The next generation of console gaming is here. And while there have been plenty of discussions on the consoles’ hardware and release games, little has been said about its accessories. The PS5, in particular, has shocked users with its controller. The DualSense may look like your everyday controller, but true to its “Sense” label, it’s packed with technology that aims to immerse players into the games much better.
Below are the two things that put the DualSense ahead of its competitors.
Compared to the DualShock’s haptic feedback, which, truthfully, is just a glorified rumble feature limited to the grips, the DualSense has integrated technology located within every inch of the device. Sony’s promise that the controller would provide a “variety of powerful sensations” was no lie. If you purchase a PS5 and play around in Astro’s Playroom, you’ll see the DualSense’s haptic technology at work from the opening scene. Whenever an object moves near the player, the DualSense can exhibit enough spatial awareness to make you feel like it’s actually coming towards you.
There’s even a level in the game where you play around with zippers. When the game asks you to pull down on the zip, the DualSense will allow you to feel every notch by sliding your finger down on the touchpad.
Another feature that aims to build on Sony’s promise of heightened immersion is the adaptive trigger. Depending on the game and scenario, the L2/R2 button can exhibit some resistance. For example, they can “lock” if a gun is jammed. Pressing either button to jump on a spring will also be much tougher. In Tronic Fix’s teardown video (9:25), we see that this is because a spiral gear is attached to both the motherboard and each trigger.
If the motherboard receives the command to up the resistance, the spiral gear will adjust a separate gear, making the L2/R2 much harder to press.
Other notable features
These next-gen features, while impressive, still demand a lot of power from the controller. This is why Sony opted for a much bigger battery—1,560 mAh—to support their functions. For a device to have that much power, its manufacturers carefully calculated its PCB stackup impedance to ensure that ground and power planes are up to standard. The power gets delivered more evenly throughout the controller by increasing every components’ crosstalk susceptibility and capacitance, allowing the DualSense to last for more than 15 hours on battery.
Other notable features of the DualSense controller include:
• A “create” button (for 4K screenshots and real-time screensharing)
• Built-in microphone
• Backward compatibility with PS4 games (not the console)
All in all, the DualSense is a revolutionary piece of hardware that’s dedicated to providing the best immersive experience possible. It’ll be exciting to see how future PS5 games will utilize these features.
For more PS5 updates, news, and reviews, check out some of our other posts.
Sony has finally unveiled the list of 20 games included on the Playstation Classic on the Playstation Blog. While we knew that Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy VII and Jumping Flash were coming, the remaining 17 games were kept behind closed doors for quite a while, creating speculation throughout the community. Well now we know the Playstation Classic is coming on December 3rd for $99.99 and appears to leave something to be desired.
See the full list below
Battle Arena Toshinden
Cool Boarders 2
Final Fantasy VII
Grand Theft Auto
Metal Gear Solid
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
Resident Evil Director’s Cut
Ridge Racer Type 4
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
20 games is not enough games for any classic system, but this list is leaving out many classics that people were hoping would be included. Two major mascots of the original Playstation, Crash Bandicoot & Lara Croft are oddly missing (although those remasters are out there now & Lara has moved on in a grand way). What do you think of the list? Is this a collection worth $100?
For the longest time I found myself becoming disenfranchised with gaming. Triple A titles were becoming watered down, half finished, open worlds with nothing in them, and mostly disappointing. I was no longer getting excited about new games coming out and when one did catch my eye, I would find myself being skeptical and negative. It was becoming a little depressing. I’ve been an avid gamer since the NES days, and this genuine feeling of apathy towards my favorite hobby was weighing heavily on me.
Then came the Nintendo Switch.
At first, like others, I was skeptical about it. The design caught my eye, of course, but Nintendo always has their gimmick right? I was intrigued but I didn’t hop onto the hype train because I just didn’t want another disappointment.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2018. Completely uninterested in anything coming to my Xbox or Ps4, I decide to pick up a Switch and Breath of the Wild with my tax return, and dove right in. Needless to say, I was utterly blown away. The seamless transition between my TV and portable play was just the tip of the iceberg. Everything the console did was fast and snappy. This was a new Legend of Zelda title that had everything it needed to be familiar and nostalgia inducing, but also so vastly different from the rest of the series that it felt new and refreshing. I was absolutely stunned. I hadn’t been this excited about a console or a game in forever. Then I picked up Mario Odyssey, and the same thing happened. Everything a Mario game needs to feel like a Mario game…and yet… so utterly different. I found myself getting excited again and it felt like coming home.
Now, I’ve always been a Nintendo fan. I have owned every Nintendo system since the NES except for the WiiU. To be honest they are really the only company that has never actually let me down. They sparked my love for gaming when I was only a 3 year old obsessing over 8-bit cartridges. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised that they would pull me out of this “Next-Gen Funk” I’d succumbed to. The Switch is just downright amazing. It has a fantastic library that is only growing more and more diverse and worthwhile every week. Plus, Nintendo’s desire to bring back and encourage that old style of “Couch Multiplayer” is truly a lovely and long sought after return to my roots. The Switch is a perfect console for the younger gamers, but it really brings something back to some of us cynical old farts that we’ve really been missing.
However, as if Nintendo pulling me out of that particular hole wasn’t enough. They also pulled me out of another one. Which leads to something else I think deserves talking about.
Project Octopath Traveler
Now being in the older generation of gamers I have a fond attachment to turn based JRPGs. From my first Final Fantasy on the NES, to the stellar lineup of games on SNES. These games were a major part of my childhood. I remember getting sucked into those adventures for months on end. Seriously, the amount of times I’ve beaten Chrono Trigger is absolutely ridiculous. I have easily thousands upon thousands of hours on that game alone. At the end of the GameCube/PS2 era though…these kind of games really took a dip in quality in favor of more action based gameplay and a sudden lack of superb storytelling. I found myself disenfranchised with this genre more than any other.
Until I downloaded the demo for Octopath Traveler on my Switch.
This game is exactly what I want and need from Square-Enix. It truly captures that old time feeling of a good classic JRPG. From the music, to the small tidbit of story we got in the form of expertly sliced demos, and the highly addictive battle system (which was only a small taste of it) and it’s gorgeous art style. It’s a perfect call back to those fantastic games on the SNES. I found myself feeling nostalgic and entranced in something that felt so new. I hadn’t felt this way about a game in a long time. The moment it became available for pre-order I snatched up the Wayfarer’s Edition with no hesitation. I’m normally against pre-orders entirely but man…this game deserves my cash.
So to sum it all up before this gets even longer: The Nintendo Switch is the best thing to happen to gaming, particularly my generation, in a very very long time. I feel like I can safely get hyped about gaming again. With all the love for JRPGs being shown to the Switch so far with games like Lost Sphear, I Am Setsuna, and the incredible Switch exclusive that Octopath will be I am so stoked. Plus all those sweet Nintendo first party franchises in the mix. My rekindled love is all due to this wonderful little device. It has even strengthened my relationship to my PS4 and X-Box One. It’s a good time to be a gamer, especially if you’re on the Switch.
