Morning Glory's Recent Tour Felt Like a Symbolic Farewell to Ezra Kire's Past, Invitation to his Future
April 24, 2012
When we left Matt at last week's Tuesday feature, he was busy fighting off the dreaded PAX POX, which had mutated this year through a variant of palm-sweat-stained controllers mixed with the petri dish of the showroom floor. Fearing that it may get the best of him this year (mostly because he was a dumb-ass and left his hand sanitizer at home) our fearless blogger heads deeper into the bowels of the Mega Indie Showcase.
Super T.I.M.E. Force
I'm having a hard time grasping the game on the screen before me. About a dozen other people are huddled around two monitors watching the chaos behind the bright multicolored flashes. A few minutes later, though, I can see Super T.I.M.E. Force is a lot like Contra or Gunstar Heroes, but there's something different about it. I don't have time to ponder, because suddenly a controller is passed my way and it's my turn to blast some foes.
I soon find out that I was pretty close to the truth when I compared Super T.I.M.E. Force to Contra and Gunstar Heroes. There are one hit kills, multiple characters with different abilities, and bullets flying all over the damn screen. Death is inevitable and it will happen constantly, but that's just fine because each death opens up the hook to this game. After every death (or until a time meter run out) a ghost of your last run through will fight alongside you on the same path of your previous run. Every death adds one more character to the screen, so after a dozen bad runs, you have an insane amount of characters that interact on the screen.
These ghosts will follow your original path shooting anything in their way. If you are fast enough, you can even prevent the death of a previous run from happening by defeating what killed you in the first place. Saving a character this way makes a check point to go back to once you've died again, and again, and again. Even unlocking other characters, like the bazooka wielding, blond mullet tufted Jeff Leopard, become small events where you have to save them from being killed. If you mess it up, you can always die and rewind the clock to try and save them again.
I play the game right up to saving Jeff after failing the first time. Then I got stuck behind the geometry. “I found a bug for ya,” I tell the developer at the booth and pass the controller on. I've had my fill and didn't want to hog all the fun.
“Yeah,” he says. “You're the second person to have that happen. Don't worry about it. We are still very early in development."
Rock Band Blitz
While the volume of folks at the Harmonix booth is quite massive, the lines are mostly for their sets of Dance Central 2 and Rock Band. The queue for the recently announced download only title, Rock Band Blitz, is pretty light. In no time I'm up to play a quick power ballad.
The concept is simple. Select a track from either the list that comes with the game or from one in your DLC library (except Beatles: Rock Band), and play notes with the controller's triggers. You can switch at will between any of the instruments used for that song by moving left or right on the analog stick.
Aside from power ups that give you a point boost, the game is really simple. So simple that it may be a turnoff for many fans of the first three games. To me it did what it was designed to do: Pick music from an already expanded library and reach a high score. That is all I could gather from a single run of Starship's “We Built this City.” I can say that I was singing and grooving much the same when I play its fuller featured sibling. If you need to squeeze a bit a extra mileage out of your downloaded Rock Band music library, this game will provide some entertainment for solo play, but from one run it looks a bit shallow.
I've been told by multiple people throughout the day that I need to check out Gaijin Games' booth and check out Runner 2. The problem is, I'm starting to get lost at this point. What day is it? I think it's only Saturday, but it feels like Sunday. I look around a few booths in the indie area. My feet are starting to get sore from a day full of wandering and standing at kiosks. I'm just about to give up when I finally stumble upon it. The green and curvy company logo my saving lighthouse.
Like the rest of the games I've play at the showroom, there is hardly any line to play this demo. Even still, I don't go hog wild. I select a simple level and get right into jumping, sliding and kicking everything in Commander Video's way. Beyond the a very strange new art style and the new moves, it is the same kind of Runner game as before. Oh yes, and of course there is also Unkle Dill, a giant and perpetually stoned pickle that offers a much needed checkpoint to the stage.
I fail multiple times -- probably more than a couple dozen -- but I was determined to at least beat this one stage. I'm quite impressed with how smooth it looks and plays. The controls are similar to the first and the music is upbeat as always. As I leave the line and decide to go and get some rest, I know this is one game that I'll look into again. As "Chase" Koeneke tells me his thoughts about it on Twitter, "Runner 2. Unkle Dill. Awesome." I couldn't agree more.