The backstory is set; characters parade out one-by-one, each with their own motives and shady affiliations; the intrepid detective studies the clues and picks apart alibis; a red herring; summation and accusation. A master of the detective story, Agatha Christie had this formula perfected and, alongside the escapades of a certain Baker Street dwelling detective, our well thumbed copy of the adventures of Hercule Poirot is a favourite of mine. There’s a comforting completeness to the story: the mystery is laid out, we get to see all the clues, and finally the pieces are all put together. Unfortunately, satisfying translations of this premise to video-game form are few and far between. Sure, there are some good attempts; LA Noire and Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments all take a crack at the detective formula in a more interactive setting, but inevitably the story tends to linearity (or very limited outcomes) largely because of the implausibly large number of permutations that even a few small decisions can produce. It’s impossible to give the player entirely free reign of the deductions, dialogue, or direction of the story, so we’re guided down specific paths inevitably meaning that sign-posting of the correct solution becomes painfully obvious. Continue reading “Return of the Obra Dinn: Brain Nod”
‘Heaven Dust’ is a game that makes me smile. It’s a game made by fans. Not just any fans; fans after my own heart, whose affection for the original Resident Evil games shines through in every polygon. Some twenty-x years after Capcom’s seminal survival horror hit the scene, this tribute made by ‘One Gruel Studio’ manages to hit all the right notes needed to evoke the feel of that first tentative shuffle through the Spencer Estate whilst still doing it in a new and distinctive style. Given how much the series has evolved and diverged, there’s something refreshing about a game that rewinds time back to what hooked-us in the first place.
…oh, I’m sorry, you wanted an objective review?? Nope.. none of that here thank-you very much…
Of course this type of thing is so in my wheelhouse that it’s basically an oak panelled part of the decor, but I ended up playing it mostly by chance after some fortunate browsing of the Switch store. In recent months, the Switch has become a staple gaming platform for me and I’m perpetually on the lookout for new releases that are compatible with my commute. ‘Heaven Dust’ was a delightfully stumbled upon discovery that has appeared on the store in the past few weeks and fills the super-niche of being a great choice for anyone who wants to play ‘Resident Evil’ on the go, but wants something just a little more causal than just playing ‘Resident Evil’ on the go*. Continue reading “Heaven Dust: Esidentray Evilway”
…with a deft flick of your wrist the tip of your rapier neatly disarms your opponent. They stand. Stunned for a second before you run then through, their body hanging momentarily from your sword, dripping purple. Then they crumple to the ground and you run. That was the last hurdle. All glory is yours… you are consumed by the Nidhogg in triumph…
In a moment of impulsiveness over the festive break, I picked up Nidhogg II for the Switch. I own the original for PC and it is the sort of game that can be quickly wheeled out at a gathering for some fast multiplayer action if called upon. Given that the Switch is now our portable gaming unit of choice, picking up the sequel on that platform (with it’s handily built-in multiple controllers) seemed like a great way to both try it out and convince my friends to drop in for a round or two at some opportune moment. The concept and gameplay of the two titles are very similar, so for the uninitiated it works like this: Continue reading “Nidhogg II: Get Eaten, Win Game”
It’s been a turbulent few weeks for Rockstar studios; the release of their latest open world behemoth overshadowed by the issue of studio crunch once more being the focus of widespread discussion and confusion in the preceding weeks. The waters were muddied by internet commentators on all sides of the debate shouting down the opinions of others with their own and the situation at Rockstar itself rapidly evolving as they went in to all out damage control seeing the potential hit to day-one sales looming.
Holding my hands up, I can’t offer any further insight here, after-all I’m just a consumer and have started this particular piece a few times as the situation morphed before giving up and just waiting for the dust to settle. It feels like we’re at a point now where I can at least safely write some kind of post about it all, but given the complexity of the issue it’s difficult to even know what it is that I want to say. Continue reading “Rockstar Lifestyle: Crunchy Underfoot”
Stuff! Heck, we all feel “Stuff”, you know from time to time, like… you know when feelings and things…
The truth is, despite that masterfully elegant opening paragraph, I’m pretty bad at articulating feelings. In my “day-job” this isn’t a problem; few people really want to know how metallurgy makes me feel, so the papers and reports tend to just stick to the science. However, that’s just my daylight hour alter-ego and outside those hours I’m someone who loves games that make me feel things. Of course I do feel things all the time, but I’m rarely called upon to explain, understand, or write down exactly what I’m feeling.
So recently I’ve been playing “Night in the Woods” (I’m some way through, but havn’t completed it yet so no spoilers in the comments please!) and it makes me feel things in a way that the simple charming 2D graphics of an anthropomorphised cat manage to hide really well to the casual observer. It’s a game all about feelings and I’m going to do my best to break down what it makes me feel, and maybe even why.
Hello… are you sitting comfortably?…no, come closer… slide your chair in… closer… closer… move in to uncomfortably close territory as though you’re trying to see the flaw in a waxwork. Now start studying my behaviour intensely and try to work out if I’m doing anything devious.. am I?…
This is what Spy Party feels like.
Spy Party is a game that has been in development for an extraordinary length of time. I first heard about it in an issue of Games tm (so back when I still bought print magazines) maybe ten or more years ago. Since then I’ve kept an occasional eye on the Spy Party website for development updates, I even bought the game in beta (although didn’t really play it at that point), and finally in recent months it has hit Steam; albeit in early access form. It was the simple, yet instantly understandable, concept that hooked my interest, held it for all those years and is what makes it a very interesting experience now I’ve finally spent some time playing. Continue reading “Spy Party: Purloin That Guest List”
Fun Thing to Remember: This article was written early December 2017 and is based on the state of the game at that point… also Hello ‘future people’! How are those hover cars working out for you?
I find Raccoon City a comforting place, which might say something about me as a person given how zombie infested it is on a typical day, but I largely square it away to being due to the huge influence that Resident Evil 2 has on my tastes as a gamer. I’ve written before about how much I miss the level of detail conveyed in the visual presentation of those early PS1 era survival horror games, but that’s just one part of their unique blend of obtuse puzzles, cheesy take on Romeroesque horror, bizarre locations, and skewed take on reality that I enjoy. It’s unsurprising that my interest was therefore piqued when I first heard about “Prototype Mansion” from indie team “Jupiter Lighthouse“. Described by the developers as a “Love Letter” to those early 90’s survival horror games, ‘Prototype Mansion’ currently exists as the first episode of a title clearly heavily influenced by and parodying that era. Continue reading “Prototype Mansion: This Game Contains Scenes of Explicit Parody”