Juxtapoz @ E3 2012: Small Screen, Big FunJuxtapoz // Saturday, 09 Jun 2012
Handhelds are a great way to get your gaming fix on the go. Until recently that came at a cost of graphic quality as wells as depth of games. With the addition last year of the Playstation Vita, that has all changed. Not only to you get the graphics expected from a modern day title, but developers are fully backing the latest must have mini console. The two titles that caught my eye were Gravity Rush and Sound Shapes.
Gravity Rush is set inside a floating town, where your character has been given the power to control gravity by a mysterious black cat. As you activate the power your character sudden begins floating in mid air, while you look around deciding which direction you would like to "fall". Once you choose which direction you want to head, you begin falling in that direction, until you land on a wall or object in your path, at which time you are then stuck to that wall. This isn't a unlimited power so you must be strategic about how long you will stay attached to that wall, as well as plan out which route you will take to reach the end goal of the mission.
The game itself is designed beautifully, with a cell shaded style of coloring, and an anime themed character base, the cities and people you run into fit right into the crazy game mechanic. Also there are comic based cut scenes, showing panels representing each scene to help along the plot line. The flow of the game is smooth, and allows you to get into a zen like state once you master the controls. Overall this game can suck you into its world without notice, and keep you involved until you fall back into the real world.
For the audiophiles out there, there's a game out soon with you in mind. Sound Shapes in a game centered around you completing a track of music, by collecting tokens along a platformer based series of stages. Each note you gather, adds to the current track playing on your system. You are a simple sticky ball which has to reach the next stage, while collecting these notes, and avoiding enemies and pits. You can selectively disable your ability to stick to walls, allowing you to gain speed as well as free fall when it suits you.
The other main unique point of this game is the ability to both create tracks of music, as well as the platforming levels themselves. In the game editor mode you can create from a fresh canvas, or build off a previous built song, and then test out your creation. This tool has already been used by the likes of artists like Dead Mau5 to create custom levels for the game. Share the levels you create with your friends to see who can one up the others musically and visually. —Nick Lattner / Video Game Editor
Photos / Videos Nathan Smith