I love the idea of games like Serial Cleaner, before this, I’d only ever seen Viscera Cleanup Detail. Where VCD followed in the footsteps of a hero, Serial Cleaner reminds me as though someone was following in the footsteps of all the carnage in games like Postal, Hotline Miami or Party Hard to bury the evidence. Unfortunately, that charm wears off quickly.
The colors pop. The theme song burrows its way into your dreams. Were Nintendo to take Arms away now, it would still exist as a part of our collective memory, a phantom limb we remember having always, even if we're just now getting the hang of this fascinating new appendage.
In an industry that so often asks you to destroy your surroundings, a game requiring you to build them up is like a glass of cool water on a hot day. But Ever Oasis is the videogame equivalent of bottled water whose label shows mountain springs even though, in truth, it's filled with local municipal tap. It's not as fancy or original as it would like you to think. But it quenches just the same.
Old Man's Journey is a small, quiet game that you can tell was a work of passion. Sometimes the best way to get someone to listen to you is to whisper. In a just world, this spare kaleidoscope of memories and manipulated hillsides will garner as much attention as bigger games beset with earth-shaking explosions. As we all learn in time, it's often the smaller chance encounters that make the most impact on us. Especially when we look back.
More than anything, I'd say Portal Knights felt mostly pleasant to me. A relaxing push forward, the visual asthetic along with the relatively unthreatening enemies (barring a few surprises) it seems like despite the push forward, the game is more encouraging of players willing to stop and smell the roses; and then build a huge castle on top of them.
But that's the thing with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch. On Wii U, the game was over when you stepped away from your television. As the saying goes: You can't take it with you. But now you can. Now, the game is only over when you—or the baby—says so.
As another beat draws to a close, I take a break to wrap up this review. I’m hooked on this simple, but loveable title. While I’m still itching for a realistic police title, I’m pleased with how more games about law enforcement fiction are appearing in the last year or so, and Beat Cop sits at the top of the pile in terms of enjoyment.
No, The Crow’s Eye didn’t turn out how I expected, and in that way I’m disappointed. As a huge fan of horror games, I was let down by The Crow’s Eye failing to live up to the horror that the teasers seemed to promise. But, I can appreciate a good puzzle game and that’s exactly what this is, and having a decent narrative is icing on the cake.
While the world often feels lifeless, and the combat runs on the routine side, the cast of loveable (and hateable) characters is sure to keep you locked to the screen a few hours at a time wondering where everything will lead. The game could’ve passed with the title Atelier Firis: The Mysterious Journey, because that’s exactly what it is. When I’m wrapped up with Atelier Firis, I’m likely to go back and check out the rest of the series as well and see just how we got to this point.
If you’ve messed about on the Wii U game and simply need to make 2D Mario Levels on the bus or in your bathroom, the 3DS version fits the bill. Otherwise, you’ve seen most of this circus before. If, however, you have never participated in the glory that is mucking about in an interactive toolkit for one of gaming’s most revered franchises, Super Mario Maker on 3DS becomes something like an essential backpack, or deserted island, companion. Long may you run.
What’s so impressive about this latest Paper Mario game is that, for all intents and purposes, it could have been just as grinningly dumb. This is an adventure revolving around the antics of paper-thin varietals of cartoons. No one expects Tolstoy. But the writing is smarter than most serious videogames attempting to evoke actual emotions. And that attention to detail—and a restraint diametrically opposed to its surface lunacy—is what makes the experience so humorous.
Reminders such as “The Story So Far” descriptions are available for the forgetful among us, and the next direction to venture will often be highlighted by talkative villagers, as is the custom. Ice-covered landmasses and lava-spewing volcanoes await. Dragon Quest VII may not rewrite the history books, but if you’re in the mood to sink into a thousand page tome, and could stand to be charmed by a smiling dollop of sentient goo, you’re in the right place.
But it turns what could have been just another fantasy storyline into something closer to a puppet show. We, rapt by these figures on sticks, know it's all malarkey but can't wait to see what happens next. Even if—especially because?—we know they're all just cardboard and glue.
We want to play in ways beyond the gaming population's insular past, cavorting through catastrophes and destroying the present. Our future depends on the ability to create, and design, something new. It's fun to tear something down but there's a deeper joy in building something up. Besides, there's nothing more catastrophic than the wrong wallpaper.
Splatoon is not trying to corral unearned cool points with obscenity. Splatoon does not push us to accept its weirdness. Splatoon merely opens its suction-cupped palms to the sky and says, "Here," and we graciously accept, parched by the years of dusty, war-torn, bone-dry purveyors of damage masquerading as games. Each waterfall was in fact an oasis. Instead, Splatoon showers us with a heavy goop that feels amniotic. We emerge, new and refreshed. We are all squids now.
In this way, Mario Party 10 is the purest embodiment of an actual board game yet seen in the series. The effort may be lost on long-time fans who play a videogame version for a reason. But there is something to playing on a screen while still feeling the weight of a toy between your fingers. Maybe this is why my poor Monopoly Iron failed to move the hearts of many: It was lighter than all the rest. With computers the size of business cards and a world's information floating in something called the cloud, we crave tangible objects. Or maybe, taken over by the spirit of competitive bloodlust, it's just more fun to hurl Luigi across the room at your buddy for stealing all of your coins. Either way: Choose carefully. Mario Party just got real.
In this way, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is the more realistic of the two games released last week. Though one stars a human being walking among recognizable landmarks, employing guns and knives and other things of our world, it is the little pink ball of clay and his merry band of floating spike balls and giant hands with mouths that recreates a more believable, tangible world.