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Less is More


LaveDisco
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24 minutes ago, El Spatula said:

I just find it incredibly hard :( Makes me feel well thick.


Play it on easy. I’ve not beaten it yet on normal yet, but I’m okay with that. Die at the finale - and it’s always my fault. 

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I'm with LaveDisco on this one. It's a masterclass in doing a lot with a little; a strategy game boiled down to its finest and most essential elements. 

 

Another game that immediately springs to mind is Downwell. It's not my favourite game, but it uses such a simple, efficient design to provide a while load of value. The premise extremely simple too. You fall down a week and see how far you can get.

 

Mechanically, there's barely anything to it. You can either move left/right or fire your gunboots. It has an incredibly simple colour palette. Enemies are white or red. White= I can jump on you. Red= I can't jump on you.

 

Everything in this game follows these simple mechanics but uses them with a lot of variety. Every mechanic is doing a few different jobs. The mechanics that do exist connect and interact with eachother in interesting ways. E.g. killing enemies fills a combo meter that ends when you touch the ground. You only have limited ammo but this refills when you jump on an enemy's head, so the game design encourages the risk of going for bounces for as long as possible to extend your combo while also managing your ammo in a way that allows you to avoid hitting the ground for long periods of time if you play well.

 

I'm probably describing this poorly, but it just works.

 

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I've spent the past half hour playing Missile Command Recharged and it's gone the opposite way to most remakes and stripped it down further.

 

The graphics now use the Geometry Wars vector style. Controls are mouse or touch.

 

But the two big changes are to do with the missile bases. Rather than having ammo of 10 missiles each they all have infinite missiles with a charge meter. And you don't choose which base fires. The base that fires is always the closest base to the target unless that base is charging. Then it's the next nearest.

 

This reduces the fire button count from 3 to 1 and does away with the intermission so the pace just keeps ramping up until you're overwhelmed.

 

 

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I’ve been streaming a replay of Half-Minute Hero since January (although my stream is currently on hold due to internet changes) and I admire the way it gets to the point. It’s an RPG with towns, random battles, levelling, sidequests, NPCs, and everything else you’d expect, but condensed into several mini adventures that each last a few minutes. And it makes the slow grind of more ambitious RPGs look pretty daft in comparison. :) 

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I guess roguelikes in general are great for this - Isaac, Spelunky, Slay the Spire etc. There's complexity there but very little fat.

 

Shmups.

 

The various versions of Street Fighter II (not Rainbow Edition lol) in comparison with modern fighting games. You could learn it in minutes, frame data basically doesn't matter but it has such depth that people are still playing it 30 years later.

 

 

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Luftrausers gets a lot out of a 1 button control scheme. Letting go of fire to repair your plane. Deliberate use of controlled stalls by letting off the throttle.

 

Giving you a secondary level of control and interaction based on NOT pressing things.

 

Cave games too, although they're basically drowning in their own excess, usually have that tap fire for spread fire, hold for slow movement and concentrated fire. Very simple, clever way of getting expressive control out of simple digital inputs.

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Geometry Wars 2: Retro Evolved is a much better game than 3. The latter is far too spread out and sprawling. 2 only had 6 modes to hammer away at and getter ever better and angrier at. 

 

@lewismistreated I don’t know if you’re still out there, but buried away in the depths of my soul is special hatred for you and your god damn Pacifism score.

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2 hours ago, Rsdio said:

The various versions of Street Fighter II (not Rainbow Edition lol) in comparison with modern fighting games. You could learn it in minutes, frame data basically doesn't matter but it has such depth that people are still playing it 30 years later.

 

I've heard that the two-button fighting game Divekick has a surprising amount of depth for a game in which your only actions are diving and kicking.

 

Core-A Gaming did a video about making the genre more accessible. At 6:10 there's a bit where David Sirlin talks about how if there's a spectrum of beat 'em up accessibility with Divekick at one end, and all other fighting games crowded together at the other extreme, then Fantasy Strike is intended to fit in between.

 

http://www.fantasystrike.com/accessibility

 

 

 

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It's a forum favourite, but OutRun 2 is a classic example of less is more. Exactly as much game as I need. 

 

It's ridiculous that closest I can get for feel, is Forza Horizon. It's great, but it's just too huge. 

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19 hours ago, El Spatula said:

I just find it incredibly hard :( Makes me feel well thick.

I felt that way at first, but it's well-worth sticking with. I found I was generally too aggressive - keen to take out enemies. Often the best move is to stall for time or to get enemies positioned where you can do more damage next turn, block an incoming enemy, or let a mech take a hit to save a building. It took me a fair few plays before I cottoned on. I'm still no wizard at it, but I have beaten it a few times with different squads, and once it does click it's super-satisfying.

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45 minutes ago, Nick R said:

 

I've heard that the two-button fighting game Divekick has a surprising amount of depth for a game in which your only actions are diving and kicking.

 

Yeah, my favourite thing is that it's literally two buttons. No left/right. Two buttons. You dive or you kick.

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4 hours ago, Harsin said:

Every bloody Ubisoft game is the opposite of this.

 

:quote: Hey did you enjoy doing that particular activity.

:) It was okay I guess.

