ngp_aimless

As I mention in my review of the new indie title Hohokum, I prefer games with structure versus those that tend to let you roam free, learning as you go. Hohokum’s aimless approach was both its greatest strength and weakness, yet it made me realize I appreciate similar titles and their approach to that design. It’s not the best example of this approach to game design, but it had me thinking about those design philosophies and how important they are to gaming as a whole.

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swordartonline3

Emulating another genre within a game has been met with varying levels of success. Probably the most well-known of an MMO-within-a-game structure is the .hack series. That franchise spanned seven games and, for the most part, did its best to emulate the MMO structure inside a “regular” RPG of sorts. Years after .hack made an appearance in both anime and video games, Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment rolls around with a similar premise. Is SAO able to raise the bar on this kind of formula? READ MORE

Hohokum: I think I liked it?

August 21, 2014

Hohokum_20140813202901

I’ve been sitting here, staring at a blank page for almost an hour. How do you write about a game like Hohokum? I recall my adventures with the game’s lead “character,” taking me through vast worlds full of bizarre characters and creatures that are all unique, yet somehow feel singular. It’s a game with no real premise or clear objectives, yet I found myself (sometimes) engaged with its colorful landscapes. Let’s explore Hohokum and see if we can dissect it, shall we?

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B2PN_GCN

Everyone does Top 10 Games lists. The problem with those? Usually, they’re full of games that earn a place because of nostalgia or industry significance. Here at Snackbar Games, we like being a little more practical: if you’re looking to just have fun, what games should you pick up and play today? This time, we grab the indigo box by the handle and take a look at the GameCube.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

The original Paper Mario came out very late in the N64’s life cycle, and as a result, many missed out on this still-beautiful gem of a game. With Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Intelligent Systems strove to improve the formula for a new generation of hardware and completely succeeded. This 2004 sequel has Mario journeying through the land of Rogueport while trying to rescue Princess Peach (again), meeting quirky new friends like Goombella and Professor Frankly and collecting crystal stars to open the titular Thousand-Year Door. The 2D sprites against the 3D background look fantastic, the buddies are a treat and the scenarios (particularly the coliseum section) worked well to set the pace. It’s a joy to play, and a respectable continuation of the Mario RPG series. - Henry Skey
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multitapgenesis

The Sega Genesis, which just celebrated the 25th anniversary of its American release, was notoriously a bit of a mess in the multiplayer department. Instead of a unified first-party effort, there were three competing schemes for allowing up to four players at once, and compatibility is… well, it’s a headache. But there are ways to get around that, and there are games worth that effort! READ MORE

theswapper1

Players have been enjoying The Swapper on PCfor the previous year, but console fans are just recently getting their first taste of the game on the PS4, PS3 and Vita. The Swapper is a puzzle-action game hybrid, similar in feel to Braid, but with a much darker and more realistic tone set on an abandoned space station. The game does make a few missteps, but the atmosphere, along with some unique and well-thought-out puzzle mechanics, make this a game that anyone even remotely interested in it should play. READ MORE

talesofxillia2c

Building a direct JRPG sequel creates a special opportunity. A developer can build on the hours of work of the previous game, both in asset creation and player buy-in, and the characters and locations can be fleshed out and given an ever-more-memorable presence in the minds of the fans and the zeitgeist of the genre. The focus can be on fixing flaws while retaining what went right, and the result can be a game that one-ups its accomplished predecessor.

But as enticing as this opportunity can be, it’s rarely seized in the genre, because it also presents a profound challenge. READ MORE

sero_suikodenv1

I moan about a lot of things, like how the traffic lights don’t sync up on Cook Street between Johnson and Yates. Or how much sunscreen I have to use during the summer, or even how the seagulls near my apartment seem to be practicing for the Sam Kinison choir, starting at 4 a.m. I’m sure we all have our little irks about life we want to change, and some are empowered enough to do so. If I were smarter, I would take a different route home from work, wear a hat when I’m outdoors and move away from mating birds.

Some grievances are beyond my help, or at least I can only do so little. The Snackbar staff are well aware that I’m a positive person, but when it comes to a lack of sequels for my favorite game series, I can turn from Mr. Rogers to Oscar the Grouch at the drop of a trash can lid. Lately, I can’t get Suikoden out of my head and how a Suikoden VI could knock it out of the park. READ MORE

The Sega Genesis is 25! We celebrate the anniversary of the system’s American release by checking out some of its best titles (as well as a few off-the-beaten-path selections). While Graham struggles with classics like Dynamite Headdy, Aladdin, Columns III, NBA Jam T.E. and World of Illusion, Lucas joins Andrew to talk about Gamescom news, Akiba’s Trip, Hohokum, RetroN 5 and more.

To watch the show and chat with us live, check out this page every other Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern and follow us on Twitter for special streams.

roadnottaken3

I never knew that I needed roguelikes and puzzle games to team up, but Road Not Taken is great enough to prove how wrong I was. It rewards careful gameplay, features procedurally generated puzzles and lifts the crafting mechanics from match-three games like developer Spry Fox’s previous release, Triple Town. READ MORE