Saturday, September 5, 2009

Digital Games Round-Up

Second round-up then, this time focusing on the other three digitally downloaded games I have been playing recently. I originally intended to write about each of them in separate posts, but I figured I'd lump some thoughts together in one post and then move onto the other posts I've been intending to do lately.

Wipeout HD -- I don't even know what to say about this game, I simply love it. First and foremost, it looks absolutely gorgeous. The tracks are packed with incredible detail that is largely unnecessary when you consider how fast you'll be flying past, while the environments are futuristic but realistic in that game sort of way. Put simply, it's a visual treat, but the ears also get a work out with the sound being, in a word, amazing. This is one of those games that you would use to show off your new sound setup to your friends, it's just that good. And while I don't have a decent sound setup of my own yet, I want one because of this game. Throw in an electronic soundtrack that really compliments the game's aesthetic and represents the intensity of the racing and you have a game that really plays to your senses. Thankfully, it's not just the superficial side of the game that is fantastic as it plays really well too. The racing is fast, frenetic and at times, strategic (via the inclusion of weapons Mario Kart style) and it makes for one incredibly intense experience. It's my first Wipeout game so I can't speak about the others in the series, but I have played F-Zero GX and consider that to be my favourite racing game ever. So when I say that Wipeout HD is pretty much on par with that game in terms of enjoyment, well, I think you know how much I love it. Look out for a more in depth post on it in the future.

Super Stardust HD -- It would be very easy to class this as Geometry Wars in a different skin. It plays in a similar way, is as addictive as that game is and can get insane with the amount of enemies and obstacles around to shoot, but fortunately it has enough of its own unique features to justify looking at it on its own merits as well. Taking place on a variety of planets and a spherical game space, the main objective is to shoot a bunch of asteroids that continue to land around you. Three different weapons add a bit of strategy into the mix as more points can be obtained if you use the right weapon for the right kind of asteroid. Enemies appear intermittently and are usually used as a way to finish a level. There are five levels per planet, with a boss to defeat at the end of the fifth level. The short break between levels gives you information on your score, any bonuses you may have received and of course a breather from the action. Tokens for bombs, shields, weapon upgrades and points can be obtained after breaking up the asteroids and have the ability to entice you into taking risks -- Do I go for those extra tokens over there amongst the massive rocks, or do I leave them in favour of focusing on this bunch of asteroids instead? -- keeping gameplay interesting and unpredictable. Put simply, the game is great for short, quick and fulfilling bursts but can be as addictive as Geometry Wars too, so bare that in mind when preparing to play.

Trials HD -- This fits in the same category as Super Stardust and Peggle, which I wrote about the other day. It's simple in nature, accessible and immediately enjoyable, but contains an incredible level of depth that comes almost out of nowhere. Being a physics based motorcycle game, the depth comes from the physics system and how the tracks' various puzzles use that to their devious advantage. Beginner, Easy and Medium stages are all relatively easy to complete and obtaining Gold medals on each track is a breeze, but then you get into the Hard (and then after that, Extreme) stages and it's like a completely different game. Every section of a level contains a tricky puzzle that really challenges your skills, both with the mechanics of the game and your wit in solving it, and multiple retries are guaranteed. Thankfully, it never gets frustrating. Sure, it can be annoying when you realise you're retrying a section for the 200th time, but the 'just one more go' mentality prevails over any form of anger, dissatisfaction or disgust that you'd assume such a game would have. It's very addictive.

There you have it, some brief impressions on three games I have been playing recently. The three are, along with Peggle, perfect for when you are in-between games thanks to their accessible nature, but they're also worth playing for hours on end, too and it's for this reason I can see myself playing them for many more months to come. Look out for in-depth posts on each game in the future, once I've had the opportunity to focus on them individually.

No comments: