Prism (or more specifically, _Prism, note the underscore, in case you want to search for it on Google or on the App Store) is an iOS puzzle game that’s pretty dang good, but the most impressive thing about it is its art. The simple idea of geometric shapes floating in space is used to convey a strong sense of progression, culminating in a truly clever climax that’s also an anti-climax. The game gets to have its cake and eat it too. It’s subversive and expected, climactic and anti-climactic, a clever trick and a thoughtful lesson.
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My weapon was buffed, balls of energy were swirling around my head, and all my rings were in order. I was ready. My goal: to kill the host of embers in Anor Lando. I was invading in Dark Souls III.
While searching for my victim, I was joined by another ally, an Aldrich Faithful. We bowed and continued on toward the area just outside of the bonfire, where an open courtyard acts as the chosen battleground for PVP duels. There we found the host and their gold-tinged guardian, another player coming to their aid.
My palms were soaked when I faced Hyper Light Drifter‘s final boss for the fourth or fifth time. I kept sending my player character—an unnamed, gender-ambiguous cloaked figure known only as the Drifter—to his/her death. The boss was similarly unnamed; it looked both synthetic and organic, emerging from a sickly pink core and emitting a robotic scream. I threw bombs. I blasted it with my shotgun. I reflected bullets with the slice of my sword. But no matter how many health packs I carried or how skillfully I dodged its attacks, I would die and retry and die again.
I’m certainly not the first person to observe that Hyper Light Drifter is a difficult game. On the game’s release date, John Walker of Rock Paper Shotgun wrote that the game’s first boss was so difficult that he had basically given up: “I know, I know very well, that others will breeze through it and be snarky and entirely without empathy for others who aren’t them, But there goes my time with Hyper Light Drifter, a completely gorgeous game I was utterly loving. It apparently doesn’t want me to play it any more” (“Impressions: Hyper Light Drifter”, Rock Paper Shotgun, 31 March 2016). Walker amended his review a week later when he realized that the player could tackle the bosses in any order, but his original point still stands. Where do we draw the line between challenging and punishing, and should games accommodate players who find an experience to be too difficult?
Firewatch was developed by game development veterans associated with Telltale’s The Walking Dead and with the popular indie Mark of the Ninja. Set in Shoshone National Park in 1989, it tells the story of a newly recruited fire lookout named Henry, a man looking to escape from his recent past.
This week we discuss Henry and his experiences in this lonely role alongside the growing intimacy he develops with another lookout, a woman named Delilah. We consider the beautiful world that Campo Santo has built for Henry to explore and the way that the game explores human relationships through Henry’s experiences within that world.
SUPERHOTLine Miami is exactly what it sounds like. Like Hotline Miami it is a bloody and brutal shooter played from a top-down view, and like SUPERHOT, one in which time only moves when you move.
The mash-up work brilliantly. It’s amazing how effective these two systems work together, which further proves the versatility of both shooting as a central mechanic and slow-motion as a central mechanic. Shooting has already proven itself, given the number and types of shooters out there, but slow motion, even though it has proven itself a memorable part of games like Max Payne, has never really caught on for some reason.