Roundup – Things you missed at PAX Prime 2015

Some stuff that I wrote about already:

FFXIV, Ravana with newcomers and MMO Onboarding

Impressions on: Ultimate Chicken Horse

Impressions on: Just Shapes and Beats

Plenty of great panels and concerts, many of which you can find on the PAX Twitch channel here

 

Notably Panels

Dragon Age: Past, Present and Future Panel

Storytime with Kim Swift

Inside Gearbox Software

 

All of the concerts are fun in their own right.

Saturday Night Concerts:

7 BIT Hero

Freezepop

MC Frontalot

Sunday Night Concerts:

The Returners

Bit Brigade

The Protomen

The Protomen P2

 

If anything else worth watching is available for post-PAX viewing, I’ll try to remember and post it here.

Twitter: @GIntrospection

Blaugust Day 31

Impressions – Just Shapes and Beats – PAX Prime 2015

Just Shapes and Beats

Music games are strange. They’re strange in that there is something about the game that you can sync up with to make the game more predictable, something that’s rhythmic, something on beat. When you play the game well because you’re completely in-sync with the music there’s a strange body-extension sensation that takes over, but only for the time you feel in-time with the music.

That means that music games typically went one of a few ways. You make finding that synchronicity the main point of the game and pushing the limit of that synchronicity by pushing your dexterity and stamina, ala Rock Band. Maybe you make the music a byproduct of the player’s actions so those actions create new music on every playthrough, e.g. Sound Shapes or Everyday Shooter. Maybe you have the music be the cue for onscreen action and movement, e.g. Donkey Kong Country Returns and Axiom Verge.

Just Shapes and Beats is probably closest to the last of these, onscreen cues except that cues aren’t the easiest to judge and time.

just-shapes-and-beats-boss-1

Donkey Kong Country Return uses the music to sync with the platforming and enemy movement patterns, but the levels are still open platforming sections, e.g. not on-rails, so you can still take the levels at whatever pace you want to take it. You just need to know that your movement will have to line up with the beat of the background music and some point.

Just Shapes and Beats takes the other approach, being completely on-rails and having the mayhem be not only in-sync but completely dictated by the music. It’s akin to a bullet-hell game with a mandatory soundtrack to notice. You will be dodging lots of things, things that take up a large portion of the screen, things that move very quickly and it will all be to the rhythm of the song. The only way to not get hit is to either avoid them or dash through them to a safe location on the screen.

just-shapes-and-beats-boss-2

The music for the three demo levels were great but you’re still fighting the enemy patterns to know what to look out for. An attack that causes waves of damage at the bottom the screen? Definitely didn’t know that was a thing til it happened. Enemy Face blasting damage beams towards the edges of the screen? That was a surprise.

The game was full of fun surprises that catch you off guard, but like any game you can learn the telegraph after a few tries and you can quickly find the synchronicity that the game tries to impart, except not that synchronicity is on the boss and you’re trying to avoid it.

Twitter:@GIntrospection

Blaugust Day 30

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