Warp Zoned couldn’t be more divided this month, as half of us tackled our backlogs with a vengeance, while the other half dove into the piles of games not out yet that were on display at PAX East. Read on for blasts from the past and postcards from the future!
PAX East (and all the related airport shenanigans) dominated my March gaming, but I did put some time into Candygun’s Bomberman-like Dollar Dash. The multiplayer game is mostly amusing, but I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to it. You can find out why by reading my review.
The rest of the month was spent preparing for PAX East, where I got my gaming fix from Bejeweled Blitz on my laptop. I played so much Bejeweled that I finally broke into the game’s coveted Millionaire’s Club with a sixty-second score of 1,099,000. Also, airports are a great place for an iPod Touch, as traveling to and from PAX East allowed me to play more Super Hexagon, Sonic Dash, Temple Run 2 (thanks for bug fixes, Imangi), and Prime’s Quest.
So what did I actually get to play at PAX East? I played a lot, but my three favorites from the show were definitely Supergiant’s Transistor, Yacht Club’s Shovel Knight, and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. I can’t wait until all three are finally released.
PAX East was what was on my mind this month, and it was here and gone before I could even blink! I played a ton of games there, and John and I are still transcribing interviews and writing everything up. I guess if I had to choose just a handful, I would say that my favorite games that I got to play were Beatbuddy by Threaks, The Last of Us by Naughty Dog, and, of course, Secret Ponchos by Switchblade Monkeys. I’ll have more on PAX East later this week!
I’ve been playing a boatload of new games lately. Fire Emblem: Awakening and Adventure Time: Hey Ice King, Why’d You Steal Our Garbage? have been in my 3DS for the last month. My PlayStation 3 has seen a lot of action as well. I was playing Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch as well as Dead Space 3, but the last week has been completely dominated by BioShock Infinite, which is incredible. And, of course, I’ve been doing a lot of Ridiculous Fishing on my iPad, as well as playing Super Crate Box, both of which are horribly addicting. March has been a really fantastic month for gaming!
March was the month I tried to cut into my sizable backlog of games I’ve been acquiring from Internet bargain bins. It started with me still burning rubber in Need For Speed: Most Wanted, which I found fun, but the constant reminders about the additional cars I could buy kept coming around the same time as EA’s micro-transactions gaffe and SimCity debacle. It left a sour taste in my mouth, more so than Criterion’s previous entry, Hot Pursuit; that game also had the better soundtrack, which I imported into the new one.
I had a brief weekend affair with Obsidian and Sega’s Alpha Protocol. Subtitled “The Espionage RPG,” I was really hoping for something a lot better, more along the lines of Deus Ex: Human Evolution, but it is best described as an omnishambles. The RPG elements are few and far between; the level designs are barren, empty and repetitive (I found myself in the exact same room in three separate missions); and the guards seem to be able to see you and shoot you, even when hidden behind a wall.
After that I tackled Spec Ops: The Line, which blew me away. Everyone was pouring praise over the Battlefield 4 footage this week, but Spec’s Op’s writer, Walt Williams, started his GDC talk by discussing how “violent games desensitize us to violence in video games.” I think he almost nailed that sentiment with the storyline in this game, and at times it was easy to see the influences of Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now. Like most games, it goes a bit mental towards the end, but hey. I would love to see a film based on this – the atrocities of war, man, and nature, all thrown together in one furious sandstorm.
That being said, I do love my over-the-top, outrageous violence, and Bulletstorm delivers in bucketloads. This is what I imagine Firefly would be like if Michael Bay had made it. On crack. Lots of guns, lots of explosions, an energy whip, and maximum points for unique kills. Pure fun, but nothing more.
Taking backlog to a whole new level, I hooked up the old NES and played a lot of Dr. Mario. With the release of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon looming, I finally got around to playing the original Luigi’s Mansion, and man was I missing out. That game was really fun. I can’t believe I never got into it, and now I can’t wait to pick up the sequel.
I also spent a lot of time with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Mirror of Fate. I thought the game was fantastic, which only fueled my anger at other reviews for complaining that the game wasn’t like Symphony of the Night. Judge a game for what it is, people, not what it isn’t.
I also just started playing Bit.Trip Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien. As a fan of the original games, and especially the music, I’m really getting a “kick” out of this one. Get it? Well, maybe if you played the game you’d understand. But that’s OK, I’ll let it “slide.” I’ll stop now.
Admittedly, I didn’t get very much done in March. I think I slept the entire month. There was some homework in there somewhere…. Oh, and PAX East, which for some reason this year terrified the bejesus out of me. Social Anxiety: 1, Me: 0.
But that’s why I love iOS games. I can play them anywhere: curled up in bed in a hotel at night when I can’t sleep, curled up in that same bed during the day hiding from everyone because I’m super anxious, spending a bazillion hours at Newark Airport, etc. So what did I play? Since February I’ve been playing Letterpress, which is a free word game that bears a resemblance to Boggle, except that the letters don’t have to be touching each other to form a word. There’s a paid upgrade version, too, which I haven’t explored yet. This is a great game if you have very little or no time to play. Just take turns with a friend or random stranger; how long your game takes is up to you.
Just before jetting off to PAX East, I began playing Cling! It’s kind of fun so far. It’s adorable. It’s also extremely frustrating. How do I describe it? As the trials and tribulations of Edgar, a quarter-machine octopus toy, as he makes his way through the innards of the machine to a boy who is attempting to purchase him. I think. That seems to be what’s going on.
Finally, I haven’t let go of Angry Birds Star Wars yet. My god, I love this game. Still. It’s held my attention even during periods of time when there hasn’t been an update. However, recently there have been a couple, another 20 levels of Hoth were released, and another world was introduced, Cloud City. There’s also some “Boba Fett Missions” thing to unlock (or buy if you’re impatient) that I haven’t begun to deal with yet. The rest of the Hoth levels were good stuff. I just started Cloud City and am having a gay old time (note: the old meaning of gay; ie. happy, joyful). I look forward to unlocking everything I haven’t yet (including that Boba Fett business and the bonus levels) and to whatever other additions to the game that Rovio comes up with. Bring it, Fins! Is “Fins” a synonym for “Finnish”? It is now.