The 3D Platformer Comparison; Yooka Laylee, A Hat in Time or Lobodestroyo?

For a rather long period of time, 3D platformers were not a particularly popular genre. Okay, they were big in the days of the N64 and Playstation 1, but with Rare’s decline and the FPS genre taking off, the days of 3D mascot platformers seemingly came to an end.

But as with everything else, Kickstarter came to the rescue. Inspired by classic collectathon platformers like Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64 (among others), three different teams have funded new projects in the style of the N64 games we all know and love. Those being? A Hat in Time, Lobodestroyo and Yooka Laylee. What’s more, all three have at least some involvement from ex Rare staff (often Grant Kirkhope). Here are the Kickstarter trailers for the three:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x10k9nq_a-hat-in-time-kickstarter-trailer_videogames

But which one is best? Which of the three big 3D platformers of the 2010s is going to be the true spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie? Let’s find out, in the 3D platformer comparison!

The Story and Characters

Time is falling apart, and the brave interstellar travelling Hat Kid has to collect the pieces and put them back together away. All while racing against the evil Moustache Girl and her wishes of using time for evil purposes.

Above: The basic trailer for A Hat in Time, showing some of the story and levels.

Lobodestroyo’s plot on the other hand, is a tad more complicated. Probably better to let them explain it to be honest:

The legendary Lobodestroyo is the sentinel of Costa Lucha. His wolf pack protects its citizens by locking away villains who threaten the peace, and maintain order from high atop Mt. Justice! At least he did…

Mutt, the runt of the wolf pack litter, wakes up to find Mt. Justice in ruins; His wolf pack brothers missing; and the Lobodestroyo’s championship belt strewn across his destroyed temple. To top it off the maximum security lockup has been breached and the 10 members of La Liga de Los Villanos have escaped. Determined to avenge his brethren and prove his worth, Mutt dons the championship belt and takes up the mantle of his fallen hero.

Tag-teaming with the luchador spirit Dorado, who dwells in the mystical belt, Mutt explores the hub city of Costa Lucha and unlocks new areas, while he attempts to track down and unmask the evil villains who have overrun each game world.

And what’s the plot for Yooka-Laylee? That’s actually a good question, since the Kickstarter page and official website don’t really give away the plot. All we know is that Yooka and Laylee (the chameleon guy with no pants and the bat with the big nose respectively) are trying to collect Pagies in a bunch of worlds loosely based around books.

Yooka-Laylee_artwork

Above: Pretty much what we currently know about the plot of Yooka-Laylee, in one picture.

So what’s the best plot here? Depends on whether you want a simpler excuse to go jumping on heads or a complex excuse to save the world. Lobodestroyo has the more thought out storyline, A Hat in Time has the easier to explain one. We’d probably go with Lobodestroyo ourselves, though the lack of a complete Yooka-Laylee storyline/plot summary means it’s not a fair comparison at this point.

Art Style

So now onto the art side of things. To make it a bit fairer, we’ll divide this section into two parts; the concept art and the in game graphics. This is because the quality of in game graphics depends on heavily on far the game is into development, whereas the concept art gives an idea about what the team are going for aesthetically.

On the concept art level then, what game does better? Well, that’s a difficult one given how all three games have a different style going on. A Hat in Time seems to be inspired more by the cel shaded art of The Wind Waker and Jet Set Radio, whereas Lobodestroyo takes influence from comic books and Yooka Laylee flat out goes for an updated Banjo Kazooie vibe for things. They all look fantastic too:

Yooka-Laylee Art

Above: Yooka-Laylee’s concept art looks absolutely gorgeous.

But honestly? On this count, we’d probably go for Lobodestroyo. Why? Because it seems more original in terms of the style it’s going for. Sure, the other two look good, but they also seem a bit… well, safe. Like they’re trying to take as much inspiration from Banjo and co as possible without really building on it in any way.

 

On the other hand, there’s something about Lobodestroyo’s style that stands out a bit more, at least in terms of the concept art. Look at this stuff:

Lobodestroyoart2 Lobodestroyoart1

You’ve got a luchador fighting wacky animal villains from the ‘La Liga de Los Villanos’ in the style of Mega Man. Add a bunch of quirky and surprisingly ‘dark’ settings (like a high security prison and a theme park castle filled with cheering minions of the villain) and stuff like the tank shown above, and you’ve got a game which would have been a highly original title even back in the days when collectathons were two a penny.