Whether you’re an Xbox player or not, there is no doubt that Microsoft really outdid itself at E3 this year. Not only was it the largest show in their history, but they unveiled some really juicy details that should have any Xbox owner excited. I’m not referring to the 18 console launch exclusives, 15 world premiers, or any of that. I’m talking about their clear focus on creating original content in the future.
The creation of The Initiative, Microsoft’s brand new studio dedicated to creating first party titles, is big news. Based in Santa Monica and headed by Darrell Gallagher, The Initiative’s sole purpose is to make Xbox exclusives, which should be exciting to anyone who owns an Xbox as our lineup of first party games is basically a barren wasteland at the moment. The most exciting thing about this announcement is that while they are directly a Microsoft studio, they have been given the creative freedom to operate like an Indie studio. Which could mean getting some fresh and unique titles exclusively for Xbox.
As well as this new first party studio they have also acquired Playground Games, longtime development partner and team behind the Forza series, who are not only working on Forza Horizon’s 4, but have been confirmed to already be working on a brand new project. In addition, Microsoft will also be acquiring Ninja Theory, makers of Hellblade and Kung Fu Chaos. This will give them the resources and ability to make even more ambitious games on the Xbox platform. State of Decay 2 has seen over 2 million people playing, and more to come especially since it was available at launch on the Xbox Game Pass, and it sounds like Microsoft is planning on shelling out the resources to make sure that game continues to grow. Last, but surely not least, Compulsion Games. The brilliant minds behind We Happy Few, could truly benefit from Microsoft’s support and deep pockets. They have definitely shown they can make a unique and refreshing game, now imagine what they can do with the freedom to dream bigger and take risks. All of these teams developing for Microsoft is a HUGE boon for future releases, and I can’t wait to see what comes of it.
Also, one of the better announcements of Microsoft’s E3 presentation is the upgraded Game Pass, which will now see many big titles added such as Elder Scrolls Online, The Division, Fallout 4. As well as giving subscribers Xbox exclusives on their launch day, including games like Horizons 4 and Gears 5.
Definitely sounds like some exciting games will be coming to Xbox in the near future. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!
Temtem was a game that caught our eye here at Proven Gamer and created a fervor. So much so that I found myself funding the game to get my hands on it a little early, and hoping that one day I can play it on my Switch. That goal is one step closer after Temtem not only hit their initial $70,000 goal, but they are now above the Switch threshold of $250,000 with 17 days to go. Obviously, any Kickstarter games can miss targets and in some cases never come out, but Temtem’s promising concept and design at this point cannot be ignored.
Temtem promises the players will be able to play along side their friends in a massively multiplayer world. Some call it the Pokemon MMO we always wanted, but it is promising to be much more than that. The game out of the studio Crema from Madrid, Spain features PVP, Co-operative play, breeding, and an incredible array of monsters to collect that span over 12 different types. The studio also created Immortal Redneck, which has garnered its own critical acclaim and proves the studio is no stranger to the Nintendo Switch hardware. The game’s final release is not scheduled until mid 2020, but the immediate support of gamers around the world is heard loud and clear; they want this game!
Check out the teaser trailer below:
So what do you think? Are you going to back the game on Kickstarter? Are you going to take a ‘wait and see’ approach? Let us know in the comments below.
The Pokemon 2018 Video Game Press Conference was held last night and we finally know what Pokemon games are coming to the Switch. We were also given a treat in the form of a mobile/Nintendo Switch game called Pokemon Quest, which is out now for Switch with mobile to follow “soon”.
Pokemon Quest is being called “Free to Start”, which indicates some form of cost coming. Whether that is in the form of a one time payment or a stream of micro-transactions remains to be seen. Pokemon Quest has you collecting and battling cube-like variations on the classic 151 Pokemon in an action RPG-like battle system. You collect “power stones” that are used to directly power up your Pokemon. Stay tuned to Proven Gamer for more in-depth thoughts soon as we sink our teeth into it.
Also revealed is the moment we were all waiting for – Pokemon on Switch. It appears many of the rumors circulating the internet prior to this conference were mostly true as Let’s Go Pikachu and Lets Go Eevee are the two titles coming to Switch on November 16th 2018 world wide.
Lets Go! Pikachu & Eevee revisits the Kanto region with the original cast of 150 Pokemon at your disposal. There is a deep integration with Pokemon Go in the ways that you now catch Pokemon, but also that you can transfer Pokemon from Go to Let’s Go. For what those Pokemon will be used for remains to be seen, although they showed these transferred Pokemon in place called Go Park. You can play this version many ways, which fits the Switch’s gimmick to a T. Play with one Joy Con or even with a special pokeball peripheral. You can even take your Pokemon on a walk with you using this new pokeball (Pokewalker anybody?). We cannot tell if you battle wild pokemon or if you just need to throw pokeballs, which would be a real bummer.
Please stay tuned to Proven Gamer as more information is made available.
It appears that Resident Evil 7 is headed to the Nintendo Switch…but not quite in the way you’d expect.
As of now, Resident Evil 7: Cloud Version has been listed Japanese eShop, with no confirmation on the title coming to other territories. As the name implies, the game runs entirely through the cloud and cannot be played offline…at all. So if you don’t have a stable internet connection – it appears that you are SOL. But wait – it gets better! The game can be played for 15 minutes for free but after that, you’ll need to purchase a 2,000 yen ticket which lasts 180 days. I mean, one can definitely get through the game in six months, but this move just baffles me. If Capcom wanted to bring RE7 to the Switch, then why not just do it? A $20 online-only rental is just such a bizarre move, but to each their own.
In any case, feel free to check out the trailer below and comment on what you feel about this surprising, yet odd piece of news.
According to a thread on Reset Era, it looks like God of War gave a mighty boost to the Playstation 4 sales for the month of April. According to the supposed leak, and after some math that I will never understand, the PS4 topped around 364,000 units, with Switch at around 171,000 units and the X-Box One trailing at 134,000 units. Magipork has the leak below:
“The relative sales volumes of game hardware was:
XBox One: 0.79
While this is firmly in the “grain of salt” territory, it would not be a shock to see God of War provide such a boost in sales. We look forward to seeing official NPD Numbers on Tuesday. Stay tunes here on Proven Gamer for more information.
Monster Crown is a special indie game where you train and breed monsters and go on a deep and dark adventure. While the game may look similar to Pokemon, and there may be monsters to collect, that is about where the similarities end. Once we had these two on Nintendo Duel Screens, I was sold. I had to back this game on Kickstarter. Since then they have smashed goal after goal and have a few days left to keep pushing.
