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Found 25 results

  1. Harrison Lee

    Review: Full Throttle Remastered

    Developer: Double Fine Productions, Shiny Shoe Publisher: Double Fine Productions Platform: PC, PS4, PS Vita Release Date: April 18, 2017 ESRB: T for Teen Note: This review is based on the PC version of the game A few years ago, I was at a yard sale digging through a box of old PC games when I hit upon a floppy disk copy of Day of the Tentacle. I was born in the mid-90“s and had missed out on this LucasArts gem of point-and-click adventure mayhem. To be honest, I still haven“t popped the game in. No one uses floppy disks anymore and I don“t have the hardware to run it. Funny, right? Someone at Double Fine must have heard my groans over not getting to experience the classics because we“ve been graced with Full Throttle Remastered, a spruced-up version of Tim Schafer“s darkly-comedic bikerthon. Does the updated version do the original game justice, or is this remaster out of gas? Above: Original Release Below: Remastered Version I didn“t get to play the original Full Throttle, but Double Fine has included the unedited version of the game alongside the remaster. At any point, you can toggle between the gorgeous original pixel art and the new hand-drawn look. The audio has also been given a proper makeover, with voice-overs sounding crystal clear and the rockin“ soundtrack popping in the background. While the remaster does a good job updating the look and feel of the game, I prefer the original pixel art to the remastered version. The new art just doesn“t feel quite right, though it“s definitely respectful of the original game. The remixed audio, however, is blissfully pleasant to listen to. Full Throttle follows the exploits of the rough-and-tumble Ben and his biker-gang, the Polecats, in a dystopic post-apocalypse world. Only one company builds road hogs in this desolate era, and the Polecats are front and center in a plot to reconfigure the company to build… mini-vans. Ben becomes the fall-guy in a murder conspiracy and has to battle numerous obstacles to save the company, the Polecats, and the spirit of motorcycling. Along the way, he befriends a well-characterized supporting cast and solves a host of entertaining puzzles. Few challenges stand in Ben“s way for more than a few minutes, and the ride is over before you know it. But what a ride Full Throttle is. Tim Schafer“s ode to biker gangs won“t last you more than the average Call of Duty game, but it“s a well-paced, entertaining dramedy all the same. That said, there are a few speed-bumps in the experience. Some noticeably unsmooth transitions rear their heads in cut-scenes, and audio occasionally drops out completely as a new scene is loaded. The bike combat, maligned when the game originally came out, also hasn“t aged well. It“s a bit clunky, but is mercifully over in short order. An object-highlighting feature has also been added to help you find solutions to the puzzles faster. I noticed it rarely highlighted the objects I needed to pick up and use, so I“m not sure how much time it really saved me. Not that Full Throttle needs to go any faster, mind you. I“m a bit ashamed to admit Full Throttle occasionally tested my wits. I don“t often play point-and-click adventures (barring the Sherlock Holmes series), and there were a few moments where the puzzle solutions had me a little baffled. In the context of the scenario, the solutions made sense. I just didn“t pick up on them in time. It“s refreshing to see a game that moves at a brisk pace, yet isn“t afraid to apply the brakes and force you to think. Full Throttle isn“t terribly difficult, but there are a few puzzles that might have you consulting a walkthrough. Full Throttle is LucasArts“s often-overlooked adventuring gem. While I missed it the first time, I“m happy to report it“s absolutely worth playing, even in this day age. The quippy one-liners, entertaining plot, well-defined character archetypes, and occasionally challenging puzzles all add up to a fun ride. Full Throttle never overstays its welcome and is a little shorter than I“d like, but you“ll enjoy the rush while it“s there. Don“t miss this great update to a classic. Pros + A unique sense of humor and place + Entertaining, well-written plot + The original pixel art is as beautiful as ever + The remastered audio is excellent Cons - The combat sequences are still rough - A few awkward scene transitions here and there Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great Full Throttle is a fast-paced, enjoyable point-and-click adventure that will inspire nostalgia in the most devoted LucasArts fans, while welcoming genre newcomers with beefy, grease-covered arms. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  2. Jason Clement

