Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fantastic Arcade: The Rest

The first day might have been the most exciting for me, but that's only because I got to be there all day. I didn't get to go for the second day, and on the third and fourth days my time was abridged because I had to go to work.

However, I tried to see as much as I could in the last two days, and I actually got quite a bit covered. Here's what I saw:

The only two "featured" games I hadn't played on the first day were Machinarium and Monaco. The first, Machinarium, is an adventure game set in a robotic world in which you do robotic things with your robotic self. If you like "can I use this"-click-hunt adventure games, this is for you. I myself am not a big fan of these kinds of games, so I didn't play it very long. Sorry, Machinarium.

Monaco was an MGS-style top-down stealth game with an arcade feel to it. Of course, you could always go with the creator's explanation, which is that it's "Gauntlet meets Hitman." In it, each of four characters has four special skills that they can use to make the mission easier. I didn't think about it that way, but I kind of wish I had now. This is a game, unfortunately, that I didn't spend more than a level with. I think it would be a lot more fun with friends. Also: apparently the website says the platform is unannounced, but I'm willing to bet anything it will be coming to XBLA.

In addition to the "spotlight" games, there were a lot of other games on display, as well as a couple other really cool games available for preview.

One of the cooler ones (and I know a lot of people in the indie community have been dying to play/see this) was Limbo. Apparently it's out now on XBLA. Limbo is a moody game about a little boy who is in a world clearly too dangerous for him. Like Feist, the art style is based around silhouettes, though the tone is considerably darker here. The darkness is reflected in the gameplay, as death can come suddenly and horribly at the most unexpected times. Also similarly to Feist, the game is a puzzle-platformer, though it doesn't focus on physics so much. This was an awesome game that is definitely worth checking out if you have Xbox Live Arcade and like interesting platformers.

The other REALLY COOL game I saw was Sword & Sworcery EP. I, unfortunately, was not one of the lucky ones who got to play it because I had to leave early to go to work. I took detailed notes from Superbrothers' presentation about the game, and I will bullet-point them here.
  • Jim Guthrie did the music
  • The game is considered "Input/Output Cinema"
  • Coding done by CAPY
  • Inspired by the old Commodore 64 games in which you had to "poke and prod it until you figured it out." Considered a 21st century treatment on old-school adventure by the creator
  • Since it's an "EP," there will be two "sides" to choose from when beginning the game.
  • The game is designed so the player can make "a decent amount of progress without trying too hard" but deep down there's "something to chew on."
  • It will be for the iPad and iPhone, but will look prettier on the iPad.
  • Robert Ashley did some voicework for a character called "Logfella." I won't spoil it for you, but it's really funny.
  • The art style is called "Rustic 21st Century Minimalism." The entire game just looks beautiful. I really want to play this on an iPad.
  • If I were you, I'd check out some of the cool stuff on Superbrothers (one dude) has created a lot of interesting videos.
And that was Sword & Sworcery EP. It almost makes me want an iPad.

Also, I played Niddhog against Messhof and lost, but I swear I held my own.

Other stuff I saw, summed up shortly because it wasn't quite as cool as everything else:
  • Inside a Dead Skyscraper was a frustrating, annoying "music video game" that was apparently about 9/11. I got tired of the song and trying to figure out what the game wanted from me after a while and I quit.
  • Super Columbine Massacre RPG is apparently so controversial they had to make a documentary and bother kids who were in the attack about it. It was obviously made with RPG Maker, but was well-done for a game like that. It gets points from me for existing for purposes other than pure shock value and actually trying to get into the minds of the killers but loses all the points for shoddy gameplay that gets in the way of that.
  • Tiny and Big had a grapple gun, a laser beam, a physics engine as well as a few kinks to work out.
  • Tube Monkey was the weirdest game I saw there.
As far as the Arcade part of the Fest goes, I think it's a brilliant idea and I can't wait for them to expand it next year, which they will undoubtedly do. Hopefully next year they won't let kids under 13 in though, and will find a bigger area to have the Street Fighter tournaments in.

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