Category Archives: Blog

Fun vs. Engaging

‘Games are supposed to be fun!’ – do you hear that phrase a lot? I’ve seen it quite a few times. The whole thing about games and fun is a point of discussion among developers and gamers alike for a very, very long time. And I disagree with that first statement strongly.

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Antichamber

The thing that inspired me to try out Antichamber was how psychedelic it seemed. Ironically enough, the same thing is what put me off from the game itself. I exited the game with a sour taste in my mouth and no real desire to come back to it.

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Adaptations

Let’s talk about adaptations. The second Hobbit movie has come out fairly recently and there’s quite a few arguing going on around if it’s a good adaptation, so this seems to be a good time to talk about this.

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Assassin’s Creed II – Plot Pacing

Let’s just get one thing out of the way as soon as possible. Assassin’s Creed II has got a good story. It’s not as thought provoking as its predecessor’s, and it’s a simple one with a very straightforward character arc, but it’s still good. That being said, at certain points it suffers from bad pacing and poor writing (which seeps into the mission design and gameplay, which is one of the reasons I decided to tackle this topic before going to a more detailed Sequence 10 post). So I’m going to talk more about that today. Spoilers ahead, obviously.

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Assassin’s Creed II – Sequence 9

Assassin’s Creed II is widely regarded as the best Assassin’s Creed game. And I love Assassin’s Creed II, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of awesome things about it. But there are also quite a few flaws that it gets away with, in my opinion, and having repeatedly argued about these topics with a number of people over a certain course of time, decided to make a small blog mini-series. I’ll start with Sequence 9. Spoilers to those who haven’t played the game.

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Titan Attacks

Titan Attacks is a remake of the classic Space Invaders. On steroids. With upgrades and a big enemy variety, and by the end it gets so intense that it transforms into a bullet hell game. The distortion effects on the screen are very annoying though, but, luckily, you can turn them off. So, all in all, it’s pretty cool. If you were into these classic games, or want to try out a modern (though still fairly faithful) take on said classic games, then you should try it out.

In fact, I think more classic games should get a modern take like Titan Attacks (which seems like what PuppyGames is doing anyway). … Hm. I think I just got inspiration for what kind of game my next side project should be. Thanks, PuppyGames!

Although, on a side-note, I have to say that due to all the upgrades you can get, and how many enemies there can be, the strategic value of having to time your shots well (which was present in Space Invaders and the beginning stages of Titan Attacks) gets diminished, which is somewhat saddening. On the other hand, the curve of starting with the more slow-paced and strategic Space Invaders and then transforming into a hectic bullet hell provides a nice flow and pace to keep you interested throughout all 100 waves (at least on the first playthrough before you start over with all your upgrades intact).

So, yeah. Titan Attacks. Not much more to say, really.

Torchlight

If Torchlight has solidified anything in my design preferences, then it’s my distaste for huge amounts of loot. I like Torchlight, I really do. It’s a fun isometric Action/RPG experience, with very precise, responsive and polished controls, good enemy variety, a nice skill system, and pets. When I first opened up the game and saw that you can have a dog or a cat I instantly went ‘OH MY GOD THIS IS SO COOL’, I didn’t even know what their purpose was at that point.

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Evoland

From the very moment I pressed ‘New Game’, I fell in love with Evoland. It’s a game that integrates evolution of the action/adventure, RPG and JRPG genres in its mechanics, starting out with a GameBoy black and white Zelda-like experience and ending with a full-fledged 3D boss battle. It’s simply amazing. But.

It doesn’t really hold up as a game that well. Ironic, isn’t it? It’s a great, and, most importantly, niche experience. If you’ve played video games for the past 15-20 years at the least, or you were/are interested in a lot of old games before your time, I think you’ll find this nostalgic trip quite enjoyable. I mean, come on, you get to buy an upgrade that removes CD loading times (that were indeed put on purpose) from the PlayStation era locations. How cool is that?

But the game is very basic. It’s got mechanics from Zelda, Final Fantasy and Diablo, and they all, while present a solid foundation, don’t have much depth to them. There are clever moments, don’t get me wrong, and the part where you time travel between Old and New graphics has got to be the most enjoyable section of the game, but it doesn’t feel enough. The soundtrack is really cool though, and game-related humor is amazing.

Still, this brings up an interesting question. Does a game need to have flawless mechanics that do not get old quickly to truly enjoy it? Perhaps that’s a topic that requires a more detailed discussion later. But at least in case of Evoland, I can honestly say – no. No it doesn’t. I loved every second of it.

Age of Pirates: Captain Blood

This story is about a game which I call ‘The Russian Duke Nukem Forever’. The game has started its development in summer 2003, so it seems fitting to talk about it on an approximate 10 years anniversary of the project. This is the story of Age of Pirates: Captain Blood.

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Thomas Was Alone

If there’s anything that Thomas Was Alone proves, is that you can make characters you relate to and root for out of anybody – even if they’re just… blocks. Of different colors. And it’s also really interesting how their personalities are related to their abilities.

Chris is short and he can’t jump high, so he has developed sort of an inferiority complex, for example. John is a very tall block that runs fast and jumps really high, and he’s somewhat of an attention whore and show-off, requiring the audience of other… blocks. And they develop their personalities throughout the game! It’s amazing. And the narration is awesome.

Not to mention that the level and puzzle design is really quite smart, and there are times where it requires a very clever use of said blocks’ abilities. Thomas Was Alone is really short, though. You can beat it in around 3 hours? But it’s a very enjoyable and engaging experience, I really liked the game and would recommend you to check it out.

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