Capsule Reviews, Too: Things That Go Boom (And Quite Frequently, At That)

2017 was an incredibly busy year and that doesn’t include me being laid up in the hospital for almost a month and missing out on a load of fun stuff. Anyway, I’m compiling a short list of recommends here if you’re doing some post-holiday gifting for yourself or someone else. Most of what’s here will be indie/small studio focused thanks to too a few of these games getting (intentionally?) overlooked by bigger sites because they’re not going to get a ton of clicks or some other such nonsense.

 

 

JYDGE PS4 JYDGE (PS4) – I’m surprised that this excellent kinda sorta follow up to Neon Chrome didn’t come to Vita as well, but given Sony’s rapidly losing interest in their HD handheld in terms of first party support, I guess it’s no surprise at all (except that Neon Chrome isn’t a first party game). Still, if you like your top-down action games tough and pretty darn fun, going to town with this one for a spell will bring a big grin to your grill.

You are the law in this fun, violent riff on Judge Dredd meets Robocop with a slick neon-lit coating straight out of Blade Runner or some other futuristic flick. Fast-paced and highly replayable missions await if you’re a fan of top-down shooters that aren’t easy and demand precision over panic. There’s a great arcade-like vibe here that has you unlocking weapon and armor upgrades and hopping back in to press forward or go back and try to beat tight times for taking out assorted baddies as quickly as possible while avoiding civilian casualties (an instant mission failure, as it should be in a game such as this). There’s even a solid co-op mode if you want to team up with a friend and Jydge the hell out of some well-armed creeps who’ll get what they deserve but good.

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RIVE: Two Tribes’ Final Title Looks Like a True Treasure


 

15 years in the game development business is a long enough time to do a lot of different things and Two Tribes has indeed done just that and then some. The indie developer has decided to pack it (at least as far as making new games) in after a decade and a half of console and PC titles with what looks like a dangerously fun arcade-style romp called RIVE. The game has the look and feel of a classic Treasure game but with that even more notorious European difficulty scale that makes for a supremely challenging and highly replayable slice of nostalgia. If there’s a ‘Metal Wrecking, Robot Hacking Shooter’ sub-genre, my money is on RIVE being among the best of the best.


 

These guys at TT are going to be missed, but at least RIVE is coming out on multiple platforms so console and computer gamers who need their big meal bang-boom-boom fix can get in on the fun at a glorious 60fps soon-ish. PC/Mac/Linux (via Steam), PlayStation 4, Wii U and Xbox One are all supported here, but I’m betting Vita owners are hoping for some Cross Play action because this looks as if would be perfect on the road. Then again, the game also looks as if one would need to have at least one extra controller handy just in case one “accidentally” busted their main gamepad. Hard walls and game controllers are a poor mix. Padded walls on the other hand – those get the DAF seal of approval every single time.