sharing a couch and enjoying the finer aspects of jolly cooperation. Then the internet happened and it seemed like the ways of local co-op would be lost forever to the ravages of time. With the rise of internet co-op, precious few video games even bothered to include the option to play with a physically present friend. In the midst of local co-op’s Dark Age*, a beacon of hope signaled that some developers still revered the old ways. Frima Games’ Chariot champions local co-op, emphasizing teamwork and creative problem solving. In fact, if it has one major drawback it is that such an emphasis is placed on the local co-op that playing through Chariot in single-player can feel a bit hollow. Conclusion: Chariot is a great indie title that is best enjoyed with a friend or on a date night with a significant other. It emphasizes teamwork and problem solving with a minimum of violence. It is a great game for kids and adults alike as the challenges require some brainpower, but not to a frustrating degree. It also raises some introductory themes that deal with death and could lead to interesting conversations with children old enough to tackle such issues. I’m always a fan of games that take relatively simple mechanics and use them in stimulating ways. Chariot does this exceedingly well. It is a lovingly crafted, beautiful platformer that can be appreciated by all ages. Chariot is currently available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It will be coming to PC at an as yet unannounced time. * Fun fact: I’m guilty of perpetuating a common misconception regarding the time period that people have frequently termed Europe’s Dark Age. In fact, it was not nearly as devoid of activity, learning, or progress as people tend to believe (see beginning of The Importance of the Middle Ages). Or, for those of you with less patience for academic writing, here is a Cracked article. ** Chariot deserves credit for teaching me that I have been mispronouncing ‘sepulcher’ for years.
  4. During E3 I had the pleasure of meeting with Martin Brouard from Frima Studios to discuss the indie platforming title Chariot. Afterward, I was able to go hands-on for nearly a half-hour. Spoiler: I couldn't stop smiling. --- Martin Brouard: I’m the Executive Producer for Chariot. It’s a platformer, a couch co-op platformer that’s coming out on Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, and PC this fall. Jack Gardner: Awesome! And we can see it right behind you there. From what I understand the general premise is that a king or emperor has died and you're taking him to his final resting place? MB: Right, you play as a princess and you are accompanied by your very trusty fiancé and before going on with your life, you have to, you know, put your dead father to rest in a really nice sepulcher. But the king is actually back as a ghost and the chariot that you are bringing around everywhere; it’s a coffin on wheels. The king is there and he keeps complaining that you are leaving treasure behind or that you cannot possibly think of burying him here because it is not a proper, kingly place. He always wants more treasure and more interesting places, so that’s how you progress through different levels. [There are] five different environments, 25 levels of exploration. And it is couch co-op so you play both characters. You can play solo, but it is really made for having fun with a friend at home. JG: What different mechanics can we expect to see out of Chariot? MB: The big difference between Chariot and other platformers that we know and love is that it’s a physics-based platformer with a chariot is at the center of it. You need the chariot because that’s what picks up all the loot; that’s what is at the center of the game. So, you’ll push it; you’ll pull it; you’ll use this rope mechanic to pull the chariot, to give some rope to your friend to dangle over a precipice. To try to jump into hard to reach areas. There is lots of exploration. You use the chariot to jump on it, to roll down slopes. [You will have] one special item that you choose for every level, one per character, you use these items to do special moves. There is an attractor, a repulsor, a peg so you can attach your rope to a little escalation peg. There’s something that slows down time and speed boots. By combining these items, one on each character, you can pull off some really fantastic moves and that’s where the fun is. JG: And there is no online co-op or just couch co-op? MB: It’s too… it just wouldn’t make sense for us. It’s really a game where you want to have fun with the person sitting next to you. And be arguing over, “We should be going over there,” “No! Let’s go over there. There is probably something hidden there,” “Alright, alright.” It just wouldn’t be the same over the internet. JG: What is your favorite part of Chariot? MB: My favorite part is definitely when you see some hard to reach area and you’re like, “Okay, we’ve got to get over there,” and you need to figure out a way, but there are different ways to achieve that. Sometimes you’ll try to pull out some really crazy move, and you will try and try again. When after fifteen minutes of trying you finally pull off that move, this is just so satisfying. High-fives all over the place and it is a great satisfaction. Also, the humor. Right now this is an alpha-build. It’s not finished. JG: Wow, that looks great for an alpha-build! MB: Thank you! But the voice overs aren’t implemented yet. There is a lot of humor coming from the king who is interacting with you. He is kinda acting as a chaperone, you know, his daughter with this guy. He’s there to keep an eye on you and make sure you don’t leave any loot on the table. JG: And collecting the loot is how you unlock the gadgets and get the different abilities? MB: You actually get the gadgets by finding the blueprints and special collectibles. Between every level you’ll be meeting with a merchant on the surface. He’s a skeleton dude, I don’t think he even realizes that