Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth: One of My Top Games of 2015

I am holding my head in shame as I realize I was a few seconds away from defeating “It Lives!” for the second time in my gaming career. I damn the Curse of the Unknown that was placed on me at the start of this floor, which got rid of my life bar and left me to guess how much life I had left. I think to myself, maybe I should have saved my Head of Crampus special until the very end of the fight instead of the beginning...too late now as I stare at my defeated Cain character curled up in a ball on the floor still writhing in pain.

If any part of that last paragraph made sense to you, then congratulations! You're a fan of the Indie, rogue-like, randomly generated dungeon crawler The Binding of Isaac! The Legend of Zelda-like game was originally released on PC back in 2011 and was created by game designer Edmund McMillen, the same guy who brought us Super Meat Boy and a handful of other great games.

Super Meat Boy was probably one of my favorite games of 2010 when it was released on Xbox Live Arcade. It had it all: comedic writing, memorable music, an old skool gaming feel and a brutal difficulty. I would spend most of my free time playing Super Meat Boy either alone or with friends taking turns. A majority of the time we would be drawn to the more difficult games over the ones that could easily be completed. Challenge always won out over graphics and an engaging story. Our love of the early consoles played a huge part in constantly searching for that next hardest game. Beating these games, or even getting past one of the tougher levels brought such a huge sense of accomplishment and excitement to us, especially as young children going into our late teens. We lived for the challenge. 

After almost 100 percenting SMB, I was left to wonder What great game will come out next from Edmund Mcmillen? I loved this one! Not even a year after being introduced to Super Meat Boy and his girlfriend Bandage girl, I was given my answer. The Binding of Isaac was Mr. McMillen's next project and it came out solely on PC at the end of 2011. Not having a functional computer to play games on I knew it would be some time before I could experience Isaac's adventure for myself. So I sat and waiting patiently while the console versions were developed. Instead of the original game, we were given the bigger and better remake The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth which added tons of new content. It was released on Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U this year on July 23rd.

Ever since downloading it, I have been in love with how addicting and rewarding the experience is. Every run I start turns out to be wildly different from the previous ones I have played. This is mostly in part to the huge list of items and bosses that are in the game. Each run is procedurally generated, meaning the layouts and locations of special gold item rooms and bosses will be different every time TBoI is played. It's literally a new experience every time I decide to turn the game on!

The difficulty that Super Meat Boy was so well-known for also makes a comeback in Isaac. Every time you get further in the game is an accomplishment in itself!

Have you tried out The Binding of Isaac yet? What are your thoughts and fondest memories of playing it? Let me know in the comments section below!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Amiibo Tap: Nintendo's Greatest Bits is perfect for newcomers to Nintendo

A little over a week ago Nintendo released the title Amiibo Tap: Nintendo's Greatest Bits as a free download to all Wii U owners. The premise? Use the Amiibo figures you've collected to unlock "scenes" from classic Nintendo titles (NES/SNES) that can be played within a 3 minute time limit.

The titles that can be unlocked range from classics such as Super Mario World, Super Mario Bros. 3, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda and Kirby's Dreamland 3 to more obscure titles such as Excitebike, Clu Clu Land, Mach Rider and Wrecking Crew.

Upon scanning an Amiibo using the NFC technology on the Wii U's gamepad players will be treated to a random classic game being unlocked, which they can then experience specific scenes (usually between 3 to 10 different levels) from.

There seems to be no set way of telling which Amiibo will unlock which of the available 30 titles. After initially unlocking a game, that same Amiibo can be used to switch between the different scenes that are available to try out.

Amiibo Tap: Nintendo's Greatest Bits doesn't seem to offer much to the gamers who have played these titles countless times and who might even own a majority of them already via the Virtual Console on the Wii U. So who is this free download for?

Amiibo Tap is perfect for gamers who are just starting out into the gaming world. The Wii U may very well be the first video game console that they have ever owned. What better way to catch up on the titles that made Nintendo the video game juggernaut they are today than by experiencing clips of some of their best titles.

For the new Nintendo fans out there Amiibo Tap is a great introduction to many great Nintendo titles that have been around for years that they haven't been exposed to yet. Think of Amiibo Tap as a sort of all in one demo for the classic games that they wouldn't have experienced otherwise. Releasing this as a free download only helps Nintendo further expand their fanbase.