    Starbreeze set to publish Psychonauts 2

    Starbreeze Studios, most famous for their Payday series and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, is setting its sights on becoming a publisher if this latest news is anything to go by. The Stockholm-based independent studio recently signed an agreement with Double Fine to bring Psychonauts 2 to PC and other console platforms through digital distribution in 2018. Starbreeze is investing $8 million to do so and is set to recoup their money through an initial 85% revenue share after distribution and platform fees as well as Fig crowdfunding revenue share. After the costs are recouped, the revenue share will drop to 60% and Double Fine will retain 100% of the rights to the Psychonauts franchise. It's an interesting move by Starbreeze for sure, and one that makes it seem as if they're keen to keep on expanding their interests beyond developing their own games. Of course, they're not the only developer to expand into publishing recently -- Yacht Club Games brought Azure Striker Gunvolt and its sequel as a physical combo pack to 3DS last year, and Team17 (of Worms fame) is set to publish Yooka-Laylee in April. We'll likely hear more about Psychonauts 2 at some point this year, so stay tuned for more info. Source: Starbreeze.com What are your thoughts on Starbreeze publishing Psychonauts 2?
  3. Harrison Lee

    Review: Headlander

    Developer: Double Fine Productions Publisher: Adult Swim Games Platform: PC, Mac OS, PS4 Release Date: July 25, 2016 ESRB: T for Teen As a kid, I was raised on schlocky sci-fi movies with the infamous “stereoscopic 3D vision”. These movies were trashy, gaudy, and silly, but absolutely charming. Actors in rubberized suits whacked each other over the head with plastic swords or fired hilariously fake lasers at space aliens. Chief among these films were the Godzilla and Space: 1999 series. Both movie and TV franchises were terrible in their own right, but the creative vision and imagination powering each series kept me engrossed. Double Fine“s Headlander attempts to recapture that nostalgic glory, albeit with an action-puzzle platformer overlaid with ”70s funk, shag carpets, and double entendres. It“s the kind of game that was made with me in mind. While Headlander doesn“t always hit the mark, it“s still an entertaining head trip for those who dig sci-fi with a little disco. Headlander takes place in the far retro-future, where humanity has abandoned its need for organic bodies and transferred human consciousness into robotic vessels. Lording over this mechanized version of human society is the ever-vigilant, sinister AI known as Methuselah. For reasons unknown, the sentient computer program has made humans docile in their new robotic hosts. Methuselah“s ambitions are never made clear, but Headlander doesn“t care about a dense plot so much as it is invested in a plethora of sci-fi tropes and in-jokes. One such (inappropriate) joke is derived from the game“s primary conceit, the player avatar. You take control of the last organic human being known to the galaxy, but there“s a minor issue; you“re just a head. Encased in a rocket-powered helmet, you are humanity“s last shot at beating Methuselah and freeing society. To outwit and outlast the AI overlord, you“ll have to navigate a series of complex environments, steal bodies from the robotic Shepherds, and solve a variety of relatively simple puzzles. The head can vacuum off the electrical noggins of opponents and “headland” on to them to seize control. This allows players to unlock color-coded security doors and gain access to a variety of flashy laser weapons. Pressing F