Dark Souls III Line – Namco Bandai
We arrived an hour and a half early this morning with the intent of spending at least a bit of time waiting in line to try out the latest Dark Souls iteration. And what a line it was, from the queue area one could watch others play the game, some with more success than others. One person made it to the demo’s boss and after defeating it we all clapped for him. Opposite the waiting area glimpses could be had of Deep Silver, Bethesda, and 2K’s booths, which were nice to look at when I was done watching other people play Dark Souls III.
As the second hour of waiting began I took to my phone for a couple rounds of Peggle Blast. It was great until I hit one of the more obnoxious levels designed to drain you of all your lives and incentivize buying into its free to play model. I attempted also to Tweet hilarious observations about the line but found that my phone was devoid of reception.
The patrons around me were mostly pleasant to upon the nose, a gift often overlooked at events such as these. They talked idly about how much they liked Dark Souls and also chastized the players being shown on the TVs hanging above the booth whenever we got close enough to watch them. The latter half of the line was carpeted which allowed some extra comfort on my feet before reaching the end of it.
All in all I would say the Dark Souls III line was of midrange quality, if you’re looking for a line to stand in, you could probably do better.
Oh right, how was the game? Well by the time I made it up to the front of the line it was about noon and my next appointment was just getting ready to start. I was literally only able to play about two minutes of the game but paired with watching it from a distance for two hours beforehand I’m pretty comfortable saying that we’re just getting more of the same.
The area in the demo is a familiar looking crumbled castle, the knights and dogs attacking are nothing that you haven’t seen before. Even the notable frame dips are back to remind you that this is certainly a Souls game. While I waited in line I couldn’t help but think that perhaps Dark Souls was nearing a fatigue stage, where unless they really mix something up it’s going to become the sort of thing you groan about whenever they announce a new one. Having said that, the game felt very natural in my hands, and I definitely didn’t want to stop playing after my two minutes were up.
Mekazoo – Good Mood Creators
Remember when Sonic was less concerned with shooting hilarious jokes out of his big stupid mouth and more concerned with going fast? The team behind Mekazoo seems to recall just such a time with their new platformer.
Mekazoo actually attempts to mash together the best bits from a number of different platformers. Players navigate levels with the ever present ability to switch between two different animal forms. Each animal has its own unique powers and abilities, in the demo I played I was able to use the frog whose tongue can be used to grapple and swing in a fashion similar to Bionic Commando, and an armadillo who can roll through levels quickly and even charge up a speed boost. There are three other animals in the full game, specifically a wallaby, pelican, and panda.
I also got a chance to try out the game’s cooperative mode which allows each player to control one of the two animals and “tap in” whenever they so choose. My initial thought was that this would lead to some fighting over control but for the most part it actually played fairly intuitively and made for a pretty good time.
Tumblestone – The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
I saw Tumblestone at PAX last year and had a great time with it. The experience felt so complete, and so polished, I was a little surprised when I found out the game would be back at the show this year and still hadn’t been released.
When you hear The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild talk about the game it’s easy to see why perhaps it’s taking so long. First and foremost Tumblestone will be launching on just about every platform imaginable. Wii U? Check. Linux? Check. Ouya? Ehhh..why not.
Tumblestone is kind of a take on a match three puzzle game but I kind of feel like explaining it that way is underselling it a bit. The game presents you with a suspended set of colored blocks asks that you pull them off the bottom of the stack in sets of three. Selecting the wrong color will push the blocks closer to the bottom and closer to a loss. There are a number of different ways this concept is flipped around and the game has an impressive set of extra modes to take advantage of it. This is a puzzle game with hours of entertainment built into it.
Like any good puzzle title, Tumblestone is very d-pad intensive I was particularly pleased to see it will be landing on the Wii U, because man nobody makes a d-pad like Nintendo. I also got to spend a small amount of time with the game on Android tablet and found that touch controls made for an even better experience.
Tumblestone is so polished, and so fun to play, it’s going to be tough to wait for its release next summer.