Sunday, May 20, 2018


I don´t recall having played many dual stick shooters in my gaming life. Maybe a bit of Geometry Wars years ago. Thing is a friend and former workmate has a small indie studio called Eclipse Games, and he released some time ago Tachyon Project, his own interpretation on this genre

In short, it´s very similar to Geometry Wars but with an extra RPG layer - You can choose between different weapons, and some powerups. It´s a dual stick shooter that plays well, the balance is adecuate and it´s definitively enjoyable. To add an extra twist there is a short story and some replayability options. After finishing the campaign, I even spent some time grinding achievements, they´re reasonably easy to obtain

The price is cheap, it´s fun and you´d be helping a small studio. If you´re interested in the genre I personally recommend it

Sunday, May 13, 2018


Thanks to my PSplus subscription I got Mad Max for free. When it was released I was moderately interested in the game since it´s based on a movie IP I mostly enjoyed, but not so much as to buy it. But if it doesn´t cost a penny then what the hell

The game enjoyed good reviews but not superb. It was criticized for being repetitive, but it does have enough gameplay findings to make it enjoyable. I think both points are accurate:

On the plus side, I appreciated how the world and gameplay fit the IP core elements. You do feel into the Mad Max world, and even though the character model is a bit generic you feel like playing the leading role of one of the movies

Car fights are fairly good implemented, and some of them are challenging. The game characters are also very consistent with the IP: Post-apocalyptic punk enemies, crazy visionaries, desperates of all sorts, lone survivors, helpless kids, people who lost everything and expect very little from life... The story itself is not particularly punchy, it´s just a kick prior to let you free-roaming, not unlike most other open world games

And to be honest, the game is a completionist paradise. There are all sort of collectibles and you´re properly informed where to find them and when you have completed a location. It is much appreciated and probably the reason I decided to finish the game

On the minus side well, it can be indeed repetitive mostly on optional goals. Main missions have some variety or enough eye-candy scripted events to make them stand out. But anything else (camps, scavenging, races, etc) feels like a copy-pasted template dragged around all game areas to fill up content as cheap as possible

The combat system is a decent clone of the Batman´s series melee fights, and thanks to not being over-used it does serve its purpose better than it did in Ryse (works better when it´s supposed to fill up 30-40% of the total gameplay time, but if you try to stretch it longer than that it starts to feel repetitive). Still I´m not too hot about combat because:

  • It didn´t feel completely responsive, some UI prompts were actually not usable until animations had finished
  • The camera often left enemies outside from my view
  • The “Fury” subsystem – a damage buff you get after doing certain combat actions – often triggers too late in the fight, and not because of the player´s direct decision
  • After you´ve obtained all upgrades, combat prowess is irrelevant since you don´t get any more rewards. I don´t think the progression design had the end-game in mind-        
I can´t be sure about it but I suspect the game loops were originally conceived to be more punishing but the final balance lowered the difficulty: The game does contain one of the distinctive elements of the IP - Food/Water/Gasoline are scarced – and the player is supposed to manage them. However in the shipped gameplay you practically don´t have to worry about them at all. I think the designer who conceived them was left heart-broken to favor a more “casual” approach

I can´t help to think the game world could have had some more visual variety. Don´t get me wrong, the wastelands look awesome and very detailed… but after 100 hours of playtime you get bored of the same dune/rocky mountain stravaganza. I know, the movies don´t go much beyond that, but I think they should have pushed the boundaries a bit more with abandoned cities, huge scrapyards, etc

Other than that, the game plays well, it´s fairly enjoyable and if you like open worlds or the Mad Max series you should consider it. And if you like both then it´s a must

Sunday, May 6, 2018


An interesting article over the commonly unknown creative process in Nintendo (click here):

“The thinking that guides us is: what can we do to pleasantly surprise players? It’s not that we’re consciously trying to innovate; we’re trying to find ways to make people happy. The result is that we come up with things other people have not done”