We were threshing GDC news when we came across a LEGO Universe article, and when I say "article" of course I mean "the most rudimentary kind of impressions," because I don’t think they’re ready to let people really see the guts of this thing. Flynn’s interview at Kotaku has a few more details, I’m not sure how much there is to know - but none of this has stopped me from building a nest for it in my heart of hearts. The only advice I would give NetDevil at this point is to maybe beef up their stock of community managers.
After savoring Iron Dukes, I began to slaver for more indie fare. Was there something similar out there - for example, was there an Iron Ducks? This journey necessarily sent me back to the IGF page, where long tables groan under great heaps of roasted games, skin crisped at the edge like some honeyed medieval haunch. I came away with Quadradius, a hot hunk of somethin’ that plays like the most bad-ass kind of space checkers. Then, wandering over to Lost Garden, I was directed to completely different approach to tactics games: Ballistic Wars. It took 3rd Place in the 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, which took place months ago, but I completely missed it. The hook is incredibly hot: it’s a tactics game where your units play and move like marbles, physically striking opponents for damage. Why this isn’t a retail proposition already I have no idea. Playing it really made me wonder what people mean by "casual games" these days. Does it describe an audience, a product, or a developer? I’ve never especially liked the term, and games have been wriggling furiously out of that moniker from the moment it was coined.
Patapon hits the PSP this week, and I was invigorated by the prospect until I played the demo. I would recommend that you do so before you pick it up, and you should anyway because the demo features a unique piece of equipment you can carry over. I love the art and tone, but the audio these infernal creatures create fucking harrows my spirit. It literally scrapes away what makes a person human. I’d seen the videos, and was not scoured by them, but it’s a different thing when you are hearing it constantly, actively searching it for beats. If there is gameplay worth noting here, the demo does not sell it. It’s only twenty dollars I suppose, a savings over most games on that platform, but you can save an additional twenty dollars if you don’t buy it at all.