As 2016′s first month opens up we’re looking forward to the excited works coming from some of our favorite creators. I’m personally excited for No Man’s Sky, The Neon Demon, and Sunset Park, but what excites me the most is the sucker punches. Pony Island is the first sucker punch that landed on me this year coming from Daniel Mullins, who also developed Agent Maxwell and Grav, for mobile devices. It’s easy to assume multiple things when seeing Pony Island, with the obvious first being that it looks like a simple sidescrolling arcade game. But if I were to spoil you a bit and say that the game dives into the human soul, a war of faith, and a devilish take on game development, it may seem a bit different than what the cover reveals.
The most difficult thing about recommending Pony Island is that the immense satisfaction the game brings comes from discovery and going in blind. So many amazing twists appear throughout the game that would be instant-selling points, but all of those points come from not knowing what you’re getting into. Even without those points though, Pony Island is another fresh take on narratives in video games. Throughout playing the player tries to answer what the story behind the main character is, where they are, and are they alone in this battle against the devil himself? Finding the answers to these questions never become stale either, with each half hour throwing something completely different at the player.
I won’t give away much more about Pony Island, but do yourself a favor, hop onto Steam and experience the smartest surprise to start off your year.
|Recommended by Kieffer Wilson||Monday, January 11th, 2016||No Comments »|
Many first-person narrative experiences have started being labeled as “walking simulators” as more games of the same type start appearing on services like Steam and itch.io. Even consoles are starting to see releases of these first-person titles, with games like Ether One, which came out earlier this year, and Gone Home, which will be released on Playstation next month. It is such a disparaging term for this group of games though, as many of them are different experiences and have unique pieces to reveal to the player. Rememoried is just one example of a title that has been herded into this genre that really experiments with different ideas to create something that does not fit into this genre.
Traveling through the stars, the player must rediscover the meaning to memories and, along with that, also learn what it means to forget those memories. This isn’t explained through point-to-point storytelling. Instead, the game’s mechanics and its connection to the player are of vital importance. As the player goes through multiple “acts,” different objectives must be discovered and then completed, but they are not always clear. As you progress, voices of the wise, the comforting, and the curious all speak — then the world of memory and stars reveal themselves more.
This is not a game that you should look into too much before experiencing it yourself; it has a couple of moments that really become memorable from self-discovery. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to remember what it means to forget.
|Recommended by Kieffer Wilson||Tuesday, December 29th, 2015||No Comments »|
Back in September this year my family adopted their first purebred puppy and it has been a pretty crazy experience so far. Teaching her to go to the bathroom outside, not to jump up on every person out of excitement and how the cat is not something to hunt has all been exhausting but something I wouldn’t trade if I had the chance.
Loot Hound reminds me of a lot of the experiences I have had walking with my dog at the park. In the game, your companion will look around at the things in the park that they find exciting — sometimes it is a person, other times it is a group of insects. Loot Hound also captures the times where a dog digs up holes in the ground and flies off of the handle to chase a smell, only this time your dog finds precious treasures! There isn’t much more to it. Your dogs can all can be upgraded and there is a little bit of information about the main character with each treasure retrieved. The real joy is really walking around the park with your four-legged best friend and being at peace knowing that they can wreak havoc at any moment.
All of this plays out a bit more relaxing than it would in real life though. No need for flea shampoo or waste bags to play this one!
|Recommended by Kieffer Wilson||Wednesday, December 16th, 2015||No Comments »|