In game on the other hand? That’s a hard one. All three have decent enough graphics (even for games that are in alpha or early beta stages). But we’d probably give it to A Hat in Time, simply because of some of the awesome aesthetics in its later levels. I mean, look at this mansion level:

That’s creepy as hell to be honest. And the art style with all the shadows and dynamic lighting is done in such an amazing way that I just have to give this one to the game. Will Yooka-Laylee or Lobodestroyo come up with something equally as great for their future levels? They most probably will, all three games seem like they’ll have all manner of creative looking levels and graphics. But for now, A Hat in Time wins this one.

Music (featuring Grant Kirkhope)

What?

Out of all three projects, all of them feature music by Grant Kirkhope. Given that he composed the soundtrack for the Banjo Kazooie games and Donkey Kong 64, that very likely means they’ll retain the feel of Rare’s classics just fine.

Above: Some songs he previously worked on  You should recognise all of them even without the pictures

And while Lobodestroyo will only be getting one song by Grant, that song (the boss one) will be remixed by Gooseworx into a whole bunch of catchy themes.  It will also be accompanied by a bunch of (likely equally good) music by Gooseworx.

But we’re probably going to have to give this one to Yooka Laylee. Why? Because not only does Grant Kirkhope compose music for it, but so does David Wise. You know, the guy who brought us such classic Donkey Kong Country songs as Stickerbrush Symphony and Aquatic Ambience. So while all the games have at least classic Rare styled soundtracks and Grant Kirkhope provides songs for multiple projects, we think the game with multiple members of Rare’s music staff composing for it is probably going to do better on the music front.

Gameplay and Level Design

And now, the most important part of these games. Which one is better in terms of gameplay?

Well, we can’t really say much yet, since we haven’t played it. So let’s look at some of the videos showing the game being played by other (slightly luckier) testers:

For A Hat in Time, we have two full levels showed off. The mafia filled beach town, and the creepy haunted mansion shown earlier:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwPbcz2cIRA

It looks pretty good, though the game feels a bit more like Mario Sunshine than a Nintendo 64 era game. Not bad, just a bit different.

For Lobodestroyo, we don’t have another footage online to show what it really looks like. I mean, I came across this test area tech demo:

But that doesn’t really say much. You get a bit of the walking animation in a test room. Nothing else seems to exist yet, outside of concept art and things.

For Yooka-Laylee, we’ve got a small amount of gameplay footage that was shown off earlier this year:

It looks surprisingly good (for about three months of development), though we can’t really judge much in the way of level or game design from it, since the tech demo type stuff shows no real missions or standard gameplay.

We’re not to going to judge this yet, because we only have full levels for one of the games.

Nostalgia

Well, all three came with fake Nintendo 64 cartridges and boxes for the people longingly wishing to be taken back to those days. For instance, here are the retro boxes and cartridges for the games (given out as Kickstarter rewards):

HatInTimeNintendo64 YookaLayleeN64 LobodestroyoN64

Granted, the Nintendo 64 cartridges provided aren’t functional, since none of the games would ever actually run on a Nintendo 64. But hey, it is a nice retraux touch to have, right?

Kickstarter Results

A Hat in Time raised $296,340 on Kickstarter, Lobodestroyo raised $43,831 on Kickstarter and Yooka-Laylee raised £2,090,104 ($3,265,160.47) on said service. So based on that, Yooka-Laylee is obviously the one out of the three that people showed most interest in financially.

Either way, it’s still good news all around. All three games met their funding goals and are hence currently in development. Regardless of which one you want to play most, it’s been a good result.

Console Platforms

Here are the consoles supported by the three titles:

System A Hat in Time Lobodestroyo Yooka-Laylee
PC Yes Yes Yes
Mac Yes Yes Yes
Linux No Yes Yes
Wii U Yes Yes Yes
PS4 No Yes Yes
Xbox One No Yes Yes
Ouya No Yes No

As you can see, Yooka-Laylee and Lobodestroyo are available on pretty much the same console platforms (or in other words, all of them that have any real market share at the moment). The latter is also available (or at least being made for) Ouya, despite said system failing miserably and not really being all that important at this point in time.

Ouya

Above: The now failed Ouya system whose owners will now also be able to play Lobodestroyo

On the other hand, A Hat in Time is seemingly PC and Wii U specific, with support for other console platforms being currently unplanned. So it loses out a bit on that front, given how its competition will also be available to buy for the Xbox One or PS4 (for those people who aren’t really major Nintendo fans).

So while it’s extremely close, we’d give this one to Lobodestroyo. Yes the Ouya isn’t exactly a relevant system any more, but hey, it is technically going to support one more system than Yooka-Laylee.

