Consoles, PCs, handhelds, Facebook, smartphones — the world of gaming is becoming increasingly confusing and fragmented, but don’t worry, we’re here to simplify things for you. Each week I’ll rattle off five games I think you might want to check out this week. Keep in mind, these articles aren’t meant to be comprehensive lists of everything coming out that week so much as a nice rounded tasting menu. So, let’s get to it…
This Week’s Frustration Fest
1001 Spikes (PC, Mac, PS4, Wii U & 3DS, June 3rd)
1001 Spikes is a spiffed-up remake of Aban Hawkins & The 1000 Spikes, the intentionally frustrating-as-hell platformer released as an Xbox Live Indie Game a couple years back. This new version adds multiplayer co-op and, based on the title, at least one more spike to the mix.
This Week’s Arcade Throwback
Ionball 2: Ionstorm (PC, June 6th)
Ionball 2 appears to be a fairly straightforward modern take on block-busting arcade classic Breakout, with one bit twist — now the blocks shoot back! Looks like some solid mindless fun.
This Week’s Detective Game
Murdered: Soul Suspect (Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 & PS4, June 3rd)
Square-Enix’s Murdered: Soul Suspect has been flying pretty low under the radar, which usually isn’t a great sign for a big budget game like this, but the game’s premise remains intriguing. You play a ghost detective who has to solve his own murder by reading minds and influencing the still-living people around you. That’s a cool idea, and from the sounds of it, Souls Suspect is pretty much a pure adventure game (as opposed to an action game with bits of adventure stuff here and there), which is a pretty rare thing in the triple-A sphere. I’m willing to at least give this one a chance.
This Week’s Other Detective Game
Noir Syndrome (PC, Mac & Linux, June 4th)
And now for a detective game that’s very much not a triple-A production. Noir Syndrome is a retro-styled adventure game in which you play detective and solve murders. Doesn’t sound that groundbreaking you say? Well, all the cases are procedurally generated, so unlike most adventure games, which tend not to have great replay value, you could potentially play Noir Syndrome forever.
Pick of the Week
Tomodachi Life (3DS, June 6th)
There’s a good chance you’ve only heard about Tomodachi Life due to the “Nintendo hates gay people!” furor that erupted over it recently. Basically, the originally Japanese version Tomodachi Life had a glitch that allowed two male characters to produce a baby, which lead to other issues, so Nintendo patched the game removing this “feature”. A lot of outlets looking for a sensational headline reported that Nintendo had callously removed same-sex relationships from the game, when in reality they had never truly been in the game to begin with, which is its own issue, but one Tomodachi Life shares with most Japanese games with relationship building elements.
If you’re feeling leery about the game due the same-sex relationships issue, take into account the fact that Tomodachi Life isn’t really a dating game. Also, you as the player don’t enter into any relationships (you’re essentially a God-like caretaker). You load your Miis into Tomodachi Life, give them basic personalities and observe their activities. Most of these activities are very wacky. Basically the game is an absurdist comedy, with the extended joke being “look at the insane things this game is making my friends and family do”. The relationships and babies are just another joke — hey look, the game made my two friends who don’t really like each other f-ck and have an ugly baby. Would it be cool/hilarious if the game made your two jockiest male friends do it? Absolutely, but it not being included doesn’t necessarily break the experience. Regardless of your sexuality, Tomodachi Life has enough wackiness to go around.
Not a bad week (depending on how Soul Suspect turns out). Any games you’re itching to get your hands on that I failed to mention? Hit the comments and let the world know.