internisus
Skye Nathaniel
 
 
Check out my website [internis.us] for game reviews , critical features , podcasts , and more. You can also follow me on YouTube , Twitch [www.twitch.tv], Twitter , and Facebook [www.facebook.com] for content updates.
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Psychonauts
14 2
Review Showcase
14.2 Hours played
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlLNRBpRi4U

The pleasant thing about genre is that the skills required by individual works readily transfer from one title to the next. This is the case for all media, not just video games; for example, rock and pop fans unexperienced with a type of music like rap or metal might find it unapproachable because they don't understand how to listen to it. Familiarity is comfortable; we feel good when we exercise abilities that have already passed beyond the struggle of early development. But every so often you encounter a title that discards your assumptions about how its genre is defined—and what skills it requires.

If you become good at one twin-stick shooter, you've become good at them all. This is certainly not to say that all of these games are the same! On the contrary, they are distinguished by features like combo scoring, life systems, slow-motion and bomb mechanics, enemy behavior, power-ups, play modes, and so on; yet at bottom they are all about staying as far away as possible from whatever you are shooting at. After all, if enemies kill by touch while your weapon has unlimited range, then distance is advantage.

That's why WE ARE DOOMED stands out from other twin-sticks; it takes away your advantage. A few very simple design elements work together to create an intimate, risky arcade game whose danger must always be managed from a close range. The weapon here is a short laser beam rather than the typical stream of bullets extending across the entire arena. Obviously, the inability to kill things from a comfortable distance changes the fundamental dynamic of a game like this, but what's really clever about the laser's range is the way in which the game keeps you on the offensive.

See, you might think that you could overcome the range problem by establishing a safe corner for yourself and playing a defensive game, perhaps poking out now and then to gradually expand your territory. Well, nice try, but threats spawn more quickly than you can possibly eliminate them, even if you destroy enemies with perfect efficiency. There is only one recourse: the Superbeam, an ability which extends your laser and cuts through enemies instantaneously. WE ARE DOOMED revolves entirely around management of the Superbeam; without periodically making use of its screen-clearing range and power, the player will doubtless be overwhelmed. The game's rhythm, then, emerges from the claustrophobia of high-density enemy build-up and the climactic relief of a nick-of-time Superbeam activation that effectively resets the board.

But the trouble is that the Superbeam is charged by picking up cubes called trinkets, and these depreciate over time and eventually disappear altogether. Therefore, in order to constantly build meter for the Superbeam and ensure long-term survival, the player must adopt bold, aggressive tactics, swimming straight through thick packs of enemies in order to grab trinkets as quickly as possible, and the short range of the basic beam forces you to carve your path on the fly. As a result of this clever synergy, the core experience of WE ARE DOOMED is one of constant, exhilarating tension. No other twin-stick plays quite like it.

Bright, colorful enemy design and retro, chunky effects help to keep the action readable even at its most chaotic while pairing well with the soundtrack's warm, airy synthpop. The sounds of trinkets spawning in and being collected are pleasingly light and musical over the steady thrum of your laser. Actually, the aural mood is surprisingly mellow and relaxing overall despite the splashy visuals. It's a welcome direction that keeps the player focused rather than frantic.

And that's a valuable mindset when the slightest distraction can be fatal. As in other twin-sticks, the entire point here is to push yourself to get better and better runs with higher and higher scores—that may sound repetitious, but the need to get close to enemies prevents the boredom of unthreatening early waves that sometimes haunts similar games. In its elegant new take on the genre, WE ARE DOOMED isn't just a refreshing alternative to other twin-stick arcade shooters—it's a better one.
Achievement Showcase
3,492
Achievements
12
Perfect Games
25%
Avg. Game Completion Rate
internisus Mar 27, 2016 @ 12:54pm 
I figured I should play some games and earn some achievements first!
Godamn_Milkman Mar 26, 2016 @ 11:33pm 
Where is your achivment showcase?
internisus Jan 4, 2016 @ 3:22am 
Thanks a lot! I'm proud of it. 140 is one of my favorite games, too. Just a lovely bit of design, not only as a solid platformer but particularly in the transformative orbs and the way in which the levels' mechanisms create the music. One of those games that I'm really happy exists.
Epilexia Jan 2, 2016 @ 10:03pm 
WOW, I love the unofficial trailer for 140 in your Youtube channel. One of my all-time favorite games, with maybe the best sound design in videogame history, pushing the concept of synesthesia created by Tetsuya Mizoguchi to new levels. And all of this condensed in a perfect two hours experience, without any redundant moments. Every second is sublime. Nice to see that we also share our love for 140 :)
A Victim of Stars Jun 19, 2015 @ 12:10pm 
Yeah, slots on that game went fast .
Hippie Dec 21, 2014 @ 8:52pm 
we just found the plans.