#WeeklyGameMusic: It’s Kill or Be Killed Mix (No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

“No more heroes, it’s kill or be killed” describes No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle pretty darn well in this red hot chili pepper theme music. Indeed, Yoshioka Taku Squad’s remix of Masafumi Takada’s original composition does an excellent job satirizing the excitement of violent medium…when the same actions replicated in real life is so revolting. Much like the music, Suda51’s sequel to a Wii cult classic makes yet another careful observation of violence in media, criticizing their effects to sick minds.

Remember Viewtiful Joe? In that game, Joe was a loser that gets put in a world that makes him awesome. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle takes a different approach: Travis Touchdown is a loser nerd who assassinates people in an otherwise boring world to make himself feel awesome. So no surprise then, when a completely forgettable character in the first game, Travis’ best friend Bishop Shidux, gets killed and have his head delivered through Travis’ window. Utterly shocked, Travis pounces on the assassination top ranking, starting at position 51, on a revenge mission against the top-ranked assassin and Bishop’s murderer.

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is a rare breed of video games called magical realism, where spouts of assassination missions and boss battles are divided by mundane and pixelated day jobs. Day jobs help Travis make money to enter himself to the next ranking mission, while the heart of the game lies in the boss battles. Using his trusty beam katanas, Travis can unleash long combos and occasional special attack in a beat ‘em up control style. Every once in a while, the katanas losses its power, requiring Travis to recharge them by shaking its handle. It’s a subtle symbolism when this happens, as Travis looks like he’s beating off to regain his energy to take on the intense, on-going battle.

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle and its prequel, No More Heroes 2 were originally developed for the Wii. While the prequel has a Playstation 3 port, the sequel does not.

Developer Plays: Suddenly, Thousand

Hey, guys. We’re trying something new here at Omiya Games and Tech Valley Game Space by scheduling events during our live streams. First up with be a Developer Plays (a play on Let’s Plays) Suddenly, Thousand, where we play and comment on our own game. This will be a great opportunity to see what the developer had in mind when creating this game. Streaming will start at Thursday, November 20th, 7:00 PM EST:

http://www.meetup.com/TechValleyGameSpace/events/218785709/

Check it out, and at the end of the stream, let us know what you think!

Watch live video from TechValleyGameSpace on www.twitch.tv

I’m developing daily, live at Twitch.tv!

Want to check out how I’m working? Tech Valley Game Space now has a live stream at Twitch.tv broadcasted between 2:00 pm to 12:00 am daily (except holidays). I’m working with Jamey Stevenson and his team from Spoony Bird to create the best game development office possible. Feel free to follow us, and even chat with the developers in the office!

Watch live video from TechValleyGameSpace on www.twitch.tv

#WeeklyGameMusic: Snowy Valak Mountain / Night (Xenoblade Chronicles)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

A bit late, but this week’s (last week’s?) music plays on Valak Mountain during night in the cult classic Xenoblade Chronicles. ACE+’s composition is simple, calming, almost silent tune that fittingly brings awe to a snowy mountain lit by glowing crystals. It’s one of the many beautiful pieces cleverly placed in the game that can be described as Nintendo’s answer to Skyrim.

In a very unique premise, Xenoblade Chronicles‘s world is actually two massive giants that stands still after a long battle eons ago. In the present, the denizens of one giant, the Hums and Bionis respectively, is defending against the Mechons from the other giant, Mechonis. While the majority of the Hums cuddle at the back of the leg of Bionis for safety, the bookworm Shulk discovers how to utilize the magical sword, Monado. Not only are Mechons weak against the Monado, it also doesn’t physically harm Hums, and even provides the user the power to see the future. Feeling powerful, Shulk and his best friend, Reyn, attempts to defend their colony from a surprise Mechon attack. Naturally, by JRPG logic, this causes their next-door neighbor/girlfriend(?) to die, leaving the two in grief. Thus, the duo to go on a long journey in a revenge mission against the Mechons.

Exploration is the highlight of this real-time action JRPG where taking on over 700 side quests, fighting area-specific enemies, or even just walking up to a check point gives you experience points. In battle mode, standing close to an enemy causes your character to automatically attack them in regular intervals. More important are the magic system: every playable character can use their magic as much as they want, as they don’t have an MP gauge, but every magic suffers from a cooldown where they are rendered unusable. This allows for a surprising amount of magic combos your party can dish out. For example, Reyn uses a lot of defensive and attention-seeking magic that causes the enemies to focus on him, while Shulk has a lot of position-based magic that are more effective on the sides or backs of enemies. Certain status effects, such as stuns, require a certain sequence of moves to be executed as well, requiring one to carefully configure their party for optimal use.

Xenoblade Chronicles was originally developed for the Wii. A port for 3DS is currently in development.

#WeeklyGameMusic: Temple of Rain (Guacamelee!)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

This week’s music, Temple of Rain, is mucho Mexican composition by Rom Di Prisco. It’s a bueno piece that makes you excitado for the majesty that is temple número uno. ¿I mean, what were you expecting, señor luchador? ¡This! ¡is! ¡The pun-filled! ¡Guacamelee!

Guacamelee! is a metroidvania beat ‘em up starring lone farmer Juan Aguacate in a pursuit to save El Presidente’s Daughter (the game reveals her name only after completing it; I’m unfortunately not that bueno). He also gets killed by the skeleton Carlos Calaca within the first cinco minutos. ¡Ay! Fortunately for Juan, he is sent to the parallel universe where the dead lives, and finds a legendario luchador mask that lets him travel between the living and the dead. With his newfound powers, he heads straight towards Carlos’ base to beat him once and for all. But first, he needs to break that Choozo statue. ¡It’s importante!

Unlike the common metroidvania tropes, Juan doesn’t use weapons to fight against enemies. Like a true luchador, he fights with fists and kicks, leading to some surprisingly deep combat system. Each power he gains can be used not only to smack harder on his enemies, but can also increase his combo and reach to higher and/or farther ledges. A huge amount of focus in the game is in teeth-gritting hard platforming and gauntlets, and boy is it satisfying to get through this game’s many challenges. Combined with lots of universe-hopping, genuinely useful dodges, and a grapple & throw move that adds more to both puzzles and combat, and we have a winner.

Guacamelee! was originally developed as a downloadable for Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita. It is also available of Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Wii U, and Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux.