Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!
My first week of summer break is officially in the books and I have the gnarly sunburn to prove it. The family and I took a day trip to Myrtle Beach in SC, which was nice. We walked the beach for two hours, collected shells for one of my girlfriend’s art projects, visited Ripley’s aquarium to pet stingray and jellyfish, and easily had one of my favorite days of all time. But, of course, I forgot to apply sunblock and now the back of my neck feels like somebody tried to decapitate me with a belt sander.
I guess I deserve that.
If you’ve been keeping score, I recently put up reviews for Kamiko, 1-2-Switch, and TumbleSeed for the Nintendo Switch, so I won’t go into those today. There’s plenty to read in the links. Lately, though, I’ve been playing a bunch of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and a rather dark Vita game called A Rose in the Twilight that I’d like to talk about.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, as I’m sure you’ve heard, is insanely good. I’m not sure if the inclusion of battle mode, a handful of new racers, and the ability to hold two items at once (two of which are brand new) is enough to entice anyone who already invested in the core game and its accompanied DLC on Wii U. But the ability to play it on a handheld probably should be.
I’m astonished by how good Mario Kart 8 Deluxe looks and runs on the Switch. Sure, the console is more powerful than its predecessor, but having something of this calibre in the palm of my hands is exhilarating–much like it was playing through Breath of the Wild.
For the Nintendo Switch to have two 100% must-buy titles within two months is a feat in itself, and I sincerely hope this prods Nintendo to consider bringing over more Wii U titles that a significant majority of people never got around to playing.
A Rose in the Twilight should be the next review I have going up here, hopefully no later than Sunday or Monday. It’s a 2D puzzle-platformer that feels like a cross between Limbo and Lost Vikings, wherein it shares the former’s monochromatic aesthetic and overall platforming mechanics while using the latter’s focus on switching between characters that compliment each other’s weaknesses.
The game centers around the young prisoner Rose and her stone golem companion. She’s afflicted with the curse of thorns, noted by the pointy rose protruding from her side that grants her the ability to manipulate blood–used as the game’s core mechanic. As the game is artistically monochromatic, blood is stylized in a vibrant red and used as its only source of color.
Blood symbolizes life in A Rose in the Twilight, so all objects in the environment infused with blood move as normal. Those without remain stationary. Rose can drain the blood from objects and infuse it into others, while her golem companion can lift blood-infused objects and use them in a variety of ways. Most of the game is spent swapping between the two in order to solve a puzzle, or strategically navigating rooms separately in order to rejoin the unlikely pair.
There’s a very dark narrative at play here that’s drip-fed through “blood memories” drained from the deceased. These play into Rose’s history, as well as the castle’s, and makes for a truly disturbing tale.
If you’re into the likes of the Brothers Grimm, I highly recommend checking out A Rose in the Twilight. It’s shaping up to be one of the year’s sleeper gems. Since it’s only available on Vita and PC, however, you can always watch this silent Let’s Play by Matthew Goodlett that spans the entirety of the game without player commentary. I’ve been using it to collect all of the blood memories and it’s quite thorough. The game itself is only four hours long.
What about you, folks? What are you getting into this weekend?