The next generation of consoles and handhelds offer us mildly better graphics, increase social interaction and some quirky new features to tempt us away from our previous gaming rig. Obviously, each console will have their obligatory first person shooter (Killzone, Battlefield and COD), their driving game (Forza, Need for Speed) and their exclusive launch titles (Knack for PS4 and Ryse for Xbox among others). For of the more interesting games, however, stray away from the tried and tested formulas and venture into new and exciting territory. I wanted to look at five such games that have perked my interest.
Knack – PS4
Knack has been taking a bit of a beating from the games media so far, as it appears to be a cute and cuddly adventure with a less than cute character. What actually makes this unusual is the fact it is trying to be a homage back to old school of gaming. With its fixed camera and simple mechanic of beating up some goblins before moving on, then doing some platforming, then moving on, makes it reminiscent of the games of yesteryear (or 1995-2005). If reviews are to be believed however, it comes off as bland and not as charming as I would have hoped. But if you wanted to play something on next gen that doesn’t fit into the mould of every other AAA game then it might be worth looking into.
Project Spark – Xbox One
Project Spark is getting some of us in the development community very excited as it allows those with no coding skills to craft a game using a pre-determined set of tools. Early videos suggest you will be mainly be able to create 3rd person adventure games, but some game designers have been experimenting with a forced 2D camera in order to make retro platformers. Others have confined the action to an arena to make a more multiplayer experience and some have worked on simple top down running games. It looks like games can be shared and also ‘re-mixed’ to create new creations extending the life of a game further. The initial graphics and available packs seem to be set it firmly in the medieval/fantasy period but there is no reason why there will not be other packs to change this. In fact, as it is a free to play game, the way the company hope to monetize it, is to sell addition packs and objects. Either way, this looks very interesting and I look forward to seeing what people do with the tools.
Fantasia – Xbox One
It looks like peripheral based gaming has had its day for another 20 years as we have seen guitars, microphones, drums and I even saw a set of holders for your Wiimote that turns it into a violin, conductors baton, trumpet and saxophone. Xbox One’s Fantasia aims to turn you into a living, breathing, magical conductor as it tracks your movements to unlock and play various levels of music from the slapping bass guitar to the vocal crescendo. Your gestures ignite layer upon layer of effect from simple particle effects to waking sleeping seahorses from their slumber. The game is the next big thing to come out of the Harmonix studios who brought us the original Guitar Hero series and looks very interesting as it tries to re-invigorate that music spark in all of us.
Doki Doki Universe – PS4
Designed by the same team behind the fantastic Toejam and Earl, Doki Doki Universe sees you playing the role of QT3, a forlorn little robot abandoned by his human family and on the fringe of being scrapped . To avoid this fate you need to prove that you can learn what it is to be human by roaming the planet helping people. The game is part open world puzzle game and part personality test as it hopes to teach you a little about yourself as you play. At this stage it sounds very intriguing and as it is due out this Monday we will not have long to wait.
Contrast – PS4
I think this title excites me the most as it not only looks stunning but has the amazing mechanic of utilising shadows as a secondary platform element. The protagonist can quite literally become a shadow and use the darkness cast as an additional platform. The characters and art style looks beautiful and the lost father plot line is very interesting. Although this is an indie title, there seems to be as much buzz about it as any of the mainstream titles.