Currently Hurling Mice/Controllers at… 2.5D?

August 28, 2009

Hello and welcome to the latest installment of Currently Hurling, our semi-regular look at what games we’ve been playing here at Splash Damage. In this installment, Aubrey makes people cry on the internet, Ed gets to live out his spider fantasies, and Jamie ‘splodes all over everything. We also have a new face this week with Illustrator/Media Artist Jeremy ‘pinflux’ Hay hurling things for the very first time. Be nice, he wears goggles on his forehead.

Jeremy ‘pinflux’ Hay (Illustrator/Media Artist):
Braid. You’ve probably already finished it or at least had a friend scream its praises at you, so I won’t go into detail. Suffice to say that it’s proof enough that a solid, unique concept doesn’t need to be backed by a multi-million dollar developer to become a brilliant (and profitable) game. Having beautiful 2D graphics and a thought-provoking storyline to boot is what truly propels it into must-own status, though.

The Path. Even though this ‘game’ was enjoyable enough in its own strange way, I’m more excited about what kind of an era in indie games it could potentially usher in. ‘Videogames as art’ aren’t a new thing of course, but Tale of Tales seemed to prove that you could actually sell a product that’s more about mood than completing objectives with their creepy take on Little Red Riding Hood .

Everyday Shooter is surprisingly calming to play for a concept revolving around avoiding and destroying a trillion onscreen agents, World of Goo is just plain old puzzly fun with super-slick presentation, and Audiosurf won’t get boring until I’ve exhausted my MP3 collection.

Aside from my dabbling in the world of indie games I’ve started to play Dawn of War II, facing up against the AI in my lunchtimes instead of the guys in the studio to delay the inevitable end of my fragile ego.

Aubrey ‘Bezzy’ Hesselgren (Technical Game Designer):
I’m back on the Street Fighter IV now that some friends have bought the PC version. I thought my skill had reached a natural plateaux but I’ve been learning thumb-breakingly intense FADC (Focus Attack to Dash Cancel) combos and air juggles with Ken, and have been watching scrubs whimper with double SRKs any time they try to jump in at me. This game just keeps giving.

Paul ‘Mop’ Greveson (Technical Artist):
Still playing Left 4 Dead versus mode at lunch time (and in the evening now and then). There seems to have been an update recently which makes the regular zombie hordes more powerful, they slow you down more which allows the Infected players more chances to respawn and attack. This may just be my imagination though, maybe my skills are depleting 🙂

Either way, it seems to discourage rushing as much, so the game feels a bit more difficult for Survivors and maybe a bit more balanced as a result. It’s still fun!

Shadow Complex is an excellent side-scroller. Can’t really go wrong with giant robots and explosions.

Jamie ‘Fishbus’ Manson (Level Designer):
Firstly, Rock Band 2 update! Playing expert drums to a ridiculous amount, with too much DLC to boot. I recommend the Iron Maiden, KISS and Spinal Tap packs, hit me up on XBL (FishyB) and we’ll jam!

‘Splosion Man is a hilarious platform where the only thing you can do is asplode everywhere, sounds simple, it is! However, the difficulty is brought in through the levels, which are really great fun. The music is great spy jazz, almost “musax” like quality that you can’t help but laugh along too. Heck, ‘splosion man’s voice is probably the funniest thing I’ve listened to in a long time, with insane garblings and warblings emitting with every fantastically exaggerated and absurd animation. Making flying gestures, mimicking plane engine noises as you run towards a hapless scientist with the sole intention of turning him into ham hocks never gets old. The coop adds a great element of being able to explode off one another to create interesting triple and quadruple jumps, up to four players, but two is enough! Come be the ‘splode beneath my ‘splosion.

