Columns, Video Games

ROBOTIC GAMING MONTHLY – Amiib-Oh No

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Artwork by CitrusKing46

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Robotic Gaming Monthly, Topless Robot’s monthly column devoted to the recent happenings, reviews of recent releases, and trailers in gaming! And after what felt like a particularly lengthy month with a lot of notable releases, news, happenings, and whatnot, there’s a lot to get into this time around, including seven reviews, twenty trailers, and a lecture as to why tiny figures of plumbers can actually be bad for you, so let’s go already!

(Sorry about the two-day delay, by the way: A combination of WonderCon, Easter shenanigans, and suddenly having to move to a new residence cause a slight bump in the road.)

And to kick things off, let’s have another talk about our good buddy Nintendo. In fact, let’s focus on a bit of Nintendo news from this month that a lot of people are talking about: The NX, a brand new gaming platform that Nintendo announced. Truly this is an astonishing development indeed that has everyone curious, so let’s run down everything we know about the NX so far:

– This is a gaming platform
– Nintendo is releasing it
– It is codenamed the NX

…Whew, that’s a lot to take in there, right? So yeah, all we can do now is speculate, but there are several gamers concerned that Nintendo may giving up on the Wii U already and moving on to the next console, not helped by the later announcement that the new Zelda game was being delayed until after 2015 and wouldn’t be at E3 this year, causing many to believe that The Big N is saving it for the NX now. And I wholly agree that replacing the Wii U would be a dick move, especially when combined with my opinion that the console is starting to get its act together with new IPs like Splatoon and Devil’s Third, not to mention committing to indie games more now, particularly with a nice selection showcased at GDC this year.

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Still, I wouldn’t worry too much. As Nintendo mentioned and showcased in the above diagram, the NX is supposedly designed to work alongside the Wii U and other devices, thus hinting that they probably don’t plan to replace it. This does raise further question about what kind of device the NX might be, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it…largely because we have to cross another bridge right now built over a river of fanboy tears who couldn’t get their hands on a little Greninja figure.

Yep, it’s time to talk about amiibos. Now, when Nintendo launched their amiibo figures, they were met with complaints over low supply, retail-exclusive figures, pre-ordering disasters that led to figures being sold out in minutes, and amiibos being scalped for extravagant prices. But now, over four months later, Nintendo has learned…not a damn thing from this.

Hell, they may be getting worse. This time they actually temporarily destroyed Gamestop in the process.

And Nintendo seems to be putting all their eggs into the amiibo basket, with pretty much every announcement they make concerning their games these days involving the damn things in one way or another. But it looks like that basket might get trampled over soon. As seen in the Kotaku link earlier, fans are pissed at how poorly Nintendo is handling amiibo distribution. And that’s kind of a feat, because this feels like the first time in years people have been unanimously angry at Nintendo. As a reminder, they released a handheld console without a freaking power source this year and still had hardcore fanboys defended their choices, but apparently denying their fans little plastic Ness figures is the last straw, dammit!

The worst part is that Nintendo probably sees all of these extraordinarily quick sales as a success, as well as proof that people are cherishing their new toys. But I think they to ask themselves why the public are buying amiibos…and I think we need to ask ourselves that too.

See, amiibos are basically meant to double as a little toy and additional content for various games…and I’m not sure I fully get the impression that most people are buying them for the game-related material. I’ll admit that I can’t tell right off the bat which amiibos add what to certain games, but I really need to know…is the DLC they provide (and let’s face it, it is DLC, no matter what you call it) really worth thirteen dollars just because it comes with a little figure?

I mean, the gaming community has been dead set in their hatred of constant DLC. earlier this year, Evolve came out with $100 of DLC at launch, a move which was widely criticized and ripped apart by gamers everywhere (and rightfully so). But now, we take a look on eBay and…

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…Half a dozen people willing to pay eighty dollars for one piece of DLC. Congratulations, you have ended up justifying the existence of hordes of DLC, season passes, retailer exclusives, pre-orders, microtransactions, and much more in a single stroke. After all, as far as the numbers alone might say, these people are paying dozens of dollars per amiibo just for the in-game content as opposed to simply buying them for the collectible figures, and I find it impossible to believe that would be the real-life case.

So I urge you, Nintendo, for the benefit of yourself, the gaming community, and gaming as a whole, either fix your amiibo distribution or just stop it with them already, because at rate they’re going, amiibos may be soon destined for the graveyard of former collecting fads. And please at least do so before Black Friday, because having to read the headline “Crazed Mother Stabs Man Over Tingle Figure” might be one of the saddest things I could ever possibly see.