he’s a skeleton, but he’s improving your stuff in exchange for your loot. For example, if you want to go to the lava levels, you’ll need to make sure that your chariot becomes fireproof. For that you’ll need to find blueprints that are hidden somewhere in the game, but then you also need to give the blueprints to the merchant along with some of your loot, which the king doesn’t like too much. When you part with the blueprint and [pay the merchant], he’ll upgrade the chariot and it will be able to float in lava. Same thing with the ice caverns and other levels. You can also improve your gadgets up to three levels. For example, the repulsor which is basically something that throws the chariot super hard with physics, when you are at level three it really shoots the chariot very far. So, if your friend is standing on it and then you’re shooting it, it’s pretty awesome. JG: Are there enemies in the game? So far I haven’t seen any. MB: Well, it’s not a fighting game, but there are enemies. They're called looters. They will not attack you. They will only attack the chariot, try to grab your loot, and run away with it. So your job is basically to dispatch them as quickly as possible or run away before they steal too much of your loot, because that’s also your score. The princess has a sword, so she’s a close-range character and the fiancé has a little slingshot so he is a ranged character. A lot of times, one player will try to get out while the other will defend, so that leads to some fun little combat scenes, but it’s not at the heart of the game. There are four different enemies. Some of them are even trying to steal the chariot! [laughs] JG: Is it an open-world, Metroid-style game? MB: No, no. The way it works is there are 25 different levels scattered over five different environments. These environments are unlocked when you upgrade the chariot, but there are different entrances and exits in certain levels that sometimes unlock speed runs you can complete for special rewards and leaderboards. JG: So how does that work, is there a hub where you access each level? MB: Yes, there is a map that is currently very placeholder, but every time you find an exit it opens up the path to a new level. Sometimes you find different exits in different levels. There is a lot of exploration there. JG: Well it looks incredible. I can’t wait to play it! MB: Thank you very much, you can play it right now! [laughs] --- And play it I did. Even in early alpha Chariot is almost overwhelmingly charming. The art design is great and does a great job conveying humor and lightheartedness even without dialogue. Levels are cleverly constructed to interact with the chariot and the players in interesting ways. For example, there are certain surfaces that will be solid for the player, but not the chariot and vice versa. The rope mechanics and physics feel statisfying and it feels really rewarding to overcome obstacles with a co-op partner. Recently there have been people expressing a desire for non-violent games to play with family or just as an alternative to the omni-present shooter genre. Though Brouard said that there were looters in Chariot, in nearly a half hour, I never saw a single one and still enjoyed myself immensely. I would feel very comfortable sitting down with my young nephews and playing this along with them. Brouard was right, Chariot can be played alone, but it is meant to embody cooperation and going it alone seems miss a bit of the magic that Chariot has to offer. Keep your eye on Chariot. It releases this fall on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, and PC.
  5. The Regular Show is on track to get its very first video game treatment, and from what we’ve seen, it doesn’t look half bad. Borrowing from classics like Super Mario Bros. 3, Contra, and R-Type, 8-bit Land features a unique blend of all three of the classic gameplay types. The 8-bit visual style even takes some of its cues from the classic titles and references can be found scattered throughout levels. Enemies will be made up of their adversaries from the show like The Hammer. Fans of the show should can rest easy, Regular Show series creator JG Quintel crafted the story and concept of 8-bit Land and was heavily involved in its development. The Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby In 8-bit Land will release sometime this fall for the 3DS and retail at around $29.95.
  6. Retro video game reviewer and content creator over at Cinemassacre.com James Rolfe (AKA The Angry Video Game Nerd) has accrued quite the following over the last few years. With over one million YouTube subscribers and his own website, he reviews old video games and movies, makes his own films, and works on various other projects like the Monster Madness month-long events. The Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN) show that he creates reviews retro games and features a lot of amusingly hyperbolic language and rage-filled tirades about crappy game design. (AVGN Disclaimer: The show makes use of a very colorful vocabulary. If you are offended by vulgar language, it isn’t recommended for you.) Today marked the Nerd’s entry into the arena of making games. The debut trailer for Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, which you can see below, makes it clear that it will be a sidescrolling shooter in the vein of classics like Mega Man, while retaining the show’s sense of impropriety and James’ trademark exaggerated frown. Not much is known about the title as of yet, but the screenshots released alongside the trailer seem to indicate that many of the levels will draw inspiration from a variety of classic 2D sidescrollers like Super Mario World and Castlevania. The game is currently slated for release on PC sometime this year. People who are partial to Steam, you can visit the title’s Greenlight page and vote for it to be released on Steam. For more information, you can visit the Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures Facebook page.
