Author Archive

Guacamelee

via GameInformer

I’ve come to appreciate co-op games as a form of marriage counseling.

It’s TRUE. Maybe he gets to be P1 Every. Single. Time., and yes, maybe he’s 100 million percent better at memorizing eulogy-length button-press combos, but at least I can gleefully hear him get his pixelated face smashed open and bask in his pleading for me to drop in and save his sorry butt.

Guacamelee encourages co-op through its life dynamics: when two are playing, then one player drops out, the dropped-out player becomes an immortal bubble. To drop back in, the player’s bubble must be hit by the other player — and when that happens, the newly-restored player gets allllll of his health back.

So, you can see what we did, right? Of course you can. We played the entire game through (getting every collectible, PS3 network trophy, and secret) by dropping in and out as necessary to NEVER DIE.

Another reason why I love this game: the artwork and the music are both beautiful. I’m a sucker for Dia de los Muertos themed stuff: my mother and my uncles spent a lot of time in Mexico when they were kids and my family has always kept some skull art around.

via Digital Spy

Look at that: isn’t that gorgeous? Influence from the “Samurai Jack” school of animation, influence from modern Mexico’s reinterpretation of Aztec and Mayan art, influence from the mashup of Catholicism and native pagan religion that is so uniquely Central America.

Boy Thing was a great asset to have when playing this game. He’s a Spaniard, you see — so Guacamelee was that much more hilarious, because he would burst out laughing at the Spanish-speakers-only jokes (and there are a few). He told me flat-out that the designer must be a native speaker, and he’s right: although Drinkbox Studios is a Canadian independent, the lead designer is from Mexico.

The lead designer is also a b-tard. Heads-up.

My favourite part of the gameplay was how balanced the fighting vs puzzling was. You fight and puzzle steadily throughout the game — and the puzzles were all fun and hilarious. Highlights: you get to be a chicken, and you get to swap dimensions from the world of the living into the world of the dead — and both of these things affect gameplay.

I had a lot of fun, especially when Boy Thing died a lot and I had to sigh and pick up the controller to kick my way through five or six enponcho’ed skeletons. Whoop.

9/10

– Alice.

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Lollipop Chainsaw

Image

I promised poor Donna that I would write a post umpteen days ago about Botanicula; the truth is, I haven’t finished the game yet. I started it when I was visiting family – and things got busy. My grandfather was ill. So first it was I-has-a-sad (he’s much better, don’t worry) and then it was I-has-a-new-job and then it was – honestly I am just a horrible person and I have no excuses.

So here’s a review for an entirely different game!

Most of Lollipop Chainsaw was lost on me. By “most”, I mean boobs. I am unfortunately straight as a plank, and could not appreciate the eye-candy laid out (heh. heh.) before me. It was designed by the flashy exuberant sexy-obsessed Suda51 (Goichi Suda), of Shadows of the Damned and No More Heroes fame, and James Gunn (PG Porn), and was originally written in Japanese – as an English-speaking straight girl, I am entirely not the audience for this game.

Here are the things that didn’t get lost in translation:

1) The zombies actually talk. OMG! And everything they say is amusing. Congratulations to all concerned: translators and scriptwriters both.
2) Juliet is such a sweetheart. And her voice actress is amazing. Really spot-on.
3) Zombie concepts were so good! I loved the fact that different bosses got different levels based around different musical styles.
4) The music for this game includes The Human League, which, given my obsession with New Wave, means the game gets one billion bonus points. Also, Jimmy Urine is involved, and don’t you even start dissing MSI. The first guy I ever fell in love with introduced me to them – I will always be a fan.

The sentient A.I. I live with – slash my other 1/2 – reports that the fighting system is complex enough to warrant replay in the harder difficulties. (I suspect this translates from straight man into “SO MANY BIKINIS,” but I digress.)

Pictured: so many bikinis

Pictured: so many bikinis

Plus, you get to kick righteous ass with a sparkly chainsaw. Alas that you can’t choose what flavour of kawaii decorates your gore in the US version, but I thought the pink hearts were a nice touch.

