Portal 2 didn’t disappoint

It is surprising when a game you never thought would could be outmatched, did very well in following the footsteps of its delicious looking cousin.

When the Orange box was released, no one knew the impact Portal would have on our gaming culture. I guess it is true what they say, when you do not expect much, you are less likely to be disappointed.  This is why I try to avoid hype as much as possible.

Some games are marketed and hyped so heavily that you end up expecting a platypus giving birth to a Rhino. Disturbing but to memorizing to look away. It sucks you in with it’s promise of utter gaming glory that can only be compared with ice cream and sunshine.

The only complaint about Portal 1 was its length. Some figured it was to short. Personally I thought it was just right. It was a game so enticing that it left you wanting more, and more is what you got!

Earlier this year, Portal 2 was released. In this game, you didn’t only have the single player story, but as an extra bonus you get a Co-op story as well. I’d compare this game to hours on hours of love making that doesn’t end in disappointment and cab fare. It wants to cuddle with you too! I bought the game for the Ps3 system, on my way home I was trying to hold down my excitement (remember what I told you about hype? Yea, kept that bitch on a downlow!).

Let me cut to the chase. No, it wasn’t as good as the first one, because the first one exceeded expectations. This one had a lot of expectation to achieve greatness the same as it’s hot cousin! The differences is not as much the game play. It is the same standard concept as previously with a few more variants. You point your white ray gun looking thing there, make a portal, jump trough it, pray that you wont die. Which is lovely, it is the concept we fell in love with. The execution of character personality is a bit…different. GladDOS in the first game was mainly Mashine, a murdurus one but still kept it’s lovingly neutral logic throughout the game. In part deux, GlaDOS seemed to have caught a bit of the “emo”.

Sure I can understand why she’d be upset. I mean the protagonist did kill her after all.

Some would say that it’s better this way, that it gives GlaDOS a bit more personality. I liked the cold hard logic humor, it seemed more “real” to me. GlaDOS doesn’t come back in the game till a little bit in, before that you have to deal with your new best friend “Wheatley”.He is a lovable character, till he turns around and tries to kill you as well. This again shows only that what they say is true “do not trust anyone with an accent”. This is the main reason it is hard for me to make friends :c

The gaming is longer, of course. You get a lot of back-story, which I like. Say what you want about this game, but the script is brilliant. You cannot go wrong when you have J.K Simmons voice acting in a game.

Now that we’ve left “The cake is a lie”  behind us, we can now focus on the new quote “How are you? I am a potato”.

Thunder bang a what?

We’ve noticed a more acceptance type attitude towards gaming and gamers in general the last decade.
UK is investing millions in creating jobs in the gaming industry because it is a more accepted pass time for all cultures, age groups and genders.

That being said, we have the gaming giants that dominate their respective genre.
For a new game or developer to grow, they will need to present something so original and revolutionary, to be able to make their mark onto the circle jerk that is the gaming industry.
Many small developers appear on the market with the growing popularity of smart phones. Most of them vanish just as fast as they appear. I think the main issue is the lack of exposure. There are few sites that cover games that are not “the flavour of the month“. Exposure is so very important towards helping a smaller developer or game designer to grow. I think this is where us gaming bloggers/ sites need to cover these unknowns a bit better. To create a more competitive market, the better the games it will generate.
I mean, aren’t you sick of the same titles over and over again? Same brands, same names, same game play.

They do need some competition and it is our responsibly to bring that competition to them.
-“Look what these dudes made! I like it, people like it, it is awesome, new and it’s making decent amount of money”

A game to get any recognition needs to either have tremendous funding or a known brand backing said game. However, few games break through that market and present something new. Take angry birds for instance. It swept the world like a storm and is still one of the most popular games on the smart phone/pad market.
Hilarious graphics and a great physics engine was the key in their success.
Now about the rest of the smart phone gaming market? Well I want to cover that part a bit more.
A new upcoming game company came to my attention called Triolith entertainment.
I call them upcoming because they haven’t reached the glorious turning point where it either plum-it’s down or sky rockets upward. In the eyes of the big boys, they are in fact, newbs. Which is exactly the reason I will be covering their progress. I think it will be exciting for everyone involved to see how far these people can go from start up, to greatness/and or crash ‘n burn.
BACKGROUND
Triolith Entertainment was founded on a campus in Skoevde Sweden by 6 enthusiastic students in March. (The new developer smell hasn’t worn off yet!)
Their CEO approached me about their controversial game called Thunder Bang. I call it controversial because it has received both bad and good feedback. As someone who has some experience in reviewing games, I’d think my review might help him in further development of his games. The new developing companies do need exposure and feedback so we can enjoy a future of great quality games and if we are lucky, more affordable. (Much more affordable, I’m literary going broke trying to keep up with the gaming releases)