  7. Few games in the last few years exude as much charm as Save Me Mr. Tako, an indie PC title that uses a Game Boy aesthetic to tell the story of an octopus who doesn't want to fight. The tale of Mr. Tako was originally conceived by French indie developer Chris Deneos in 2014 as a way of honoring the 24th anniversary of the Game Boy. Since then, Deneos has fully committed to seeing the project through. As a pixel artist, Deneos really manages to create expressive and interesting visuals within the constraints of the chosen Game Boy style. The entire project has been constructed using Unity, which surprisingly manages to mimic the Game Boy visuals quite well. Fully titled Tasukete Tako-San: Save Me Mr. Tako, the platformer mashes together the spirit of the Kirby and Legend of Zelda franchises to weave a compelling world full of aquatic and land-based denizens and enemies. Players can absorb and use over fifty different powers from enemies as the titular Mr. Tako to help battle enemies and explore a large, non-linear world. The story of Save Me Mr. Tako centers around Mr. Tako, an octopus sent to fight humans in the great Octopus-Human War. One dark night, his unit attacks a human ship at sea. Mr. Tako doesn't want to fight humans and just wants peace. The octopi soldiers shove a woman into the sea to drown, but Mr. Tako dives in after her, saving her life. A sea fairy, seeing this act of bravery, gives Mr. Tako the ability to breathe outside of water in exchange for never hating another human. To bring an end to the war, Mr. Tako must brave the dangers of both the sea and land, and if that isn't the most adorable thing, I don't know what is. Deneos, working alone, is striving to add as much content to Save Me Mr. Tako as possible. The solo indie developer estimated earlier this year that the game was about half done, with over thirty levels, six towns, fifteen side-quests, and five hours of gameplay. The completed version of Save Me Mr. Tako will include the expected story mode alongside some form of multiplayer mode as well as a boss rush mode. Back in April he still hoped to finish work on Save Me Mr. Tako by the end of 2016, though that seems unlikely with about two weeks left in the year and no official release date announced. While the release date of Save Me Mr. Tako remains unknown, those who find the trailers and screenshots intriguing can download a free demo to see what the finished game will be like. The game is currently only on track for a PC release.
  8. Few games in the last few years exude as much charm as Save Me Mr. Tako, an indie PC title that uses a Game Boy aesthetic to tell the story of an octopus who doesn't want to fight. The tale of Mr. Tako was originally conceived by French indie developer Chris Deneos in 2014 as a way of honoring the 24th anniversary of the Game Boy. Since then, Deneos has fully committed to seeing the project through. As a pixel artist, Deneos really manages to create expressive and interesting visuals within the constraints of the chosen Game Boy style. The entire project has been constructed using Unity, which surprisingly manages to mimic the Game Boy visuals quite well. Fully titled Tasukete Tako-San: Save Me Mr. Tako, the platformer mashes together the spirit of the Kirby and Legend of Zelda franchises to weave a compelling world full of aquatic and land-based denizens and enemies. Players can absorb and use over fifty different powers from enemies as the titular Mr. Tako to help battle enemies and explore a large, non-linear world. The story of Save Me Mr. Tako centers around Mr. Tako, an octopus sent to fight humans in the great Octopus-Human War. One dark night, his unit attacks a human ship at sea. Mr. Tako doesn't want to fight humans and just wants peace. The octopi soldiers shove a woman into the sea to drown, but Mr. Tako dives in after her, saving her life. A sea fairy, seeing this act of bravery, gives Mr. Tako the ability to breathe outside of water in exchange for never hating another human. To bring an end to the war, Mr. Tako must brave the dangers of both the sea and land, and if that isn't the most adorable thing, I don't know what is. Deneos, working alone, is striving to add as much content to Save Me Mr. Tako as possible. The solo indie developer estimated earlier this year that the game was about half done, with over thirty levels, six towns, fifteen side-quests, and five hours of gameplay. The completed version of Save Me Mr. Tako will include the expected story mode alongside some form of multiplayer mode as well as a boss rush mode. Back in April he still hoped to finish work on Save Me Mr. Tako by the end of 2016, though that seems unlikely with about two weeks left in the year and no official release date announced. While the release date of Save Me Mr. Tako remains unknown, those who find the trailers and screenshots intriguing can download a free demo to see what the finished game will be like. The game is currently only on track for a PC release. View full article
  9. Back in 2008, developer DICE took a major risk on a game called Mirror's Edge. It tackled one of the most difficult genres, the first-person platformer. At the time, many in the gaming community considered platforming from a first-person perspective to be the bane of many games and the idea of constructing an entire game around that concept seemed ridiculous. Despite that, DICE pushed ahead and made their game a reality. It starred Faith Connors, a female protagonist of color, as a Runner, one of the few people able to travel outside of an oppressive government's near omni-present surveillance. Using Faith's parkour skills, players had to traverse environments that made use of a shocking, gorgeously clean aesthetic. It was at times clumsy and disorienting, but functional and it gained a major following. Does Mirror's Edge hold up eight years later? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. This episode contains some explicit language. Outro music: Mirror's Edge 'Clear Reflections' by Sir_NutS (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03003) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  10. Back in 2008, developer DICE took a major risk on a game called Mirror's Edge. It tackled one of the most difficult genres, the first-person platformer. At the time, many in the gaming community considered platforming from a first-person perspective to be the bane of many games and the idea of constructing an entire game around that concept seemed ridiculous. Despite that, DICE pushed ahead and made their game a reality. It starred Faith Connors, a female protagonist of color, as a Runner, one of the few people able to travel outside of an oppressive government's near omni-present surveillance. Using Faith's parkour skills, players had to traverse environments that made use of a shocking, gorgeously clean aesthetic. It was at times clumsy and disorienting, but functional and it gained a major following. Does Mirror's Edge hold up eight years later? