Monthly Video Game Roundup: February
Unravel (Feb. 9) – Xbox, PlayStation, PC
The newest IP from EA games, “Unravel” follows an anthropomorphic yarn creature named Yarny as he travels through memories. The game is a puzzle solving platformer with multiple levels to explore. Use Yarny’s yarn as a grappling hook, tightrope and more to navigate obstacles and find collectables. However, use too much yarn and you may find yourself stuck. Oh, and watch out for birds.
Firewatch (Feb. 9) – PlayStation, PC, iOS, Linux
In “Firewatch” you take on the role of Henry, a fire lookout in a national park, who is trying to escape for a relaxing summer vacation when mysterious events begin occurring. Explore the park, discover clues and build a friendship via walkie-talkie. The game’s environment is highly stylized as though the player is traversing a world printed on paper with a gloss finish. Henry seems to prefer to throw objects rather than set them down nicely, but he seems to be a bit hot headed so this isn’t all that surprising. Please be careful with the turtle.
Layers of Fear (Feb. 16) – Xbox, PlayStation, PC, iOS, Linux
This survival horror game is focused on the thoughts of the disturbed mind. You play as a painter who is attempting to create a masterpiece while stumbling his way through a decaying mansion. The gameplay is predominantly puzzle driven. Certain rooms require the player to find a certain object or solve a puzzle before progressing. After each level, the player is returned to a safe zone to continue their painting and rest. If you enjoyed “P.T.” check out “Layers of Fear.” Make sure you take the time to marvel at “Furboy” for 5 minutes for an easy achievement.
Far Cry Primal (Feb. 23) – Xbox, PlayStation, PC
https://www.ubisoft.com/en-US/game/far-cry-primal/ The latest “Far Cry” game from Ubisoft dropped this month and takes the player back in time all the way to the Stone Age. Play as Takkar who is left stranded and must survive on his own in the wild. The player must protect themselves against nature, wildlife and other tribes. Collect materials to build weapons like clubs and bows, use fire to light the night and scare off enemies and hone your Beast Mastery skills by taming animals.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (Feb 23) – Xbox, PlayStation, PC
“Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2” is the sequel to a game of the same title and is a third-person shooter. Play as a plant of your choosing (each plant type has its own attacks and advantages) and defend your garden from hordes of zombies. Play as a team or on your own. The longer you survive the greater the rewards to help level up and customize your plants. A new feature to “Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2” is the ability to play as a zombie.
Superhot (Feb. 25) – Xbox, PC, iOS, Linux
An indie game, “Superhot” is a first person shooter in which in-game time only progresses when the player is moving. Steal weapons, dodge in bullet time and take out your targets before they take out you. The game style is minimalist and avant-garde as though taking place within a simulator; the lack of color and high contrast allows for the player to focus on the task ahead of them and clear the level as efficiently as possible.
Witness Speedrun Involves Fish Sandwich (Feb. 12):
The puzzle solving game “Witness” is hard; so hard that many people haven’t even finished the game. Even fewer have 100% completed it. On Feb. 12, speedrunner “FearfulFerret” claimed the record for a 100% run with a time of 3:16:21. What makes this run so interesting? He had time to run out and buy a fish sandwich and eat it. In one of the optional puzzles, the player is required to listen to a 58 minute talk while a slow moving eclipse completes a puzzle. His run wasn’t perfect and he has since been overtaken on the leaderboards. But the precedent for finding a fun way to pass the time has been set and the way that one runner chooses to spend it is by playing other games.
Apple Refuses to Build FBI Backdoor (Feb. 16):
Good news for all you mobile gamers out there, your game data is safe from the FBI. The FBI made a request of Apple to create a program which would allow them to access evidence on an iPhone which may shed light on a shooting and terrorism. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook refused. On Feb. 16 he posted an open letter to Apple customers to explain the decision. He writes:
We have no sympathy for terrorists. When the FBI has requested data that’s in our possession, we have provided it. Apple complies with valid subpoenas and search warrants, as we have in the San Bernardino case. We have also made Apple engineers available to advise the FBI, and we’ve offered our best ideas on a number of investigative options at their disposal.
But, to access encrypted data is too far. Tim believes that to build a Backdoor, even for one phone, is to create a way to access all personal data. “We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack,” he writes. To allow the FBI access would be to set a “dangerous precedent.” He would rather that the Backdoor not exist at all.
Ubisoft Points Fingers at Naughty Dog via Twitter (Feb. 24):
After the trailer for Naughty Dog’s “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” was released, Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed” Head of Content, Azaïzia Aymar, noticed a familiar image in a painting. He took to twitter to call out the company, saying “Woooow Uncharted 4 using one of ACIV artwork in their trailer ... I get the "thief" title now!” The image in question is a piece of concept art from “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.” The two images are identical except for a missing pirate figure. After being called out, Naughty Dog issued an apology claiming it to be an honest mistake and released an edited version of the trailer.
Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow are Re-released (Feb. 26):
Fans of classic “Pokémon” should head over to Nintendo’s 3DS eShop to purchase the original Red, Blue and Yellow titles for $9.99 each. The three games are available through digital download and are largely unedited. Collect and trade your Pokémon digitally and recapture your youth without having to care around a link cable. Nintendo also announced the titles of their upcoming projects “Pokémon Sun” and “Pokémon Moon.”
Minecraft’s Combat Update (Feb. 29):
“Minecraft” received another update to its PC version on Feb. 29. This update, known as the Combat Update (1.9), brings to the game the ability to duel wield items. Hold a torch in one hand while you mine underground. Protect yourself with a shield while you fight off skeletons with a sword. Other additions to the game include: a new mob called the shulker, new plants and blocks, new arrow types and new attacks. Attacking now has cool-down periods, as well.