A couple of weeks ago I sat down with Shad Shwark to talk about the artistic process behind his monster designs. This week I got to sit down with GameOnion & Alex Naveira, two composers working on this ambitious title.
Proven Gamer: First I want to thank you for agreeing to sit down for this interview. Monster Crown is shaping up to be something really special. So much so that I just HAD to become a backer! Before we get into the nitty gritty of music composition for this game, tell the Proven Gamer audience who you are , what are your roles, and how you two became involved in the project?
GameOnion: I’m a member of the music-team as a composer / arranger alongside Alex. It wasn’t always this way though, I actually used to do art for this project, but then I discovered music for myself. It’s just way more fun for me personally. Besides that, I’m also working on sound effects.
Alex Naveira: I’m also a composer and arranger for Crowns alongside Onion. I believe I started sometime in 2016, after onion had told me that there was a game he was doing art for that needed some music. The concept was pretty cool so I tagged along for it.
PG: So you guys had a previous relationship? How did you guys meet up?
Alex: I had heard of Onion in 2015 through twitter (I saw that he was a really good artist), but met him in 2016 through the comments of my YouTube remixes since he enjoyed a few of them. Him and I had worked together on WwwWario’s “Super Wario Land” in May of 2016 (although he was more focused on art at the time). We were pretty close back then and afterwards, he introduced me to the Monster Crown team. For the past year he’s gotten more into music production and I can safely say he’s one of my closest friends in the scene.
PG: Awesome. Now that all that getting to know you part is over with and I am all misty eyed, lets talk music shall we? Music in video games has started to become one of the most talked about aspects in gaming over the last few years. People are noticing a good soundtrack more and more. Some playlists of gaming soundtracks have tens of thousands of plays on YouTube. It wasn’t always that way, though. What do you think has changed?
Onion: Not sure, to be quite honest. I’d imagine it’s related to the increasing quality of music in the recent years. The appeal is much bigger these days.
Alex: I think that with the advent of the internet came the ability to find tons of other people that share your interests, and, I think a culture naturally appeared that celebrates video music – probably because lots of people play them, and because I don’t think you can have memories of your favorite childhood game without some sort of earworm-tune that stayed with you. Most people don’t think of Mario without the classic Level 1-1 theme, if you get what I mean. Nowadays people want to capture that “making of a classic” so a lot of it is based on nostalgia – probably why a lot of projects gain traction, since they want new things with the old coat of paint.
PG: What would you say is the most important aspect of music in games?
Onion: Themes in games are usually bound to specific characters, situations or areas. Usually, my goal is it to capture the atmosphere / personality of a theme or character. That can be done in various ways, instrument selection is an important factor, in my opinion.
Alex: Like onion said, atmosphere is incredibly important in regards to how I want a track to sound, but also, a good soundtrack (in my opinion) needs to trigger certain emotions as well. Certain songs (such as the “Fusion Facility” location track) were made with regards to the location that they play in, but to also have a melancholy vibe or nostalgic tone, as if you’ve heard it before – those kinds of tracks are my favorites in video games.
PG: So generally speaking, it seems like you are presented with a location or character and compose based on what is presented. With that being said – have you even come up with a track that dictated a location or character?
Onion: Not that I remember, no. If we did that, I wouldn’t be sure if it would fit.
Alex: Nah, so far it’s been the other way around every time. That would be an interesting way to approach creating a setting, though.
PG: So does coming up with a sound in your head happen right away or is it something you workshop a bunch?
Onion: For me personally, it’s kinda both. Sometimes I just make up stuff as I go along. Once you start working on something, a lot of ideas randomly come up.
Alex: Since the tracks are all chip-tune styled, I mostly think about how I can make a sort of hybrid of modern synth sounds and old GB-style sounds. Usually there’s more synth added on if I feel that the arrangement needs a bit more oomph. Ideas for mixing synth with chiptune usually come pretty fast, though.
PG: Chiptunes. I’m glad you brought that up. I’ve heard musicians say that working with chiptunes is very limiting, which breeds creativity. Have you found that to be the case?
Alex: I enjoy working with chiptune channels, as I feel like each individual channel (be it the square, saw, triangle, etc.) is sort of it’s own little song. Since there are only 4 base chiptune tracks I work with to start, I enjoy trying to push as much as I can into such a small amount of default channels.
Onion: I personally find it somewhat limiting, but you need to keep in mind that some of gaming’s greatest tunes were made with those limitations. If they managed to make it work, we can too. Something else to remember is that Monster Crown combines chip-tune and synth / orchestra. That definitely gives us a lot more freedom with instrumentation.
PG:This is a perfect transition into walking us through the process step-by-step. So we are going to debut a brand new track right here on Proven Gamer. Can you guys take us on a journey on how this track was made from conception to completion?
Onion: While I can’t say much about Alex’s workflow on that specific theme, here’s my usual process: I come up with either the melody or a bassline first. That original melody I come up with changes a lot through the creation of a song, usually because it doesn’t fit within a progression I would love to use or something like that. If you’re set on a melody, the next logical step would be to come up with a backing track / chord progression.
Onion (Cont’): As you can tell by Alex’s track right there, he used a piano for chords, which isn’t really a wave table-type sound you would expect in a game like this. That’s usually what I try to do too: Chords are played by more realistic instruments or a synth, it’s a nice contrast. Once I’m set on a progression, the next step would be to come up with something like a countermelody, of course. Striking the right balance between orchestral sounds, synths and wave table-synths is important here. Percussion is usually the last thing I do, but it varies. So that’s the general composition-process, but mixing and mastering is a whole different story. That is a big, complicated mess, which I can’t possibly cover in detail now. It usually takes longer than the composition itself for me.
Alex: For Mill Town, the first half was actually an older composition I did about a year before I arranged it again for Monster Crown. The second bit before the loop that counts as a ‘bridge” back to the beginning would be the second song. Sometimes I have little mini-songs that I match up with other ones I have in my head. I tend to start with a melody – since I prefer it to dictate what the chords are, not the other way around. I started with just the chiptune version and that was considered the final version for a while, but when I decided to try and define just what the “style” for Monster Crown was, I went back and added some of those synth elements – as I did to a lot of the tracks. I think onion’s workflow and my own are very similar when it comes to a composition. I’ve learned that mixing in mono actually helps a lot, so that’s one thing I’ve started doing that I could point out, but a lot of times it’s a whole mess of EQ bands and filters.
PG:Love the complexity in the layers there. Really catchy, but not too repetitive. Feels like I am in a laid back part of town with a sense of adventure. So we have established that music can set the tone for specific scenes. How can music in games tell a story? Do you have any favorite tracks from gaming past that tells a story?
Alex: Music can tell a story through emotions alone – this one really overlooked track from an already overlooked game, Island Life from The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, always gave me a feeling of “this is what life is now for the protagonist”, and sets a tone for the rest of the soundtrack too since it plays early on. It’s also an arrangement of the Fairy Fountain / File Select song that has been in the series since nearly the beginning.
