Hello everyone! I currently feel very hungover from my visit to the UK’s premiere games con, Eurogamer Expo. I played a boatload of good games, and one that was utter shite. HERE ARE MY PREVIEWS. I also dole out worthless awards because I’m a muppet.
Tenya Wanya Teens – Keita Takahashi
Tenya Wanya Teens is a game about weeing in urinals then looking strong then pulling out a sword then punching an alien then weeing on a girl because you hit the wrong button. You play it on this monstrosity:
Those buttons are all individually LED lit, and change colour so you can do the actions required by the items on screen (the aforementioned urinal, girl, sword etc). Then colours switch around half way through and suddenly you’re punching a blackboard. It is one of the most amusing games I have ever played. By the fourth room full of stuff, I was laughing so hard my ribs hurt. I played this beauty 3 times throughout the 6 hours I was at Eurogamer and I can safely say this was my game of the show. SUPER SEXY FUN TENYA WANYA TEENS.
Winner: Game Of The Show That Wasn’t A Board Game
VOLUME – Mike Bithell
Volume is an indie Metal Gear Solid with the art style of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It’s a beautiful looking game (unsurprising, considering it’s coming from the developer of Thomas Was Alone), with smart writing and some pretty cool gameplay. It’s a stealth game, so I was terrible at it, but I really enjoyed the short demo I played. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.
I also met Mike Bithell – he’s as lovely as you would expect. Humble as hell too, you wouldn’t know this man has all the money in the world from Thomas. Indie devs are lovely people.
Winner: The Wind Waker Award for Most Likely To Still Look Good Ten Years On
Hotline Miami 2 - Dennaton Games
Hotline Miami was one of my favourite games of 2012, because I like indie games and am from Planet Earth. The sequel is another neon-soaked bloodbath, just with my stories and that one scene. That scene was actually edited in the build I played – Pig Man still climbed on top of the woman, but he didn’t unzip his trousers, and there was no obvious rape scene. The dialogue is still all the same, so if you knew the context, you could definitely tell what had happened.
Other than that, it’s more of the same, really. That’s no bad thing, but when I managed to blaze through both demo levels in less than five minutes because me and Tony are pretty good skull crushing friends, it worries me a bit. Also worrying: I crashed the game when I killed the last guy in the second level. I’m just going to assume I killed everyone too fast for the game to keep up.
Winner: The Reverse Nick Clegg Award for Most Controversial Game For Now But Likely To Be Alright In The End
Bayonetta 2 – Platinum Games
Bayonetta is one of my favourite games. Silly, over-the-top and fantastically engineered. Bayonetta 2 is equally as silly, over-the-top and fantastically engineered. The demo I played was the same as the E3 one – fighting big angel centaurs on the back of a jet plane. Witch time and dodge offset work just as well as before, allowing me to DESTROY the centaurs with relative ease. Platinum aren’t known for easy games, so I’d say this is the equivalent of that bit on the back of a 747 right at the start of the first game. PARALLELS.
Winner: The Hideki Kamiya Tribute Cup for Most Likely To Include A Space Harrier Section
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds – Nintendo
I’ll confess my sins – I’ve never got past getting the Master Sword in A Link To The Past. Not through lack of trying, but every time I get there, I usually forget about the game because something new has come out. This leaves me with a great knowledge of the first three dungeons and the overworld, but nothing of anything else, so I wouldn’t have known that the dungeon in the demo I played was the Tower Of Hera without someone telling me beforehand. As it is, A Link Between Worlds is a return to the well-loved 2D Zelda formula, last seen with A Minish Cap on GBA. It’s bloody great, though – the game runs on the Ocarina of Time 3D engine and looks gorgeous – 2.5D doesn’t always work, but it does here. My one concern, again, is how easy the dungeon I played was – I ran through it in less than ten minutes, including the boss fight with Moldorm. Interesting, though, is how I had three items – the bow, hammer and fire rod, but only the hammer was required for Tower of Hera. It might hint at dungeon order being less structured, which is pretty interesting.
Winner: The Cosmo Wright Tribute Award for Being Suspiciously Easy To Speedrun
Sonic: Lost World (3DS) – Sonic Team
This is the best portable Sonic game since Sonic Advance, judging by what I played. It’s closer to Generations than the WiiU version of Lost World, and feels far faster. It’s only 30 fps, though, which isn’t particularly pleasant when it’s a Sonic game. Still, one has to cope. Anyway, it’s a Sonic game, you go fast, it looks gorgeous, even for a 3DS game. The only weird thing is how levels are split up into sections, which have about a second of loading between them. This means the levels are pretty long, though – I played 1-1, and that was a good 3 minutes, even though I didn’t once lose a ring or miss a jump. It passes the test! (The test is, “Can this game seem fun to someone who has played like 200 hours of Sonic Generations.”)
Winner: The Speedball Remembrance Trophy for Excellence In Going Fast
Super Mario 3D World – Nintendo
I played this game with ex-Boss Dungeonite Jacob. He was very excited for this one, I was a bit more disinterested and perhaps I was right to be – Super Mario 3D World is very much 3D Land 2, in HD and with multiplayer. That’s not to say it’s not brilliant fun (3D Land is fantastic and great fun to speedrun) but it is fairly standard. We played level 4-2, which is the aerial one in the trailers with all the pipes. It wasn’t particularly challenging, but it felt like a Mario game and it was pretty great with two players. Half of the fun of the New Super Mario Bros. series is pissing around with pals, so this should be good.
