Montreal-based Spearhead Games, made up of developers who worked on Assassin’s Creed, Dead Space, and Army of Two, had Tiny Brains to show at the indie section in PAX East this past weekend. Clad in lab coats and surrounded by flasks and beakers filled with blue liquid and, well, tiny brains, co-founder Simon Darveau (he was design director on Assassin’s Creed 3) and his colleagues introduced me to their action/puzzle game designed around co-operative teamwork. Darveau said this game was built for yelling at friends, pizza parties and yelling at friends during pizza parties. After a play session with three other PAX-goers, I saw what he meant.
The video games as art debate is one that has been argued for some time, but even video game dismisser Roger Ebert would give pause, and possibly reevaluate his stance after seeing Limbo. The product of indie developer PlayDead Games’, Limbo is the story of a little boy searching for his sister in a shadowy, black and white universe that borrows heavily from German Expressionism and American film noir. This exclusive Xbox 360 puzzle-platformer is equal parts brain-teaser and chilling audio-video experience–a 2D video game masterpiece that elevates the side-scrolling experience.
When I first sat down with Kim Swift at CES in Las Vegas to play Quantum Conundrum, I dumbly turned to her and said, “Wow, this reminds me of Portal.” She laughed and replied, “that’s because I made Portal.” From then I knew, Quantum Conundrum had the potential to be the next big puzzler.
Then I asked, “how did you come up with Portal?” Swift stated while at home eating cake, she “thought it would be cool to make a game, that had the promise of cake, and no cake in the end.” When I asked what inspired Quantum Conundrum she said that the inspiration was a croissant. Someone please keep feeding Kim baked goods, as they keep turning into amazing works of art! Portal showed what imagination can do, and QC takes imagination to the next level. Although Portal has levels and obstacles that are more creative and appealing than QC’s safes and sofas, QC has an unique gameplay mechanic and engaging story that lets it stand on its own legs.
Lumines: Electronic Symphony is one of those games that will have an everlasting life cycle. Its accessibility lends itself to an assortment of different gamers, and its pick up and play nature will ensure its enjoyability during commutes or before bed. This belongs in every collection and it’s more than worth the purchase price.
The main character in Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, a spiky green blob with one perpetually grumpy eye, is one of my favorite new characters in a video game. And he never utters a word. I don’t even know if he’s a he. He seems like one. Maybe the spiky patina around him could be beard stubble. I couldn’t see a female blob looking that disheveled. In any case, Blob is a, um, blob of action. Of many actions! He can absorb anything, he can grow, he can ground pound like Super Mario and even telepathically control platforms to launch himself or other things in the air and to solve simple physics puzzles. He’s multi-talented, a big grump and he’s striking out against a world that wronged him. He’s a hero. The hero the PlayStation Vita deserves. Or, uh, the villain I guess, since he eats … everything. Really.
Let’s say Doc and Marty did an 88 miles into another dimension, and met up with GlaDOS and some cloned cats–you’d basically have Quantum Conundrum. After the launch of Portal 2, Kim Swift left Valve and came up with the idea of Quantum Conundrum, an all new platform and cerebral puzzle game coming to XBLA, PSN, and PC this summer. If you even only slightly like Portal, you’ll for sure fall in love with this new title.
Puzzler Mind Gym 3D is essentially a 90-day program consisting of brain exercising puzzles that prepare you for the game’s Mind Gym Challenges which were whipped up by neuroscientist Professor Ian Robertson.
Catherine arrived with a lot of hype behind it. Atlus pushed it as a game with mature subject matter, like, actual mature subject matter like themes of infidelity, doubt and marriage and not just blood and boobs, though the titular character certainly provides some of that. No, a game that tackles actual human concerns comes around, oh, once every 100 years or so. Storytelling like that just isn’t done in a medium now saturated with bro-op shooters, casual dance games and motion-based gimmickry. Which might be okay, these are just games, right? And as a game, Catherine succeeds. As a story, Catherine falls short of its ambitions.
Two and a half minutes of Catherine commentary.
Catherine, most certainly, isn’t for everyone. It’s a remarkably odd mix of relationship melodrama, sex, and horror. Even if it doesn’t sound like your usual cup of tea, give the demo a download; Catherine may surprise.