PSNStores Games & Shames: September 2011
We decided that we are going to try something new out here on the site. Every month we editors will pick out the game we think is the “Game of the Month” and let you know how we feel about it. It could be a game we reviewed or just one that we couldn’t put down. We will also list one game that we just weren’t feeling. I guess you could call this the PSNStores.com Hot and Not list.
Game: Elemental Monster Online Card Game
I don’t think it is a surprise for you to see this game listed here in my selection. I have been talking about it pretty much nonstop on both Twitter and the podcast. The shear amount of content that you get for $1 is absolutely insane. I got 38 hours out of just the single player, plus when you throw in tournaments and online play for even more ways to play. Some of the cards have art that I wouldn’t be afraid to display, with some done by renowned artist like Yoshitaka Amano. The gameplay in engaging and fun and there is a deck editor. Serious why aren’t you playing this?
Shame: Max and The Magic Marker Gold Edition
Sadly not every game that comes through PSN is a winner and Max and The Magic Marker is a dud. The game seems extremely unpolished, with a huge bug where my save file doesn’t load when I start the game. Platforming is floaty and lacks momentum. The puzzles are childish and take almost no thought, this is even with the tips off. The game does use the Move controller, but I would really just rather have you save your money and pass on this.
Game: Mercury Hg
I’m not even sure I’d categorize Mercury Hg as a puzzle game, primarily. The earlier games in the Mercury franchise were much more focused on solving puzzles. Mercury Hg breaks the mold by being a more streamlined, achievement-based game. Tilt the board to move your blob of Mercury to the goal. If the goal is a green checkered flag, find a way to color your blob green before making your way to it. The most puzzle solving you’ll have to do is activating different colored switches and splitting your Mercury to accomplish tasks. The focus of Mercury Hg lies upon the ability to complete levels with either the highest score possible or the lowest time possible. I lost many hours in the heat of speed running through the Discovery mode, and the Bonus and Challenge modes pose are difficult in their own ways. Custom soundtracks aren’t simply supported, they’re encouraged. All in all, Mercury Hg was the most fun I had in September; a pleasant surprise from a game I thought I had pegged.
Shame: From Dust
Brad and I talked about From Dust at length during episode 41 of the podcast. He’s all about it, I feel the opposite. I’m not sure where all of the praise for this game came from, but the only word I have to describe it is ‘boring’. After we recorded episode 41, I booted up From Dust and played it to give it a chance. I got through five levels before turning it off, never to return. The game hitches on a grab and drop mechanic that is nothing more than monotonous. Want to get your villagers across a shallow pool of water (these people are scared shitless of water)? Zoom out, grab sand from the surrounding area, drop it in the water. Repeat five times before they even think about crossing over. I even got to 100% vegetation (or whatever it’s called) in one level, hoping that something cool would happen. The game told me that animals would start to populate my villages, and Brad confirmed this (and I believe him), but I didn’t see anything but some grass sprouts and tiny bushes. The challenge mode sounds fun, but I don’t think I could handle any time (or other) restrictions on top of the dull control scheme. I get it, you’re controlling the breath that gives life to ancient tribesmen who have forgotten their history. I’d rather play every other game that came out in September, including Rugby World Cup and Bolt. That’s why I say forget From Dust.
Rochard is an interesting beast. A great selection of voice overs and music don’t account for much if the core game is uninteresting, and luckily for Rochard the game itself is something quite special indeed. With a great gravity mechanic and entertaining platforming, it’s well worth taking a look at if you’re in the market for a game with production values that far exceed its $9.99 asking price. I mean, it opens with a rockabilly number. What more can you ask for?
Shame: Bloodrayne: Betrayal
If Rochard is a slice of platforming goodness, Bloodrayne is platforming hell. Watch in marvel as floaty controls serve to undermine every jump you make! Gasp as enemies knock you out of the air to an untimely demise. Throw your controller against a wall as poorly placed checkpoints lose you half a level’s worth of progress for a single unfair death! All this and more can be yours for $14.99! The Combat may be fun and frantic, but it doesn’t mean that you deserve to endure the rest of the game’s box of wonky tricks to be mildly entertained by the good bits.
Game: Burnout Crash
Cause ridiculous pile-ups that in turn cause ridiculous damage to the environment. The world seems like it is out of a pinball machine with great sound effects and music clips. Employing Autolog for leaderboards makes score-chasing a great time. Your ride: old and busted. My ride: New. Hotness. Just wait until you get the garbage truck. Grab the Demo!
Shame: Bloodryane Betrayal
Platforming was too floaty for me. The combat just didn’t click either. Had high hopes for this one, and even though the game has coffin rocket support this one hit with a thud. After getting beat up, I didn’t feel compelled to keep going.
Skydrift’s initial trailer immediately reminded me of growing up playing Diddy Kong Racing and Mario Kart against my cousins. It’s a genre of gaming that’s positioned closely to my heart. I’m not sure I expected Skydrift to be as good as it turned out to be but the game nearly stole most of September from me. It’s one of few games that I consistently went back to on a daily basis and one that I hope more people eventually pick up. If nothing else so that I can finally find people to play online with.
Shame: Bloodrayne Betrayal
While I’ve never had any connection with the Bloodrayne franchise I couldn’t help but get excited for Bloodrayne Betrayal. Not only was it being developed by WayForward but the graphics and animation alone made this game seem like a surefire hit. Unfortunately Bloodrayne suffered from terribly imprecise controls and platforming sections from Hell. I’m usually able to persevere through tough situations in games but when Bloodrayne simply asked way too much of me I found it impossible to continue.