Jorge and I got all dolled up Friday for a night on the town, specifically for the 5th annual Canadian Videogame Awards at the Carlu in downtown Toronto. With cameras and drinks in hand, we were lucky enough to rub shoulders with the great actors who voiced Commander Shepard, Anna Grímsdóttir, Bruce Wayne, Sarah Palmer, Aveline de Grandpré and plenty of other iconic videogame characters from the last few years. The spirit of the night was delightfully positive because we were all there to share the same thing: an appreciation for, and celebration of, the accomplishments made by Canadian artists, producers and developers in every sector of the videogame industry over nearly two years.
Magic is such a large part of so many cultures and our imaginations that sometimes it’s hard to deny that it might actually exist. When we were kids and first saw Mickey Mouse “borrow” Yen Sid’s hat to perform sorcery, it was a truly magical moment. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a sorcerer? I know that I’d love to be able to command the magical elements of the universe by waving my hands about, causing nature to bend to my will. While I can’t do real magic, Harmonix and Disney Interactive have managed to create something that certainly makes me feel like I do, thanks to the Kinect for the Xbox One or the Xbox 360 consoles. Their recent release, Fantasia: Music Evolved (which they sent us to review) is definitely a magical game that will not only have you waving your hands around and enjoying yourself immensely – it will also have you tapping your toes to they rhythm!
Vehicle simulation games are not for everyone. Unlike other games, there usually is no story, and the level of detail involved in game-play is usually very high. In fact, the better the simulator, the more true-to-life the game is to whatever it is that you are driving/piloting, be it cars, airplanes, and yes, trains. Dovetail Games’ Train Simulator 2015 carries on the proud tradition of the Railworks line, giving players the ability to don a figurative locomotive engineer’s cap and learn all there is to know about driving trains. It may not be an exciting-sounding prospect – but it can surprisingly fun engaging in its thoroughness, and the production value enhances it even further.
People really love a good team-up. It’s not hard to see why; the idea of something being greater than the sum of its parts is very compelling – especially when the components are amazing. We have seen it before, with games like Street Fighter vs. Capcom, or the Super Smash Bros. franchise – and it works. I have often wondered what it would be like for Professor Layton and Luke Triton to meet other videogame characters on one of their adventures. Would it work? Well, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Level-5 and Capcom) answers that question, in a Nintendo 3DS game that has the most FPS out of any game ever made. And by FPS I mean Finger Pointing Sequences, of course.
Several years ago, Hasbro and their partners took the My Little Pony franchise to a new place with the Equestria Girls film and line of toys. A significant departure from the normal My Little Pony series, Equestria Girls featured the ponies as humans – transformed by walking through a magic mirror. Now, Hasbro shines a spotlight on the My Little Pony Equestria line with the My Little Pony Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks Mane Event Stage, which corresponds with the recently released film, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks.
We have reviewed Ambient Design’s ArtRage before (way back when it was an earlier version), but since then ArtRage has grown somewhat, taking a great feature set and infusing it with even more goodness. Accessible and powerful, ArtRage 4.5 is within reach both a learning and budget perspective. Don’t think for a moment, though, that its relatively low price tag or its simple interface make it a candidate for only the amateur artist – this application has plenty of tricks up its sleeve for the more advanced as well.
When Playground Games and Turn 10 Studios released Forza Horizon a few years ago for the Xbox 360, they managed to marry the physics of a driving simulator to the fun of an arcade racer. Being able to drive serious wheels around an alternate version Colorado with relative freedom was a blast – and I periodically return to Horizon to casually satisfy my jonesing for speed. Now, Playground and Turn 10 have somehow managed to take that concept and improve upon it, in the Europe-centric Forza Horizon 2. With over 3 times the driving area and a lot more freedom, racing-junkie Xbox One owners will have a new go-to game for all of the thrills and spills that they can handle. As “Doc” Brown said at the end of Back to the Future 3: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”