Grow Home exists in a world where I was tiring of the output of AAA studios; none more so than Ubisoft. Gone was the cohesive world building and in its stead was open world, theme park, cynical, collect-a-thons. They became increasingly more homogenous until Assassin’s Creed may as well have been Far Cry.
Were I to say I was being fashionable late to the Don't Die Mr Robot party, you'd half-expect me to appear in a Soundgarden t-shirt and torn-up Levis. But here I am, and what a fine little soiree it is. It actually takes me back further than the Nineties, though. With arcade sensibilities so distilled, it feels like something you'd find slotted into a cocktail cabinet, shoved into the corner of a motel games room or in a pub. Don't Die Mr Robot, henceforth referred to as DDMR, might not be much beyond its concentrated elements, but need it be?
So I know Alex will be penning his thoughts about Bloodsports.TV when his situation allows but I’ll cut to the chase on how our views will differ; I’ve have 2000 hours of DOTA 2 under my six slotted belt, Alex has none. That alone should let you know what kind of angle we’ll each be approaching our reviews from. The question I asked myself throughout was; will Bloodsports.TV appeal to DOTA 2 players? Or the MOBA community at large. The answer is somewhat mixed.
Few games have ever given me what a post-Voyack Internet has deemed ‘the feels’. And at that, rarely are they conventional emotions, ones reserved for the higher, older arts. But when I had finished tooling around on demo 1 with a grinning, roaring Rex, it was time to see what this Abe business was all about. And the rest is history. Without a doubt, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee and its franchise descendants offered up one of gaming’s most intoxicating and evocative ambiances. They hit me in the chest cavity; a weird mix of underdog triumphalism and dastardly rooting for oppression to reign. After all, in this corporate analogy of bio-mechanical, consumer-driven indecency, where’s the impetus if everything is a-okay? Suffice to say, if there was one intellectual property I could ogle endlessly, it would be the pipe, lever and temple-ridden strata of Oddworld.
In an admirable turn against the tide of in-vogue business models, I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my favourite games of 2014 shuck its F2P status and go galloping into the realm of premium pricing. Yes, ÆRENA: Clash of Champions has thrown off the yoke of microtransactions and grindy business in favour of a princely all-in price tag on PC. Why should you care?
I dare not trawl through the console release reviews of Pasta Games‘ Pix the Cat, through fear of discovering my homegrown elevator pitch isn’t quite as unique as it sounded in my head. But if you want the short and skinny of Pix, it’d be that. Snake meets ChuChu Rocket! with all the sensibilities of playful, unforced arcade psychedelia.
Who here remembers Crown & Andrews’ Test Match boardgame? Anyone? You? Do you remember Crown & Andrews’ Test Match boardgame? One of those perennial grass-is-greener affairs from my deprived childhood; the ornate miniature cricket game that would make a fellow the envy of his or her peers, it was one of those rarities — much like a Nintendo or SEGA machine — that I’d gravitate to when at a friend’s house. One day, I’d say to myself, I’ll own Test Match. I’ll own it and play it every single day. That day never arrived, and while I shifted my focus to never owning Crossbows and Catapults, the glory of the lilliputian crease never subsided.
It feels utterly disingenuous and somewhat lazy to attach ‘The Dark Souls of…‘ to a game experience that makes no bones about killing its players. But, for the sake of taking Flame Over‘s temperature, this is Dark Souls in firefighter form. Or, more appropriately, a merciless twin-stick adventure that camouflages ruthlessness with a quaint, utterly British veneer. And one of the Playstation Vita’s absolute must-buys.