It's the week of the download, with long-awaited Arcade and PSN titles hitting left and right, with a smattering of PC digital releases peppered in for your pleasure. Leading off, there's an indie platformer that has had a longer and more tumultuous development cycle than most big-name releases, the anticipation mounting before its release almost palpable. We also have a fighter made by a fighting game expert and the revivals of a sci-fi shooter franchise, the food-licensed game, and the classic dungeon-exploring experience this week on Pick & Play!
Fez is the indie platformer that almost wasn't. Made famous in part by the aspects of its development detailed in Indie Game: The Movie, Fez is a 2D platformer with a 3D twist, à la Super Paper Mario taken to a puzzling extreme. The little white biped one controls, and the bright red fez that rests atop his noggin, possess a charming 8-bit style that also manages to inform the polygonal environments in which the game takes place.
Bright and colorful, Fez hits the Xbox LIVE Arcade on Friday, April 13.
Another long-awaited downloadable title, Skullgirls is homegrown 2D fighting action at its best. Designed by a fighting game expert for fighting game experts, it combines silky-smooth 2D animation with an eclectic, all-female cast of supernatural warriors, the likes of which are completely original for the Skullgirls experience. Girls with guns, girls with meaty arms for hats, and girls who can self-mutilate, literally losing their heads; it's all fair game. Fast-paced and intricate, expect stunning things out of this one-on-one brawler, which lands on the PSN this Tuesday, April 10 and on the XBLA this Wednesday, April 11.
Finally out of beta, Tribes: Ascend comes to the PC, reviving the long-forgotten classic first-person shooter franchise in full, free-to-play glory. Tribes was originally a Herc-less expansion of the bipedal mecha series Earthsiege, the first game titled Starsiege: Tribes after spinning off from the third traditional entry in the series (titled, yes, Starsiege). Its intense team-based battles took place in environments that accommodated varied mobility, the likes of which seem to have faded into the background in the wake of increasingly realistic war-based shooters. Tribes: Ascend, though, is an attempt at a revival for that classic science fiction mentality, officially launching on Thursday, April 12.
One of the odder marks in the long and storied history of licensed videogames was Cool Spot, a 2D platformer from the 16-bit era that starred the 7-Up spot. As in the red dot on the label. Donning shades and firing soda bubbles, he traversed surprisingly well-designed levels with grace and fluidity and, while he wasn't the only food-focused mascot to get his own game back in the day (Yo! Noid comes to mind), his is certainly the most fondly remembered.
Enter the Sour Patch Kids, in World Gone Sour. Yes, the same Sour Patch Kids you get in those bright yellow bags at the movies. Again, 2D platforming is the order of the day, with a surprisingly complex (literal) growth system for the player's main Kid and an almost Pikmin-like follower mechanic in place. With an appearance by Method Man, this game hits all the buttons on the "crazy" soundboard and cranks the volume up. It blasts onto the PSN this Tuesday, April 10 and the XBLA on Wednesday, April 11.
DLC Slated for release this week:
Hidden Gem of the Week:
Appearing out of the blue only a week or so ago, Legend of Grimrock is an indie-developed throwback to the dungeon crawlers of yore. A love-letter to PC classics such as Stonekeep, Eye of the Beholder, and the Might & Magic series, players guide an adventuring party of four prisoners through the lovingly rendered dungeon of Grimrock, combating deadly foes and avoiding treacherous traps. There's also the occasional puzzle to solve.
Most striking, though, are the smooth, elegant graphics, which are polished to an unrealistically perfect sheen that lends them a sense of style that is neither state-of-the-art nor retro. With tile-based movement and three character classes, this is as traditional as CRPGs get. Watch for it when it hits digital distribution channels this Wednesday, April 11.
Date: April 9, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*