A Boy and His Blob will be coming to Xbox One on January 19; the price has yet to be announced. A Boy and His Blob originally launched on the Wii in …
Even if you’ve never played a video game before in your life, you won’t have trouble deducing where not to go in Adventures of Pip. A series of floating skull and crossbones symbols hover above each of the platformer’s bottomless pits. It’s an unambiguous message from the developers conveyed through art.
Tic Toc Games CEO Shereef Morse didn’t want to leave anything to guesswork. “It’s like, ‘Hey guys, you don’t want to go down there, all right?'” he told XBLA Fans at PAX East last month. “We said, ‘Why leave it to guessing, right?'”
Not unlike the studio’s approach to visualizing the dangers of bottomless pits, its central gameplay mechanic is also a very on-the-nose artistic reference to something — art itself. Adventures of Pip tells the story of a one-pixel underdog named Pip who gains the ability to be rendered in more pixels as he quests towards defeating the evil Skeleton Queen. If that sounds vaguely familiar, it’s meant to: Adventures of Pip is also the story of the games industry’s art evolution and what game art has had to give up in order to evolve.[clickToTweet tweet=”Adventures of Pip tells the story of gaming’s art evolution @xblafans #gaming #XboxOne ” quote=”Adventures of Pip tells the story of gaming’s art evolution “]
The idea for this metaphor began germinating around 13 years ago — even if Morse didn’t realize it back then. In 2002 Morse was working as a production manager at WayForward Technologies, and he hired a promising young artist, Marc Gomez, fresh off an education at California Institute of the Arts. Gomez would go on create art for A Boy and His Blob, Contra 4 and Bloodrayne: Betrayal among others. The only thing those three games have in common with one another is that they share absolutely nothing in common, which is exactly the point. Years later, when Morse hired Gomez as his creative director at Tic Toc, it occurred to him that Gomez’s art styles had frequently changed during his time at WayForward. So had the industry’s at large.
We’re late, and it seems that’s become somewhat of a trend for us lately. Our Game of the Year awards weren’t doled out until January, and now our look forward at the XBLA and Xbox One XBLA-type games of 2014 is just making its way to you in February. You were on your own when it came to planning out January’s releases, but now it’s time for our annual look ahead at the top downloadable games likely to arrive on an Xbox platform during the (remainder of) the year ahead. Read on to find out what you can expect out of Xbox over the next (not quite) 365.
As was announced at Microsoft’s E3 2013 presentation, 4J Studios will be bringing its open-world block-building game to the Xbox One. The 360 edition of Minecraft was a huge success and 4J is looking to build off of that success by bringing a “bigger” world to players. The Xbox One edition promises to deliver on the power of next-gen gaming by giving players more of what they want. Maps, Adventures, multiplayer features and console specific enhancements will all be improved and larger in scale on the Xbox One than they were on the Xbox 360. Minecraft: Xbox One Edition will be released sometime in the month of March of 2014.
DuckTales: Remastered was developed by WayForward Technologies and published by Capcom. It will be released September 11, 2013 for 1200 MSP or $14.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.
In 1989, Capcom, much to the delight of gamers young & old, released the critically acclaimed Disney DuckTales. Many viewed this game as one of the best games, ever, on the NES. The game sold so well it was later ported over to the Gameboy. Sales combined between both platforms were over the 2 million mark.
Thus, fans were overjoyed when at PAX East 2013, Capcom announced that they would be releasing a DuckTales: Remastered in the summer of 2013. WayForward Technologies has been working on this title since 2011. Ducktales: Remastered has already launched for PC, PS3 and WiiU but the Xbox 360 version will not be released till September 11, 2013.
