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Found 7 results

  1. Today, the Playstation Blog has announced that a bundle of Journey and The Unfinished Swan went up with the new PS Store update. You can now buy both games together for the price of $14.99; two-for-one, essentially, as both were that price individually before today. If you haven't played them yet, both games were critically acclaimed when they launched last year, and were also considered for Game of the Year 2012 awards throughout numerous media outlets. Of course, we happened to like both quite a bit as well as each earned very favorable reviews. It's currently unknown whether this is the new status quo price for both games or if it's a limited time sale (as the PS Blog doesn't allude to a closing date), but hey, the deal is out there right now as you read this.
  2. Last year was interesting because there was really only one game that stood out above everything else for me - The Legend of Skyward Sword. Going into 2012, I wondered if any other games would really resonate with me like that title did, and what transpired throughout the year manage to surprise me quite a bit. It became evident to me that the games that would really stick with me were the ones that were mostly shorter, powerful experiences above all else. That isn't to say there weren't games to enjoy purely for the fun of it, but there were at least four or five different surprises for me throughout the year that I wasn't expecting at all. Take a look below, as you might be surprised at more than a few of the games I selected for my top 10. 10. Nintendo Land If you're looking in disbelief at the #10 spot right now, know that I would've been right there with you just a few months ago. Upon actually playing it, however, Nintendo Land is deceptively deeper than originally thought. The actual minigames have a simple-but-fun element to just about all of them, but when you factor in multiple modes, multiple difficulty levels, and multiple levels (sometimes spanning into the 20's-30's) for some of the games, there's quite a bit of content here. And the actual task of using coins won in minigames to help pad out Nintendo Land's theme park with statues, remixed music, and other objects from the publisher's history is a lot of fun in itself. 9. Rhythm Heaven Fever Official GP Review Rhythm Heaven Fever exceeds and surpasses 2009's Rhythm Heaven (DS) and does it with the push of a button, literally. As much as I loved the DS predecessor, tapping and flicking the touch screen amped up the difficulty considerably on certain games (which often required precise timing), so that hampered my enjoyment a bit. Fever returns the series to a button-only control format and it's much better off for it, not to mention that a lot of its music features what I consider the catchiest songs of the year. If you love rhythm/music and unique games, definitely check it out. 8. LEGO The Lord of the Rings This year saw the release of two of the best LEGO games yet; the first being Lego Batman 2, which introduced an open world format for the first time in the series. However, I found the second LEGO title, LEGO The Lord of the Rings, to be a more ambitious game overall, and it corrected quite a few of the bugs and glitches that LB2 had. Toss in an open world Middle Earth that is fully explorable (along the path that Frodo and his companions took), a brand new item system, and levels that adapt some of the best moments in the movies quite well (Helm's Deep and The Battle of the Pelennor Fields are especially impressive), and it's easily the deepest LEGO game to date. Bring on LEGO The Hobbit next! 7. Tokyo Jungle Official GP Review Tokyo Jungle was never on my radar from the beginning, but I knew that I had to try it when our own Leah and Marshall were raving about it over Twitter. It's a good thing I did end up playing it too, because it's easily one of the most unique experiences I've played in years. Along with some pretty happenin' electro-ambient tunes, what really struck me the most about this game was how different each playthrough felt as a different animal, and how much strategy comes into play in adapting to the ever-changing random atmosphere in order to survive. Post-apocalyptic games have never been that interesting to me before, but Tokyo Jungle's animal-themed take on it took me by surprise and went for the jugular. 6. Paper Mario: Sticker Star Official GP Review Paper Mario: Sticker Star was perhaps my most anticipated game coming into 2012, and for good reason. Introducing a new and innovative "sticker" element to the series, Sticker Star retained the same trademark humor and inventive gameplay that the first three games were known for. Sure, the shift in focus away from a more traditional RPG setting is a little disappointing given the high quality of the first two games, but overall, there were tons of great, memorable moments in this game, and collecting and figuring out what all of the different stickers did was a lot of fun, making it easily one of Mario's best adventures in years. 5. Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure Official GP Review Professor Layton clones are a dime a dozen nowadays (especially considering Konami's failed knockoff Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights) but Rhythm Thief blends the touch-centric Layton gameplay with rhythm segments and catchy music to a wonderful effect. However, the characters are the true heart of the game and its story (even if it is a bit absurd), and the game does an amazing job of introducing them and making you care about what happens to them as well, even managing to throw a twist or two that most players won't see coming. It's a shame that Rhythm Thief's future is uncertain as SEGA dropped much of their internal development earlier this year due to financial difficulties; the cliffhanger ending opens the way not only for a sequel, but an entire franchise to be spun out of this game, and I'd love to see it happen. 4. Xenoblade Chronicles Confession time: I haven't beat Xenoblade Chronicles yet, but from the good amount of time I did invest in it so far, I can say that it has one of the most stunning settings and worlds that I've ever experienced in a game; you can spend hours upon hours in the first area just exploring and doing sidequests alone. The narrative and story are pretty attention-grabbing and heavy-handed as well, and what happens in the first 15 hours is pretty significant, but doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the game as a whole. In an era where JRPGs are largely thought to have had their golden years behind them, Xenoblade reignited my passion for the genre and keeps my hope alive that we'll continue to see great games like it in the near future. 3. The Unfinished Swan Official GP Review Not everyone will appreciate The Unfinished Swan like I did, but for those who did, the world created within is unlike any other. For me, like the top two games on this list, what this game does as far as imagination goes is pretty extraordinary, creating a storybook-like world with a narrative that unfolds through pages as you make your way through a world that was created with a single paintbrush. What's most unique about the game is how its gameplay evolves as you progress and new ways of interacting with the environment begin to open up. Coupled with a unique and heartfelt story, The Unfinished Swan is one of the best experiences I had all year long. Did I mention that Monty Python's Terry Gilliam does some superb voicework here? 2. Papo & Yo Official GP Review Another huge surprise, Papo & Yo was another title that I vaguely acknowledged up until a week or two before its launch. What looked like another Ico-like puzzle platformer was revealed to be a game with much deeper meaning, as it came out that the story in it is actually a metaphor for creative director Vander Caballero's abusive childhood under his monster-like alcholic father. The game itself isn't without issues, but the world it presents in child protagonist Quico's imagination is truly outstanding, being one of the first video games wholly grounded in South American culture, from its made-up Latin-gibberish language to the setting of a Brazilian favela and themes of poverty within it. Artistically, it's unlike any other game I've played this year, and its soundtrack is one of the most heartfelt and sorrowful (yet beautiful) in a year of largely excellent video game music. But the ending alone is what truly cemented Papo & Yo as one of the must-experience titles of this year; what it leaves behind when you're finished is a powerful lesson that stands true even for those who may not have experienced a childhood under an abusive family member. 1. Journey Official GP Review It's hard for me to truly describe why Journey is such an amazing experience. Is it the extraordinary art style - an otherwise painterly aesthetic that transcends the realism most other modern games shoot for (pun entirely intended)? Is it the groundbreaking effect and emotional ties that the multiplayer creates with seemingly unknown and random online players along your journey? Austin Wintory's hauntingly beautiful score which fits the game's narrative to a "T"? Or is it the story and narrative, a tale of death and rebirth, and destiny, that seem to linger in my thoughts? Or perhaps it's all of that at once? The idea behind Journey is something that largely has never been attempted up to this point. There is a goal, but there is little skill involved in reaching it; rather the emphasis is shifted to your experience as you journey to the final destination. Emotion through narrative, as creative director Jenova Chen put it. As I reflect on my playthrough and what other people have written about the game, one word keeps appearing above all else - "transcendent." "Surpassing usual limits," or "beyond the range of usual perception" as some definitions put it. And really, that sums up the experience as a whole for me, especially the final area. There's nothing else quite like Journey, and there may never be another game like it ever again.
