Titanfall 2

 Immersive Shooters, Reflex Platformers, Short Take  Comments Off on Titanfall 2
Feb 282017

Status: Campaign complete Most Intriguing Idea: Mirror’s Edge actually would have been better with more guns. Best Design Decision: Enemies that can’t aim quickly. Worst Design Decision: Sluggish, timer-based combat in Titans. Summary: So look, I’m a sucker for immersive shooters where you’re meant to run around like a maniac. That affinity is why I loved DOOM so much and why I gave BioShock Infinite a higher score than it deserved. That’s the bias, and Titanfall 2 gave me what I wanted, so I enjoyed it. One of the key principles of this shooter approach is that movement is defense. [Read more…]


 Reflex Platformers, Short Take  Comments Off on Contrast
Aug 262014

Status: Completed Most Intriguing Idea: Transitions between 3D and 2D platforming. Best Design Decision: Adopting noir trappings that go with its mechanics. Worst Design Decision: Inconsistent behavior of shadow edges. Summary: Contrast feels like half of a game. That impression comes from the story, which is short, simpler than its noir aesthetic trappings suggest it should be, and ends abruptly. It also comes from the gameplay, which never reaches a point of maturity. In any platformer I expect to have a moment where I have to put together everything I learned earlier in order to succeed; not coincidentally such challenges [Read more…]

Quantum Conundrum

 Puzzle Games, Reflex Platformers, Short Take  Comments Off on Quantum Conundrum
Aug 022012

Status: Main game complete, unlikely to do more Most intriguing idea: A physics game that depends on actually altering physical properties. Best design decision: The reversed-gravity dimension Worst design decision: Precision platforming. Summary: The laziest thing possible would be to say that Quantum Conundrum is a Portal clone, but Quantum Conundrum is, lazily enough, a Portal clone. It’s a first-person game ✓ where you use a special invention ✓ to solve physics puzzles ✓ with finicky platforming ✓ to the accompaniment of a disembodied helpful/antagonistic voice ✓ that talks about science a lot ✓. The precise nature of the physics [Read more…]

Rayman: Origins

 Reflex Platformers, Short Take  Comments Off on Rayman: Origins
Jan 302012

Status: Normal ending completed. “True” ending a distant possibility. Most intriguing idea: Selling a 2D platformer as a packaged HD release. Best design decision: Fusing fiendish challenge with forgiving collection mechanics. Worst design decision: The reliance on perfect timing undermines the attractiveness of the skins. Summary: Rayman: Origins may be the most charming, delightful game that will ever make you want to break your controller. As with Kirby’s Epic Yarn, though, most of the aggravation is optional, at least until the end of the game. Getting through a level and grabbing most of its electoons usually doesn’t place a high [Read more…]