Until Dawn has got to be one of the dopest gaming expreiences I’ve ever had in my life. The general setting playing it was going over to my best friends’ (Mark and Katie) place and while playing the game decided to just go with the general feel of the room. I would man the controls doing the general video gamey quicktime events while Katie would shout out “Sometimes doing nothing is the best answer!” and Mark reminding me to check for the collectables around the area.
It was just so much god damn fun! Personally I highly recommend playing this game in a group. If someone is intimidated by using the controls, play it for them and just let them call out the decisions for you. No matter who lives and who dies it’ll definitely be a game you’ll remember just because of the moments you’ll have playing it with your friends.
Okay: let’s get it out of the way first, I cheated. I may have managed to have the most fun with Until Dawn; out of all the possibilities and approaches to this title, I think I nailed it. By trading the controls while characters change with my two best friends, you create a huge layer of split-responsibility and complete uncertainty. Maybe my friend Damien is going to shoot someone in the face because he doesn’t like that character! Me? I wouldn’t do that, but now anything is possible.
Sure, I don’t think Until Dawn is for everyone, but self-aware nature is intoxicating. It’s campy horror and it knows it. Much like DmC Devil May Cry, embracing what you are and having fun with it is just a huge plus. Until Dawn goes through some weird transformations and permutations within that, but it’s all a fun and unexpected ride.
Also, the decision system feels robust and fun, allowing for weird pairings and characters and a ton of dialogue you may have missed otherwise. There are surprises, jump scares, and all the teen horror you can handle, and it looks incredible the whole time.
Rare really is something special for me. I guess I knew that, somewhere in my heart of hearts, but seeing all their classics mixed with the classics I know, laid out so wonderfully really brings out the magic of what Rare is. They were such a creative force, creating lovable characters and charm out of pretty much thin air, and they did it time and time again.
I have missed out on a lot of cool Rare titles, like Viva Piñata, and being able to go back and see everything they’ve done laid out in full view is awesome. Sure, I’ve sunk a huge chunk of time into an old hat like Conker’s Bad Fur day, but it’s a great game and another classic from Rare’s library. If anything, there are just too many cool games for me to see here, and I don’t even know when I’ll get to all of them.
The Rare Replay is the standard for remembering the gems of the past. The intro, the videos, the love and the clear adoration from those left from the original Rare is clear and apparent. It’s something I’ll be coming back to and chipping away at for years probably, and it’s honestly a huge sell for an Xbox One.
Mega Man Legacy Collection
Mega Man is a timeless classic. Something you can always go back to saying to yourself, “Man, were hard but once you get into them can be so much fun” and thankfully this still holds true today. Playing games again just makes me recall of my younger years playing with my older brother. We would constantly rent Mega Man 2/3/4 over and over again but could never beat them. Regardless of the difficulty we faced as kids though we still enjoy the games so much even though we never even got to Wily’s Castle in any of them. Balancing difficulty and fun was and forever will be the challenge video games face and I feel the original Mega Man series is the closest to the middle of that that we’ll ever get.
Lara Croft Go
If there is any shining example of why Square Enix’s dedication to mobile could be a really good thing, it’s their Montreal development studio’s GO series. Taking old franchises and turning them on their ear in this charming little puzzle/board game form is becoming one of the most brilliant things the Japanese mega publisher has co-signed in years.
Expanding on the turn based puzzle concepts of Hitman GO, Lara Croft GO takes the patient and plodding brain workout to another level. Yes, its bigger, better, and more interactive than Hitman GO, but it is such because it’s also so much different than it. The adherence to each of the franchises’ core concepts is to thank for that. Hitman GO stages felt very tense and stressed that players execute their targets with precise movements and well thought out strategies. Lara Croft GO always feels like an adventure. Every screen is new and interesting, and eventually the game opens up a bit, giving players multiple paths to wander through and discover things in. You know, like a proper Tomb Raider. These distinctions are important, because it means Hitman and Lara Croft can be on-going, ever improving franchises without compromising what makes the games different from one another. How beautiful is that?
Last year, the folks at Hipster Whale came out with a game called “Crossy Road”. For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, it’s a free-to-play endless version of Konami’s classic “Frogger”. Jonathan Mann wrote a song about it.
Apparently, the folks at Bandai Namco saw something they liked. They commissioned Hipster Whale to apply their endless arcade classic formula to PAC-MAN. The result of this is PAC-MAN 256.
