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Category: critique

Audiosurf 2 – “Width of a Pixel”

Vitals
Developed/Published by: Dylan Fitterer
Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac
Available via: Steam ($16.99) -|- Direct from Publisher ($14.99 USD)
Consider also: Audiosurf ($10 CDN)

We’ve been down this road before, but it was bumpier, a little jittery, and underpowered. Acceleration was poor and the brakes squealed, but it was our first ride. We’d paid for it with our own money and no one could tell us where we could go or what we allowed to listen to.

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Chroma Squad – “Little, Pixely, Fun”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Behold Studios
Platform(s): Windows, Linux & Mac. To Be Announced for XBox One, Playstation 3/4 and Vita
Steam for $14.99 CDN -|- GOG.com for $14.99 USD (DRM Free)
Consider also: Chroma Squad Soundtrack on Steam or Bandcamp

Power Rangers, Saban’s imitation of the sentai hero genre in Japan, is a formative experience for most of us in the 1990s and have continued to this very day. Over a dozen variants of the rainbow spectrum suited warriors have left an indelible mark on western culture. Chroma Squad captures that nostalgia with an imperfect experience, but memorable gameplay and undeniable warmth of heart.

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The Swapper – “Illumination by Imitation”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Facepalm Games – Link
Platform(s): XBox 360, Playstation 3/4/Vita and PC (Windows)
Retails via Digital Download
Retails via:
Steam
($14.99 CDN) -|- Direct from Developer $14.99 (CDN) -|-
GOG.com for $14.99 -|- XBox Marketplace for $14.99
Playstation Network for $14.99 – Search Results

I crept more than jumped at the chance to play The Swapper. Moody, dark, lonely games aren’t my usual fare. I prefer stories of hope with dramatic events. You are the unnamed and not so intrepid space suit bound adventurer unraveling an abandoned mining project. Did Theseus dig too deep? What has become of the crew?

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Guacamelee – “Flex and Focus”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Drinkbox Studios
Platform(s): XBox 360, Playstation 3/4 and Vita, Windows, Linux & Mac
Retails via Digital Download and Your Local Gaming Retailer
Developer
for $14.99 (Gold Edition)
Steam for $14.99 (Gold Edition) or $14.99 (Super Turbo Championship Edition)
GOG.com for $14.99 (STCE) -|- XBox Marketplace for $14.99 (STCE)
Playstation Network for $14.99 (Standard) or $14.99 (STCE) – Search Results

Note: The Gold and Super Turbo Champion Edition has been made available at the same price point with content differences and improved gameplay features. Changes included retuned levels, more combat, extra visual details and a “charge mode” that grants your character temporary bonuses. That’s it. Buy the ones your friends have or just buy STCE.

If a mask and tights are adequate protection and wrestling moves your preferred weapon, Juan, the broad-chested hero of Guacamelee! is your luchador. Armed with supernatural powers and the aid of master-taught abilities, his somewhat typical quest pays tribute the games that inspired it. Rescue El Presidente’s daughter and defeat the skull-headed mastermind, Carlos Calaca.

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Fez – “Forgiving Perception”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Polytron Coporation / Trapdoor
Platform(s): Xbox 360, Playstation 3/4 and Vita, Windows, Linux & Mac
Retails via Digital Download and Your Local Gaming Retailer
Steam
for $10.99 (CDN) -|- GOG.com for $9.99 (USD/CDN)
Playstation Network for $12.99 or Demo (Free) – Search Results

Indie developed titles and can be rewarding in their diversion from the mainstream. Gomez, the protagonist of Fez, is a charmer represented by a few handfuls of pixels and plenty of affection. Its colorful palette and masterful execution invites you to explore and check your stress at the door.

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Nitronic Rush – “Core Performance”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Team Nitronic
Platform(s): (PC) Windows
Retails via Digital Download
Developer for Free -|- Consider also Distance for $20.00 (Standard) or $30.00 (Deluxe)

Until I was about sixteen I had a body numbing fear of speed. Even virtual presentations of moving rapidly would arrest my senses and cause me to feel panicky at the lack of control. Over time, I realized, the source was the cure. Nitronic Rush, like driving a real vehicle, confronts such anxiety directly with every assurance of control over your actions.

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Starseed Pilgrim – “The Art of Pruning”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Drogen’s Games
Platform: PC (Windows)
Retails via Digital Download
Developer’s Site
for $6.00 (USD) -|- Steam for $6.49 (CDN)

Indie developers pride themselves on breaking our expectations of game mechanics by flat-out doing things differently. Sometimes it works, too. However, there are occasions when the function of design contribute to the value and purpose of the subject. Instructions are integrated with the level design and after several sessions I was able to make just the barest sense of them.

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Dust: An Elysian Tail – “Sincerity and Ideals”

Vitals
Published by Microsoft Studios
Platform(s): XBox 360/One, Playstation 4, Windows, Linux & Mac
Developed by Humble Hearts
Retails via Digital Download
Steam
for $16.99 (CDN) -|- XBox Marketplace for $14.99 (USD)

This top rated action platformer stands head and shoulders above its competition and peers. While there are role-playing mechanics, there are no story affecting choices to be made here. Dean Dodrill has taken the only risk that matters: Stating the truth. Represented by races of anthropomorphic characters, this is a tale of war and choices.

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Half-Life 2 – “The Broken Train”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Valve
Platform(s): Windows, Linux & Mac
Retails via Digital Download
Steam for $10.99 (CDN)
Consider also Half Life Complete for $43.99
High Definition Version: Half Life 2: Update (Free)

Let’s get this out of the way: The Half-Life series is an unfinished story for which its players are in understandable want of its continuation: Half Life 3, whether episode or whole sequel. Whatever they want to do, we’re eager to see the next scene, but this is a landmark title hailed by players around the world as a pinnacle of story rich first person shooters.

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