Alex (Cont):When it comes to Pokémon, I love how bittersweet and melancholy New Bark Town from Gold and Silver sounds, because it represents the vibe that your character has been there for his or her entire life.
Onion: That’s a very difficult question for me to answer, considering how many games I’ve played and OSTs I’ve listened to, haha. Though, one soundtrack that has always sticked out to me was Pokémon Mystery Dungeon 2’s selection of music. The progression of the tone of the themes is quite interesting, they get pretty haunting for a Pokémon game near the end of the story. I connect a lot of memories with that game, and the music takes me back instantly. This OST manages to capture the atmosphere of each area incredibly well, the emotional themes still make me feel the same way as they did when I first played the game. Simply incredible.
PG: Thank you guys. This was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. Like that I will never be able to do what you two do. Good luck in the final days of the Kickstarter campaign!
Onion: Ha ha. Thank you for the support and thank you for having us!
Runbow has been delayed, with no new release date announced. According to the press release earlier today, Runbow needed to be delayed to ensure the games quality. We should have more information on the release date in the next couple of weeks. Read a portion of the press release below:
Düren, April 20th 2018 – The colorful racing chaos of award-winning party game Runbow will be postponed for some weeks in order to further optimize the game’s performance.
Headup Games and 13AM Games deeply apologize to everyone who’s already looking forward excitedly to play it, but in order to feature the highest quality possible, Runbow needed to be delayed for PlayStation®Store and Nintendo eShop. But rest assured – it’s just a matter of weeks. You will get the newest date, as soon as it is set.
The same may apply to the retail Runbow Deluxe Edition, due to the digital shift this date will probably shift back a bit as well. The Deluxe Edition will include all DLCs and nice physical goodies.
Proven Thoughts: Runbow is a chaotic mess of fun and could be one of the best couch co-op experiences on PS4 & Switch. With the Switch version boasting 8 player couch co-op I cannot WAIT to get my hands on that version.
If Blossom Tales and Shovel Knight’s sales are indicative of anything, it’s that indie titles are a smashing success on the Nintendo Switch. Yes, the ‘Nindie’ scene is here to stay, so why not compile a wish-list of PC/PS4-bound indie games that we want on the Nintendo Switch. Here we go!
Black Future ’88 is a 2D cyber-punk side-scroller where you climb an ever-evolving procedural tower that upgrades itself the higher you ascend. Your objective is simple: reach top of the tower and assassinate its insane architect in 18 minutes or less…or your heart explodes. Each pulse-pounding second of hyper-intense gameplay is accompanied by a striking synth score certain to blow your speakers out. Black Future ’88 is currently set to release on Steam in 2018.
Assuming the role of a rambunctious 10-year-old boy named Luciano, The Italianeer invites you to punch and pummel your way through 1980s New York City to collect a smorgasbord of food items for your family. With drop-in/drop-out co-op support and gameplay similar to arcade beat-’em-ups like The Simpsons or Turtles in Time, you’d be wise to bring a trusted paisano on your delightfully hilarious adventure; every track-suit-wearing jabroni this side of Brooklyn is hellbent on wipin’ that stramboli-eatin’ grin off your face.
Equal parts Majora’s Mask and Rogue Legacy, with just a dollop of Adventure Time, The Swords of Ditto is a couch co-op perma-death dungeon crawler that gives you five days to prepare and confront the Evil Witch Mormo to prevent the world’s end. How, you might be asking, does one go about postponing doomsday if death is a permanent inevitability? The answer is simple: when your randomly-generated hero dies, a century passes and one of your descendants begins the cycle anew.
A pixel-lover’s paradise, Eagle Island is an avian adventure unlike no other. As Quill, you must explore the eponymous isle in pursuit of a gargantuan deity known as Armaura – a particularly foul…fowl who has shanghaied with your owl companion Ichiro. Fortunately Koji – your spare sidekick – is ready to swoop into action. Utilizing ‘falconry-based gameplay’, and Ancient Totems to elementally empower your fine-feathered friend, Quill’s journey is poised to be an ornithological outing for the ages when Eagle Island releases Summer 2018.
Let’s face it: Crazy Taxi is so 2000-and-lame. Picking up would-be passengers and recklessly playing chauffeur was fun but it’s Current Year, and Current Year is all about pizza delivery. Pizza Titan Ultra is a frantic, arcade-style action game where you pilot a 10-story mobile pizzeria and deliver piping-hot pizza pies all over town. Taking place within a futuristic city (if this is the future, sign. me. up!), fulfilling orders in 30 minutes or less is the least of your worries as your custom mech will constantly contend with (i.e. bash) a number of machines that get in the way of your deliveries (see, that’s what you get for putting pineapple on a pizza).
What do you think? Are these titles worthy of the ‘Nindie’ honorific? What indie games do you want on the Nintendo Switch? Sound off in the comments section below.
Lets be honest, I love God Of War. I love it so much that I bought it three times. So with that being said, I dont need three copies of the game. Someone bought one of them, so I have one left over. What do I do with it? I guess I’ll give it away!
How do you win? Easy!
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The Giveaway will take place Sunday at noon EST. You can enter starting today!
If you have not been following the indie game Monster Crown prior to today, shame on you. Monster Crown has launched a Kickstarter earlier this week and subsequently smashed their goals. With over $11,000 raised and an initial a goal of $5,000 in less than four full days live, Monster Crown is primed to set the world on fire. Shad Shwarck and lead developer Jason Walsh are joining myself and Andy Asimakis on the next episode of Nintendo Duel Screens to talk all about the concept behind Monster Crown. Before that show launches I had the pleasure of sitting down with Shad to talk about the art of Monster Crown and the artistic process behind it all.
Proven Gamer: Hey Shad! First of all, congratulations on smashing your initial goal and then some on Kickstarter. That is an incredible feat!
Shad: Thank you and thank you so much to everyone who helped us out. None of us expected this much positive reception this fast, but we absolutely couldn’t have done it without some awesome fans and supporters of Monster Crown. We can’t wait to share the finished game with everyone. That goes for you guys at Nintendo Duel Screens and Proven Gamer, too!
Proven Gamer: Okay, so, for those who don’t know what Monster Crown is, tell us about it. What is the elevator pitch?
Shad: Monster Crown is a game where you meet, battle, tame, and breed monsters, and through breeding and training can create unique crossbreeds, even so far as discovering combinations other players may never find. Set in a universe where dangerous monsters roam, and the people have only recently started to rebuild their land from a brutal civil war, you find yourself face to face with the echoes of that bloody conflict. It’s up to you and the monsters you’ve contracted to traverse this dangerous world – I can’t say exactly how you’ll face the shadows of the past, and not just to avoid giving too much away – there’s a choice to be made, and you’ll just have to play to see what happens!
