Delightful, energetic, and a little long in the tooth. Those were my reactions to 2011’s Rayman Origins, a well-crafted platformer from Michel Ancel that was an absolute pleasure to play. Beautifully rendered, tight controls, and some sharp level design. The kind of things you want in a 2D platformer, and it was a breath of fresh air to boot. Because the reality is you get these types of games from Nintendo or the indie scene, and rarely with the same caliber of production. Rayman Legends is a whole lot more of that same game.
The indie game scene has had no shortage of puzzle games over the years. In a post-Braid world, it has become rather common for the most noteworthy indie games to have puzzle elements, and luckily we’ve gotten plenty of entertaining ones over the years. In 2013 the puzzle game you definitely need to play is The Swapper, a moody atmospheric puzzle game built on using clones to solving its puzzles.
The game what initially comes off as a simple set up. The basic premise ultimately falls right in line with an Event Horizon or a Dead Space. Group of scientists bring something on board, it makes everyone go crazy and before long the entire station is abandoned. What makes The Swapper so engaging, however, on its narrative level is what it focuses on with this premise.
2001’s Luigi’s Mansion allowed Luigi to finally take the spotlight away from his older, more successful brother. The Gamecube launch title, while charming, was unfortunately lacking, ultimately too simple, easy, and short to be anything memorable, or frankly worth a spin. Now, a dozen years later, Luigi finally gets another crack at the spot light with Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon.
It’s easy to look at State of Decay and react with “Ugh, another zombie game? Really?” This is very much a zombie game in its aesthetic and setting, and trust me, it will definitely cover some zombie apocalypse tropes. State of Decay, however, is something genuinely unique in a genre of games that are desperate for something unique. It’s a survival game with a heavy sense of “real.” Melee weapons degrade, your characters grow tired, and death is a permanent punishment for messing up. It’s an ingenious little experiment in the genre, and it’s a type of experiment that frankly really could only come from the indie scene.
Oh Divekick, I want to love you, but you keep making it hard on me. And just when I think I’m ready to dislike you; you remind me why I think you’re so endearing. What either started as a joke or a crazy idea has manifested into this clever little two-button fighting game known as Divekick. It is one part parody, and another part example of just how much nuance there is to a fighting game. Building a game around one type of move may seem shallow (and it is), but the game is a showcase of just how much goes into that one move, especially when it’s down to the wire.
Editor’s Note: I got my copy of Metro Last Light with my graphics card. Because of this, I didn’t get to play the game on the Ranger difficulty, which is pre-order DLC. I am not paying for a difficulty mode. With that said, here is my review on the game without Ranger mode.
The outside world that was once inviting is now a dreadful wasteland. What were once playgrounds for the next generation are but a grim reminder of all that humanity has lost. Grand monuments are but rubble, and the air has become far too harsh to breathe. A gas mask is required to even venture outside, and a gun is a necessity if one is to survive. And if you’re down to your last few rounds, it can be a frightening experience. Hordes of fierce mutants claw at you, shattering your gas mask and clouding your vision. Blood splatters all over the glass, and thick patches of dirt get in the way of any desperate shot you can line up. All the while you’re progressively suffocating and holding on to your last breath to find one last filter, one last glimmer of hope for survival.