Well, now it’s time for this month’s Burning Question! So with Bloodborne all of the rage at the moment (and me raging over not having any access to a copy of Bloodborne), numerous guides have popped up on how to defeat the game’s numerous and threatening (yet impressive) bosses. So that’s the inspiration for our question this month: What was the most difficult boss battle or difficult moment you have ever encountered in a video game? Give a shoutout to what challenged or frustrated you, in the comments, and you could walk away with a mystery prize!

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Congrats to LBD_Nytetrayn for winning the prize for last month’s question, by the way, making it twice in a row that they’ve won…although it helped that they were the only one to actually answer last month’s question. So not only does LBD win a copy of Gravity Ghost, but also the right to point and laugh at everyone else in the comments for being too lazy! Congratulations!

Coming up next: Fresh game reviews, including Battlefield: Hardline and Resident Evil: Revelations 2!


This month in reviews: Cops, space, nature, bio-terror, snowman hugging, and amusement park-related wanton destruction. You know, the usual.

Battlefield: Hardline

Battlefield has never exactly been a series of games that I’ve shown interest in, largely because of my disinterest in military shooters not named Spec Ops: The Line. But Hardline promised to take the series in innovative new directions by putting the focus this time around on urban-based cops-and-robber combat inspired by current police dramas on TV. And indeed, Hardline distances itself from its roots and sheds its Battlefield label as much as it can, signifying a bold new direction…largely by slapping on a Far Cry 3 label in its place.

Indeed, you can pretty much spot the Far Cry influence all over, or at least the influence from the parts where you take down outposts. You infiltrate enemy hideouts, scan for patrolling enemies and mark them from a distance, mark alarm systems to disable as well, then subtly sneak in and knock out or handcuff enemies with some stealth-based gameplay where you also have a similar-looking awareness meter that fills up whenever enemies spot you as well. Or you can just barge in and shoot the f*** out of everything in sight, but where’s the fun in that?

But despite the familiarity, Hardline still executes these elements well, I must say. It even throws in a “Freeze!” mechanic that allows you to get the drop on up to three enemies from a distance, flash them your badge, then handcuff them all while keeping your gun on them. It’s an effective and very satisfying mechanic indeed, allowing for some tense moments. It also grants you more experience compared to standard takedowns, but the catch is that all of your experience points only unlock bigger and better guns, which…well, seems kind of contradictory to the stealth gameplay.

In fact, try as hard as you may to play as a non-violent police officer, Hardline still insists on being a Battlefield game on several occasions, so it throws you in situations where you have to fight your way out of a wave of baddies and are suddenly made out of cardboard. Not that the first-person shooter gameplay is bad as well, but it does get annoying. In one notable case, I had successfully infiltrated a Hollywood mansion and arrested every single goon inside, which I felt rather proud of. But then the second I reached my goal of the pool house, the game went “UGGGGHHHH I’M BORED. I’m just gonna summon a dozen shotgun-wielding thugs to attack you now.” It feels less like the “Do it your way!” approach of gameplay these days and more like “Do it BOTH ways! Because we say so!”

Oh, and then there’s the story. Hardline’s gimmick here is that it’s framed somewhat as a police drama, with missions called “episodes” and little Netflix-style bumpers in between. Sadly, you wind up watching a pretty dull police drama in the process. You play as Nick Mendoza, a Cuban-born Eagle Scout police officer in Miami who comes across a massive drug ring that has potential ties to the police force, suggesting corruption within, and then he gets framed for a crime he didn’t commit, escapes, teams up with some buddies to take on the system, andjgimebigtp…sorry, fell asleep there for a moment. Long story short, there isn’t one original thought in the whole ordeal, right down to the villains using a private military corporation, which is on its rise to becoming one of the most clich?d tropes in modern gaming. Even the parts that do seem briefly interesting, like the talking anime waffle with drug connections (seriously) are discarded quickly. The cast is decent and try their best, but they deserve better, alas. There are also some subplots concerning additional cases where you can search for and uncover additional evidence using your scanner, but this isn’t required to advance the story. And sadly, I think it says something about the game’s priorities when doing actual f***ing detective work is completely optional.

Maybe Hardline’s story goes full gonzo and gets more entertaining in its final missions, but I wouldn’t know, because at one point after dying while shooting rockets out of a junked warplane to open a door (again, seriously), I got stuck on a loading screen. And every time I try resuming the story, the loading screen is still all I see. I suppose I could have tried the entire mission over, but considering that this part came after an insufferable moment where I had to fend off an entire redneck militia with minigun-mounted jeeps, I’m not revisiting that again just for a chance that things might be fixed. Impressive, though, since I rarely ever come across any major game-crashing bugs in most games I play, but this game found a way to deliver.

