I’ve had more fun playing Braid and Castle Crashers in the past couple of weeks than I’ve had all year with mainstream games.
I’m sure this says something about how stagnant the gaming industry has become. I’m tired of developers always trying to be innovative by introducing tons of awkward pointless gameplay elements just for the sake of being different.
Games like Braid and Castle Crashers are very enjoyable, and yet beautifully simplistic. I mean, come on. Braid is a Mario game with a little time travel puzzle solving, and Castle Crashers is some kind of glorious love child of Alien Hominid and Double Dragon.
Simplicity can often be so much more entertaining and fun than an overly complex “gaming experience” that has physics and graphics and realism out the ass. Don’t get me wrong, I love advances in technology where games are concerned and I enjoy good graphics as much as the next guy, but impressive graphics and physics don’t mean shit when they’re the game’s only asset.
Take Portal for instance. It looks pretty damn good, and it’s a lot of fun to play. It’s also really clever and really challenging the first time around. Now take a game like Assassin’s Creed, which has amazing graphics and nice physics, but when it comes to gameplay? Fuck, that is one of the most mind-numbingly boring gameplay experiences I’ve ever had. You have to go out of your way and ignore the missions to have fun by pissing off some guards or something and then running away, and that gets dull after a while.
I honestly think that the recent surge of fun Xbox Live Arcade games should be something that developers really take a good look at and learn from.