It’s not a remake; it’s a reimagining, Majesco Entertainment Assistant Product Manager Pete Rosky told XBLA Fans at PAX Prime a moment before handing over the controller. Having taken a trip down memory lane with the original Double Dragon at Philadelphia’s Barcade only a month prior, I was in prime position to discover the truth behind that statement. As it turned out, Double Dragon: Neon plays remarkably like the game that launched the franchise a quarter of a century ago, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Wayforward Technology’s take on the series might have trouble impressing younger gamers, but the PAX demo was an enjoyable romp down memory lane.
Players take control of Billy and Jimmy, with their simultaneously awful and amazing hair and begin whomping on every street tough in site. There’s a fantastic new coat of paint on this aging ’80s muscle car, thus the subtitle, but every curve has that old familiar look and feel. The combat system has a couple of new tricks up its sleeve in the form of throws and special moves, but the kicks, punches and melee weapons are essentially ripped right out of the original. What is presumably either Billy or Jimmy’s girlfriend gets mercilessly slugged and kidnapped in the beginning and the duo brawl through those same old streets on a collision course with the original’s first boss, Abobo, who looks as if he’s sampled more than his fair share of steroids since his last showdown with the boys. And then you walk into a pagoda that turns out to be a spaceship that rockets Billy and Jimmy into space. That, as Rosky explained, is where Neon departs from the original. No kidding.
Bigger hair, bigger bosses, brighter colors and longer distance travel may or may not be enough to justify the reimagining label — you’ll have to wait for our forthcoming review of the full game for that ruling — but they certainly establish a new theme. It’s a completely silly and ridiculous theme, and that feels completely appropriate for an homage to an ’80s brawler that was a lot of things in its day, but never serious. That doesn’t mean the approach was an obvious one for the team to take, though.
Double Dragon means a lot of things to a lot of people. Developed originally for arcades in 1987, a single player version was released for the NES that became one of the defining brawlers of its time. The series eventually went on to span five numbered titles across a variety of platforms up through the Super Nintendo before disappearing into the annals of history – that is, until recently, when 2D powerhouse Wayforward Technologies (A Boy and His Blob Wii, BloodRayne: Betrayal) stepped up to man the helm for a shot back into the ’80s with the upcoming title Double Dragon Neon. We stopped by the Reverb booth at PAX to take a look at what’s on its way.
The first thing you’ll notice is the color. Wayforward didn’t choose the name Neon simply because it sounds cool, they decided to back it up by throwing a rainbow onto the screen and turning the metaphorical color amps to 11. As Assistant Production Manager Pete Rosky told us, it looks a bit garish, but that’s all part of the fun. The ’80s feel carries through to every design aspect of the game, from the ridiculous look of the characters and enemies to the incredible synth rock, which you can hear in the video below. Even the life meters have a bodaciously colorful style, complete with lightning bolts to measure your special power energy.
Have no fear, brawler fans: Today brings your first glimpse of how the upcoming Double Dragon revival will play, as IGN has posted the first gameplay trailer for Majesco …
We didn’t have a lot of great things to say in our review of BloodRayne: Betrayal when it released last week, but one of the things we did love …
BloodRayne Betrayal was developed by Wayforward Technologies and published by Majesco Entertainment. It was released on September 7, 2011 and retails for 1200 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
You may not have heard of BloodRayne before so let us fill you in. The BloodRayne series consisted of a pair of fairly average action games on the last generation of consoles. There were also a pair of incredibly bad movies, helmed by noted video game movie-murderer Uwe Boll. BloodRayne gained at least a little attention for it’s somewhat unique premise of a sexy half vampire fighting nazis using her arm mounted blades. As the name implies, there was also a lot of blood.
So it came as a surprise when it was announced WayForward were working on a new BloodRayne game for Xbox Live Arcade. BloodRayne was known for it’s over the top violence and scantily clad protagonist Rayne. WayForward’s last notable console game was A Boy and His Blob, a game which was downright adorable, to the extent that it had a button just for hugging! It didn’t seem like a particularly good match, but once we saw some trailers of the game and got a glimpse of the art style and animation we were left wondering. Now we’ve played through BloodRayne Betrayal, we are still left wondering…