Oh, and there’s multiplayer as well. I know most people say that this is the only reason to buy a Battlefield game (hell, the multiplayer option comes first on the title screen before the Campaign option), but when you stress the importance of the game’s plot, I expect the single-player to mainly deliver just as much action. Plus, when I did briefly try multiplayer, I found myself getting popped into a game of capture the flag with stolen cars with the whole thing ending in the blink of an eye without me contributing anything at all. Maybe I’ll give it a bigger shot down the road, but I’m not impressed for now.

So no, I can’t say I would really recommend Hardline. And the saddest part is that I kept seeing promising glimpses of a much better game throughout it all, struggling to get out. I guess it still has yet to escape those Battlefield trappings. Maybe try smearing on the Far Cry 3 makeup harder next time.

Blackhole

So Blackhole is a 2D platformer about a crew of big-headed individuals who go out to close black holes in order to save the earth from them. After an accident during one mission, you crash land inside a black hole on a mysterious world, and as the ship’s coffee boy, you must traverse a land with a Metroidvania-style layout and collect everything needed to fix your ship and go home. To do so, you will need to master precision platforming in several Nintendo Hard areas along with gravity-based physics puzzles as you traverse ruined landscapes and civilizations assisted by an A.I. partner and a crew with a sense of humor who crack jokes – including those involving popular video game tropes and references. Meanwhile, you’ll be coming across several collectibles, including audio recordings, that suggest and reveal a much deeper and darker story behind everything that’s going on.

Basically, what I’m getting at here is that Blackhole is the type of game that has at least one whole row crossed out on its indie game bingo card before you even get past the main pitch.

I kid, but Blackhole is indeed one fine platformer. In your quest to gather all of the materials in each level needed to fix everything, you will see several gorgeous, breathtaking, hand-drawn landscapes…that you will die in. A lot. Yep, as mentioned, Blackhole is tough as nails indeed, but in that good way where if you screw up, you realize it was your own fault and get encouraged to try harder (most of the time, as there are still a couple of trial-and-error bits). Control is as smooth as butter, save for a few awkward moments like those where you have to get your character to just hang on to the edge of a moving platform, and these moments usually require you to pull it off in a second or two before you die, naturally. That being said, the challenge still escalates at a nice pace as new abilities are naturally introduced now and then, which work fine and allow for more nicely-designed puzzles (although the gravity-switching that makes up the meat and potatoes of the game is definitely fun enough on its own).

That being said, one thing I could do without in each level is the timer that shows up to measure your progress. A minor grievance, I know, but I hate it when games feel they need to test me on speed runs the very first time around. Wait until I try the level again, dang it, then maybe I’ll try for speed. Although zooming through the entire game does sort of conflict with the bits outside of the main levels where you get to hunt for various lost items of crew members and black box recordings that reveal more and more. The story is thankfully sharp and well-written, along with the humorous bits, and is intriguing enough to make you want to keep going. The sound and voice acting are also top-notch as well, despite a few instances early on in which the subtitles were just slightly off from the dialogue.

Simply put, Blackhole is an overall terrific platformer that I would definitely recommend picking up. It may cross out a ton of lines on the indie game bingo card, but that just means that in at least one way, it’s a winner, right?

A Good Snowman Is Hard to Build

If you know me by know, you should know that there are certain ideas for video games that are rather irresistible to me, mainly the ones I consider to be quirky yet brilliant. So needless to say, when someone releases a puzzle game about a monster having to build snowmen, dress them up, give them little names, and then hug them, I cannot leave such a game ignored. And so here we are with A Good Snowman Is Hard to Build.

A Good Snowman is another one of those games that’s simple to describe: You are monster in a sort of hedge maze/park hybrid, and every time you build a snowman in one area, adjoining gates open and allow you to advance to the next. You build snowmen with your standard large, medium, and small body parts, and roll them on top of each other in the correct order. The catch is that rolling a snowball over a patch of snow causes it to be absorbed into the ball, and moving the small or medium pieces over snow immediately causes them to grow. Basically, a complex block-pushing puzzle where you have to plan out every move or end up starting over.

Incidentally, the puzzles are unsurprisingly the strongest point of A Good Snowman. They were created by one of the folks behind Sokobond, another simple-yet-genius puzzle game I’ve reviewed here in the past, and the same type of brilliant design carries over to this game as well. They remind me a bit of more old-school titles like The Adventures of Lolo in providing what felt like a bit more of a traditional puzzle game challenge, but with the occasional twist that requires you to think outside the box. Case in point, at least one puzzle made me realize that the way to solve it was to exit through one gate in the puzzle’s room, backtrack through a few others, and then enter the room through a gate on the other side in order to get to a place where I could push the snowball to the right spot. Now that is some unique design.

