It is very rare that games successfully make the transition from mobile game (iOS, Android, etc.) over to consoles or handhelds, without being a straight cash grab. Sure, a lot of mobile games make their way to PC gaming, but to consoles or handheld consoles? Not very often at all. Angry Birds tried it, and ended up charging consumers 10 times the amount to play on their consoles. Like I said, cash grab.
When I saw Draw Slasher appear on the PS Vita as a downloadable title, I was wearing for this fact. Not to say it wasn't a good game and unworthy of gracing the beautiful screen of the Vita, because I worried it would be nothing more than an attempt for the developer to sucker in fans of the iOS game and charge them an exuberant amount more to play it on their Vitas.
So I didn't buy it originally. I waited, and ultimately forgot it existed. That is, until it popped up on a PSN sale, with the price being slashed for PS+ subscribers. At only a couple of bucks, which wasn't much more than the iOS version, I figured it was a worthy investment finally. Besides, I've wasted more money than that for the purpose of getting trophies before.
The thing is, it isn't exactly a waste of money. It's actually a really fun game, and because I have been desperate for something quick to play on my Vita for a while now, it more than justified its purchase. I will say this, however. The game is not without it's flaws, especially for being a port to a handheld console.
In order to kill all the enemies, you have slash the screen with your finger, summoning your ninja to slice whatever is in the path that you designated with your digit. Unfortunately, to make your character walk or run, you have to tap on the screen where you want him to go. This control scheme worked perfect for a touchscreen device with no buttons, like an iPhone, but hey, guess what? The Vita not only has buttons, but it has joysticks too! Why not utilize that little stick on the left side to make the ninja move, and eliminate the touch-to-move control configuration? I guess that was just too obvious of an idea.
Also, holding the Vita with one hand while you slash with the other works fine in small bursts (like Uncharted), but to do is exclusively ends up hurting your hand, as I found myself switching back and forth, trying different fingers and even laying it down eventually. It's not a huge deal for me, as I can adapt just fine, but it just gets tiresome after a while, which only strengthens the argument that games like these are best played in short bursts, not long, drawn-out play sessions.
But hey, at least I didn't pay 10 times the price of it to get it on my Vita. Damn you, Birds.
When buying a game, everyone seems to make a decision differently, taking into consideration different factors and justifying the purchase or lack thereof upon their own personal guidelines they have in place. Some people have to decide whether or not the game they are buying will be worth the monetary value that is asked of it, because of tight budgets or the desire to be smart with money. Other people solely rely on reviews to help them make a decision, sometimes going as far as to set a specific review number as the bar, and if it gets that or beyond, then it's "good enough" to buy.
Then there are the consumers who just buy games from specific genres, or by specific developers, but these are a rare breed from what I can tell. Of course, there are always those who just want to buy everything that is new and shiny, not matter what it is.
Lastly, you have the category that I fall under the most, despite the fact I have dabbled in all of the categories it seems at one point or another. And no, I am not talking about the group that buys games to build up a library to ensure there is enough content to play a game a day for an entire year - because I would be the lone wolf in that wolf pack.
I am actually referring to the buyers who drop money based on hunches, feelings in their gut, on whether or not they should buy a game. Something about it just calls to them and says,"Buy me, buy me!" This category can often get confused with the new and shiny group, but where as they just buy everything in site, this other group usually has some thought or feeling put in to it - despite the fact it does look like they buy almost everything.
Why am I making these distinctions? Because when I bought Knytt Underground, I may have jumped the gun just a bit, and ultimately, my gut feeling was wrong. I looked at what the game looked like, with the colorful backgrounds and silhouetted foreground, and thought to myself, "this is my kind of game." After all these are the same reasons I liked Badland just a couple days ago.
Knytt Underground is a platformer, which is my genre of choice, and combined with the art style and the fact it was a cheaper downloadable title, this was pretty much a no brainer for me. Well, maybe I should have trusted my brain more than my gut on this one.
I just don't like this game. The art style is great, if it wasn't for the actual character you play as, which looks cheesy and cartoonish compared to the rest of the game. It's like the game has an identity problem, unsure if it is an artsy, moody game or a cartoony, whimsical game. While it is possible to make such a game (see Trine 2), this game was not attempting that as far as I could tell. And if it was, it failed miserably.