Thought the real winners are probably Wii U owners, given that they’re getting three full-fledged 3D platformers around the same time, on a system that’s otherwise mostly of devoid of games and that’s been near completely abandoned by third parties.

Continue Reading…

New Dragon Quest Game to be Revealed on July 28th

That’s according to Japanese gaming magazine V-Jump anyway, who state that the announcement will be live streamed online.  Here’s a picture of the magazine page announcing it, for those who happen to read Japanese:

NewDragonQuestTitle

So what do we think?

Well, we would like to say that there’s no evidence this is going to be a brand new main series installment. Okay, the live stream thing might suggest that, but then again… didn’t quite a few less notable Dragon Quest games and spinoffs get Nintendo Direct showcases and what not?  For all we know this could be some sort of obscure spinoff that hardly anyone ends up paying attention to.

But hey, we’ll just have to wait and see about that.  Perhaps it really is a new main series RPG, and the hype’s so massive it brings Japan as a whole to a standstill.

What kind of game do you think Square Enix will be announcing on July 28th?

Source:

Dragon Quest New Title Presentation Announced – Gematsu

Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures 2 Announced for PC and Console Platforms

Liked the original Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, a somewhat creative retro style platformer that took inspiration from the old school games in the nerd’s videos?  Well if so, it seems you’re in luck.

Developer FreakZone Games has announced a sequel is currently in development, with a logo and a first glimpse of the game being shown off in their Twitter feed.  Here are the original tweets showing the game in action at SCG:

All in all, it should be a nice little ‘retraux’ game experience for anyone wanting something in the style of a classic NES title.  Or for that matter, someone wanting to actually play a major new game on a Nintendo system, since the title has been announced for Nintendo consoles and the original one was on both the 3DS and Wii U.

But what do you think about the prospect of another video game starring the Angry Video Game Nerd?

LEGO Dimensions; Doctor Who Trailer

Everyone loves Lego, and everyone loves Doctor Who, right?  So what better crossover idea than to put the two together in the one game! Behold the newest Lego Dimensions trailer, featuring Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor teaming up with the likes of Batman and Homer Simpson:

Yep, it sure is something to behold isn’t it?  Indeed, it’s got the feel of Doctor Who down perfectly, along with all the comedy value we’ve come to expect from the Lego adaptation games.

And did we mention how they included his regeneration mechanic?  No?  Well they did!  If you die as the Twelfth Doctor, you respawn as the First one. And so it continues through all his different incarnations from over the years, including the Day of the Doctor specific War Doctor.

So yes, what do you think of the newest Lego Dimensions trailer?  Are you excited about the possibility of playing as the Doctor in a Lego crossover game?  And for that matter, about what is arguably the first good Doctor Who game ever made?

What Are Sony’s Plans For The PS4’s Future?

All three major console developers have back-and-forth attitude problems, but none seem to be more-so than Sony. Between constantly setting themselves up for class-act suits from breaking their own Terms of Service or always riding in the shadow of Microsoft, Sony is constantly making us wonder what they are thinking. Upon discussing some things with a close friend whom is also a gaming journalist we began noticing some things about Sony as of late. Let’s take a look at some of the most recent doings – or not-doings – and see if we can sort through any of it.

 

For starters, Sony finally added the ability to view video, audio, and images from your PC on your PS4 as of the 16th of last month. However, no word yet as to whether they will allow you to save, send, or store images, or even set them as your wallpaper on the console like the PS3 and Vita both allow. Oddly enough, however, if you send an image from the PS Vita to a user on the PS4 they can view it but not save it. The Vita, however, can do both. Also yet to be incorporated is notifications for when your friends come online. Again, this is a feature everything else uses so where is it?

 

Now, let’s go to the topic of ToS for a moment.  They may have saved their asses with many clauses in the ToS now, but will it help their fans’ faith in the company? If you recall the game by Konami ‘Silent Hills Playable Teaser’ (or simply P.T. for short) was taken off the PS Store. Interestingly enough, they sent out notices that ‘if you delete the game demo of P.T. you will be unable to re-download it’. Now, this is merely a demo for a game, but what does that say about Sony’s digital download distribution service? Kind of makes you question whether the risk is worth it to download digital installments rather than just purchase a physical hard copy of a game; especially when even demos are suddenly no longer re-downloadable from your purchase history, no? How would you feel if you downloaded a game like Final Fantasy 14, all the expansions they put out, paid the monthly membership fee, spent three years on the game, and then Sony said “We’re removing the digital copies from our library” shortly before an update forces you to uninstall the game and re-install only for you to find out you are unable to re-download and have to go out and purchase the actual disc – or worse a disc bundle for the expansions as well?

