Archive for April, 2012

Interview: ByteSize Games’ Tom Hoeg

It takes a lot of guts to leave a sure thing, especially in these times of economic uncertainty. That goes double when that ‘sure thing’ is one of the most respected videogame developers in the business and the destination one of the most financially-depressed states in the country. But it sure sounds like having guts runs in the family as that’s exactly what happened with Thomas Hoeg, founder and CEO of mobile-centric developer ByteSize Games.

After working on Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time for the PlayStation 3, Tom – along with brother Richard – left the relative development safety of Insomniac Games’ for their next big adventure – founding ByteSize Games in their home state of Michigan in 2010 with an emphasis on making “the kind of games that we want to make”, he says. After their debut with last year’s award-winning geometric color-blasting FlipShip, the company is readying their follow-up with a new spin on the eternal struggle of mouse vs. cheese with the puzzle-solving fun of Little Labyrinths. And wouldn’t you know it, Tom was more than willing to talk about his love of puzzle gaming, cheese, and going from crafting blockbusters to more bite-sized pleasures.

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Review: Sumioni: Demon Arts

At a glance, XSEED’s PS Vita debut game Sumioni: Demon Arts strongly resembles that of the PlayStation 2 classic Okami. From the logo down to the art style, it’s clear that Sumi-e played a huge role when it came to designing a world that oozed style and substance. Sumioni, as a result, is gorgeous. It’s also a side-scrolling delight that doesn’t stray too far from familiar conventions, but uses its aesthetic strengths to appeal to players of all kinds. Vivid colors, a dreamlike world, and soothing Japanese-styled music work together in harmony to weave an intriguing (and quite challenging) tale that finds its place on the newly-released PlayStation Vita – if you don’t mind paying a little more than usual for a game this short.

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Review: Little Labyrinths

ByteSize Games’ Little Labyrinths isn’t looking to re-invent the wheel. They simply want to create an entertaining variant on a classic pastime. Reeling from the success of their previous game FlipShip, they’ve released a collection of mazes for gamers who love an accessible challenge…but only if you love mazes. Yes, of the pen-and-paper variety.

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Review: Rogue Ninja

Dungeon crawlers can be an absolute blast. In the case of Pokémon’s Mystery Dungeon spinoffs and other recent endeavors, they can also present quite the challenge, even when released in one of the cutest packages possible. Rogue Ninja, an 8-bit RPG that takes a few pages out of the random dungeon trope, is an adorable but austere romp through the world of ninjas to track down the Shinobi’s Secret Scroll (or to save a princess, depending on your course throughout the game.) It’s a great addition to any roguelike fan’s library with much to offer in a small, portable package.

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Review: Sekirei: Complete Series

The tagline for Sekirei: Complete Series is “boobies for the win.” Yes, when I saw it on the back of this Blu-ray/DVD combo set, I rolled my eyes too. Is this really how low you have to sink to market anime? As only a casual viewer of Sekirei before reviewing the hard copy, I could attest to the generous amount of “boobies.” – is that really what we’re going to call them? Despite its lewd trailer (they use that same phrase) and questionable motives, Sekirei is a middle-of-the-road fantasy adventure. It takes plenty of cues from classics such as Love Hina and won’t be winning any awards for literary prowess any time soon, but it’s still a little more than what its marketing campaign lets on.

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