Just like a bad Star Wars prequel, I’m back again with Best in Show Part 2! Today I’m going to tackle sidescrollers. While there weren’t an abundance of sidescrollers at this year’s E3, the ones that were shown prove that 2D is never truly dead. Which games measure up today? Let’s find out!
Best in Show – New Super Mario Bros Wii
New Super Mario Bros. Wii reminds us that next generation gaming can be as simple and fun as the first time we picked up a controller. We have come full circle as the gameplay looks identical to the original Super Mario Bros on the NES. Of course they had to add some new mechanics and there’s just enough to shake up the old formula. My favorite new addition? The Penguin suit that lets you shoot ice balls and slide around on your belly. The biggest change by far is the inclusion of 4-player co-op. Based on the gameplay that I saw, this looks like a fun party like experience that casual and core gamers alike would enjoy. Nintendo has gone back to their roots with this title, and I’m more than happy to come along for the ride.
Runner Up – Shadow Complex
Developer: Chair Entertainment
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
The first thing that impressed me was the quality of graphics not just for a 2D game, but also on a game that is a downloadable title. The second thing that drew me further into the game was the Metroidvania style gameplay of exploration and combat. What makes this game stand out is the way they present character progression. Just like Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night before it, your character levels up and finds better items that allow for greater exploration. Unlike those two titles, the main character is not a space bounty hunter or half-vampire. He’s a regular hiker with a flashlight looking for his lost girlfriend. So to show the progression from hiker to one-man army, your character dons technology he finds until he ends up looking like something out of Robocop. Shadow Complex looks like a great addition to Metroidvania style games, so look for it this summer on Xbox Live Arcade.
Most Jawdroppingly Beautiful – Muramasa
Developer: Vanilla Ware
The thing I love about next generation hand drawn 2D games is the amount of detail they can put into the sprites. Just like Vanilla Ware’s previous game Odin Sphere, Muramasa looks visually stunning. The above screenshot can hardly do it any justice. As not much of the gameplay has been revealed, we’ll have to hold our breaths and hope that it doesn’t turn into a repetitive beat-em-up.
Hope you enjoyed Part 2! Come back Thursday for my final Best in Show post where I’ll discuss my thoughts on the RPG’s of E3 2009. Plus a quick list of all the other genres I’ve skipped over. See anything you don’t agree with above? Tell me why in the comments!