Evening Reading

By Jeff Mattas, Feb 07, 2011 5:00pm PST This past weekend, I cozied up with Stacking, a curious little puzzle-based adventure game from the folks over at Double Fine. While I'm only approaching the halfway point to completion, and will reserve judgment until I've finished, the overall experience has gotten me thinking. In addition to being a game whose presentational attributes are the very definition of the word "charming," the core gameplay seems quite adept at doing something I've been hoping to see for a while: reinvent the classic adventure game.

What's so impressive is that the core attributes that make an adventure game what it is (exploration and puzzle-solving) are still there, but they're presented in new ways that really encourage experimentation. The trial-and-error methodology that seems inescapable in puzzle-driven adventures is presented in a way that's far more entertaining than traditional adventures that simply encourage players to combine everything in their inventories until something works. Stacking still requires some of this puzzle-solving experimentation, but manages to make it much less annoying than usual. In fact, it's pretty fun.

Naturally, that gets me thinking about other tried-and-true genres and gameplay mechanics that are in desperate need of makeovers. Any ideas?

And, in other news:

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  • On the boss fight in chapter 3 of NecroVisioN and this game is fucking nuts. Like totally batshit nuts. I'm like, maybe a quarter of the way through the game? Possibly less? This game is fucking insane.

    I didn't think it'd be possible to be overwhelmed by having too many options in a game like this, but there's so much stuff to balance out. The multitude of melee attacks available, the potential combos that you can generate from your attacks, your various weapons and how they correlate to the enemies and your preferred play style, the bias towards players that like to push forward and get nuts deep, the ability to build and use your fury, etc.