will also unleash a super funky dance, just for kicks. Stealing robotic bodies is crucial as your head is incredibly fragile. One or two direct hits is usually enough to end your day on a dour note. As you progress, you“ll gain access to upgrades that allow you to add protective shields and more health, but it won“t be enough. Methuselah has a literal army of robocops to send your way. Mercifully, his Shepherds come with a variety of weapons to make the war easier, from single-shot laser pistols to room-clearing hand-shotguns. Lasers zig, zag, and ricochet all across game levels in a delightfully stupid, chaotic manner. If a useful enemy body stands on the platform above, you can bounce a shot off a wall and remove his or her robotic skull for an easy body steal. You can also hijack robo-dogs, rolling maps, and almost any robot you can decapitate. Naturally, Headlander will find a way to insert a NSFW joke about it that either induces a chuckle or sarcastic groan. The puzzling side of Headlander is mostly straightforward. You“ll have to backtrack and disable various laser walls or sneak through air ducts to find power-ups and switches. Every now and then, there“ll be a puzzle that“s bloody frustrating. The chess-match sequence comes to mind, though I“d consider a few of the bullet hell combat sequences to be just as puzzle-like. Later boss fights also spike in difficulty, so be prepared to smash a few keyboards. Headlander is never impossible, but there are a few points where it feels that way. The other knock against the game is the focus on repetition. Most titles have lists of three tasks to accomplish, but Headlander bucks the mold with sets of five. Doing something three times can be aggravating, but five times is a bit overkill. Sure, you get to explore more of the game-world and hear some of the wacky dialogue that accompanies it. It sucks that you“ll have to grind through the same task five times to do it. A few optional side quests help to break up the monotony, but the core quest-line could do without the repetition. It begins to feel like filler after some time. If you like a ”70s disco aesthetic bathed in a warm filmic haze, Headlander will likely appeal to you. It“s gorgeous to watch in motion, with lively backgrounds complementing pulses of blaster fire and explosions. As you might expect, the shag carpets are also lovingly rendered. The audio is just as strong, with some hammy voice-acting and retro tunes accompanying the action. The audio-visual side only serves to enhance the atmosphere of Headlander“s campy sci-fi playground. Headlander is best thought of as an entertaining distraction. It“s not particularly long, but the implementation of a flying head and the hilarity of body-stealing seldom gets stale. The repetition of tasks can be frustrating, but it“s abated by the visually-rich environments Double Fine has crafted. Just be prepared for a few incredibly difficult segments on your quest to free humanity. If, however, you appreciate the glimmer of a disco-ball, grab Headlander now. Pros + A great homage to cheesy ”70s sci-fi movies + Popping off robot heads and stealing bodies never gets old + Gorgeous visuals and great audio enhance the experience Cons - Some noticeable difficulty spikes - Repetition of tasks tends to get old very quickly Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good If you like a ”70s disco aesthetic bathed in a warm filmic haze, Headlander will likely appeal to you. The repetition of tasks can be frustrating, but it“s abated by the visually-rich environments Double Fine has crafted. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher
  4. Jason Clement

