This is one of the free games on offer through PlayStation Plus this month, for the Vita, and I just played through it this morning in one sitting. I didn’t pay attention to the length it took (lost track of time, but was probably 1-2 hours), which is telling of how I got sucked into the story. And it is that, more interactive story than anything else, and you don’t really make any choices, rather just following the path of the story as it unfolds. And it’s rather dark (deals with depression), but I thought it was well done, and as I said, I was engaged enough to play through all of it.
Pavilion is a puzzle-based game I remember seeing a few times over the years at events in Japan — one third of the trio (Visiontrick Media) who made the game is based in Tokyo — and it’s just come out for PC/Mac. I’ll be waiting for the upcoming PS4 (and Vita) version before playing it, but if you’re more of a PC gamer, do take a look. I’m in love with the visual richness found in the environments.
I’d always been interested in Freedom Wars because I liked what I saw of the esthetic of the game, but not enough to pick it up – doesn’t help that I’ve tried playing stuff like God Eater, but didn’t really get into it (and I’m sure that’s because I didn’t have anyone to play with). Well, with it popping up as a PS+ free offering for Vita, I was happy to give it a try. Having put 1-2 hours in it, I can say that it’s definitely an interesting setting for a game. I don’t know if I’ll manage to stick with it for a long time – and all the systems I need to deal with are a bit intimidating, so thinking I’m not going to play that much doesn’t make me want to learn them. But I do indeed like the look of it, the way it’s setup story-wise (you need to burn off time on your incarceration, through some sort of totalitarian regime), and the combat is neat.
Another game I’m buying for the second time thanks to that PSN E3 sale is Rayman Legends on PS4 (I had previously bought it for Vita). I absolutely loved this game on Vita (and loved Rayman Origins too) and so I figured that at the price they had it for ($16), it was worth revisiting on PS4. I’ve started playing and, wow, as good as this looked on Vita, it’s just outstanding on PS4 and on a TV screen. This is such a great game, and I’m still excited to be playing through the levels again.
This sure is an interesting game, with really neat use of touch on the Vita, tons of great ideas, and a unique aesthetic. But as much I’m enjoying playing it, I do have a big issue with any sequence that demands the use of 2 fingers at the same time – like moving forward and then controlling the balloon separately, to avoid obstacles. It’s incredibly awkward, which makes it a drag whenever you have to deal with it. But everything else is just so great, and I can’t wait to see what this team does next.
Even though I’ve played a few of them, I was never really that into the Tony Hawk games – or even the Skate series, which I admittedly liked better, the first one – but I was interested to play the first OlliOlli when it came out, as the 2D gameplay looked refreshing. I never got around to playing it, but thanks to the PS+ releases for March, I’m playing OlliOlli2 on PS4 (I downloaded the Vita version as well, but haven’t tried it yet) and so far I’m really enjoying it. It starts with the great soundtrack – more chill, less skate punk/rock – and a beautiful minimalist aesthetic that looks beautifult. Gameplay-wise, it does take a while to get used to things – I keep wanting to push the analog stick down when I land, instead of the X button – but the fact that I keep playing the levels over and over is a clear sign that it’s got me hooked.
Grim Fandango Remastered
Grim Fandango is quite possibly my favorite LucasArts games, and on top of that, one of my favorite games of all time. I was so happy when it was announced that they were going to do a “remastered” version, and I’m also incredibly happy that Day of the Tentacle will be next (and come on, let’s just keep going and do Full Throttle after). Playing it again has been an absolute joy, and the game looks terrific. I played a bit on PS4, but I’ve mostly been playing on Vita, which is just perfect for this – and the graphics just look that much better on the smaller screen. What has surprised me is how I don’t really feel like I’m playing an old game, but that’s maybe because I just really love adventure games like this, and I still play them now – Broken Age was one of my favorite games of last year, after all. But yes, please play this if you’ve never done so, and here’s hoping Double Fine manages to get the rights to do remastered editions of even more classic LucasArts games.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
I’d been looking forward to this coming out on PS4 and Vita – I’d played a bit of it on my laptop a while back – and my first impression was that I couldn’t stand what they did with the aesthetics on the console version. I’ve been told that they were going for some sort of 16-bit vibe, but to me, on my TV, it looked horrible, like it was just a low-res version of the game blown up. Thankfully, it didn’t bother me as much on the Vita, and I really do enjoy playing this game. Sure, the art in the game is grotesque, but it’s still addictive to go through the rooms/levels, hoping you’ll find some items that will make your journey easier. Definitely works well as a portable game, but now I do end up playing it on my PS4 as well, as an apéritif or digestif to other game sessions.
This is a neat little JRPG-like game that was released on Vita, and although it was offered up as part of PS+ in October, I had bought it the month before on a sale. I was enjoying it for the few hours I played it, but in the end, the fact that I stopped playing is probably a sign that it was lacking in something – although sometimes, I drop these games simply because something better comes along that I’m really excited to play.
Pix the Cat
That was such a disappointment. I was actually pretty excited to play this – and did so on both PS3 and Vita – as I thought it would be a great looking arcade game to play here and there. It does indeed look great, and I love the music too, but either I’m really bad at playing it, or they just got it wrong. As far as I’ve been able to tell, there’s pretty much only one mode to play, going screen after screen (and it’s neat how the transition is done Inception-like), starting from the first screen each time. I pretty much got to the furthest I’d go on my first try, and never really beat that (although I got higher scores). The problem is in the way it controls, as turning your cat character (think Pac-Man) is already not as smooth as it should be in this kind of simple layout, and it just gets worst as you get further in because everything speeds up, which means you just frustratingly continue to have issues turning around properly in the mazes. It’s too bad, because it could have been a neat arcade game to jump into between long sessions on other games.