Out This Week

That’s Science

In this week’s new releases, Mars doesn’t attack.

By Drew Toal • July 30, 2013

Out This Week is a look at a few new games that are out this week.

Take On Mars
PC—August 1

This game combines two of my favorite things: outer space and the song “Take On Me.” Hitting that note at wedding sing-a-longs is tough! I know Americans are pretty blah on space exploration ever since it became no longer about the Soviet Union and America competing to see who could be the first to piss on the Moon, but wow, the video of the Curiosity Mars rover’s descent is intense. Take On Mars isn’t about aliens or future military incursions or peak oil or anything like that. It’s just straight science—rolling along the surface of the red planet, collecting soil samples, moving rocks around, and drawing giant penises in the space dust.

Cloudberry Kingdom
PC, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360—July 30

Cloudberry Kingdom, despite its innocuous-sounding name, looks to be maybe the hardest video game ever created. Apparently, it has infinite levels, increases the difficulty in response to your skill level, and holy shit, are those lasers shooting between the spiked balls? The real treat would appear to be the multiplayer, where you and three of your least favorite friends get tethered together with a bungee cord and must coordinate to advance. I can see how this would go down if the Gameological staff were all in the same room playing together. It would end, sooner rather than later, with three of us desperately struggling to remove Teti’s hands from around Matt Kodner’s neck.

PC—July 29

In one corner, you have Sir Lancelot (as portrayed by Richard Gere), Jamie Lannister, the Knights Of Columbus, and Michael Knight. In the other, you have Thor, this angry dude, Adrian Peterson, and Bjork. In the contest of knights versus Vikings, there is no clear favorite. Peterson might launch Bjork, like a tiny Icelandic missile, directly into the knight’s keep, but Kit could turbo-boost right through the Vikings’ front gate. Smart money is on the Vikings, but Richard Gere is one hell of an actor.

Rise Of The Triad
PC—July 31

Rise Of The Triad is a remake of a 1994 shooter that was at some point styled as a sequel to Wolfenstein 3D, the iconic Nazi kill fest that inadvertently spawned the gun-saturated video game environment that we all so enjoy today. I’ve had occasion to wonder, just now, what Wolfenstein 4D would look like. Are all the Nazis dead before you even play? Are all the guns shaped like tesseracts? How will rotations in four-dimensional Euclidean space affect the trajectory of Hans Grosse’s brain as it’s splattered all over Castle Wolfenstein’s walls? Just things to ponder at night.

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41 Responses to “That’s Science”

  1. CastleStorm = King Arthur’s World on the SNES (ie, the best use of the SNES mouse there was)?

    • Uncle Roundy says:

      The SNES mouse was a terribly underutilized peripheral, especially given that its prime intersected with a peak for edutainment. Although one game it really would have made a hell of a lot easier was Lemmings (<–natch)

  2. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    Bioshock Infinite released details on it’s DLC today.
       While I personally couldn’t be less interested in Clash in the Clouds shooty maps, the trailer for Under the Sea was pretty great.
       A pre-fallen Rapture along with Elizabeth and Booker is an excellent noir setup.

    • The_Helmaroc_King says:

      Damn, I’ve been scooped! Ah, well.

      Apparently, the first DLC will be out later today, and it’s another in the long line of wave-based arenas.

      The second and third are the more interesting story chapters; one will let you play as Elizabeth!

      All three should be included with the season pass.

      I, for one, am cautiously optimistic.

      • Merve says:

        Looks like they’re doing one challenge DLC and two story DLCs, which is what Dishonored is doing.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        Yes, Burial At Sea looks amazing, and Clash In The Clouds looks, ah, okay? It’s Horde mode but by yourself so, erm, yeah. I mean, I bought the Season Pass outright, so it’s “free”, but yeah, free is about what I think it’s worth anyway.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Hyper-Excessive Tangent!
           There’s the awesome bit in the trailer with Booker using a plasmid to light Elizabeth’s cigarette, and it reminds me of this movie I saw… jeezus, twenty years ago now, called Cast a Deadly Spell.
           It’s a noir/Cthulhu hybrid that takes place in 40’s L.A. where magic is saturated into the culture and the protagonist is a hard-boiled detective named Lovecraft.  He’s unique in not using magic and is made fun of for using a zippo to light his cigarettes when everyone else just produces a flame from their finger.
           As a kid, I thought that bit was just brilliant.  

    • MintBerry_Crunch says:

      Ugh, I hope it doesn’t transition into the ‘falling’ Rapture if you know what I mean. 

