Below: My New Most Anticipated Xbox Game

Before IGN started doing more in-depth articles and videos about the game Below, I didn’t know much about it. I’d remembered seeing a trailer at E3 and being intrigued by the moody atmosphere and Zelda-like gameplay, but after that I had mostly forgotten about it. This month, IGN is featuring Below as their IGN First Game of the Month, and have been showcasing various aspects of the game. Now I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

The first thing you’ll notice is how isolating the game is. The camera is pulled way back, giving the island that you’re exploring a sense of scale, while at the same time making you feel small and alone. It is also very dark, and with a torch in hand you can only see a small area around you. This gives a sense of hopelessness and adds to the feeling of isolation. Not to mention Jim Guthrie is scoring the game, and his tunes sound quite haunting in the trailers.

Also, there’s perma-death, which means this game is going to be fairly brutal. But if Capybara (the studio making Below) is able to balance this with a sense of reward and progression–if I really feel like I do better with each failure rather than being stuck in the same place–perma-death could work to the game’s advantage. I have faith in the developer–they have a pretty good pedigree, having made both Sword & Sworcery EP and Super Time Force.

You can check out an overview video below.

The Witness: New Trailer, Release Date Announced

Hi everyone! Long time no see! Sorry for the hiatus, I just started a new job at Microsoft and moved to Seattle, so I haven’t really had time for blogging or playing video games. But rest assured, I have definitely been keeping up with gaming news, and I’m currently playing through The Last Story for Wii. [Insert Slowpoke meme here.] Expect a review soon!

Jonathan Blow, creator of indie darling Braid and the upcoming The Witness, just did an interview with Polygon about his new game, and if you’re a fan of his work or indie games or if you’re interested in good game design, it’s a must-read. He talks about how he takes an incredibly simple concept, solving a maze, and stretches it to its fullest potential, not afraid to make gamers get stuck along the way.

A new trailer also got quietly released yesterday, announcing the release date to be January 16, 2016. It looks absolutely gorgeous, even better than it looked in the E3 trailer. If this game is half as good as Braid, it’s going to be a must-play. I’m a big advocate for games as an art form, and The Witness looks like it’s going to be another point for games as art.

18 Minutes of No Man’s Sky Gameplay

With Sean Murray of Hello Games narrating with IGN!

Up to now, it’s been difficult to piece together what exactly No Man’s Sky is about, since all we’ve had are two or three minute trailers. It takes a longer look at the game to really start to understand it. There’s so much potential here, and I really hope it gets realized.

Cuphead Trailer

Cuphead, made by the two brothers of studio MDHR, is a video game love letter to classic Disney 1930’s cartoons. There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding this game for its unique art style, and according to Polygon its looks can be deceiving, as it’s a very difficult platformer. The game is apparently a sequence of boss battles without much platforming in between, but each boss is highly stylized and memorable. This trailer debuted at Microsoft’s E3 press conference. I know I’m sold!

The Most Insane Super Mario Bros. Level I’ve Ever Seen

Although I haven’t played The Lost Levels.

This is a custom-made level by the Nintendo Treehouse in Super Mario Maker, a game that lets you make your own Super Mario Bros. levels in several different styles. As part of the last challenge of the Nintendo World Championships, each contestant had to beat a succession of custom levels in order to be crowned the Nintendo World Champion. John Numbers, the guy who beat this level, ended up getting it. It was an awesome event and a great way to start off E3. I hope Nintendo’s digital event today is as good!

Tacoma Trailer

I’m a big fan of first-person experience games, and this one looks really intriguing. It’s being developed by Fullbright, the studio that made Gone Home. I didn’t really enjoy Gone Home that much to be honest, as the story and gameplay didn’t do anything for me, but I think I could get into this one.

Sea of Thieves Trailer

From the developers at Rare, this looks like an open-world, multiplayer seafaring game, where you can sail across the seas, engage in battles with other ships, and discover treasure. I thought they were going to show Yooka-Laylee, but this is really cool too!

Mass Effect: Andromeda – Announcement Trailer

A new Mass Effect game. Need I say more? Big fan of the song in the beginning.

 

Unravel Gameplay Trailer

Here’s another trailer for ya! This one’s also from EA’s conference, but strikingly different from the other games the publisher had on display. It’s a sidescrolling puzzle-platformer where you play a character made of yarn, who has to use that yarn to progress by tying it to places to jump across gaps, among other things. It looks really cute and it’s easy to tell that a lot of heart was put into it. Adding it to my ever-growing wishlist!

Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst Gameplay Trailer

I haven’t played the original yet, but I’ve always thought it looked really cool. First-person parkour sounds dizzying but awesome, and the fact that the sequel will be a fully open-world is really promising. It also just looks gorgeous. Definitely on my radar!