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Talkin’ Games #1

Posted on May 17, 2013 by

Talkin' Games #1

Talkin’ Games is our second post series, where we talk about what games we’ve been playing recently. It is written from a casual or design perspective, rather than as a professional set of reviews.

RIDICULOUS FISHING

JP: Vlambeer is the company behind Ridiculous Fishing. They’re these two cool guys from the Netherlands who’ve made some pretty rad stuff. I first heard about them when Joystiq just would not stop talking about this mobile game, Super Crate Box; by the time they posted about it for like the seventh time, I broke down and had to buy it. That game ate up all the time I had before classes in the fall of 2011. Waiting in the hall? Super Crate Box. Bathrooming? Super Crate Box.

Now, Ridiculous Fishing. I’ll say even though I really enjoyed my time with it(especially the ending), that time was much shorter just due to there not really being a score-chasing element like in Super Crate Box. But that’s okay, because its jovial music and outstanding graphics make for a really pleasant memory, and one that I’ll think back on for a long time.

Matt: I first found out about Vlambeer as a result of JP being so into Super Crate Box even into early 2012. His recommendation did not disappoint, and I had fell in love with it as much as he had. Fast forward to this year and now we have Ridiculous Fishing, a game whose story will stand the test of time as a prime example of one of the biggest problems in the game industry: cloning. But that’s not a story for me to tell, as Polygon has that covered pretty well.

Whenever I find myself returning to Ridiculous Fishing from time to time, even after beating it, I always think about how it is very nearly a perfect mobile game. The art is beautiful, the UI is elegant, the gameplay is accessible, and the sound design completes the kind of calm, cool atmosphere that it’s all going for(until the “ridiculous” part kicks in). It’s a really great game.

YEAR WALK

JP: Year Walk aaaalll up in this. Man, did this game leave an impression on me. Like Ridiculous Fishing, the underlying ideas in both games(with RF, being fun/jovial; with YW, atmosphere) are going to stick with me for a while.

I am terrible, and I mean like basic addition and subtraction terrible, at puzzles. Yet I still had a really memorable time with Year Walk because the game did a fantastic job of making me actually feel like I was, well, year walking. Without giving anything away, by the end I felt genuinely exhausted and thoroughly impressed. The game makes very good use of being on an iPhone/iPad, from its general movement controls to its companion app and… beyond.

Matt: I think what I found the most interesting about Year Walk was that it completely changed my perceptions of how movement in a game can be tailored to a touch screen interface. Sliding your finger around in different directions to move around probably sounds like nothing special, but you really have to see it for yourself to understand the brilliance in their design with this system.

Besides that technical feat, I also loved Year Walk‘s atmosphere. Occasionally over the course of the game, it tries to spook you with some creepy imagery and jump scares, but they’re definitely not out of place by any means; the whole game is meant to unsettle you and put you on edge, and I enjoyed every second of it.

SLAYIN

JP: Slayin is pretty good. It’s always a little disappointing to see a game where you can either grind to earn points or just straight up buy them, but Slayin holds up its hands and goes, “Wait, wait, hold on; what if the game was just that fun?” And it is! The way your little guy interacts with all the different types of enemies and how fast-paced the gameplay is makes for an entertaining little distraction. The virtual buttons are nice too; if you need to include them, making it look like I’m using a little retro controller is always appreciated.

BADLAND

Matt: BADLAND is also pretty good. It’s very reminiscent of that flash game with the helicopter in those caves where you click to keep yourself airborne. BADLAND takes that premise and adds a ton of other elements to really flesh itself out. When you factor in the beautiful silhouetted art style and a suite of ambient sounds, it becomes quite the experience. There’s a multiplayer portion too, where you and your friends can race each other, but I have yet to try it out.

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