Lara Croft hasn’t had the best of times in recent years. The Tomb Raider series found itself slowly declining in popularity, following a handful of games that failed to capture the magic possessed by the original titles.
Not only that, but when Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series arrived in 2007 it quickly took the crown as gamers ‘tomb and treasure’ game of choice.
Now, developers Crystal Dynamics have gone back to the drawing board to bring Lara Croft and her escapades back to their former glory.
Australian stand-up comedian John Robertson has taken it upon himself to create a fully-fledged choose-your-own adventure game using annotated links on YouTube.
Starting with “You awake to find yourself in a dark room…”, The Dark Room has multiple branching paths leading to two possible endings, with John’s hilarious commentary dressing each choice -“The Dark Room smells of roomy-darkness”.
Although you might come across a particular video several times on your way around the room, there are new videos being added to the interactive video adventure.
It is an ingenious idea with a heap of laugh-out-loud comedy on offer. It’s well worth groping a few walls in order find that pesky light switch John is desperate for you to find.
Just days after Minecraft creator Mike “Notch” Persson publicly announced an interest in funding a sequel to Double Fine Productions’ 2005 game Psychonauts, a funding project was created to make an all new adventure-game from Tim Schafer’s studio a reality.
Telltale Games are the latest developer to take Wallace and Gromit into video games with a series of episodic titles and determination to capture the famous story, character and daft humour first seen on television screens 20 years ago.
Fright of the Bumblebees is the first outing with the Aardman Animation classic taking Wallace, and his trusty counterpart Gromit, through a light-hearted, well scripted story. As the player controls the pair alternately through 4 acts the game moves smoothly through the setting, catastrophe and eventual solution in West Wallaby Street and local Town. Being mostly two distinct areas, a town centre and Wallace’s home, the game area is small but fits well for a problem solving adventure. Overall the areas look good, however the large amount of detail put into the smaller locations makes the penultimate open section look plain in comparison, appearing as though little work had gone into it.
The characters are the focal point of the stories throughout the franchise and this game does particularly well to present the individuals through solid voice performances and animation. Despite Peter Sallis, the original voice of Wallace, being absent in voice the replacement fits well with the community of characters and a connection can still be seen with the muted Gromit. Where Gromit relies on his body language to convey his thoughts is when the quality of animation is most notable, to the point of excellence. For the area that you roam the cast list is plentiful, allowing for a enough depth in story to last four hours of game-play and varying puzzles.
In command of Wallace and Gromit the controls are uncomplicated with good use of shoulder buttons to cycle through points of interest. This is especially useful when selecting items from the inventory and using them with other objects or characters. It is unfortunate to find that the movement is noticeably linear, especially with use of an analogue stick, although this was perhaps overlooked whilst the game was developed for the PC.
The straight forward progression of the story leaves something to be desired. The separation of Wallace and Gromit for large portions of the game leave little moments for the memorable charm, although the community does well to fill the gap. The seemingly impossible target at the end of the game is made possible by the completion of minor tasks through collection, examination and experimentation with the aid of small clues and remarks. The puzzles do seem complicated at times, requiring some thought, driving down the pace of the game and indeed the interest. Like the animations before it the basis for the plot lies in Wallace and his search for the perfect invention for a business that will lift him into fortune. Flight Of The Bumblebees is consistent with the classic Wallace and Gromit and certainly pays homage to other titles. Overall Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventures is off to a crackin’ start with a decent game, and it can only get better for the next installment.
Dividing opinions over whether or not ‘Flower’ is a gaming masterpiece or just some bloated technical demonstration seems to be surrounding the latest release from LA based ‘thatgamecompany’. Yet regardless of the debate, one thing is certain, Flower is something different and it definitely shows.
whether or not you want to play Flower for the eco-trip, it’s a game worth experiencing
Flowers concept is an amazingly simple one: you are a petal dancing in the wind, you fly around, collect more petals, open new flowers, and pretty greenery flourishes before you; simple. Thankfully the experience overall is tremendously more engaging, and outside the basic gameplay mechanic, lies a path filled with discovery and inquisitive exploration, which create a pleasantly relaxing and uplifting videogame experience.
From the moment you begin playing, the presentation on offer will draw anybody in. Rolling green vistas, lush environments, and an assortment of vivid colours all light up the screen, especially for those playing in high definition. All of these beautiful visuals coupled along with a subtle yet appropriate musical score, and an unobtrusive natural feeling control scheme make for a highly enjoyable diversion from the norm. The aforementioned modest control scheme owes itself to an extremely effective implementation of Sony’s Sixaxis to control the direction in which your petals flow in the wind. The wind itself is controlled by one button; which button is your choice. At no point will the controls aggravate play, and for this Flowers gameplay flows seamlessly from level to level, and is all the more enjoyable for it.
Flower’s gameplay varies in that at times it can seem like a simple relaxing environment to dabble in, or that of a racing game, snaking in and out of ravines, to that of a collect-a-thon, ensuring every flower is open and every petal is gained. How you play is of course down to personal preference, but regardless of playing style, the game elevates a certain air of excitement throughout which ensures the player will strive for completeness and guarantees repeat playthroughs. For something so initially simple and carefree, Flower grows in addictiveness as you progress through the games seven areas.
A message of symbolism is conveyed through Flower’s narrative imagery (if you choose to pay attention to it), and tells the tale of how nature prevails over all. It’s this journey that you take throughout Flower’s levels, and as the game progress becomes a much more prominent theme. Irrespective of whether or not you want to play Flower for the eco-trip it’s a game worth experience, and although it may be somewhat short it’s a number of hours that at the selling price is more than worth it. A striking gaming experience in more ways than one.