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        I’m actually afraid I don’t.  Do you mean you hope this DLC doesn’t try and lead up to the beginning of Bioshock 1?  Like trying to make it all too tidy?  I hope that’s not how the story arcs.  But correct me if that’s not what you mean.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

           I think what most fans feel is excitement at the prospect of seeing a successful Rapture, and trepidation about seeing it all go to pot in front of our eyes.

          We’ve seen the ruins of Rapture. Let’s see the heyday!

        • MintBerry_Crunch says:

          Good heavens, I’m not even on the same wavelength at the prospect of what the DLC might be. 

          I guess I’m terribly bitter and cynical in this fashion towards Bioshock Infinite; mostly because the first hour promised so much. I want the DLC to be *that first hour* stretched across however long it may be, with combat *much* less generously applied.

          I’m guessing the timeline/universe won’t be the same as Infinite’s or Rapture’s, not that is matters ultimately, I just want those impossibly dense visuals, fantastic sound design, and vibrant colours on my screen where the NPC’s get to keep their heads and be cheery.

        • neodocT says:

           @MintBerry_Crunch:disqus The problem with that is the Bioshock doesn’t have the gameplay mechanics to make walking around Rapture fun without combat. Unless they started implementing puzzles based around the plasmids/vigors, there just wouldn’t be much to do in the game. I find that pretty sad, as I also would much rather play in a mostly non-violent Rapture, but I just can’t see it working out.

  3. lokimotive says:

    I’m rather curious about how Rise of the Triad turns out. I get the impression that it’s particular brand of super action oriented gameplay and ultra-violence has been rendered largely redundant by Serious Sam and… well the general ultra-violence of video games. But, there’s always room for games that don’t take themselves particularly serious, and I miss secret rooms and power-ups.

    • Chalkdust says:

       I’ll report back on it!

    • SamPlays says:

      The original was intolerable, though it had more in common with Quake than Wolfenstein. My expectations are sufficiently low that this one has a passable chance of being barely tolerable.

      • lokimotive says:

        Though I can kind of see what you’re saying, I wouldn’t really compare it to Quake I think, in part, because Quake had a much more claustrophobic feeling, and Rise of the Traid’s one innovation, if it could be called that, was an emphasis on wackiness. Indeed, I remember reading an article some time ago that pointed out that the designer original was working for id, but his ‘vision’ didn’t really jive with id’s vision (which is saying something considering the original Wolfenstein 3D had Hitler in a mech suit.

        But the comparison to Wolfenstein 3D is relevant for a couple reasons, first of all it was originally an expansion pack/sequel to Wolfenstein 3D which was cancelled because of Doom, and second of all, the engine was a modified Wolfenstein 3D engine which is evident in the anachronistic limitations of 90 angle walls and some other things (although levels could be varying heights, unlike Wolf3D which had a set height, each individaul level could have only one ceiling height throughout the entire level).

        Ultimately the game was really rather crap, but I do appreciate its anything goes attitude and I hope this one captures a little bit of that.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Trailer: Return to Castle Triadstein.  Looks pretty dire to me.

      • lokimotive says:

        The trailer is worrying. It looks pretty brotastic and seems largely concerned with gore, poorly recorded vulgarity, and vaguely okay graphics. You know, the most easily recreateable elements.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          Oh good, I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed the bad voice quality.  Maybe Captain Brocard is speaking through a gas mask?

        • lokimotive says:

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus Yeah, maybe it’s a retro thing: Hey guys! I have a really great idea to add authenticity to this, let’s record at 22khz in a bathroom!

    • boardgameguy says:

      i played this game so much against my brother across a serial cable connection. it’s probably the last FPS i played in earnest before giving them up (and taking them back up for portal 2 and the occasionally play of TF2). what concerns me most, however, is the lack of drunk missiles in that trailer.

      • Chalkdust says:

         Don’t worry, the Steam store details call out Drunk Missiles as well as “the full arsenal” from the original.  As this was also one of my most-played FPSes (hell, one of my most-played games) of its era, I’m surprised to learn I may be among a nostalgic few who really enjoyed the rough zaniness of the original.

    • DudewitdaK says:

      I’m surprised to see all of this negativity about this here. Although the general act of “firing gun at bad guy” seems pretty simple, you’d be surprised how much first-person shooters have actually regressed since the original Doom. To be fair, the original Rise of the Triad wasn’t great, because the Wolf3D engine’s limitations forced them to make almost every later level a giant maze. But this specific style of shooter (having a good amount of health that takes items to restore, running way faster than any human should, ridiculous explosive weapons, large explorable levels instead of fancy-looking straight lines) has been mostly gone for a long time. Serious Sam misses the level design, it’s mostly just room after room full of enemies. This game looks like it gets it, though, so I’m excited.

