51 posts tagged review
Don’t sleep on Siesta Fiesta ⊟
Siesta Fiesta takes one of the oldest, most iterated but least innovated genres in games, and makes something totally new out of it. And it does this in an upbeat, cute setting with a beautiful presentation that almost seems too graphically impressive for the 3DS.
I didn’t pay much attention to this game before its release. I’m a big dummy, and I’m telling you now that you shouldn’t be like me.
Siesta Fiesta is basically a Breakout game with a simple twist that CHANGES EVERYTHING FOREVER: instead of requiring you to clear the whole screen to move to the next stage, each stage scrolls from left to right. The goal is not to break everything, but to break as much as you can to get a high score by the end of the stage - while still being careful to preserve your life.
Shovel Knight: all diggity, no doubt ⊟
I usually prioritize work over games, unless I have a hard deadline for a review. Even then, most of the time. Whenever I get some free time, I’ll play a game for a bit, then turn it off, write a post, and go clean. I usually feel guilty and put the game down before long.
But that didn’t happen with Shovel Knight. Shovel Knight, I couldn’t put down. There is at least one original Tiny Cartridge feature that languishes unfinished in our drafts folder because I couldn’t not be playing Shovel Knight during the time I allotted myself for writing features. This never happens! That’s not a brag, either; I usually cannot relax, it’s a problem.
Shovel Knight is a game made by people who understand all my favorite games better than I do. It wears its influences on its
sleeve gauntlet?, referencing everything from Super Mario Bros. 3 to Mega Man to Castlevania to Zelda 2 to Ducktales – but not just to elicit nostalgia. It takes elements from them because they are fun, mashing all the best of the NES’s classics into a surprisingly cohesive whole, with just the right amount of modern technique.
Tiny Review: New PS Vita ⊟
We used to do a lot of reviews in a list format that accentuated what was “fab” versus what was “butt.” I’ll be using a variation of that format for this review, based on how it compares to the original model.
I’ve covered a lot of Nintendo handhelds in the past, and comparing them is usually much simpler: this one’s big, this one doesn’t fold, this one has a camera, etc.; whereas Sony handheld changes tend to be less clear in their direction. Some things get better, some things get worse, some things are just different. It’s a lot more of a lateral move, I guess.
Basically, this format works well for a device that I really can’t make any strong definitive conclusions about. It’s a Vita!
Review: Kirby Triple Deluxe ⊟
Kirby Triple Deluxe has almost certainly been in the works since the early days of the 3DS. It’s absolutely loaded with 3D gimmickry – stuff going in and out of the screen with all the subtlety of those old 3D Three Stooges shorts. These days, nobody really puts in the effort to sell the “3D” aspect of the 3DS, and the arrival of the 2DS has all but deprecated the feature anyway. So this game must have been made before the world cooled on 3D.
Triple Deluxe is also really beautiful and polished, another point suggesting that it’s been cooking a while.
Tiny Review: Hatsune Miku Project Diva f ⊟
The Hatsune Miku game, just released on PS Vita (PSN-only), is a really intense sensory overload experience, and a simple-to-understand but exciting rhythm game.
It’s also a perfect illustration of the difference between translation and localization.
Danganronpa: The Ultimate High School Murder Mystery ⊟
Note: This isn’t really a review of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc for PS Vita, because I’m nowhere near finished with it. I have put in enough time that I’m confident about having played a representative sample, but I didn’t want to be disingenous about having a complete picture of the game. I’m still playing it! I don’t want to rush!
I always want to be a visual novel fan, but it rarely works out. I bailed out of 999 after I got stuck during a plane ride with no idea how to solve a puzzle. I’ve tried over the years, but the only ones that really stuck were the Phoenix Wright games (and Jake Hunter).
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc just refuses to let me lose interest. It’s utterly crammed with weird gameplay mechanics, constantly introducing a new minigame or adding a layer of complexity to one that’s already been introduced. That’s not always a good idea, but it’s always interesting.
Threes is your new iOS jam ⊟
We don’t talk about iPhone games too much on TC, but sometimes I’m driven to because they’re so dang fucking good, like Threes is. It’s definitely a tiny game on a tiny device (or an iPad WHATEVER) so I don’t think it strays too far from our mission! And you should totally get it if you can!
Threes is the work of Puzzlejuice designer Asher Vollmer and Puzzlejuice/Ridiculous Fishing/Solipskier artist Greg Wohlwend, which tells you right away it’s a) going to have a clean, colorful look, and b) it’s an intuitive-as-hell puzzle game.
Tiny Review - Zelda: A Link Between Worlds ⊟
You don’t need us to tell you The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is amazing. Almost every reviewer (except maybe Destructoid) agrees it’s top tier, and you likely have the 3DS game shipping your way if it’s not already in your hands anyway. But since some of you insisted on Twitter, we’ll play our part as the arbiters of what’s fun on handhelds.
We’ve previously talked at length about all the changes Nintendo’s made to the Zelda formula have all been for the better: the Link-turns-into-a-drawing mechanic allows for new and creative puzzles, immediate equipment rentals let you explore the way you want to, and the game is full of welcome tweaks to streamline the experience. Since we’ve gone over all that, let’s just get to the usual bullet list of arbitrary observations.
Tiny Review: Tearaway ⊟
Tearaway feels like a AAA game. I don’t necessarily mean that in terms of production values, but rather in the sense that, like the stereotype of modern big-budget games, Media Molecule’s Vita platformer is strictly linear, guiding you from spectacle to spectacle as smoothly as possible. It is, to use the common comparison, an amusement park ride, complete with occasional keepsake photos.
But I’m not denouncing this game, despite its trivial combat, nonexistent challenge and rudimentary puzzles. For once, that kind of handholding is okay because Tearaway uses this AAA framework not to show us, like, how simultaneously cool and sad war is or whatever, but to show us something beautiful.
And it’s really, really beautiful.
Crying • Get Olde
Get Olde is my favorite chiptune release of the year, and I don’t want you to miss it — not like Dannel and I almost did, when someone sent us a link weeks ago and we forgot to check it out. Absolutely play through the entire thing, then do it again and again and again.
I struggled in deciding whether to declare this 2013’s best chip album so far, or dull my praise by qualifying it as my favorite. I don’t want to burden Crying’s debut release with impossible expectations and undeserved resentment from fans of other groups, so I’ll settle for the latter statement.
My tastes in the genre are very specific, and this surprise release from the Purchase, NY trio hits them all — chirpy Game Boy tunes paired with traditional instruments (Ryan Galloway on guitar, Nick Corbo on drums), servicable vocals, playful but personal lyrics, and catchy choruses.
Crying’s frontwoman Elaiza Santos goes far and beyond servicable, though, lending the kind of female voice to a video game life’s soundtrack that I haven’t heard much outside of Leeni on "Nice Young Man" or Jane Pinckard on The 1UP Show’s theme song (not actually a chip track, but I always imagine her singing over this cover).
Tiny Review: Spelunky (Vita) ⊟
I struggle to find a dessert metaphor to describe Spelunky, because that’s how I feel about it: it’s one small bite of delight after another. But to call it a dessert makes it sound insubstantial, when in fact Spelunky is infinitely deep … even though it can be played in tiny sessions and as seriously as you care to.
The Vita version, thanks to portability and the convenience of sleep mode, makes it even easier to eat just one more of this notional mega confection.
Spelunky, if you haven’t been indoctrinated yet, is a roguelike. Wait, come back, it’s not a turn-based thing with a text window to inform you that your @ has been cursed. Spelunky is a roguelike base built around a brilliant side-scrolling platform action game, allowing even dummies like me to finally get the appeal of roguelikes.
Tiny Review: SteamWorld Dig
I did not expect SteamWorld Dig to be a good game. While the pitch for a “hardcore platform mining adventure” sounds like a beautiful combination of words, I didn’t find the initial Beta Gameplay clips compelling and let this eShop game fall off my radar. And I knew little about Swedish studio Image & Form, other than that they put out a Tower Defense game on DSiWare and are more known for their iOS titles. Really, it didn’t sound like Dig had much of a future at Tiny Cartridge beyond a few screenshot and trailer posts.
But it’s a great game, one of the 3DS’s best during a summer when the standards for a great game on Nintendo’s handheld are very high. I was stupid and wrong; it’s totally my jam. Put that deal on toast with peanut butter, and I will eat it all day errday.
It’s Mr. Driller meets Metroid, another marvelous mix of words. You’ll burrow your way down miles of earth, leaving a labyrinth of mazes behind you while collecting weapons/upgrades that let you progress further and make your mining life easier. Dig is as addictive as Namco’s cute platformer (I went through it in one sitting over the course of six hours), but with the depth (both in systems and Mr. Driller's literal depth) and sense of isolation of Metroid.