  3. Christmas is just around the corner. While most responsible people have their shopping all done and gifts wrapped, there will always be the kind of people who wait until the last minute to get it done. Fear not, as we at Game Podunk have come up with two lists of last minute downloadable gift ideas for the gamers in your family. In fact, we comprised a list for those who need to shop for family friendly titles and a list for the more 'hardcore' gamers. Oh, and did we mention that it's all affordable too? Most console games are expensive, especially considering the economy nowadays, and though there's many that are well worth their higher asking price, we'll be focusing on quality games that are under $25. Check them out below! For the Whole Family Journey Platform: PSN (PS3 only) Price: $14.99 (USD) Offical GP Review A beautiful game that puts more focus on a deep, emotional narrative; exploring the vast scenery; and relying on random strangers to help you reach your goal; Journey is a game that doesn't just have stunning art but offers anonymous online players to help others who might be having some trouble getting to the huge mountain. This PSN only title might be on the short side (clocking in at 2 to 3 hours) but everyone in the family will want to play it over and over again. Rock Band Blitz Platform: PSN (PS3 only), XBLA Price: $14.99 (1200 MS points) Official GP Review Chances are, you've owned at least one entry in the peripheral instrument-based Rock Band series. And maybe you even splurged and got the full set: guitars, microphone, and drums. Rock Band Blitz takes the fun part of the series and makes it more accessible by removing the need for all those instruments. It comes with 25 tracks but you can also import your Rock Band 3 DLC to jam out to. It's also great to know that you can use the 25 tracks from Rock Band Blitz in Rock Band 3 whenever the hankering to dust off those plastic instruments. The Unfinished Swan Platform: PSN (PS3 only) Price: $14.99 Official GP Review Another short game that still manages to deliver on stunning graphics and touching story, The Unfinished Swan has players use their imagination and the ability to toss black paint to uncover the vast white world around the orphan Monroe as he sets out to find the titular unfinished swan in his favorite painting of his mother's. Crashmo Platform: 3DS eShop Price: $8.99 Crashmo is the follow-up to last year's eShop puzzler sleeper hit, Pushmo. It expands on the puzzle gameplay introduced in the first game by adding the ability to push blocks around the grid and in turn, letting blocks stacked above fall down. There are new special floating blocks and other puzzle elements added as well, ultimately making this a much more complex and satisfying game overall. For puzzle fans, this is quite possibly one of (if not the best) third person 3D puzzlers out there right now; don't miss it! Playstation Plus Platform: PSN (PS3 and Vita) Price: $49.99 for 12 months; $17.99 for 3 months Okay, maybe this one is cheating a little (since the higher tier subscription is over $25) but if you own a PlayStation 3 and haven't purchased a monthly subscription to Sony's PlayStation Plus, then you're missing out. Available in three month ($17.99) and twelve month ($49.99) purchases, it averages out to about $5 a month. The PlayStation Plus service doesn't just you give the ability to use the 1GB of online data storage for game saves; each month, Sony offers free games to your library as well as huge discounts on select titles. The catch is that free games are only accessible while your subscription is active, so it's comparable to a service like Netflix; however, any discounted titles that you pay for are yours to keep forever. For the More Experienced Gamers Fez Platform: XBLA Price: $9.99 (800 MS points) If you have a lover, family member, or friend who“s been begging for a game featuring a fez hat (Santa gets that request all the time), FEZ has got you covered. This little puzzle-platformer puts you in the 2-dimensional shoes of a little guy named Gomez. Living without a care in his 2D plane of existence, Gomez comes across a strange artifact that grants him his game“s namesake, which allows him to shift the dimensions of the world itself. In this game, players must solve puzzles and clear levels with this power as they help Gomez save the artifact that granted him the fez before it gets ripped to shreds. Spelunky Platform: XBLA Price: $14.99 (1200 MS points) Here“s a game that“s perfect for Indiana Jones, if he was into video games. Providing him with tons of cave exploration, rope-swinging action, and his biggest fear – snakes, he“d certainly feel right at home with Spelunky. This game has you playing as an explorer who stumbles upon a cave filled with treasure. The cave isn“t any normal cave, however... Seriously, before digitally gift-wrapping this downloadable, make sure the gift“s receiver can tolerate dying a billion and a half times, because this game is hard. Mainly, the hardcore difficulty is a result of the game“s randomized cave layout. Once you die and are transported back to the beginning of the level, you will quickly notice that the level has become completely different from what you just played before. This means you will have no choice but to die, die, and die again until