It’s too bad there just aren’t enough puzzles, though. After a mere two hours I had completed the entire game, every puzzle complete, and every snowman built and thoroughly hugged. Indeed, despite the game’s superb minimalistic style, attention to detail (you can actually attempt to hug anything), and terrific and fitting score, I could never shake the feeling that A Good Snowman felt a bit bare-bones at times. I suppose one could say it’s a good sign that a game left me wanting more, but this game does at least have some slight difficulty justifying its price tag. Still, if you’re in the mood for a quick, charming, and calming puzzle game, A Good Snowman is one to definitely check out, even if we’re finally just getting over another ridiculous winter. Good riddance to the season, welcome to the game.

HuniePop

So ever since games such as Senran Kagura have started getting imported over here and more and more visual novels and dating sims have been hitting Steam, I find myself receiving an increasing amount of visits from a mysterious devil-like figure popping into my room with the plink of a piano key, notably clad in Touhou merchandise, demanding that I review any of these games that feature…well, noticeably-endowed anime women. Eventually, I just told this devil that if they want me to review any of these games so damn bad, then maybe they should just donate a copy of one to me. It was at that point that a wide smile cracked along their face, and long story short, here I am reviewing HuniePop.

Unsurprisingly, the plot isn’t particularly deep with this one. You play the role of a desperate loser who has trouble hitting on girls, then suddenly one night a fairy named Kyu comes along to essentially help you get laid via the help of match-three puzzlers. Think Leisure Suit Larry meets Bewjeweled, in a way. What we have here, actually, is a dating sim/puzzle game hybrid, and…as much as it feels awkward to admit, it actually plays quite well.

Gameplay is divided into two sections: The dating sim bits involve interactions with the various women you encounter, and the actual dates involve matching up colored shapes representing various traits such as talent, flirtation, sexuality, et cetera. You have a limited number of moves on each date to get the points needed to succeed, and each woman has their own preferences when it comes to traits, so certain matches are worth much more than others. You can also offer the ladies presents during dates that have certain effects on the board that you can only use once, and you have to earn those by offering your dates additional trinkets during the simulation potion, where you also earn points needed to boost your stats by talking to them. So I was actually surprised that there was quite a bit of strategy involved here, and while the puzzle bits don’t break the mold, they are quite enjoyable. Dang, why was I ever dreading to have to review this game again?

Oh. Right.

Yes, in a bit of twist, the game’s big draw of fanservice galore is actually its weakest point, largely because it seems as though the writers of the game are only familiar with women and dating through a never-ending stream of reality shows and dramas from MTV and Spike. Pretty much every single girl in the game is one-dimensional, the writing is chock full of clich?s and cheese, and the voice actresses sound pretty disinterested, or maybe it’s just the fact that the women they’re portraying are completely devoid of any real expressions or emotions. In fact, once I had hooked up with the four women I actually liked, I questioned what my motivation was to keep playing and make it with the other women I had no real attraction to. What, the game has topless photos of them? HuniePop, I have the Internet at my disposal. I’m good for titties. Also, unlocking all of them would mean having to date and eventually sleep with Audrey, as seen above, and I’m pretty sure every one of that woman’s orifices is classified as a biohazard and that the second we’re in bed, she’ll go all Gone Girl on me.

So in the end, I guess I can actually recommend HuniePop for actually having some fun gameplay. That being said, if I had seen that someone I know on Steam had purchased it and when I asked them about it, they nervously replied that they actually purchased it just for the gameplay and not the naked anime women…I would actually believe them.

Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest is an absolutely breathtaking, superb, gorgeous and magnificent game and you need to play it.

…Sorry, but I couldn’t think of a clever intro to use right there because the game leaves me at a loss for words, so I thought I’d just skip straight to the end. Do I have to say more about the game? I do? Well then…

The plot of our adventure begins when Ori, a guardian spirit in the forest of Nibel, is separated from the Spirit Tree one night and ends up getting taken in and adopted by a large creature called Naru. Some time later, a disaster begin to corrupt Nibel, and Ori is separated from Naru. After being revived, Ori is now tasked with finding the elements needed to revive Nibel. Now, here’s a shocker of an opinion: I think that the world of Nibel is absolutely beautiful and a feast for the eyes. I know, I know, it might seem hard to realize given the visuals glimpsed in the trailer alone, but I stand by my beliefs. Every character is just so smoothly animated, every piece of scenery so lush and detailed, every design so unique and creative. It all definitely has a Ghlibli-esque vibe to it in both aesthetics and story, right down to the point where I even feel guilty about killing a large pulsating blob monster because Moon Studios can make even that look pretty in one way or another.

