Are Sony and Microsoft handing Nintendo a competitive edge by not meeting the needs of parent gamers with smaller controller options?
I have a son. I have two actually and a daughter: truly a lucky man! My first born is now five and of an age where we’ve started to enjoy playing games together. As in I play, and he watches. For the most part. With the Wii U and now the Switch, there are experiences like Yoshi’s Woolly World and even Super Mario 3D World he is capable of playing himself. But on Xbox One or PS4, there’s nothing for him. It’s not the range of games that is the problem or their complexity – it’s the controllers.
The Australian pricing for exciting, upcoming indie adventure puzzler RiME has thrown a surprise figure at Nintendo Switch owners. It's Double!
Update: The distributor just sent through revised pricing due to an error in the initial price release. New pricing is $79.95 on Switch, $59.95 on Xbox One and PS4, and $49.95 on PC. So the price gap is $20 to other consoles and $30 to PC. Still significant.
RiME is one of the more promising looking indie titles coming out in 2017 – one we highlighted in our sister site's Nintendo Switch Guide (see below). The game is like a cross between The Legend of Zelda, The Witness and Ico, mixing in puzzle-solving and adventure-like exploration with a more introspective tone and atmosphere. You play as a seemingly cursed young boy left shipwrecked and alone on a rugged, but beautiful island.
Your goal is to escape, which means discovering the secrets of this place. The action is less about combat and more about exploration and puzzle-solving, the latter using elements like light, sound, time and perspective. It’s all set in a large environment navigated to via an over-world, and it looks gorgeous - you can see the full trailer below.
The oddly named Australian indie developer Prideful Sloth is cooking up an adventure game in Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles that’s very Zelda-esque.
Everyone is talking about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at the moment and for good reason. It’s getting rave reviews everywhere and it’s a launch title for Nintendo’s exciting new console the Switch. But that’s all kind of useless news if you own a PS4 or a PC, right? Well if you are suffering some Zelda-envy, listen up - there is an indie developer working on a game that’s not just in the genre, but has startling similarities to Link’s latest adventure.
The game in question is Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles from Australian developer Prideful Sloth - out on July 18. Yes, you read the studio’s name correctly. Don’t let the name fool you, however: the team is mostly made up of ex-Rocksteady (Batman Arkham series) staff, which is great pedigree.
The story you are about to read isn’t going to win any “father of the year” awards. But if I had caught it on video, I would be a millionaire already.
I’ve been testing a lot of PlayStation VR lately following its recent launch in October. One of the games I very much enjoy is Playroom VR, a collection of minigames done with a kid friendly aesthetic. One of these games is two player, and has the person in VR playing as a cat hiding behind a curtain. The other players, using a standard controller and watching the TV screen, play as mice hiding under a tin can trying to sneak around to capture cheese. If the cat sticks his head out of the curtain at the same time the mouse is moving, the cat wins.
Literally and figuratively, a game of cat and mouse.
With swords, demons, explosions and some really bad jokes, this latest stab at recreating a fast-paced 90's shooter makes all the right moves.
If you're looking for a brilliant, mildly offensive time-waster, this is probably it. It's not long after your first fire up Shadow Warrior 2 that you're up to your eyeballs in demon guts, explosive crabs and wang jokes. And it just gets better from there.
Overcooked is a classic co-op multiplayer game for a new generation of players.
Lately I’ve been feeling like there is a hole in my usual circulation of games. I feel like we’ve been missing a suite of great multiplayer party games that were so huge in the 2000s. Games like Pokémon Stadium, WarioWare and Mario Party. Thankfully Overcooked fills that whole perfectly.
Overcooked is the only game that has ever had me frantically cooking fish and chips on three moving trucks, driving down an icy road. And the first game to ever show me how to make soup on a pirate ship on the high seas. It is also the first game to ever force me into an argument over whether it's harder to make burgers or pizza.
Oh, and it has a dedicated "swear" button. Still not convinced?
Indie developer Disparity Games delivers something hot and tasty to gamers on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Mac and PC
Ninja Pizza Girl is a neat title. It’s eye-catching, humorous and oh so very indie. But Disparity Games’ second release isn’t really about any of the things in its title. Its protagonist is a ninja pizza girl, but the game stands out more for its take on life as a teenager than it does for Shuriken or extra cheese.
