Burrito Galaxy
News

It might be impossible to stop grinning at Burrito Galaxy

When someone talks about nostalgia in videogames, there’s a solid chance they’ll also be talking about Metroidvanias or slick indie platformers. Super Meat Boy (2010) ends up being notable for its tight air control and precise jumps—the weird setting and throwback cutscenes are kind of a bonus. But from what I can tell, the upcoming Burrito Galaxy has nostalgia mostly for the weird worlds games let us inhabit. When the vaguely dissonant squeaks of the soundtrack from the new video started to play, I couldn’t help but grin: it sounds like someone made the Wii Shop Channel soundtrack play a game…

Slain!
Review

Slain! is a disappointing death growl

Heavy metal is the musical and theatrical manifestation of mankind’s lizard brain. It’s an auditory siege that rifles through our ancient and violent nature that was once necessary to survive. This music transmutes those base emotions through myth, metaphor, and performance through modern instrumentation, impossible without electrical amplification. The costumes vary from latex to bullet belts, corpse paint to standard issue black, and on the stage the lights are kept low or flashing. Every note and image is calculated and well-rehearsed, because metal thrives in the extremes and requires complete attention to maintain the shared illusion for everyone at the…

Grow Up
News

Videogaming’s most endearing, clumsy robot is making a grand return

It was a welcome relief amid all the Just Dance-ing and Watch_Dog-ing at Ubisoft’s E3 2016 press conference to see the reveal trailer for Grow Up—a sequel to last year’s charming plant growing/climbing game, Grow Home. BUD, the red, stumbling robot from the first game reprises his starring role, and is tasked once again with clambering across all manner of enormous flora to locate parts of his spaceship, presumably to head home once more. Grow Home was an unlikely hit last year. It was developed by an eight-person team at Reflections (known primarily for their driving games) as an experiment…

Cuphead
News

Right on: Cuphead’s 1930s-style animation will exist beyond boss fights

The fine folks behind Cuphead have their own E3 announcement and it’s a doozy—their 1930s-animation-inspired game will have platforming elements. That may not seem like a lot, but before now, Cuphead had been touted exclusively as a boss-rush game. One-on-one battles against large enemies that didn’t give you a break were showcased, including fights against a large pirate named Captain Silver, and an angry carrot. It did a brill job of combining the golden age of Disney with confined run-and-gun challenges. you jazzily shoot down mushrooms with finger pistols However, as said, at E3 this year, on show is a…

Bound
News

Bound brings a much-needed dose of ballet to the videogame lineup

Alongside the newest edition of God of War and a horror VR title, Sony Santa Monica talked about a smaller, quieter game at their E3 Conference. Bound is a 3D narrative platformer set to release August 16th. Bound doesn’t look like any other game currently out, both in terms of its unique take on low-poly minimalism, its usage of color, and the movement of your unique main character. There’s an easy connection to be made between the effort and work of ballet and game design, in terms of their difficulty and craftsmanship. Both require years of practice and a certain poetry…

Don't Kill Her
News

Don’t Kill Her turns murder mystery into a hand-drawn delight

Call him Wuthrer, call him Wuthrer Cuany—call him any name you like. Just don’t call him conventional or compromising. The Swiss artist’s latest project, Don’t Kill Her, is an ostensibly two-dimensional adventure game drawn entirely in pencil. The title is up for vote on Steam Greenlight and is currently seeking funds on Indiegogo. Driven by a central murder mystery in which the player character is said to be the killer, an unnamed victim narrates the dreamlike story as you make your way through Wuthrer’s sketchbook-esque world. While the artist is coy on specifics (“Don’t judge a game by its cover,” his website urges), there’s plenty to admire on the surface.…

ratchet and clank header
Feature

In Defense of the 3D Platformer

Let me say it up front: the new Ratchet and Clank remake is magnificent. It also feels extremely strange, as though it hails from a parallel universe that isn’t quite our own. In this universe, the 3D platformer is ascendant. Good games are defined by everything it has in abundance: by the quality of their move upgrades; the length of their long jumps; the theming of their worlds; the cackling of their villains. Every game is legally required to have a fire level. Every game conveys the same set of values—duty, honor, the heroism of the ordinary, the sacrifice of…

Gebub's Adventure
News

Upcoming game uses MS Paint-style art to evoke peacefulness

Gebub’s Adventure forces players to look past the origins of the creature they have been given control of, instead looking forward at the game’s world and secrets. Created by John Wallie, Gebub’s Adventure is a “peaceful adventure game” that will send the titular Gebub on an exploratory journey through a strange world, meeting its characters and creatures along the way. The game’s simple, minimalist art style is something Wallie referred to me as “MS Paint method,” inspired by the game Seiklus (2003), and a style he has iterated on heavily in the past. “Experimentation is what has led me to develop the…

paperjam4
Review

Mario & Luigi Paper Jam Bros. folds in on itself

There’s something strange—maybe even broken—about fetishizing materiality in a digital world the way Mario & Luigi Paper Jam Bros does, though it’s not the first game to do this. I first noticed this in another Nintendo game from last year, Yoshi’s Wooly World, which trades on a contradiction. It’s a game about adorable dinosaurs in adorable environments made out of yarn and glue. Aesthetically, it’s “crafty,” which we value precisely because of its irreproducibility. Flaws aren’t flaws in this context; they’re signs of the hands that made it. And yet videogames are bits—0s and 1s—all the way down: data perfectly,…