HORA HORA HORA everyone! By now you should know that here at That Damn Pixel we’re not that fond of reviews, also considering our non-interest in scores, but sometime, some games, are worthy to be discussed a little further and this is the case of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle, released last year on PlayStation 3 and exclusively for the Japanese (and Asian) market.
This is not a review, nor a news. This is a CHALLENGE. We hate the guys at Frictional Games for making us jump on the chair, cover our eyes and invade our nightmares, because they are simply too good at scare us to death. But we can’t just stop playing their games.
After Penumbra and Amnesia: The Dark Descent, we are finally ready to play Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (this time developed by The Chinese Room), so stay tuned for an upcoming scary review!
If you pre-ordered it (like almost 3 years ago), your long-waited copy should be on some truck or plane, travelling to your post box. But, as long we still got our press copy, we decided to record some gameplay video; and the one above is from the very first level of the game, played in hard. Enjoy.
The first thing popped up in our mind when staring at this (former) white blog page, trying to write a short review for this game, was: You run, jump, slide, dance and die (a lot). Than you throw your controller to the screen. THE END.
That maybe was a bit too short so we’ll try to explain why this game is so frustrating as much as addictive. Let’s start saying, as the title shown, Runner2 is part of the Bit.Trip franchise by indie developer Gaijin Games and sequel to the acclaimed Bit.Trip Runner released in 2010.
If you played it you know why we called it “frustrating” and not a single chance Runner2 is any better: the game is difficult, deal with it! If you didn’t play it shame on you, but we are kind and nice and ready to explain what is about. Unlike the others Bit.Trip games, Runner is a quite classic 2D rhythm platformer where the main character, Commander Video, runs through stages from left to right jumping and sliding due to reach the end. More actions has been added to this second chapter making the first one look nice and clear; you now have a shield to use against giant bouncing pixels, you can slide and jump at the same time to pass through very tiny spaces, and the funniest feature added: you can now dance to earn more points!
As we said music is again a very important part, every action, every obstacle will have a different sound helping to compose the main theme of the level which is, of course, 8-bit-ish. We totally loved it, and fits perfectly the frenetic feeling of the whole game. One of the most important new features (yeah, to dance is amazing but doesn’t help a lot to complete levels) are the checkpoints, miracle!! We do have fucking checkpoints!! This game is basically a trial&error kind of game, not having checkpoints was the most frustrating thing as you had to start over and over and over the same level. Now is your choice, you can simply pass the checkpoint or jump OVER it and risk to earn more points for the final ranking. Thanks Gaijin Games we are very grateful!
Also, do you like collectibles? If the answer is YES you’ll love Runner 2. The game itself is around 100 levels but you have so many collectibles like golds, new crazy characters to unlock, costumes and hidden retro game cartridges (each one unlocking other retro levels) that you will play it at least two or three times, plus the three difficulty levels makes it durable and replayable.
“Believe it or not. Not every game has to be brown” is one of the random tips showing up during the loading screen, together with “make sure to eat a banana every day”, and we can’t agree more. The sentence mocking the new realistic next-gen games all shaded in brown and grey, is just to underline what you can actually see in Gaijin Games’ style: a lot of brilliant colours, attention to details (apart for this little glitch) and a lovely game design that makes everything a pleasure for the eyes. If sometimes the background is so detailed to make difficult see what you are doing (and we suspect that is made on purpose, bastards!) you will soon forget about it and keep smiling because the moon has such a demented face or because that cloud has cute mustaches.
In the end, we really liked the game because it has that nostalgic feeling we are looking for together with the hardcore difficulty that makes you get VERY angry and swear in front of the TV but you can’t stop playing because you KNOW you are better than that.
Bit.Trip Runner 2 is out now on XBLA, PSN and Steam. But if we didn’t convince you already, take a look at the trailer!
We are really pleased to inform you that Sturmwind, the upcoming shmup game for SEGA Dreamcast developed by Duranik, has an official release date!
