Apr 032008

So I came to a compromise on the review issue. I’m not going to do much discussion of the aspects of a video game that don’t relate directly to the theme or the atmosphere, which are the subjects I want to focus on in the critiques. At the same time, there are going to be some instances, like this one, where a game really deserves some additional criticism or discussion for some of the design aspects. In some cases this will be because of exceptionally good choices that were made in the design process, but in others it will be [Read more…]

Feb 182008
I Love Layton

I have just finished playing Professor Layton and the Curious Village, a game I cannot recommend highly enough to anyone who has ever enjoyed thinking. The combination of straight-up puzzle solving and adventure game, charmingly presented in 2D, will leave you wanting more and wondering why nobody did this before. Brain game shovelware may well be doomed. The Professor puts that genre to shame and begs the question: “Why didn’t anyone do this before?” The premise of the game is simple enough—well-known puzzle-solver Professor Layton is summoned to a village to solve the riddle of a hidden inheritance. With his [Read more…]

Marking time on the Phantom Hourglass

 Gameplay Notes, Open World Adventure Games  Comments Off on Marking time on the Phantom Hourglass
Jan 312008
Marking time on the Phantom Hourglass

Last night, as Hillary accepted the zero delegates she won from Florida, I finished the latest entry in the Legend of Zelda series, Phantom Hourglass. I found it to be a fun, lightweight romp. Phantom Hourglass is a sequel to the Gamecube game Wind Waker. It inherits cel-shaded rendering, a general character aesthetic, and an oceanic setting from its predecessor, while the terraced look of the islands (once you are on them) is more closely related to Zelda games from the SNES days (see left). Motion and combat are touch-driven, as are all of the tools—boomerang and bombchu routes are [Read more…]