Weekly Roundup 02/05/2012

This week was an assortment of seemingly random games, most of them small and downloadable. I deliberately avoided starting anything sizable due to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning’s imminent release. I’m really looking forward to that, and will probably spend a good chunk of the coming week with it.

A few frustrating design issues will likely keep me from finishing Bit.Trip RUNNER.

As for those small and downloadable games that I did play, it was more Bit.Trip RUNNER, Toy Soldiers: Cold War, and the new Tren... err, Iron Brigade DLC, Rise of the Martian Bear. I haven’t beaten Bit.Trip RUNNER (I got about halfway through the final world), but I think I’m done playing it regardless. While I like the basic idea behind the game, and really like both platformers and rhythm games in general, there are one too many frustrating things about RUNNER. One hit deaths and no checkpoints in particular make the incredibly long later levels a chore, and turn it into the kind of game that rewards raw memorization more than anything else. That’s not something I care for at all, and I feel like they could have implemented the exact same core ideas without going down that path. Letting you see what’s coming earlier, making better use of musical cues, or simply giving you more hits and/or checkpoints could have done this game wonders for me. I’m all for a challenge, but would rather that challenge come from the levels themselves rather than from design choices that hinder the player.

Cold War also saw it’s end this week, though unlike RUNNER I actually beat the game. More accurately, a friend and I beat it cooperatively, and that game turned out alright in the end. It still could use a lot more depth in both the action and tower defense aspects, but the general mix of the two genres is done well enough. I don’t have anything else meaningful to say about it either; it’s a pretty mundane game overall, and doesn’t really stand out in any significant way. One last parting thought though: the attack helo is incredibly broken. I abused the hell out of it from start to finish.

Iron Brigade! With bears! On Mars!

Iron Brigade remains totally awesome as always, and the DLC seems to offer more of what made the core game so fun. It’s interesting coming back to this game right after finishing Cold War, as they’re similar games in a lot of ways. They both try to combine action and tower defense, and after playing them back to back it’s easy to see just how much better Iron Brigade is. All of its customization options give you the depth that Cold War blatantly lacks, and it affects both the action and tower defense parts of the game greatly. There’s just a ton of variety in the weapons and turrets (and how you load them onto your trench) that allows you to devise any number of strategies, which is the primary area where Cold War felt extremely limiting. The co-op in Iron Brigade is also fantastic, especially by comparison. Cold War does the bad kind of co-op: it gives two players simultaneous control over the exact same thing you would control if playing the game single player, which is just lame. Iron Brigade, similar to Borderlands, dumps everyone into the level with their own trench that they’ve personally customized, and ramps up the enemy strength and numbers to match that of the players. This ends up making the game much richer and more dynamic as you add more players, which can add even more options and strategies to the mix. It's pretty rad.

All of this was of course true well before the game was even called Iron Brigade, and the DLC seems to be just as good so far. In fact, the weapons and turrets seem like they might get even crazier, which is pretty great. I’ve only fiddled with the new (to me at least) survival mode so far, and that’s pretty fun (oh, and dual wielding salutes is the jam). I’m looking forward to digging into the missions proper, though I’m playing it with some friends, so progress for the most part depends on when we can all find time to play together. And that’s all for now, until next time!

Currently Playing: Iron Brigade

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Posted by MajorMitch

This week was an assortment of seemingly random games, most of them small and downloadable. I deliberately avoided starting anything sizable due to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning’s imminent release. I’m really looking forward to that, and will probably spend a good chunk of the coming week with it.

A few frustrating design issues will likely keep me from finishing Bit.Trip RUNNER.

As for those small and downloadable games that I did play, it was more Bit.Trip RUNNER, Toy Soldiers: Cold War, and the new Tren... err, Iron Brigade DLC, Rise of the Martian Bear. I haven’t beaten Bit.Trip RUNNER (I got about halfway through the final world), but I think I’m done playing it regardless. While I like the basic idea behind the game, and really like both platformers and rhythm games in general, there are one too many frustrating things about RUNNER. One hit deaths and no checkpoints in particular make the incredibly long later levels a chore, and turn it into the kind of game that rewards raw memorization more than anything else. That’s not something I care for at all, and I feel like they could have implemented the exact same core ideas without going down that path. Letting you see what’s coming earlier, making better use of musical cues, or simply giving you more hits and/or checkpoints could have done this game wonders for me. I’m all for a challenge, but would rather that challenge come from the levels themselves rather than from design choices that hinder the player.

Cold War also saw it’s end this week, though unlike RUNNER I actually beat the game. More accurately, a friend and I beat it cooperatively, and that game turned out alright in the end. It still could use a lot more depth in both the action and tower defense aspects, but the general mix of the two genres is done well enough. I don’t have anything else meaningful to say about it either; it’s a pretty mundane game overall, and doesn’t really stand out in any significant way. One last parting thought though: the attack helo is incredibly broken. I abused the hell out of it from start to finish.

Iron Brigade! With bears! On Mars!

Iron Brigade remains totally awesome as always, and the DLC seems to offer more of what made the core game so fun. It’s interesting coming back to this game right after finishing Cold War, as they’re similar games in a lot of ways. They both try to combine action and tower defense, and after playing them back to back it’s easy to see just how much better Iron Brigade is. All of its customization options give you the depth that Cold War blatantly lacks, and it affects both the action and tower defense parts of the game greatly. There’s just a ton of variety in the weapons and turrets (and how you load them onto your trench) that allows you to devise any number of strategies, which is the primary area where Cold War felt extremely limiting. The co-op in Iron Brigade is also fantastic, especially by comparison. Cold War does the bad kind of co-op: it gives two players simultaneous control over the exact same thing you would control if playing the game single player, which is just lame. Iron Brigade, similar to Borderlands, dumps everyone into the level with their own trench that they’ve personally customized, and ramps up the enemy strength and numbers to match that of the players. This ends up making the game much richer and more dynamic as you add more players, which can add even more options and strategies to the mix. It's pretty rad.

All of this was of course true well before the game was even called Iron Brigade, and the DLC seems to be just as good so far. In fact, the weapons and turrets seem like they might get even crazier, which is pretty great. I’ve only fiddled with the new (to me at least) survival mode so far, and that’s pretty fun (oh, and dual wielding salutes is the jam). I’m looking forward to digging into the missions proper, though I’m playing it with some friends, so progress for the most part depends on when we can all find time to play together. And that’s all for now, until next time!

Currently Playing: Iron Brigade