Attempting to blend both beauty and brawn, Mononoke Slashdown infuses a hand-drawn art style with action reminiscent of the most fundamental of brawlers. By the very nature of incorporating these conflicting elements, coupled by its all-too-similar traditional Japanese theme it’s bound to be compared to another PlayStation title; Muramasa Rebirth. While Mononoke Slashdown never quite lives up to its full-featured comparison, it’s not without its redeeming qualities. That said it’s not without its glaring faults either.
Thinking Outside of the Box
As video games evolve and mature, they’ve begun to transcend the comparatively simplistic mechanics that brought it glory during its golden years. With each passing year it seems the focus of both players and critics shifts evermore so towards the story or inherent message of a game, and further away from their core design. Frankly speaking, many developers seem to seek to simulate both a grandiose cinematic type of adventure, or something far more personal and perhaps more akin to tangible poetry.
With indie games finally getting their deserved due we have received a near endless supply of retro-inspired games in recent years, most of which fall under the banner of either puzzle, platformer or the ever popular puzzle-platfomer. Seemingly lost in all the nostalgia-fueled influence are games that revisit the classic first-person-shooters of yore. That’s why when I heard that the PSMobile title Gun Commando was setting its sights on recapturing the spirit of old-school shooters, I got more than a little bit excited. Unfortunately despite the fact that the game does add some interesting wrinkles and manages to achieve its mission of paying homage to the classics, it never quite carves out its own identity enough to step from out the shadow of the monoliths it’s inspired by.
As someone who covers the PlayStation Vita on a daily basis, I’m aware of the common myth that Sony’s handheld has “no games”. While I admittedly disagree with this sentiment, I do have to acknowledge at times that there are some gaps in the Vita’s library. One such void that has truly yet to be filled is a proper selection of sports-based titles, whether they be of the arcade or simulation variety. Thankfully developers Honeyslug have delivered a charming and addictive soccer/football game that does more than simply aid in “passing time”, but in fact eating up large chunks of it.
With a title like Monster Hotel you might think that developers XMPT Games have decided to create a survival-horror title, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead what is presented is a pseudo-puzzle game in which players are tasked to keep the spooky residence of a rather normal hotel satisfied through quick reflexes and strong micromanagement-think the Sims “needs” system boiled down to its most basic form and sped up tenfold. Unfortunately while XMPT’s signature art style and charm both check-in, the controls on the PlayStation Vita never seem to keep up with the frantic pace, and ultimately there just isn’t enough content to make your stay at Monster Hotel worthwhile.
There was a time when the word free held a sexy air about it that perked the interests of all those in earshot, unfortunately with the current climate of the games industry the word free is more likely to conjure thoughts of scams, rather than attraction. Even in the event that free games don’t include some nefarious nickel and dime plot, they were often a waste of time due to a lack of quality and depth. Whenever I am tempted by a free title I remember the words that my Grandfather used to say, “Nothing is free in life.” he would say, and it has been advice that has served me well up until now. You see the flaw in my grandpa’s wisdom was that he had never played Penguin Party, if he did he would know that some of the very best things in life were indeed; free of charge.
Remember when you were a kid, and your parents took you somewhere that just gave you the creeps; so much so that you thought it was haunted and the ghosts wanted you out? Yeah, Haunt the House: Terrortown is kind of like that; except you’re the ghost and it’s your job to scare the visitors away… role reversal at its finest.