    Broken Age Act 2 To Release in Early 2015

    Broken Age Act 1 released earlier this year to critical acclaim, and though Act 2 was originally planned for release later in the year, developer Double Fine has confirmed that it will now slip into early 2015. The game's producer, Greg Rice, mentioned on Double Fine's forums that their goal is to finish all of the finale work so they can hit Alpha on Act 2 before the end of this year. "The game is looking really good and the team is working super fast, but we just gotta give the game the time it needs to really deliver on everything we're hoping it will be," Rice added. Rice also mentions that playtests of the game are coming in at around 8 to 12 hours, which should please fans as it will be longer than the first game. Broken Age Act 2 will be free for those who purchased Act 1 (or backed the initial Kickstarter). You can check out our review for Broken Age Act 1 here. Source: Double Fine Productions What are your thoughts on Act 2's delay?
  5. Jason Clement

    Review: Broken Age: Act 1

    Developer: Double Fine Publisher: Double Fine Platform: PC, Mac, Linux (Android, iOS, OUYA in the future) Release Date: January 28, 2014 ESRB: Not Rated (E recommended) Tim Schafer has been responsible both entirely and in-part for some of the most memorable point-and-click adventure games over the last 20 years or so. His work with LucasArts alum Ron Gilbert has been the stuff of legends, with such games as The Secret of Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle, and Grim Fandango being hailed as hallmarks of the genre. Thus it comes with much fanfare that his first adventure game in some 16 years, Broken Age, is finally here. Broken Age follows two seemingly separate narratives - one following a teenage boy named Shay who lives alone aboard a spaceship and is perpetually doomed to live a life of safety and boredom thanks to an overprotective computer that treats him like a child (literally), and the other following a teenage girl named Vella who comes of age and rejects her "honorable fate" as a traditional sacrifice to a large monster that selects maidens to consume from different villages once a year. You can select either storyline at the start, and in an interesting move by Double Fine, you can actually switch between the two stories at any time if you get stuck on one or otherwise want a change of scenery. Like most point-and-click games, you'll need to talk to the different characters you come across in your journey in order to gather information or accomplish certain objectives, all the while making use of various items you collect to help you progress through different areas and situations. For the most part, items have uses that you'll be able to deduce in short time, though there were a few instances where I got stuck before I realized what needed to be done. Both stories, while having similar undertones, actually have a different gravitas or atmosphere to them. If I had to pick one that I enjoyed more, it would definitely be Vella's story; not only does it seem longer, but it also has the more intriguing plot and displays more of the whimsical design and characters that Double Fine is known for creating. Vella herself is also a genuinely likeable character; she's intelligent, funny, and a down-to-earth normal human being like many people, and yet she still believes in her own ideals when no one else does. In contrast, Shay's story is very different in atmosphere. Whereas Vella's situation is much more of an adventure, Shay's is more akin to a mystery that gradually unfolds. You'll gradually discover why the ship is treating him in such a sheltered way and get to explore his surroundings, and the story does a good job of keeping things suspenseful and in the dark until the very end. There also seems to be a bit more puzzle-solving in this arc. Vella's story is more about conversation and finding out certain things while Shay's is more about accomplishing a few objectives, so while they're different in nature, they fill two sides of the same coin nicely. Also, it can't be understated just how good the game's visuals and sound design are. Broken Age is quite possibly the most beautiful point-and-click adventure game I've ever played, with its painterly visuals and storybook-esque edge. It's also fully voiced, including the likes of talented stars such as Jack Black and Elijah Wood. Black's role is actually a cameo but it's in keeping with his zany sense of humor, while Wood puts in a solid performance in the role of Shay. The music is quite good as well, with some especially nice tracks that play during Vella's arc. Ultimately, Act 1 of Broken Age is everything that point-and-click fans could have hoped for; it's a great first half that ends with an interesting cliffhanger. And though it's a shame that we'll now have to wait for Act 2 (which will arrive as a free update), Double Fine assures that it's expected to arrive sometime later this year. Act 1 came out to just over 4 hours of gameplay on my first time through, though I do have to admit I got stuck at one particular point and spent a lot of time trying to solve a puzzle. Still, it's well worth playing if you don't mind only getting half of the story for the time being. And even if Act 2 doesn't live up to expectations, Broken Age has me hoping that it's only the first of (hopefully) many more point-and-click adventures to come from Double Fine. Pros + Beautiful, hand-drawn illustrated characters and backgrounds + Great voice-acting + Story is interesting and whimsical atmosphere is well-done Cons - Some situations might require backtracking or may have you at a loss for how to proceed with little in the way of hints or help Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great Broken Age proves that point-and-click adventure games are far from dead. If you're ever been a fan of the genre or you're looking for a good story, dive in and see what all of the fuss is about. Disclosure: This game was reviewed on PC using downloadable code provided by the publisher
  6. After four years, Double Fine is finally returning to the world of Costume Quest with a sequel, and it's teaming up with indie publisher Midnight City to do it. Costume Quest 2 aims to include even more costumes to wear, an upgraded battle system, and a story that could only come from Double Fine. More details on the game will be forthcoming throughout the year, but for now Costume Quest 2 is slated to release later this year as a digital release for PC and consoles. You can check out the announcement video of the game below, featuring Tim Schafer and Midnight City's Casey Lynch.
  7. Marcus Estrada

    Humble Weekly Sale: Double Fine

    In what is becoming an annual tradition, Double Fine have put their wares up in a bundle hosted by Humble Bundle again! What's the cause? Well, the Double Fine Amnesia Fortnight event has just begun. Basically, that's a game jam within the company where they try and cobble together some cool new things. Since you likely came to this post to see the bundled games, here they are: Costume Quest Psychonauts Stacking If you spend more than $6, Brutal Legend is also included. Spend even more (around $16) and nab Spacebase DF-9. This game is currently in Steam Early Access. Except for Spacebase DF-9, all the other titles run on Windows, Mac, and Linux and come with Steam keys and DRM-free downloads.
  8. Marcus Estrada

