Tag Archives: MMO

Soviet Jump Game: First Impressions

Although I spend a lot of time scouring the Internet in search of upcoming titles in development, there are still those that I fail to notice as they gain momentum across a widespread community of fans; even whilst the game is still in the early stages of development. I need to give a shout-out to my friend Antonia Fraser AKA Dolly Mix Cosplay for recommending this one, as, without her suggestion, I wouldn’t have even known this game exists. It’s entitled Soviet Jump Game and in my opinion, may become one of the most beloved future indie games in recent years once it sees full release and continues to garner popularity at the rate that it is now.

Developed by California-based outlet Fantastic Passion and published by Dan and Arin of the YouTube channel Game Grumps and currently on Steam Early Access as a free download, Soviet Jump Game is a 2D side-scrolling battle player vs player MMO, which has players battling against each other by either jumping on one another, Similar to how enemies are defeated in traditional Super Mario games or using various power-ups that can be found throughout the game’s map. After playing this for only a few short days, I’ve become hooked on it. I don’t normally player multiplayer games, generally preferring the single-player experience, but this game may very well be instrumental in changing my perception of how I view MMOs.

Graphics

Adopting a traditional 8-BIT visual style, the game’s conceptual design is largely inspired by Russian culture and the way of life under the Soviet Union before it’s dissolution back in the early 90s. There are several references to historical figures and events that happened during the USSR era, such as heads of Joseph Stalin that act like Thwomps from Mario, moving platforms in the form of tetrominoes from Tetris and stage designs alluding to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. As a long-time Tetris fan and coming off the back of recently playing Russian Subway Dogs in particular, it stands as yet another example to me of how Russian culture has had a significant impact on video games. The scenery is very well designed and the game’s soundtrack threw me with just how stellar that is in addition; certain aspects of it reminded a lot of Shovel Knight in fact; another game soundtrack I think extremely highly of. 

Gameplay

The gameplay is extremely simple in its basic premise, but exhilarating on a scale that I didn’t think possible going into it. It’s simply a matter of the last man standing at the end of each round, including around 38 different players at once generally speaking, battling to stay alive, eliminating other players and collecting tokens used to purchase new characters or customize the characters players already have with new skins, emotes and taunts. I’m biased towards this game to an extent, due to the fact that I’m relatively good at it, having now won 30 games in only a few days of playing. Speaking honestly, multiplayer games generally tend to put me off, since, by the time I come to play one, there is already an influx of people playing who have mastered it and are easily able to dispatch me, bogging down the experience. But probably because this game has much less of a learning curve than an MMO first-person shooter for example, I found that it was easy to get to grips with and learn how to improve with more experience. There’s also a great sense of satisfaction to be had after winning a game to have won out over so many other people at one given time. 

Controls

As the gameplay concept is simple, so too are the controls. The biggest learning curve there is involved with this game is understanding how each power-up works and how they can be best employed to suit the player’s situation. The controls are perfect; as responsive as what a game like this is needed.

Originality

For a game that adopts so many traditional gameplay features that have been seen time and time again throughout the industry, it’s staggering how much this game stands out despite its obvious influences. Where it does stand out is in its conceptual design as well as it’s a differing approach to gameplay compared with other 2D side-scrollers. It almost feels like a genre of its own with how it plays out. It’s also unusual for a side-scroller to have this much variety in terms of unlockable material and gameplay elements and for it to have virtually unlimited replay value. 

Overall, Soviet Jump Game, upon release is set to be a beloved indie classic and I recommend anyone reading to give it a try. The game seems practically complete, but if there’s even more than Fantastic Passion has to add to this already robust title, then I’m excited to think of what the final product will have to offer in comparison to the game’s current build. 

Destiny (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One)

Developer(s) – Bungie

Producer(s) – Activision & Sony Computer Entertainment

PEGI – 16

Undoubtedly the highest-profile game of 2014 as well as being the most pre-ordered game in history and the franchise with the most successful launch period in history, Destiny is a first-person shooter with a huge emphasis on RPG elements and online multiplayer; a gaming trope that I hadn’t thought very highly of until now. Thanks to this game, I’m now warming to it, but even as a single-player game, it is very satisfying to play.

Graphics – 8.5/10

Making use of some of the most advanced video game graphics of the modern-day, Destiny is intricately detailed and extremely well polished. As of yet, I’ve hardly found a glitch. However, although the in-game world does look interesting to a certain extent, I can’t help but feel that the game is less appealing from a conceptual standpoint. To me, because I have played a lot of science fiction themed games, such as Halo, Borderlands, Mass Effect, etc, it seems more like a collaboration of several different ideas from several different games as opposed to it being a fully cohesive concept. I have found a few standout locations, such as the catacomb under the Moon and certain parts of Venus, but based on what I’ve seen of both Earth and the Tower areas of the game, I think the influences behind this game are pretty obvious. But at the very least, there is a fair bit to look at, and whilst the Servitors and Ghosts are very reminiscent of the Monitor in the Halo series, a lot of the other enemy designs are fairly unique, such as the Hive and the Fallen. I also think that the Vex enemies, as well as some of the bosses throughout the game, look particularly unique so there is at least some basis in conceptual appeal.

Gameplay – 9.5/10

As a first-person shooter developed by Bungie, the original team behind the Halo franchise, Destiny is one of the most addictive and fun shooters I’ve played in the last few years. For a mainstream online multiplayer in particular, its level of addiction is staggering. Players will never be at a loss for things to do since the story missions are simply the tip of the iceberg. There are optional missions to do on each planet and even a free-roaming mode with infinite missions, all complete with an extremely strong RPG element attached to it, which for me posthumously sealed the deal of this being a good game in my eyes.

Another thing I really like about this game is that even hard mode is delightfully accessible with a bit of level grinding, and it’s very rewarding to be able to say that you’ve done missions on hard mode since experience bonuses and additional equipment is on offer to players for doing it. Even though the gameplay mechanics do draw influences from other different games, each idea comes together flawlessly to deliver a very enjoyable gaming experience with a lot of variety.

Controls – 10/10

Since Bungie has been familiar with the first-person shooting genre for over a decade, there should never have been any issues with the control scheme, and so there isn’t, I’m happy to document. Since Bungie has also clearly been familiarizing themselves with different ideas conceived over the years of what a first-person shooter should entail, the control scheme has also been tailored to compensate nicely for the heightened level of variety compared to most other mainstream first-person shooters.

Lifespan – 10/10

Since the story mode of this game is merely a drop in the pond compared to the bulk of what this game has to offer, it will only last as long as the player’s interest, which I can personally guarantee should be an extraordinarily long time. With so many different game modes, missions to undertake and abilities and upgrades to earn, this will easily make for hours upon hours of sheer first-person shooting excellence.

Storyline – 4/10

The aspect that I’m unable to wax poetic about, however, is the game’s story. The narrative follows a player-named character known as a guardian out to save a relic known as the traveler, which when discovered by humanity, helped the species to thrive, but now is under threat and must be revived to prevent other warring life forms from wiping out the entire human race. The problem for me is that story hardly plays a role in the game. Aside from a basic premise, there are hardly any common story elements present, such as character development, suspense, plot twists, etc, and consequently, the few hours players will spend going through the game’s main campaign will feel pretty empty in terms of a narrative. Plot developments fly by at a pace whereby the player will not be given much time to think about the story; it just seems to happen quietly in the background whilst players are spending more time enjoying the great gameplay.

But of course, that’s not to say that the game is unplayable because of it. As I’ve emphasized time and again throughout the course of my first year writing this blog, I would much rather have a game developed as such than it being the other way round, whereby story comes before gameplay. The gameplay is the most important aspect of any video game, and I believe Destiny has hit the nail on the head in this respect, which is increasingly becoming a rarity in mainstream titles in my opinion, so I can greatly respect this game because of that too.

Originality – 6/10

Of course, Destiny is not the first mainstream online multiplayer first-person shooter, and certainly will not be the last. But for the time being at least, I consider it to be the best and most unique. Though most would cite Modern Warfare 2 as the be-all and end-all of the genre, I’ve enjoyed this game far more and has made me look at online multiplayer shooters in a much more positive way than I’d ever have done before. And I believe that any game that can do something like that for me certainly has some basis in originality about it.

Happii

Happii

In summation, although it makes no real kind of artistic statement and conveys very little in terms of story, Destiny is still one of the most fun and addictive games I’ve played this year, and I would recommending anyone sitting on the fence about it, who like me may not be 100% lukewarm to the medium of either online multiplayer or mainstream first-person shooter, to at least give it a try. Because although I have expressed an undying disdain for games that can undoubtedly fall under the same category as Destiny, trust me, neither Call of Duty, Battlefield nor Medal of Honour is anywhere near as enjoyable as this title.

Score

48/60

8/10 (Very Good)