I must make an apology. Every now and again as a reviewer, you’ll find that there really isn’t much to talk about. Such is the case this week. Pokemon Black and White 2 and Dishonored are out (and will be getting their moment in the spotlight in the coming weeks) but for now, here’s a mix of the things I’ve been playing and looking forward to in the last few weeks.
The last Bit.Trip game I played was Runner, and I found it a simple and charming, if rather unforgiving, experiment in timing and reaction tests that while difficult never confused or frustrated the player because it tactically used its lovely soundtrack to ease their torment.
Bit.Trip Core, on the other hand, was an exercise in sheer bloody-mindedness that I would never have bought were it not on the ‘new releases’ tab of Steam. Rhythm-action games may be your thing, but if so there are better efforts for your money (like the excellent Audiosurf) than this game. Using the WASD keys and the space bar, the player must shoot out a line in one of the four cardinal directions in order to destroy a series of coloured blocks moving across the screen in various directions.
This arrangement would be fine were it not for the sheer chaos this situation creates – it’s nothing like the simple linearity of runner and very quickly becomes impossible to keep under control. The fact that failure occurs in only a few missed notes means that it’s impossible for players who aren’t already Dance Dance Revolution champions to progress any further than the first stage.
The music is nice, but the unfortunate reality is that you probably won’t hear much of it due to the unrelenting difficulty of the game. The real shame is that Bit.Trip Core has all the makings of a fun, if small, downloadable game. The mechanics are simple and when they’re manageable they work very well – the concept could certainly be applauded, and could have been really fun. The sad truth is that if a reviewer can’t access most of a game, they can’t possible recommend it.
So that’s Bit.Trip Core – the little game that hates its players so much that you’ll hate it. A disappointed 3/10.
Sega’s Recent Rereleases
Oi, you. Why are you reading this when you could be off playing the HD rereleases of tons of great Sega games that have been released recently? The Saturn and the Dreamcast were both wonderful but criminally overlooked machines, with libraries that are very fondly remembered by those who played them.
NiGHTS Into Dreams and Sonic Adventure 2 came out this month, and they’re both well worth buying. The addition of global leaderboards to the spiky blue ball’s arguable best outing makes it an essential purchase, especially if you missed it on its previous incarnations on Dreamcast and GameCube. Travel through dozens of levels with a fantastic cast of characters with myriad game mechanics and play for hours in the Chao Garden creature raising minigame, which is both adorable and fiendishly addictive in equal measure.
Nights on the other hand is considered to be one of the defining games of the Saturn, and certainly warrants a mention due to its inventive play mechanics (control your flying dream creature and swoop through rings to earn points) and being one of the first games to properly use what we would now refer to as 2.5D graphics (oh, and shut up physics majors – I know you can’t have half a dimension).
Skip over Jet Set Radio though. As I discussed last week, it’s a massive depressing failure of a port.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Paper Mario is one of my favourite series, thanks in no small part to its excellent writing and brilliant aesthetic, which always manages to be crisp and clean at the same time as being inventive and colourful. As such, its always encouraging to see a new entry in the series, even one as different as Sticker Star.
This time round, a good deal of traditional Paper Mario is gone – battles are fought using stickers, levelling is accomplished through completing quests rather than XP, and Mario will be using real-life objects like fans and goats in order to complete his goals.
It’s a radical departure, and one that some fans will worry about, but I don’t see it being too much of a problem. After all, Super Paper Mario played with the formula far more radically than this and that was a great game, despite the protestations of the usual suspects.
So, there’s something I’ve played and some things I think are worth looking at. Your normal reviewing schedule will resume next week. Thanks for reading!