From the intrigue-inducing Whispering Willows to the edge of your seat arcade-style Velocibox, Loot Interactive had a little something for everyone at this year’s E3. Loot, a publisher that prides itself on porting successful indie games to consoles, believes that these games have what it takes to make the transition to TV and controller play. But, after getting some time with them on the show floor at E3, what did we think of them?
For anyone who follows YouTuber Markiplier, you probably already have an idea of what Velocibox is. For anyone who doesn’t, it’s best described as a rage-fuelled adventure of a box and a hallway. The box travels down the hallway at blinding speeds and it’s your job to guide the little equilateral through a mess of obstacles towards safety .
With simplicity in mind, the control scheme only features two commands: the d-pad to move horizontally and the X button to flip the hallway. With limited movement options, your concentration will be tested as you’ll be doing your best to flip your way through more than 18 levels of hair-pulling frustration. However, the simplicity of Velocibox is also its strongest asset since, despite its deceptively easy premise, players will fail constantly. And when they do, they’ll have only themselves to blame. But there is a silver lining around this cloud of difficulty and quick reflexes. If you’re one of those gamers who has to beat every last level and is looking for the greatest possible challenge, this is the game to play.
Take it from me as guy who refuses to quit until his itch for perfection has been thoroughly scratched: although Velocibox is nothing more than a box travelling down a hall, you won’t be able to stop. It might take you 20 tries just to beat the first level, but when you do, that familiar rush of excitement will come flooding in only to be interrupted by the next challenge. It really is a game that tiptoes the line between being too difficult and giving that rewarding feeling for skillful play. For this reason it’s clear that Velocibox is not for everyone – but for the people that appreciate it, the skill that’s demanded from players in games like Temple Run, Flappy Bird and those crazy Japanese rhythm games we’re all mesmerized by but too scared to play, it’ll be a nice title to pick up and play for ten minutes or two hours. It’ll be especially great for people who like to game on the go, as Velocibox is the kind of game where you’ll always be perfecting your technique and building your reflexes.
If you’re more the type to spend your time with stress-free games, you might want to give this one a pass. Either way, if you do play I have two rules to play by: Don’t play around sleeping infants as the swearing will inevitably rise in volume and always have a pillow to throw your controller/Vita into when the fury takes control of your body.
If you’d like a more extensive look at Velocibox, be sure to check out our full review when the title releases July 28 on the PS4 and Vita.
Back to Bed
Do you like puzzle games? What about surrealism? If your answer to one or both of these questions is “yes,” then look no further than Back to Bed.
Again, simplicity is the name of the game as your only goal is to guide Bob back to his bed with the use of objects in a series of dream levels. To do this you’ll only need the analog stick and the X button to move around and pick up and place items. I had the chance to play three levels, and the game builds a sense of interest through the use of creative environments and increasingly challenging situations.
The most interesting attribute of Back to Bed is the dreamy world the game is set in. Mind-bending physics, trippy imagery and reversed speech flesh out this subconscious plane of existence and brings players as close as possible to an REM cycle without having to close their eyes.
After experiencing a few rounds to get the feel for it, Back to Bed looks to be another game that will draw you in and keep you hooked for days. It does still suffer from the same problem that Velocibox does, in that gamers who don’t appreciate puzzle titles won’t be interested past the first few levels. Even though the concept, design and gameplay are on point, interest will still only go as far as fans of the genre.
People who prefer a good challenge of the mind will feel at home with Back to Bed as its subconscious setting and multiple levels will gradually lure you into a zen-like trance.
In Whispering Willows, players take control of Elena as she does her best to find her missing father. Elena has the ghostly ability to separate from her body and float around. With this, she will be able to float through cracks in the walls, fly and possess objects to solve puzzles and progress through the story.
Although the game’s pace felt sluggish, Whispering Willows will keep players interested with a fresh art style, atmospheric soundtrack and unpredictable storyline.
Check back with Power Up Gaming soon for our review of Whispering Willows. Also, keep your eyes out for PUG’s exclusive E3 interview with the director of Loot Interactive, Jason Sorensen.