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Posts Tagged ‘Games’

garden growing

Amanita Design‘s latest is the adventure game Machinarium. Like their earlier games it is also a point-and-click adventure with a lot of puzzles thrown in. Unlike, say, Samorost 2, the action revolves more strongly around the game’s hero, the little robot Josef, who possesses many qualities useful in an action game protagonist: He has telescopic hands and a body that can be adjusted either higher or lower, a lot of storage space and most importantly has a mission.

Josef’s adventure begins at a waste deposit outside an aged robot town. As the game progresses you find out that the city is being terrorised by a group of evil robots, who refer to themselves as the Black Hat Society. They plan to blow up a tower in the city and have taken Josef’s girlfriend as a prisoner and are using her as a cook. The plot may sound like the archetypal videogame tale of princesses with men trying to save them, but there are many details that set Machinarium apart from any other video games you might have played.

the cafe

First off the setting. All the game surroundings are handdrawn and look stunningly beautiful. Screenshots of the game, mind you, do not do the game justice: There are so many small details hidden within every area you stumble into. Instead of just static backgrounds there can be a small waterfall, or some funny character animations.

There is a surprising amount of depth to Machinarium’s robotic characters as you find out throughout the story. Instead of dialogue or text, all communication between Josef and the other robots is relayed with a bubble that plays a simple animation, which can tell the player what is needed to solve a puzzle or appease a certain character and sometimes simply tells us more of them. The animations detailing Josef’s relations to the evil robots especially come to mind.

jailcell

Another thing I was taken aback by in the game was how emotional and engaging the story was. There is something very cute and moving about Machinarium’s robots. It is the heartrending imagery of the Black Hat Society committing increasingly evil deeds and also the animation and subtle sound effects that help in this. Also every new area, especially towards the end, began to create a feeling of awe.

And awe is the word best describing Machinarium.  Everyone who has played a point-and-click adventure at some time or who likes puzzles will love this game. People not fitting the earlier description should try the demo out, but keep in mind that the three first levels don’t give a good picture of the sweetness toward the mid and end-parts of the game. An instant classic. Go play it already.

band

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At the church

Over on Offworld, a great blog on videogames, there was a feature some time ago on Machinarium. I finished the game last week and have to say that it is definitely something different. Anyone who likes their adventure games should definitely try it out. Also in the post on Offworld there are links to most of the projects of Amanita Design, the Czech indie-studio behind Machinarium. The skecthes are also interesting. I will see if I get around to posting a review here of Machinarium, but while you wait for that go check the feature out. You can also try out the first couple of levels here.

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Run! I mean swim!

The newest episode of Tales of Monkey Island brings a much needed change of scenery to the series. The two first episodes repeated each other with an island setting and both even had a forest maze. Compared to them a giant manatee’s stomach is very original.

In the end of Siege of Spinner Cay Guybrush, his sole crewmate and pirate hunter Morgan LeFlay got swallowed by a giant manatee. In its mouth our heroes find treasure hunter Coronado DeCava who is also after the Lesponga Grande, which will fix the voodoo pox infecting Guybrush himself and other pirates . The problem Guybrush faces this time is the ear of the manatee. A part controlling its sense of direction has been stolen and is being held by DeCava’s mutinous crew of four. They have formed a brotherhood which Guybrush must join if he wishes to heal the manatee and get the sponge.

Piratehunter

The game world being essentially a stomach the area in which to walk and interact is a lot smaller, solving a lot of the problems with the control scheme, a big problem in the earlier episodes. Walking up and down the same staircase because of a wronglytimed press of the mouse, as often happened in Siege of Spinner Cay, is gone. Also gone is the time consuming running around. There is even a possibility to use tubes  in the manatee’s stomach (don’t ask me) for speedier travel.

With the control problems all but gone the player is free to concentrate on what makes Monkey Island so good: The dialogue and humor. When it comes to these two Telltale ups the ante considerably. Lair of the Leviathan presents four new characters and they’re all very funny, my personal favorite being Moose, sort of a surfer-type hippie pirate. A friend from older Monkey Islands also makes an appearance.

Coronado DeCava

Different from the earlier episodes is that the characters have a lot more facial animation and many of the jokes involve more facial expressions, instead of only leaning on dialogue. Piratehunter Morgan LeFlay for example grows very disappointed in Guybrush as the episode progresses and makes faces to Guyrush each time he walks past her. The episode even includes a competition of making scary pirate faces, or just downright dumb expressions.

AHOY, SPOILERS AHEAD

Many of the puzzles deserve an honorary mention. Guybrush playing the part of a wingman to the giant manatee with the help of a manatee speaking horn was my personal favorite. As it happens the horn is a tourist edition and the player needs to figure out which available answer fits best with a female manatee’s comments. With choices varying from “I have nothing to declare” to “I want to go to the theater” this is not necessarily an easy task. In a way the puzzle is a reinvention of insult swordfighting, without the grind. While many of the puzzles were amusing, Launch of the Screaming Narwhal’s puzzle in LeSinge’s lab remains my favorite in the series.

