A young girl’s voice tells you, a seed, to possess a fox and explore a forest to find the guardians of the seasons. Finding them will grant players the power to swap between seasons on the fly.
That is the basic premise of Seasons after Fall‘s story, which as you can imagine makes little sense, as the reasoning behind everything is never fully explained—at least as far as character motivations are concerned. At least there’s a clear conclusion.
The story isn’t why you’ll want to play this though, the wonderful art style, animations, and calming gameplay is.
A young boy named Hue goes in search of his mother who has gone missing. Along the way, he discovers the ability to change the color of the world around him which makes objects of the same color disappear, and thus Hue can walk through where they were as if they don’t exist.
Swapping colors with a color wheel via the right stick, basic platforming, and moving around some boxes are the only interactions you’ll have playing Hue. While simplicity isn’t a bad thing, a majority of the game’s puzzles are far too easy as they consist of just being able to recognize colors, swapping to the intended color, and then proceeding. Only around the last 10% of the game’s puzzles required any thought or skill on my part, and I don’t exactly consider myself a brainiac. As it only took me around three hours to finish this, I was left disappointed with the lack of challenge.
I remember being excited about the original Kinect launching for the Xbox 360, back when I worked in retail. Our store even had a midnight opening for it, which was a rarity in those days.
Since then, I’ve played a majority of games released over the years for the device on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One, from the fantastic bowling in Kinect Sports (which caused my mom and grandma to buy Xbox 360s), to dancing my ass off in Dance Central and Just Dance, to the downright awful Fable: The Journey and Commander Cherry. Heck, I’ve even played completely unreleased games such as the Xbox 360 version of Crimson Dragon that I managed to get my hands on. I don’t know why, but I’ve been obsessed with Kinect since launch even though most of its games suck raunchy balls and taint with a bit too few teeth for my liking.
So my words should hold some weight when I say that FRU is easily the best traditional game ever released for the tech. Unfortunately, it also has the worst timing — it seems Kinect is all but officially dead as the upcoming Xbox One S revision requires an additional cable to even use it.
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.
“They can try,” Koji “Iga” Igarashi remarked when I asked him about the rumblings I’ve heard of Konami possibly working on a sequel to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. This was a game that Iga himself wrote the scenario for, programmed, and helped direct. Iga’s translator was seemingly angry at the mere mention of the sequel being a possibility. They stated that Iga, “still knows Konami insiders, and would have heard if such was happening.”
Iga was at Xbox’s E3 booth, showing off his crowdfunded spiritual sequel to theCastlevania series, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, when I spoke with him. I’m happy to report it looks like this is the Castlevania game we have been waiting for in everything but name. It has all the things you’d expect to find: great music, a gothic aesthetic, ghoulish enemies, and massive bosses. Practically everything is here, right down to candles that can be broken to reveal items.
You play as Elvis, whose house is destroyed, so he sets out on a dangerous platforming adventure to get a new one via his warranty. Along the way Elvis walks right through the middle of a race war between his people, the red triangles, and their neighbors, the blue monsters.
Over across 100 levels, you hop between platforms which you stick to as if magnetically, allowing you to run around all sides without fear of falling. Elvis acquires a blue-monster disguise early on that allows him to jump on blue areas that would otherwise disappear when he approaches. Inversely, red spaces can’t be used when in the disguise. Even the stages themselves are ‘racist’ in this game. Luckily, you can instantly switch between colors on the fly with the press of a button.
Let me put it bluntly—this PS4 exclusive is one of the worst games I’ve played this year. Other than character designs, there isn’t a single thing about Shadow of the Beast that can be considered anything close to good. I found myself laughing out loud multiple times at decisions made by the development team, wondering how they thought they were good ideas.
The first time I laughed was at the very beginning of the game as the player character is being lead around on a leash like a kinky BDSM-pet roleplay. After slaughtering some monks who don’t fight back, you come to a baby in a crib. Seeing this triggers some memory and you break free from your chains as your captor grabs the baby and starts to run off but not before you wound the evildoer.
If you’re like me, you yearn for the days when video games weren’t trying to be gritty and realistic all the time, you remember the N64 and PSX platformers fondly, and you miss the pure unadulterated joy they brought.
I have some good news for us; Lucky’s Tale is here to scratch that itch if you’re willing to buy an Oculus Rift. As the ‘pack-in game’ that comes free with the headset, Lucky’s Tale’s job seems to have been to show that virtual reality can do more than just first person experiences, and it mostly succeeds with some caveats.
A roguelike platformer where you’re trying to find trinkets to cheer up your only friend — that just happens to be a giant, land-bound whale named Sally — was my favorite game at PAX East this year. Are you surprised? How can something with such a cute premise not win over my heart?
Playing as Ikk, you’ll be running through procedurally-generated levels that are seemingly drawn on the screen as you move, meaning the level in all directions will be invisible until you get closer to it. Think of the ‘fog of war’ effect found in most RTS games, only it is pitch black aside from enemies. This works well with the odd, minimalist art style that feels like a mix of a The Behemoth and Tim Burton, only with fewer colors on screen at once. Beautiful and wholly original to say the least.