Here is the press release by Red Spot Games, publisher of the game:
We are under attack: Sturmwind pilots, fall in for saving the world in April 2013!
Antritt zur Weltenrettung!
The fierce enemy‘s troops have already reached our world‘s doorsteps and we are running out of time! Our reconnaissance drones have detected 16 promising locations for our search of „Mother“, the planet of our living ancestors.
After several development steps by Duranik and redspotgames the launch date for your mission is clear.
Sturmwind pilots, your all-dominant mission will begin on April 24th 2013. All documents will be sent to you until this very date.
Fight over 20 boss enemies in 16 levels. In addition to the so-called “Award Trophy System”, there will also be an internet highscore list in which your performance can compete against each other worldwide.
Your wings of steel are now our last resort.
Stay ready for further instructions. Over and out.
So, undust your Dreamcasts folks, because Sturmwind will see the light on April 24th 2o13! Check out our preview of the game.
Few weeks ago we received from Germany our press copy of Sturmwind! What is it? Easy, it is a brand new homebrew shooter game for the SEGA Dreamcast (obviously not an official release approved by SEGA) by Duranik.
Sturmwind is an old school shmup, a very traditional one indeed, where you don’t have to think a lot, just follow one simple rule: if it moves, shoot it!
Behind this little masterpiece there is Duranik, a German indie development team, known for its previous attempt to create a shooter game on a dead console: Native for the Atari Jaguar.
It is very likely that Sturmwind has born from that failure, trying to make a better game, more accessible even to modern players, but sticking to the great classics guide lines.
That’s why Duranik has chosen the Dreamcast, that despite its premature dead, it is more widely available and more powerful than any other cool retro-console (no, ps2 isn’t cool, nor powerful).
Sturmwind tries to take advantage of every bit of the Dreamcast hardware and supports a wide range of effects, indeed we can call it a perfect mix between 2D and 3D, leading to an astonishing visual impact.
We surely can’t hide out excitement playing a bran new game on our favourite console of all times, and it’s safe to say that Sturmwind could have been released on XBLA and PSN without any problem.
The game is pretty straightforward, you can play the normal mode with all 16 levels or the arcade mode with only 6 levels and no continues. In normal mode your progress will be saved with every finished level (obviously you’ll need a VMU to save your progress).
Speaking of pure gameplay, Sturmwind is very enjoyable (despite the CG intro with german voiceover or the unreadable german names of the weapons and levels) and once you start to play you’ll quickly understand every game dynamic, as the three weapon selection, the backfire and the point system. Duranik guys said that the game is designed for all Dreamcast fans, it is no hardcore maniac or score shooter. Even average players are able to see more than the first level. There is a good bit of memorization involved as with most of this type of games but that is part of the fun.
We said that Sturmwind is a game for everyone, so it’s not hardcore? Don’t worry, it is a highly addictive and a very challenging game; it could not be like a modern bullet hell game from Cave, but we prefer this way…even because on the Dreamcast we want to breathe a sort of old school flavour, and Sturmwind perfectly accomplish this job! (if you want to go crazy, just set the hard mode!)
And guess what? Sturmwind has also online leaderboards, but you won’t need to connect your dusty DC to the internet: in fact, your copy of the game will generate an unique code for your highest score, then you’ll just have to put that code with your nickname in this site…done! Online leaderboards!
So here’s some specs:
- 16 Levels
- 3 selectable difficulty levels
- configurable controls
- adjustable screen position
- different weapons selectable
- More than 20 large boss enemies
- Hundreds of different enemies
- FMV intro sequence
- Hybrid 2d/3d game engine
- Resolution 640×480
- PAL50, PAL60, NTSC and VGA (with Adapter) compatible
- Region Free
- Works with any MIL-CD compatible Dreamcast
- CDDA Sound
- Supports: Joypad, Arcade Stick (Analog/Digital), VMU, Rumble Pack
- Internet WEBcode Hiscore Tables
- Award Trophy System with unlockable content
If you got a working Dreamcast at home and you feel like this could be your next must-play (we feel it) you can preorder the game on Redspot Games, even if the release date is still set to TBA.
