The time was E3 2011, where Nintendo were showing off the Wii U for the first time. Among the games revealed was something under the name of LEGO City Stories. Awesome, I thought. A LEGO game based on something original using the familiar template of the well-regarded TT formula. I’d already enjoyed the delights of the Star Wars and Harry Potter games, so something original without the restrictions of the licences would make for an entertaining game.
Then in 2012, the game had seen a rename to City Undercover, and more was known about it. Soon after, Batman 2: DC Super Heroes released, giving me a taste of the additions and improvements that would be within the Nintendo exclusive game. A true open world experience full of secrets to discover and unlock with the right powers, along with the standard levels that every TT LEGO game includes to push the story along.
With a release set for 2013 for City Undercover, it wouldn’t be until Christmas where I’d get to experience it – and the Wii U – for myself. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more, full of the typical LEGO humour and bursting with references to plenty of characters and scenarios from various films. But that story wasn’t just an excuse to jump between funny bits, as the plot had a clear narrative and knew exactly how it wanted to get there.
The F1 series is designed to be a technical simulation racer. Its very core is to appeal to fans of a certain type of racing. But what if you wanted to attract a different type of gamer to the series? Ones who are put off by the technical aspect? Codemasters recently saw to that in F1 2020 with the casual mode, but almost a decade ago they went beyond expectation with a new type of F1 game. A kart racer.
It might have been an odd combination, but it worked. And it worked because it was different. The items are still here in full force, and while they might not fully draw from the F1 theming (I guess the bubbles come from the champagne?), they still provide plenty of chaos on the track. Gone is the drifting, however, which brings a greater need to use the brakes.
But also, there’s the KERS system. On certain corners of the tracks, there’ll be striped blue and while panels on the ground, which will accumulate a boost level of up to three upon hitting the accelerator that number of times. Then once you hit the end of the panel, the stored boost will be unleashed. Some are placed near shortcuts, so if you can get the highest boost level, and get the positioning right, it’s possible to use those shortcuts without a boost item.
Frontier Developments has always been a favourite of mine, even before I truly followed video games. It was a name I would recognise whenever I saw it, with Rollercoaster Tycoon, the Wallace and Gromit games (Project Zoo and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit), and even LostWinds.
Later games such as Elite: Dangerous, Planet Coaster, and recently released Planet Zoo have catapulted their popularity, but there’s one game that I’ve always had a soft spot for.
During my porting of content to the archive, I came across a post that was similar to a review, but I felt couldn't really be classified as such. I decided to make a new classification in which to fit it, but since I was planning on starting a new series for more informal reviews anyway, this gives me a great time to start Moonlit Critbit.
This series is where I’ll be giving an informal look at games, films, and TV that aren’t part of any other series, such as A Look Inside the Morphing Grid covering Power Rangers.
One of the previous posts I now tag as a Moonlit Critbit is The Series of Ice Age – where I looked at the characterisation in the first two and how it works in the story. While the third and fourth were covered in that post, they weren’t as in-depth as the first two.