Proven Gamer: Man, it is no wonder people are flocking to support you guys. So, with a game of this scale and with all the designs needed, how did you handle that type of scale? What were some of the challenges for you?
Shad: There are a lot of designs needed for sure – I think one of the biggest challenges for handling that is making sure it stays consistent, while avoiding stagnation. You don’t want to make a game that looks like you have a cute round blob with anime eyes next to a realistic, muscular hellbeast that looks like the Predator. Key to handling large projects is to have solid art direction – by deciding guidelines on how visuals should look overall, even designs with a lot of variance look like they belong with each other. For example, monsters for Monster Crown use four colors: black, white, and two others that can be passed on in breeding. Pixel dithering is used to create more intricate shading, but we never exceed that color palette (except in very rare circumstances.) That way, even if you have a small, cute monster next to a big, terrifying nightmare, they still appear like they belong in the same world.
Proven Gamer: Consistency is key, and from what we can see, these monsters all seem to fit together really well. Did you ever hit a wall artistically? A time where you just looked at the page and simply could not come up with anything? I imagine with all the Pokemon games, Digimon Games, etc, it could be hard coming up with original designs. Would that be fair to say?
Shad: I don’t have too much of a problem coming up with original designs admittedly – it comes fairly easily to me and if something looks too generic or needs some tweaks I don’t feel like that’s too hard. I think I’ve been doing it for so long, I can think through the process quickly. That said, I think the biggest walls I hit are trying to ensure that colors look okay, that I’m coming up with something that will look nice with any available color palette. That, and making some designs work nicely in low resolution – it can be a blessing as much as a curse though, because while on one hand working small-scale can be difficult, it also stretches my design muscles in ways that they wouldn’t get stretched if these monsters were high-res. You can’t fall back on ornamentation or texture at this size – it has to be solid in design and readable at small dimensions.
Yes…yes we would.
Proven Gamer: Shifting gears a little bit – On next week’s episode of Nintendo Duel Screens, releasing Monday 04/16 at 8:00am EST, you mention how you became involved in Monster Crown. It is a really cool story we wont spoil here, but can you tell us why this project is so important to you?
Shad: For one, it’s very fun and challenging and I get to work with incredible and ridiculously talented people. It’s the first time I’ve really had a chance to exercise my design and art muscles on a team project, and I couldn’t possibly ask for a better project to do it on. I’ve always been interested in art direction, writing, and character design, so I am incredibly lucky that I have a hand in all of those. On a more personal level, I feel video games saved my life – it’s been a dream of mine to share the power video games can have to others by making games myself. Video games are a truly unique medium that immerses their players into a world they not only can lose themselves in visually and audibly, but in a tactile sense. Monster Crown is a very special chance to help create an atmosphere and experience that someone could get lost in and fall in love with; it even one person can feel that magic, can for a little while “move in” to the world of Monster Crown, to feel at home there and forget the real world for a while, that would be the most amazing achievement in my life so far.
Proven Gamer: I bet you don’t have to look very far to find gamers that feel a similar way about video games. Thank you for sharing that. So lets get back into the art of Monster Crown. This game has a very Pokemon-like aesthetic, yet the monsters seem to have a certain edge to them. A darkness. How did you settle on that?
Shad: That aspect was present before I joined the team, but it’s definitely one of the major things that drew me to the project. Both Jason and I are huge fans of creepy, dark, somewhat horror-tinged work, and that’s probably why our creative processes line up so well! We both wanted to instill that childlike wonder that you’d get playing the old Pokémon games – not just merriment, but terror, too. There was so much I didn’t know playing those as a kid, it felt like anything was dangerous and anything was possible. To me it’s just natural to want to instill that on-edge feel when working with a more “retro” aesthetic.
Proven Gamer: How does the artistic process work? Is it as simple as pencil to paper?
Shad: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on what the specific asset I’m trying to make requires. Some monsters were sketched fully before being sprited. Some were basic doodles that then were fleshed out in spriting, and some were a vague idea that sparked a desire to push pixels around until something looked right. Sometimes multiple iterations are drawn out before deciding on one, but sometimes the first draft only needs a little tweaking. When it comes to things like backgrounds or illustrations, though, I always start with a sketch to ensure composition will be readable and to get the general idea down.
Proven Gamer: So now you have a little treat for our readers – you are going to go over the artistic process step-by-step and reveal a never before seen monster. I can’t wait to see it!
Shad: Neither can I! Here we go!
A simple drawing of two types of creatures that will be combined to make a new monster!
The terrifying reality begins to take shape.
The sprite art comes to life!
Presto! The final product is a monster the kids of Stranger Things would be terrified of!
Proven Gamer: What a cool process! Thank you for sharing that with us! So with this example the idea seems to be something you toyed around with. Is it always that wayor does the design team say “hey I want a monster that does x y and z” and you design from there?
Shad: It’s a bit a mixture of both – sometimes I come up with an idea and show the team and we decide it’s a good idea and we should put it in, and sometimes we see that certain types of monster or biomes are lacking and I design based on that. I have a lot of free reign over the designs I do, so I’ve never followed any guidelines like “can you make a monster that looks like (animal) that lives in (biome) and does (action)”, but I think maybe it would be fun if I did. I’ll have to ask Jason for some prompts!
Proven Gamer: So… do you have a voice for the characters you design in mind?
Shad: Sometimes – I definitely have a voice in my head for some of the villains and a few of the monsters. Most of them I don’t imagine to have much of a voice at all, so I tend to envision them in their daily lives and see what happens.
Proven Gamer: So the main monster is Laz is the main monster in the game. What song do you hear when you see him?
Shad: Ooh, can’t say I’ve thought of that! Probably the entire soundtrack to the game OFF. It’s creepy but occasionally fun – Laz is creepy but I find it kind of unnervingly cute too.
Laz – The Reanimated
Proven Gamer: I hear Sad But True by Metallica for some reason. Okay last question – You have heard the Nintendo Duel Screens theme song 8-Bit Attack by Zazu Pitts – what would a monster design based on that tune look like?
Shad:Hmm.. a round, rooster-like bird (maybe one of those Polish chickens with the fluffy rockstar “hair”) with perhaps piñata paper feathers and a spiked bat in place of a tail comes to mind. Bright and bouncy, but it has an undertone of meaning business. It’s the piñata that strikes back!
Proven Gamer: Thank you so much for doing this!
Shad: You are very welcome! Thank you for inviting me to do this!
Jotun: Valhalla Edition Thunders onto the Nintendo Switch™ System on April 27th.