Pictured: kicking righteous ass

Pictured: kicking righteous ass

I thought the story was a little short, and the graphics weren’t really up to par. Seriously, loves, you can do better; I know you can, because I played Shadows of the Damned a few months back. Sentient A.I. defended the length of the storyline (“BIKINIS”), and the graphics were playable (unlike the E3 gameplay preview for Dishonoured, wtf, welcome to 2004) – so I’m going to give it a 7/10 for people uninterested in boob physics, and an 8.5/10 for those who get the upskirt trophy without knowing there is one.

~ Alice M.


Closure

There’s a neurological phenomenon that we’re all familiar with, in one way or another. Artists use it to double the effectiveness of their pieces through ‘negative space’; puzzle books use it to make our eyes water; neurologists use it to study the brain. It’s called “closure”, and it lends its name to this surprisingly difficult indie game from Eyebrow Interactive.

“Closure” is what happens when your visual cortex sees an arrangement of shapes, shadows, or lines that should (when complete) delineate a single object — and fills in the gaps. Here’s a familiar example for you:

Try to not see the white equilateral triangle in the middle. Hard, right? Well, it’s almost impossible unless you have an atypical brain, so don’t worry. What’s happening is that evolutionarily speaking, your brain is adapted to interpret patterns of light and shadow in a way best suited to spotting predators, prey, obstacles, etc.

The creators of Closure have designed a game specifically to mess with your visual cortex: in this game universe, any object that is not lit doesn’t exist (apart from the character you play, light sources, and some crates). You’d think it wouldn’t be much different from games that force you to stay in the light. Nah. Think about it: you can make holes in the floor by redirecting lamps. You can ride a lift up the centre of a stone column if you have a moving spotlight.

In sum: so cool. And you have to retrain your brain, otherwise you’ll spend hours falling through the floor and getting stuck in isolated bubbles of water.

You can buy Closure on the Playstation Network. Find gameplay trailer and images from the game on the official website, here.

~ Alice M.


Tim Schafer Gets a Million Bucks in a Day

Via Kickstarter (where I helped fund the project).

Tim Schafer makes adventure games. Games like these:

Maniac Mansion 2: Day of the Tentacle

Grim Fandango

The problem is, most publishers think adventure games are unmarketable, unsellable – in short, not worth making. Well, Tim disagrees. So he started a Kickstarter project to fund a new adventure game and cut out publishers entirely:

Double Fine’s Kickstarter Video

It earned upwards of a million dollars in 24 hours, breezing right past its funding goal of $400k.

Why is this a big deal? Well, because if this works it’ll go some way towards proving that publishers are getting edged out of the game industry; customers can interact directly with studios and fund the projects they actually want to buy. It’s too early to tell for certain.

I’m just really stoked to get a new adventure game. Something like Grim Fandago, if at all possible.

~ Alice M.

The project will be open for funding until March, so you still have time to take part.


And Now For a Moment of Quiet Sobbing as Valve Trolls Everyone

Some lucky b*%&tard spotted a Valve employee wearing this little beauty:

The employee wouldn’t give any details whatsoever, but the guy who spotted the shirt did confirm that he attempted to smother himself in the employee’s chest, which didn’t help anything.

via PCGamer.

~Alice M.


Botanicula Screenshots!

I guess by now I count as femmegamer’s “official” Amanita Design newsdesk. With that in mind, I am happy to accept any Amanita swag from interested parties in the marketing department to redistribute to lucky femmegamer readers (with the proviso I get to keep an item or two). Hint. Hint. *bats eyelashes*

Any takers? No?

Shame.

So, I try to keep an eye on Amanita trailer releases and whatnot but with one thing or the other this month I forgot to fire up the old search engine and missed a big screenshot release on IGN. Without further ado:

Click image to view the IGN screenshots page!

In other news, I’ve been very lax in my femmegamer duties due to my feverish, hopeless pipe dreams of being a professional novelist, but things have calmed down so I hope to be posting more often.

See you soon!

~Alice


New Game from Amanita!

You know how much I love this studio; I did a post on them a few weeks ago.

I had resigned myself to a life without new Amanita games for the next few years — they’re such a small studio that they usually take some time to release. Anyway, I hope you’re as excited as I am when you see the following video:

At first glance, it seemed to me like they were jumping on the “blurry lens flare microscope” visual bandwagon (Osmos, too many other indie games to list), but I trust them to do it right. It doesn’t have the raw charm of Machinarium, but their sense of humour has survived intact.

Release is planned for early 2012. Woo!

~Alice