THUNDER BANG
Thunder bang is a gaming equivalent of Kick-ass with the body of Captain America and the mental capacity of Dead pool. Actually, never mind all that, he IS dead pool. In mannerism and how he perceives reality (which as we know, is a whole different reality then the one the rest of us exists in).
Installing the game went in without a hitch. A different story however when I started to load the game. It made an audio hiccup while loading. Meaning that the music started then abruptly ended and the next screen where the music was supposed to launch, all I got was a “whoop” and then silence. I run a HTC Evo 4g, so I doubt it is lack of power. I did relaunch the game and this time started without flaw. The song seems very Turricane inspired..
One wonders..
You know, I’d never thought i’d see the day where a game presents
a monkey bomb and a cat UFO. This was like looking into the sub conscious
of a hamburger wearing glasses.
The game presents a few possibilities.
Play endless (Playing the game without the story)
Story mode (Well, the game with story)
Options (difficulty settings blah blah blah:)
Lets start with what type of game this is. I’d compare it to a touch screen platform. The music, the tempo of the game remind me of classic nes/snes fighting game. You are remember by those old style Kung fu games, where all you did is walk continuously and occasionally beat up bad guys without being able to walk back. The screen moves along with the character and there is no stopping Thunder bang. Once you beat up the bad guys for a bit, Thunder bang starts to sprint, making it harder to slide your finger around the screen to control Thunder bang.
The finger sliding sometimes launches a move i didn’t want to use.
For instance, to jump you tap the screen, punch you slide from left to right. At times when I slide to punch ,it launches the jump function instead. I did not tap the screen to what i was aware off.
The game is played by holding your smartphone  horizontally. I noticed that once I held it vertically, the game became easier to play. The miss communication between sliding and tapping became a true rarity where I could claim blame. That is how I kept playing it till the very end of the game.
I think this picture is self explaining. There is Thunder Bang, a boss and how
much health he is currently hogging. Spandex FTW.
The story campaign took me about 40-50 minutes to complete. Going through 6 chapters in which at the end present a great little comic that gives you a little glints into our so called “hero” wanna be Thunder bang. The story comic itself was worth going through all that sliding and tapping.
While the game got progressively harder, I felt that at the end “chapter six” the game just went beyond crazy hard. Most of the game play was progressive in a standard phase, while the difficulty jumped at the end to the point of finger machine and blister sliding hell. In any case it was great fun, I cannot deny it. I was able to play through the entire thing and finish it.
It costs about a dollar on the android market, I am not sure if its available in the apple store as well. Either way, is it worth the Price. I’d say it would’ve been if there were a bit more levels. 40 min game play is just to short. I do not dismiss the purchase either. Because it was entertaining. Also you only have four type of bad guys, it gets a bit monotone after a while.
Once the story was done, it didn’t really offer any replay value. Maybe if you are a point junkie, it would be a great deal for you. For me, I am more about the story.
I have one suggestion that I would like to see replaced.
After you enter every level you get a tutorial that show you how to defeat the bad guys. It is useful the first few times, but I think a skip button should be implemented, it gets dull when you’ve replayed a level 4-5 times .
Either way, I enjoyed the game. I am looking forward to see more from Triolith  Entertainment and wish them the best of luck. The more options the market has, the better and we need to support new developers. They will make the big guys nervous enough to give us more value for out buck.

Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom.


Did you ever see a trailer and an opening that totally heighten your expectation to the point of awesome?

