Monthly Archive: October 2017

These Kinect-free re-releases are a little sad

 

These Kinect-free re-releases are a little sad

I don’t know if it’s liberating or disappointing for Frontier Developments to see their premiere Kinect titles retooled for controllers and re-released to puff up the Xbox lineup. For me it’s totally liberating as I was eager to start both games but quickly tired of recalibrating the Kinect and feeling my arms go limp after pretend petting elephants.

But Frontier was on par with Rare when it came to their dedication to Kinect. They weren’t just shoveling out titles to cash in on the fizzling motion control fad. Frontier put some real heart into the darling little Kinect launch title Kinectimals and expanded on it With Bears!. It was the wholesomeness of Kinectimals that I feel landed them the chance to combine their love of amusement park sims with the most beloved amusement park of all: Disneyland.

Again, they could’ve done the cashgrab and slapped a fresh coat of paint (and Mickey bars) on their Thrillville engine. But from what I remember they put as much love into Cinderella’s dress as they had the doe-eyed Kinectimals. Then they became one of the few studios going all-in on Kinect for Xbox One where they combined all their past experience and expertise for Zoo Tycoon.

Four years later, Microsoft has finally given up on Kinect and set their internal teams on Frontier’s founding titles to make them 100% less demanding to play. Now Kinect Disneyland Adventures and Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection (alongside Rush: A DisneyPixar Adventure, not from Frontier) are available for $30 and are Play Anywhere compatible on PC and Xbox One. Like I said, it’s great news for gamers — those who skipped the titles because of Kinect or are just now coming to Xbox looking for family-friendly fun — but I can’t help feeling a little remorse for all of Frontier’s efforts as well.

Surprise! PlayStation Exclusive Megaton Rainfall is out this week

Surprise! PlayStation Exclusive Megaton Rainfall is out this week

Has it really been two years since I last saw Megaton Rainfall!? The “Superman simulator” was one of my Top 20 games from IGF 2015 and then showed up in a PlayStation VR sizzle reel at Paris Games Week later in the year. It went radio-silent after that and just yesterday made its easily-overlooked debut on the PlayStation Store. With everything from South Park and Gran Turismo Sport to WWE 2K18 and The Evil Within 2 launching at the same time, Megaton is likely to be missed but I’m here to champion it one more time.

Basically, you’re Superman. You’re Superman fighting an invasion of gigantic alien robots who are bent on destroying the world’s populace, and apparently bending reality. Judging by the debut trailer it’s more of a game than a tech demo now and incorporates a ‘casualties’ meter to reign in your omnipotent power. Blasting around the world and firing endless laser beams, you’re just as much a threat to humanity as the aliens are. The destruction looks satisfying but so does the challenge of avoiding casualties while still wiping out the colossal bad guys.

 

It’s out now for $15.99 and hallelujah it isn’t a VR exclusive as I feared. I’d try it out in VR to see what those sonic speeds do to my constitution but I’m really just happy that I can finally play it! Hopefully some video will follow so keep an eye on my YouTube and Twitch channels if you’re also intrigued by this game.

Sony’s Unties label brings Indie games to Mobile, Consoles, PC

Sony's Unties label brings Indie games to Mobile, Consoles, PC

Here’s a little morning irony for you: while one arm of Sony refuses to budge on cross-platform online play in games like Rocket League, another arm is helping bring indie titles to mobile devices, PC, and even the “rival” Nintendo Switch. How’d this all happen? USgamer’s Mike Williams summed it up pretty well this morning:

“Sony Music reached into its animation subsidiary Aniplex to create and publish to [sic] mobile games in Japan: Fate/Grand Order and Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story. The former is a smash hit in Japan and just launched in North America a few months ago. The latter title is also doing really well for Sony Music.”

That surprise success has spawned a new publishing label for Sony Music Entertainment Japan, Unties. The group’s goal is to find and release unique independently-developed games on an array of platforms and not just PlayStation.

“The name ‘Unties’ comes from the thought ‘to unleash the excellent talents of unique game creators all over the world’,” reads the press release translated by Gematsu. “And setting creators free from the various shackles of game publishing, named from the intention of realizing publishing that is freedom of production without restraints.”

It all looks and sounds very fallopian to me and I’m going to have to delve into that through therapy some day but despite my personal hangups, the lineup makes for a diverse start. There’s Tiny Metal, a colorful RTS game reminiscent of Advance Wars which is fitting as it’s the one title announced for the Nintendo Switch as well as PlayStation 4 and PC.

Sony's Unties label brings Indie games to Mobile, Consoles, PC

There’s Deemo Reborn for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR, an expansion of the recent Nintendo Switch version which itself is based on the 2013 mobile rhythm game. Last Standard looks to be a one-on-one fighting game played from the third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective with an emphasis on learning how each weapon functions and how best to dodge, parry, and counter it. No platforms have been named yet but given the action in this brief trailer it could work just as well as a touch-based phone game as a console fighter. Finally, there’s Merkava Avalanche which has been on Steam Greenlight since last November. It’s a peculiar one, looking like a 3D brawler where teams of gold plated, two-wheeled, robotic centaurs grapple and joust against one another in vast environments.

All of this is happening in Japan to start so the details are a little hard to discern at the moment. But the news of Sony publishing games on non-PlayStation platforms couldn’t go unreported, even by this dormant blog.

Nintendo grows its Fashion Brand with Forever 21, Shu Uemura

Nintendo grows its Fashion Brand with Forever 21, Shu Uemura

Now more than ever, Nintendo isn’t just in the business of making video games, it’s a b-r-a-n-d brand, “lifestyle” style. Sure, we had breakfast cereals and Happy Meal toys in the 80’s but even my wildest, sugar-addled hallucinations couldn’t have dreamed up $500 Super Mario cosmetics, Mario Kart bodysuits, Metroid cropped belly shirts or a Game Boy clutch. But that’s the world we find ourselves in, one where Nintendo is reaching just as far into fashion and cosmetics as it does into die-cast cars and action figures.

There’s loads to be said about what this all means to society and our acceptance of brands in place of individual personality but I’ll leave that to people much smarter than me. Instead I’m just going to post another gallery of Nintendo products from Forever 21 and Shu Uemura that I personally thought inconceivable until I saw them. Check it out below and look back on our last round of Nintendo fashions from LeSportsac and Uniqlo earlier in the year.