Hohokum is beautifully endearing, whimsically comical, filled with bold colours and sumptuous aural dreamscapes. Its fluid mechanics are simple and straightforward, allowing players to concentrate on finding ways to interact with the cartoonish worlds and uncovering little visual rewards for their troubles.
But I found it to be somewhat problematic at first.
Hohokum feels like you're playing through a drug-induced cartoon from half a century ago in some ways. I half expected to be ambushed by Blue Meanies as I meandered through its myriad worlds. It's lovely to behold with its bright, bold colour scheme and cutesy art courtesy of Richard Hogg. I spent a good deal of time in one chamber of the game where the long, snake-like, cycloptic rainbow eel thingy that you control links up with a bunch of friends and they all respond to your controller inputs for a bit. It was like playing with a virtual spirograph, and I just danced for a bit with my rainbow eel chums and I looked up and I'd been doing it for almost half an hour.
That's probably my favourite bit of Hohokum so far, to be honest. it's a simple game once you peel away the quirky art. You steer this one-eyed spectrum snake around, occasionally slowing it down, sometimes speeding it up. And that's it. There are a bunch of multi-screen levels to the game that present you with some sort of bizarre tableau and just leave you to figure things out for yourselves. It's like a PixelJunk Proteus in some ways, or what Nokia's Snake did during the acid years, forgetting all about eating that square pixel, and going on a colourful bender.Click here to read more...
Hohokum is another one of those arty games that's going to polarise people. Some will hold it up as an example of unconventional interactive entertainment and proof that games can and are art. Others will passionately argue that it isn't even a game. There will be those that miss the point completely, some for whom this really isn't their thing. Equally, there will be others that pronounce Hohokum to be one of the best things to be seen all year.
I like the way it encourages a genuine spirit of "play" in a manner that's rather unique.
It's a combination of beautiful, striking art from Richard Hogg, various aural dreamscapes that soothe and relax, and fluid mechanics that aren't explained outright, instead encouraging you to discover little cartoonish vignettes through direct interaction as well as poring over the scenery with your eyes.
It's quite possibly the bubble bath of gaming.
The review's on its way.
How come Claptrap can navigate stairs in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel? Why the hell does he need oxygen? What's the most badass, awesome thing in a game overflowing with badassery and awesomesauce?
Carl catches up with Gearbox's James Lopez and 2K Australia's Joel Eschler at this year's Gamescom to find out, and get the lowdown on the latest addition to the playable roster for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
I haven't used a flight stick in years, but there's something incredibly soothing about running my fingers over the firm grip of my new Thrustmaster and jumping headfirst into the Elite: Dangerous beta. There are more button inputs than actual buttons on the Hotas X (and it's not exactly short on those), but Elite is a fiddly game that takes a bit of setting up when you first jump in.
Miy first foray into the vast expanses of space took an abrupt turn for the worst when I confused a Federation police ship for the pirate target I was hunting down, and was promptly blown out of the inky black sky, at which point I thought I'd better take on a few of the combat scenario missions to chip away the years of rust, and get up to speed with the nuances of hurling a Sidewinder around the place.
Click here to read more...
It's been a fairly eventful Gamescom thus far, and we're going to have plenty of previews and interviews and hands-on impressions going live over the next few weeks. There have been some rather big surprises over the last 48 hours too, and here are five things that have been announced or unveiled this week that have really captured our attention.
Carl & Jon return, this time from the show floor, give their highlights from the first proper day of Gamescom 2014. Jon explains why Until Dawn is looking promising, before Carl once again gushes about Dreamfall Chapters to anyone who'll listen.
We'll be back tomorrow with more impressions from the show floor!
I can't play horror games these days. Horror films aren't a problem, because most of them by now are incredibly formulaic and there's a detachment to film that puts distance between you and the action. That detachment, that distance, is not something you're afforded in games, and the real masters of horror in this industry know how to leverage that to the most chilling extent.
Over the years, series like Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, and Dead Space have basically given me a serious heart condition... along with all of the comfort food I eat after soiling myself. It's important to refuel.