Critically acclaimed indie darling Jotun is coming to the Nintendo Switch in the form of Jotun: Valhalla Edition on April 27th, 2018. See the press release below:
Montreal, Canada – April 13, 2018 – Thunder Lotus Games has announced that Jotun: Valhalla Edition will launch worldwideon the Nintendo Switch™ system on April 27, 2018. In preparation for release of its hand-drawn Viking game on the popular system, Thunder Lotus has remastered Jotun’s graphics for Nintendo Switch™ and optimized its action-exploration gameplay for the console’s handheld mode. The developer is confident the upgrades will help draw new players to the award-winning game, which recently surpassed the one million player milestone.
Jotun: Valhalla Edition for the Nintendo Switch™ will be pre-purchasable as of April 13th on the Nintendo eShop in North and South America, as of April 18th in Europe, and April 19th in Japan. The launch trailer can be viewed at [link].
Thunder Lotus’ debut production earned high praise from press and players alike for its gorgeous visuals and challenging gameplay upon its release on PC (2015) and consoles (2016). The developer is proud to confirm that Jotun has welcomed over 1 million players into its hand-drawn norse-inspired world since its initial launch.
Those that had enjoyed the game on Wii U™, especially, will notice an evident graphical upgrade in the new release. Subtler, but no less crucial, are the gameplay tweaks implemented by the developer to allow for a seamless experience on the Nintendo Switch™ console’s handheld mode. This prompted the company head to (somewhat wistfully) note that Jotun’s arrival on Nintendo Switch™ marks the first time a Thunder Lotus production is fully untethered from a dedicated TV screen or monitor.
“Playing a Thunder Lotus game on a handheld console brings me way back,” said Will Dubé, President of Thunder Lotus Games in a prepared statement. “One of my earliest gaming memories is passing the Game Boy back and forth with my brothers during road trips. I hope we can create similarly epic memories for new Vikings across the world!”
PG Thoughts: This announcement further cements the notion that the Nintendo Switch is becoming the go to platform for indie titles. The enormity of this game’s previous success is surely to continue to grow on the Switch. Look forward to our review soon.
“So what’s your game about?”, I asked the representative of Chainsawesome Games as I observed a bit of gameplay from a distance.
“It’s a 3V3 FPS where one team is invisible and the other team is invincible.”
I stood there with a perplexed look on my face. Before I even had time to mull over the ridiculousness of the developer’s sales pitch, I asked him to strap me in cause I wanted to see if what he was selling was as fun as it sounded. I can safely say Aftercharge not only met my expectations, but I could easily seeing it giving the likes of Rocket League a run for its money.
So let’s break this down: one team is invisible and the other team is invincible. One team is made-up of invisible robots whose primary goal is to sabotage six glowing tubes known as Energy Extractors located throughout the map. Successfully destroy all six and your team is victorious. Sounds simple right? Of course it does – you’re invisible for crying out loud! Well, it’s not so cut and dry. Striking one of your luminous objectives causes your cloaking device to stop functioning, thus revealing you to your indestructible adversary – the enforcers.
Now, as an enforcer, your objective is to track down those bothersome robots. Only after you have dropped all three robots (and keep them down) does that translate to absolute victory for the enforcer. Again, how hard can that be, right? If you simply camp the Energy Extractors then surely you can just obliterate those robots and call it a day. Especially if you make use of your tracking device – it’s barely even a competition! Not so fast there, chief. Did I mention that the robot team can revive fallen comrades? And you thought that it was going to be easy.
Aftercharge is very manipulative by means of how it appears and initially plays. Both sides seem to play easier than they actually are. As a robot, you need to shed a lot of what most online FPS titles teach you; a run-and-gun approach does not work here. You need to temper that inherent desire to blindly bash everything and everyone around you for a more coordinated tactic. It’s all about patience and communicating with your teammates to find the perfect chance pull a fast one over on the opposing team. Conversely, there is just as much planning and coordination that goes into playing as an enforcer. Between keeping an eye on the Energy Extractors and keeping robots down, things can get dicey in a hurry – especially when you factor in how quickly robots can revive one another.
For a game with such a simple objectives, I was surprised by the level of depth of each side’s gameplay mechanics. There is a lot of strategy to be found in a set-up like this and all of it hinges entirely on communication. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m terrible at online first-person shooters. So much so that I won’t even use a microphone – I’ll just do my own thing and my team be damned. But the cut-and-dry nature of Aftercharge, coupled with how rapid-fire each of the rounds were (seriously, it took me longer to strap on my headset than it did to finish a match) really lends to the accessibility of it. Suddenly I wasn’t so concerned with performing well – I was simply having too much fun to care. It also helps that game controls like a dream and has got a neon-glow TRON-ish vibe going on that I was completely into.
Aftercharge is set to launch Summer 2018 on PC, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch (YES!!). Chainsawesome Games mentioned to me that Cross-Play will be a thing between all platforms and that there will likely be beta in July A price point hasn’t been set but the developer is considering a $19.99 price point.
A bit of disclosure: I am totally not writing a favorable preview of SpiritSphere DX just because I won a 1V1 match against its developer. My inflated sense of self-worth has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of gushing I’m about to unleash. With that being said, I was utterly charmed by this gem of a game. It easily turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences of PAX East 2018.
At first glance SpiritSphere DX looks like a concept for a would-be air hockey/pong mini-game meant for Oracle of Ages/Seasons. Kudos by the way to developer Eeendhoorn’s for so skillfully capturing the essence of the 8-Bit era; the sprite work/animation is unquestionably top-notch. The game looks and even feels like am extensive ROM-hack of one of Link’s Gameboy outings. But the more I played it the more I realized that this unassuming ‘sports’ game was cleverly concealing a bit of Smash Bros. goodness within it’s retro-inspired exterior.
In SpiritSphere DX there are four key inputs to be mindful of: ‘Smash’, which allows you to deflect the sphere away from your side of the playing field. ‘Dash’, to make a potentially game-saving sprint towards the eponymous bouncy orb. ‘Item’ lets you make a one-time use of an item you pick up during the match. Items can range from relatively the relatively harmless – such an Arrow Shot or Bomb – to completely game-changing like increased movement speed or make you grow in size. And lastly there is a button assigned to your character’s Special Ability. And yes, SpiritSphere DX has got tons of character.
There are 10 characters to choose from, each one more zanier than the next. Lin for example (a clear-cut female clone of Link) wields a sword and is able to charge her attack to unleash a mighty swing. Baphomet – this game’s Ganon – can grab the approaching sphere and hold on to it before releasing it. It makes for a insanely unpredictable moment-to-moment gameplay. There is also Ozo, a mage that can only use spells. And a cat…named Buster.
SpiritSphere DX was clearly designed with an eye to the multiplayer experience. While it does have a single-player mode (with an actual story and BOSS FIGHTS!), developer Eeendhoorn wants you to get your buddies together to see who’s best. The game boasts an metric ton of modes such as Squash Mode for 1V1 action, and a ridiculously fun Boss Mode – a 2V1 match where one player controls an over-sized boss. But the most noteworthy of the bunch is Tate Mode. Tate Mode has two players using a single Nintendo Switch flipped vertically with each player holding one of the attached Joy-Cons on each end. I seriously cannot wait to take my Switch on-the-go and challenge folks on a crowded New York City subway; what could possibly go wrong?