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. This episode contains some explicit language. Outro music: Mirror's Edge 'Clear Reflections' by Sir_NutS (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03003) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  11. Back in 2008, developer DICE took a major risk on a game called Mirror's Edge. It tackled one of the most difficult genres, the first-person platformer. At the time, many in the gaming community considered platforming from a first-person perspective to be the bane of many games and the idea of constructing an entire game around that concept seemed ridiculous. Despite that, DICE pushed ahead and made their game a reality. It starred Faith Connors, a female protagonist of color, as a Runner, one of the few people able to travel outside of an oppressive government's near omni-present surveillance. Using Faith's parkour skills, players had to traverse environments that made use of a shocking, gorgeously clean aesthetic. It was at times clumsy and disorienting, but functional and it gained a major following. Does Mirror's Edge hold up eight years later? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. This episode contains some explicit language. Outro music: Mirror's Edge 'Clear Reflections' by Sir_NutS (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03003) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  12. If there’s one lesson that 10 years of singing, instrument-playing, and dancing have taught me, it’s that the show must go on. The number of people I’ve seen take “break a leg” beyond pure metaphor, and still soldier on, genuinely astounds me. No matter the error, no matter the number of botched notes, or missed steps, you power through a performance with all you can, for surely the alternative is always worse. For a game so wrapped up in the power of music, it’s odd to see Klang (developed by the one-man team at Tinimations and composed by EDM guru Jordan Aguirre AKA “bLiNd”) take so much of its ethos to heart, and yet stumble on that one key point. As the cybergoth-inspired rave warrior, you’ll fight and headbang your way towards defeating the evil Soundlord Sonos in a world absolutely soaked with neon and musical minutia. Levels, many of which feel like they’re ripped from the stages of your favorite rock venue, pulse with each distinctive track’s beat. Streetlamps shaped like clef notes hang above your head as you dash on by. Each track helps to define the rhythm of combat or exploration. Enemies gather around you to lob carefully synchronized attacks, while a directional meter lets you know when to strike it back. Giant soundwave attacks demand you either leap or slide your way to safety, and it all comes together in the game’s later stages to create a beautiful maelstrom of action. The music is, as advertised, an amazing and eclectic mix of hard-hitting EDM and more tranquil house music beats. BLiNd’s work might not be for everyone (to say nothing of the genre as a whole), but the marriage between Tinimations’ aesthetic and composer Jordan Aguirre’s infectious rhythms are undeniably beautiful. Rather than a simple backdrop, the soundtrack plays a vital role in determining movement during combat and exploration. The heady thud-thud-thud of a classic EDM beat, coupled with a damaging force field that blinks on and off of a wall, dictates how you must traverse upwards using a classic wall jump maneuver. Much like a music aficionado might use a song’s rhythm to guess what’s coming next (think the “drop” in nearly any EDM song), so must the player, learning to duck and leap away from the next attack, or avoid the deadly searchlights of stationary enemies. The problem begins (and for the most part, ends) with how Klang’s gameplay manages to detract from the success of this marriage. Even for fans of gaming’s most difficult genres and franchises (twitch shooters, Dark Souls), Klang is an astonishingly difficult, often frustrating experience. What issues Klang’s demo had could easily be chalked up to an unfamiliarity with the game’s mechanics, but spread out over the two to four hours of available content, those issues become omnipresent. Even on the game’s lowest difficulty, and employing a “reflex mode” that briefly slows down time when taking significant damage, Klang’s frantic action and occasional one-hit kills proved to be way too much to handle. While the game is great about putting you back in the action almost immediately, you’ll die so often that it won’t feel like it matters, putting you in the position of getting frustrated, and thus unable to concentrate, leading to more deaths. While taking on one of the game’s bosses, I found myself stuck between his constant attacks, a deadly pit of energy behind me, and a continuous gust of wind that threatened to push me into it. I had already gotten used to the mechanics of leaping and ducking to avoid massive soundwave attacks from this boss, but while the game does give you a fair bit of health, all it took was one mismanaged jump (while also deflecting regular attacks) for me to lose my momentum and get swept into the pit. If it’s not the pit, it will be one of the countless, twitchy “security cameras” you must run by without being spotted once for fear of being zapped. If it’s not the cameras, it might be the rapidly dissipating platforms that only solidify once you’ve executed one of 30 precarious jump-deflect combos. If it’s not any one of those things, it will be some combination. You will die. Incredibly often. And as beautiful as bLiNd’s music is, as much as I’m dying to listen to it all over again, you will grow so familiar with the first 10-20 seconds of each track that they begin to lose their luster. Klang almost certainly plays to the kind of gamer that enjoys a ludicrously demanding experience. Unfortunately, the game’s unforgiving nature will likely sour the experience for anyone who doesn’t seek out such a thing. One of the worst things a musician can do is stop their performance after making one, or even many, simple mistakes. Acknowledging and walking back on a commitment always seems less impressive than powering through an understandable, if human, error. You won’t find room for any error, much less human. Beyond the split-second reaction times, its level design is also occasionally flawed. During a boss battle that incorporated cones of vision (and one-hit deaths for being seen), three raised platforms above the boss’ head felt like indicators that aerial attacks wouldn’t work. This turned out to be completely false. Aerial attacks were the only method, but the level design, plus a rapidly shifting enemy cone of vision, plus an unforgiving checkpoint system quickly turned the battle into something as frustrating as it was inventive. Klang’s brilliant soundtrack and unique brand of action platforming would come across as a much more cohesive package if we were able to appreciate it at length and as a whole, rather than gritting our teeth and praying for a checkpoint. For those who do feel up to the challenge, beyond the normal difficulty setting, beating the game unlocks a “Nightcore” mode (maybe don’t Google that) that allows you to play at an even higher difficulty. Conclusion: Klang still carries a sincere sense of recommendation, if only based on its incredibly inventive style and incorporation of music. We don’t often get a game, indie or otherwise, that has the courage to tackle music with such ingenuity. Tinimations’ and bLiNd’s passion shows in every single beat, but their own concept gets too caught up in its own noodling to allow for lesser players to enjoy it to its fullest extent. Klang was reviewed on PC and is now available on Steam. View full article
