23rd of April, 2021
Hello! Welcome back to our regular feature where we write a little bit about some of the games we've found ourselves playing over the last few days. This time: cards, cars and a thrilling demo.
If you fancy catching up on some of the older editions of What we've been playing, here's our archive.
Aerial_Knight's Never Yield demo, Switch
Never Yield is just a demo at present but I've been playing it and playing it. It's so simple - simple in a way that allows a game to become lavish too.
It's an endless runner, at heart. You automatically race along, and you press d-pad buttons at certain cues in order to avoid killing yourself. Leap that! Roll past that! Slider under that!
It's gently colour-coded, which affords an idiot like me an extra bit of help, but what really makes the game special is the things you're leaping and rolling and sliding to avoid. This is where it gets lavish! Drones buzz overhead, vans chase you and then collide, or flip through the air almost taking your head off. There's a fantastic colourful aesthetic to it, and with its speed and sense of thwarting injustices, I suspect the final game is going to give me Jet Set Radio flashbacks. There's a gorgeous soundtrack by Detroit artist Danime-Sama, too.
It's nothing like Jet Set Radio to play, of course. It's its own thing. And I really like it so far.
iRacing's races are run on a rotational system you'll likely be familiar with from the many games have copied its approach since - every Monday a new set of races roll in for the various series that run over the course of a season, giving a fresh set of challenges for sim drivers to tackle. It helps gives the start of the week something of a frisson, and there's something exciting about scrolling through the various permutations and thinking to yourself, what shall I lose myself to next?
This week the 911 GT3 Cup series rolled up to the streets of Long Beach, and having heard so many good things about the car and already being a fan of the track I thought I'd finally give in and buy the thing. What a smart decision that turned out to be - with all the power, less of the downforce and none of the driver aids of other GT3 cars, the 911 Cup car is an outrageously entertaining thing. Dancing it between the concrete walls of the coastal Californian city is a thrill that's kept me up well past my bedtime these past few nights, and it's one of the best combos iRacing's got to offer at the moment.
Cards! - MonkeyBox 2, iOS
Everything has cards these days, particularly on iOS, but Cards! is still special because its cards are special. Cards! uses its cards to tell a sort of Choose Your Own Adventure story - sort of, and we'll come to that - and it's just a lovely thing.
You start by flipping a card over from the bottom of the screen to the top. They tell a story with pictures, and quickly you get to choose from a selection of cards to flip. You're being chased! Someone's shooting arrows at you! Look at the trajectory! Run, jump, or duck?
It gets more complicated. You get to choose an item to take with you - always the umbrella, m8 - and occasionally you will get a card that allows you to use it. The discard pile also keeps track of your health, via the classic video game three heart system.
The story is Choose Your Own Adventure until it isn't. It's actually quite linear at first, which means that you have leeway to proceed along a set path but not much leeway to change that path. This in turn means that it can devolve into trial-and-error at times.
Which is probably why they added the items and the hearts, right? I play Cards! now as a sort of narrative auto-runner. How far can I get? And occasionally I get to surprise myself. Oh yes, and it's all wonderfully tactile to use.