In Between is the latest in the current trend of narrative 2D platform games that use its stages as a backdrop for a much deeper story than the likes of Mario and Earthworm Jim ever encountered. In this case the story’s protagonist is diagnosed with cancer and so the player takes a journey through his head, visiting his memories and feelings.
Sunday, 4 October 2015
Sometimes the simplest games are the most satisfying to play: this is clearly a rule The Cat Machine hopes to live by, offering a solitary gameplay mechanic for its 50 or so stages. According to its intro sequence, the Earth’s orbit around the Sun is not powered by gravity, but in fact by cats being flung into space. The player is in charge of repairing the flinging machine and ensuring the kitty-launching process continues.
Dream is a complex beast. It comes across as a exploration game, but also flirts with puzzles, interactive narrative and even horror elements. The worlds it takes us to range from bizarre and beautiful to downright sinister or weird – and perhaps that’s why it feels so inconsistent.
You might be prepared to indulge Celestian Tales for its nostalgia value and lovely hand-drawn art, and that’s not a bad thing. The visuals are some of its best assets: impactful character imagery that captures heroes’ and villains’ souls, as text dialogue fills up the coloured boxes below them.
If you come to SOMA with a sadistic urge to spend a few hours having your heart rattled against your ribcage, you’ll leave disappointed. SOMA’s story – not the pants-filling horror we expected from Frictional Games – takes centre stage. You’re Simon Jarrett, arriving confused and scared at a research facility deep in the Atlantic Ocean. With little choice, you plunge into the darkness.
In an alternate Eighties USSR, a crew of four imprisoned street fighters fight for their lives on the streets, whilst staving off hard drug addiction
The most unrelenting, violent beat-em-up we’ve seen take to the screens in recent years, Mother Russia Bleeds isn’t scared of controversy. It’s heavily inspired by Hotline Miami, if you wanted a sense of where this preview is going already, and doesn't shy away from 2D pixel gore, bad language, bad taste or gritty weirdness.
Thinking outside the hitbox
Remember in old platforming games where, right at the start of the level, there’d be a pitfall – a trap that was placed to make you learn how to jump, how to navigate obstacles, how to remain alive? Well, funnily enough, Black Ops III has the same thing… which feels somewhat out of place in a Call Of Duty game, right? It serves the same purpose as those pitfalls did some 30 years ago, though: the traversal in the multiplayer portion of Black Ops III is vital, and the game wants you to learn – immediately – that if you try to take shortcuts through the maps, you can die.
If the future of gaming is free, what are the issues the business model's foremost developers are having to overcome?
We’ve all become jaded cynics, and it’s easy to see why. While society as a whole tumbles ever closer towards a permanent state of eyerolling – one cleverly doctored image of a BBC news ticker at a time – it’s gamers in particular that are finding their trust egregiously chipped away by the machinations of the big publishers.