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
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.
11 bit studios has been steadily releasing tower offense games under the Anomaly banner since 2011. Commanding a line of creeps, determining the best line layout and changing the route to victory on the fly separated Anomaly: Warzone Earth and Anomaly 2 from more standard tower-defense fare. Anomaly Defenders takes the tower offense concept and turns it around again: now you’re controlling the aliens, protecting your launch pads from humans and spending your time on the receiving end of panzer tank fire. READ MORE
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.