  13. If there’s one lesson that 10 years of singing, instrument-playing, and dancing have taught me, it’s that the show must go on. The number of people I’ve seen take “break a leg” beyond pure metaphor, and still soldier on, genuinely astounds me. No matter the error, no matter the number of botched notes, or missed steps, you power through a performance with all you can, for surely the alternative is always worse. For a game so wrapped up in the power of music, it’s odd to see Klang (developed by the one-man team at Tinimations and composed by EDM guru Jordan Aguirre AKA “bLiNd”) take so much of its ethos to heart, and yet stumble on that one key point. As the cybergoth-inspired rave warrior, you’ll fight and headbang your way towards defeating the evil Soundlord Sonos in a world absolutely soaked with neon and musical minutia. Levels, many of which feel like they’re ripped from the stages of your favorite rock venue, pulse with each distinctive track’s beat. Streetlamps shaped like clef notes hang above your head as you dash on by. Each track helps to define the rhythm of combat or exploration. Enemies gather around you to lob carefully synchronized attacks, while a directional meter lets you know when to strike it back. Giant soundwave attacks demand you either leap or slide your way to safety, and it all comes together in the game’s later stages to create a beautiful maelstrom of action. The music is, as advertised, an amazing and eclectic mix of hard-hitting EDM and more tranquil house music beats. BLiNd’s work might not be for everyone (to say nothing of the genre as a whole), but the marriage between Tinimations’ aesthetic and composer Jordan Aguirre’s infectious rhythms are undeniably beautiful. Rather than a simple backdrop, the soundtrack plays a vital role in determining movement during combat and exploration. The heady thud-thud-thud of a classic EDM beat, coupled with a damaging force field that blinks on and off of a wall, dictates how you must traverse upwards using a classic wall jump maneuver. Much like a music aficionado might use a song’s rhythm to guess what’s coming next (think the “drop” in nearly any EDM song), so must the player, learning to duck and leap away from the next attack, or avoid the deadly searchlights of stationary enemies. The problem begins (and for the most part, ends) with how Klang’s gameplay manages to detract from the success of this marriage. Even for fans of gaming’s most difficult genres and franchises (twitch shooters, Dark Souls), Klang is an astonishingly difficult, often frustrating experience. What issues Klang’s demo had could easily be chalked up to an unfamiliarity with the game’s mechanics, but spread out over the two to four hours of available content, those issues become omnipresent. Even on the game’s lowest difficulty, and employing a “reflex mode” that briefly slows down time when taking significant damage, Klang’s frantic action and occasional one-hit kills proved to be way too much to handle. While the game is great about putting you back in the action almost immediately, you’ll die so often that it won’t feel like it matters, putting you in the position of getting frustrated, and thus unable to concentrate, leading to more deaths. While taking on one of the game’s bosses, I found myself stuck between his constant attacks, a deadly pit of energy behind me, and a continuous gust of wind that threatened to push me into it. I had already gotten used to the mechanics of leaping and ducking to avoid massive soundwave attacks from this boss, but while the game does give you a fair bit of health, all it took was one mismanaged jump (while also deflecting regular attacks) for me to lose my momentum and get swept into the pit. If it’s not the pit, it will be one of the countless, twitchy “security cameras” you must run by without being spotted once for fear of being zapped. If it’s not the cameras, it might be the rapidly dissipating platforms that only solidify once you’ve executed one of 30 precarious jump-deflect combos. If it’s not any one of those things, it will be some combination. You will die. Incredibly often. And as beautiful as bLiNd’s music is, as much as I’m dying to listen to it all over again, you will grow so familiar with the first 10-20 seconds of each track that they begin to lose their luster. Klang almost certainly plays to the kind of gamer that enjoys a ludicrously demanding experience. Unfortunately, the game’s unforgiving nature will likely sour the experience for anyone who doesn’t seek out such a thing. One of the worst things a musician can do is stop their performance after making one, or even many, simple mistakes. Acknowledging and walking back on a commitment always seems less impressive than powering through an understandable, if human, error. You won’t find room for any error, much less human. Beyond the split-second reaction times, its level design is also occasionally flawed. During a boss battle that incorporated cones of vision (and one-hit deaths for being seen), three raised platforms above the boss’ head felt like indicators that aerial attacks wouldn’t work. This turned out to be completely false. Aerial attacks were the only method, but the level design, plus a rapidly shifting enemy cone of vision, plus an unforgiving checkpoint system quickly turned the battle into something as frustrating as it was inventive. Klang’s brilliant soundtrack and unique brand of action platforming would come across as a much more cohesive package if we were able to appreciate it at length and as a whole, rather than gritting our teeth and praying for a checkpoint. For those who do feel up to the challenge, beyond the normal difficulty setting, beating the game unlocks a “Nightcore” mode (maybe don’t Google that) that allows you to play at an even higher difficulty. Conclusion: Klang still carries a sincere sense of recommendation, if only based on its incredibly inventive style and incorporation of music. We don’t often get a game, indie or otherwise, that has the courage to tackle music with such ingenuity. Tinimations’ and bLiNd’s passion shows in every single beat, but their own concept gets too caught up in its own noodling to allow for lesser players to enjoy it to its fullest extent. Klang was reviewed on PC and is now available on Steam.
