One of the best developers out there building games for the PS Vita, Drinkbox Studios has yet to release a game that has not been a slam dunk for me. This year’s release, entitled Severed, keeps to this trend and proves that when done smartly, great PS Vita games can certainly be made. For those who are not insane enough to continue backing the Vita like I have, Drinkbox Studios has got you covered. They are releasing Severed to both iOS and Nintendo consoles this summer.
One would think that connecting the dots and making an adventure game out of the Adventure Time series would’ve happened a bit faster. I mean, come one, it’s right there in the title of the show for crying out loud. Glaring oversights aside, the Adventure Time games that have come thus far have ranged in quality, but largely haven’t captured the feel of the show perfectly. This is a task that Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations has done a phenomenal job tackling with a few speed bumps along the way.
In spite of what others might tell you, the real use of graph paper has always been scrawling out maps of dungeons for a plucky group of explorers to investigate. Since its inception in 2007, the Etrian Odyssey series has drawn upon this concept. Tasking players with not only traversing a mysterious labyrinth, but also drawing the map from scratch as they go. After a series of games in the series, Atlas has started releasing remakes of the original titles with one major addition: an official story mode. Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight is the second of these remakes and adds some great new features to an already fun game.
True to the hyperactive nature of the the show itself, every time a new Adventure Time game arises, it’s completely different from the last. From launching Finn through to air to paying homage to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, they’ve covered a lot of ground through the years. One surprising genre they haven’t yet covered, since it’s literally in the title of the show, is adventure games. Vicious Cycle Software looks to solve this problem with Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations later this year.
Nostalgia can be a powerful ally in making a game. The first game that ever belonged to me specifically was Mega Man 3 for the NES. As such, you can imagine that the series holds a very dear place in my heart. Mighty No. 9 is not Mega Man, but it feels like an evolution of the concepts that the series brought to the table and does a phenomenal job of scratching the itch left by the absence of the series.
Nintendo, hot off the heels of the Zelda Wii U delay, decided to hold a new Nintendo Direct yesterday. There was no fooling in this April 1st direct; instead we got quite a bit of news. While there were plenty of announcements, N64 and DS games are on Wii U now, Fire Emblem fans undoubtedly had the best night. None of the games talked about were new titles, but they had very good news for each of them. Let’s break it down right now game by game.
During an otherwise upbeat Nintendo Direct, a moment of terror ensued when Pokémon Shuffle, a free-to-play match three game, was announced for the 3DS. My opinion of these games by and large is that they are poorly paced and even less fun. Still, as the minutes rolled by, that terror transformed into something else: curiosity. Nintendo has a pretty decent track record when it comes to making a concept work better than anyone else. That being said, I began to wonder if somehow Nintendo could apply their magical touch to the free-to-play formula and make it fun. When the game became available, I let my curiosity get there better of me and I tried it out at length. What I ended up with was an unsurprisingly mixed bag that met each of my expectations.
Many games in the past few years have attempted to recapture the pixelated goodness of the 80s and 90s, but few of them have been completely successful. Along comes Yacht Club Games this year, with their debut title Shovel Knight to remedy this fact. Having grown up playing quite a bit of Mega Man, I have a strong opinion of how that era of games felt. Shovel Knight takes pages from both the Mega Man series and even the surprisingly good Duck Tales game for the NES and combines them into, aside from Mega Man 9, the most successfully retro-feeling game I’ve ever played.
Cartoon Network has been trying for a while to make a strong argument for an Adventure Time game. Frankly, I’ve never thought it needed an argument at all. The series feels like it would lend itself very well to a game, but not all games licensed from the series have been a huge hit. While I really enjoyed Jumping Finn both on my browser and my iPhone, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! didn’t exactly light the world on fire. Having now played the newest game based on the TV series, Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom I’m glad to say that they’re on the right path, if not quite there yet.
Knots instantly formed in my stomach the first time I read the words “downloadable content” in relation to Nintendo. My younger self was screaming about robbing the world of the joys of unlocking content by playing the game instead of whipping out your credit card. Doomsday theories started forming in my mind about the terrible sort of DLC exploitation I might see down the line. It’s been quite a while since that moment and none of those fears have come to pass. Frankly, I feel like they’ve done a good job of approaching the situation in a positive way that has thus far benefitted customers.