:quote: Great, because we’ve put 30,000 of them on the map.
<_<


Generally speaking I think Ubisoft have been very consistent with their quality recently, but I was talking to a friend about the lack of a new Splinter Cell and neither of us could think of a single title that wasn’t either open world or GaaS for this entire gen. I think Blacklist might have actually been the last. Have there been any others?

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1 hour ago, Nick R said:

I've heard that the two-button fighting game Divekick has a surprising amount of depth for a game in which your only actions are diving and kicking.

 

Core-A Gaming did a video about making the genre more accessible. At 6:10 there's a bit where David Sirlin talks about how if there's a spectrum of beat 'em up accessibility with Divekick at one end, and all other fighting games crowded together at the other extreme, then Fantasy Strike is intended to fit in between


I backed the original campaign for Divekick (it actually got picked up by Iron Galaxy and they refunded backers but still honoured the pledge rewards) - it gets criticised for too much depth ruining the “purity” seen in the early prototypes (because there are lots of unique character abilities which need explaining, defeating the point of an “accessible” game), but I think that the two-button interface helps a lot (and there’s nothing stopping players using the easier characters...)

 

I haven’t picked up FS yet but it does look like another interesting take on accessible brawling. :) 

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I've been playing Cuphead recently and its boss battles generally last no more than two minutes. 

 

This has a number of positive effects. Firstly, replays are quick and defeats aren't disheartening. You've never lost 30 minutes of progress and you never have to do much again. Each try feels like an opportunity. 

 

Likewise, you can pluck victory from the jaws of defeat, as even if you lose all your health in a mix up at the start, you only need to survive for a bit longer to feel like you're close to beating it. 

 

It allows you to memorise the bosses patterns easily. The three stage design also helps this, and helps clearly differentiate between what phase you're in and what to expect. The short battles generally ensure that one you get an early phase more or less down, you get chances to practice the next one. Longer ones would leave you more prone to getting bogged down in the early stages through an odd mistake here and there. The shorter ones mean you don't have to be perfect to practice just good enough to survive until the next phase. 

 

Finally, the short battles provide an abundance of gaming brain heroin straight into your, err, brain, giving you plenty of reward for your risk. It's intense, often manic difficulty keeps you pumped, and only needs to be ensured for a short while until you get rewarded with the next stage and progress. The quick retries keep the adrenaline going and you're rarely phased upon death by the prospect of another go. 

 

Way better than the stodgy battles of attrition a lot of gaming battles are. Or, even worst, the ones where another health bar drops, or another phase starts and you think: "Christ how long is this going to take...". 

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1 hour ago, CarloOos said:


Generally speaking I think Ubisoft have been very consistent with their quality recently, but I was talking to a friend about the lack of a new Splinter Cell and neither of us could think of a single title that wasn’t either open world or GaaS for this entire gen. I think Blacklist might have actually been the last. Have there been any others?

 

They've released a bunch of smaller non-open world/service games this generation, but nobody remembers any of them apparently :P

 

The punters have voted with their wallets, all the 10+ Million selling Ubisoft games this gen have been either open-world or a service game.

 

Naming a non-open world or service game that has been very successful on non-Nintendo platforms is pretty difficult this gen.

 

Great that the Next Gen consoles are perfectly suited to continue the trend then :)

 

 

2 hours ago, LaveDisco said:

It's a forum favourite, but OutRun 2 is a classic example of less is more. Exactly as much game as I need. 

 

It's ridiculous that closest I can get for feel, is Forza Horizon. It's great, but it's just too huge. 

 

I dunno, OutRun 2 has more fancy systems than earlier more simple Arcade Racing games like SEGA Rally Championship or Daytona USA.

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SF2 Turbo is still the perfect Vs fighter. Advance Wars and Fire Emblem on the GBA are still the best versions.

 

I really appreciate the deisgn of Into the Breach. But, I also found I'd had enough of it quite quickly. I felt like I'd got its number after a few runs and there wasn't huge room to develop after that. Invisible Inc. is kind of similar but more complext, and offers far more long term interest.

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Definitely finding this is the case for me over the past couple of years....

 

Found I've been gravitating towards puzzlers ,arty games and arcade drivers....

 

Recently I've been playing and enjoying:-

The Cave (360) - old platformer/puzzler by some of the ex LucasArts adventure team.

 

Gris (PC) - Simply wonderful arty platformer / puzzler game. Joy to experience from start to finish. Beautiful visuals and sound.

 

Old Man's Journey (PC) - similar to above 

 

Crackdown (360) - Really enjoying playing this again pure unadulterated shooty fun.

 

Project Gotham Racing 4 (360) - one of the greatest arcade racers ever made. Period.

 

Currently playing Degrees Of Separation on the Switch and loving it.... Just a great chill out platform puzzler with beautiful audio and visuals. Like the fire and ice mechanic too.....

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A great example of this is Undertale. You can finish it in a couple of sittings but it's just pure killer (possible exception of the cave area which feels slightly undercooked but it's not like it gets boring). It really respects the player's time unlike most RPGs.

 

Very, very few games finish and leave me wanting more. Most are too long.

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5 hours ago, mushashi said:

 

Naming a non-open world or service game that has been very successful on non-Nintendo platforms is pretty difficult this gen.


Not really.

 

Jedi Fallen Order

Resident Evil 2 Remake

Devil May Cry 4

Control

Sekiro 

 

all from 2019, never mind the whole gen.

 

 

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