17th of June, 2022
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: Emojis, blocks, and substitute teachers.
If you fancy catching up on some of the older editions of What We've Been Playing, here's our archive.
Glitch Busters: Stuck on You, Switch
There's sometimes no greater feeling than being wrongfooted by a game, and Toylogic's Glitch Busters did it in record time when I sat down to play it at last week's Summer Game Fest. At first glance it's a scrappy action game with an aesthetic lifted from Splatoon, but on closer inspection it's a co-op masterpiece with an inspired and expressive artstyle that make it one to watch.
You're playing as emojis within an anthropomorphised version of the internet, taking down enemies in four-player co-op action. Which is all well and good, but what makes Glitch Busters stand out is the sense of momentum and elasticity as you tether to your partners and dance around them. A brief 15-minute demo showed a surfeit of ideas, and a slickness to the action that belies the scrappiness of the visuals. This one could be pretty special.
The Block demo, PC
Paul Schnepf previously worked on Islanders and The Ramp, so he knows a lot about city builders and a lot about digital toys. Now he's making The Block, which is a minimalist city builder toy. There's a demo out on Steam at the moment. It's brilliant.
And it's very minimalist. Working on a small grid you place trees and buildings and lamposts and whatever until you're done. No goal other than coming up with something you like. Instead, it's all choices - use the next block you're given or swap it for something else? A spire or a forest? And where to put it all?
I quickly decided I wanted to stick with trees, and made a lovely muddle of trees and lamposts with no buildings in sight. Infuriatingly - it's brilliant really - the demo is limited to five minutes of playing. My clock has counted down now. I can't wait for the finished game.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Switch
Listen, I have no idea what's going on here. I've been playing this game for maybe five hours now and I'm still getting long, multi-page tutorial pop-ups about like, devising lesson plans and the optimal times to go on dinner dates.
I thought this game was about leading armies in some grand, turn-based-tactics medieval opera, which I've been craving a bit, but apparently I am also a substitute teacher with exam season coming up and an indoor garden that I need to go fishing in.
I keep reading the tutorials, but they keep spawning more. I do not know what I am doing. I'm haunted by some kind of 500-year-old child. I keep acquiring items during battles but having to send them to my convoy because I don't have enough space. I do not know what a convoy is. At least two of my students are dead. I shall press on!