Weekplay 202230

An impromptu Friday-evening barbecue session was topped off with a bout of multiplayer Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge (PS5) on Gnarly difficulty. Which, let's be honest, wasn't exactly a walk in Central Park. Actually, that's where we had to call it quits as our credits ran out.

Despite that, it's a delightful chaos in multiplayer with a few mechanics thrown in to keep players interacting with each other. A round of tactical high-fives before munching on pizza seems almost mandatory at this difficulty level.

It's hard to overstate how much Tribute has nailed the feel and function of this game. It may not be a huge sprawling title, but it knows exactly why it's here and what it must do. I can imagine this one sneakily crawling up the GOTY lists of many a player.

Annapurna Interactive once again presented a great showcase last week, which reminded me of the fact that 1. Hohokum (PS4) exists, 2. I have owned this since its initial PlayStation release, and 3. I still had not even touched the game. Well, that was easily remedied.

A few hours later I was completely entranced. The game feels like an odd mixture of LocoRoco, flOw, and Flower. You're constantly exploring, trying to find triggers and objects to interact with. There's a childish use of colours and forms that reminds me of Sesame Street's abstract television sequences or (for Belgian and Dutch readers) Tik Tak. However it never stoops to being dumbed down and maintains an element of intrigue and delight throughout.

Should have touched this much, much earlier.

After visiting the Eye in Citizen Sleeper, I wondered what Night City would now feel like in Cyberpunk 2077 (PS5). The answer: a bit more bland than previously experienced. There are some vistas where you can look up and get the idea you are in a dystopian sci-fi metropolis, but I fear Night City is a just a bit too empty to make that part of the equation work. Leaving a lot to the imagination in Citizen Sleeper is clearly working out better. Quelle surprise.

On the questing side, it’s starting to grate that the answers you choose in conversations often don’t correspond to the replies your V actually gives. Is this a metaphor for how difficult it is to truly communicate with fellow humans, or the result of too much textual fiddling on the development side of things? We may never know. I do know that as a result my V has often responded way harsher than I intended. That it matters not one iota is maybe more damning.

Still, the main quest arcs do a lot of the heavy lifting here and I'm still on-board. Kudos for that.