Archive for March, 2014

PS3 review: Puyo Puyo Tetris

March 29, 2014

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Puyo Puyo Tetris is all about Suketoudara. Half muscleman and half fish, Suke jumps into battle with a flying kick and wags his finger at fallen opponents. Send him garbage blocks and he shouts in surprise, defeat him and he breaks down crying. Suke’s two-sidedness makes him extremely fun to play as — and extremely annoying to play against.

He’s emblematic of the game as a whole. Puyo Puyo Tetris mixes and mashes up the two classic puzzle series, nailing the core gameplay modes while flubbing up some of the extras. Neither game is quite as robust as it would be in a standalone release, but the mixture of the two is endlessly fun.

Between the games, most western players are probably more familiar with Tetris. Differently shaped blocks fall into a well, and it’s up to the player to stack them into lines with no gaps in between. Completed lines disappear and score points. Tetris pits players against their own skills as the blocks begin falling faster and faster, leaving less and less time to position them correctly.

Unlike Tetris, Puyo Puyo (known in the West as Puyo Pop) was forged in battle. Players build stacks of colored jellyblob puyos into massive chains, flooding opponents with nuisance puyos. There’s a sort of fighting game flow as players harass each other with simple combos while working up to their decisive attack.

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Pokémon blues

March 13, 2014

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PS4 review: TowerFall Ascension

March 12, 2014

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Super Smash Towers Fall

The Playstation 4 just got its first great game in TowerFall Ascension, a riotously fun 4-player archery grudge match that’s near impossible to put down. Archers hop around multitiered platforming levels, firing arrows and dodging enemy shots. Conflicts can be snappy one-shot kills or back-and-forth dances between players; they end with calculated arc shots or lucky boot stomps or even suicides, as a player’s upturned arrow drops back to earth and onto their face.

TowerFall’s closest point of reference is Super Smash Bros with a touch of Spelunky. There are aerial platforms, fast-falls, bombable dirt clods, directional air-dodges, faux-retro graphics, platforming stomp attacks, and scads of items. It does for Smash Bros what Smash Bros did for the fighting genre, stripping it down and building it up again from an entirely new perspective.

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Surprise! The Wii U is fantastic

March 6, 2014

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Ten reasons why this generation’s underdog is an incredible console

The Wii U is this generation’s best-kept secret. I don’t mean that it’s just better than people say, or that it’s criminally underrated, though it’s both those things. What I mean is that the Wii U is a legitimately fantastic videogame console, and one that ushered Nintendo into this gen with style.

I know you’re probably screwing up your face right now, doing some mental gymnastics to try and reconcile what I’m saying with what you’ve already heard. The Wii U doesn’t really sell itself — it invites comparisons with its maligned predecessor, and Nintendo’s confused marketing hasn’t helped matters. Few people are buying the console.

But hear me out before you get all worked up, because those people who own a Wii U love the thing. Here’s why.

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