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What’s In Your Box: Week of 4-11

/ Apr 11th, 2015 No Comments

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Each week, we here at Gaming Illustrated are always playing a number of different video games. However, we may not be talking about them in reviews or editorials. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth talking about, but for any number of reasons an avenue to speak on them doesn’t come up. To remedy the issue, we’re going to ask our staff (and you, honestly) what’s in your box?

What’s in Kalvin’s Box

April has had a good chunk of worthwhile releases so far, which means there are plenty of games to throw in your box and play. This week I’ve played a good bit of games for review. As a result I haven’t played a whole bunch of games for leisure. Mainly I switched off between Etrian Mystery Dungeon, Bastion, and Affordable Space Adventures. If you need something to occupy your time then you can’t go wrong with any of those games.

I did manage to squeeze in some Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze in between those games. Unlike some, I don’t have the rosy, nostalgia haze for Donkey Kong Country. The games were fun enough, but something just didn’t click about them. As lamentable as it is that Retro Studios isn’t working on more Metroid games, the developer has infused new life into the Donkey Kong Country series. Tropical Freeze has smart level design; tight platforming controls, and it looks fantastic. Donkey Kong and company have gorgeously rendered fur and none of the gross looking faux-CGI is present. There is a level that utilizes shadows and color effectively to make it feel like moving through a painting.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Them shadows doe.

This week’s lull gives me a good chance to talk about a few games I played at PAX South and haven’t spoken on yet. Sometimes things slip through the cracks, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t make an impression. At PAX South two games that I greatly enjoyed playing were Klaus and JumpJet Rex. Both are platformers, but expressing the genre in two wildly different manners.

Developed by La Cosa, Klaus is a heady, narrative-driven puzzle-platformer with a killer aesthetic. Aesthetically the game uses a blend of red, black, white and yellow to create a dramatic look. The aesthetic compliments the tone of the narrative nicely with its mix of intrigue and humor. At times it felt like a side-scrolling version of Portal. The demo ended with a fantastic cliff hanger that made me very interested to see where the story goes in the final version.


Hump day is the worst, amirite?

In Klaus, you take on the role of an office worker, who wakes up in his office’s basement without any memory except for the word Klaus tatto’d on his arm. Relying on your wits you must guide Klaus through the various pit falls found throughout his office. The small section in the demo controlled well and felt great on the Vita. It was a seamless blend between using traditional controls and the various touch integrations in the game. The sample of puzzle elements was clever and the platforming was responsive allowing for precision when running through the demo.

Klaus is coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita later this year.

JumpJet Rex approaches the platformer genre with panache and a retro flair. Born out of a gamejam, the game stars a cool ass T-Rex with a whole bunch of ‘tude and some jet boots. Levels are meant to be both difficult and completed quickly; the former making the latter a challenge. By using Rex’s floaty and infinite jet boot jumps, dashes and honed reflexes, it can be done. If you fail though, ashes of your failed attempts litter a level to remind your inadequacies. The boss fights in the game are fascinating and use Rex’s specific abilities in creative ways.

JumpJet Rex

So much style.

A huge selling point of JumpJet Rex is the ability to customize Rex to your liking. The game features a large selection of different color schemes, jet boots, head gear, and more to give Rex a makeover. Want to see Rex in purple and green wearing a Sub-Zero mask with pink jet high lights? Well, you can do that. The game has style in spades on top of tough as nails and fun platforming.

JumpJet Rex spent a bit of time in Early Access on Steam, but the final version is coming out on April 22. The official launch will add 30 more levels to the game bringing the total to 40, a co-op, SpeedRun, and Rage Quit mode. Shortly after launch, party game will be added to JumpJet Rex including deathmatch, capture the flag, and king of the hill.

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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