On April 10th, 2014, I watched a Nintendo Direct showcasing, for the first time ever, the western version Tomodachi Life. Upon viewing this, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Why is Miyamoto having dreams of running on the beach with Princess Peach? Why does a giant Reggie head appear out of the water? How are all the Nintendo executive in a three-way fight over the love for Zero-Suit Samus? And now they are doing a musical number together? Singing and dancing with somewhat robotic but decent voices?
I… I have to have this game in my life. So I did. And it’s great. You should get it. Currently, me and Chie (from Persona 4) are sweethearts and Iwata is stalking a cafe right now for some reason. It’s Japanese crazy and I love it.
Bungie took the gaming community by surprise when they opened up an Alpha for their FPS RPG Destiny during Sony’s E3 press conference. As I missed initial signups, I was sent a code to join in the madness that Friday, and a weekend full of mixed emotions and a lot of promise would follow.
Borrowing much of its open world shooting from Borderlands, Destiny did find a way to make tried and true mechanics feel unique. The various guns available to find all had different shot patterns and added effects, and rarer guns have the opportunity to be modded and level up with you. Each of the available classes had distinct powers that gave them personalized roles in battle. Vehicle traversal and combat is pretty standard fare from the company that brought us Halo, and this sci-fi world they’ve built has great potential.
But its not without its flaws. Multiplayer was very basic, and even though it was enjoyable, some of the games bigger balancing issues are most present when players gather to shoot at each other, not with each other. The story based content falls rather flat, maybe because very little story is being told, or the super awkward delivery of most of the narrative by an uncharacteristically flat Peter Dinklage. “Stikes” (see also: Raids) are cool premises, but need to be better thought out, with more of an emphasis on even pacing throughout all of the dungeon. And what are these races, and what do they offer that’s different than one another past aesthetics.
The Alpha has shed light on the great deal of potential Destiny has, even with its flaws, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the Beta.
I have always been very hesitant when diving into “new old” games, and Shovel Knight, though it had all the makings of a fine one of those, was indeed one of those games. And it is goddamn fantastic.
Reminding you of how much fun you can just have with good gameplay is what Shovel Knight does best. Its gorgeous in its 8-bit/16-it glory, its music takes you back to all of the bit-days, and it is just ingeniously well made. From how it plays to how it challenges you in unexpected was, Shovel Knight rewards the player with just pure fun and challenge almost every moment you have your hands on it.
Shovel Knight may be the best game to be released in 2014 so far. Also, it gives me hope that Kickstarter games could really change the playing field if more look like this.
Listen to Evan and I talk development with Yacht Club Games here.