Winner: The “Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar” Prize for Least Surprising Sequel
Wolfenstein: The New Order – Machine Games
This game is absolutely bloody awful. It’s a terrible, TERRIBLE Call of Duty clone. Corridor shooting, linear levels that are still impossible to navigate, boring shooting, broken promises of a fuck-off laser beam that doesn’t do anything the cutscene tells you it does. It even makes dual-wielding massive shotguns dull. I haven’t played a lot of shooters of late and it’s good to see I’ve not missed much, if this travesty is any indicator. DO NOT BUY.
Winner: The “Worse Than The Big Bang Theory” Award for Most Awful Game
At this point, I went and played Tenya Wanya Teens again, to cleanse my palate.
BOARD GAME BREAK WITH THE SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN CREW
For the next hour or so, I sat down with Quinns (from the wonderful web series Shut Up and Sit Down) and three other complete strangers and played a card game called Skulls and Roses. It’s a game about bluffing: you have four cards, one skull and three roses. You place down one card each, moving round the table. Once everyone has placed a card, the first player can then either place down another card, or bet how many roses they can flip over. If they places a card, the same choice is presented to the next player. If they bet a number of cards, the next player can bet higher or pass. This continues round the table until no-one is willing to bet any more cards, at which point the player who made the last bet flips over the number of cards they bet, starting with their own. If they flip a skull, they lose a card. The object is to win two bets.
The beauty of Skulls and Roses is in the tension. I bet that I could turn over 8 roses, with 10 cards on the table. The first five were quick and easy, but after that, it got much harder. My heart was pounding, the tension palpable. I managed to flip over to seven, with three cards left on the table, and I felt like my heart was going to escape my chest. The last card I flipped was a rose, and I actually cheered and threw my hands in the air. And that was only the first bet I’d won that round.
I had more fun with Skulls and Roses and four strangers than I had with anything else the whole day.
Winner: The “I Didn’t Expect To Give The Game Of The Show Award To A Board Game” Surprise Prize
Winner: Game Of The Show
Sonic: Lost World (WiiU) – Sonic Team
Aye, played this version and all. It felt slow, for starters, even on a level that was one long auto-running segment. It’s pretty good, though, taking elements from Colours and Generations and blending them up to make a new, 60FPS Sonic game. And really, you should know what to expect – it’s a recent 3D Sonic game, it’s not completely terrible and it looks gorgeous. Shame about it feeling a lot slower than even the 3DS version, but I’d still list it as a buy. Probably a better bet than 3D World, too, unless you’re well into the multiplayer.
Winner: The Pug With A Racing Stripe Shield for Surprisingly Sluggish Gameplay
Velocity 2x – FuturLab
I tried this out purely by chance – I’d never heard of it before, but I was interested because there were a bunch of Vitas at a stand in the Rezzed PC area. Velocity is a cross between a vertical arcade shmup and a Metroid-style side-scroller and it’s wonderful. Most of the game is played as a shmup, but very so often you dock your ship to find something, at which point the game switches to a side-on twin-stick shooter. It stars a female main character, Kai Tana, and the developers’ aim with her is to make her a good female character, something very rare in games. Hence, you won’t see her in a swimsuit any time soon.
Both parts of the game have a teleporting mechanic that you use to progress, collect powerups and the like. It’s great, I highly recommend it.
Winner: The Tenner In A Urinal Award for Most Pleasant Surprise
Lego Marvel Superheroes – Take Two Interactive
Another year, another Lego game. This one’s pretty lovely though. It features ALL the Marvel characters you can possibly imagine, as well as all the physics in the world. I played a level on PS3, which had hundreds of little lego pieces that reacted to your character moving through them. It was VERY impressive, especially for 2005-tier hardware. In terms of gameplay, anyone who played Lego Batman 2 or Lego Lord Of The Rings will be familiar – a huge (seriously, it’s massive. Like, bigger than Lego City from that WiiU game) open world linking together story levels. You unlock new characters as you go through, and all of them have unique animations and special abilities and the like. They’re good fun, and usually pretty cheap, too.
Unfortunately, my demo was cut short because I pressed L3 and R3 at the same time, causing the game to try and enter debug mode, crashing it. TWO CRASHES IN ONE DAY, BOYS AND GIRLS.
Winner: The Ocarina of Time Any% Speedrun Prize for Most Easily Broken Game
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze – Retro Studios
This game is… well, it’s good. But it’s standard, you know? Nothing in the entire demo impressed me, and I came away decidedly disappointed. Retro Studios are one of the most incredible developers around – some even called them Nintendo’s new Rare. But this seems just so boring. What happened to the spark, guys? And where’s that F-Zero game?
Anyway, I’ll be skipping this. It’s more of the same as DKCR, but way less surprising.
Winner: The Community Series 4 Memorial for Biggest Disappointment
Octodad: Dadliest Catch – Young Horses, Inc.
You’re an octopus pretending to be a human father. This is the best concept for a game ever. I need not say more.
Although I will – it’s bloody hilarious fun. Day one. DAY ONE.
Winner: The Tentacle Statuette for Least Likely To ‘Suck’
Winner: The Burrows and Wyatt Prize for Worst Award Joke
Winner: The Nick Allen Trophy for Most Obscure Reference That Literally One Reader Will Laugh At
BONUS ROUND: PS4 CONTROLLER IMPRESSIONS (in the style of Ben Kuchera)
The PS4 pad feels like the first time you touched a big hard willy.