  14. For those of you that aren’t old enough to remember, there was once a mysterious video game feature called “local co-op” that dominated every gaming system known to man (except PC). For a long while, family and friends could bond by sharing a couch and enjoying the finer aspects of jolly cooperation. Then the internet happened and it seemed like the ways of local co-op would be lost forever to the ravages of time. With the rise of internet co-op, precious few video games even bothered to include the option to play with a physically present friend. In the midst of local co-op’s Dark Age*, a beacon of hope signaled that some developers still revered the old ways. Frima Games’ Chariot champions local co-op, emphasizing teamwork and creative problem solving. In fact, if it has one major drawback it is that such an emphasis is placed on the local co-op that playing through Chariot in single-player can feel a bit hollow. Chariot was reviewed on PlayStation 4. Chariot is a platformer that relies on increasingly complex puzzles built into its levels. Creatively making use of deceptively simple mechanics is required to progress. Players can sling a rope to either side of the chariot with one button and pull it forward or let the line grow slack with two others. Combine the rope mechanics with jumping and that constitutes the core of the player’s puzzle-solving arsenal. To further complicate matters, these mechanics are applied in different ways depending on the various environments players will encounter. The introductory caves give players a great opportunity to grasp the basics, but each new area, like the frictionless ice caverns or the lava-filled magma grottos, present their own unique challenges. Each level is fairly open and allows for a great deal of exploration. Intrepid players will be rewarded with valuable loot as well as precious item blueprints. Blueprints allow a friendly skeleton merchant to create useful items and upgrades for the chariot. Certain blueprints, like the royal lantern upgrade, are required to make progress into other areas of Chariot. To find the most powerful items and rarest treasures, players will need to grab a friend to play by their side. Many will be impossible to obtain for solo players. Co-op is the soul of Chariot and it is only when playing co-op that the full potential of Chariot shines through. There is no online co-op option; players will need to be physically present with each other. While it is possible to complete the game alone, it will be less frustrating to tackle the core story with a friend. During my solo time with Chariot, there were numerous instances when I wished I had a co-op buddy to provide backup on some of the trickier platforming challenges. When I was playing co-op, everything seemed to fall into place and, while there were still a number of falls and slip ups, everyone seemed to have a great time. I have mixed feelings about Chariot’s enemies. Called Looters, the small pool of antagonists don’t constitute a direct threat to the player; they’re only interested in stealing treasure from the chariot. At worst they pose an annoying inconvenience. Each player has an attack that can be used to fend off the attackers, either a sword or a slingshot depending on the choice of character. The problem is that Looters almost feel obligatory, as if Frima felt they had to include enemies because a platformer needs them otherwise it isn’t a real platformer. I can see why they might want to include enemies as a way of amping up the tension in tricky areas and to make the two characters feel distinct. It would have been a bold decision, but I think Chariot would have benefitted from a complete lack of enemies. The combat itself isn’t thrilling or complicated; most situations where enemies appear can be solved by standing on the chariot and mashing the attack button. These instances felt forced and broke the sense of flow that I had derived from the Looter-less sections. It wasn’t a huge problem, but it was a source of irritation. On top of satisfying exploration and mechanics, Chariot tells a simple story about a princess who, along with her fiancée, seeks to inter her father’s remains in a royal sepulcher**. The problem is that her father’s ghost haunts the wheeled coffin, aka the titular chariot, and demands a more suitable resting place as well as a hoard of treasure worthy of his kingly station. Chariot does a number of really refreshing and interesting thing with its simple premise. It is a welcome change of pace to see a leading lady in a platformer. This is clearly important given that I had to spend five or six minutes explaining to my six-year-old nephew/co-op buddy that the main character was, in fact, a woman. That really shouldn’t have to be so alien a concept as to invite a child’s incredulity. Chariot also succeeds in being an amusing, if not laugh out loud, experience. The voice acting for the king is perfectly petulant and demanding and, while it can get grating after repeated platforming failures, generally left me with a smile on my face. I’m somewhat tempted to dig into an analysis of Chariot’s messages regarding death and acceptance, but that can wait for an article all its own. Suffice it to say that there are more complicated and interesting things going on beneath Chariot’s surface than its friendly and cheerful exterior would imply. Chariot’s aesthetic perfectly complements its content. Though the premise, to be perfectly blunt, is to find a place to bury the protagonist’s dead father, Chariot manages to sidestep how potentially disturbing that could be by implementing an aesthetic that feels friendly and inviting. Colors really pop and every environment feels distinct. It has a painted, fairy-tale feel, as if it was adapted from a children’s bedtime story. The layered score lulls players into a state of zen as they make progress and roll the chariot on toward the next sepulcher. For those of you that aren’t old enough to remember, there was once a mysterious video game feature called “local co-op” that dominated every gaming