Video games! They sure are wonderful, am I right? Well, most of them anyway. I braved the crowds, the scalpers and the Seattle weather to try out some upcoming titles and now you get to read about them. Lucky you.
Since I didn't get copious amounts of time with most games I'm just going to give you a quick recap and my overall thoughts on the games as they currently stand. I unfortunately didn't get any hands-on time with the following systems - Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PSVita, and N-GAGE. This was either because the line was too long (Xbox One), I had no interest (Vita), or it as merely a joke (N-GAGE).
Overview: Nidhogg is already a fan favorite on the PC, so it was only a matter of time until it hit consoles. The game looks like an Atari 2600 title and pits you against a friend in a hilarious duel. Players kick, punch, stab, and dismember their opponents as they race to be the first to the final screen. What's a Nidhogg? Why it's the beast that you get to sacrifice yourself to if you win of course! Few games do so much with so little and it's hard not to smile when you're friend misses an opportunity to stab you and gets kicked into a pixelated pit.
Should You Try It: Absolutely.
Secret Ponchos (PS4)
Overview: Sadly not about ponchos that come to life at night a la Toy Story, Secret Ponchos is an overhead shooter-fighter western. Basically you pick a character with specific skills and weapons and you run around using said skills and weapons to defeat your opponent. Each character had a great deal of depth and I found myself getting better and better each match. It's simple enough to pick up, but it'll be darn hard to master all the classes and characters involved.
Should You Try It: Yes indeed.
LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS4)
Overview: LBP is back and as cheery as ever. This time you can swap between some new craft-y (GET IT) characters such as a wall-jumping sock dog, a size-shifting mafia blob and a bird. Who can fly. Like most birds. I played as the size-shifting guy while three others (our very own Steve Bowling included) controlled my adventure buddies. Was it fun: yes. Did it feel like LBP: yes. Will the game be waaaaaaay more diverse now: I hope so. I only played one level, but it was certainly a good time.
Should You Try It: Most definitely (if you enjoyed the first two).
Overview: The king is dead! As his daughter and/or her fiance it's your job to (literally) roll his old bones back to the kingdom. So you'll push and pull your dear departed dad's coffin all over kingdom come. The game uses some fantastic teamwork mechanics to make some already puzzling environments even more treacherous and fun. Don't let the cutesy graphics and bizarre story throw you, Chariot is a wonderful little platformer.
Should You Try It: You totally should.
Sonic Boom (Wii U)
Overview: You know a game is bad when you can't even force yourself to finish the first demo level. Last week I got a nasty splinter from cutting apart a fallen tree. This was worse than that. Sonic Boom actually made me wince with pain on several occasions as I watched Sonic attempt (and fail) to reinvent himself yet again.
Should You Try It: Oh god, Please don't.
Super Smash Bros. Wii U (...Wii U)
Overview: Though I managed to play Smash Bros for all of four minutes at my local Best Buy, there was an enormous difference between that experience and the one I had at PAX. What made my PAX Smash experience so much better? GameCube controllers. I've been using them to obliterate opponents for the last 13 years and they still got it, baby. I could finally hold my own as Little Mac, Greninja, Mega Man and more. The game felt familiar, but also had a slightly different touch than past games. It's hard to put my finger on what exactly is different, but it's almost like they tried to make a game that fell between Brawl and Melee in terms of speed and accessibility. It's still my most anticipated game of the year (and decade), so getting to play it for more than ten rounds was a dream come true. It'll be even better when we can choose from the full roster of characters and stages, that's for sure.
Should You Try It: Oh yeah!
Captain Toad (Wii U)
Overview: Have you played the Captain Toad levels of Super Mario 3D World? Well, then you've pretty much played this game. It's a good thing those levels are phenomenal. While there are certainly some more tricks being thrown about in Captain Toad's standalone outing, the presentation is still as accessible, adorable and gamepad-required as they come.
Should You Try It: Wahbah! (Yes)
Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)
Overview: It's Dynasty Warriors with a Zelda spin. If you don't know what that means, well, it's basically like running around and kicking butt while attempting to compete specific missions. Butt kicking doesn't get much more fun than this either. Each character (and there's a ton of them) has a bevy of attacks and combos to overpower and dismantle wave after wave of baddies. It's a bit repetitive, but darn if it isn't a blast every single time.
Should You Try It: Si.
TheatRhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (3DS)
Overview: The most badass adventurers from your favorite Final Fantasy titles are back... as cutesy button-eyed puppets! Huzzah. Rhythm game fanatics and Final Fantasy music fans will no doubt remember the first TheatRhythm (It's "Theatre" and "Rhythm" smashed together in case you didn't catch that)for the 3DS. The sequel is more of the same, with some nice multiplayer twists. Notes will sway and bulge as your opponents attack and it certainly makes playing more difficult. If you're up for a melodic challenge then this is the game for you.
Should You Try It: I would, but I love me some rhythm titles.
Azure Striker: Gunvolt (3DS)
Overview: Pew pew pew! ZAP! KUHBOOM! Robots and gun and dashing and more robots! Yet another killer sprite-based title from the creator of Mega Man. One of the only games I played that was already available to the public. It's enjoyable and frantic with a nice shoot'em up and platformer mix, but you may grow tired of it quickly. Buy it now and get Mighty Gunvolt (an 8-bit demake) for free! For $15 it's not a terrible deal.
Should You Try It: Maybe. Probably. I dunno.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)
Overview: Like most Monster Hunter titles, you are tasked with... hunting... monsters. I've spent a fair share of time with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on the 3DS and 4 wasn't much different. The graphics looked better, the movements felt smoother and the levels loaded faster. It was still a pain to move the camera without a second slide pad, but the game was as solid as MH games come. Now if only Nintendo would put out a new and improved 3DS so it would control better...
Should You Try It: Monster Hunter fans should. Others may find it frustrating.
Super Smash Bros. 3DS (...3DS)
Overview: I was lucky enough to get my hands on the final build of Smash 3DS, in fact the Nintendo rep told me I was the first one to do so outside of Nintendo. I played as every character on every stage and did everything I possibly could. I played the game for nearly two hours. Unfortunately I can't say much as I signed a paper saying I wouldn't until September 12. So while I'd love to tell/show you how amazing it was to play as [REDACTED] on the new [TOP SECRET] themed stage, I just can't yet. Check back on September 12 for some inside looks at the new portable brawler.
From the show floor I can tell you the game plays surprisingly well on the tiny 3DS screen. If you can keep up with your character you'll never lose sight of them in a battle, no matter the distance. The hardest part for me was button placement. It's going to take some getting used to, but I'm sure in time I'll get a firm grip on the controls. Smash Run is a fantastic addition and I can see folks getting really into it in the coming months. I can't wait.
Should You Try It: You best!
Obviously I gravitated towards titles that I thought looked enjoyable and appealed to my tastes. This is probably why I recommended you check out most of the titles above. What games are YOU most looking forward to this fall and holiday season?