eXTReMe Tracker

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

This Month in Games : January

New Year's Eve was amazing, I hope yours was just as good; But now, ah well - another year, another crippling student loan.

2007 promises to be ushered in by some fantastic games. Due to much final-hour confusion, many of the consoles' hard-hitting titles have been delayed past their ideal Christmas retail date and are due imminent arrival. Perhaps the advantage to residing in Europe: the 'third place' continent in terms of corporations' economic priorities (behind Asia and North America - natch.), is that we of tea-drinking curry-swillers are able to sit aside and allow others to do our retail-testing for us. When quality gaming breaches the borders of our temperate land, we'll know about it. Suffice it to say, Splines will be there, blogging the development of gaming.

Onto the games:

Viva Pinata - XBox 360


The story of life and death for Viva Pinata's papier-mache leading figures is a disturbing one. Viva's developers, Rare, construct each and every Pinata from especially fragile polygons - and their warped creations just love it. As far as this game is concerned, the player simply cannot commit an evil act - the Pinata find happiness in being smashed and having their chocolatey entrails consumed, removing the grief-inducing mortal shortcomings of The Sims, Creatures, Tamagotchi et al. The concept appears simple: You're given a beautiful plot of land, you attract and raise beautiful tasty creatures, become a beautiful person, and appreciate the beauty. In-between vomiting, you come to realise this game, although easy-going, is both challenging and compelling. Rare's creation is to be given a thorough beating with a giant stick for their accomplishments. Now let's hope they get working on a sequel to [edit: NOT Hostile Waters (that's Rage - whoops!).

Garry's Mod - PC
Technically not a new game, but worthy of mention on merit alone - Garry's Mod has achieved a momentous tenth iteration. Garry Newman: The modder who just keeps giving, has made his ingenious/hysterical modification for the Half Life 2 Source engine available for purchase over Valve's Steam... for six quid - w00t! What's it all about, I hear you ask. Well, Garry's Mod is exactly what you make of it. The gamer is provided with all of the assets with which Valve were privy to when constructing their famed oppressive city, armed with tools able to combine and manipulate said assets, then thrown into a server filled with - in RL, ostensibly rationally minded people - gone mad with the prospect of unknown possibility. The picture above shows a wheeled-vending machine, complimented with rear (or lower?) rocket boosters. The realms of silliness are yours to explore - for only six smackeroonies.
Combining the freedom of aerial ventures with the thrill of chopping up a crate (aeronautical slang for a plane) with your rapid-fire crowbar, at 14,000 feet, and surviving to follow the hun-stained wreckage as it plummets to the level of train simulators. As the title suggests, 1946 delivers a parallel history of nazi warfare. According to 1946 and contrary to popular belief, Hitler decided not to do the world a favour and pop his clogs, instead churning out various stupendous prototypes for Luftwaffe usage and sending them off to the far-flung reaches of Aryan turf. There is a lot to be seen and done in this game, as 1946 is packaged with all the previous content from the IL-Sturmovik series - including many obscure flying death-dealers (some of which actually took off the ground), produced during World War 2.

Warioware : Smooth Moves - Wii
As excuses for acting like a twat go, Smooth Moves is one of the best. Beating your friends in SM's wondrous flurry of inspired minigames will have you assume postures you've only seen 'accidentally' on the internet. The use of Wiimote for gestures, in place of the Gamecube's pad or DS' proddermajigger, is as exceptionally fun as it was an utterly inevitable design decision on behalf of Nintendo. For those of you unfamiliar with the Warioware ethos - players are confronted with a rapid flash of instructions followed by a manic and brief adrenaline-surge of minigame madness. Smooth Moves' games most often involve wielding the Wiimote as though it were another object (a weight, a paper shredder, etc) and feigning deserved victory when 1st place is awarded to the luckiest drunkard crowded around the Wii.

No comments: