Rhythm Heaven is a first party Nintendo IP that has been around since 2009, spanning over four games across four different consoles, yet I imagine most gamers wouldn’t be able to tell you the first thing about it. Heck, I’m a huge fan of Nintendo’s IPs and I haven’t done more than sample the series until now, but that’s okay because Rhythm Heaven Megamix combines all of the best parts of the old games into one colourful, over the top, portable mega mix.
For the uninitiated, Rhythm HeavenMegamix is a like a combination of a music game and a WarioWaregame. That is to say, it is a series of short, extremely random mini-games that has you pressing only a couple of buttons to complete, with each game only lasting a two or three minutes tops. Unlike most games in the music genre, you won’t find an easy-to-follow icon letting you know when to press buttons, instead, you’ll have to time your button presses to the music and zany visuals on the top screen. The bottom screen serves only to let you know whether or not those button presses were on time.
As someone who only dabbled in Mega Man games in my childhood, I played both the originals and the X series before digging into the spiritual successor by original character designer Keiji Inafune. I feel like people look at the original series with rose-tinted glasses, as it isn’t that great, or at the very least hasn’t aged well. The X series, on the other hand, is still serviceable and worth picking up if you’re got a hankering for a great retro platformer. Mighty No. 9, on the other hand, you can skip.
This $3.8 million USD crowdfunded platformer falls somewhere in between retro Mega Man and the X series. The graphics and stage layouts are simple like the original games, while dashing makes the game feel a bit like Mega Man X minus the wall jumping.
Anyone that knows me well knows that I love Hearthstone, considering I’ve spent at least $300 on card packs and expansions to the game. I’d even guess that it was my most played game in 2015, so for me to say that I think Gwent may be able to pull me away from Blizzard’s juggernaut franchise is a big deal.
First off, let me say that I was never really big into card games prior to Hearthstone. Friends tried to teach me Magic the Gathering and other physical card games, but I could never get into them. I’ve also never played any of the Witcher games, but the same could be said forWarcraft titles. I went into my preview of Gwent with a bit of apprehension, thinking I’d need to have played the series to understand and enjoy it. That, thankfully, wasn’t the case.
The submarine exploration game Song of the Deep, developed by Insomniac Games, releases in just a few short weeks and what I played on the E3 show floor has me both interested and concerned.
The premise is simple enough: a girl’s father is lost at sea, so she builds a rickety submarine and sets out to find him. When first starting out she can only navigate the deep waters, but quickly finds an upgrade that allows the sub to pick up items for use in puzzles as well as attack aquatic enemies.
“I don’t know, I don’t really worry about it,” said Cameron Christian. This was in response to potential concerns that people may take issue with perceivable cultural appropriation in Insomniac Games’ new Oculus Rift exclusive, Feral Rites. I asked this because the first thing that hit me upon seeing the character selection screen was, “wow, these characters look like white people dressed in tribal garb.” I will concede that screenshots I saw after the fact made the character look less white than I initially thought.
Aside from that, what I played seemed like a serviceable game with combat that is reminiscent of the Arkham series. Players can easily take on multiple enemies at the same time, bouncing between them. With a quick attack, strong attack, and the ability to throw enemies into either each other or deadly needle plants, similar to the ones in Insomniac’s recent Rift exclusive Edge of Nowhere. I jokingly asked if this game takes place in the same universe, and Cameron confirmed that it does not. That still won’t stop me from making it my headcanon, though.
Capcom has somehow managed to make the latest Dead Risinggame even more ugly than the last one, which wasn’t easy on the eyes by any means as it opted for a more realistic grittier colour scheme, unlike the games that came before it.
While there are more zombies on the screen than ever before, it comes at a price: the framerate drops to what appeared at some points to be in the single digits. Framerate issues also plagued the last title, but in its current state Dead Rising 4 is—surprisingly—even worse. Perhaps these drops are because of the amount of chunks that seemingly fly in the air when mowing down multiple zombies at a time, but I’d rather have a stable game than a manic one. Obviously, the game is still in development and may potentially be fixed by the time it releases later this year.
Jeditor’s note: I just realized today that Activision is charging $50 for this pile of trash. Get ready for downright brutal reviews when it releases.
The highly-anticipated Ghostbusters reboot releases in about a month. And in the very same week a twin-stick shooter that takes place after the film will be available. None of the main characters from the film are in the game. Instead, original recruits made up of two guys and two girls fill out the cast, each with unique weapons and upgrades.
I’ve played many similar shooters to this, and this is easily one of the dullest ones. Each level consists of going from one point to another, shooting ghosts, zombies — which as far as I know were never in the original films– and flying flaming skulls in the face until they die, while capturing others. Why do you kill some ghosts and capture others? I have no idea, as it wasn’t explained.
Before E3 all our hands-on previews of Cuphead have just been boss battles, but we got a chance to take recently revealed platforming levels for a spin and left unimpressed.
While the game’s mechanics lend themselves well to platforming, the two available levels felt uninspired, repetitive, and old-school hard. If you’ve played the old-school Konami classic Contra series, then you know what to expect here: enemies come at you from all sides of the screen at a constant pace forcing you to advance slowly while shooting in every direction and dodging bullets. I saw very few members of the press making it through the platforming levels, as they are truly difficult, but after I few tries I was able to with ease. I guess others just need to ‘git gud.’
The classic gory car series is back, though it doesn’t feel quite as edgy anymore. You’ll find the typical juvenile humour the series is known for, such as the ‘four skins’ pack you get for pre-ordering, and a hidden ‘smelly bush’ to find in every level. And who could forget running over innocent people and animals? It’s the type of humour and violent content that stopped shocking us since Grand Theft Auto blew up back in the PS2 era.
Instead being a straight racing game, Carmageddon Max Damage lets you play it however you want. Racing killing all the other opponents, or just driving around aimlessly… the choice is yours. The only problem with that is that without defined goals, I wasn’t sure what exactly the game wanted me to do. I drove around for ages, running over any living creature in my path. I suppose it is a similar setup to the open-world Tony Hawk games, in that each level will have things to do and hidden stuff to find. All the same, more defined goals certainly wouldn’t hurt, as I felt like I was aimlessly driving in circles. The driving isn’t all that thrilling either, as the controls are rather clunky. That seems to be a staple of the series, though, maybe it’s on purpose.
When Rare announced Sea of Thieves, I shrugged it off. It looked to be little more than a generic, MMO-like pirate game with uninspired graphics. Then when the new trailer hit this E3, laced with YouTubers screaming about climbing ladders and falling off the side of a ship, I groaned and quipped on Twitter that the game ‘looked like the best Project Spark game I’d ever seen.’ Project Spark being the failed, build-your-own-adventure game that Microsoft is pulling the plug on in August.
I finally got to play a portion of Sea of Thieves on the E3 show floor this year, and boy, was I wrong. So, so, wrong.