Videogames often attempt to sweep us up in complex, deep narratives that provide context for our actions. N++, though, has just one small page of story, and even it is relegated to a separate screen. Yup, you actually have to go and look for the narrative. You’re a ninja who loves to collect gold strewn around the many death traps you’re attempting to escape. To get out you find the switch that opens the door and then head for the exit, grabbing as much gold as you can along the way in order to net those high scores. But the context doesn’t matter. No, what does matter is that N++ is sublime in its stark simplicity, a direct contrast to the visually stunning, mechanically complex videogames of the modern era.
Designed by: Ben Cichoski, Daniel Mandel Published by: Upperdeck Players: 1-5 Review copy supplied free of charge by Esdevium Games. My love of Firefly is a very known thing. Somehow I’ve managed to stick various references to it into my work on this site, and I pepper conversations with […]
One constant within sci-fi is the creepy A.I. whom you are never sure is entirely trustworthy or has perhaps become truly sentenient. It’s a topic that has been debated time and time again; could an A.I. ever truly be human? What does it even mean to be a human? Will Skynet happen? If so is Arnold Schwarnagger going to reveal he actually is a Terminator? All important questions. The Turing Test, though, is less interested in Terminator and much more intrigued by questions of humanity, free will and what constitutes true thought. Heavy stuff, indeed.
Man, the Worms games have been around for a long time now. Growing up they were a staple of my formative gaming years, the turn-based action becoming engrained in my psyche. Over the years Team17 have put out a lot of Worms games, and the series’ quality has wavered with many critics and fans growing disillusioned with the lack of any meaningful additions to the formula. Despite this, though, over 70-million Worms games have been sold, and with such huge success comes an unwillingness to give the franchise up.
Who doesn’t like big robots smashing stuff and shooting stuff? No one! And who doesn’t love a good twin-stick shooter/brawler? No one! At least, no one sensible or fun-loving. So how could you not like a twin-stick shooter/brawler featuring giant robots smashing stuff while wearing capes? No one, figures Toque, which is why they’ve just released Livelock, which is exactly that. So let’s jump in and take a look, eh?
If reviewing videogames has taught me anything it’s that violence is absolutely a requirement in all forms of entertainment. If there isn’t blood, sex, swearing or the words “dark, gritty and mature” then it’s clearly worthless. That was sarcasm, by the way. Ah, but then boardgames entered my life and proved me wrong with its much more peaceful themes, such as running a gallery or smuggling contraband into the market, or in the case of Mystic Vale quietly tending to what will hopefully be a verdant valley of serenity. Which also houses suspiciously angry-looking giant snake-things, wolves and other probably violent stuff. Right then. You take on the role of a clan of druids coming to heal the Valley of Life which has been cursed somehow. Healing, however, actually means trying to score more points than the other players. So much for being peaceful, huh?
I don’t think H.P. Lovecraft could have predictated that his beloved short-stories would become entrenched in the world of boardgames, acting as the inspiration for countless hundreds of titles that purport to be inspired by the works of someone with an intense imagination and propensity for horror. It seems like every other day a new videogame, boardgames or book arrives, taking its theme and story ideas from Lovecraft and bending them to their own will. Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition is one such game, residing in FFG’s Arkham Horror lineup of games where the emphasis is on supernatural monsters, investigators and pulp fiction. But this one….this one is special.