This year, hands-on time with The Evil Within and Alien: Isolation have already conspired to fray my nerves further, and now comes news of a partnership between Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro. Remember how Kojima's been teasing his involvement in a new Silent Hill game? Well it's called Silent Hills, and its teaser demo -- the project briefly known as P.T. -- is playable on PS4 right now.Click here to read more...
Dealspwn are once again in Cologne for this year's Gamescom, having sent Carl & Jon to check out the upcoming titles that have been brought along to the three-day-long event... but before we get to that, our dynamic duo give their thoughts on how Sony & Microsoft did with their press conferences. We also get to hear their impressions on the upcoming build of Disney Infinity.
Stay tuned for their first proper day of highlights in our postcard tomorrow!
The Viceroy returns with another edition of Community Feedback - a show which focuses on what you, our marvellous audience, have to say over Dealspwn.com, our YouTube channel, and our Twitter account.
Along with some critique of Matt's opinion on the Xbone and a warning about Kirby, this week's main topic sees the community decide which gaming character would be the best dinner host.
Watch the video in the embed above, and hit the jump to find out how to get involved in next week's topic!
PlayStation Plus has become something of a nifty way of introducing indie games to a new audience on PS4, and this month's freebie is Road Not Taken, a roguelike puzzler from Spry Fox -- the studio also responsible for the ludicrously addictive Triple Town.
Road Not Taken, which also released this month on Steam, sees players take on the role of a ranger adventuring through a vast forest in the aftermath of a brutal winter storm. The villagers of a nearby settlement have had a whole bunch of their children go missing, and it's up to you to rescue them and help the kiddies find their way home across a bunch of procedurally-generated levels.
It's a game with a lot of heart and a cutesy art style typical of the studio, with straightforward mechanisms that essentially boil down to shunting objects around a grid and bringing groups of items together. That sounds simple, of course, but the level design swiftly increases in difficulty, and you only get one life before you have to start a completely new run through the fifteen-level story again. It's always fresh, always beguilingly whimsical, and it's always fiendishly challenging.
It's also pretty damn good.
Well, have a review for you soon, but in the meantime, check out the game's opening level after the jump.Click here to read more...
It's hard to fathom that MIND: Path to Thalamus was created by one person, but then again, the singular vision of this magical-realist, first-person puzzle-em-up is such that I'm not sure it could have existed any other way.
"How many times will I kill her?" comes the voice of the narrator before a narrative involving meteorological obsession and accidents involving close family and loved ones, parental errors of judgement, and soul-destroying guilt comes to the fore, played out in the mind of a culpable coma patient.
It's a fascinating little game, one that plays with natural elements (and asks you to play with them too), bends the mind with abstract puzzling and the manipulation of physical forces, and ties it all together with this striking narrative conceit.
Expendabros is a free game. Think of it as an extended demo for the excellent Broforce, that just happens to feature some of the characters from the upcoming Expendables 3 movie. I know, the last time there was an Expendables game, it was one of the worst pieces of interactive excrement we've ever had the misfortune of playing through.
But this is basically Broforce. And, as anyone who's played Free Lives' games or seen any of our amazingly brofessional coverage of it will testify, Broforce is awesome, dumb, arcadey fun.
Forget those free Doritos games that Microsoft pumped out on Xbox LIVE, forget Zool and its Chupa-Chups. This is quite possibly the best piece of advergaming we've seen in a long time, possibly ever. It's not a true film tie-in per se, but even if it was, it'd be a damn sight better than most tie-in games. Because its free. And awesome.
You can try it out for yourself (and then download Broforce proper for more crazy explosive pixellated brilliance and online multiplayer), but I also threw together a little video last night that may be the least professional thing I've ever made. You can watch it after the jump. Apologies to any and all who do. There are many swears, terrible impressions, Darkness-esque moments of falsetto singing, and lashings of maniacal laughter.Click here to read more...
Eidolon is massive.
Dropping you with absolutely no context into a huge forest with no idea where you are or what you're doing, it's safe to say that the hand-holding tendencies of many modern games are thrown out of the window with this one. As a player in this verdant, lonely environment, it's up to you to pick your way across the landscape, dredging up context and clues, and discovering why there's not another soul to be found.