Weirdly enough, there isn’t much in terms of uniqueness when it comes to the gameplay when you start out. For the most part, Ori plays like your standard Metroidvania game: Search huge areas with branching paths, uncover maps, learn new abilities, use said abilities to access new areas and uncover secrets, upgrade your character as best as you can, wall jump, shoot, smash, et cetera. But as it turns out, it doesn’t need to do anything unique, it just does Metroidvania gameplay incredibly damn well; the controls are absolutely perfect. In a way, Ori reminds me of last year’s Shovel Knight: instead of choosing to reinvent the wheel, the designers just decide to create the best damn wheel they can based on everything they know about wheels, and they succeeded. Mind you, that would have been a stronger analogy if I didn’t make it sound silly with talks of the perfect wheel, but you get the idea.

Actually, there is one notable unique aspect to Ori that I should address as well: The save system. Except for the more important areas, the game forgoes autosaves in favor of a more creative manual system. You can actual create a save point anywhere you want (except around enemies), but at the cost of a chunk of the energy Ori uses to attack, causing you to be a bit strategic in your placement (and you can only have one save point out at a time). And trust me, you will need those save points, because yet again, we are dealing with one tough cookie of a platformer here. Ori is no one-hit wonder, but sharp reflexes are a definite requirement here in order to navigate Nibel safely. Make no mistake, though, you will die. Again and again. Expect the game’s death counter (yes, it has one) to reach triple digits in the end. And again, you will love it for being an absolutely perfect test of skill.

That said about the difficulty, the only possible flaw I can think of for Ori right now is that enemies tend to respawn a bit too fast. I mean, I know this is meant to be a challenging game, but I swear that there was at least one moment where I left an area for two seconds, went less than one screen over, then when I turned around every enemy was back again. Granted, it helps to grab experience to gain new skills, but still, it feels a tad ridiculous at times.

But that’s just as minor a quibble I can think of, and in the end, Ori and the Blind Forest ends up being one of 2015’s frontrunners for Game of the Year. It’s an amazing piece of work you definitely cannot miss out on.

Resident Evil: Revelations 2

Resident Evil is a video game franchise that hasn’t exactly been doing so great in recent years. RE5 was a considerable step down from the classic that was RE4, and RE6 seemed to only cause even bigger rifts in the series’ fanbase. It honestly seems as though the biggest highlight for the series over the past few years has been Resident Evil: Revelations, an ambitious little 3DS game that attempted to bring the franchise back to more horror-based roots as opposed to more action-oriented setups. So it should be no surprise that Revelations is back for a sequel (and a four-part episodic game at that), but does it help Resident Evil redeem itself more or dig the grave even further?

Revelations 2 is the story of two pairs of characters: Series veteran Claire Refield and newcomer Moira Burton, having newly joined a biohazard prevention group known as Terra Save; and additional series veteran Barry Burton (in his first main role, and yep, he brought his classic memes with him) and creepy seemingly-psychic child Natalia Korda. Each episode consists of two related stories where Claire and Moira have been captured along with other Terra Save members and are stranded on an island with mysterious bracelets strapped to them and forced to participate in a deadly test, while Barry travels to the island to figure out what the hell happened and meets Natalia along the way. As it turns out, each player needs their particular set of skills in order to support the other and survive.

As great a set-up as this is, it also leads to the one big flaw I have with this game, and that is the fact that Revelations 2 is blatantly, BLATANTLY designed with two-player co-op in mind. Don’t get me wrong – the game is still pretty damn fun overall in single-player as well, but there are several parts that suggest the whole experience works much better with a friend. One notable example of this I encountered was early on, with a simple puzzle where I had to open a gate that closes after a short amount of time by pulling a lever in a nearby room. In co-op, this would take less than half a minute. But in single-player, I couldn’t command my partner to stay behind by the gate and then switch over to them after pulling the lever or anything similar, so what should have been a quick exercise took me almost five minutes as I tried, pulled the lever and then ran to the gate again and again. Then came the Glasps in Episode 2: flying insect-like enemies Barry and Natalia can encounter that just happen to be invisible as well and can one-hit kill, because of freaking course. Natalia can see their auras, though, but only Barry can shoot and kill them. Again, an experience much better suited for you and a friend than with an AI bot, who also seems to fail to grasp the concept of knocking down enemies you stun for an easy kill.