END OF SPOILERS

An old friend

Lair of the Leviathan, with very little to complain about, is the funniest episode so far. At some points I actually paused and thought something on the lines of: “Damn, that was amusing”. Perhaps because I was not stuck in the puzzles for as long as in the earlier episodes I also thought the pacing of the game was a lot better. If you have doubts about Tales of Monkey Island on the whole at least play Lair of the Leviathan.

(Here’s a link to the walkthrough I used, from Roger Davies.)

The official trailer:

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band of weirdos

Amanita design’s Robot adventure Machinarium has a release date: the 16:th of October. If you don’t know Amanita Design you’re missing out on a world of amusement, cuteness and interesting soundscapes. Also new to the Interwebs is a trailer with a bubble in it. Check it out below. You can get a grasp of what their style looks like from a learning game called Questionaut and pick up something while you’re at it as well.

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At the alchemist's

That’s right, one of the greatest adventure games of all time came to Good Old Games. If you haven’t played it yet, now is the time to remedy that. April Ryan is one of my all time favorite characters in gaming. With an epic fantasy plot, characters you’ll love, amazing voice acting and a lot of laugh out-loud moments The Longest Journey will make you sad at times. The game managed to move me like no game before it. So go buy and play already. Below a taste of the prologue. Give you a good sense of April Ryan, and pangs of nostalgia if you’ve already played the game.

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LOL_SS27

I recently got a beta invitation to League of Legends via Rock, Paper, Shotgun. The game attempts to sell itself as a mix between Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) and an MMO. I’ll give some general info about the game first and then tell about the champion, your avatar in the game, that I’ve been playing with so far. Be warned that I haven’t played any DOTA games before LoL. I’ll add official LoL tips and tricks videos here, which explain the game better than I ever could.

League of Legends is divided into a menu part and the actual game. On the menu you can see the available spells, stat upgrades called runes, which basicly give small boosts to your chosen stat, be it damage, mana or health. Also you get a very WoW-like skill tree, giving you choice between a defense, attack and magic build. You get levels from games you win, which give you more skill points, spells and of course power. That’s the MMO part more or less.

When you actually get playing, after all the tweaking, the DOTA element comes in, with battles between five or more players on each side. There’s a wide selection of avatars, or champions as the game calls them, to choose from, each with its unique set of skills. The champions are divided as classes might in an MMO. You can choose from ranged and melee dps, spellcasters, tanks and more support focused champions. There’s quite a selection so finding one to your own liking should be easy, if time-consuming.

The gameplay is a mix between fighting against opposing minions, which spawn in groups between steady intervals making their way for the enemy base and the human controlled champions. There’s also turrets which defend both team’s bases. The key to winning the game lies with how well you fight the enemy champions. Teamwork is the key word here. A  player going solo hardly ever beats two champions. Also important is levelling up quickly and making money in the process, allowing you to buy items, which are perhaps the most important part of the game actually, granting very substantial buffs and bonuses.

I tried a couple of the champions briefly but didn’t find a favorite. Then I decided to stick with one champion for a longer time. My first pick was Ashe, an archer with freezing skills. Her skills are a frost arrow that slows enemies down, a cone of arrows that also slows, a passive skill giving more gold when a minion is killed and finally a super arrow that can be aimed at any part of the map, gaining more damage the further it travels and freezing an enemy champion once it hits. Of course the closer you are the easier it is to actually hit a champion, but then you pay in damage. With all skills available my basic tactic is freezing with the super arrow, keeping the enemy in range by slowing with the other skills and letting attack speed do the rest.

While Ashe’s arrows do a great deal of damage with the right items, she’s got very little health. Any dps getting too close makes short work of her. Keeping in the right range is the key when playing as Ashe. I like her in that she is rather straightforward in the way you play. With items I’ve been stacking attack and movement speed making me able to run in, do a lot of damage and run away again. Guerrilla tactics you could say.

Playing like this I actually won a couple of matches. Most of the game naturally depends on your teammates. At the moment players disconnecting is a big problem. 4 vs 5 isn’t a fair game so even one player not giving everything he has, or worse, leaving entirely, results in a quick loose. Even a little teamplay gives you the upper hand.

Another problem with the game is that I’m forced to play with random people. Of course you never know who you’ll be facing. Also there’s no telling what level people you play against. A match between someone 26 and 6 isn’t all that fair. If I ever get enough buddies in League of Legends to play with a team I know, the game will be a lot more fun. With random people LoL doesn’t really get to it’s full potential.

Even though the game is in it’s beta I’ve had some fun playing it and once I find a character that sticks… well who knows how big a time sink LoL might become.  After Ashe I think I’ll try a melee dps, expect a post on how that goes later, concentrating more on the champion now you know how the basics about the game. If you want to try it out, apply here and don’t hesitate to add me as a buddy, look for ironanno.

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monster

Been some time since a trailer rocked this much. The music, the footage, the crazy comic style, all come together wonderfully, creating an overall Wild West mood. Guns, cars, a desert, bad guys to kill and good ones with an attitude? I can’t wait till October and getting to play Borderlands. Thanks for the heads up to Rock, Paper, Shotgun and may I link to you again. Get watching already.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Rock, Paper, Shotgun: take us out the…“, posted with vodpod

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