When you think of stealth based video games, you may think of classic 3D based games such as the Metal Gear or Splinter Cell series of games. Stealthily slinking around environments waiting for your opportunity to pick off unsuspecting guards one by one. But how would this formula work in a 2D platformer? The fine folks at Klei Entertainment have answered this question with their latest offering Mark of the Ninja for XBLA. The studio is well known for the Shank series which are in your face, combo heavy beat ‘em ups, but how well do they make the shift over to the stealth genre? Read on to find out.
Mark of the Ninja manages to cleverly breathe new life into the stealth genre
Rock Band Blitz gives players another addicting way to enjoy their music collection, but competing against your friends isn’t as simple as performing like a 5 star band.
It wasn’t too long ago when music based games were on the rise. It all started with Guitar Hero, which spawned a generation of games and plastic guitar controllers. Then Harmonix decided to step it up and give gamers the complete band experience with Rock Band. Since Rock Band 3, gamers have only had DLC to keep them going, and Harmonix needed a way to bring something new to the table for people who want rhythm based games. The result is Rock Band Blitz.
Instead of having the traditional Rock Band set up with drums, mics and guitars, Rock Band Blitz is meant to be played by a single person with a traditional controller. The game focuses on a single player trying to achieve the highest score possible by playing all of the instruments available in each song. Rock Band Blitz offers an experience that focuses on the music instead of playing together with your friends, trying to achieve rock star greatness.
Hybrid features more streamlined shooter experience that ends up making the game more tiresome than fun.
Hybrid is indeed an odd game. When I heard the developers of Scribblenauts was making a shooter for XBLA, I immediately had my doubts. How will a developer that isn’t known for shooters going to make a title that gamers will truly want to keep playing, instead of loading up Call of Duty.
Hybrid is essentially a cover based shooter, but with a dab of Halo presentation. The biggest difference between Hybrid and other cover based shooters is the simplicity of the mechanics. Instead of having robust levels, dozens of weapons and more game play types than you will ever play, players receive a streamlined and simplistic title.
The weirdest part of Hybrid is, in fact, the cover system. The only way I can describe Hybrid’s cover system is “point and click.” Each map is equipped with a dozen or so cover areas, and the only way to actually move is to go directly from cover to cover. Apparently in the future, floors were something that just had to go, and people have to transport via jetpack. Players go from cover to cover simply by placing their reticule over the cover they wish to move to, and press the A button. Once in cover you can move from left to right, or switch what side of the cover you are on. Not actually having to manually travel from cover to cover will throw players for a loop at first. Trying to reprogram your brain to not move is no easy task.
Dust: An Elysian Tail is one of the best arcade experiences you will ever have.
The game starts out with your player having amnesia. The only name you know yourself as is Dust, and your past is just a fog. But what is clear is that the world you awoken to is in danger. Monsters roam the world destroying villages leaving destruction in their wake. Dusts’ quest is clear; help the innocent and drive the monsters back. This is Dust: An Elysian Tail
The story is amazingly well written and executed. Interaction with the character is shown in cut scenes which overlay the main game screen, as each character design is shown of in all its glory. The voice acting as sublime too, with every character having a personality of their own, with even the usually annoying sidekick being well written and performed. Some of the best parts of the game is the banter between Dust and Fidget.
Deadlight Takes it Back to the 80s
Deadlight is a side-scrolling survival platformer developed by Tequila Works. It is the first production by this company and it is the third game to be released during this year’s Summer of Arcade on Xbox Live. Deadlight throws you into the life of Randall Wayne; a small town everyman who comes from Canada to the American Northwest in search of his wife and daughter. Along the way Randall finds some of his friends and some of his memories, while attempting to dodge hordes of the undead (known in Deadlight as “Shadows”) in the shadow of Seattle in 1986. Deadlight seems to take cues from various other games in its style and content. The zombie theme is one that, while a bit clichéd, is still near and dear to my heart, so whether or not Tequila Works takes Deadlight beyond my expectations has yet to be determined.
Wreckateer is one the most addicting Kinect experiences available on the Xbox 360.
It has been a long time since I have picked up a Kinect title. I love the features that Kinect offers, but there haven’t been many titles, in my opinion, that have used the peripheral correctly. When Microsoft showed off Wreckateer at E3 2012, I was genuinely interested.
The whole idea behind Wreckateer is destroying large castles infested with Goblins, and achieve a high score to obtain a gold medal. Essentially Wreckateer is very similar to an insanely popular game most people have played, Angry Birds. I usually hate to compare titles during a review, but the similarities are uncanny. Luckily, Iron Galaxy has created an experience that is just as addictive, but changes enough of the Angry Birds formula so Wreckateer doesn’t feel like a cheap cash in.
The Walking Dead Episode 2 is an amazing decision making game that will leave you wanting more.
There are a lot of zombie games out there. There’s no doubt about that. Most zombie games keep it simple, you see a zombie and kill it. There aren’t many zombie games that show the human emotion and the decisions one has to make during a zombie apocalypse. Telltale takes the zombie genre and flips it on its head with episode 2 of The Walking Dead game.
Episode 2 rightly named Starved for Help takes place 3 months after episode 1. You once again step into the role of Lee Everett, a felony who is now free because of the apocalypse and finds himself as the leader of a group of survivors in a ram shackled fortress that used to be a motel. Among these are Clementine, a young child who you stuck with throughout the first chapter of the series, as well as others, including the militant Lilly. These people depend on you and you must make the hard choices. A great example of this mechanic is the food ration situation. There is only enough food to feed four people and there are eight people total. So you have to make the choice who do I feed? Do I feed the kids and get the support of the families, or do I feed the other adults and gain allies for later on. There our choices like this throughout the game and none of them are easy. The line between good and bad in this game is gone.
I love me a hard video game. Dark Souls, Super Ghouls N Ghosts, Battletoads, etc. all appeal to me because while these games can be relentlessly difficult, each death pushes me to try and make it just a little bit further than before. When I saw that the game Spelunky had hit XBLA, I decided to check out the trial. When I realized that the game shares a brutal level of difficulty with the games mentioned previously, I immediately purchased it. Goddamnit, I love Spelunky.
Spelunky is a brutally difficult 2D platformer with an old school feel.
Originally created by Derek Yu as a (still available) freeware game for Windows, Spelunky is a 2D roguelike platformer that tells the story of an Indiana Jones-esque adventurer who explores an ever changing cave system in the hopes of reaching the end. Throughout your travels you’ll rescue damsels (or dudes or dogs!) in distress, find golden idols protected by nefarious traps, and unlock new gear to better help you survive the caves. However, anything and everything will kill you, ranging from bats to arrow traps to giant scorpions. Hell, even shopkeepers won’t think twice about swiftly ending your game should you anger them. But to say that this is all the game is: a 2D platforming romp, wouldn’t be fair to Spelunky as it offers so much more than what’s on the surface.