The best games are simple to understand and quick to start. Within five minutes of downloading Cannon Brawl you’ll understand the basic concepts of building mines to bolster your economy, deploying territory balloons to expand your territory and dropping cannons to ensure military superiority over your opponent. New concepts are introduced throughout the campaign, but the core concept is immediately available and understandable. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing solo or with others: those three base units are going to be integral to victory. READ MORE
No Goblin’s debut title, Roundabout, is about navigating tricky paths in an unorthodox fashion, and so, it seems, was the game’s development. It tries to balance the dumb fun of its world and narrative with some truly exacting mechanics, and it succeeds if you’re willing to approach each aspect in its own time.
At the outset of Over the Moon Games Studio’s debut offering, The Fall, a figure in an advanced combat suit plummets towards a planet for reasons never explained. Seconds before slamming into a rocky outcropping, the combat suit’s self-defense systems automatically kick in, initiating antimatter shielding that lets the suit blast through the obstacle without harm. The figure then proceeds to carve a fifty-meter hole into the surface before finally coming to rest.
This self-defense system is operated by an artificial intelligence called an armored robotic interface device (ARID), which is also capable of piloting the suit independently should the user within become unresponsive. After a fall like that, “unresponsive” is probably the best-case scenario, but since almost all of the suit’s diagnostics and advanced functions were disabled the AI has no way of knowing anything more than that. Driven by its Asimov-like three parameters — “must not misrepresent reality,” “must be obedient” and “must protect active pilot” — it decides that finding medical attention for its pilot is its primary objective. READ MORE
The “games as art” debate has been brewing more fervently for the past few years, with recent titles such as Proteus, Dear Esther and Gone Home serving as torchbearers for this movement. However, these titles, in which the gameplay mostly involves walking and exploring, stoke another debate: whether they’re “games” at all. For me, many of those games were incredible experiences that I would place right next to any I’ve had with more traditional art forms. Eidolon attempts to walk in the footsteps of the trailblazing games of this genre, but in doing so has gone too far. For the first time, I feel that I really understand the opinion of the other side. Eidolon is beautiful to look at and occasionally captivating, but the pace of the experience left me feeling uncertain. READ MORE
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
Is a better digital replication of the physical Magic: the Gathering experience a better digital Magic: the Gathering experience? That’s the quandary facing the newest installment of Wizards of the Coast’s Duels of the Planeswalkers standalone game series, as it comes closer and closer to feeling like Magic Online under heavy competition and pressure from games like Hearthstone. READ MORE
I want to like Abyss Odyssey. It’s chock-full of concepts that appeal to me, and if you asked me to review the design document instead of the finished product, it’d get top marks. In historical Chile, a warlock has descended into the abyss and taken a nap. That’s fine, as warlocks are weird guys, and they can sleep where they want. The unfortunate thing is that the warlock has a vivid imagination, and the abyss is causing his nightmares to come to life and terrorize the people on the surface. Your job: get to the bottom of the abyss, kill the warlock and save the people of Chile from being gored and eaten by horrible monsters. READ MORE
On one hand, Munin is a well-assembled puzzle game. On the other, it’s almost completely devoid of plot and wastes the Norse setting completely. You play as the titular Munin, one of Odin’s two messenger ravens. The other raven, Hunin, is mentioned once in a screen of text and then never seen again. Loki has transformed Munin into a mortal man, and Munin must scour the world for his feathers. After collecting all of them, Munin can return to Odin who will, presumably, slap Loki on the hand and make him promise to be a good boy from now on. 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.
Influences from the NES era are nothing new. This has been an ongoing trend in indie games, often to draw on the nostalgia factor and also cut the costs of developing in HD. Some might even say the trend is getting a bit overdone, and I might have agreed with them until now. Shovel Knight has proven that combining old art styles and mechanics, and mashing together old genres, can still be done well. READ MORE