Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya is an extremely talented developer with a keen eye for what made older games truly enduring.
His most well-known work Cave Story is quite rightly held up as a shining example of the open-structure 2D platformer done right — and thanks to its numerous rereleases over the years, can be played on a wide variety of systems.
But don’t sleep on Kero Blaster, a very different but equally magnificent love letter to classic old-school gameplay that, like Cave Story, can now be enjoyed on a variety of different platforms, including Windows PC, iOS devices, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
Continue reading Kero Blaster: Amphibious Assault
I love a good racing game. And, while the definition of “good racing game” may vary from person to person, in my case that means “ridiculous, physically improbable and probably fatal things happening in realistic-looking environments”.
I have no interest in an accurate simulation of what it’s like to drive a Rover Metro around Donington Park circa 1987, but present me with the opportunity to fling myself off the side of a quarry on a motorbike going over 200 miles per hour while I admire the ruins of ancient Greece passing majestically by beneath me, and I am 100% there.
As you may have surmised, nail’d falls very comfortably and firmly into this latter category.
Continue reading nail’d: Look Out Below
I remember coming across Assault Android Cactus for the first time: it was back in 2013, when I was still working on USgamer, and I was headed for EGX, or the Eurogamer Expo as it used to be known.
My boss Jaz Rignall suggested that I might want to check out this game he’d heard a bit about, and put me in contact with the developer. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it; if I’m perfectly honest, I was expecting some sort of fairly forgettable indie fare, but I trusted Jaz’s judgement. He’d been around in the games industry even longer than me, after all, so he knew his stuff.
I was right to trust his judgement. Assault Android Cactus ended up being my favourite thing I saw at EGX that year, and it’s remained a consistent favourite of mine ever since.
Continue reading Assault Android Cactus: Shooting for the S+
One of the nice things about the two Taito Legends compilations on PS2, Xbox and PC (and the separate PSP release, which acts as a kind of “best of” compilation containing elements of both) is that it includes both well-known games and more obscure affairs.
One such example of the latter is The Electric Yo-Yo, an unusual Taito America game from 1982 that is so obscure that it doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia page (shock!). If Giant Bomb’s rather bare-bones page on the game is to be believed, it seems that it wasn’t all that well-received back in the day — but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in MoeGamer’s lifetime, it’s that it’s always worth considering something on its own merits, devoid of its original context and popular reception.
And y’know what? I kinda like The Electric Yo-Yo. I mean, sure, it’s kind of infuriating and I’ve hurled some deeply offensive language at it during my time with it… but I still kinda like it.
Continue reading Taito Essentials: The Electric Yo-Yo
A common theme explored throughout the visual novel medium in general is the idea of people not being quite what they appear at first glance.
The reason for this is mostly a practical one: the very nature of the visual novel medium makes deep dives into multifaceted, layered characters a viable thing for creators to explore. Enthusiasts of visual novels are already accustomed to the medium’s slow pace and relatively limited interactivity compared to games with a stronger emphasis on their mechanical components, so writers and developers are more than happy to allow us the opportunity to get to know the main cast extremely intimately.
That doesn’t mean those first impressions the characters set don’t matter, mind you. On the contrary, they are extremely important for setting expectations as to how those characters will behave and interact — and then, in some cases, subverting rather than confirming those expectations. Let’s take a look at how Our World is Ended’s cast presents itself in the early hours of the game as the narrative is getting underway.
Continue reading Our World is Ended: First Impressions are Lasting Impressions
Remember back when we explored Sonic 2006 and I suggested that game was an attempt to provide a “big-budget movie” type of Sonic experience? It’s hard not to see Sonic Forces as Sonic Team having another crack at that.
All the major components of “big-budget movie adaptation of popular series” are here: recognisable but somewhat different setting; established characters in unconventional situations; brand-new, original characters designed for newcomers in the audience to attach themselves to; and significantly higher stakes than seen elsewhere in the series as a whole.
If you’re a “once and done” kind of player, you can also probably add “done and dusted in two hours” to that list, too, but rest assured, if you’re the sort of person who likes collectibles, secret levels and objectives, there’s significantly more than that here. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: Take 2
In 2011, Sonic turned 20. 1991 was a big year for the blue blur: he had his first ever public appearance in Sega’s arcade title Rad Mobile, then later in the year thrilled console gamers on both 8- and 16-bit Sega platforms with his first full adventures.
Naturally, such a significant anniversary needed to be celebrated — particularly since poor old Sonic had put up with plenty of resistance from press, public and even his own fans over the years. But how to go about it in a way that would please as many people as possible — or at least attempt to?
By acknowledging both his past and present, of course. Enter Sonic Generations.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: Old Meets New