Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 12 Days of Blogs-mas: Ocho

A question came through from my squirrel hating pal from Indiana asking if there were any games out there as unique as Katamari Damacy and its sequels and off shoots. I could probably think of a few suggestions but my version of unique (artistic, original, inspired) may be different from another's version of unique. In this sense 'unique' could mean 'What other games are out there as friggin' weird and Japanese like Katamari?'. I may have a suggestion or two.

Noby Noby Boy

This game was done by the same person that did Katamari and its just as weird. You play as BOY who's job is to stretch around the board without breaking to maximize your score as much as possible. Your score then goes to GIRL who then stretches out from Earth to the Moon and beyond in the solar system.


I don't want to know what's going on here...

It's bizarre. And if you're hell bent on purchasing it you can get it for iOS. I'm sure of one reader who probably will.

ICO / Shadow of the Colossus Collection  (PS3)

Two classic and critical favorites from the Playstation 2 era that have been given a graphical lift for the HD Playstation 3.

ICO was unique in that you played a boy born with horns who was abandoned by his village in a ruin, I suppose they were afraid of your sexy horns, and while exploring you find Yorda. She's trapped in a cage and doesn't speak your language. You release her then are attacked by shadow creatures. After fighting them back you do the only thing you take Yorda's hand and run, leading her to safety and protecting her. It's unique that the story is kind of opened up to you through your actions, taking Yorda's hand connects you to her on a more emotional level (and has never been done better....sorry Fable 3) and the look/feel of the environment was stunning. At the time I never played anything like it. Still haven't.

Shadow of the Colossus starred an unnamed hero who is trying to save his deceased love by returning her to life. To do this he makes a deal with an ancient deity to slay 16 colossi, these immense creatures roaming this wilderness. Taking up sword and mounting his horse he rides out into the badlands to hunt the unstoppable creatures. The badlands are inhabited by you, your horse and the colossi. The sense of loneliness is remarkable. The size of the wasteland is huge. And the colossi are bigger. Each an exercise in puzzle solving (how to navigate up the beasts to find their weak spots) and skill to take each down. I also was marvelling at the sense of scale this game has. You truly feel you are fighting creatures that make you seem like you are an ant in comparison. Its impressive.

David VS Colossus.

The art direction is great, the soundtrack is epic and the story takes a rather tragic turn towards the end. And its all about what would you do to save the one you loved. Stunning, just stunning.

Rez / Child of Eden (Sega Dreamcast/PS2/XBLA // X360/PS3)

I'm listing both of these together even though they were published by two different game companies these games were made by the same man and same creative vision.  Tetsuya Mizuguchi is the creator of both of these rhythm/ on-rails shooters. What separates these games apart from other shooters is both art direction, music and style.

Rez was out originally for the Sega Dreamcast and the Playstation 2. It involves hacking into a computer system to essentially save an A.I. trapped within. Broke up over five distinct levels, each with its own feel from Egypt to Babylon. The soundtrack is just spectacular especially for fans of trance music. I also love the wire-frame look and feel of the environment and enemies. Next to TRON this is how I envision what hacking a computer system looks like if you were inside the data.

Child of Eden is in a way the spiritual sequel to Rez. It just ramps up everything for the modern console platforms (PS3/X360). Graphics, art direction, animation, sound track. Its all been improved above and beyond my expectations to a near dream like quality. I like that Child of Eden has a more organic look to it than the wire frame look of Rez. It shows how with time technology improves. Add to it motion controls with the Kinect or PlayStation Move and the whole experience changes and becomes truly interactive.

Now I could go on and on about another game, Portal 2, and say its unique because its so flawless and that's a rarity in this day and age. Everything is perfect. Graphics, sound, voice acting, writing, game pacing, level design....its the most polished game I've ever played. My only complaint was I wanted more. That's it.

Instead I'm going to leave you with a look at a game called 'Corpse Party' I saw at the on the Life in 16-bit blog I follow. Follow the link and read the string of screen caps for this game. I think the dialogue is quite unique and its available for download on the PlayStation Network.

So did this work for you Jesse? Some interesting games here each with their own unique qualities. And then there is Noby Noby Boy.