Taking a page from the past in game development, studios, consisting of developer Matt Phillips, looked to bring us a that would have fit in with our titles from the past. This SEGA Megadrive inspired titled is a puzzle platformer which I recently got ahold of. The game looks and sounds good, but how well does it play? I look past the past and into what this title holds for gamers new and old alike. Join me as we stroll through a true retro gem – In 2018.
Bringing a unique spin on the platformer genre, Colorblind features a little eye with legs that must run and jump its way through a dangerous world. In a bid to go and save its friend from an evil ominous cloud, our protagonist must find colours to go and traverse the treacherous journey ahead of it. But how does the game stand up on an already bloated market? Let’s have a look and see what eye think of it…
… Wait, what..?
I’m not much of a platformer, I dabbled a little in Sonic in college, got on ok with Little Big Planet, but just occasionally I’ll spot one that appeals to my sensibilities. Stick It To The Man somehow wormed its way from Steam’s front page, onto my wishlist, onto my library…
Ray suffers head trauma on a professional level, standing in the path of falling objects in order to get some practical data on hard-hat effectiveness. It’s a noble and pointless profession that calls into doubt everything you experience. His world is flat and cardboard, and filled with bizarre characters and broken physics: cars that drive vertically, triplets who are fused together beyond merely being conjoined, and actual ghosts who attempt to lobotomise the living. Things get weird when an alien crash-lands onto Ray’s head, and gives him strange psychic powers.
With his strange, pink, spaghetti arm stretching from his forehead, he reads the minds of nearby people, tears away walls of paper, hop from platform to platform, and gathers stickers that are oddly representative of physical or psychological objects and concepts that are the basis of your inventory. You have to run and jump through a cardboard world, a city infested with agents hunting for you and the alien in your brain, and the inside of your own head to confront the hijacking alien and your fairly boring past.
Characters are pretty one dimensional, but they’re literally two dimensional, and there’s nothing here to take seriously in the slightest. The comedy is a little on the nose in places, in fact it may be a little over the top on the self-reference and fourth wall breaking, but it’s more than enjoyable enough to keep dragging me along for another chapter because I feel like this game has surprises for me before it’s over.
The off-colour and distorted characters running through a world of roughly cut cardboard, crayon drawings, and stickers that are falling off at the edges give a toy-like feel that brings to mind Little Big Planet. Psychonauts has its fingerprints solidly on Stick It, the art style is strongly reminiscent, as are the outlandish characters, and a comparison is inevitable when dealing with a puzzle-solving platformer with a telepathy theme. If you’re looking for further proof, just keep your eyes peeled for a taxidermied Double-Fine easter egg.
The animation is fairly clean, it gets a little ropy as objects bend and twist, but there’s no realism to uphold that would break immersion. Ray hangs a lampshade on the outlandishness of the world straight away by commenting on how he forgets how much jumping he has to do to get from home to work and back. It leaves you feeling immediately at home in a world that shouldn’t function, and you can forgive a lot of the bizarre logic, like passing objects to and from thought bubbles and charging a battery in the mind of a patient undergoing electroshock therapy.
Death is resolved by having a replacement of yourself printed at your most recent checkpoint.
I like a decent puzzle solver, one that rewards observation and deduction. Failing that I’ll take something relaxing that requires a moderate amount of thought, even if you’re working towards a punchline. For a game that spends so much time in brains it’s not very intellectually taxing, and most of the puzzles can be resolved with a “blunt object” approach of simply charging onward, thoroughly exploring, and trying everything you collect with everything you can interact with until something… well, sticks.
Between the mind reading, barrelling around the inside of your own head, and helping people with their lives, you spend intervening moments evading the goons of the vague-yet-menacing government agency who are out to arrest, detain, electrocute, and otherwise inconvenience you in an effort to retrieve the alien parasitically piggybacking in your cerebellum. They ramp up the tension, and give you a few moments of earnest platforming, making you jump and run through the cardboard city. You can use their own thoughts against them as a weapon to confuse or disable them temporarily, but for the most part you’ve just got to get out the way, and quickly.
There are a few moments where cut scenes occur too frequently. They’re short enough, but when you’ve walked no more than three steps from one to another you might as well wonder why they bothered, and more infuriatingly it’s for comical moments that serve no purpose whatsoever, and not even for the best jokes, which are rather well hidden and worth doing some extra exploring to find.
In short there’s nothing groundbreaking to be found here, but as a casual game that’s enjoyable without being overly demanding. It’s also worth the odd chuckle in between the more frustrating moments. I just broke out of a mental asylum, and things are starting to get very good! Worth picking up for sure, especially if you’re looking for something to tide you over while the tortuously long wait for Psychonauts 2 drags on.
“You’re back in Wonderland, Alice.” – But this time, things aren’t the same. Things have gone quite mad. You could say that all of the time Alice has been stuck in an orphanage, has only made her more derranged, or at least more cynical. Now we must return to Wonderland, where a train has been seen destroying the imaginative world. Why has this train taken off? What has happened to the laws of Wonderland and more importantly, can we see that amazing Vorpal Dagger once again?
The first person view is the easiest way to instil fear in the viewer, the forced perspective makes the experience a lot more personal. The found footage subgenre is great at forcing us into the eyes of the victims and helping us share the experience side-by-side with them, and video games are starting to borrow a few tricks from found footage, such as camera tilting and jolting. Amnesia started those tricks early, having the camera drop to the floor in panic and crawl through a short and boring corridor.
There’s a growing amount of games that bring horror into new perspectives, Limbo, Little Nightmares, and Deadlight are all prime examples of platform horrors that shift the view of the player so that they act as witnesses, rather than active participants, but they employ some rather different methods to inspire dread: (more…)
Sackboy, a name that’s associated with cute platforming fun, is back once again with another installment in the hugely adorable and massively popular LittleBigPlanet franchise. But with big names such as Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie involved with voice acting, can the game live up to it’s predecessors, or does it fall just flat of knitted character goodness? Read on for our full LittleBigPlanet 3 review!
Platformer cuteness galore in this weeks’ video game review, as we look at the awfully sweet world of Ginger: Beyond the Crystal. Whether you’re a fan of cute games, or if you want to find a perfect title for the children in your life, this multi-platformed platformer could be the one for you. But how does Ginger hold up to the scrutiny of being a good game? Having played the title to get some hands on experience, I found there to be many positives which I’m going to share with all of you.
So here we are again catching up with PlayExpo. This time we are talking Sumo Digital who are mostly a UK based development team with an office in Nottingham and Sheffield. I managed to get some time to chat to Seb Liese the designer of their new game who originally was a biology teacher in Holland. He was first noticed by Sumo Digital because he was one of the top rated level designers for Little Big Planet, he has now been working there for four years. At the end of 2015 Seb won a 24 hour internal Game Jam with his ‘snake physics’ based tech demo and was given a team to work with to translate this into a fully fledged game. The game itself is physics based action puzzle platformer called Snake Pass and is due for release around the first quarter of 2017. So let’s go through my chat with the designer.
Last week we went to the realms of RUSH, a game where you have to tell some cubes where to go. This week, we’re back for more cube-like goodness with EDGE, where this time we’re controlling just one cube. Timlah’s back from one puzzling game to another, as we look at the second in a three-part series of Two Tribes fun puzzle titles.
In a game that features a character who is similar to the temple-exploring legend that is Indiana Jones, going through the Temple of the Dead with a little pistol, we can be sure to see many surprises. But in this indie action-platformer, is it 1001 reasons to celebrate, or 1001 reasons to cry? Timlah investigates this tough indie title.