 

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Above: P.T. as it appears on my PS4 now. Note how all additional information has been removed, even my friends’ activity with it.

Backward compatibility from PS3 to PS4 was ‘being looked into’ or ‘worked on’ said Sony since the release of the PS4. Microsoft’s E3 presentation showed they had emulated the 360 and got it to work natively on the Xbox One. Sony’s response to that? Cancelling their backward compatibility plans completely. Yep, good job, Sony! I’m sure giving up on something fans desperately want is the best solution when your competitor pulls it out ahead of you. Can’t see how that WOULDN’T be a good idea! Just another thing to roll your eyes at Sony for.

 

Sony’s PS4 tries to be Facebook with its social media style features like “People You May Know” or “Discover!” ad-like pop-ups. Oh, how I would love to disable these features! Sadly, much like Microsoft manages Skype and Outlook, you can’t. These things are stuck there taunting or popping up and all you can do is ignore them or be irritated by their presence. Another feature that you cannot do away with is the PS4’s automatic screen capture feature that takes and saves an image of your screen whenever a trophy is earned. In concept it sounds kind of nice at first; proof that you earned the trophy and an image that is saved and tacked onto the trophy when you check it, thus showing how and when it was earned with a picture of it being unlocked. However, that means every trophy unlocked takes up storage space on your HDD until you personally sift through every single image and remove all of the ones with little trophy icons near their name and date. Side note: if you are fast enough with hitting the PS-button on your controller at the time of the notification pop-up that occurs when you earn a trophy you can wind up with it taking a screenshot of your trophy list rather than your gameplay screen.

 

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Above: That stupid Discover pop-up as I turn on my PS4

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Above: Me glitching out the automatic screencap of my trophy being unlocked on PS4.

Remember the PS3’s amazing ability to swap controllers on the fly by manually changing what player the controller is set for via numbers one through 4? Well, you can still do that somewhat by changing the logged-in user associated with that controller, but it is much more annoying to back door and not so user-friendly by far. Still awaiting this to be added as well.

 

Playstation Now seems to be Sony’s over-priced answer to the backward compatibility, charging players an average of $3 a day to rent digital downloads of many PS Classics and PS3 games on their PS4. Not a bad idea with how well Redbox works, but a bit overpriced considering. Try renting a game like Dragon Age: Inquisition, for example. I’ve clocked over 90 hours into that game running side-quests and doing other tasks and still am maybe around the half-way point of the story. Go ahead, do the math at how much you’d have paid renting a game like that at $2.99 – $4.99 a day. Now consider most people don’t have the time to sit in front of a game screen for 12 plus hours a day like I do. The average gamer gets around 3 hours a day to enjoy their consoles and games. That’s $90 to have rented Dragon Age: Inquisition to the half-way point had I not purchased the full game. Sure, you could say that it is a nice way to try a game out before buying it, but isn’t that what free demos are for? Granted most of these games no longer have demos available, but there are always videos of gameplay and the like online. As pointed out by the other journalist, what’s worse is not only the cost for the rental fee, but those who have limits on their bandwidth amount they can use each month are in danger of going over their cap and being hit with additional fees for hundreds of dollars due to the constant send and receive that PS Now requires.

 

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Above: Playstation Now rental prices page on PS4.

Lastly, lets take a gander at the PS Plus free games up to now, shall we? The PS4’s exclusive games have all been new games released on the same day as the PS Plus free games come, meaning that when you received a game such as ‘Tower Of Guns’ for free as a Sony Playstation Plus member that was the same day the game was placed on the market. With the small library of games exclusive to PS4 it is no surprise they’d be running out of things to offer, even with all of the indie games given each month. This month we finally received our first title that had been out for some time prior, ‘Styx: Master of Shadows’. Now, some may look at this as a bad thing, but I, however, am content with this happenstance. For one thing, that means we may end up with some better titles that have already been released such as ‘Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-‘ in the future. It is, of course, a mixed bag, as you may guess though, since that also means you may end up with free games given you already purchased, as is what often happens to me on Microsoft’s Gold Membership mere weeks to days after I buy a game more often than not. Still, on the flip side once again, this also means we may end up with things other than lackluster indie games; things like Dragonball Xenoverse or A-list titles such as Call of Duty in the future. As the old expression goes; only time will tell.

 

In the meantime, feel free to tell us what you think below! Do you disagree with my complaints or comments? Do you agree? What features are you looking forward to or hoping they add or remove on the Playstation 4? We’d love to hear your opinion!