Monday, August 9, 2010

Tighten Up: The Rise of the Minis

Sony's PS3 Store has an interesting catagory: Minis. Here it breaks down to PS3 and PSP titles where each game is 100mb or smaller for a reasonable price, which seems to be $6 or less. To day I get hands on with a few: Hysteria Project, Fly Fu, Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess, Brainpipe and Dracula - Undead Awakening.

Let's begin with Dracula - Undead Awakening. First off this game is available for the PS3, PSP, and as WiiWare for you Nintendo fans. It is a top down shooter reminiscent of games such as Robotron 2084, Reloaded and the more recent I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!!1
Mmmm Sweet vampire radiation.
 D:UA offers a variety of enemies, 4 different stages, 4 different game types (Rush, Survival, Super Survival, & Wave Attack). Each one has it's own level of challenge, but it seems like once you grab a weapon you are proficient with you can just go to town on the invading monster hoard without thinking twice and while gaining levels and perks. Yes, D:UA has some slight RPG elements as you gain EXP by killing enemies and when you level you get to choose a perk for your monster hunter such as extra HP, Uranium bullets, longer range, etc etc. The game is fun and addicting with a music track that fits the scene, however, I rather pay and play I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!!1 as it offers more variety with levels and enemy movements/abilities and it supports up to 4 people in multiplayer where Dracula only let's you hunt the night alone. If you are a fan of the genre, I say pony up the $3 and give it a heavy play - it is pretty fun after all. But if top down, chaotic shooting is what you want, then you are better off spending a little more money in order to game with friends on and off line.

Enter the Dragonfly
Fly Fu brings an interesting graphical take to beat'em ups as it combines photos of dead insects with sketch drawings. Here you play as McFly, your average house fly with kung fu training of course. His girlfriend, Kate Moth, has been kidnapped and an army of dangerous insects stand between him and the moth to his flame. The game plays like a typical beat'em up. You move to the right while punching and kicking your way to victory. However the art and sparks of comedy set this game apart. The doodles and photo realistic bugs come together to create a weird world where everybody is kung fu fighting. Like in games of a similar style there are also weapon pick-ups, these however, are matchsticks and pins. The game itself is fairly casual and repetitive - as in you fight similar enemies throughout the game (instead of pallet swaps the bug type changes) while always moving to the right hoping to finally get to the end boss. Also, McFly moves pretty slow, I don't know if the programmers wanted to emulate that it's a photo-realistic dead fly you play as, but they did just that. Once again, my biggest problem with this game is the lack of multiplayer option. Where this genre really lends itself to a handful of players getting in each others' way, combing moves, and having a good old fashioned brawl in the streets. The music isn't out of the ordinary and doesn't make any real impact. The only thing truly impressive about this game is the visuals - very art house.
The game is available for download on PS3, PSP, and (surprisingly) the iPhone. Try out the demo first, if you like it, you like it, but I say keep your handful of dollars and download Streets of Rage instead.

Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess caught me with it's quirky title and just as quirky gameplay. Here you play as The Duke, a cute little vampire that strikes fear into the hearts of giant monsters everywhere. The game works on a vertical level scheme where the giant monster (the "boss") travels up and you must persue it by bouncing on platforms collecting a jump bonus by hitting different platforms without repeating one. Each boss takes 3 hits to kill - you do this by double jumping into them - but each hit propels the monster further up the stage and closer to their home base. The game's graphics fit the overall fun theme and gameplay of it all - the whole game, mind you, is just jump and laugh manically. Really there isn't much to say here, but the game is challenging and extremely fun. I can see how easy it could be to sink a lot of hours into the misadventures of The Duke. Plus the tips during the loading screens are spot on. And all you Xboxers out there should be pleased to know that M(p)SMP will be making it's way over to the XBL Indie section sometime in the near future. Keep an eye on the M(p)SMP official website to stay informed and watch some neat game videos.

The Hysteria Project is a game that is entirely filmed in the first person perspective. You are a captive of an axe-wielding nutbag and you must escape with your life. Each aspect of the game requires you to pay attention to your surroundings while making decisions, sometimes with a couple of seconds on a time. The game is creepy with it's low-res video, eerie soundtrack, constant heart beat, and bleak imagery. However, the game is only as creepy as the atmosphere in which you play it. The ideal settings are in the dark with headphones on.
Press X to Squirm
Aside from the decision making screen, gameplay also consists of quick time events, memorization, and some puzzle solving. Hysteria Project has a good idea going, but it is only fun for a limited audience, namely the one's who think they would survive if they found themselves in a horror movie situation. Try it out. Other than that the game is a miss and would make a better movie than a game. Aside from being on the PSP and PS3, this game also appears as an iPhone app, which sounds like the worst format this could be on. Hell, don't even bother trying to look for the full video on youtube, just watch Marble Hornets instead and you'll have a better time, I promise.

And lastly, Brainpipe...In all honesty I have no idea what's going on. There's glowing things that hurt you as you pilot a wire frame eye down a trippy tube while there are glowing symbols that you must grab in order to score some points. You can also tap/hold X to slow down time for a bit. It's mainly a bit of nothing...the game isn't that enjoyable as it's just tubes upon tubes of avoiding things that sparkle and symbols. If I want to play a bad acid trip I would rather splay Space Giraffe where I can at least shoot things and see comical sentences whiz across the screen.
It's a bad trip man.
 The inactivity of the game, yes you get to move around, really just seems to lose me. There's not much to do beside avoid that light, collect that other light. Thankfully it takes up very little room, so the only regret you will have is spending the $2 to own this ode to LSD.

As it stands the MINI market is a good idea, but it has the potential to be crowded up junk and shovel downloads. PSP/PS3 owners, give this section of the shop a chance, you can find some gems here and for the low price and the small space they take up, it will be well worth it for you.

And once again, Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess succeeded in stealing the show for me. I'm off to  jump into some monsters and find that princess.

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