Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Review: Atlantis

Atlantis is a new BBC One drama set in the eponymous city. The story, such as it is, follows a young man called Jason who is allegedly a marine archaeologist or somesuch nonsense but runs a profitable side-line smuggling live pigeons inside his pectoral muscles. One day when out looking for his dead father, his submarine gets sucked into a wormhole and he washes up in the mythical city wearing nothing but a novelty necklace and a grimace reminiscent of a particularly unpleasant bowel movement, which he retains for the rest of the program. Whether running for his life, pulling an arrow from his ridiculous bicep, flirting with Ariadne or fondling a young, geeky Pythagoras, he is steadfast in his refusal to exhibit any emotion beyond a kind of pained surprise.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Review: Trine 2

Along with several hundred thousand other people, I picked up Humble Bundle 9 a few weeks ago. Often the case with these bundles is that there's one game you actually want, with the others effectively acting as ricin-free sweeteners. For me, that game was Trine 2, developed by Frozenbyte. I bought the original Trine many years ago and enjoyed it very much. It was a solid, occasionally quirky 2.5D side-scrolling puzzle/action game in which you control a team of three fantasy archetypes trapped in one body by the machinations of some peculiar magical artefact, and could switch between them as you saw fit. Overall the game was a lot of fun, with great effort clearly having been put into the aesthetics, sound and level design. Its quality is further marked by its admittance into the very select list of games that my fiancĂ©e actually enjoyed.

However, it wasn't without its problems. Enemy design was repetitive, presumably due to the limitations of a small studio; there was a really obnoxious difficulty curve that was practically horizontal for most of the game before turning into the Cliffs of Insanity for the final level (I'm not sure I ever completed it); and too many puzzles could be completely circumvented by means of stacking crates or having the mage create floating platforms, neither of which is a particularly fun activity. Finally, while there was local co-op (in the sense of buying another keyboard), there wasn't any LAN or IP/TCP support, which was a bit of a problem.

So, how has Trine 2 fared in its attempt to fix the problems of its predecessor?