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Costume Quest: Invasion of the Candy Snatchers

I love the Costume Quest games from Double Fine dearly, and I’m a big fan of Zac Gorman’s work. Combine the two for a graphic novel? Yeah, this is a really great book that tells an original story based on the world and characters from the games. If you like the games, you’ll absolutely love the book. It’s also so great that this project was apparently born after Zac produced a wonderful 4-panel comic strip based on the game, that Double Fine loved. I’d really love for them to produce another book, or to even turn it into a series.

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Alex + Ada

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by the Luna Brothers, and although Alex + Ada is by just one of them (Jonathan Luna, along with Sarah Vaughan), it does feel like a proper Luna joint. It’s a near-future tale of a man who receives a lifelike android companion, and then proceeds to give it (her) sentience. I’d started by reading the trade paperback that collects the first 5 issues a while back, and kept meaning to continue with the series but never got around to it. I finally went and read the rest of the series (it ends with issue 15) and I was really wowed by it, reading it all in one sitting, not able to stop. It’s a beautiful (although not without tension) tale, with an ending that felt very satisfying. 

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The Witness

I really enjoyed my time with Braid, and I was definitely interested to see what Jonathan Blow’s follow-up game would be like. I might not normally have bought this, since I’m not really big into playing puzzle games, but my wife loves them immensely, and so I figured that this was a game that we could play together. That’s what we’ve been doing, but it’s been challenging because my wife is experiencing extreme motion sickness when we’re playing – whether she’s got the controls, or me – and so we’re now at a point where she can’t look at the screen while we’re moving around, but we’ll work together when we’re on a puzzle screen. I’m not sure how many hours we’ve played so far – you really do lose truck when you’re stumped on a puzzle – but I’m sure it’s a fair amount, and we’re moving along, despite getting quite frustrated a few times. More than anything, I’m interested in seeing how this all comes together at the end, hoping for some sort of Braid-like weirdness.

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Horace and Pete

I’ve only watched the first episode – the second episode just dropped – but I’m so far really enjoying this new series from Louis C.K. He was already getting more dramatic than comedic with Louie, and this is definitely more on the dramatic side as well, although taped as a multi-camera sitcom would – and it feels very theatre-like as well, you can imagine they didn’t do very many takes. Alan Alda absolutely stands out in this, stealing pretty much any scene he’s in. Definitely a worthy follow-up to Louie.

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003

Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem
Sitting at his desk, he fumes. Organizations aren’t built in a day, especially criminal ones. Despite what you may think, he doesn’t see himself as a criminal mastermind, or as popular culture would have it, supervillain. He’s just a man who was able to build something through a lot of hard work and perseverance. Yes, a lot of it was conducted by way of less-than-legal means, but that doesn’t take away from what was achieved. An organization, a powerful one, that has not only made him a rich man, but all of the people under him as well — yes, even henchmen and evil scientists reap the benefits of the organization they work to defend and support.

Bring Me Her Head
You could taste extraction, but not yet. As you exit the stairs onto the concourse, you’re met with a campus — this organization doesn’t like the military connotation that “base” suggests — on full alert, with the glare of spotlights making it seem like daytime.

This is not good. Or is it?

Through your Trico M50 earpiece — standard issue for all operatives such as yourself — you listen in on the guard chatter. They know you’re out there, they know you accessed the data you were here to take, and they know you’re trying to get out. What they don’t know, is that this is all part of your plan.

The Man with the Plan
When he received the coded message through the closed network terminal — an old boxey Botsford X550, not high on the tech scale, but still in use because of its ease-of-use and foolproof construction — he wasn’t sure why he’d finally been chosen. As a part-time enlistee, he received enough training to make him feel like a bonafide agent, ready to defend human freedom against all that’s evil in the world. But then comes the wait. He’ll be called on when the need arises. It will be unexpected, and the person contacting him will not be known to him. But his training will kick in, he’ll know what to do, and he’ll do it.

Now’s his time. Here’s the plan.

