The PS4 has distinguished itself as one of all time most friendly platforms for independent developers to release their games. There are some really brilliant indie games showing great creativity that you’ll never find from a mainstream game. There are others that are as amateurish as it gets that probably shouldn’t have seen the light of day. We look at the latest independent game to come out on Sony’s PlayStation 4, In Space We Brawl.
In Space We Brawl has to be one the easiest games to review because honestly there’s barely a game. Take some basic twin shooter controls, add in some slightly different spaceships and weapons and you’ve got In Space We Brawl. The games is almost totally a multiplayer game and there isn’t all that much depth to these battles. The only thing the game has you do is to shoot your weapons while moving around with your left stick. You hope you’re the last person standing taking less weapon fire damage than your ship can stand and avoiding the few obstacles littering the map. There’s eight maps in the game and the only thing that even makes them even slightly different is the textures they use in each and the amount of asteroids you can hit, otherwise there’s absolutely no difference.
There is what can be considered a single player mode, called the “Challenge” mode. As far as I could tell instead of programming bots for single player arena matches they just put a bunch of forced scenarios for you to play through that feels like tutorial missions rather than anything that could be remotely fun. You get to experience terribly boring goals like avoid the asteroid or travelling to difference waypoints on a tiny map. Honestly if you thought the multiplayer was lacking then the single player takes it to a whole new level.
The sound effects are atrocious, the developers discovered the Dual Shock 4 had a speaker and decided to use to deliver ear crushing sound effects on an all too frequent basis. That’s not to say sound effects coming from your TV is any better, the voice acting has to be the worst I’ve heard in any game and that’s with the option to pick from a handful of equally bad voice actors with none being even passable. The graphics are the nicest part of the game as they the ships are adequate, the background graphics are plain but look nice enough and the character designs are well done.
In Space We Brawl is currently selling on the PSN for $11.99 in an PS3/PS4 crossbuy. I can’t recommend you buy this game at this price. There’s maybe two minutes of fun and then the game slowly evaporates into boredom and disappointment.
The naked body is one of the most beautiful objects in the world. There’s a reason why the Greeks used it as an analog for the gods in their sculpture and why art students around the world study each muscle and intonation of nude models. It’s because the simple lines and curves that shape the human body conspire together to create the perfect melding of form and function.
Here’s an exercise. Imagine the most attractive person you can. It doesnt matter if it’s a man or woman, take your pick. Imagine that person standing there, void of clothes, makeup, or tattoos. Visualize only their body, proud and confident. Beautiful isn’t it? Hell, it’s downright stunning. Now, keep imagining that person, but add the usual adornments people require. Shoes, a simple shirt or dress, etc. Maybe that person looks slightly better to you now, or maybe a little less. Now, continue adding the accessories that we’re used to seeing draped on the human form. Imagine them with a complicated, in vogue hairstyle, pile on the makeup and gold jewelry. Keep going. Picture them wearing a hat, gloves, designer sunglasses. And just like that, the beautiful work of art that was once there no longer has the simple perfection that they were born into the world with. Instead, this new creation is a gaudy substitute. Hidden somewhere under all of those unneeded additions is the true beauty. Somewhere.
That’s the path that a lot of modern games have taken. At the core of Call of Duty’s dozens of weapons and myriad of controls may be a solid first person shooter. Deep down beneath The Crew’s needless storyline and layers of special effects could be a decent racer. But like many games today, you’ll be hard pressed to find the beauty of the game underneath all of the extraneous makeup and jewelry that are masquerading as ‘innovations’.
Geometry Wars 3 takes a different route. The simple, straightforward gameplay that dates back to one of the first twin stick shooters, Robotron 2084, is stripped of any pretense. You aren’t inundated with a story that was shoehorned in. The graphics are made up of basic geometric shapes that somehow seem at home even on a powerhouse like the Xbox One. It’s the opposite of the runway model who can barely stand under the weight of the latest in fashion.
The idea of the naked form has become transformed by society. It’s been co-opted by everything from advertising to porn. Sure, there’s a juvenile part of us that wants to laugh and point, mock and ridicule, or reduce it to a base sexual stimulant. But once you look past that, what you’ll see is beauty. Pure, simple beauty without the need to cover it up and over adorn it with needless trinkets and toys.
The developers at Lucid recognize this. The gameplay modes of Geometry Wars 3 are basic, yet still satisfying. They range from the straightforward ‘Deadline’ where you shoot everything that moves in a set time limit, all the way to Pacifism, where the object is just to survive as long as possible without firing a shot.The adventure mode is a simple progression of level and game types, getting progressively more difficult as your ship equally gains in power via A.I.drones. These power ups are the only really unnecessary piece of bling on the title. Most of them equate to either increasing your firepower, or helping to protect your ship. But with the hectic gameplay, they could have easily been left out without much impact on the experience. Lucid has managed to hone the controls to near perfection, with movement becoming almost instinctive. Your eyes and hands work together in harmony with no middleman to slow them down.
Some people say that it’s our insecurities that cause us to hide behind layers of makeup or strut around with expensive watches and designer clothes. The theory is that there’s some inherent flaw underneath, real or perceived, that can be covered up. Like an over compensating student at prom wearing too much cologne. Game developers have a tendency to fall into the same trap. It’s as if they know that if you were to strip away the fancy graphics and dense controls from most AAA titles, you’d be left with uninspired, tiresome gameplay thats been repeated for years. Geometry Wars 3 stands defiant and proud, unashamed of the absence of baubles and trinkets. It has grown since it was born as minigame in an Xbox racer. It’s a bit bolder, a bit wilder. The primitives based visuals have matured into a melding of shapes, color and sound that complement the gameplay instead of overpowering it. It doesn’t need nor want to be hidden under a thick blanket of excess. Geometry Wars 3 revels in it’s nakedness. And that’s a beautiful sight to behold.
Score. 9 out of 10