Sundered [official site] is the ridiculously beautiful Metroidvania from the people who brought us the ridiculously beautiful Jotun. In a busy genre, does it do enough to stand out? Here are my thoughts: Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Hand drawn and quartered
RPS Feature Rings a little
Hollow Knight [official site] presents a peculiar issue. What do you do with a game that is genuinely good, but rather unoriginal? A game that is so, so similar to others that have come recently before it, but is still a beautifully drawn, solidly built metroidvania? Do you say, “Get this one, because it’s the most recent?” That’s not a coherent argument. Unfortunately for Hollow Knight, I think the design decisions that narrowly define it are really its core weaknesses. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Woke AF
There are a lot of retro platformers about just now. And most of them are pretty rubbish, echoing games they remember without really understanding them, or fixating on some deluded belief that it was great in the 80s when they were near-impossible to play (Chuckie Egg 2, anyone?), and that pixel-perfect jumps and ludicrous insta-kills with no saves are a sepia-toned nostalgic cuddle we can only wish to embrace once again. No. They were terrible games, stop emulating them.
RPS Feature Another Metroid 2 Remake
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
AKA ‘Another Metroid 2 Remake‘ [official site], rather a self-effacing title for what might just be the best Metroid game in years. Trouble being, Nintendo weren’t involved – quite the opposite, in fact, as the blighters shut down this fan project soon after release. Fortunately, it’s not hard to find, for now at least.
Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Shadows are rather simple, actually
Shadow Complex [official site] originally came out on the Xbox 360 in 2009. Then after a little six year pause, a so-called “Remastered” edition was released, for free, to try to push Epic’s “Epic Games” downloader that I’ve never heard a single person mention since. It has been released again, yesterday, on Steam, this time for money. About ten monies. Which is, oddly, fewer monies than it now costs on Epic’s entirely unused launcher. Anyway, here’s wot I think:
Blood Alloy is the game that John once referred to as Dark Souls meets Hotline Miami. After two and a half years in development, an unsuccessful Kickstarter, and a change of genre, Blood Alloy: Reborn [official site] is a a 2D score-attacking bullet-stormer and out now.
Get a couple of folks from Konami and Nintendo around a table with a few drinks inside them and I’m sure it won’t be long before the argument starts again. “What makes you so damn special?” cries a Konamiac slamming down her flagon (she brings her own) of foamy real ale. “Why do you go first?” A Nintendeer sips cooly from his glowing green cocktail fizzing with dry ice before responding, “Because Castletroid would sound daft.”
Whatever you call ’em (“action-adventure” seems such a useless term), another’s on its way. Following a debut on PlayThings in March, Axiom Verge [official site] is due on PC on May 14th.
I know what you might be thinking. There’s a checklist running through your mind. Action platformer: check. Art style recalls 8-bit era: check. Chiptune soundtrack? Can’t tell from a screenshot, but… check.
But hold on now. Just because Castle in the Darkness looks and sounds overly familiar doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time. I call to the stand last year’s Shovel Knight, which seemed to win over virtually everyone who tried out its signature trowel.
Éric Chahi’s Another World did many things right, but what I believe it really excelled at was conveying the feeling that you were somewhere drastically different. Somewhere otherworldly yet also sensible and at times familiar and this is the exact same sensation Sundae Month’s Petrichor manages to re-create.
Though far from ground-breaking, I have to admit that what initially drew me to Super Skeleman were its graphics. Their crispiness combined with the sparing use of colour and the overall stylization of the visuals really did it for me. Also, I do have a thing for retro stuff. And for pixelated skeletons too.
I sadly have to admit that CastleMania is far too difficult for me. It doesn’t love me back, and no matter what I do or how hard I try the thing just won’t let me reach its finale. But, that’s okay. Really, it is.
CastleMania didn’t merely entertain me in the most masochistic of ways for a couple or so hours. It also enlightened me, as I finally understood that those few console games I tried and was never able to beat when I was a kid had less to do with my inherent incompetence and more with the brutal design sensibilities of the average NES game. And that nasty mechanic which has you bouncing back whenever an enemy damages you.
Shattered comes with a plot. Something about a world consuming dark power that has already shattered a planet in two and about you being there to rob said planet of its artifacts, but, yes, you couldn’t possibly care about such things, could you? Not when you get to control an impossibly cute black blob, you can’t.
As I wade through the acres of lovely roguelikes that are so splendidly birthing from the gaming pods, my awful half-empty heart can’t stop itself from asking one question: but what about all the metroidvanias? Why aren’t we being overwhelmed by those, too? So thank goodness for Frank Washburn, who has thrown his Harmonix uniform into the laundry basket and donned the casualwear of an indie developer – Suppressive Fire Games. They’re bringing us Blood Alloy.