It might seem like this game is a tiringly long escort mission. But the way that this game provides the lens of experience seeks to redefine this genre. The AI can help and stay out of the way seamlessly, which is surprisingly refreshing for escort missions. For example, the AI can help find ammo or toss us health packs during different stages of the battle, which is helpful and provide a sense of relief in the middle of the battle. This makes me appreciate the AI more rather than find it to be a burden. Furthermore, one can also observe that the AI also interacts with the environment when I am idling. This further immerses me in the experience of being in the world and making the AI more humane, which is a sign of a masterful complex AI.
It also provides the lens of surprise and fun. The game is designed with a lot of twists and turns in its narrative, and it carefully builds it up this way and set it up. Therefore, for the uninitiated, it might be worth to check out this game without getting spoiled.
The game also indulges in the lens of curiosity. Being a very imaginative and creative world led by the game’s creative director, it brings much curiosity into the life and culture of living in a different world. The premise is based on a city in the skies, and its colourful nature and hidden political themes bring a lot of depth to the game and make me want to explore more. The answers provided by the narrative rewards our curiosity and make me appreciate the story better,
This game fulfills the lens of elemental tetrad best by fulfilling almost all requirements. It has a compelling story that is matched with wonderful aesthetics (being cartoony-styled is timeless). The technology is high as well and it explores various fun mechanics of battling in a city in the sky while being futuristic as well. The game mechanics might be a bit straightforward as a shooter, but the rest of the elements more than makeup for this game.
As described in its
official website, Baba Is You is a puzzle game where the rules players
have to follow are present as physical objects in the game world.
Baba Is You mainly has two kinds of objects which are text object and real object. The text can be a name, a logic word or a property word. The rules in the game are formalised using three texts. For example, in the sentence BABA IS YOU, [BABA] is a name text which refers to the main character, [IS] is a logic word which means having the property, and [YOU] means the referenced object has the property “controlled by player”. A rule can also be stated as “something is something” or “something has something”.
The winning condition:
The winning condition, of
course, is also stated using text objects in the game. Basically, we need to
let the place where exists the object, which has the property YOU, also
exists an object, which has the property WIN, i.e., YOU IS WIN.
What I’m doing and my
As a player, I just randomly try different combination of words in the beginning stages. Those tutorial stages are quite friendly. I not only can clear the stage with a limited number of attempts but also get the basic ideas of the game. In the following stages, the difficulty of the game increase quite smoothly. The following stages continually introduce new logic and property words which makes the gameplay very interesting.
Mechanics : The game is a 2D single-player game with dynamic rules. The rules are determined by how the words objects are arranged.
Story: The game doesn’t really have a story.
Aesthetics: The graphics and music are quite comfortable and dreamlike.
Technology: The basic rules are from Sokoban, but the dynamic rule in the game is very creative.
Essential Experience: The players get pleasure by
solving the puzzles.
Surprise, fun: There is a large number of possible
combination of words which enables players to have many possible rules. There
are a lot of them surprising and fun.
Curiosity: This game inspires players to discover new
Problem Solving: This is a puzzle game.
Holographic Design: All the elements of the game are consistent.
Unification Theme: Every thing in the game reinforce
the theme – solve the puzzle by manipulate the rules.
Dead Cells is a roguelike, Castlevania-inspired action-platformer, allowing you to explore a sprawling, ever-changing castle… assuming you’re able to fight your way past its keepers. To beat the game you’ll have to master 2D souls-like combat with the ever present threat of permadeath looming. No checkpoints. Kill, die, learn, repeat.
Dead Cells’ core mechanics are simple, move around the level and kill enemies, while dodging or parrying enemy attacks. The diversity of level layouts, environmental hazards, enemy types and equipment combinations make full use of the core mechanics to create a large variety of challenges and situations for the player to overcome.
At its core, Dead Cells is a rogue-like. Players are expected to be defeated often, each time starting anew, but with more knowledge of the game and access to persistent upgrades that helps the player progress further through the game. At every corner lurks a new mechanic for the player to master, the game never feels dull.
The story in Dead Cells is rather light, the player plays as the Beheaded, whose goal is to travel through the levels to hunt the King. The player is not given any prologue or direction at the beginning of the game. Pieces of story and lore are drip fed to the player as they progress through the game, via short cutscenes from interacting with points of interests, or when the player defeats a major boss.
The game features grim 2D pixel art graphics and grungy level and enemy design that accurately signals to the user: this game won’t be sunshine and rainbows.
While this game is available on both PC and consoles, it is clear that the game is meant to be played with a controller.
Lens of Problem Solving:
A key component of performing well in the game is designing the right build (combination of equipment and skills). Newer players will often find their runs ending very soon due to a lack of damage output or survivability. Seeking out equipment and selecting skills that synergise with each other is a key problem that players will need to solve in order to beat the game, especially at higher difficulties. This game demonstrates good game design, by balancing the skills and equipment such that there are many viable builds. This encourages players who beat the game using a specific build to try out different builds, which lead to refreshing new experiences.
The Lens of Fun:
The core gameplay loop is simple – traverse each level and kill enemies along the way. Killing enemies is not a simple activity of mashing buttons, certain enemies have a special attack to watch out for and the player must dodge or parry at the right time to avoid taking damage. The controls were very well polished, which is essential for an action platformer title. The graphical and aural feedback were well polished as well, the enemies would explode with a satisfying sound when killed, and send bits of enemies flying across the floor. Important gameplay events such as boss fights and leveling up were accompanied with sound effects that gave the player a feeling of strength.
The Lens of Surprise:
The game employs a procedural level generation technique that randomizes the layout of the levels each time. No two runs will be the same. Players will be blessed with good RNG in some runs and encounter tough levels in other runs.
The Lens of Curiosity:
The game has a minor story component, provided as points of interest scattered across the levels. Interacting with them rewards the player with interesting lore and tidbits about the world they are in. However, the story/lore is not very compelling and almost feels as if it were added as an afterthought and does not contribute very much to the appeal of the game.
Fortunately, the game is still able to intrigue the player’s curiosity. The game features a non-linear level progression, allowing players to explore different biomes on the way to the final boss. The different biomes feature different enemy types as well as a variety of environmental hazards. Furthermore, the game features a large variety of equipment, categorized into melee and ranged weapons, shields, traps, turrets, grenades and powers. Each piece of equipment has a unique effect that synergizes well with certain builds. The player starts out with only the most basic of equipment unlocked. The others are unlocked through a variety of means, including exploration of the game (think secret areas), feats/challenges, killing bosses, random drops etc. Personally, I found this to be the best quality of the game. During my first dozen or so runs, I would experiment with different combinations of equipment, and be excited to test out a newly unlocked equipment.
The Lens of Endogenous Value:
The pickups in the game all provide endogenous value – gold is used to purchase or upgrade equipment, cells are used to unlock new equipment and enhance drop rates of better equipment. Equipment drops are always a welcome sight, as they are scaled to the level and are usually superior to the equipment from a previous level. It is rare that a player will find collecting items to be pointless or a waste of time.
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