For the gamers out there, the last few weeks have seen some fun releases hit digital and physical store shelves. One was a pretty big deal, the other has gone a little under the radar – depending on your system, they’re both well worth your time.
Shadow of the Colossus
Sony / PlayStation 4
While I’ve spent the last two decades as a PlayStation guy for the most part, I had never actually played the classic Shadow of the Colossus on any of the previous systems. However, that has changed with the latest iteration, now available for the PS4 Pro.
In Shadow of the Colossus, you play as Wander, who is tasked with killing 16 giant monsters, or colossi, in hopes of resurrecting Moni, a dead girl introduced in a cut scene at the beginning of the game. You explore a massive world on horseback until you find each colossi and do battle.
And that’s it.
There are no towns to explore or people to meet. There are no magicians or mages or elves or orcs. It’s simply you on a horse, doing battle against the giants. And it is amazing. Considering that I’ve never played any iteration of Shadow of the Colossus before, I was absolutely blown away by just how addictive the game can be. That’s in no I small part because of how gorgeous the environments are. I love riding around looking at the landscape and the skies. The game puts the graphic power of the PS4 to work, in my estimation, and the system delivers.
As for the game play, when you do battle as Wander against the colossi, you’ve first got to find each giant’s weaknesses, which is sometimes easier said than done. This isn’t just hack and slash; you’ve got to put some thought into the attacks, realizing that there are often multiple areas you need to hit as well. Climbing these behemoths is exhilarating, and often nerve-wracking. This aspect of the game reminded me of Attack on Titan (what little of it I’ve read and seen), as well as a Clive Barker short story titled “In The Hills, The Cities” (look it up).
For those who haven’t experience Shadow of the Colossus before, I’d suggest it’s well-worth playing, simply for the visuals. And for veterans, the game no doubt looks better than ever, and is probably worth a return.
The Darkside Detective
Spooky Doorway / Nintendo Switch
From something old and done up new, to something new that is decidedly retro, The Darkside Detective is an 8-bit pixel style point and click game from the brilliant folks at Spooky Doorway. I say brilliant with no hyperbole, because, having had a Switch for almost two months now, I can safely say that this has been my favourite game to play so far.
In The Darkside Detective, you play as Detective Francis McQueen who, along with his partner, the inept Officer Dooley, investigates a series of increasingly bizarre mysteries in the town of Twin Falls. You’ll meet citizens of Twin Falls and ghosts from the Darkside, visit various locales, and solve a variety of puzzles in trying to piece together each mystery.
The Darkside Detective draws inspiration from Twin Peaks, The X-Files, Ghostbusters, Gremlins and so many other horror and sci-fi pop culture touchstones, that when you’re not smirking at a remark made by Detective McQueen or Officer Dooley, you’re clicking on ephemera like pots and books to see what sort of snarky writing the team have placed in every environment. And how can you not love a game that features appearances by both Edgar Alan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft!
There are no obvious hints to be found in the various mysteries, so paying attention to clues and experimenting with objects you find is then way to go to solve each case, and that’s half the fun. I got a lot of serious gamer satisfaction when I managed to put two and two together.
I really can’t recommend The Darkside Detective enough, especially if you’re a pop culture aficionado. The only disappointment I found was that I honestly wanted more when I finished it in a couple of hours. Hopefully, there will be another installment.
You can purchase The Darkside Detective in the Nintendo eShop here.