system known to man (except PC). For a long while, family and friends could bond by sharing a couch and enjoying the finer aspects of jolly cooperation. Then the internet happened and it seemed like the ways of local co-op would be lost forever to the ravages of time. With the rise of internet co-op, precious few video games even bothered to include the option to play with a physically present friend. In the midst of local co-op’s Dark Age*, a beacon of hope signaled that some developers still revered the old ways. Frima Games’ Chariot champions local co-op, emphasizing teamwork and creative problem solving. In fact, if it has one major drawback it is that such an emphasis is placed on the local co-op that playing through Chariot in single-player can feel a bit hollow. Conclusion: Chariot is a great indie title that is best enjoyed with a friend or on a date night with a significant other. It emphasizes teamwork and problem solving with a minimum of violence. It is a great game for kids and adults alike as the challenges require some brainpower, but not to a frustrating degree. It also raises some introductory themes that deal with death and could lead to interesting conversations with children old enough to tackle such issues. I’m always a fan of games that take relatively simple mechanics and use them in stimulating ways. Chariot does this exceedingly well. It is a lovingly crafted, beautiful platformer that can be appreciated by all ages. Chariot is currently available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It will be coming to PC at an as yet unannounced time. * Fun fact: I’m guilty of perpetuating a common misconception regarding the time period that people have frequently termed Europe’s Dark Age. In fact, it was not nearly as devoid of activity, learning, or progress as people tend to believe (see beginning of The Importance of the Middle Ages). Or, for those of you with less patience for academic writing, here is a Cracked article. ** Chariot deserves credit for teaching me that I have been mispronouncing ‘sepulcher’ for years. View full article
  15. During E3 I had the pleasure of meeting with Martin Brouard from Frima Studios to discuss the indie platforming title Chariot. Afterward, I was able to go hands-on for nearly a half-hour. Spoiler: I couldn't stop smiling. --- Martin Brouard: I’m the Executive Producer for Chariot. It’s a platformer, a couch co-op platformer that’s coming out on Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, and PC this fall. Jack Gardner: Awesome! And we can see it right behind you there. From what I understand the general premise is that a king or emperor has died and you're taking him to his final resting place? MB: Right, you play as a princess and you are accompanied by your very trusty fiancé and before going on with your life, you have to, you know, put your dead father to rest in a really nice sepulcher. But the king is actually back as a ghost and the chariot that you are bringing around everywhere; it’s a coffin on wheels. The king is there and he keeps complaining that you are leaving treasure behind or that you cannot possibly think of burying him here because it is not a proper, kingly place. He always wants more treasure and more interesting places, so that’s how you progress through different levels. [There are] five different environments, 25 levels of exploration. And it is couch co-op so you play both characters. You can play solo, but it is really made for having fun with a friend at home. JG: What different mechanics can we expect to see out of Chariot? MB: The big difference between Chariot and other platformers that we know and love is that it’s a physics-based platformer with a chariot is at the center of it. You need the chariot because that’s what picks up all the loot; that’s what is at the center of the game. So, you’ll push it; you’ll pull it; you’ll use this rope mechanic to pull the chariot, to give some rope to your friend to dangle over a precipice. To try to jump into hard to reach areas. There is lots of exploration. You use the chariot to jump on it, to roll down slopes. [You will have] one special item that you choose for every level, one per character, you use these items to do special moves. There is an attractor, a repulsor, a peg so you can attach your rope to a little escalation peg. There’s something that slows down time and speed boots. By combining these items, one on each character, you can pull off some really fantastic moves and that’s where the fun is. JG: And there is no online co-op or just couch co-op? MB: It’s too… it just wouldn’t make sense for us. It’s really a game where you want to have fun with the person sitting next to you. And be arguing over, “We should be going over there,” “No! Let’s go over there. There is probably something hidden there,” “Alright, alright.” It just wouldn’t be the same over the internet. JG: What is your favorite part of Chariot? MB: My favorite part is definitely when you see some hard to reach area and you’re like, “Okay, we’ve got to get over there,” and you need to figure out a way, but there are different ways to achieve that. Sometimes you’ll try to pull out some really crazy move, and you will try and try again. When after fifteen minutes of trying you finally pull off that move, this is just so satisfying. High-fives all over the place and it is a great satisfaction. Also, the humor. Right now this is an alpha-build. It’s not finished. JG: Wow, that looks great for an alpha-build! MB: Thank you! But the voice overs aren’t implemented yet. There is a lot of humor coming from the king who is interacting with you. He is kinda acting as a chaperone, you know, his daughter with this guy. He’s there to keep an eye on you and make sure you don’t leave any loot on the table. JG: And collecting the loot is how you unlock the gadgets and get the different abilities? MB: You actually get the gadgets by finding the blueprints and special collectibles. Between every level you’ll be meeting with a merchant on the surface. He’s a skeleton dude, I don’t think