A cold, dark and gentle place
I finally completed Dark Souls III [official site] last week, a world that I have been dipping in and out of between bouts of listlessness since its release in April last year. It didn’t grip me like the first revered Dark Souls, but it still made me sad to know it was all over. Where could I go now for my Souls fix? The answer, it turns out, is loads of places. The games industry is quietly reverberating with the series’ influence. From small games boasting “souls-like” combat, to bigger games doing weird things with death and player messages. Meanwhile, our PlayStation brethren got Nioh, which took the “pocket full o’ souls” idea and simply renamed them “Amrita”. There is a popular complaint that everything in the industry is now being compared to Dark Souls, and it’s easy to forget that games embraced difficulty and strangeness long before the Bed of Chaos made you weep with frustration. Nevertheless, the mechanics and the tone of Miyazaki’s magnum opus is leaking into games everywhere.
That there’s an influx of Soulsian disciples out there isn’t a problem to me. My problem is that they are learning all the wrong lessons. At least, they are neglecting the most important one. But first let’s look at what sly tricks are being lifted from the series, and who is lifting them. Read the rest of this entry »
From garbage worms to 'scissor-mouths'...
The Darwinian platforming of Rain World [official site] left me with mixed emotions. Surviving day-to-day in its brutal ecosystem can be an unfair slog, not to mention cursed with janky controls. Yet it’s also a stunning depiction of a harsh new world, with a host of spine-chilling, adorable, and wondrous wildlife. Here’s an incomplete collection of some of the animals and plantlife I’ve encountered, often resulting in a quick and painful death, all presented in the perfect format: GIF.
Important note: a big part of Rain World is its surprising world, and discovering how each animal lives and feeds. If you want to find that stuff out for yourself, ignore the siren call of the GIFs. You’ll appreciate it more.
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The 5175th series of Planet Earth
A trickle of wholesome GIFs has been tantalising us with post-apocalyptic platformer Rain World [official site] and its adorable protagonist the slugcat for some time now. It’s out tomorrow and I have been hopping and swimming and munching my way through its dripping, humid world of predator and prey over the past week to tell you wot I think. First: I am certain it’s going to become a cult hit with a crowd of hardcore, mystery-loving obsessives behind it. But secondly, it has also left me with the impression of a badly missed opportunity. Equal parts astounding and hands-tearing-out-your-hair frustrating, this adventure, like the slugcat itself, is a bit of a mix. Read the rest of this entry »