Saturday, 20 July 2013

Staff Picks: Oddplanet and AirBuccaneers

More recently we've played Oddplanet and AirBuccaneers. Guess what we're talking about today? Yep! Bot of these games are in our weekend promotion too, so definitely check that out. Let's not hang about then. Here's a spoonful of opinions...

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George: AirBuccaneers, bit of a quirky game, huh?

James: Amazing start. Good kick-off point George. Yes. It's quirky. But then the best games always do something a bit different.

George: Yeah, quirky in a good way - it's one of the few games that has actually managed to tear me away from F1 2012. The teamwork aspect to it is fantastic - rocking up in a battleship with 2 of my friends on the guns, it's amazing.

James: Otherwise you might as well play Generic Brown Landscape Shooter 7.  Did you get far in terms of levels and abilities?

George: Erm, I can't say I did. I may not have been very good at it (I once got caught in the giant tornado on one of the maps after stupidly saying 'look I'll pull a slingshot manoeuvre and speed into the enemy!'), but I enjoyed it.

James: Well, I spent some of my time yesterday playing Oddplanet. An extremely light game (in terms of space anyway, it's about 65mb and runs off the .exe) with a very dark atmosphere. If you think Limbo in terms of how it looks, with a dash more colour and a far bigger sense of dread about the world you're in. I've not played it much but I'm going to go back to it. It's something like.. the game-style of Limbo meets Alice in "I'm going to kill you" land.

James: The main let down for it I think is the controls. Which can be a bummer when you're platforming and need to move mid-jump, but the totally bizarre way of the world is making me want to go back to it. I died a whole hell of a lot over and over, and while you might think "Well that sounds dumb" I'd wager that's how most people who played LIMBO felt.

George: I must admit I'm not really one for dark platformers, but this one looks really rather interesting. What was it that particularly dragged you into the game? Was it the art style, story etc?

James: Well it describes itself as a mix of Limbo and Oddworld. I loved Limbo so was already interested.  What it does differently to Limbo though (which is obviously what will make me play it instead of just going back to Limbo) is that rather than having just the gruesome murder of the character, to make me go "UGH!" and keep trying, the world you're in is far more alien than you'd think.  For example, in my first go on it you need to get across a small pool of water and the only object you can use to help you in this is a ball with a foetus inside growing off of a tree. You have to knock it from the tree and roll it into the water.

James: It sounds grim. And it is. It seems like a very cruel, hostile world. So surviving it will be a good challenge!

George: I think I'll stick to blowing up zeppelins with my antler hat on thank you.

James: It's certainly up there with "weirdest and most disturbing things I've seen". And I've only played about 20 minutes, so it'll be interesting to see where else it goes. That said probably 10 minutes of that was drowning and falling onto spikes.  Die much in AirBuccaneers?

George: As I'm not too good at it - I did die a lot. However it is so quick to get back into combat with other ships, you just don't mind. The respawn system allows you to fly to your chosen ship on an kite-type-thing.

James: I imagine you chose some empty ships to take the helm right?

George: of course, I'm a control freak - so had to be the one steering the ship! Which leads me on nicely to the rank system. Unfortunately you're able to 'pull rank' on the person steering the ship, which happened a few times to me. Leaving me to man a gun.

James: They updated that a while ago I think. Or rather fixed it. It used to be you could constantly pull rank. I think you can only do it once a round now. Of course in a game of 32 players.. You could still get rank pulled a lot.

George: Oh yeah, it was once per round - however I got multiple people doing it to me! Being put to the cannons made me realise something pretty quick. They are bloody difficult to aim.  Flamethrowers were nice and easy, however it left you rather exposed as you have to be really very close to the enemy in order to use them.  My favourite ship was the artillery platform - which is where you basically trundle round and low altitude firing the enormous cannons at the unsuspecting ships above.

James: The platform isn't bad, though I find shooting from so far and when you can't match the other ships speed trickier. I actually prefer the flamethrower move! Get close, and boost just after you order the attack. I mean: assuming the crew follow it. Above all there's massive potential for clan matches in that game.

George: It's one of those games where I found myself playing it in short bursts. Each match is pretty intense and I just had to have a break at the end of them most times.

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And on the off-chance you're interested in seeing a bit more about Oddplanet, I streamed a bit of my playing it and uploaded it to YouTube. You are warned up front that I am not humourous. I will not amuse you. I will simply play games at you.