you manage to beat a level in one go. Fortunately, Spelunky is also quite funny, so you“ll have something to help you calm your frustration a bit over the holidays. Mark of the Ninja Platform: XBLA Price: $14.99 (1200 MS points) Whether your loved ones love ninjas or just enjoy sneaking into the kitchen for late-night snacks without being seen, Mark of the Ninja is a stealthy little game that“s sure to take them by surprise. In this stealthy action platformer, you play as a ninja assassin sent to find the truth behind his mystical tattoos, which amplify his powers at the expense of his mind“s slow destruction. The story is an interesting one with a variety of different choices, which is sure to keep you invested while hiding in the shadows, sneaking up on victims of your razor-sharp katana, and doing whatever else ninjas are prone to do. And with such slick controls, being a ninja has never felt better. Trine 2: Director's Cut Platform: Wii U Price: $19.99 (on sale for $14.99 until 1/4/13) Non-Director's Cut version also available on Steam for $14.99 regularly, as well as on XBLA, PSN, Mac OS X, and Linux. If you or your loved ones had the opportunity to purchase a Nintendo Wii U, or are getting one for Christmas, Trine 2: Director“s Cut is a great downloadable title to add to its library. It“s not only an insanely pretty game, but it“s so good in general that many of the more expensive games currently out for the console don“t even match it. This physics-based puzzle-platforming title puts players in control of three heroes, each of whom have been bound to a single entity, and the player must switch between the three as they try and find out how to progress through each level. Tokyo Jungle Platform: PSN (PS3 only) Price: $14.99 Official GP Review Tokyo Jungle is without a doubt one of the most unique games of the year. Set in a bleak, post-apocalyptic future where humans have disappeared, you play as one of 40+ different animals who either used to be household pets or have escaped from the zoo, and your only purpose is to survive in the iron wilderness of a Tokyo that's been overrun by nature. Though the mechanics are somewhat simple (eat, mate, defend yourself, and survive), the random variables the game presents (weather, pollution, what animals are in a certain areas) all make each playthrough a fairly unique experience and one of the must-play games of the year. Article was written by Jordan Haygood and Elizabeth. You can follow them on Twitter as @KaptainJ and @TheLiztress.
  4. Jason Clement

    Review: The Unfinished Swan

    Developer: Giant Sparrow Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Platform: PSN (PS3) Release Date: October 23, 2012 ESRB: E10+ Albert Einstein once said, "Logic will get you from A - Z, but imagination will take you anywhere." This rings especially true in the case of The Unfinished Swan, newcomer Giant Sparrow's first game. The storybook-like intro introduces us to an orphan named Monroe who, after his mother had recently passed away, was only able to take one of her many paintings with him: an unfinished swan. And one night, Monroe awakes to find that the unfinished swan has disappeared from its painting, so he sets off after it with his mother's paintbrush into the canvas to find it. What transpires next makes this arguably one of the most inspired games of the year, and an experience to remember. After the prologue ends, the game begins (in first-person perspective, mind you) in an all white space where there is seemingly nothing all around everywhere you look. However, with the press of a trigger button, you discover that Monroe can toss black paint around (by means of his paint brush), and by doing so, you begin to establish that a wall is directly ahead of you. Then doorways, gates, trees begin to take shape as the paint splatters upon them; yes, there is a world hidden in the vast white oblivion all around you. By determining the contour and shape of objects in the area with the black paint, where they meet the floor, and where they lead you, you begin to discover your surroundings. And then you see it - the first sign of color in this lifeless world - a set of orange tracks in the shape of a swan's feet. Following in the tracks' direction brings you to a river, hidden amongst the seemingly white canvas ahead. Throwing a glob of paint into it reveals a black fish that jumps out and dives back into the water (complete with a splash), disappearing from the colorless world. The ambient sounds of your surrounding also play a large part in helping to distinguish the world around you, bringing the atmosphere of a forest to life, with crickets chirping, water gurgling, and the leaves on trees blowing in the wind. As you keep throwing paint around, one glob of paint hits a toad, which immediately bounces from its perch into the water. Suddenly, a large lizard-like creature appears from under the water and moves in on the toad and snatches it swiftly, before it disappears into the depths of white completely. Silence ensues as you wonder where you are. Throwing more paint around reveals the shape of a small bridge that spans the width of the river, eventually connecting with a staircase on the other end. At the top of the stairs, a faint music comes into hearing, and the paint reveals a hallway, with a gate at the