Check out the official trailer!
**UPDATE (14 March 2013)**
Few days ago, famous tv host Conan O’Brien reviewed (sort of) the new title from Tomb Raider series on his “Clueless Gamer” column. Yep, the name of the column is quite appropriate as he doesn’t know anything about video games and he doesn’t even play them, but this is possibly the best, funniest and sexistest review of Tomb Raider you can find out there. Enjoy.
15 hours ago, a Reddit user, nickname throwawayacm (meaningful, isn’t it?), posted a very long explanation on why Aliens: Colonial Marines is such a bad game.
Apparently he has been on the project for around a year and a half (probably working for Gearbox), so this is a good old fashioned NDA (Non-disclosure agreemen) breaking. Enjoy!
“First off, due to me breaking NDA, I can’t provide any proof that I’m not just talking out of my ass. But I figure you’d be interested in hearing what I have to say regardless. I’ve been on the project for around a year and a half, so some of the following are things I’ve heard from more senior guys.
Pecan (the internal codename for ACM) has a pretty long history. SEGA, GBX and 20th Century FOX came to an agreement to produce an Aliens game around 6 years ago, after which SEGA almost immediately announced it, long before Pecan had even started production. The game has been in active development in the past, only to be shelved in favor of another project (Borderlands, Duke, etc), and each time it was resumed it would undergo a major content overhaul.
SEGA, naturally, wasn’t super pleased about the delays, but GBX got away with it for a long time and the contract between SEGA and GBX kept getting augmented to push the projected release further and further back. The last time it was resumed, GBX outsourced a good portion of the game to outside companies. Initially, the plan was for TimeGate to take the majority of campaign, GBX would take MP, Demiurge and Nerve would handle DLC and various other focused tasks. This decision was made mostly so that most of the developers at GBX could continue working on Borderlands 2, while a small group of LDs, coders and designers dealt with Pecan.
Somehow the schedules for Pecan and Borderlands 2 managed to line up and GBX realized that there was no fucking way they could cert and ship two titles at the same time. Additionally, campaign (which was being developed by TimeGate) was extremely far behind, even as Pecan’s Beta deadline got closer and closer. In April or May (can’t remember which), Pecan was supposed to hit beta, but GBX instead came to an agreement with SEGA that they would push the release date back one more time, buying GBX around 9 mos extension.
About 5 of those 9 months went to shipping BL2. In that time, TimeGate managed to scrap together 85% of the campaign, but once Borderlands 2 shipped and GBX turned its attention to Pecan, it became pretty apparent that what had been made was in a pretty horrid state. Campaign didn’t make much sense, the boss fights weren’t implemented, PS3 was way over memory, etcetcetc. GBX was pretty unhappy with TG’s work, and some of Campaign maps were just completely redesigned from scratch. There were some last minute feature requests, most notably female marines, and the general consensus among GBX devs was that there was no way this game was going to be good by ship. There just wasn’t enough time.
Considering that SEGA was pretty close to taking legal action against GBX, asking for an extension wasn’t an option, and so Pecan crash-landed through certification and shipping. Features that were planned were oversimplified, or shoved in (a good example of this are challenges, which are in an incredibly illogical order). Issues that didn’t cause 100% blockers were generally ignored, with the exception of absolutely horrible problems. This isn’t because GBX didn’t care, mind you. At a certain point, they couldn’t risk changing ANYTHING that might cause them to fail certification or break some other system. And so, the product you see is what you get.
Beyond gameplay, the story has been raised as an issue several times. I can’t really comment without feeling bad beyond saying that the script was approved by 20th Century FOX, and that the rush to throw a playable product together came at the cost of the story. Campaign does a pretty bad job of explaining a lot of the questions raised at the start of the game, and so hopefully there will be DLC to flesh that out a bit better.
I’ll answer some questions, but I have to run soon, so it may take a while for responses.”
If you want to join the conversation, or just take a look at the original post, go here.