Gaming At Rob's 19 Round-Up

Gaming At Rob's came back in a big way this week. A record-breaking 15 of us got together to game long into the night, with a great selection of new releases and old favourites keeping us entertained. Here's a look at the games from GAR 19, as well as the much more humble GAR 18 from a few weeks back.

GAR 19 had the biggest attendance yet, which set the scene perfectly for a huge Johann Sebastian Joust session. We also had a short tournament on Nidhogg, with some intense battles. Uli won a copy of Thomas Was Alone after beating Pete in an intense semi-final before blitzing Rafa in the final.

TowerFall Ascension was once again a big hit, demanding 2 fantastic sessions. Tom won a short tournament we set up on it, taking home a copy of Shank 2. We also did some Gang Beasts, sync and spent some time with the other 3 games from the Sportsfriends package. Thanks to Tiago for donating this week's prizes.

Now, a look at the new games from this week:

Mario Kart 8

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The classic local multiplayer series is at its best with this latest release, with a rock solid 4 player mode that plays incredibly well and looks awesome. Levels are vibrant, new content is unlocked with impressive regularity, and it's a sugary nostalgic trip to play with a group. My favourite part of our time with the game was how every player had a different controller, with a combination of GamePad Wii Remote, Nunchuk, Classic Controller and Pro Controller all in the mix. The game cleverly deals with whatever peripheral you throw at it, and lets you switch between motion controller and standard controller with ease, as players swap out between races.

The game also sports a robust online multiplayer mode that lets 2 local players join up to 10 more over the 'net, I checked it out after the event and it's a ton of fun. Mario Kart 8 will definitely be one of our mainstays going forward.

Cards Against Humanity

Once a large portion of the group had gone for the night, leaving 5 of us, we decided to play some Cards Against Humanity for the first time at GAR. I just got back from a trip to the UK, bringing with me the UK Edition of the game and the 4 expansion packs released to date. Here's the simplest explanation of the game, from the CAH website:

The game is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card.

You always have 10 white cards, so when you use one you pick another one up at random. If your card is picked as the winner by the black card player, you get the card to count as a 'point'. Cards encourages house rules, and with this huge stack of expansions, the number of combinations is huge. It's at its best when alcohol has been consumed, and can be played with between 5 and more than 10 players. Here's an example round from my first session with it from over a year ago:

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A few weeks back, I hosted GAR 18, which sits in stark contrast to GAR 19, as only Tom and myself were there. It gave us the perfect opportunity to check out some single-player and 2-player co-operative games, so here's a look at the highlights:

Nuclear Throne

Developed by Vlambeer, it's a roguelike-like shooter with a host of grotesque characters each with their own strengths and weaknesses. As you progress through the toxic wastelands and take out every enemy on the level, you'll get sucked into a portal and transported to the next randomly generated area. If you've collected enough radioactive waste you'll get to add a perk to your character for the duration of your 'life', such as increasing item drops, regenerating ammo and increasing health or damage. These are critical to your success, as the enemies are merciless and numerous. There are also plenty of weapons to pick up along the way, but ammunition can be scarce.

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The game's best played with the volume up to get the adrenaline pumping, and from the many hour-long sessions I've had with it I've had moderate success but have plenty more to learn. I've yet to find my favourite character, but it's fun to bounce between the 11 on offer. The team is constantly updating the game, on a weekly basis and is supporting it with livestreams. It's one of my favourites from what is becoming a very popular but crowded genre, and you should go and check out the Nuclear Throne website.

Super Time Force

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Capybara Games' latest is a deceiving game. It looks like a Metal Slug-style game from screenshots, but you'll soon realise that there is more to it than simply blasting through levels with heavy weaponry. In fact, it's more of a puzzle game than anything. At any time, you can turn back time and then play a section again, with the same or any other character you have available to you, but as you go again you'll notice that your previous life is playing out again, alongside you. You can, and will need to use this 'Time Out' function many times to layer multiple characters on top of each other. You might need to attack an enemy from multiple angles, or get through a barrier quickly, and a level timer is constantly ticking down pressuring you to get to the end before it expires. My favourite part of the game comes after successful completion of each level, which then shows you how things would have looked without any of the time manipulation. Here's an example I've uploaded from my Xbox One:

It's not going to be to everyone's tastes, and those looking for something mindless might not get along with it at all, but it's a colourful game with a stupid sense of humour that plays with a unique twist throughout, and I've been having a blast. Also, note that this is a single-player game. The screenshots might have deceived you! Go check it out at the game's website.

We also spent some time with these:

  • Hero Siege
  • Retro City Rampage
  • VVVVVV
  • Hitman Contracts
  • 0RBITALIS (check out Tom's review!)
  • TowerFall Ascension (Co-Op Quest Mode)

That's it for another Round-Up. Thanks for reading. Nothing left to do except for this, I guess...