If you’ve always dreamed of Mario’s sports series to look and feel like The Legend of Zelda than you have come to right place. SpiritSphere DX launches exclusively for the Nintendo Switch May-June 2018.
SpiritSphere DX is also the winner of the ‘Would Have Upstaged Mario Tennis’ Award which can be listened to in more detail here. SpiritSphere DX is being published by Fabraz Company, the creator of the oh-so excellent Slime-san (available now on all platforms)
Be sure to follow along with Fabraz, Eeedhoorn, and SpiritSphere DX’s progress over at their homepage here.
Tricky is an April fool. Come hear our opening segment in all its glory, as Tricky falls hook, line and sinker for an April Fool’s Day joke that pokes at wrestling fans. Usually, it’s easy to see an April Fool’s Day joke from a mile away, but sometimes a nugget of fiction passes through our filters.
But we never let the most delicious topics pass through our news filters. This week we discuss the latest offerings from PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection, as well as a price drop for the PlayStation VR and Jurassic World Evolution. As Tricky describes it, you get to manage your own theme park full of carnivorous and gigantic dinosaurs. When you run a dinosaur zoo, it never ends well. Expect a torrent of trouble and headaches. And so much worse.
Join the Trophy Whores as they discuss, among other things, Bloodborne, Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds, Track Mania Turbo and PixelJunk Monsters 2.
We are happy and proud to share that Proven Gamer has partnered with the Humble Bundle! The Humble Bundle is a fantastic initiative and program that allows games to score a litany of games on the cheap — all while making charitable donations to various groups and organizations. You can click here for the details on Proven Gamer’s Humble Bundle partnership.
In a bit of big news, iHeartRadio streams episodes of Trophy Whores, which greatly expands the show’s footprint and reach. It’s a tremendous honor for the show to be part of iHeartRadio’s massive and respected community, and Proven Gamer have only the fans to thank for pushing the podcast to this point. The Trophy Whores work hard to put out a quality weekly show, but they owe so much love to their listeners, who keep the show strong and growing.
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Kirby – Nintendo’s insatiable pink puffball – has finally made his Switch Debut in Kirby Star Allies. And while the formula hasn’t changed too much from previous iterations, fun, four-player action and endless copy abilities to combine elevate Kirby’s latest adventure to new heights.
I feel that I should start off by going over the Kirby Star Allies’ plot – or its lack thereof. It’s as throwaway and predictable as any fan of the franchise would expect, and is mainly there to act as delivery system for the real star – the snazzy new gameplay mechanics. So in case any of you were wondering, here is the story in a nutshell: some heart of darkness something or other has been unleashed by some black mage looking dude (who probably wasn’t hugged enough as a child) and sends all of Dreamland into a tizzy. It’s now up to Kirby to utilize the power of love to win over the hearts of his enemies and assemble a ragtag team of allies to put an end of the dark force…so pretty much every Kirby game ever – moving on.
As the name implies, Star Allies is all about recruiting enemies to your cause and utilizing their unique abilities to your advantage. The gimmick isn’t anything new to the Kirby franchise – the plump pink protagonist has been convincing denizens of Dreamland to fight alongside him for years., but what makes the gameplay mechanic so much more interesting is that Kirby can imbue abilities/weapons with elemental properties. Sure, that Sword Ability is all fine and dandy, but if you happen to have a Burning Leo on your team, you can upgrade your blade into a Sizzle Sword. And along with the added sensation of setting your enemies on fire and watching them run around all frantic-like while engulfed in flames, your blazing blade can also burn down bushes and melt ice blocks. Fire isn’t the only element you can expect to instill into your abilities as Water, Ice, Electricity and Wind are also on hand to further augment your powers. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are also unique abilities when you are equipped with non-elemental abilities such as Suplex, Parasol, and Spider. For example, amplifying the Parasol Ability makes your umbrella grow bigger, allowing you to better protect from falling debris or even block the flow of a cascading waterfall.
Half of the fun in Kirby games has always been about coming across new enemies and wondering what sort of abilities they might bestow. That fun factor has now increased ten-fold when you slowly start to realize just how you can bolster one ability with another. Nintendo doesn’t fail when it comes to bringing Kirby’s most notable feature center-stage as there are no shortage of abilities you can mix and match. But while it certainly is refreshing to see the creativity on hand when you see abilities play off of each other for the first time, a part of me wishes that Nintendo would be a bit more daring, and introduce a radical number of new copy abilities rather use series’ staples over and over again.
From a design perspective, the layout of Kirby Star Allies follows the pattern of Kirby games. Each of the themed worlds is broken up with a series of stages which culminates to a boss fight at the end. Extra Stages can be unlocked as well as a Dream Palace where players can recruit unique allies to Kirby’s cause. The soundtrack is every bit as engaging and memorable as the older games with plenty of fresh tunes mixed in with fan-favorite oldies for your listening pleasure. The aforementioned Extra Stages, for example, feature a classic Kirby tune which makes playing them so much more enjoyable. The simple score goes hand-in-hand with the games accessible nature as everything from the controls to the layout of each level and the placement of enemies, is all designed to make the experience as easy as possible. Which brings me to my own true gripe.
There was a time in the Kirby franchise when being hit by an enemy would result in the player losing their ability. There was also time when reaching a hidden path or utilizing an environment-specific gimmick (like a cannon with an unlit fuse), meant holding onto a specific ability as it wasn’t readily available…and certainly not in the same room as the ‘puzzle’ itself. Yes, Kirby wasn’t meant to be a hard game and I’m not asking for it to be the Dark Souls of copy-ability-based, side-scrolling platformers. But I guess the point I’m trying to make is that perhaps I may have outgrown the series. It seems to be geared towards a much younger audience ,a fact that I wasn’t quite ready to accept as the series had always been a big part of my childhood. But when I realize that I had beaten the entire game without so much as losing a life and had accumulated more lives than I knew what to do with, it made me long for the days when the series was even the slightest bit challenging. Fortunately, co-op and additional modes have transformed Kirby into a crowd pleasure, and playing it with friends on the couch does more to harken back to a simpler time in gaming, than a difficulty spike ever would.
Kirby Star Allies gets a lot of things right. It is brimming with color and dials the cuteness factor way up. While the Story Mode will last no longer than 8-10 hours, there is plenty of extra game to dive into once the main campaign has come to an end.