That all being said, like I pointed out, Revelations 2 is still a fun game. The classic third-person gameplay that’s been a staple since RE4 returns again in fine form, and the dual-character angle works quite nice here, with each character perfectly complementing their partner nicely to create a balance of offense and defense. Moira can stun enemies with her flashlight Alan Wake-style to help defeat them easier, and Moira can sense upcoming enemies and their weak spots with a Detective Vision-style mechanic and stun enemies with bricks she finds. It’s a fun and effective system that works out quite well, although I bizarrely did find myself playing as Moira and Natalia for the majority of the game. Go figure.

As for bringing back more horror to the series, Revelations 2 mostly succeeds in that area as well, thanks to some incredibly creepy enemy designs and a set of similarly eerie locations that help set the atmosphere (though they could have been a tad more creative…I mean, a sewer level, guys? Seriously?). Of course, these bits are balanced out thanks to Capcom’s continued tradition of B-movie writing, right down to the cheesy one-liners and one Terra Save member’s obsession with balls. The plot is still decent, although a tad predictable.

Between all of the cheesy bits, horror bits, and even the mandatory (but mostly well-designed) puzzles, Revelations 2 does indeed feel like a traditional Resident Evil experience that both fans and newcomers can easily enjoy while still providing enough unique twists, so I highly recommend checking it out. But if you can, try and convince a friend to come over. Or kidnap them if needed. Don’t worry: there’s split-screen!

ScreamRide

ScreamRide was a bit of a dark horse that I was looking to this year. A crazy-ass roller coaster simulator where the focus is on destroying the hell out of everything in your path? Sign me up! And while the finished product didn’t turn out as exactly as I thought it would (at least once source calls it a spiritual successor to Roller Coaster Tycoon, which it definitely isn’t), it is indeed a bit of a fun ride after all.

The setup: The year is 2050, and humanity has apparently finally gotten around to curing cancer and whatnot, because now we’re devoting major scientific research to theme park rides instead. You are hired on by a company called Screamworks to help improve thrill rides for the benefit of humanity’s amusement, which you do by tackling three different jobs, each of which actually consists of a different game.

The first occupation/game is that of a ScreamRider, where you actually ride an entire coaster in first-person view and try to make the experience as excitable as you can from the driver’s seat. You gain extra points by leaning the car so that it rides on two wheels or gathering and activating Turbo, and as fun as it is to experience a completely whacked-out virtual coaster, the whole game feels like a race with only one player. Heck, I have yet to even come across any way to lose yet, since every time you derail the car, it just respawns earlier on the track. Definitely the weakest out of the three games.

Next we have the demolitions expert, a game that essentially involves playing Angry Birds. Seriously, they aren’t exactly hiding it that well. You swing various passenger-filled cars with different effects at huge, elaborate buildings and structures and attempt to knock them down and cause as much damage as possible for maximum points. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun, though, and watching entire buildings in all of their sanitary, polished, glimmering futuristic glory crumble to pieces with a well-placed shot is pure glee indeed. It is initially difficult to judge the accuracy of your shot with the game’s setup, but it gets easier with practice.

Finally, we have the engineer, the game’s definite highlight (at least in my opinion). Simply put, you’re given an unfinished coaster with the goal of completing it using the resources at hand and meeting all of the criteria it needs. The camera is a bit finicky at times (way too easy to zoom out without knowing it), but crafting each coaster is easy and fun, and seeing your creation executed before your eyes is definitely a sight to behold…especially when you’ve ejected a dozen passengers due to your use of sharp turns and huge speeds and still end up passing. Hey, the criteria didn’t say the passenger still had to be in the car at the end. I stand by my work.

Of course, one of the big reasons to play through all of these in the game’s career mode is to unlock more goodies for the game’s level editor. It’s quite a highlight indeed, although I am irked by the annoyance that I have to choose what game mode I’m building my penis-shaped coaster for before I can test it out. A little more freedom would have come in handy, just saying.

All in all, ScreamRide is definitely a flawed game, but still a pretty fun one nonetheless, with a cute sense of humor to boot. Kind of like that cheap local theme park where everything is sort of awkward, but there’s definitely a charm to it nonetheless.

So that does it for reviews this month. Now to begin casing the indies for what appears to be a relatively slow April for triple-A…but if you still need as many games as humanly possible shoved down your gullet, oh, we have a lot for you coming up in the trailers next…


Okay, so between PAX East, GDC, EGX Rezzed, a bit of SXSW, and possibly some other events I might have forgotten, there was a lot to work with in the trailer department this month. Honestly, despite having a particularly large amount here, what you’re seeing is only about a third of what I had to work with. I had to leave out the trailer for the upcoming game franchise from the Senran Kagura creator where busty lesbians make out with each other to have their lover transform into weapons to do battle with. DO YOU NOT SEE HOW DIFFICULT MY JOB IS SOMETIMES???…

…Anyhow…trailers! Yay!