Secondly, Shadow Complex is a well polished Maricastlevanmetroidionium (what’s the deal with this term anyway) game with lots of exploring, fun weapons to collect and backtracking to explored old areas with new navigation equipment. It looks great, sounds great, with lots of fun moments in it. The great thing about it is that I always feel like I’m learning something new to try out, while not being overwhelmed, and always have something to do, without being lost. I’ve already completed it once, rather quickly, but I’m trying for 100% on insane difficulty. Shadow Complex is an XBLA game price with all the love of an Epic-produced game, how can you refuse?

Neil ‘Exedore’ Alphonso (Lead Level Designer):
My progress through the Stack o’ Games has continued, this month has largely featured Bioshock, which I’d not finished on my first playthrough. It took me a little while to get back into it, but there is just so much quality there that it’s not hard to see why so many people love it. Really a landmark game when it comes to story via environments and gameplay being intertwined with narrative.

Played some Dead Rising again just because I wanted to kill some zombies in a playful fashion, but I’ve also dumped a good bit of time into Oblivion… is there any way to put only a little time in with that game? If there is, please say! I didn’t really know what I was doing the first time I tried it, so I’d always wanted to go back to it after discussions about it with peers. I’m finding it much more enjoyable this time around.

Paul ‘Locki’ Wedgwood (CEO/Game Director):
For the past two weeks I’ve been playing a pre-alpha version of a great new game called BRINK (360, PS3, and PC). I liked it so much that I played the same two levels, over and over, every hour for several days straight. I’m certainly enjoying the game, but it should come a health warning… Presenting BRINK over fifty times throughout QuakeCon and Gamescom will destroy your vocal chords! 🙂

Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor is one of many high quality games appearing on the iPhone

Edward ‘BongoBoy’ Stern (Senior Game Designer):
Hat Tip to Exedore for tipping us off to Tiger Style’s simply splendid Spider: The Secret Of Bryce Manor. It really is quite astonishingly good: the gameplay mechanics, the interface, the graphics, the storyline, the audio, all great, all surprising, all adding up to a remarkably polished and satisfying experience. And you get to eat insects! Now I know what you’re saying. You’re saying “but I play games to escape from my everyday life, not do the same things all over again”, and I hear you loud and clear, but you are wrong. Even if your nails are strong and shiny, what with all the keratin, you are wrong. But you get to be a spider too.

Steve ‘badman’ Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
So many good demos lately. But let’s take it in order:

Batman: Arkham Asylum: Didn’t really know what to expect from this one but was very positively surprised by the quality and polish of it all. It seems to be a great take on the exhaustive Batman lore and I’m really looking forward to playing it (the UK doesn’t get it until tomorrow :|).

Shadow Complex: Had heard great things about it pretty much ever since its reveal at E3. As far as Xbox Live Arcade games go, it’s one of the most polished and well-crafted experiences yet.

DiRT 2: Rally games aren’t usually my thing, but DiRT 2 is so very pretty. Really great UI design as well – go check it out if you haven’t already.

Richard ‘Fluffy_gIMp’ Jolly (Media Director):
In between the many trade shows we’ve been frequenting with Brink, I’ve largely kept my game-playing to the portable kind. On the iPhone there’s a recent remake of the famous Oregon Trail, which I understand pretty much every US school kid was forced to play at one stage or other. For those (like me) that didn’t; you must lead your wagon western-bound on the same perilous trail that the early prospectors endured. Along the way you must chart your route, earn money for supplies, hunt for food and perform repairs to your wagon – most of which take the form of fun little mini-games. It’s hard to pigeon-hole it in a specific genre as it does so many things; I guess Adventure-RPG comes closest. It’s a nostalgic game that’s had the modern day treatment (I love the new cartoony art style), definitely worth downloading from the App Store on your next visit.

Oh and in the short time I’ve been back in the UK, I’ve been playing through Fallout 3’s Point Lookout DLC, my gosh it’s huge and a very different feel from the wasteland, I only hope I get the chance to finish it before I before jetting off to PAX.

What have you been playing lately? Let us know in the comments!