    Double Fine's Broken Age Coming in January

    If you're sick and tired of hearing about Kickstarter/IndieGoGo projects then Broken Age is who you have to thank for all the zillions of game projects on there. Although the website existed before then, it was the Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter which drew massive amounts of attention and funding. Later announced as Broken Age, we've seen very little of Double Fine's new game since then. Heck, they even recently ran a campaign for another game. Anyway, Broken Age is not just lying dormant. VG247 has shared a backer-only Kickstarter post which reveals the title is nearing a public launch. As it turns out, even with the massive funding, they wouldn't have enough to work on the entire game full time until 2015 (the estimated completion time). As such, they will instead release the first half of the game in January 2014 on Steam Early Access. Players who purchase it will be funding further development of the rest of the game. Will you buy Broken Age during its time on Steam Early Access or wait for the entire game to be completed?
  9. Another Kickstarter project from Double Fine? Yes, it's true, and the game is called Massive Chalice. Massive Chalice is a tactical strategy game for PC with feudal fantasy elements. Double Fine says themselves that Massive Chalice is inspired by popular strategy games such as X-COM, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Fire Emblem, so fans of those might be interested in this game. In the strategy half of the game, "you oversee your kingdom, arrange royal marriages, conduct research, and make the far-reaching decisions that will determine the fate of your legacy." The tactics half is where all the turn-based battles come in. Like Fire Emblem, permadeath of your characters is also a feature. Rewards for pledging to the Massive Chalice Kickstarter project include: $20: Digital download of Massive Chalice, exclusive badge on official Double Fine forums, name listed in "Backers" section of game credits $50: Early access to Massive Chalice, HD versions of the public 2PP Behind-The-Scenes videos, hi-res digital art package, digital copy of Massive Chalice soundtrack $100: Your name and House preferences included as one of the Bloodlines in Massive Chalice, name listed in "Bloodline Backers" section of game credits $150: T-shirt, poster, name listed in "Collector Backers" section of game credits $250: Poster signed by Brad Muir, Tim Schafer, and other Double Fine members; name in "Signature Backers" section of game credits And more! Will you be pledging to the Massive Chalice Kickstarter project?
  10. It's a bird! It's a plane! It's the newest Humble Indie Bundle! This time, it's Double Fine-themed and comes with up to five games and a T-shirt. Every contribution nets you Costume Quest, Psyconauts, and Stacking (pay a minimum of $1 and you'll get Steam keys). Pay more than the average and you can get Brütal Legend, too. For $35, you'll have the upcoming Broken Age pre-ordered. Last, but not least, a hefty, but generous contribution of $70 will grant you an exclusive T-shirt in either black or cream. MP3/FLAC soundtracks also come with Psychonauts and Brütal Legend. Watch this hilarious video featuring Tim Schafer to learn more. This bundle will be up for 13 days, so jump on it while you can!
  11. Marcus Estrada

    Broken Age Gets First Trailer

    If you missed it, Broken Age was revealed during PAX East as the official name of the "Double Fine Adventure game". Of course, that title is the one that took Kickstarter by storm, getting thousands of dollars more than requested. A website launched along the reveal, but not much else has been shown yet. At the very least, a teaser trailer has recently been released by Double Fine. It shows just a little bit more of the two lead characters. One is a girl who lives on Earth while the other is a boy in a space station. The most the teaser showcases is the art style of the game which looks more like storybook stills than an actual game. Broken Age currently has no release date but is coming to PC and Ouya. Here's the trailer:
  12. The Kickstarter-funded Double Fine Adventure project finally has a name! It is now officially called Broken Age, as revealed at a PAX East panel today. The game's website has also been launched. On the website, you can learn a little bit about what the story in Broken Age will be about: "Broken Age is a point-and-click adventure telling the stories of a young boy and girl leading parallel lives. The girl has been chosen by her village to be sacrificed to a terrible monster--but she decides to fight back. Meanwhile, a boy on a spaceship is living a solitary life under the care of a motherly computer, but he wants to break free to lead adventures and do good in the world. Adventures ensue." If you wish, you may also preorder the game through the official website for $15, which includes beta access, or for $30, which includes backer access.
  13. Jason Clement