he even realizes that he’s a skeleton, but he’s improving your stuff in exchange for your loot. For example, if you want to go to the lava levels, you’ll need to make sure that your chariot becomes fireproof. For that you’ll need to find blueprints that are hidden somewhere in the game, but then you also need to give the blueprints to the merchant along with some of your loot, which the king doesn’t like too much. When you part with the blueprint and [pay the merchant], he’ll upgrade the chariot and it will be able to float in lava. Same thing with the ice caverns and other levels. You can also improve your gadgets up to three levels. For example, the repulsor which is basically something that throws the chariot super hard with physics, when you are at level three it really shoots the chariot very far. So, if your friend is standing on it and then you’re shooting it, it’s pretty awesome. JG: Are there enemies in the game? So far I haven’t seen any. MB: Well, it’s not a fighting game, but there are enemies. They're called looters. They will not attack you. They will only attack the chariot, try to grab your loot, and run away with it. So your job is basically to dispatch them as quickly as possible or run away before they steal too much of your loot, because that’s also your score. The princess has a sword, so she’s a close-range character and the fiancé has a little slingshot so he is a ranged character. A lot of times, one player will try to get out while the other will defend, so that leads to some fun little combat scenes, but it’s not at the heart of the game. There are four different enemies. Some of them are even trying to steal the chariot! [laughs] JG: Is it an open-world, Metroid-style game? MB: No, no. The way it works is there are 25 different levels scattered over five different environments. These environments are unlocked when you upgrade the chariot, but there are different entrances and exits in certain levels that sometimes unlock speed runs you can complete for special rewards and leaderboards. JG: So how does that work, is there a hub where you access each level? MB: Yes, there is a map that is currently very placeholder, but every time you find an exit it opens up the path to a new level. Sometimes you find different exits in different levels. There is a lot of exploration there. JG: Well it looks incredible. I can’t wait to play it! MB: Thank you very much, you can play it right now! [laughs] --- And play it I did. Even in early alpha Chariot is almost overwhelmingly charming. The art design is great and does a great job conveying humor and lightheartedness even without dialogue. Levels are cleverly constructed to interact with the chariot and the players in interesting ways. For example, there are certain surfaces that will be solid for the player, but not the chariot and vice versa. The rope mechanics and physics feel statisfying and it feels really rewarding to overcome obstacles with a co-op partner. Recently there have been people expressing a desire for non-violent games to play with family or just as an alternative to the omni-present shooter genre. Though Brouard said that there were looters in Chariot, in nearly a half hour, I never saw a single one and still enjoyed myself immensely. I would feel very comfortable sitting down with my young nephews and playing this along with them. Brouard was right, Chariot can be played alone, but it is meant to embody cooperation and going it alone seems miss a bit of the magic that Chariot has to offer. Keep your eye on Chariot. It releases this fall on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, and PC. View full article
  16. Retro video game reviewer and content creator over at Cinemassacre.com James Rolfe (AKA The Angry Video Game Nerd) has accrued quite the following over the last few years. With over one million YouTube subscribers and his own website, he reviews old video games and movies, makes his own films, and works on various other projects like the Monster Madness month-long events. The Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN) show that he creates reviews retro games and features a lot of amusingly hyperbolic language and rage-filled tirades about crappy game design. (AVGN Disclaimer: The show makes use of a very colorful vocabulary. If you are offended by vulgar language, it isn’t recommended for you.) Today marked the Nerd’s entry into the arena of making games. The debut trailer for Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, which you can see below, makes it clear that it will be a sidescrolling shooter in the vein of classics like Mega Man, while retaining the show’s sense of impropriety and James’ trademark exaggerated frown. Not much is known about the title as of yet, but the screenshots released alongside the trailer seem to indicate that many of the levels will draw inspiration from a variety of classic 2D sidescrollers like Super Mario World and Castlevania. The game is currently slated for release on PC sometime this year. People who are partial to Steam, you can visit the title’s Greenlight page and vote for it to be released on Steam. For more information, you can visit the Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures Facebook page. View full article
  17. The Regular Show is on track to get its very first video game treatment, and from what we’ve seen, it doesn’t look half bad. Borrowing from classics like Super Mario Bros. 3, Contra, and R-Type, 8-bit Land features a unique blend of all three of the classic gameplay types. The 8-bit visual style even takes some of its cues from the classic titles and references can be found scattered throughout levels. Enemies will be made up of their adversaries from the show like The Hammer. Fans of the show should can rest easy, Regular Show series creator JG Quintel crafted the story and concept of 8-bit Land and was heavily involved in its development. The Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby In 8-bit Land will release sometime this fall for the 3DS and retail at around $29.95. View full article