A blog about video games, how awesome they are, and how much better they can be.
Monday, January 9, 2012
2011: A Retrospective, Part 3
And I'm back from feeling like junk. Here's the third part of my five-part series.
There's an almost Yoshi's Island quality to the art style. Also, there's a disco ball buried under ground.
Raskulls - I noticed when this game came out that there was a lot of dislike of it, but I happened to have an absolute blast with it. Half-Brick is quickly becoming one of my favorite studios for their charming art styles, witty banter, and clever-yet-simple game mechanics. The whole point of Half Prick is a 2D Platform racer where you, an adorable skull headed figure in one of many adorable costumes, are pit against up to 3 other characters for a race to the finish. The interesting thing is the pseudo color-matching puzzle built in. The most common obstacle you'll find is a series of block stopping you, but you can zap them out of the way with a little wand object. It'll clear out all of the bricks of a matching color connected to that one, so with a little quick thinking, you can try and hedge out a superior path. The game also takes this simple premise and devises a series of unique gameplay options and puzzle-modes through it's single-player campaign, and it's amazing how much variety they squeeze out of it. It was an absolute gem of a game that I would love to see more of (especially on a portable system).
The kid took aim and drew his string back. He found the destructible environments to be conducive to stress relief.
Bastion - I almost feel like I don't need to talk about this game. If this one screenshot doesn't convince you to immerse yourself in a world of fantastic hand-painted visuals, perhaps this sample of the soundtrack will. No? How about if I told you that it there's an full arsenal of varied weapons that can be mixed and matched, and spec'd in different ways for a huge spectrum of variety? Maybe one of the most well-told stories, the kind that is done in a way that can only be realized in video games, and shows why this is the superior medium for storytelling? Alright, if this can't convince you, you're probably just dead inside.
There's a lot going on in this screenshot, and I think it blocks out the fact that this board is Yoshi's Island.
Fortune Street - So. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that you're going to like this game. I'm not going to try and convince you that this Monopoly with a hint of Mario Party, skinned with a ton of Mario and Dragon Quest nostalgia is really for you. I am going to tell you that this is the best version of Board Game Top Shop I've played since Board Game Top Shop. If you don't even know what that means, I could try and convince you that this is Culdcept Saga without the Magic: the Gathering mechanic, but that might not do anything for you either. I'm just going to tell you that I love it, and that many a friend has and will be subjected to it. Also this.
You can have her!
Devil Survivor: Overclocked - Yes, it's a remake of the original Devil Survivor on the DS. Yes, there's little to no use of 3D, and they ignore the better, cleaner, bigger screen up top during the main action and dialogue. Yes, this game has a few problems. But it also has one of the best stories, some of the best strategy gameplay, and oh yeah, Jack mo'effin' Frost.
Ilo Milo - I love puzzle platformers, I love a good art style, and I love a good soundtrack. This game is like a puzzle-platforming Mario Galaxy and it's positively oozing with delightful tones. It's quite the package, and I highly recommend you investigate it shortly.
Eye sees what you did there.
Terreria - 2D Minecraft with a heavier RPG influence. That's about it, and that's about all there needs to be.
If I had an "Item of the Year" Category, Racoon Tail gets it by a mile.
Mario Kart 7 - It could be easy to write off Mario Kart 7 as a total rehash, or the 'necessary once every console' type game, but that would be greatly understating that it just might be the best Mario Kart ever. Some people say that your favorite Mario Kart is your first, but I disagree. Mario Kart DS was my favorite, and I've been in this series since the beginning. But this one takes the cake. It looks crisp and clean, the car customization adds some fun and let's me race the way I like to with the characters I want (Lakitu). The new tracks are great, and I love when they can implement the new Glider feature into the old ones. (The underwater thing is take-it-or-leave-it, to be honest.) About the only way they could improve on this series, I think, is to turn it into "Smash Kart" and start throwing in more Nintendo Characters and themed courses, rather than adding (*sigh*) Queen Bee and Metal Mario. Imagine Samus riding in a kart shaped like her ship, or Link riding a motorcycle designed after Epona. This is where I want to see this series go. Until then? This one is pretty damn good.
Andriasang - It seems like everybody this day and age is quoting Andriasang for their news straight out of Japan. They seem to do pretty good work breaking a lot of interesting stories, and providing an awesome look into the gaming landscape of our Eastern counterpart. I just wanted to give them props for the hard work they've been doing this last year.
Did I mention this game is kind of fucked up? Because it's REALLY fucked up.
Binding of Isaac - The gaming equivalent to enjoying being tied up in a dungeon and having hot candle wax poured onto one's backside, The Binding of Isaac is a simple game with a remoresless difficulty. You play as Isaac, a little boy escaping his mother (who believes God has comanded her to kill her son) by running into their basement. What ensues is essentially a randomly generated Zelda dungeon crawler. There's tons of power-ups, enemies, and bosses that keep this game feeling fresh, and also to keep you from ever actually beating it. It's not for the feint of heart (or the controller-throwing prone), but it's a pretty awesome little title.
The future is Orange.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Deus Ex may not have asked to be on this list, and I almost didn't put it on here. For as much a the game does, I feel like there's a lot of things it does wrong. But in the end, I'm enamored with the cyber-punk story and visual aesthetics. It may not be perfect, but it's pretty damn cool, none the less.
Part: The Third, down. Two more to go. How do you like them selections, folks?