Of all the genres that have been with us since the earliest days of the medium, racing games have probably been through the most significant changes.
There’s still an undeniable appeal to classic single-screen top-down affairs, though, particularly when they control as elegantly as Race (aka Indy 500) for Atari 2600 does. Originally making use of a custom “Driving Controller” and today mapping excellently to the analogue sticks on our standard joypads, Race remains a fine way to while away a few minutes, whether you’re by yourself or in the company of a friend.
Check out the solo experience in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
After a period of… let’s call it “dormancy”, standalone, non-freemium puzzle games are very much alive and well, and I am 100% here for it.
Petal Crash, a Game Boy Colour-inspired puzzler from Friend & Fairy, published by Freedom Planet creators Galaxy Trail, is a fine example. Featuring gorgeous visuals inspired by 8-bit handhelds and a fantastic chiptune soundtrack — plus excellent gameplay — I was immediately smitten with it when I wrote about it.
Now you can see it in action in the video below, too. Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
I’ve always loved a good multi-sport athletics game, right back to the good old days of Epyx’s “Games” series on 8- and 16-bit platforms.
With the 2020 Olympics being cancelled (sorry, “postponed”) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there I was thinking there wasn’t an official video game out there. But there was! It came out in 2019 and is a Japan-only release, but has full English support. You can read more about it here.
Or you can watch me show off all 18 events to varying degrees of success in the video below, of course. Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
This post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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We’ve already talked about how Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland marked something of a return to the “traditional” Atelier format in terms of its concept and structure. But its follow-up Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland shows that this return to Atelier’s roots was more than just a one-off.
Specifically, Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland re-establishes the early series’ formula of having several games unfold in the same (or at least a similar) geographical area and showing how that area changes over time — along with how the people who live there change, too. Atelier has, after all, always been a series about people at its heart.
Before we dive too deep into specific talk of mechanics and narrative, though, let’s take a first look at where this game came from — and one particularly interesting story surrounding one of its various releases over the years.
Continue reading Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland – High Impact Sexual Violence?
This post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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As our exploration of Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland comes to a close, it’s time to contemplate the game’s narrative component.
As we talked about when we looked at the game’s overall structure, Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland is somewhat more non-linear than previous installments in the series. There’s a core linear progression based around Rorona’s assignments, but the bulk of the narrative content comes from the wide variety of optional events you can enjoy with the ensemble cast.
Between all those events, you get a good sense of what sort of place Arland is — and who Rorona and her friends really are. So let’s take a closer look!
Continue reading Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland – Tradition, Modernity and Belief in Oneself
The mechanical genre that we refer to as “shoot ’em up” actually covers a number of different gameplay styles. And, as with everything else in this world, it displays distinct fashions and trends as the years go by.
Back in the early days of gaming, the fixed shooter was king. Then we moved into the beginning of the horizontally and vertically scrolling age, the former of which in particular flourished throughout the 16-bit home console age. The rise of polygons brought with it a shift to “2.5D”, where 3D graphics were combined with 2D gameplay for added spectacle. And today, many — though not all — shooters focus on the elaborate choreography of the “bullet hell” or danmaku subgenre.
This is an oversimplification, of course, but the fact remains that we see fewer shooters in the style of those from the late 16-bit and early 32-bit eras than we used to. Which is why Rigid Force Redux, a recent Nintendo Switch and Xbox One release from German developer com8com1 Software, was such a pleasure to explore.
Continue reading Rigid Force Redux: An R-Type By Any Other Name
Amplitude Studios first came to my attention a good few years back with the release of Endless Space, a 4X strategy game that I didn’t completely suck at.
Since that first game, they’ve expanded the Endless universe considerably with several other games. Probably my favourite of them all is Dungeon of the Endless, a curious hybrid of roguelike, board game, tower defense and all manner of other goodness. And it’s out now for Nintendo Switch! You can get it in a box and everything.
Having not actually played it for a while, I decided to see how I got on with my rusty skills. The answer is “not well”, but I hope at least you can see why this game is so enjoyable if you take the time to learn it!
If you enjoyed the video, don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
The concept of “gaming” wasn’t always about immersing yourself in RPGs that last for several hundred hours, or about hurling abuse at random strangers online.
No; in the dim and distant past, before electronics dominated nearly every aspect of our lives, it was about gathering around a table with friends and doing various things with bits of wood, glass beads and playing cards that could, in most cases, be summarised as “tidying up”. And once the digital age first dawned for consumers in the late ’70s, it was about gathering around your family television to play digital recreations of those tabletop pursuits on your woodgrain Atari Video Computer System.
51 Worldwide Games, also known as Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics, marks a delightful return to both of these bygone eras. And in the process, it becomes a true essential for anyone’s Nintendo Switch library.
Continue reading 51 Worldwide Games: The Good Old Days
I really like Lonely Mountains: Downhill, as you’ll know if you’ve read my writeup on it.
It’s a wonderfully chilled game in its early stages, but also offers some stiff dexterity challenges for those who want to push themselves on its later courses. The whole thing is held together with a delicious low-poly/papercraft-style aesthetic and some of the best ambient sounds I’ve ever heard.
If you wanted to see how it actually plays, well, I’ve got the video just for you right here! Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
In today’s short;Play, we take a look at a Nintendo Switch-exclusive arcade puzzle game with a gorgeous ’80s-style aesthetic.
Cyber Protocol from RedDeerGames is a game where you’re attempting to save an android’s life. You do this by negotiating a series of perilous mazes, attempting to grab as many dots and bonus items as you can along the way.
If this all sounds a bit Pac-Man, you’d be right to an extent… but it’s the interesting additional twists on the formula — plus a rather different core movement mechanic — that make things truly interesting here.
Watch the video below, or subscribe on YouTube.