Tag Archives: game

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Fre(aking Hard!)eze

18 Mar

Although it seems as if Nintendo is going into a financial crisis in the wake of the Wii U’s paltry sales, the humble company still puts out a fantastic product for those who did buy one.

The game sees the Kong family celebrating DK’s Birthday when an army of arctic animals called the “Snomads” attack. Using a magic alphorn the Snomads blow the Kongs out of their home and put the tropical DK Island in a perpetual winter a la “Frozen” style. The Kong’s must traverse the different Islands taken over by the icy invaders and take back their home.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is the latest game in the DKC franchise and employs the same 2D platform gameplay the games are known for since the first one developed by the OG’s at Rare. In single player you play as the titular Donkey Kong whose larger body feels realistically heavy but still tight to control and can use one of his three relatives as assists which change up the dynamic of your controls.

With Diddy you can use his jet pack to get an extra second of air time, using Cranky allows you to pogo with his cane to avoid spiky terrain and kill horned enemies and last but most useful is Dixie who uses her ponytail to give a lot more amnesty and control during tricky platform sections. In Multiplayer Player one controls DK, while a second player controls one of the three supports independently and both can still come together to perform the same actions.

The game consists of six different vibrant worlds, from Bavarian mountain tops to deep sea caverns, all with an icy coat to keep up with the game’s theme. Each level provides a surprise in terms of gameplay, with fast mine cart sections and in look, such as certain levels turning the in game characters into art deco silhouettes. This is all made better by the fact the great optimization of the graphics keeps the game at an extremely smooth frame rate  Each world is finished by defeating a boss character,  each with their own strategy and theme that tests the player to their limits.

The music is composed by David Wise who helped compose the music for the original DKC and returns with old remixes and new scores that will stay in your head as you play the game.  The new voice acting for the Kong family is also a hilariously campy and will alleviate the frustration when you miss that split second jump.

DKC: Tropical Freeze is a beautiful game that keeps the hardcore, challenging platform spirit alive and makes a cool way to pass the time in waiting for the next masterpiece.

Thanks and see ya Later!



Rayman Legend(ary)s

2 Dec

Video games as a medium and as a vehicle for stories have advanced beyond the point of just being toys for children. Video games can tell stories that intrigue people as much as Shakespeare, and look as gorgeous as a new Pixar movie. It’s pretty surprising however to see simplistic games such as the Rayman titles not only survive in the current market but also thrive.

Rayman Legends, released Sept. 3, was developed by the Montpellier branch of Ubisoft and directed by series creator Michel Ancel and the same, beautiful cartoony atmosphere and presentation. Even though Ancel and the team that worked on Origins is present, Legends takes what Origins perfected and attempts to take it further, but it ultimately misses what made Origins a nearly perfect experience.

Set in a surreal world created by an old shaman like character called the “Bubble Dreamer”, Legends features the titular character of Rayman, a limbless hero of sorts, his best friend, a blue frog named Globox, a new character, the warrior princess Barbara and little creatures called the “Teensies” jumping back into action as the nightmares caused by evil Teensies plague their world once again. The group must traverse through different worlds via magical paintings in order to save kidnapped Teensies and magical sprites known as Lums from the Nightmares’ clutches.


As convoluted as the story may sound it, like the one found in Origins is extremely cut and dry and borderline random, which is the point. It’s just a simple framing device for the game. There is only one line of discernible dialogue in the whole game while the rest is comedic gibberish.

Legends is a basic 2D side scroll platform game reminiscent of old Mario games with 4-player co-op, and has you jumping, punching, and floating your way through six themed worlds including a Medieval fantasy setting with dragons and ogres, and a mouth-watering food world designed after the Mexican holiday, Dia de Muertos filled with colorful skeletons and cake.

Origins was noted as having incredibly jarring difficulty spikes and Legends addresses this with more forgiving checkpoints and ample foresight into what you have to do in each level, reducing the need for frustrating memorization. Legends features new content like a soccer mini game, costumes, pets and daily challenges for those with internet access.

One major downside with Legends is the new “Murphy” levels which need the assistance of a timed button prompt to let the character of Murphy perform a necessary action in order to advance through the level. These levels came from the game first being a WiiU exclusive and work well with a touch screen but the PS3 and XBOX360 versions of these levels seem tedious and slow down the fast pace the games are known for.

One thing Legends and other Rayman games do get right is the jaw dropping presentation. For one thing the visuals are some of the best produced by artists with expansive, hand-painted backgrounds, environments. While it looks could it sometimes looks “too” good as the characters are as detailed as the backgrounds and leads to them blending in, instead of popping out like in Origins.

MINITORIAL-More detail is bad?: As said above the art has been incredibly improved since the last game but it has also turned into something that is a bit ugly. Having everything, characters, items, enemies and backgrounds have the same level of detail makes everything blend together. While its all still beautiful it actually affects the game itself and not in a good way. Being harder to differentiate characters from the fore ground makes a myriad of levels that much harder to traverse and while more detail is appreciated it should still have good conveyance.