    Ron Gilbert Moving On From Double Fine

    Earlier tonight, famed Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert made it known in a blog post that he is leaving Double Fine, having now finished and released his most recent game, The Cave, just a month and half ago, and is moving on to his next project. "Now that The Cave is done and unleashed on an unsuspecting world (ok, we did do a bunch of PR, so it wasn't exactly unsuspecting), it's time for me to move on from Double Fine and plot my next move," Gilbert said in his blog post. "So many games left to be designed. I want to thank all the amazing people at Double Fine for all their hard work on The Cave. It was a true pleasure to work with every one of them over the past two years. So much fun. I will miss them all. And of course to Tim for creating the opportunity to come there and make The Cave." Gilbert also mentions that he is in the midst of working on an iOS title with Clayton Kauzlaric, who co-created the episodic adventure game DeathSpank with him a few years back. The iOS project is called Scurvy Scallywags in The Voyage to Discover the Ultimate Sea Shanty: A Musical Match-3 Pirate RPG, and Gilbert has stated that he plans to release screenshots of the game soon. For now, it's sad to see Ron Gilbert depart from Double Fine, but it appears that it was part of his plan all along, so we'll see what the future brings his way in terms of his other planned projects. If you haven't yet played his recent game, The Cave, you can find our official review here. Source: GrumpyGamer Are you surprised that Ron Gilbert is leaving Double Fine so soon?
  14. Brütal Legend is one of those games that didn't quite know how to sell itself back in 2009. Was it a comedy, action-adventure, or RTS? The identity crisis was never quite solved and it left gamers split on opinions. The game initially saw launch on PS3 and 360 but never on computers. After four years Double Fine are finally rectifying this issue. Later this month we will see Brütal Legend finally launch on Steam. With so long since the original release it will also be cheaper. Pre-ordering the game will give you 25% off, which equates to $15 purchase price. Remember that this price is only for pre-purchases, however, and not release week. If you do take the plunge now then you'll be granted access into the multiplayer beta. Those who order now are also given some Team Fortress 2 items because this is Valve we're talking about here. That includes protagonist Eddie Riggs' signature hair and guitar. Brütal Legend goes live on Steam this February 26th.
  15. Almost exactly one year ago, Markus "Notch" Perrson (known for his highly-popular Minecraft) surprised the gaming world by declaring that he'd help Tim Schafer and Double Fine by financing a Psychonauts sequel. Notch even said he would be able to match the estimated $13 million budget that Psychonauts 2 would need. Turns out, it would need even more than that and Notch doesn't want in after all. "I think I gave Markus a heart attack when I told him how much Psychonauts 2 would cost," Schafer says. So, what was that exorbitant amount that almost sent Notch to the emergency room? Notch shared this with Reddit: "I somewhat naively thought ”a couple of million“ was two million. ... Turns out they wanted 18 million dollars, haha. ... I“ve made one private investment into a game so far, at $100K, and it“s frankly a lot more work than I thought." I don't blame him for backing out of that one. But don't lose complete hope on Psychonauts 2 yet. While Double Fine still has its utmost attention on the Kickstarter-funded Double Fine Adventure, it still has plans to "explore alternative funding methods that will require multiple sources to make it a reality." Do you think Notch made the right decision of ultimately saying no to funding Psychonauts 2?
  16. Double Fine is a company many of us are familiar with, but less may be aware of what Amnesia Fortnight is. The event happens yearly and is when Double Fine takes a break from any big projects, gets into groups, and develops prototypes of different game ideas over the span of two weeks. This year, they got the community at large involved in voting on the games to be prototyped, as well as streaming their creation live. Another first for Double Fine was announced today with the reveal of an Amnesia Fortnight Special Edition Boxed Set. This physical set comes with two discs which contain the five prototyped games of 2012: Autonomous, Black Lake, Hack 'n' Slash, Spacebase DF-9, The White Birch. Also included are docmentaries for the games filmed by 2 Player Productions of Mojang: The Story of Minecraft fame. Then there are three older prototypes for Brazen, Costume Quest, and Happy Song. Finally, soundtracks for each of the games are included. All of this is available at the cost of $30. Of course, you could choose to upgrade your order with a cover image of your favorite game signed by that project's lead. If you get one then that will up the cost to $45. If you can't decide and want signed covers for each of the five games then you'll be paying $70 instead. Those who just want the content without any physical media can purchase a download at the much cheaper $10. The Amnesia Fortnight Special Edition Boxed Set is currently not available, so these are all pre-orders right now. A release date has yet to be announced although it should be coming shortly. All games included are Windows-only and very much prototypes. Don't expect to be getting five fleshed out Double Fine experiences if you place an order.
  17. Marcus Estrada