Another issue I had with the game is the controls. The jumping and platforming feels broken and wonky, not fluid, tight and precise like I am used to. It's very floaty and almost impossible to predict where each jump will land. I don't know if this is intentional based on the universe they have created or what the deal is, but it was a game breaker for me, plain and simple.
Sure, other people have really liked this game. I don't know why, but hey, to each their own. I just wish I wouldn't have paid money for this game ... especially since it went free as part of PS+ just a month or so afterwards. Yeah....
For my 200th post, I actually thought I would write about a really big or exciting game. You know, maybe make a big deal out of the fact and celebrate the accomplishment of finally making it to 200 days straight of this crazy project of mine. While 200 wasn't my goal - 365 is, remember - it still feels like 200 is a pretty special milestone.
Well, instead of playing and writing about something big, exciting and groundbreaking, all plans got thrown out the window thanks to real life. Not in a bad way, though, but just in a way I didn't really see coming. But in a way I am, and would never, complain about.
You see, my two boys came over and stayed for the night. It's always nice to see your kids and spend time with them, especially after all that has happened. In my life right now, strengthening those bonds - albeit from a distance - is very important to me, but I can only do what I can. Still, I'm trying.
So they came over, just the two of them, to spend some quality time with their old man away from their little sister. Just some good old fashion guy time. When I got home from work, they were already hanging out in the apartment with my cousin who I live with, playing video games. Clear sign that yes, I did have some part in raising them. We went and hung out at the pool for a while before heading back to the pad to get our BBQ on. We had tri-tip on the grill, and if you are from California, you know all about good tri-tip. If not, you may have heard about tri-tip, but you don't really know what it's all about. Anyway, BBQing good meat and video games is basically a right of passage for manhood, which is exactly what went down.
For some reason, when I told them to bring over whatever video games they wanted, one of them was WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009. And for an ever more bizarre reason, this is the game they chose to play all evening. Literally, all evening. And of course, being a sucker for wrestling, video games and male bonding, I jumped in with them. There was us three, my cousin and then a buddy from work, all kicking back in the living room, playing and watching match after match, entrance after entrance, pinfall after pinfall.
We played iron man matches, Hell in a Cell matches, Inferno matches, Royal Rumble matches ... everything. We watched the epic entrance videos, booed and cheered as if we were watching a PPV event, got excited with every finisher connected and held our breaths with every pinfall attempt. Overall, it was a great few hours spent, before we had to call it quits, so we could top off the epic evening with, what else, Pacific Rim!
Sometimes, this blog isn't about the game I played, but the experience I had while playing it. This was one of those games played that went far, far beyond the actual game. And I couldn't be happier to be writing about it for the 200th posting.
I just don't get some games. For the most part, I like to think I get most games I play. But every once in a while, I get thrown a curveball that just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.
Badland is one of those games, unfortunately.
It is an iOS game, which I downloaded on my iPad when Apple was so graciously giving away those awesome games. Again, it was another game that I went into not knowing anything about it, which always makes for a fun first experience. Sometimes the results are less than ideal, and I feel like I may have wasted my time in playing it, but other times I come across a diamond in the rough, which when discovered by surprise, is quite exciting and thrilling in all the right ways.
Immediately after starting up the game, I feel in love. The art style is one of the best and most appealing I have seen on a mobile game in a long, long time. The foreground of the game, including the character(s) you control are all silhouetted, while the background is a gloriously designed, perfectly created visual masterpiece. It looks and feels like a cross between Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet and Rayman Origins, which both happen to be a couple of my favorite artistic games over the last few years.
The game itself is simple enough, You touch the screen to move your floating little ball of fur character up, and let go to allow him to fall. You do this with precise timing in order to navigate the treacherous and dangerous (yet beautiful) landscape, all the while avoiding the impending doom that is the screen scroll. If you happen to get stuck under a tree branch or behind a wall of spikes, the scrolling screen will crush you to death. Pretty simple and straight forward, if you ask me.