Another source of majesty in this game is the music scored by Christophe Heral and Billy Martin featuring original tunes and some more notable melodies. One of the highlights of Legends is its newly introduced, “Orchestral Chaos” levels which have the player performing actions to the beat of familiar songs like a hard rock cover of Ram Jam’s “Black Betty,” or a flamenco style cover of “Eye of the Tiger.”

As good as the music is it couldn’t be help feeling repetitive, some of the more prominent songs from Origins were pulled into the game, and multiple levels will use the same track with little to no difference.

Legends is a fantastic title but it is nowhere the level of a complete experience as its predecessor is and feels more like an experimental expansion pack, but consider this experiment a success.

Papers, Please(Try This Game!)

5 Sep

Today big budget, gigantic games, featuring epic storylines and graphics to make Pixar look weak can maybe crank out 10-20 hours of gameplay, and then you’re done. Why is it that a ten dollar indie game about paper work can deliver up to 50 hours of engaging entertainment?

The game, Papers, Please, is a fairly new indie title and is basically an immigration border checkpoint simulator. That may sound boring but the interesting thing about it is that it was created by Lucas Pope who designed, scored, wrote and coded the entire game by himself.

Papers, Please has the appearance of an old MS-DOS computer game and only the most basic of animations and clip art graphics set to nothing but the sound of the equipment you use and your own breathing making it more realistic than first looks show.

You play a family man in the fictional country of Arstotzka which is set in a parody of Eastern Europe during the Cold War era. You have been selected to run the border as an inspector and must decide whether or not a person is allowed into the country.

You have a set salary and get paid an extra five credits when you successfully let people into the country but if you let people through who have incorrect information you will be penalized. The tension and excitement comes from trying to get as many people in the country as possible, without making a mistake and making enough money to feed and take care of your family, who without sufficient funds will eventually starve or get ill and die.

Even after that the game may not sound that appealing but there is strength in its simplicity. Several things happen in and out of the checkpoint and your life and job effects the life of everyone who comes through the gate.

The basics of gameplay is verifying someone’s papers through a point and click interface and checking various things such as name, age, height, weight, expiration date focusing mostly on the passport and stamp it approved or denied on your discretion. This can get hectic as the days go by and your miniscule desk space forces you to check things almost one at a time all while having a time limit.

A conspiracy involving a secret organization, daily wanted lists and even some more humorous characters that  succeed to frustrate you as they waste every precious second you have dedicated to doing your job and taking care of your family.

This is a fantastic game and a testament to how an emphasis on how a plot is interwoven through the gameplay to make an unforgettable experience.

Two swollen thumbs up.

Thanks and See Ya Later!


Lollipop(lollipop oh lollilollilollilollipop) Chainsaw.

13 Jun


A bevy of beautiful colors, bloodied limbs, and barely covered buts; this game takes shock humor to a whole new level. The game starts with a narration by the protagonist Juliet Starling who wastes zero time establishing her character, the supporting cast, and the fact that she’s a world class zombie hunter. A former student at San Romero High school who has the appearance of Ozzy’s mutated testicle and goes by the name Swan decides to get revenge on the school and the city since everyone apparently disliked his attire. Swan decides to bring forth five purveyors of darkness which is a fancy term for five genre specific zombie rockers who make it their business to bring about their own individual brand of musical injustice. It’s up to Juliet, her decapitated boyfriend, and her entire family to stop the zombie horde. Suda51 brings his A game when every part of this experience feel s fresh, interesting, and above all else, fun. The primary gameplay is your typical hack and slash gore fest with the primary weapon being a versatile bedazzled chainsaw. The different weapons such as a makeshift rifle and an upgrade that allows the chainsaw to be used as a mode of transportation vary the gameplay and will never leave you without several ways in which to dispatch your undead foes. The gameplay is often broken up with somewhat tedious mini games such as zombie baseball which do nothing more than give you more reason to cut off the main villain’s head with your bare hands.  I was able to play the whole game, which has about an eight to nine hour play time, in one sitting but that shouldn’t discourage a buy as this game has a lot of replay potential and a ton of stuff to collect like different costumes, lollipops, and tease worthy concept art. The game also supports an amazing soundtrack which fits each and every varied level environment each with its own unique layered boss battles. The game also features an amazing cast that brings to life the characters and their hilarious and Americanized dialogue, written by James Gunn, led by legendary goddess of voice actors herself Tara Strong who from the popular comedy central show “Drawn Together” has shown that she’s not afraid to let her mouth need a good helping of Orbitz. This game gets two swollen thumbs in the air and a recommendation for its creative colorful design, its ability to make killing things fun, and by no small feat Juliet Starling who earns her spot amongst the legendary campy monster hunters like Lynn Peltzer from Gremlins.

This has, is, and always will be my opinion. Thanks and see ya later.