When I was younger, the eye-tracking offered in the targeting system of the Apache attack helicopter fascinated me to no end. Even now, it’s not hard to imagine that eye-tracking is a possible next step in the evolution of interfacing with computers and other consumer technology. Gazepoint, a start-up from out West, has created a relatively affordable solution for those looking to develop applications that utilize this interface (and those who wish to study eye-tracking) – it’s called the GP3. Some students from the University of British Columbia have been working in collaboration with Gazepoint on a 2D puzzle-platformer that combines traditional keyboard controls with eye-tracking. It’s called Focalpoint, and it is a step in an exciting new direction.
I had the chance to try my hands at Kinect Sports Rivals when Xbox opened their pop-up demo lounge in Yorkville last fall. Their dev build featured only the Wake Racing portion of the game, but it was enough to get a sense of the mechanics, visuals, and overall feel. To be honest, next to Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5 and Ryse: Son of Rome, the Kinect Sports Rivals demo felt a bit flimsy. Those titles pushed the boundaries of what the new console’s hardware could do and they made for a pretty good show. Kinect Sports Rivals was there as the only truly Kinect-optimized title of the lot, but the experience suffered a little on account of Wake Racing being perhaps the least physical of all the sports in the Kinect Sports Rivals suite. The demo build also lacked the impressive new avatar creator, which though it isn’t an integral part of the gameplay at all, still flexes the new Kinect enough for some solid wow-factor.
Flash forward four months and the Xbox One is up and running full tilt. Kinect Sports Rivals has been running a Wake Racing pre-season since the console launched and enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting the full game launch on April 8th. I had the chance to get an early game walkthrough at the Microsoft offices with Drew Quakenbush from Rare UK, and this is what I discovered.
Some of us Thumbers went to the Titanfall launch event at Tattoo Rock Parlour last night. It was as busy as a beehive with gaming media, contest winners, and eventually members of the general public. There were cool prizes, great food, and a whole lotta gaming stations for people to play the game before its midnight launch. While we did do some brief interviews with some folks associated with the project, Evan Bergstra and I were chatting after about our experience and thought that we would share.
Please note that this game is still in alpha stage. In many cases the final product can be fairly different. So without further ado…
When indie studio Kraken Empire (formed in 2010) approached us with an alpha version of their new game Kromaia, I was interested. I had not yet done a review of a game still early in its development cycle, and I was intrigued by the idea of checking out an alpha version of a game. So, I put my hand up and started on my way off to what was supposed to be shoot-em-up heaven – but I didn’t really get there.
With the release date fast approaching, Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall for the Xbox One has been made available at a multi-player Beta. I suspect that the game won’t really change very much, as the language around this early pre-release seems to be more about stress-testing the system than anything else. So what’s it like? In two words: addictive and immersive. A few of the other titles that I have been playing for review have probably not been getting as much of my time as they should have, but when the opportunity to go stomping around in giant robotic armour is placed on the table, how can I resist?
The Bravely Default: Flying Fairy demo is finally available on the Nintendo eShop, and while this “first impressions” piece is trailing the release of the demo, it seems like there hasn’t been as much buzz around the Square Enix RPG for the 3DS. This is kind of disheartening because it features a unique battle system, gorgeous art style and a Quest that is exclusive to the demo.
The OUYA, besides being a console with a fun name to say, had a lukewarm reception when it finally emerged from its Kickstarter cave. I cannot personally speak to some of the issues that people had with this product during its launch window; but months later the little box arrived in our office and it’s not a bad little product. With a $99 price tag and a good number of games (that are free to try and fairly inexpensive to purchase), this understated gaming console definitely has potential with a pretty broad cross-section of people. In this post, I log my first impressions of this tiny entry into the console market.