Like most of our Let's Play, the video after the jump shows off my first experiences with the game, going with little knowledge beyond that which the game delivers. It's a game that's played at a very slow pace, one that requires patience and perseverance, and at the time of writing (having played more of it since I made this video yesterday), I'm still not sure how well balanced it is. Eidolon has moments of real beauty and a melancholic atmosphere fuelled by the player's isolation in this world. It's not a survival horror in the same vein as the also-singleplayer The Forest, but it has survival elements. An encounter with a bear leads to a rather nasty wound, and there are no obvious antibiotics in a seemingly never-ending forest.
White, shimmering icons deliver basic survival equipment, while green equivalents serve to shine a light on small pockets of the narrative, filling in the vast blank spaces of story bit by bit. Eidolon asks a lot of its players, and I'm still not sure if it necessarily does enough to warrant all of this slow trudging, but perhaps most crucially, I've been thinking about it a lot over the last couple of days and I want to go back and learn more.
Not just for the purpose of the review, either, and that's always a good sign.Click here to read more...
The Last of Us: Remastered is a bit of a no-brainer for people who find themselves with a PS4 having not ever played one of the best games of last year. But is it worth a punt if you've already Platinum'd (yeah, that's a verb now) the original? Well, we'll have a full breakdown for you early next week, but in the meantime, here's a helpful little video that puts the two versions side by side, to help you make an informed decision as the game launches today.
You can check out the first 15 minutes of The Last of Us: Remastered after the jump.
So just how good does The Last Of Us look on PS4? We've got the game's opening quarter of an hour for you to have a look at, with a generational platform comparison vid coming shortly.
I love the old Infinity Engine RPGs, and I'm not alone. Jon often makes the point that the stories modern games tell seem to have suffered as a result of having so many more advanced tools (particularly when we start bandying around the word "cinematic"), and that there's something to be said for text-heavy adventures and RPGs making the very most of their limited options. The writing had to be spot on, the world building exceptionally well researched, everything providing the optimal framing for whatever adventure was to be had.
Games couldn't rely on polish and looks to get by as they can now, they actually had to be good. And we were spoilt rotten with games of exceptional quality.
Pillars of Eternity wants to tap into all of that, reviving that old-school spirit, but upgrading and updating a few of the more clunky mechanisms that have grown rusty over the years, and the team at Obsidian look to be right on track. We've already sent the half-hour gameplay presentation we checked out a couple of weeks back, but we also got the opportunity to put a bunch of further questions to project director Josh Sawyer, and he waxed lyrical regarding classes, romance, and one of the game's best Easter eggs.Click here to read more...
Wayward Manor is an odd little game. Something of a point-and-click puzzler, it involves you manipulating a variety of puzzle rooms within the eponymous domicile as the manor's resident ghost, attempting to scare the assorted miscreants currently residing in the house out of their minds.
The review will go live later this week, but here's a little taster of what to expect in the meantime.
Abe's Oddysee was one of our favourite 2D platformers back in the PS1's heyday, so we're delighted that Just Add Water has given the game a shiny HD makoever, although we're not sold, nor see the point of, the new name - Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty. In addition to the new visuals, the separate screens that broke up a stage as you ran onto them from left to right have been replaced with one smoothly scrolling stage.
And you can check it out for yourself with a couple of videos I recently shot on the PS4, the first one contains the opening cutscene followed by a run through the entire first stage. To show off some of the more outdoorsy scenes I put together a second video with scenes of the Monsaic Lines and Scarabania stages. Notice the oh so smooth editing in the second video as I cut out multiple failed attempts at two bastard-hard platforming sections. Probably for the best I didn't record a commentary for the second video.Click here to read more...
After the rip-roaring success of the first episode, The Viceroy returns with another edition of Community Feedback - a show which focuses on what you, our marvelous audience, have to say over Dealspwn.com, our YouTube channel, and our Twitter account. Along with judging fame and discussing voices, this week's main topic sees the community decide their preferred villainous overlord.
Watch the video in the embed above, and hit the jump to find out how to get involved in next week's topic!
In this week's episode of Game Night, Brendan and I climb upon our Dealspwnies of war and ride into battle against super-powerful spider tanks and a spawn-camping purple eye of belligerence. Yes, we're back in Old Russia for this one, as we take on the Level 6 "Strike" Mission in the Destiny beta, and I die a lot and get a bit hysterical.