Sunday, June 16, 2013

Demo Friday: Three games, two ideas, two days late

I was right to wait for an extra day. Two extra games came out on Friday and both of the demos were worth seeing. Unlike the following, which was offensive.

This isn't a remake of Jungle Strike. Why isn't this a remake of Jungle Strike?
Thunder Wolves screams shovelware. It looks terrible, resembling bottom of the barrel Wii titles more than anything else. XBLA games getting a pass on visuals ended many, many years ago. There is no excuse for a game to be this ugly. Enemies are so indistinguishable from the background that they are highlighted for you. I wasn't shooting enemies, I was shooting the targets around them. It also plays terribly: a helicopter should not feel like an airborne truck that is missing a wheel.

There is no reason to play this game. I could not even enjoy it for being terrible. It was that bad.

Not endorsed by Beavis, unfortunately.
Fireburst is a game I can get behind because it takes a crowded genre, racing, and throws an interesting idea at it. The entire game is about managing your cars heat. The boost button does exactly what you expect as well as throwing flames out to the cars left and right so it double as the attack button. There is only one heat gauge making it quite possible to boost yourself to death or get fried by an opponent for boosting too much and too close to them. Add in environmental variables like explosive barrels and waterfalls that either heat or cool the car and the game sounds very good on paper.

Racing games in general are less forgiving towards poor controls than other genres. A racing game like Fireburst in which the line you take can be the difference between life and death is even less so. This is where Fireburst stumbles. Had this controlled like Motorstorm or the rally section of Forza Horizon it would have been a great game. It does not and that kills it. Cars are far too floaty making it impossible to use the flame attacks. I wanted to like this one but good ideas cannot make up for poor execution.

So calm. So serene. So ZZZzzzz....
Student 1: Hey, I really liked Flower but the motion control was kind of lame. Let's do that for our final project!

Student 2: But 2D, gotta keep it real. And 3D is hard.

For the record, the motion control in Flower was not lame.

Storm put me to sleep, literally. I know what they were going for and I think they succeeded: it is a very calm puzzle game built around different weather events. Bonus points for it all being real time; no setting up events ahead of time, if you want to hit the seed with lighting to make it jump you actually have to do it manually. I am not faulting the ideas here of even the execution. Everything works, it would just work better as a flash game that I would visit occasionally, not a game I can sit down for any length of time with.

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