Next: This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven
Previously: 002
Start: 001

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OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo

I really like the idea behind Cartoon Network’s new game, of creating a new series but starting out with a game, not a proper animated cartoon show – this Wired piece explains what they’re up to with this. I was excited to give OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo a try, and I gotta say, it’s pretty fun so far – although as with any touch game (I’m playing on iPad) where you control a character onscreen, it would be so much better with a proper controller. The world is super fun and colorful, and I found myself laughing a bunch of times while playing. I like being introduced to a new cartoon world through a game, instead of always just playing game adaptations of cartoon shows. I wouldn’t mind seeing more stuff like this, and at the same time, I’m looking forward to seeing more stuff that revolves around the OK K.O. world.

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Bayonetta (Super Smash Bros.)

I love Bayonetta so damn much – both the character and her two games, which are some of my favorite gaming experiences – and so I was pretty damn happy when they announced that she’d be joining the Super Smash Bros. roster (and you can bet I’ll be getting her amiibo figure as soon as it gets released). I’m not a huge SSB player – I had a lot of fun playing it on Wii U at the weekly game nights I used to host in Tokyo, but hadn’t really touched the game since leaving Japan. This is the first piece of SBB DLC I get, and I ended up playing a couple of hours with her last night, having an absolute blast learning her moves, and trying out all her color combinations (current favorite is short hair Bayonetta with white costume). That’s it, I’m not ever going to play another character in SBB again, I’m set. 

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Nom Nom Galaxy

I’ve just had a quick taste of Nom Nom Galaxy – also part of this month’s PlayStation Plus lineup – but it definitely feels nice to be playing a PixelJunk game again (my last one was Shooter 2). It’s not generally the style of game I’m attracted to – building/developing – but just like I wasn’t really into tower defence games before PixelJunk Monsters, I’m hoping the same will happen here. So far, I’m definitely enjoying the game’s aesthetics (always a PixelJunk strong point) as well as the humor. 

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Nova-111

I first experience Nova-111 a few years ago at BitSummit in Kyoto, while also recording a PechaKucha presentation with its creator, Eddie Lee, and I really liked what I played. I’ve finally gotten around to playing the full game – it’s offered this month as part of PlayStation Plus, and I’m playing the PS4 version – and I sure am having fun with it. First off, I love the aesthetics they’ve given the world. Although you basically control a ship through a grid overlay, the background world and enemies you encounter really have a great style. As for the gameplay, it’s surprisingly addictive to move around, and decide on the best way to defeat enemies – it’s what I’d call quick-turn-based (like you’d experience in old roguelikes), so enemies only move when you move (with some exceptions), and so part of your strategy is to deal with that. Really fun stuff, and I’m looking forward to seeing what game we’ll be getting next from Eddie.

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Project CARS

I’ve been itching to get into a big racing game of late – outside of my regular Mario Kart online playing, the last racing game I played extensively was Driveclub – and so when I saw that Project CARS was on sale this week on the PSN Store, I jumped on it. My first taste of the game was a rough one. First off, superficially, although the game’s graphics are gorgeous and I like the general graphic design seen through the menus, pretty much all text is close to unreadable because of its size (playing on PS4, on a 32″ TV). After selecting the “amateur” level (out of beginner, amateur, and pro) I found myself struggling incredibly in my first races. I wasn’t always into playing sim games. I never really played Gran Turismo games much, and it was only with Forza 2 (or maybe Project Gotham Racing 3, which I’d consider mid-sim/arcade) that I started enjoying a sim experience – before that, my motto was that if I had to use the breaks, it wasn’t for me. But since Forza 2, I’ve started enjoying sim-like experiences more, and I’d say I’m a decent racer, which is why I thought amateur level would be fine. But I was getting frustrated, so I deleted my save file (the only way it seems you can get that option again) and started the career mode again with beginner. Since then, I’ve been having a lot more fun with it, and winning races, and so I figure that I’ll soon start ramping up difficulty. I’m definitely glad I picked up the game.