Well it did. All I can say is that I was tricked.
This is one of those cases where the trailer and intro is way better then the game itself. Sure I understand that it has to be because that is after all, the selling point.
But this was ridiculous. This is basically someone telling me to eat this yummie chocolate and I end up eating a pile dog (fill in word here)
Alas, I am going to give this a fair analysis and you might understand to why I rip on this game so early on.
So the game starts, I like the design, I like the story, it is classic and safe. The graphic art design reminds a bit of Totoro and Folklore mixed up together to create Torolore. Music reminds me of something from Nausacaa valley of the wind.
The main prologue is safe, basically by let me quote “blah albhblahg kingdom, blah blah darkness blahal, un-likely hero blah blah”. We have heard this one before.
My first reaction is the voice acting. It seemed to me like one person was doing all the voices in the game, they were very poor. Not to the point where I muted my TV but enough to be an disturbance in the game enjoyment. The initial feel for the controls is that they are a bit off, I cannot put my finger on it (or thumb, excuse the pun) but it is noticeable, not to the point that it ruins the game. As the game progressed i noticed that it might not have been the controls as much as the camera. The giant guy (Majin) is non passable. You cannot pass through him which creates several awkward situations. For instance, when he stands behind you and goes transparent. You aren’t really paying attention that he is there, so you try to run through him, which you can’t, so you have to run around his large stature. There are several tight situations where it is near to impossible to pass by him and where he is just in the Effin way.
You also notice pretty early that the graphics aren’t as wonderful as promised. Run pass a water fall, I dare you! The noise sounds more like static and the water fall is just a step back in graphic creation. It just sucks because this did have the potential to be a beautiful game. Also the rats will throw you off in the beginning, except the cheesy  (there, I did it again!) voice acting, they shift voice pitches, making you think that the same rat is going through some weird personality disorder. Once you played for a bit, you come to a point where you are told “Did you know that by controlling the Majin, that you can understand what animals say?”.

Every bit of the way you are told about something you already know, as if you weren’t intelligent enough to come to a simple conclusion of 1+1=2 all by your self. They have to remind you.
You have the animals talk to you, and an hour later “did you know animals can talk to you?”
The monsters reminded me to much of the heart less from the awesome amazing super game Kingdom hearts. It is the basic concept, shadow, goo, dark, etc. In kingdom hearts, the “heartless” are begins that have lost their hearts and turned into walking shadows of dankness. While in this game, the darkness engulfed monsters used to be people…
However, after a few hours, the game begins to grow on you.

The first boss fight almost made me put down the controller and do something productive, like go treasure hunting in my belly button.
Imagine yourself controlling a huge beast. Now you have to tell him to pick something up to throw at this giant jerk that wants to kill you. Every time he shoots something on your Majin, the Majin looses its prior command.
Ok, so you command your Majin to pick something up, then the beast spits at you and your Majin drops whatever he was holding or any command he was executingt. “damnit” and repeat this a few times, gets annoying right?
Not only that, when the beast is out of balance enough to beat up, the stupid walking pile of mold finally completes his command and cannot cancel that current command to do a different command that is required while the boss is disabled. The boss recovers after a bit, just enough time for the walking degenerate to start the belated command which now doesn’t do any good at all.
Is this interesting as a game? Yes, but it TOTALLY blew it on the small part that makes a game good and play able.  Games are supposed to push the boundaries of the technology at hand, this was a step back in all sense except the music, the music was awesome!
Even though there was so much that was bad with the game, it actually does balance equally with all the things that were good. The problem is when the bad things pile up, you end up overlooking the good parts. It is a charming game. It does have some spirit, heart and sense of adventure. The big ol lump does grow on you and maybe once I complete the entire game I might have a change of heart. Who knows? Some people actually thing that the Black eyed peas were awesome during the super bowl halftime show 😉
And now, some unbiased facts from Wikipedia:

Plot

Majin’s story is set in a once prosperous and fruitful kingdom, which is overtaken by a mysterious darkness and thrown into disarray. While many citizens attempted to explore and find out what’s going on, they were never to be seen again, and the decay continued. To cleanse this forsaken kingdom of the darkness, a young thief, whom the Majin refers to as Tepeu, sets out to free the mythical Majin – an all-powerful and mystical beast, to reclaim its power and restore the land to its former glory.

Gameplay

The game is an action/platformer, with puzzle elements thrown in at different intervals. Players control Tepeu, while Majin is A.I. controlled. Though the player takes no direct control over Majin, they can give him commands, which are often used for solving puzzles or during combat.

As the game progresses, Majin will gain powers, such as the ability to produce electricity. These elements will be used both in combat and puzzle solving.

The game is intended to emphasize the differences in Majin and Tepeu. For example at certain points, the characters will be separated and Tepeu must dispatch enemies using stealth, as he does not have the strength Majin does.