Super Meat Boy brings you right to the edge of launching your controller across the room in frustration. The game is a love letter to classic 2D platforming games and achieved widespread critical acclaim among the gaming press when it was first released five years ago, but was this due to the nostalgia strings it so aptly plucked?
Now that the dust has settled on Super Meat Boy and subsequently been disturbed once again by its arrival on the Playstation 4, launching itself onto the platform and going straight into the free monthly PS Plus games, is this really the masterpiece everyone thought it was?
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a game about trusting and bargaining with your friends. It’s probably not meant to be, but let’s face it, when it comes to co-op games, it’s never really co-op.
When you’re carefully tight-rope walking over a bottomless chasm and said rope is being held in place by your companion, you instantly remember all the times you “accidentally” pulled those levers whilst they just happened to be walking over that particular trapdoor. You might find yourself pleading for them not to let go and that you promise you’ll never do something similar to them again.
Temple of Osiris is of course more than an opportunity to be responsible for the accidental demise of all your friends. Aping classic adventure serials, with Lara Croft definitely studying at the Indiana Jones school of “shoot the place up” archaeology, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris follows this pattern by allowing you and your friends to cover ancient Egyptian ruins in storms of bullets and magical energy whilst you try and scoop up as many precious gems that aren’t nailed down. It’s your standard classic episode of Time Team.
As far as motivations to run go, being chased by zombies is a very compelling one.
Zombies, Run! is an app that blends fitness tracking with some light gamification to create a more interesting way of staying in shape. Pitching you into a standard zombie apocalypse scenario through audio snippets piped into your headphones, the game feeds you instructions and updates whilst your phone keeps track of how far you have run and how quickly you are running.
The gamification elements come from supplies that you ‘find’ whilst out for your run. Once you’re back at home and collapsing on the sofa in a sweaty mess, you can spend these resources to build up your virtual survivor town with new buildings to help other inhabitants of your post apocalyptic world.
Sometimes you want to eat your friends. Co-op games often further compound that and Evolve is no different.
Maybe the medic always seems to be off having a coffee whilst your limbs are being chewed on by playful jungle critters, or maybe the support keeps calling in an airstike at either the other end of the map or a millimetre above your head. Maybe the assault guy just hasn’t worked out that he needs to shoot at the giant house-sized monster as opposed to just running towards it and getting swiped.
A surprisingly agile monster leaping towards your face is also going to ruin your day.
Thankfully, Evolve has an excellent method of dealing with this. You can decide that what you really want to do is play as a giant house-sized monster that will eat your friends.
One More Line might very well be the best cigarette break game on the market right now.
Taking on a neon art-deco Atari-esque aesthetic, One More Line gives you a small dome-shape to control and sets you the task of travelling as far as you can without crashing into discs strewn in your path or the walls to either side of you.
The reason that this makes for such an excellent cigarette-break game lies in its extraordinarily simple controls. Easily controlled one-handed, pressing your thumb onto the screen locks your little ship (we’ll call it a ship for lack of a better word) on to a nearby disc and spins you in an arc around it. Releasing your thumb makes your ship let go and beetle off in the direction it is now facing, mostly like directly into the path of a wall or another disc.
One More Line is surprisingly difficult to master. A single run takes a matter of seconds and how long you play will probably depend on how long you’ve got. There is admittedly a bit of a compulsion to keep playing when you first pick the game up, but once you’ve got used to it it’s very easy to put down again and get on with your life.