In a future where blokes on scooters can no longer cut it, Gemma is a ninja pizza girl doing deliveries for her family’s pizza shop. Players guide her through a slightly sci-fi city, running, jumping and cartwheeling over ledges with one goal: deliver the pizza, and deliver it hot.
The levels aren’t brutally hard. Missing a jump just means taking a different route, and there’s no such thing as a health bar. It’s an accessible and friendly game, with an upbeat, thumping soundtrack punctuated by comic book cutscenes that are full of real character.
More experienced players need not fear, however. Whilst the multi-storied levels make it impossible to die, they also allow some routes to be better than others, and a carefully timed button push is needed to land smoothly, flip over obstacles, wall-jump and slide as required – it’s reminicent of the Mirror’s Edge mobile game. And despite the welcoming set up, getting an A-graded time still requires plenty of skill and practice.
But on to those teenage tribulations. Disparity Games is a Queensland outfit consisting of ex-AAA developers Nicole and Jason Stark, with added input and influence from their four children (daughter Raven is behind the game’s comic-book style illustrations). It’s that family origin that gives Ninja Pizza Girl its soul.
It was a simple question from Jason Stark to his daughters that changed the course of the entire game. Their response to “what scares you the most?” transformed Gemma’s enemies from the usual robots or monsters into a very real villain – other teenagers. They taunt and tease Gemma, pushing her to the ground and draining all the colour from her world.
That little tweak from physical to mental damage doesn’t change the gameplay – you can run and jump around without a second thought – but what’s left of my teenage self certainly took note. That is how it was. Sometimes it felt like other people had beaten you with nothing but a few nasty words and an unkind glance. Sometimes it sucked. Sometimes all the colour disappeared.
Luckily Ninja Pizza Girl is also about overcoming all that junk. About having fun; about being there for your friends and family. And about doing that crappy job really well. Gemma is an unusually normal gaming protagonist – not royalty, not the chosen one or a superhero, but just a teenager doing her thing.
As a result the game feels very genuine, and it’s pretty funny to boot. For those who find that little something within themselves that resonates with Gemma (and the Stark girls, by extension), Ninja Pizza Girl offers an experience that isn’t often seen in video games, much to our industry’s disservice.
The game is out now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC and Mac. Read a full interview with the developer in Episode 8 of Grab It.
A multiplayer stealth action game from Team OK brings a unique, arty take on the genre.
In a world of only two colours, hiding yourself becomes a lot easier and, as a result, identifying threats all the more harder. In Chambara, the world is black and white, so depending on the colour of your character, you can be effectively invisible while right in front of an opponent – great for ambushing. However, your position can become exposed if the world is viewed from a different perspective. It’s such a neat idea!
It’s a 3D arena game, with an intricately patterned black and white landscape blessed with the odd flourish of vibrant colour. If you’re character is white and you are standing in the white, you are impossible to see. However, if your opponent moves, from their new perspective you might shift from a white background to a black one and become exposed. The cat and mouse gameplay that follows deepens as the skills and map knowledge of the players grows.
Hunting bounties, hauling cargo, accelerating to warp nine; Rebel Galaxy aims to fulfill your wildest space fantasies. Does it conquer the final frontier, or is it heading for a black hole?
Remember that seminal moment in Spore where the camera zooms out to reveal the world is so much bigger than it first seemed? That you were just a tiny fish in an ocean full of possibility? That's the feeling Rebel Galaxy evokes, except unlike Spore, it's not just a one-off trick. There's a lot of progress to be made in Double Damage's space adventure, and every time you think you've hit the top rung, you lift your head and see there's a whole new ladder to climb.
And believe me, you're going to want to keep climbing.
Rebel Galaxy is a space game like no other space game. Right from the get-go you're piloting the kinds of ships that are always off-limits. The corvettes, the dreadnaughts, the capital ships: the ones you normally drool over from the cockpit of a two-man scout ship. Not here. Rebel Galaxy hands you the keys to the big-boy ships and lets you swat those pesky little fighters like so many feckless flies.
Grandeur is something Rebel Galaxy does brilliantly.