Somehow I managed to forget to download March’s games and so missed out on Disc Jam and Tearaway Unfolded. Still, the good news is that another batch of gaming delights awaits us as we head into April.
Sorry, did I say gaming delights? What I meant to say was drivel.
Yes, I’m afraid it’s a rather disappointing way to kick off this month’s batch. Designed by David Jaffe, who’s pedigree includes the God of War and Twisted Metal series, Drawn to Death is a unique take on the 3rd person, multiplayer shooter. The gimmick here is that combatants are taken from the pages of a bored teen’s mid-lesson scribbles and this is reflected in the art style used throughout. Characters, locations, icons, pick ups and more are all presented in a crude, hand scribbled styling.
Which is fine. Not all games have to be Triple-A grade lookers, there is space on the digital shelf for a variety of looks. Sadly once you scratch beneath the surface, problems begin to emerge.
First up a confession; whilst this is a multiplayer experience at heart, I didn’t make it past the single player tutorial, for reasons that will become apparent. With that caveat in place then, the game quickly reveals itself and what you find isn’t pleasant. Aside from guiding you through the basic controls, the tutorial reveals the ‘humour’ utilised throughout the game. This includes repeated insults aimed at the player, reminding you of how stupid and useless you are, or foul-mouthed background rants from NPCs. It is just needlessly crude without any of the wit that underpins genuine humour (one voice related gag aside). Think I’m being over sensitive? Fine, if you find the idea funny of a drawing of a bloke on a wall bending over, bum cheeks glowing bright red, a shot across which unleashes a cloud of noxious green gas which opens the door, then this is the game for you. Personally it left me cold and combined with an unsatisfactory playing experience, leaves little to recommend.
Control of your central character is floaty and whilst there is a wide variety of weapons at your disposal, it all soon becomes something of a grind. Mrs Gently perhaps summed it up best, declaring as I played how boring it looked and how she would have given up yonks ago. It’s hard not to agree.
How to describe this? Let us again consult Mrs Gently, who astutely opined, ‘This doesn’t look like your sort of game. It’s about love.’
Low blow aside, she has the right of it for when you get past the cutesy graphics and bizarre set up, what you are basically left with is a puzzle game, possibly my least favourite gaming genre.
The setup is all sorts of cutie pie nonsense, the cut and thrust of which leaves you controlling a weird little rabbit, piloting your ship around the level solving puzzles. To start with you do these yourself; shoot doors open, release trapped comrades, that sort of thing. Then other characters are introduced, allowing you to assign one instruction to them whilst you carry out another.
If I sound a little vague on the details, that’s because I am. I didn’t really get it and didn’t really enjoy it. Love don’t live here anymore.
Whereas a game such as Drawn to Death tries to hard to be funny and falls flat on its face, 10 Second Ninja perfects the art of the silly.
The evil Greatbeard has captured all the animals from the forest before trapping you in his spaceship. To win your freedom, and that of your animal friends, you must complete a set of dangerous levels in, you guessed it, less than 10 seconds.
Betraying its handheld PS Vita roots, this is Angry Birds for the Jilted Generation. Armed with a sword, a jump and a limited supply of shurikens, you must take out all the bad guys on the level before the time runs out.
Published by Curve Digital, whose track records includes our old favourites Ultratron and The Swindle, This is terrific fun, the type of puzzler that I can sink my teeth into. Whilst you only have 10 seconds for each level, like in Angry Birds you get the chance to survey the scene before the timer kicks in, allowing you to plot out your route to victory. How can you get to the top of the level and take out the bad guys there whilst avoiding the deadly beam, jumping across the gaping chasm and finally taking out the two nasties standing at opposite ends of the ground floor? The solution will invariably involve mixing up sword attacks, multiple hit shuriken throws and some very lithe movements.
Fiendish but fun.
A slightly disappointing month ends with the worst of the bunch.
I hate this. No, really. As a game it’s fairly inoffensive, a single screen horde attack as you try to survive multiple waves of enemies. But just look at it!
Graphics don’t make a game but for crying out loud, this is 2017 and this is running on a PS4. Stylised naffness is one thing (Drawn to Death being an example) but this takes 8-bit adoration to the extreme.
Blockiness aside, I quickly got bored of the action too, the very nature of it making it a repetitive slog. If you’re stuck on a slow moving bus with your PS Vita then this might waste 10 minutes but sat at home with a stack of better games to play, this just isn’t going to cut the mustard.
PS3 owners can also pick up Invizimals: the Lost Kingdom and Alien Rage – Extended Edition. I’ll cover these in a PS3-exclusive feature another time.