Tag Archives: video games

Video Game Review: #IDARB (Xbox One)

idarb screenEmbrace the chaos. That could be the official motto of #IDARB.

As far as I can tell, there are a lot of firsts that #IDARB (which stands, incidentally, for “It Draws a Red Box” — more on that in a minute):

– First game to allow both tweets and Twitch comments to alter gameplay
– First game whose first “letter” is a hashtag
– First Xbox One game to incorporate QR codes to import new player characters
– First game to exist that is a cross between soccer, basketball, and Jumpman.

(Seriously, does anyone remember Jumpman? Jumpman was the best.)

Maybe you can find examples of the above “firsts” pre-#IDARB, but it doesn’t really matter. The point is, #IDARB is relentlessly innovative in its approach to competitive gameplay, even as it is relentlessly primitive in its execution. It is very plainly a game that could only exist in the 2010s, even as it goes out of its way to look like a game that could never have gotten out of the ’80s.

Here’s the basic idea of #IDARB: There are two teams of one to four players per team, two goals (one for each team), and one ball. Each team tries to pick up the ball and throw it into the goal. Each player can either pass, shoot, or knock the ball out of an opponent’s hand. The farther a shot goes and the more things it hits on its way to the goal, the more points it scores. Spectators, if they so choose, can lob “hashbombs” through Twitter or Twitch, which range from either aesthetic weaks to wholesale changes to the game. Timely example: #llama will make a llama (it looks more like a camel, but, like, whatevs) appear in the background of the playing field, along with a little shout-out to lo-fi dev demigod Jeff Minter.

That’s it! That’s the whole game! The arena is a bit of a platforming nightmare, but it’s well-designed enough to give any player a number of paths to get around opponents. The action is fast, but you get used to it quickly. It doesn’t take too long before you can be competitive, even if it’s almost impossible for those of us with human reflexes to perfect trick shots. Walking into the goal (with the ball, of course) is worth one point, and it’s the best way for a new player to get started.

This is a game designed as an eSport, something that can be played quickly and competitively, something for which a huge tournament bracket can be played through in a couple of hours. As such, it’s frenetic and fantastic.

idarb_etTry and play it by yourself, however, and it’s a little less fun. There is a single-player campaign, but it’s buried a bit in the menus, and there’s very little tension in learning the predictable patterns of computer opponents. Anyone who’s played a video game before will blow through the whole thing in a couple hours.

There’s plenty of fun to be had in creating and importing various characters as well. There are easily-manipulated editors for creating your own 8-bit sprites, and there’s a neat little tracker program for putting together some music. You can even import via QR code. I imported the little dude to the left because I want #IDARB to evoke every childhood memory I ever had. I programmed a theme song for him that sounds like a chippy dubstep version of the Indiana Jones theme song for maximum cognitive dissonance. For a game that so often seems to say “why not?,” it seems appropriate.

#IDARB started out of a single tweet: Other Ocean developer Mike Mika said “I’ve started a new project, it draws a red box,” and from there, he incorporated feature requests from his followers to turn the game into what it is today. What it is today, then, is a riot — something best enjoyed in short bursts but a total blast to play, especially with some friends and an audience.

Maybe it doesn’t sound like your thing. Well, it’s still free until tomorrow (February 28) for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. What do you have to lose?

Score: 7.9

Fashion Spotlight: Evolution, GC Blueprint, and Game of Drones

Ript Apparel has three designs for video game fans. Evolution, GC Blueprint, and Game of Drones from JBaz, Melee_Ninja, and stevenlefcourt will be for sale on February 27, 2015 only!

Evolution by JBaz


GC Blueprint by Melee_Ninja

GC Blueprint

Game of Drones by stevenlefcourt

Game of Drones



This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Batman: Arkham Knight – Gotham is Mine Trailer

As Scarecrow unites the Rogues Gallery, including Two-Face, The Penguin, the Riddler, the Arkham Knight, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, they bring all-out war as they try to take down The Dark Knight, and claim Gotham City as their own. The game hits shelves June 2, 2015.


Around the Tubes

It’s new comic day! What’s everyone excited for?

Around the Tubes

The Advocate – Jem Creative Team: ‘Kimber and Stormer Are Gay’ – Nice!

ICv2 – Papercutz Inks ‘First Look’ Deal With Nickelodeon – Interesting.

The Beat – Marvel’s Isaac Perlmutter is a very generous guy – Nice to see.

Kansas City - Comic books gaining popularity among the ladies – You don’t say?!

GamePolitics – ESRB Gives ‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ a Mature Rating – Huh.


Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Batman: Arkham Knight #1

The Elkhart Truth – Hansel and Gretel

Marvel and DeNA reveal Marvel Mighty Heroes video game

MMH_IconToday DeNA and Marvel Entertainment announced that Marvel Mighty Heroes, a real-time co-op brawler starring Super Heroes and Super Villains of the Marvel Universe, is currently in development and will be launching soon for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android phones and tablets. Marvel Mighty Heroes features real-time cooperative, action-packed gameplay with up to four players, bringing strategic Super Hero action to mobile devices. Gamers and Marvel fans can pre-register and vote for Hulk or Rocket as a free special hero at launch for a limited time.

Marvel Mighty Heroes lets players choose their favorite Marvel comic book characters, including Iron Man, Groot, Captain America, Star-Lord, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Spider-Man, and dozens of their allies and nemeses. Players will build a dream-team of Super Heroes and Super Villains, each utilizing different skills and special abilities to clobber, shoot, smash, and blast their way to victory. Multiplayer in Marvel Mighty Heroes will give players a chance to test their skills against competitors and earn a spot on the leaderboard or combine forces with friends to save the universe one battle at a time.


Infinite Crisis Champion Profile: cut your enemies down to size with Katana!

Get an early look at Katana, mistress of the Soultaker, and the latest champion from Infinite Crisis – the free-to-play MOBA from Turbine based in the DC Universe! On Wednesday, March 4, players can take vengeance on their enemies when Katana goes live in the game!

Tatsu Toro’s idyllic, but brief, marriage came to a sudden end in a single, tragic night. Her husband, Maseo, and his twin brother, Takeo, were both members of the Sword Clan, one of the clans in the Yakuza criminal organization.

Takeo confronted his brother over a matter involving the clan and in the struggle Maseo was killed by his own sword, the Soultaker. This ancient katana, one of the clan’s relics, was said to contain the souls of those it killed among other mystical qualities. Tatsu witnessed her husband’s murder and collapsed by his body, overcome with grief. Takeo fled into the night.

When Tatsu finally came to her senses, she took up the Soultaker and swore revenge against not just Takeo, but the Yakuza and criminals everywhere. She goes by the name Katana, in honor of the sword she wields and which she believes contains the soul of her beloved husband.

Review: Alt Control Delete #1

acdThe tagline for this series reads as follows:  “Rising star in the professional gaming world, Tess is faced with a choice: stay in the safety of the corporate compound that sponsors her.or follow her missing friend and risk her future in pro gaming.”  There are likely those that might read that and think that this is the story of a World of Warcraft power player, and might pass on this series because of it.  In truth though, there is a lot more to this series than what that might seem.

Instead of being set in the modern day, this is set in the future (no-so-distant?) where humans have evolved to seek out progress over other cultural endeavors.  Realizing the importance of war and conflict as an outlet of human interaction, this conflict is run through fully immersed virtual reality video games, where battles can be fought without any real damage.  This immersive environment is an excellent setting for the world within a world that forms the majority of this issue.  The characters move through different war simulators until only two are left and thrown into a melee fight.  There is more to the story than this, when one of the operators is forced back into the real world, but the combination of real world and virtual world are mixed almost seamlessly together.

While the video games form the basis for this story, this is no simple adaptation of a video game into comic form.  Instead it ties in themes common to futuristic science fiction such as the rise of technology, the evolution of war and a little bit of dystopia.  This is not War Games nor is it the Hunger Games, but it is somewhere in between, an interesting take on the genre which all too often relies on cliches.

Story: Ramon Govea Art: Ariel Medel and Eddie Nunez
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Read

Black Mast Studios and Comixology provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review.

The Cancelled Justice League Game’s Single Player Experience

Check out even more footage of the cancelled Green Lantern/Justice League video game that never was. Here, we get a look at the single player game.

(via Kotaku)

Around the Tubes

It’s brand new week full of comic goodness. Here’s some news from over the weekend that you might have missed!

Around the Tubes

Publishers Weekly – “Valkyrie Bump” Shifts Comics Sales – More evidence of the massive changes in the comic audience.

The ComiChron – Marvel’s Star Wars #1 boosts January 2015 comics sales; market up 12% to start year – A nice start to the year.

The Daily Beast – Comic Books Have Never Had That Inclusive of a Canvas – An interesting read.

Kotaku – The Latest Transformers Game Had Me Until I Spent $20 On Nothing – I still want to play it.

Toybox – Holy Cow, Bandai Are Making New, Non-Crappy Gobots Figures – I loved the shuttle figure as a kid.