Yo-Kai Watch 3

First off, the big news: Nintendo and Level-5 have finally announced that they’re going to release Yo-Kai Watch for the 3DS in the West. It’s a monster-collecting RPG that is quite possibly the biggest video game franchise in Japan right now (think fellow monster-collecting RPG Pok?mon‘s popularity circa 1999 or so). How an entire kid’s game based around Japanese mythology will do over here is something to ponder, but I can’t wait for it.

Of course, back in Japan, they’re already on the third game in the series by now (not to mention a few spin-offs). And perhaps not coincidentally, Yo-Kai Watch 3 will be taking place in the United States…but as you can see above, they’re very subtle about the new change of locations.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

So remember last month when I said that it might do some good for triple-A gaming to focus a bit more on budget-sized games? Well, apparently Bethesda was listening, because here comes a $20 standalone game that’s a prequel to last year’s critically acclaimed Wolfenstein: The New Order. Because, as B.J. questions in the above video, the 1940s seemingly had an infinite number of Nazis, it needs someone to blow as many of them away as possible, and this looks like it’ll be a damn fun game to do it in at a cheap price. Also, Nazi archeologists will be involved, because of course.

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles

So wait, Ubisoft is not only releasing the previously announced Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China as a smaller game in the series, but now they’re turning it into a trilogy of games involving India and Russia as well? Did they listen to my spiel about how we need more triple-A budget games too?

…Um, do you know what else the triple-A gaming industry needs these days? To invest a s***-ton of money in struggling video game journalists/game developers based out of Atlantic Canada. Yep, that would definitely help big game companies out. For sure.

In all seriousness, these do look like some great 2D stealth games along the same lines as Mark of the Ninja, and the switch to more exotic locales and timelines is always welcome for a series that could use a larger shot of creativity…although I do hope these locations won’t just be limited to the smaller games from now on. You can only dick about with Europe-based assassinations so many times before it gets dull, after all…

Necropolis

One of the biggest highlights at PAX East this year was Necropolis, a stylistic roguelike game boasting hard-as-nails difficulty, and I seem to be noting a bit of Rogue Legacy in the mix in the way each character you play as is presented, which I always consider to be a positive. Honestly, I don’t have anything else witty to say about Necropolis beyond that it just simply looks incredibly awesome and I can’t wait to see more of it, plain and simple.

Oxenfree

Former developers from Telltale and Disney decided to craft their own adventure game about a group of teenagers uncovering supernatural forces on a mysterious island in what my mind immediately saw as Super 8: The Game…and I mean that in the best way possible. Okay, it does lean more towards a thriller instead, but the influence of several ’80s films is strong with this one, guaranteeing to tickle your nostalgia bone in one way or another in the way that several Roboteers like. So yeah, Oxenfree looks promising indeed.

Runbow

I don’t exactly know how many of you will be able to experience a full nine-player local multiplayer game without any AI bots, but no matter the case, Runbow is shaping up to be both a damn fine party game and a nice indie quill in the Wii U’s cap. Also, if this takes off, then between the the blast of bright colors and the fast-placed gameplay, I shall bet even money on there being “Runbow Dash” mash-up art at some point.

Gigantic

This just in: Incredibly gorgeous MOBA is still incredibly gorgeous, and fighting alongside/against giant colossi-esque monsters with a variety of colorful characters utilizing every weapon from swords and potions to gatling guns still looks amazingly damn fun. We shall keep you updated on these stunning new revelations as much as we can, or at least until Gigantic comes out and we get addicted to it. Expect some convenient slow news days then.

Bombshell

Yes, 3D Realms is debuting a brand new action-game heroine in a bit of an old-school action game that just from this trailer, I can only describe as possibly the most ’90s video game ever made…and yet I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. Fingers crossed for what will hopefully turn out to be a solid action game.

Anarcute

Awww, a game about uniting several cute, precious little animal critters to have them band together in an adowable little group of friendship and sunshine…where you then have them cause gigantic riots that basically level entire cities and cause millions of dollar in property damage, like little katamaris of civil unrest and pure violence.

…But it’s just SO cute!! D’awww, the little raccoon just helped flip over an entire swimming pool! I can’t wait for this!!