There are power-ups along the way, speeding you up, shrinking you, enlarging you and even multiplying your character, all of which assist you in completing the level, as you would imagine. But here is the catch; I have no clue what is going on, why I am navigating this landscape or what exactly these power-ups even are. I don't know who I am, I don't know my purpose or my mission (other than survival) and I don't know my end game goal. I am literally just playing as I am told, like a good little sheep, not asking questions or challenging my existence in this universe.
That's a horrible feeling. Maybe I missed something? Did I accidentally skip over a cut scene or something important to a storyline that I'm still not convinced even exists?
Or do I just not get it? If that's the case, maybe ignorance is bliss.
Some games just stick with you for a long, long time. World of Goo is one of those experiences. And yes, every single pun intended.
When World of Goo first came out, it was an exclusive title to the just emerging on the scene Virtual Console on the Nintendo Wii. Back then - and let's all be real here - Nintendo wasn't exactly the model example for online gaming. Sure, they have dabbled on the internet for what seems like forever, but they never fully embraced the internet as a viable resource for gaming. This mentality of course led to them loose a large portion of their core audience and fan base, but managed to survive thanks in part to the casual gaming audience they picked up with the Wii.
So when they started offering games to download online, it was one giant step for a company that should have had no problem transitioning over to an internet world of games. World of Goo, while maybe wasn't the first downloadable indie title, it was the first one to make a major impact on the little console that could. I recall downloading it on a whim when it was released (shocker, right?), and playing it. And not only did I play it, I played it a lot. I played that game until the cows came home, as they say. I absolutely adored it ... every single bit of it.
The thing I liked the most, aside from the outstanding visuals, amazing gameplay and beautiful world, was something that may come as a bit of a shocker. I loved the motion controls, using the Wiimote and the entirely simple yet perfectly constructed control scheme.
So when I saw this game pop up on the Steam Summer Sale, I simply had to have it once again. I do have it on my iPad, and it's serviceable on that for sure, but something still compelled me to pick it up for the PC. Probably had something to do with the price being a couple of bucks, but still. Also, a piece of me really wanted to try it out with the mouse as my controller. For some reason this game seemed perfect to control with a mouse, utilizing the precision that only a mouse can offer.
Man, I sound like such a PC gamer nerd right now. It's kind of scary, actually.
ANYWAY, so I finally gave this game a shot. First off, it is as fun as I remember. But I gotta tell you, using the mouse was a phenomenal experience. I was able to click and drag blobs of goo here and there, more accurately then I could have dreamed of doing with the Wiimote, and even more intuitively than my chubby fingers could manage on my iPad. While the difficulty was still there throughout the game - which I love by the way - I never once felt like the game was made more difficult by the way I was playing it. The game is just tricky, but without being tricky and frustrating at the same time.
Like I said before, this game has stuck with me through the years, and it will always be one I will cherish, if only for setting the bar so ridiculously high for how good downloadable games should be.
Apparently I wasn't done with my pain for pleasure gaming philosophy. Although this time, I wasn't doing it because I wanted to play a game that has frustrated me for years and years, pretty much owning my soul. No, this time I wanted to enjoy a game that is purposely built to evoke pleasure from the pain of dying over and over and over and over and over and over and over … and over again.
Enter Super Meat Boy, the game about a sack of bloody meat platforming his way to his lady, saving her from the evil clutches of the antagonist. Literally, a bloody sack of meat. He runs and jumps with the best of them, yet unfortunately, his plight to save the damsel in distress is quite a hazardous one, as it is filled with fire, spikes and saw blades, among many other forms of capital punishment for a little dude made of meat.
And when I say “bloody,” I mean it. He leaves a trail of the bright red life substance everywhere he travels, whether he is walking, running or sliding down the side of a wall. Where that bag of meat hits a surface, bloody smears, leaving a lasting reminder where you have been – and in most cases – where you shouldn't go again. If you were to, let’s say, get demolished by a spinning saw blade, that blade will be stained for the remainder of the level, no matter how many times you die before you reach the goal.
Oh, and trust me, you will die. A lot. Death is unavoidable in this game, as the constant reminders of your failures linger in the level until you get the timing of your jumps and runs figured out perfectly. The best part about the constant and looming acknowledgement of death is the reward for finally beating the level; you get a highlight real (sped up of course) showing all your deaths in one constant stream of bloody sacks of meat being butchered. It’s enjoyable, yet somehow a bit sad once you realize you died 20+ on one level in the span of just a couple of minutes.
