Contrast has some unique ideas, but the the bugs and confusing story keep it from being memorable.
Contrast is a very weird game. There is no getting around it. Contrast is a unique experiment that sadly doesn’t feel finished. In the end it feels like a different style of game that needed more time in development to realize its’ true potential.
Contrast on the surface is a puzzle game, but also has a story that is trying to tell the story of a young girls family issues. The player takes control of Dawn, a mysterious woman who has the ability to jump in and out of walls and use shadows to ascend. Dawn follows around a small girl named Didi, whose parents are having issues and Didi is caught in the middle. For some reason Didi is the only person who can see Dawn.
The story of Contrast is a weird one. It deals with elements that you would not think would be subject matter for a video game. The main story arc revolves around Didi sneaking out of her bedroom to see her Mother sing at the local night club, while also trying to help her Father get his new Circus off the ground. The story takes some twists and turns over the 2-3 hour adventure, and honestly it just starts getting really weird. The twists that occur feel as if the writer is doing their best to portray a sense of importance of family, but at the same time adds in extremely bizarre moments that deal with topics such as suicide. It jumps from idea to idea, and struggles to find a central idea to keep the story engaging.
The Bridge is a fantastic Indie Puzzle game that has a visual presentation that is truly breath taking.
The Bridge is a critically acclaimed indie game that has won numerous awards for its’ art style and world spinning puzzle solving. So after hearing all of the hype I had to see what all the talk as about.
The first thing you will notice is the art style. The Bridge is easily one of the most impressive games I have seen in awhile. Every single asset is hand drawn and looks like a black-and-white lithograph. It is something that screen shots just do not capture. Seeing it in action is just simply beautiful , and then mix in the musical set piece and you have one of the best presentations in recent memory.
So even though the game looks amazing, the real question is how are the puzzles? The puzzle design is what you would expect from a puzzle game. Get from one end of the room to the door located somewhere else on the map. The catch is the player has the ability to spin and twist the world a full 360 degrees with the triggers and bumpers on the controller. So instantly you have the recipe to make some truly mind bending puzzles.
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.