Tembo the Badass Elephant

In another moment where they decide to break away from developing Pok?mon games for a bit, Game Freak have whipped a cute little cartoonish platformer about a Rambo-style elephant out to help save the world, because we can’t not have games like that out there.

For awkward reasons, though, Tembo will be coming to all major platforms except for ones made by Nintendo, which has irked off more than a few Wii U owners. Sadly, no reports of any of them standing outside Game Freak’s headquarters and chanting “Where’s my elephant?” over and over yet.

Divide By Sheep

Yes, I know that this is a trailer from earlier in February, but I am kicking myself for not having discovered Divide By Sheep sooner. I mean, I can’t think of a better puzzle game that doubles as a perfect piece of edutainment than one that teaches kids about fractions by massacring countless sheep. It makes learning fun!

Party Hard

Say hello to Party Hard, a game in which you’re a killer attempting to murder your neighbors for throwing raucous parties at 3 AM in creative ways as efficiently and discreetly as possible. Now let us introduce this game to the folks behind dreck such as Hatred so they can learn how to do games like these properly: With a hefty dose of black humor, intriguing gameplay and an actual promise of this thing called fun.

The Weaponographist

The Weaponographist is a top-down roguelike featuring a mercenary with a curse that only allows you to use weapons stolen from other enemies, leading to scenarios such as those where you have to kill unicorns with explosive pogo sticks and again, if I need to say anything beyond those last few words, methinks there’s something wrong here.

Chroma Squad

Since I know at least one of you is looking toward Chroma Squad with wide-eyed anticipation, here’s a video telling you to mark your calendar for April 30th, the day you can begin simulating your own American-made sentai show. Can’t wait myself, as I have my own desires to force people to fight giant rubber monsters (but doesn’t everyone)?

FutureGrind

Hey, are you a die-hard Super Nintendo fan eagerly awaiting the big day Uniracers makes a comeback? Well, keep waiting. Still, FutureGrind appears to be the next best thing, and looks to be one delightfully crazy-ass game with some intriguing and unique bits. Plus, any game with vehicles this whacked out has to deserve some praise…

Hover: Revolt of Gamers

Alas, despite having access to the alpha for Hover, I haven’t gotten around to playing it yet. Nonetheless, the Jet Set Radio-inspired game still looks like a ton of fun, even in its early stages. They even threw in the bit where you have to rebel against the system, thus weirdly giving us two different games this month about literally colorful characters with an anti-authority streak.

Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities

Granted, I’m highlighting this largely because I’m intrigued as to how one pulls off third-person survival horror on a tablet or mobile phone expertly given touchscreen controls, but Forgotten Memories also really looks like a genuinely promising bit of horror as well. Although judging from this trailer, it would appear that our lead character’s most traumatizing memories involve nightmares of the local mannequin factory.

Poncho

Robot with a poncho.

ROBOT WITH A PONCHO.

HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SAY NO TO THAT??? I mean, everything else looks like a terrific platformer inspired by the 16-bit era, but again, ROBOT WITH A PONCHO. I’M NOT MADE OF STONE, PEOPLE.

Klang

While I admit that the idea of playing as an “elite rave warrior” causes me to snicker a bit, in the end I’m both a sucker for well-crafted rhythm games and well-crafted platformers, so any game combining the two is pretty much guaranteed to wind up with a notable spot on my radar. Granted, as demonstrated here and before, a lot of indie games find notable spots on my radar, but I still say Klang deserves a good chunk of attention.

Blues and Bullets

Well, the odds are extraordinarily slim that we’re ever going to see an official L.A. Noire 2, so hopefully a game like Blues and Bullets ends up filling the void nicely. It definitely has the noir atmosphere down, so just deliver up a solid simulation of detective work and we can seal the deal, because daddy still wants more L.A. Noire…or at least the next best thing.

And thus we reach the end of another edition of Robotic Gaming Monthly. Thanks for dropping by, feel free to leave any comments offering suggestions, questions, additional discussions on what we talked about, or messages about how much we suck, and remember, if you’ve already spent more than twenty dollars on a single amiibo, please seek professional help immediately. See you next time!

Previous Editions of Robotic Gaming Monthly:
Robotic Gaming Monthly #10 – Revenge of the Budget Game
Robotic Gaming Monthly #9 – Nintendo (Minus) Power
Robotic Gaming Monthly #8 – The Best-Looking Games of 2015
Robotic Gaming Monthly #7 – Press F to Decorate Tree

About Author

I'm Kyle LeClair, AKA "SlyDante." I'm a freelance writer for Topless Robot, I love video games, and when I stop being lazy, maybe I'll finish the rest of this profile.