Features// SPOnG's Games of the Year

Posted 3 Jan 2013 16:28 by
There are still sections of Spelunky that I haven't managed to reach yet and even though it's been a few weeks since I last started it up, I know I'll keep going back well into 2013. Put simply, it's the best thing I've ever spent moon points on, and it kicks my arse (nearly) every time.

Chris O’Regan
SHFTS Host
Journey
 
Gaming as a medium continues to push the boundaries of entertainment beyond anything the older forms can only dream of. It is for this very reason why the choice of my Game of the Year has been nigh on impossible to select, but select it I have.

And it is, *drum roll* Euro Truck Simulator 2! I first encountered this work of genius at Gamescom 2012 and could not help but marvel at how the trucks, of European origin, were simulated....again. For countless hours I have slavishly...no no NO. I can’t do this, it’s not funny and quite frankly it’s beneath SPOnG to write such a childish and clumsy attempt at humour at the expense of those fine people who created Euro Truck Simulator 2, the much anticipated sequel of Euro Tru...yes.
 

My actual game of 2012 does have something in common with Euro Truck Simulator 2, come to think of it. For they both concern traversing across a landscape to some predefined destination, only my game utilises the power of a magical scarf as opposed to a large internal combustion engine. If you haven’t guessed it already, my game of 2012 is Journey
 
Made by ThatGameCompany, the people behind flOw and Flower, Journey took on the concept of multiplayer gaming and changed the rules.

By limiting the interaction between players to a simple ‘ping’ note, it forced people to invent new ways of communicating. It also drew people further into the game’s setting, which was of a windswept, sand-filled desert.

Late in the game the reliance on other players becomes ever more paramount as dangers present themselves that are far easier to evade if two players work together. It’s nigh on impossible to ‘grief’ anyone in Journey, as all you can do is jump from one platform to another, gaining powers that lengthen the player’s magical scarf, which gives them limited flight capabilities.
 
Aesthetically the game is a joy to behold. The low polygonal model of the player’s avatar doesn’t even have any feet or face. Just a cloaked figure with glowing eyes peering from a hood. Despite this simplistic figure, the animation of it and the world itself is astonishing and does much to envelope the player into the game’s barren environment.

On top of that the Grammy-nominated score does a fantastic job of reflecting the wonder that is Journey. It is for these reasons and many, many others that Journey (reviewed here) is my game of 2012.

Scott Smith
Staff Writer
Faster Than Light

Fancy a bit of PC gaming do you? Can't decide between the 845217 new releases from over the past couple of months? Well you've come to the right place. I want to tell you about my favourite game of 2012. It's an indie title called FTL: Faster Than Light and at a tenner on Steam, it’s an absolute bargain!

FTL is a space strategy game in which you have to command your Federation spaceship to make sure it reaches a distant Federation base. You have to deliver some important data before the Rebel fleet catches up and destroys your ship, the data and the entire Federation with it. The Federation is made up of all kinds of alien races, each race can be obtained as crew members at the start of or during the campaign.

To get there you have to use FTL travel (which is basically teleporting) from beacon to beacon to get across each of the eight sections. At each beacon there is a possibility of some kind of encounter. It could be anything from a hostile ship to just the start of a side quest. Either way, every time you FTL Jump the Rebel fleet covers a bit more of the map so it's a good idea to get to the exit sharpish.



Your ship contains systems like Weapons, Shields, Engines and Medi-Bay. Each System requires power from the reactor and occupies one of the rooms. A System may be damaged if it's particular room is hit during a battle. If this happens just take a crew member from the job they're doing and send them in to repair it. Of course, that leaves their previous job unattended, which can complicate things. For instance if you send your pilot, the cockpit will be un-manned and your ship won't be able to dodge anything! So you really have to micro-manage everything to keep a battle running smoothly.
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