Tag Archives: game review

“Time4Cat”: Of Time, Perception and Fatality

Reposted from PopMatters Multimedia Reviews.

As inevitable as the pun may be, there’s something about the little flash game, Time4Cat, that is, itself, rather timely. Having just relocated myself for graduate school and spending inordinate amounts of time unpacking, assembling furniture, commuting, attending orientation, attending classes, doing readings, going to a day job, it feels like there’s not enough time for anything this month. For many student-aged gamers, I’m sure it feels much the same way. And therein lies the charm of Time4Cat.

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Limbo: A Little Physics Platformer of the Gothic Tradition

Reposted from PopMatters Multimedia Reviews.

There are a few games we can look to as strong aesthetic experiences– games which strike us visually and tonally on the level of a good film or painting. Independent Danish studio PlayDead’s Limbo can definitely be counted among these. Everything about this title, from its stark, nostalgic opening title card to its Gaussian glowing lights, shallow focus and rich shadows, brings to mind some lost F.W. Murnau film. There’s something about Limbo, in tone as well as texture, that just screams its German expressionist roots: the anxiety, the ambivalence, and grim atmosphere are all palpable from the first screen, and follow the player through every puzzle and its harrowing descent into the dark.

‘Limbo,’ like ‘purgatory,’ arrives in our shared mythological lexicon via Catholicism, as a place where dead technicalities go. Although sometimes treated as the edge of Hell, it’s often viewed as a sort of neutral place, often lifeless, and far from comfortable. People who wind up in Limbo aren’t generally evil, but they aren’t godly in the conventional Catholic sense, either. It’s this role, as a morally-ambivalent inbetween space, that makes Limbo a fond subject in storytelling in both the literal and metaphorical sense– it’s a place for uncertainty and negotiation of the self, the rationalization of the unpleasant. And there are plenty of unpleasant things in Limbo, just as much as it is beautiful.

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Alexander Ocias’s “Loved”: Identity, Subjugation and Confrontation

Reposted from PopMatters Multimedia Reviews.

When it comes down to it, Loved has very little to do with that particular emotion at all. But it has everything to do with control, guilt and abuse done in the name of it. Follow the game’s unnamed, ungendered narrator and your player avatar will come to harm; disobey, and the game hurls insults and destroys your path as much as it can. Disobey it enough, and it starts to play the victim. “I loved you,” it intones, hoping that you won’t leave. But if you do stay, you’ll be trapped.

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Dragon Age II: Making the Case for “Quality” Games

Reposted from PopMatters Multimedia Reviews.

At this point, I am uncertain there is anything I can really say about Dragon Age II that isn’t found half-buried in my deluge of running commentary to my friends made over the course of my two playthroughs. It’s fantastic, it’s horrible. It’s brilliant, it’s ridiculous. This is the best thing I’ve ever played. I want my money back.

It isn’t particularly often that I feel a game should be forgiven for its monstrous shortcomings, but if one did, it would be this one. For that reason I am going to ask that you take any criticism here with a grain of salt, as this really is one of the most awe-inspiring play experiences I’ve had in some time– but not at all for the conventional list of reasons.

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LittleBigPlanet 2 is Democratized Play for Rich People’s Kids

Reposted from Popmatters Multimedia Reviews.

At this point there is very little effusive praise I could throw LittleBigPlanet 2‘s way that would be new, so let’s attempt to do without it. If you are at all familiar with the franchise it should come as no surprise that UK devs Media Molecule’s latest work is a polished, A-lister piece of work that earns top marks in all the areas that it should: it has great visuals, the music is memorable, it’s accessible across age groups and demographics, it’s creative, it’s different, and it’s fun.

It’s also a rather halfbaked experience if you’re poor.

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