Game Jumble: 4th June 2016

Huzzah! Another compilation post! As per the Reading Round-Up from a few days back, not all games need or deserve a lengthy review. And honestly, I’m old enough and busy enough that I’m not going to finish a book/game/movie/etc. that isn’t compelling me, especially when there’s so much great art in the world.

Maybe I’ll do this for movies, too. It’s not like anyone needs an in-depth Deadpool review, at this point.

Onwards! Here are some games that were interesting enough to play but couldn’t hold my attention.

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Salt and Sanctuary (PC / Steam / PS4)

The Dark Souls games are my favourite of all time. Salt and Sanctuary is an attempt to bring those mechanics to a 2D game. This wouldn’t be so bad in an of itself, but man oh man, this game is a blatant rip-off not just of the mechanics, but the world, the details, the designs, and so on. They’ve just replaced words like “souls” with “salt”, or “bonfire” with “shrine”. Still, I might have tolerated it if 1) the game didn’t look so monochromatic and bland, 2) the gameplay felt fairer, more responsive, and more fun like the Souls games, and 3) the game wasn’t an unpleasant maze with little to enjoy about location. Still, there’s a variety of play styles to the game, and I may come back to this one if I’m in a pinch.

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Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (PC / Steam / XBox One)

Moving from bland to gorgeous. Ori and the Blind Forest is a stunning, hand-drawn/painted 2D platformer with classic “Metroidvania” mechanics (i.e. you develop more skills, and thus access to new areas, throughout the game). I had waited for this Definitive Edition to come out because a common complaint was that the game was brutally hard and this newer version would have an Easy Mode. Ultimately, it wasn’t worth the wait. Despite beautiful visuals and very tight, responsive gameplay, the story was so thin, the platforming too brutal (no Easy Mode is going to save me from landing on spikes), and the world too underdeveloped that I never really fell in love with it. Unfortunately for Salt and Sanctuary and Ori and the Blind Forest, I think that games like Hyper Light Drifter have spoiled me, in terms of how small teams can make brilliant, compelling, evocative art out of classic gameplay. I probably won’t go back to this one.

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Goat Simulator (PC / Steam / PS4 / XBox One / iOS)

This is maybe the dumbest game I have ever played. I loved it. In Goat Simulator, you are (surprise surprise) a goat, just trying to make your way in the world. Essentially, you headbutt, lick, bounce, blow up, fly, get worshipped by Satanists, so many more things, and bicycle your way to a high score. (If you can’t tell from that photo above, the “simulator” in its name is a joke.) The game is pointless and aimless and really a lot of fun. My twelve-year-old friend and I had an absolute blast with this, finding new ways to get run over or exploded or flung halfway across the world. Goat Simulator is a great way to kill an afternoon, especially with younger people.

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