For those wondering, I picked this game up during this amazing Steam Summer Sale for a few bucks, despite having played it a long, long time ago. Remember, I like pain and punishment in my video games, remember?
Speaking of sad misery, the independent documentary called “Indie Games” can be found on Netflix, and it is a fantastic watch. In the film, they showcase three different games: Fez, Braid and of course, Super Meat Boy. It’s a fascinating watch, as it shows how hard it was for the two man team that made Super Boy Meat during the development of this game, and how close they came to never finishing it, because of many different factors. Sure, we all love these smaller, independent games, but it is often forgot how difficult it is for these smaller studios to make games we all love.
The film really makes you think differently about the industry, both in positive and negative ways. But it’s something you need to watch for yourself in order to form solid opinions.
As far as the game goes, there is only one opinion to be had. This game was designed to make you fail, and smile the whole time.
Sometimes I feel like a masochist. Not in the normal definition or sense of the word, as you all probably immediately went in your own minds. Come on now, this a family friendly blog after all.
No, when I say I’m a masochist, I’m talking in the “purposely putting myself through trying and painful situations,” in this case, using video games as the vehicle. This isn’t always the case, as there are plenty of circumstances where I will shy away from games or challenges that I feel will pretty much drive me to the brink of insanity. But on the other hand, there are certain games that cause me so much grief and agony yet still I continue to play them, if only because I love the pain they cause.
Super Mario Bros. 2 is one of those games.
Real talk here: I have never beaten Mario 2 without the aid of a Game Genie. Ever. I just can’t do it. I can’t even get to the end of the game, much less beat it. I don’t quite know what exactly what it is about the game that has made it impossible for me to beat it, but I can’t. It is the Achilles heel to my gaming universe. There literally is no logical reason for me to not be good at this game, as I dominate the dojo when it comes to Mario games, but this one? Yeah, it’s ridiculous.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s not a true Mario game. Because of the fact that I can’t beat it will forever cement my stance that it’s not a true Mario game, and not deserving to be placed in the series. It’s the black sheep of the Mushroom Kingdom, and I hate it for that.
So I gave it another shot. Because seriously, I’m a masochist, and I enjoy the punishment and disappoint every time I play it, which ultimately makes me hate the game that much more.
Let’s just get this out of the way right now. I still suck at the game. Yes, I died at pretty much the same place as I always do, because I’m a creature of habit. I’m really considering making a play through video of me playing this game, if only for comedy sakes for anyone willing to watch me suck.
One day I hope to beat this game by myself. One day. Until l do, I will stop trying. The day I beat the game, I vow I will never touch that stupid game again.
Until I feel like I need a little pain and punishment in my life again, that is.
Recently, on Twitter, I held a "contest" where I gave away a $20 Steam credit to one of my lucky followers. The only rules for the contest was to re-tweet my contest posting, but also let me know which blog posting they have liked the best in this first half of the year. Lastly, they had to leave a recommendation for a game to play, because while I should have no problem finding enough games to play for the rest of the year, I thought it would be cool to actually write about games that you, my dear readers, are interested in. I'm a man of the people.
The people's champ, if you will.
So with that, here I am, on day 195 of my blog, and I am writing about game called "Snuggle Truck." Seriously, I wish I was making this name up. But I'm not. And I played it because of suggestion from a new follower I gained in this contest giveaway, most likely because of of an awesome follower who re-tweeted what I was up to.
Anyway, when I got the recommendation from her, I promptly noted that I was nervous yet intrigued, solely based on the name of the game itself. I had never heard of the game, nor did I know anything about it, so obviously, the name "Snuggle Truck" is going to catch my eye. I mean come on, Snuggle Truck? Who wouldn't be at least interested to find out what the game was about?
I got no other information from my new yet mysterious twitter friend about the game. Was it a Steam game? A mobile game? Some odd and obscure titles on one of the consoles or handhelds that I somehow missed? I had no clue. Well, until I Googled it, that is. I saw it was available on the iOS, so of course I promptly downloaded it from the App Store, and since it was free, it made my decision even easier.
