Sunday, February 1, 2015

16-Bit Adventurer

I first became acquainted with Fez, a digital-only game, while watching Indie Game, The Movie, a film about the creation and release of Super Meat boy, as well as Fez itself; so as to keep the indie ball rolling. The fascinating movie, showed the development of the game, which is in fact, a peculiar mix between 2d vis a vis 3d worlds.

Like most indie games which have become bestsellers, the game's creator, Phil Fish, came up with a novel way to show a cute 16-bit world; to allow it to become 3d, and enable the player to explore the Mario-like worlds, filled with all kinds of platforming, puzzles and nifty, throw-back music. In fact, Fish spoke of making the Fez experience a friendly one, a place for the player to enjoy. There are four perspectives, and you can jump in one, and land on the next.

The game's mechanics match, in fact, the quality of the design. Gomez is a cool little snow-white character with a red fez hat, who has to collect yellow cubes, in order to restore balance to the flora-decorated, fauna-inhabited world. The bright skies change from within the colors of the spectrum for a winning effect. A bright light with an electronic voice lets our tiny hero learn some basic directions.

In spite of some back-tracking, Fez surely wins you over with its charm. Even when you start playing, the game has a wink at electronics in store for us. The fact that its development has been documented for history to witness, makes the game even more special, since you know that it took blood, sweat and tears to make it happen.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Asphalt Jungle

When household pets ruled the world, might as well be the slogan of the clever game, Tokyo Jungle, which borrows a page, to an extent, from the classic short film La Jetée, yet more importantly from the feature film 12 Monkeys. It's a special treat to us fans of desolate urban landscapes, such as those from the film I am Legend, and various tv documentaries. It's dog eat dog, or some adventurous tamagotchi, in a barren, post-apocalyptic land.

As much as this is a make-believe world, it is nonetheless, an interesting hi-concept attempt to bring certain scientific branches, with much creative license, of course, to a game console. In particular, Zoology, the study of the animal kingdom, and Ethology, the study of animals in their natural condition (that is, if we take for granted these animals have adapted to a sort of asphalt jungle), with a handy map, in this 3d side-scroller in which you can actually dress up the animals in groovy clothes and in which you cut your teeth in survival mode and thence unlock story levels.

This rate game asks questions such as whether animals can become feral in the span of a single generation; a cute Pomeranian appearing in the game's promotional materials. As stated before, this is not realism; as, for instance, the animals jump rather high, in true arcade fashion, and later on in the game, prehistoric animals can be unlocked. Yet it's fair to say that playing both as predator and prey, at differing times, is a winning gameplay feature in this title, which unfortunately has a "creative" save-system, the likes of which hasn't been seen since Dead Rising.

Tokyo Jungle is a psn game, yet I managed to find the Best of PSN compilation, which includes this peculiar game, along with three other fairly solid titles, these being When Vikings Attacks, my second-favorite, as well as Sound Shapes, and Fat Princess. It does ask for the disc to play, for both TJ and the others, and this makes little sense, considering their online roots, though the format is now another. The beauty of these games is, except for Sound Shapes, that you can play co-op with a second controller, making this a sweet package of party games. Extra points for originality.