I remember being a child, wanting to go to Thorpe Park and ended up going to a different theme park called Thorpe Park, due to. Instead of ending up in Surrey, we found ourselves in a place called Cleethorpe. From that day, I vowed to create the greatest theme parks in the world – But I was a bit too young, so I played Roller Coaster Tycoon! Now, with the power of smartphones, Roller Coaster Tycoon is on our phones and tables – And no, this isn’t some dumbed down wannabe either..!
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the latest (and second only) in the franchise. It’s hard to believe this is only the second time we’ve gone to Jumanji – But this time, we’re not entering the cursed board game, but rather a cursed video game. The game learned from its previous encounter that kids trends change, so when a teen called Alex is given the old board game, it turns itself into something he’s much more interested in – A video game. How does the Robin Williams classic adapt with the times and translate to a modern audience? Read on!
I’m writing this on Christmas evening, slumped in my chair in a new hoodie, overstuffed with food and casting an eye over my haul for the year, watching some good quality entertainment, half working a short campaign, half writing this article. It’s been a big, weird year. It started with a Charizard… (more…)
Look, I told you that my opinion of Nex Machina might be slightly biased. There is no hiding the love I have of Housemarque products but at least you can say that I have been completely honest with you. Nex Machina is available on PC and PS4 and we will be using the PS4 version for our review.
When I think ‘free trial’, I used to suspect that I’ll be able to get through some of the introduction levels, before it comes up with a big splash screen saying “Buy the game now!” Fortunately, Final Fantasy XIV(FFXIV): A Realm Reborn’s trial is incredibly fair – Allowing you to level up to 35 with no time restrictions. As I’m an avid MMO fan, who thoroughly enjoyed World of Warcraft, Aura Kingdom, City of Heroes, Dark Ages of Camelot and more, I took a dive into the world… of Hydaelyn.
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.
Another month has passed, which means it’s time for us to have another look at our Japan Crate. Of course, last month being October, there could only be one suitable theme – Halloween! As some of you may be aware, we were doing short stories and the vast majority of articles were Halloween-inspired. When we received our Japan Crate for this month, we immediately realised that we were in for a treat, as the box was purple instead of the usual red. We knew what this meant – As we looked over the box and saw the words “HAPPY HALLOWEEN!” on the side, with a cute little ghost image. So, to the delight of Japan Crate only, I received a Trick box.
Time wasting games for the mobile are one thing, but what about games you can also play on your browser? Looking for something quick and easy, with a lot of potential for building up the hours? Well buckle up, as this is a game that anyone can jump in and play. It’s a game that’s suitable for all ages, whilst being full of funny, quirky references which will have you smiling. I’m on about Little Alchemy 2, a game of combinations and brand new item creations.