Sony’s Playstation 4 is entering year-five of its release the public and as of now maintains an unwavering stranglehold on the console gaming market. With sales more than double that of its closest competition – Microsoft’s Xbox One – Sony and Playstation 4 have shown no signs of slowing down…or so it would seem. 2017 was a stellar year for the Playstation 4, but it was also the year its holidays sales showed signs of slowing for the first time since launch. While one would argue that the slight dip in numbers can be attributed to the runway success that is the Nintendo Switch (and to a lesser extent the release of the Xbox One X), is it time for Sony to start thinking about the next iteration of the Playstation? Or should the gaming powerhouse play the long game and respond what its competitors are up to?
In the fall of 2017, Microsoft launched the Xbox One X – touting it as the most powerful console ever made. As true as that statement may be, Sony and the PS4 don’t appear to be too impacted – if at all – by a more powerful console on the market aside from a slight dip in sales during the 2017 holiday season. On the Big N’s side of things, the Nintendo Switch has officially outsold its predecessor’s lifetime sales and continues to sell like gangbusters, even tripling PS4’s sales numbers in its first year in Japan. While there is cause for a growing concern in Sony’s camp, one can argue that the PS4 has more than enough fuel in its tank to come out ahead of its competition.
Sony recently confirmed that Days Gone – a title which was thought to be released this year – would be pushed back to 2019, making Sony’s 2018-2019 release calendar a little more clear. 2018 is already shaping up to the another landmark year Playstation gamers with releases like Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT and the critically acclaimed Shadow of the Colossus remake leading the the 1st-Party charge. Sony’s library was further bolstered in the early months of the year with a number of 3rd-Party titles such as Dragon Ball FighterZ and Monster Hunter World attributing most of their sales on Sony’s platform. But that is just the beginning. April will bring God of War, May will deliver Detroit: Become Human, and if my spider-sense is accurate, Insomniac’s highly anticipated Spider-Man will be out before the year’s end as well. And let’s not forget about Dreams, a title which looks to take the best parts of LittleBigPlanet and truly allow the player to let their creativity run wild. Those heavy-hitters signify the strength of the Playstation brand and will to push more and more PS4 consoles into people’s homes.
While Nintendo is no stranger to the 1st-Party game, its main shots have already been fired with Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild launching in the Switch’s first year. Although, the recent announcement of Super Smash Brothers coming to Switch in 2018 will certainly help sway the pendulum a bit in Nintendo’s favor, especially if the game ends up being more than a port of the Wii U/3DS version. That just leaves Microsoft. While it may have a beast of a console, it doesn’t have much to offer in terms of a diverse library. Yes, the the higher resolution patches and the growing number to its backwards-compatible library are a good thing for its existing users, but Xbox One has yet to unveil a system-seller title. Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 seem to be getting a lot of buzz but Crackdown 3, however, appears to be nothing more than a fart in the wind. One has to wonder what Microsoft is hiding up its sleeve. 2018 may be a lock for Ps4’s continued success but 2019 may just be a the most critical year for Sony since the launch of Playstation 4.
By the time we raise a glass of champagne to 2019, the 6th year of the PS4’s stellar life will be upon us. With Days Gone slipping into 2019, will its release also be accompanied by the likes of Last of Us Part II and Death Stranding? My hunch tells me no, as TLoU II and Days Gone may be too similar and may inadvertently cannibalize each other.., honestly, Days Gone wouldn’t stand a chance. The Last of Us II is likely to be a 2020 title and Death Stranding? I wouldn’t count on seeing that game released prior to 2020 either. It is possible that TLoU II and Death Stranding are the swan songs of the PS4 generation in the same way that TLoU was the swan song of the PS3 generation. The argument can be made that a 2019 reveal and 2020 release of the PS5 is possible, but I think a 2020 reveal at E3 and March 2021 release might be the better decision. The Nintendo Switch releasing in March was able to stave off the supply and demand issues they have had in the past when releasing in November. Playstation hasn’t had those problems before, but it is an interesting strategy to take nonetheless.
What do you think? Do you think the PS5 will be announced sooner? Do you think Sony needs to get ahead of things or do you think they can still afford to wait until the PS4 install base dries up? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
I admit, when I began my initial play-through of Toki Tori 2 +, my first thought was: why can’t I jump? – I’m a freakin’ bird! And why do I waddle so slowly?! But the more time I spent with the adorable puzzle platformer, the more captivated by it I became.
Toki Tori 2+ is a puzzle game through-and-through, and it is your job to guide an adventurous chick from one side of the screen. You do so with very simple and limited controls. The ‘B’ Button allows you to perform a Stomp Technique (who knew chicks were so hefty) while the ‘A’ Button activates a Chirp. The pitch of your Chirp is determined by how hard you press the button down, so light types produce a soft melody while a long press results in something a bit louder. Combinations of light and hard presses generates a song; think of it as a simpler version of an ocarina (and if you don’t get that reference, why are you playing video games?). Both of these tools are used to solve puzzles which are, as I stated before, essentially what the game is all about.
For the most part, Toki Tori 2+’s puzzles involve interacting with the on-screen flora and fauna of the environment. As your movement is very limited, you will have to rely on the various creatures of the world to get by. Sometimes that involves stomping on the ground to force creatures away from you. Other times it involves feeding them a bug which causes them to burp up a bubble for you to be encased in and hover to your next destination…cause video game logic, I guess. And other times it can be as simple as a flying bird snatching you with its claws and carrying you to your next platform. Sounds simple enough, right? But when you put all these elements together, that’s when things can get a bit tricky.
On the onset, Toki Tori 2+ does a wonderful job of lulling you into a false sense of security. It’s charming and unassuming exterior aside, the puzzles begin quite simple enough – perhaps even mind-numbingly so. But as you progress, the more you begin to realize that there is an evil force at play here the escalation in difficulty (and frustration) increases astronomically. There are moments where it feels as if you are keeping track of just too many things at once: okay, I have to lure that bug over here to feed that frog but I also have to make sure all these lobsters in crates shuffle in the right direction…and so forth and so on. It can get a tad overwhelming, and more often than not, you’ll fail and have to repeat the entire process over from the beginning. It’s this sort of trial and error format that rob you of that ‘a-ha!’ moment and make the proceedings more like a chore.
Fortunately, the game’s adorable aesthetic and simple, hum-worthy soundtrack lighten up the mood enough to keep frustration to a minimum. That coupled with a new checkpoint song (which I have read was not earlier versions of this title), which allows you to place a checkpoint wherever you like, reduces aggravation tremendously. Sure, it doesn’t take away from trial and error aspect I spoke of before, but it does let you set yourself up in a nice place should you fail a puzzle over and over again.
Overall, Toki Tori 2+ on Switch is fiendishly deceptive title which wears a cute little mask to hide its cruel intentions. The difficulty of some puzzles may be a bit much for novice puzzle game players, and certainly isn’t the type of game that is for everyone. But if you are willing to forgive a few minor grievances, you will find a strangely satisfying title to help pass the time between the next big budget release.
Nintendo Switch Review Code for Toki Tori 2+ provided to Proven Gamer courtesy of publisher/developer Two Tribes.