very end. On the other side is a large golden crown seemingly floating in the air. A splotch of black paint quickly reveals its true nature: a statue with a king's face, with the crown atop his head. Not only that, but a whole courtyard of different statues; there is an entire world that exists here. A single golden letter on a wall ahead is revealed to be a giant storybook page, much like the storybook prologue had established, and the gentle, narrating voice of a motherly woman begins to tell you about a king and his quest to design the perfect kingdom. The Unfinished Swan explores the in-game world from this narrative, and as you progress through the chapters, you'll discover more storybook pages that continue the story of the king and how he ultimately relates to the world and Monroe's journey to catch the unfinished swan. Since this is a short game, to say any more about what happens (even about its gameplay) would be spoiling the whole thing. However, the black paint on white canvas world design is not the whole game; though there are some minor areas like it later on. That section of the game is literally 10-15 minutes long, though. As the story progresses, shadows are introduced into the world, and then color. After my first five minutes with the game, I was astounded by the aspect of uncovering a world using paint, but I began to wonder how long this style of gameplay could sustain the game and its story before its appeal wore off. The answer came at the end of Chapter 1. At that point, I was deeply impressed with the game and was ready to see what would come next. At the end of Chapter 2, I was completely blown away. Without spoiling it, The Unfinished Swan's gameplay changes and evolves by introducing a new, unique gameplay element in each chapter (three chapters total, with varying amounts of subsections to each) that becomes the focal point of progressing through the story. Like Papo & Yo, this game embraces imagination and the scope of it. It embraces the child-like wonder all of us had growing up when we would read fantastical stories of medieval cities, dragons, hot air balloons, floating castles, and more. This is not a game you play to be wowed by insanely clever puzzles and gameplay that tests your wit. Though the gameplay was entertaining for me and there are several clever moments, it's still used mainly as a way of progressing the narrative, like in both Journey and Papo & Yo. And still yet, each new gameplay aspect was incredibly fresh and exciting in and of itself when you are first introduced to it, and lends its hand to the narrative in interesting ways. There are some somber tones to the underlying themes behind the story, but in all, the overall experience is much like a journey in which you discover and learn something; not only about the world, but about yourself. Games should strive to be different. They should strive to surprise us. To make us feel something deep down. To make us feel like we've taken something away in the end. The Unfinished Swan attempts to do just that, and for me, it succeeded. It may not affect everyone like that, though; some people may not even get it, but at least Giant Sparrow attempted to do something bold and entirely different from an industry that increasingly looks to replicate past successes with the same types of games. In the end, the creative and intuitive uses of Monroe's paintbrush, the beautiful and enchanting music that accompanies the game; the simple, yet beautiful, stylistic and imaginative world; and the touching narrative and conclusion set this game apart from the rest. When all is said and done, The Unfinished Swan is a short, but must-play experience for those are looking for something artistically and thematically extraordinary. Pros + Fantastic thematic story + Narrative is paced well + Different gameplay mechanics keep things interesting + Art design is astounding + Music is great and adds much to the story Cons - Very short; 2-4 hours long on the first playthrough - Not a whole lot of replay value, except trophies Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic The Unfinished Swan is one of this year's most unique and touching titles. Don't miss it if you appreciate artful stories.
  5. Marcus Estrada

    The Unfinished Swan Finally has a Release Date

    The Unfinished Swan is a game that's been in development for a long while now. When we last heard from developer Giant Sparrow it was that the game was still coming and would arrive as a PSN exclusive. Today, Ian Dallas, Creative Director of Giant Sparrow posted on the PlayStation Blog to share concrete information. Their game is coming, and quite soon. The Unfinished Swan will be out on October 23rd. However, if you are a PS Plus member then you'll be given early access to the game starting on October 16th. How much will the unusual title cost? It's set at the price of $15, with no discount for PS Plus members. It may have taken four years for the game to arrive, but it's good to see that it never became vaporware. Starting today, a series of developer diaries will go online to showcase the production of The Unfinished Swan before launch. If you're curious to learn more about the game, the team, and its creation then check out the first developer diary here:
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