Drinkbox Studios first released Guacamelee! for the PS3 and Vita last year. It made appearances on two of our Staff Picks lists, but due to circumstances beyond our control, it never got an official Snackbar review. Thankfully, an updated Super Turbo Championship Edition was recently released to all the home consoles, giving us a chance to correct this oversight.
This finely-crafted love letter to both Mexican culture and video games in general is, at its core, a Metroidvania-style adventure with a combat emphasis taken from arcade-y beat-’em-ups. As you progress through the game, you will receive new attacks and other moves that will aid you in exploring the various areas in which the story takes place. As a Metroidvania, there will inevitably be backtracking as your new abilities gain you access to areas that were previously closed off, but most of it is narratively justified until you reach the endgame. READ MORE
Ubisoft’s recent push towards releasing smaller, downloadable titles alongside its big hits has been a positive step in the right direction. It began this trend with Child of Light and is continuing it with Valiant Hearts: The Great War. Utilizing a striking art style, provided by the publisher’s UbiArt framework, Valiant Hearts covers a time in history rarely presented in the medium and, thankfully, does so with a level of sophistication you don’t often see in games about war.
Adventure games have taken many forms over the genre’s long history, with recent efforts including the crowdfunded Broken Age and more big-budget affairs such as L.A. Noire. Airtight Games’ new title, Murdered: Soul Suspect fits into the latter category. It features a small, albeit detailed, environment to explore and plenty of puzzles to solve and ultimately becoming a modern take on a classic genre. The twist? You play as the ghost of a detective attempting to solve his own murder case.
Ubisoft’s new open-world action game, Watch Dogs, has generated a lot of buzz in the two years since its initial reveal. Originally positioned as one of the first (if not the first) big titles for the next generation of game consoles, it has drawn the focus on many, even months after its initial delay. It’s almost impossible to live up to those expectations, yet Ubisoft has tried its best to make it stand out among a sea of similar, well-liked games.
Supergiant Games practically came out of nowhere with 2011 indie darling Bastion, cementing its status as a studio to pay attention to in the coming years. Finally, after over a year of anticipation, its follow-up, Transistor, arrives. Looking at it from a distance, you could easily tell it’s a game from the team behind Bastion, yet it manages to stand apart from Supergiant’s initial release in some unique ways.
After years of industry-fueled hype and Kickstarter-fueled development, it’s finally finished and available to everyone: Sportsfriends, the four-game indie local multiplayer collection that takes the idea of “sports” and strips it down to its most vital components. And, well, it’s as great as people say it is. READ MORE
As the first release using the new Unreal Engine 4, Daylight is an anomaly, in that it’s a horror game and not the usual first-person shooter. You are trapped in an abandoned hospital that is infested with ghosts called Shadows. You must find a way out with the help of another character, who you only communicate with over audio channels. The world is procedurally generated, which means that no two playthroughs follow the same layout. As a result, this limits how much narration the player can receive, to avoid having it repeat too much. The narration is ominous and fits the feel of the game, even when it is largely working as a tutorial. READ MORE
With the ability to turn production sketches directly into in-game assets, the UbiArt engine supplies some breathtakingly delicate visuals to Child of Light. The unique graphical design, combined with a haunting piano-dominated score, bring the story of Aurora’s journey through Lemuria to life in a way that will be remembered for a long time. While not flawless, this odd blend of turn-based RPG and flying platformer is certainly an experience worth investigating. READ MORE
Games starring everyone’s favorite web-slinging superhero, Spider-Man, have had a rough history. The majority of them turn out bad, or at least underwhelming, but there have been a few exceptions. Titles such as Spider-Man 2 and Web of Shadows have managed to put Spider-Man in an environment that is perfectly suited to his abilities by including an open world to explore and a combat system that feels in tune with his fighting style.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is another in a long line of games hoping to recapture the magic from those success stories, but it stumbles far more than it succeeds. READ MORE
RedLynx’ hit series, Trials, began as a web release way back in 2000. It was a simple, mindless distraction, but one many couldn’t stop playing. It wasn’t long before the formula begun taking new form, shifting from a basic (albeit addictive) little game into something much larger. Trials Fusion, the latest in this series, features a new, futuristic coat of paint, but maintains everything that made it noteworthy to begin with.