Oregon Live – Rose City Comic Con goes it alone, after ending relationship with Seattle’s Emerald City convention – Expect big shakeups for conventions this year to continue.


Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Avengers #41

Comic Vine – Chrononauts #1

The Brock Press – Grimm Fairy Tales – Robin Hood

The Outhousers – Nailbiter #10

The Beat – Nameless #1

The Outhousers – Postal #1

ICv2 – Sword Art Online: Progressive Vol. 1 TP

ICv2 – Ubel Blatt Volume 1 TP

Four in February – Week 1 Update

SteamLibOne week down, and I am happy to report I have made progress in my Four in February challenge. In case you are just tuning-in, you can catch up with the introduction here. I would love to tell you, dear reader, that I have already completed a game out of the four. Alas, that did not quite come to pass. Still, I am happy with what I was able to get done this week but am also left with a philosophical question about what this challenge requires.

I am still deep in my obsession of Destiny. I am a Destiny apologist. Yes, it has some issues as a game but those are minor compared to the enjoyment I get from playing. Since its launch, it has been the only game I have played on my PS4 except when my wife and I play a game together. So, my first step to completing this challenge was to stop playing Destiny, or at least make room in my gaming time for games that are not Destiny. To this end, I was mostly successful. Tuesday, the day the servers for Destiny reset for the week, was still devoted to Destiny but I played games other than or in addition to Destiny every other day of the week.

I did not play any Infamous: Second Son. I did take it out of its wrapper and get it installed to my PS4. That is progress, right? I will get into it next week. Of course, that is the same attitude that placed it on my Pile of Shame in the first place.

I was very excited to start Shadow of the Colossus. As I sat down to play, I hoped that I had already downloaded the game. I have a slow DSL connection so game downloads are generally an overnight affair. The good news was I had already downloaded the game. The bad news was that I needed a system update for my PS3. Luckily, I have a PS+ subscription so the update was already downloaded and I just had to wait for it to install. A few minutes later and I started playing.

SoC_exmMy initial impression is that this game is beautiful. Its age shows a bit, even in the HD enhanced edition, but not enough to overcome the art direction and atmosphere of the game. I took off in search of the first colossus, soaking in the well-crafted environments. I got to the cliffs, and started to run into the real challenge of the game. The control scheme for the game is not intuitive. The button combinations and overall control scheme takes some adjustment. For example, what the game calls “normal” and “inverted” in the options menu is the exact opposite of what I expected them to be. I played for a bit and took down the first two colossi. I stopped there because I want to enjoy this game and if I played longer I was worried I would be frustrated by the true enemy of the game: the controls.

The game that got the most play time from me this week was FTL. If you are unfamiliar with this game, it is a strategy game in which you are commander of a spaceship on the run from the rebel fleet trying to stop you from delivering intelligence about that rebel fleet to the Federation’s leadership. In order to do this, you have to make a series of faster than light jumps between navigation beacons in star systems. At each jump, there is a chance for an encounter that often involves some space combat. You have to manage ship resources while doing your best to not die. You can collect scrap that you can then use to upgrade your ship’s systems to hopefully make your future encounters easier to survive. Meanwhile, each jump you make brings the rebel fleet closer in pursuit, so you cannot just take a pleasure cruise around the universe.

FTL_exampleI have had a lot of fun playing FTL but I have come to the conclusion that I am not very good at it. On normal difficulty I have not yet made it past the third stage. So, I kicked the difficulty to easy and was able to get to the final stage but have yet to defeat the final boss. I will keep trying.

I only played through the tutorial stage of Uncharted: Golden Abyss before pausing. My main complaint with the Uncharted series has always been the shooting mechanics. They have always frustrated me, especially since I like the stories in the series so much. I do not like the gameplay getting in the way of my enjoyment of the experience.

This concern leads me to my philosophical question. Does finishing a game on easy difficulty negate this challenge? As a younger gamer, I was time rich and game poor. Megaman was awesome in part because it was hard but I had a lot more time to devote to that single game. Now that I am older, I still game as a hobby mainly because of the experience I get from the games. That experience can be different for different games. I do not get the same thing out of playing Peggle as from The Last of Us, but they are both valid gaming experiences. I have nothing to prove to anyone about the validity of my personal game experience. Therefore, I am going to play both Uncharted and FTL on easy difficulty setting and not feel bad about it. As I said in the introduction, gaming is supposed to be fun, not a chore. I will play these games to get the most enjoyment out of them.

That is all for this week. Check back in next week and see if I manage to complete any of these games.

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