There was once a time we now call the “Good Old Days.” In those days, instant classics spewed forth from every developer’s spicket at such a torrid pace that there was nary an excuse to ever emerge from your parents’ basement and absorb so much as a single UV ray.
Ah yes, they were glorious, those days, weren’t they? Every game was a masterpiece of innovation and craftsmanship, and there wasn’t a single rushed sequel or licensed shovelware release in sight. Replay values were always near infinite, color palettes were consistently varied and vibrant and every single game featured stellar multiplayer and single-player modes.
There’s just one problem with the Good Old Days – they weren’t really that perfect. Certainly it was exciting to grow up during the days of gaming’s so-called Golden Age – sometime between the late ‘70s and mid ‘90s, depending on whom you ask. Everything was new and exciting back then, but not everything was necessarily better. There were good games and bad, just like today. One thing that was almost universally true, though, is that every game was much harder than modern games are. But that doesn’t mean today’s developers should rush to emulate that difficulty – at least not without providing some conceits.
Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack was developed by Drinkbox Studios and published by Midnight City. It was released on June 18, 2014 on Xbox Live Arcade for $7.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.
Guacamelee! may have been their claim to fame, but Drinkbox Studios has been making games long before their luchador adventure. Their previous game, Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, began its life as a critically-acclaimed PlayStation Vita launch title in 2012. Two years later, and the handheld game has finally made its way to consoles. XBLA players may be a bit late to the mutant blob party, but better late than never. This is a fantastic port of a fantastic game.
Mutant Blobs Attack stars a particularly grumpy mutant blob, who has been the subject of science experiments until it gets the opportunity to break free. Now it’s out to take on the world, saving fellow blobs and consuming everything in sight. This sidescrolling puzzle-platformer is extremely well-executed, mixing a fun-to-control protagonist with impeccable level design. It may seem simple and silly on the surface, but that’s all part of the charm.
Next month, Xbox owners looking for a fun side-scrolling action-platformer will finally be able to experience what their PlayStation brethren did — and then some — more than a year ago. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition will release on Xbox One and Xbox 360 on July 1 for $14.99, developer DrinkBox Studios has announced.
The embiggened title features an expanded story including both brand new content and all of the DLC released for the original 2013 version of Guacamelee. The campaign is longer thanks to the addition of the new Canal of Flowers and Volcano areas as well as a new boss named the Trio of Death, a three-headed skeleton residing in the new Volcano area where he helps main antagonist Carlos Calaca by constructing his skeleton army. That also means that Calaca will have new baddies “that want to chokeslam luchadores to sleep” at his disposal.
Players will have the new “Intenso” ability to help them in overcoming these new adversaries. Additionally, when playing in co-op, you will be able to swap dimensions independently, a much-requested ability by fans of the original release.
At Microsoft’s E3 press conference on Monday morning, there was a video montage of a lot of games that are coming to Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program. Over the next few days, XBLA Fans is bringing you a slightly longer glimpse of those titles than what the montage trailer allowed for. Our coverage of these titles will be in alphabetical order. Below is a look at the second set of seven of those games.
Earthlock features a world divided between those that prefer magic and those that prefer technology. In this turn-based RPG from Snowcastle Games, you will play as Amon who is trying to prevent a war from starting in his home planet Umbra. In your quest to save your planet you’ll encounter various terrains including oceans, deserts, and snow-buried lands. Throughout your journey you will try and obtain more allies to join your quest, solve environmental puzzles, and harvest seeds to grow your own ammo.
It’s a shame that Xbox owners missed out on last year’s smash hit Guacamelee, but DrinkBox Studios is about that by bringing bring Guacamelee to all platforms with an expanded version called Super Turbo Championship Edition (STCE). XBLA Fans caught up with DrinkBox Co-founder Graham Smith at PAX East and spoke to Lead Designer Greg Lesky via email to find out more about what this new version of Guacamelee is all about, how it has evolved and why you should be excited.
For those not acquainted with Guacamelee, Lesky describes it as “a metroid-vania platformer where you play a farmer named Juan whose girlfriend gets kidnapped by a guy named Carlos Calaca bent on ruling both the Land of the Living and the Dead. He then kills Juan, who finds a mystical Luchador Mask that gives Juan the powers of a Mexican wrestler and [Juan returns] to the Land of the Living to stop him.” With these powers, the player fights, jumps and dimension-swaps to defeat Calaca’s undead hordes and save his girlfriend…and the world. The Super Turbo Championship Edition features all-new levels, enemies, upgrades, fixes and a boss fight, making this the definitive version of DrinkBox’s biggest game yet.
The lucha-themed Metroid-vania adventure Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition will make its debut on Xbox One and Xbox 360 soon. No official date has been given to the new revision of Guacamelee!, but there are some details on how it differs from last year’s Playstation and PC releases. Super Turbo Championship Edition boasts all of the DLC previously released on other platforms as well as additional story content, new areas, a brand new boss called The Trio of Death, and a new INTENSO combat mode among other tweaks. Drinkbox Studios has released the trailer below showcasing what to expect in Guacamelee! STCE.
Last week, you may have caught our five-part feature looking ahead at as many XBLA games and their Xbox One brethren as we could possibly cram into one week’s worth of articles. If you missed it, go ahead and check it out right now. Start here.
All done with that? Great. Now you know what’s coming. What you may not know, however, is which of those games you should be looking forward to the most. Don’t worry — XBLA Fans has you covered. Read on to find out what upcoming XBLA and Xbox One games select members of our team are most looking forward to getting their hands on. Once you’re done, let us know which ones you’re most excited for in the comments section. We’re asking you to read through our many thoughts on the big releases ahead, so we figure the least we can do in return is to read yours as well.
Ryan Thompson, Contributor — When Capcom first announced that it was releasing a modern Strider title, my first thought was to listen to a track by game composer Jake Kaufman entitled “Dracula Man X2 Alpha Turbo.” Kaufman was clearly having fun when he created the track, giving one potential answer to what the Castlevania franchise’s music would sound like if Capcom had developed it instead of Konami. With the imminent release of Strider on the 18th of February, Capcom is poised to give something of an official answer to the same question Kaufman must have asked himself — what would Castlevania be like if Capcom released it instead?
First of all, it would have the same level of polish as the best of Capcom’s 2D games, with controls that never fail, leaving players without excuses for failure in the tradition of both the original Strider for NES and the more famous Mega Man games. Second, it appears that, judging by the trailer, there would be more emphasis on combat and slightly less on exploration, though that might be just the frantic flow of activity in a short video speaking. Finally, as Kaufman hints in his tribute, this game would come with a soundtrack worthy of the rest of Capcom’s 2D oeuvre.