    Review: The Cave

    Developer: Double Fine Productions Publisher: SEGA Platforms: PC (Steam), PS3 (PSN), 360 (XBLA), Wii U (eShop)Release Date: January 23, 2013 ESRB: T for Teen This review is based on the 360 version of the game A download code was supplied by the publisher for this review Those who played adventure games in their heyday are probably mighty familiar with the work of Ron Gilbert, even if they“ve never heard his name before. He produced popular LucasArts titles such as Maniac Mansion and the Monkey Island series. Since those days, he kicked an idea around in his mind about a cave exploration game. However, nothing came of it for some 20 years. As you might expect, The Cave is Gilbert“s dream finally realized. Does it manage to enthrall modern gamers, though, or is it stuck within antiquated adventure game trappings? When it comes right down to it, The Cave excels at having a witty narrative, attractive visuals, and a great deal of puzzles. These hallmarks are definitely expected of an adventure gaming master, but it also seems as though the team was unsure how to cobble it into a modern gaming experience. Regardless, let“s speak to all that The Cave does right first. It is so easy to create a middling experience, but thankfully there is a lot in the game that makes it stand out among the once again bustling genre. The narrative, or should I say "the narrator," is cruel but hilarious. It is actually the cave which is being explored that offers most conversation points. He laughs at the deaths of explorers, offers hints disguised with snide remarks, and is generally one of the most entertaining aspects of the game. The characters you play as are mute, but NPCs also pepper the game with similarly amusing conversation. Great writing does not dominate the game, though, as in fact much of it is a quiet experience. This helps to make dialogue stand out as more worth listening to. What of the playable characters? There are seven to choose from, and each has their own use. Interestingly, the game does not grant you access to all the characters in any one playthrough. Instead you select three of the cast and play a game through with that group. The characters chosen also affect the game you end up playing. There are only so many levels overall, but players will see levels specific to each character they have selected. Ones who were not chosen have their level segments left out. Playthroughs don“t feel disjointed because of this mechanic at all. Instead they feel just as if the game was made with that exact cast in mind. The fact that it ended up working so well is a testament to the developer“s creativity and is very cool to discover. Players also see small stories about each of their chosen characters as they play through the game. Although other characters may seem interesting, it will require other playthroughs to see exactly what they“re all about. The seven selectable characters include the likes of a hillbilly, scientist, knight, time traveller, and others. Each has their own special ability which somewhat relates to their role. The time traveller, for example, can phase through solid barriers. Others, like the hillbilly, can hold their breath for a really long time for some reason. Regardless, each team member“s skills come into use when exploring. Some unnecessary sections of levels will be unavailable though if you lack a character with the right skill to check it out. Because of the cast, you may find yourself playing this 4-5 hour game more than once. Each story is very distinct for the character in question and they play out in ways people might not expect. That, paired with extra explorable areas should prove a tempting reason to give it another go. Then there is even the ability to have other players take control of the team members. Although the same game is still at the core, single versus co-op experiences change the feel of this adventure. Playing The Cave is an unusual experience for both adventure fans and gamers who have never tried them before. The adventure roots are obvious in how many puzzles there are to solve with the likes of various objects. However, it plays out more like a 2D platformer than anything else. Each character must run, jump, climb, and fall often to make their way through expansive levels. Typical adventure games feel more compact in comparison to the sprawling cave systems found here. However, this may be more of a detriment than anything else. You are never provided with a map, which means knowing where things are is fully dependent on your memory. The screen pulls out at key puzzle moments, but otherwise, is fairly close to the chosen character at the time. With that said, it is hard to get a feel of the landscape without fully exploring every direction. There also appears to be no way to manipulate the camera either, which have quelled this complaint. It seems as though the platforming from location to location will either pull players in or push them away. This certainly isn“t what would be expected of an adventure game, and it isn“t perfectly implemented either. Beyond what was just said, the controls are not as responsive as they could be which leads to some missed jumps or other annoyances. Then, with such large levels, it draws out the time between solving puzzles because it takes awhile to get from point A to point B. Simply having an expansive world to explore does not make puzzles more difficult, and as such, this is another annoyance with the design. Are the puzzles themselves worth writing home about? They range from easy to fairly difficult with little warning. Although the more complex puzzles come later in the game, there is no hint system included to aid struggling players. In this age, such help is expected as most players are not familiar with truly tough puzzles. Still, if you look beyond that, some are pretty creative. Figuring out what to do feels great, although the feeling may become more fleeting as the player becomes exhausted from facing one challenge after another. One other detriment of puzzles is that, due to the design, certain levels will have the same puzzles no matter how many times you play. There is so much exciting about The Cave that it is unfortunate to see the game become encumbered by its own lofty ideals. A large landscape to adventure across is cool in theory but navigating it becomes a chore more than anything else. The game is visually appealing, witty, and weird but would probably have done better with a different gameplay mechanic. Regardless, those who want to play an adventure game that doesn“t mesh with expectations of the genre will find an interesting experience with The Cave. Pros: + A ton of puzzles + Replayability is high due to multiple characters + Fantastic writing Cons: - 2D platformer play style doesn“t suit the game - Little means of aiding player (no map or hint system) - Some puzzles/sections remain static through all playthroughs Overall Score: 6.5 (out of 10) Decent The Cave is an ambitious title which succeeds with wit and puzzles but is held back by other gameplay decisions.
  18. Marcus Estrada