In PAC-MAN 256, you collect pellets & fruit and dodge ghosts while powering up with the occasional power pellet- just like in PAC-MAN, only the maze is endless. As you collect pellets, you unlock power-ups that you can use in the game. There are new types of ghosts as well. Crossy Road’s eagle (for those who take too long to move) is replaced by a replica of the 256th stage glitch from the original PAC-MAN.
There is an in-game currency that you collect in the maze, as well as for completing certain goals and watching ads. There is a coin doubler microtransaction, but you can’t actually buy additional currency with real money. The game also limits you to 5 credits, which recharge over time, but you can also unlock unlimited credits for $7.99 and play for as long as you want.
Like Crossy Road, PAC-MAN 256 is a fun game for short bursts that continuously drives you to better your score. If you liked Crossy Road, PAC-MAN, or just fun in general, check it out.
Also, for Crossy Road & PAC-MAN fans, Hipster Whale released a free playable PAC-MAN character for Crossy Road to commemorate the release of PAC-MAN 256. When you use it, it reskins the game with a PAC-MAN theme.
On June 14 Bethesda announced a game for the iOS, related to their famous Fallout franchise, Fallout Shelter, which was met with critical acclaim. I was a day one downloader, with my iPad in hand, and it became a fun distraction that in time, two days, became an obsession, a true accolade to its developers. When the game hit the Android marketplace, I had successfully noted several mistakes in the construction of my prior vault, and was determined to correct them, as the game throws you into the role of the omnipresent and all-knowing Overseer. These corrections included those I allowed to breed.
Fallout Shelter has many amazing features, between the ability to place vault dwellers in different areas to produce the necessary resources for survival, out into the Wastelands to scour and scavenge for equipment, defending your Vault from raiders and Deathclaws, all while maintaining their personal happiness. But among these features is something truly special. Sex. For reproduction, of course. The first instinct of many players is to raise their vault population in order to unlock specialized vault rooms, a fantastic unlocking mechanism for the game, and that’s where many fall into a trap. When the vault broods are born, they receive traits from their parents in the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system the game uses for stats. The more talented the parents, the greater their spawn. And vice versa. Now some of the rooms that can be unlocked are training rooms, so it’s not a total loss.
As the game carries on, without a doubt, you, like many others, will eventually join the ranks of Teddy Roosevelt, Jacques Cousteau, and Adolf Hitler in advancing your eugenic platform. Well probably not Hitler, as my perfect vault doesn’t have any Aryan Ubermensch running around. Classic characters making an appearance, such as the famous Three Dog, and Dr. Li, and many others all have incredible stats from the get go, ensuring their place in your reproduction cycle.
Fallout Shelter does a phenomenal job of giving you the feeling of playing a Fallout game, by keeping the spirit of the franchise, but bringing it to a city management simulator Fallout Style. Shortcuts in the form of buy lunch boxes, and item normally gained through a 7-day evaluation or completing specific challenges, that contain everything from resources to series famous characters; and Mr. Handys’, robots to gather resources for you, exist and are appropriately priced for real money, but are never truly required in comparison to the typical Free-to-Play games the mobile marketplace is plagued with. This among its other features makes Fallout Shelter a success, but also a Fallout Game that ranks up there with the best of the series, in spite of its “Free-to-Play Mobile Game” status. 10/10, would be a Eugenicist again.
~~~~Cameron Abbott, follow Cameron on Twitter, he’s cool!
Galak-Z was absolutely not on my radar, making for yet another awesome indie title to come out of nowhere for me and surprise the hell out of me. Galak-Z is kind of like a rogue-like Zelda game where instead of navigating the fields of Hyrule as Link, you’re navigating small sections of space as a super cool transforming ship. Top down? Check. Intense combat and enemy types? Check. Unforgiving death? Absolutely. Yeah, this is a game for me.
Piloting the Galak-Z as A-Tak, with the help of Beam and the Axelios, is ripped straight out of a Gundam plot. It’s very 90s in its interpretation of sci-fi, and the more I play it the more the presentation sticks out to me as one of the best “I know what I am”’s of indie games. Seeing it fully expressed, from the odd 2D/3D character portraits to the cel-shaded CG style ships and mechs, it’s all there.
Oh and the game is super fun too! You slide around in space with at least three different kinds of thrusters, meaning maneuvering around enemies is key to success. Victory can only be achieved by not blowing your shields too quickly, either playing carefully as the ship or aggressively as the mech, and leaving no survivors. It’s satisfying, hard as all hell, and a continuation of an amazing series of console rogue-likes that began with Spelunky.