The game itself is simple. You control a truck, driving over rough terrain, trying to get to the goal as fast as possible. The only catch is that your truck bed is loaded up with cute, plushy stuffed animals that tend to go flying up and out of the truck with every bump. It's your job as driver to keep them in the truck, or catch them on their descent back to the ground. The faster you accomplish the level while packing the most cargo possible will net you better rankings, which seems to be the name of the game. Get more medals, unlock more levels.
Upon my Google search, however, I discovered a hidden secret about this game. It wasn't originally called Snuggle Truck. Before it got stuck with this cute, seemingly harmless name, it was once called "Smuggle Truck," where instead of stuffed animals, they were zoo animals, and you essentially played the role of a poacher. Apparently this too controversial for the mainstream public gaming consumer, so they had to change the name to appeal to the masses.
Which is unfortunate, if you ask me. It's a game, about driving cargo. Who really cares what the cargo is? It's sad that we as a society have stooped to this level of sensitivity.
I guess it's true what they say, though. You can't always judge a book by its cover.
Steam Summer Sale.
The Steam Summer Sale is here.
The Steam Summer Sale is here.
The Steam Summer Sale is here! The Steam Summer Sale is here!
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!!!
THE STEAM SUMMER SALE IS HERE!!!
Yes, after a long, long, long wait, the Steam Summer Sale started a few days ago, and while I was greatly underwhelmed when it first started, my eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store when I discovered the neat little tabs in the store titles "under $10" and "under $5." Forget all the big name, triple-A titles up for sale that I already own on consoles, for me, this sale is all about the smaller, lesser known indie games that are for sale for practically nothing. I bought eight games right off the bat, and haven't slowed down since then, compiling a cache of games to play for this stupid blog.
Speaking of which, I could write about the first game I ever bought from a Steam Summer Sale, that I played today, which was McPixel - bit honestly, that's just keeping me away from browsing and shopping in the Steam Store. I keep finding games, then talking myself out of buying the games, and then eventually buying in on a whim, because well, I have a problem.
So if you came to this posting to read about McPixel, I'm sorry. Not going to happen. It's like a couple of bucks, go buy it yourself. It's worth it. In the meantime, I'm going to be busy.
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I have officially gone crazy. You guys warned me. I didn't listen.
It's not secret - well, it shouldn't be at least - that I'm not a huge fan of mobile games. For the most part, I don't seem to find the same type of gaming experience or enjoyment that I normally would with console or handheld gaming. The substance is lacking immersion into the game, and usually it just feels like I'm playing the mobile games just to kill time, when other forms of gaming aren't readily available.
Well, I wish I could say that playing Tiny Wings was a different experience and completely changed how I looked at mobile gaming. Unfortunately that's just not the case.
I had my iPad with me for work, for no other reason than to combat possible boredom on a slow Friday at the end of a busy work week. Thanks to the 5 year anniversary celebration of the iTunes App Store, and the free games that they gave away to thank all those loyal to the brand, I got Tiny Wings for free on the iPad. I had purchased the regular version a couple years ago when it first came out, but the iPad version (like most games) has an upgraded HD version to coincide with the big, beautiful retina display of the newest iPad. While the normal game is quite sufficient, it's always nice to take advantage of the upgraded awesomeness of HD games.
So, Tiny Wings. It's a serviceable game. It does it job as fulfilling the credentials of being a mobile game, and does it quite well. It's a one-touch game, where tapping anywhere on the screen sends your bird dive-bombing to the bumpy landscape below, in which you utilize gravity and momentum to propel yourself forward as you let go of your touch to launch your bird back in the air. Your goal is to pick up coins, gobble up speed boosts and basically get as far as you can before the sun completely sets for the day. High scores are the main reason for playing over and over again, while completing challenges throughout your play sessions adds to your success rate.
That's about it, really. It's short, quick games fueled by the drive to get higher scores and basically, just kill free time. Sure, it's a very aesthetically pleasing game, but let's not beat around the bush. It's still a mobile game, and that's all that it will ever be.
XBLA = The Noyse
PSN = the_noyse
NNID = The Noyse
3DS F.C. = 3007-8109-2329
STEAM = TheNoyse
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Games played for project : 365