  4. MintBerry_Crunch says:

    “The rover’s picture went viral after being posted to Reddit’s r/funny subreddit page Tuesday, earning close to 40,000 “upvotes” in a matter of a few hours. According to The Huffington Post UK, NASA’s website crashed due to increased traffic as word of the “drawing” spread.”

    One day NASA.gov will unveil this reality’s version of the Warp Drive, allowing the collective human race to brave the Final Frontier—and still, that day will not have as many hits as space-dust dicks. 

  5. duwease says:

    Pfft, Adrian Peterson would just let those other guys do whatever and smoke the Knights all by himself.. that’s what he does in real life at least.

    Thanks for reminding me fantasy football is coming.. I have so much research to do!  Is there a Gameological League this year?

  6. HobbesMkii says:

    I learned today that the Pre-order bonus for Europa Universalis IV is an exclusive savegame converter from CK2. Also, a free copy of CK2. 

    In other words, I will soon have a free copy of CK2 to give out.

  7. djsubversive says:

    Take On Mars is from Bohemia, the devs that make the ArmA games. And Take On Helicopters, which is a helicopter sim. They also make VBS, a military training simulator Well, that’s a bit misleading – Bohemia Australia are the ones that make VBS, while the Czech branch makes games. They don’t have much to do with one another, other than using a similar engine.

    What this means for you is that it’s only a matter of time before modders add combined-arms combat to a Mars Rover simulator. And then, of course, the BIS forum will be full of ‘helpful’ suggestions, like “the weight of the equipment that a soldier on Mars would need to operate would make him almost useless in combat! I shouldn’t be able to turn or move this quickly, and my vision should be blocked off because of the helmet! fix this now!”

    The BIS forums are amazing, if you like reading angry mil-sim nerds. “My family had a speedboat, so I know what’s up” is still one of my favorites.

    • Citric says:

      “My family had a speedboat, so I know what’s up,” seems like it could be the response to an innumerable number of debates.

      • Fluka says:

        I would very much like to see this become a Gameological meme.  

        • djsubversive says:

          It gets even better! Speedboat-guy flashes his credentials of family-speedboat-ownership, somebody else “who’s worked around boats for most of [his] life” mentions that these aren’t just little pleasure boats like your dad gets for cruising around on a lake. These are military speedboats, so they have guns and stuff and did you actually measure how long it took you to stop?

          Speedboat guy responds with something like “well, I admit it’s been a while, and I’m going on memory more than anything, and no, we didn’t actually measure it.” Which, to me, says “when I was a kid, my dad took us out in his speedboat and it was awesome, so that gives me the right to complain about video-game boats taking ‘waaay’ too long to stop.”

  8. Roswulf says:

    Also announced today, pre-orders for Europa Universalis IV will include DLC allowing players to carry over Crusader Kings II saves.

    So that’s a thousand-ish years of irritatingly fiddly alternate history wackinesss. Just the idea of rejoinging my beloved Castillian conquistadors after their total victory against Islam and rushing into a whole New World of heathens has my mouth watering.

    In related news, playing Crusader Kings II makes me a terrible, terrible person.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      There’s no question.  Oh, you mean it turns you into a terrible person when you play?  Ah, well same conclusion.

      (Just teasing.  I really don’t see what could replace that game until Europa Universalis IV comes out.)

    • EmperorNortonI says:

       I think I’m in the minority here, but I really start to lose interest in Paradox titles once I’ve become clearly stronger than my neighbors and am a blob of doom.  I rarely play more than 100 years on a country.  Thus, the thought of playing a full game of Crusader Kings, and then porting that broken, blobbed world over to Europa, just doesn’t appeal at all.

      • Roswulf says:

        I entirely understand your point- and I could easily see myself never actually playing an EU IV converted save. But the idea has me so enraptured that it will suck forty dollars from me. For I am an easy mark.

        As for the reaching unstoppable doom blob status within a century, might I recommend sucking more? Solves the problem nicely for me!

  9. patagonianhorsesnake says:

    i really love the idea of just plain moving rocks around on mars, a lot more than any other game i’ve seen recently.

    : look at rock

    it is a mars rock

    :move rock

    success! you have moved a rock on mars

  10. Penis Van Lesbian says:

    My son’s bought Cloudberry Kingdom. He’s played it “seriously” a couple of times, but his main pleasure would appear to be turning everything to max and laughing like a drain…

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