Gamebox 2.0: Director’s Commentary Edition

 

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It’s been a little bit since the last entry of Gamebox 2.0 but there are a bunch of fantastic new smaller games out that I’ve gotten to check out along with some older ones I’m trying to catch up on.

The Deadly Tower of Monsters: Atlus and Ace Team brings us this awesome homage to cheesy 70’s sci-fi that throw in a ton of different gameplay types as you guide Dick Starspeed, Scarlet Nova and The Robot on their quest up the titular tower to take down the evil Emperor.  What takes this game to another level is the attention to detail with the enemies, who range from stop motion dinosaurs who look straight of King Kong to what are clearly guys in costume or even puppies in vacuum cleaners.  It also features constant commentary from Dan Smith, who directed the “movie” that we are supposedly watching but are actually playing. He kind of sounds like Fred Willard and has a bunch of great anecdotes and weird asides about the making of the “movie” and there’s things like film grain, fingerprints on the lens and the ability to fast forward through cut scenes that add to the experience of playing a cheesy 70’s movie.  Something else that’s unique is the ability to jump off the tower at any time to find hidden areas or go back with items you’ve discovered from higher up for some light Metroid style exploration.  There are a ton of weapons to use as well, all of the upgradeable and you can have two ranged and two melee weapons at any time.  A few nitpicks are that sometimes the camera seems to be too far pulled back and it’s easy to miss some of the platforming sections and the checkpoint system sometimes forces you to play through a tough section over again, with the same commentary as before.  Those nitpicks aside though, if you love that old school sci-fi aesthetic combined with some solid action and platforming, this is a must check out and it’s on PS4 and PC today.

Hardware: Rivals: It’s emphasis on vehicles and it’s inclusion as this month’s PS Plus game seems like Sony is trying to position this as the next Rocket League but it hasn’t hit nearly as hard.  Seeming like a friendlier, more team based Twisted Metal, you can drive either the fast jeep or buggy or the slow but powerful tanks in modes like zone control and deathmatch.  If you’ve played any Twisted Metal in the past, Hardware: Rivals will feel familiar; you have a primary weapon, which is a machine gun for the small vehicles and a turret for the tanks and you can pick up weapons like plasma, rocket launchers and bombs.  There are environmental effects that can be triggered as well and they usually force you to go underground or into a safe zone or face instant death.  It feels like it’s going to take more skill than Rocket League, which may be why it hasn’t caught on like that game but if you have PS Plus, you have basically nothing to lose downloading and checking this one out.

Pocket Mortys: Free on iOS and Android, Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon appeal directly to their fanbase by putting a Rick and Morty skin on Pokemon for Pocket Mortys.  The seemingly endless number of Ricks in the universe are all obsessed now with collecting and battling their various Mortys and you control our Rick & Morty of the show, who have to battle and level up enough to take on the Council of Ricks and get Rick’s portal gun back so they can go home.  The game is a slightly less complex but faithful Pokemon game, for all the bad and good that entails.  The good is the rock/paper/scissors battle system and the sheer number of Mortys you can collect but the bad is so, so many random battles against other Morty trainers.  The game also doesn’t shove much freemium content at you, the only thing I’ve seen so far that you can pay real money for is coupons to get capsules from Blitz n Chip machines that will give you four items and a Morty and it’s $0.99 per coupon.

Punch Club: TinyBuild and Lazy Bear Games’ 80stastic fighting RPG has arrived on Steam and iOS (and will arrive on Android on January 28th) and it’s jam packed with so many references and a surprisingly complex system of balancing your fighter’s style and traits.  You are a fighter trying to follow in your father’s footsteps and you enter into the professional ranks to fight your way to the top.  There’s also underground fights and street fights to engage in as well and you have to figure out what your style will be and train toward that while also balancing sort of Sim like meters for health, food, energy and attitude.  You have to work day jobs to earn money so you can train at the gym and buy food and you’ll run into characters like just straight up Mick from Rocky, Casey Jones, who runs a pizza cafe, Apu, who runs the local convenience store and Tyler, the anarchistic leader of the local fight club.  The one thing that might be a turn off for hardcore RPG fans is that you don’t directly control your fighter during battles.  The system instead is that you pick a series of attacks you want to have available to your fighter during the round and he’ll automatically use them based on your traits and how much energy is available.  To balance not having direct control, you can swap out moves at the start of each round if something is not working.  If you are up for an RPG that references Cobra and lets you unleash your inner Rocky, this is one to check out.

Move or Die: Currently in Early Access and officially out on Jan. 21st, Move or Die from Those Awesome Guys is a party game that throws you and up to four friends or random strangers into various mini-games that have vastly different rules.  It’s basically the best parts of Mario Party without have to deal with the board and all it’s BS randomness.  One mode of Move or Die might have you trying to get rid of a bomb while the next will have you trying to cover the level in your character’s color.  To make things even crazier, like the title implies, if you stand still, your character loses health and will eventually die, so you have be constantly moving around the map.  The only issue the game has right now is that it doesn’t seem like there are a ton of people playing.  Maybe I just hit it at a bad time but I had to host a game myself and only got one other human player in the match with me and had to fill the two other slots with bots.  It was still a lot of fun and if you can get four friends in the same room, you are going to get flashbacks to classic multiplayer like Mario Kart or Goldeneye and friendships may be ruined.

Far Cry 4: My “late to the party” game for this edition of Gamebox 2.0, I got Far Cry 4 on sale before Christmas on Amazon and am about halfway through the campaign right now.  There’s almost too much to do in Far Cry 4, the map is jam packed with so many side activities, outposts, radio towers and animals to hunt that it’s kind of overwhelming trying to figure out what to do next.  I love the chaos of the world of Kryat, I’ve seen multiple enemy trucks get absolutely destroyed by rhinos or elephants and have been attacked by bears and tigers while just wandering through the woods.  I also love that there is a ton of ways to customize your gameplay style as well with the skills, crafting and weapons to buy and add attachments to.  I have a silenced rifle with a scope as my main weapon and basically the Robocop pistol as my sidearm, which seemed like the best use of those stupid uPlay coins.  I only played Blood Dragon before this and I know a lot of people felt like this was just more of the same from Far Cry 3 but I’m really enjoying Far Cry 4 so far and look forward to facing off against that smug bastard Pagan Min.

 

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