    The Cave Screenshot 4

    From the album: Review Images

  19. Marcus Estrada

    The Cave Screenshot 3

    From the album: Review Images

  20. Marcus Estrada

    The Cave Screenshot 2

    From the album: Review Images

  21. Marcus Estrada

    The Cave Screenshot 1

    From the album: Review Images

  22. Great news for fans of point-and-click adventure games and Double Fine - famed developer Ron Gilbert announced over Twitter today that his newest adventure game, The Cave, has officially been announced for release on January 22nd on the Wii U eShop and PSN (for PS3) for $14.99. The game will also release on XBLA on Jan. 23rd for 1200 Microsoft points, as well as on Steam the same day for $14.99. In The Cave, you'll assemble a team of three unique individuals each with their own personalities and skills as you discover a subterranean amusement park, a medieval castle, and a fully-armed and ready-to-launch nuclear ICBM. The game looks like it's shaping up to be one of the more unique experiences of early 2013, so definitely keep an eye on it if you enjoy adventure games. Are you looking forward to playing The Cave?
  23. Okay, Kinect games may not be on the mind of most Xbox 360 owners, but they might want to listen in if they're interested in getting a free game. Via the official Double Fine blog it was announced today that their upcoming title will be available at the low cost of nothing. The title is Kinect Party and it is an XBLA exclusive focused on doing silly things in front of your TV with other people. It overlays effects on the screen such as fireworks or Minecraft-themed goodies. Why? Why not? It is meant to be a goofy diversion and that is one reason why Double Fine are going to be offering it for free. Kinect Party launches on December 18th and will be downloadable free of charge from then until the end of the year. If you're curious as to whether or not the game is worth the download, check out the trailer:
  24. If you're a fan of Double Fine then you're probably aware of their annual "Amnesia Fortnight" event. If not, it's when the developer stops working on their commercial products, splits into teams, and takes stabs at prototyping new and different game ideas for two weeks. From there, the games aren't often followed up on, but on occasion they have been. For example, Costume Quest and Stacking were games which came from a previous Amnesia Fortnight. This year, the developer teamed up with Humble Bundle. They proposed a handful of ideas that those who purchased the bundle were able to vote on. This process lasted about a week and now the votes have all been tallied. The Amnesia Fortnight bundle already had a handful of Double Fine prototypes up for download (Brazen, Costume Quest, and Happy Song) but now it is getting the four top-voted titles. These four games selected are Autonomous, Hack n' Slash, Spacebase DF-9, and The White Birch. To make the whole process even more interesting, Double Fine will be streaming their work on said games for the two weeks until delivering a prototype. It is also worth noting that there is no commitment to make any of these Amnesia Fortnight games into commercial products, but you never know what may happen. Curious about what these games are about and if you should pick up the Amnesia Fortnight bundle? Here are the introductory trailers for each:
  25. Marcus Estrada

    Games are a Big Business on Kickstarter

    Yesterday Kickstarter shared a very interesting post on their site. According to their many numbers and charts, there have been eleven projects on the site which have passed the million dollar mark. Of the few, seven were games (or game related). This is a huge deal because this means games are the most pledged to projects so far this year. Games have generated some $50 million so far while the second biggest category, film, has garnered $42 million. Striking about this is that games have never been the head honcho of Kickstarter before. Way back in 2009 games only managed to pick up a little under $50 thousand. It took a while but now games are definitely a big part of the site. In fact, 23% of dollars pledged so far this year have been towards games. What caused such a big change? The post points to the Double Fine Adventure game, which makes sense considering many gamers discovered Kickstarter through it. Back in March this project was big news for reaching and far surpassing its goal in record time. More recently, the Ouya managed to fund nearly 1000% over what it asked. It seems games definitely have a place on the site and will continue to have a commanding lead in regards to funding for a while. Have you pledged to any Kickstarter projects? If so what were they? If not, why?
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