As any true gamer knows, a game doesn’t have to be embedded on a disc for it to be considered good. Just because a game has a cheaper price tag, shorter length, and lower budget does not mean it is a bad game. To cast these types of digital games aside as cheap counterparts to “actual” games is not only pretentious, but also simply idiotic. Games like Journey and Bastion have shown how digital games can easily compete against the bigger studio games out there, often times holding a deeper or more meaningful experience. With the release of Best of Playstation Network Vol. 1, you are able to play Tokyo Jungle, Sound Shapes, Fat Princess, and When Vikings Attack!, four pretty solid digital games that can keep you occupied for countless hours.
Starting with Tokyo Jungle, it’s hard to place exactly what genre this game fits into. It’s a mix between action, survival, and strategy. The humans have gone extinct and only animals remain. In the Tokyo ruins overgrown with vegetation, the animal kingdom has emerged, honoring the one and only rule: survival of the fittest. The entire premise of the game is to survive. You pick an animal and play their strengths to try and last as long as you can. There are some missions and story for each animal you play as. You need to extend your territory, become stronger (level up), and find a good mate to make sure the next generation is even stronger. This premise remains for each animal, but as you would expect, playing as different animals makes each playthrough feel original. Playing as a deer is incomparable to playing as a lion, and even a dog has a pretty nasty bite when its life is on the line. It’s an interesting concept that will entertain you with its story mode and survival mode.
Sound Shapes is a classic 2D platformer with one very unique twist. Everything you do affects the background music. The game itself has a very simple principle. You are a little record that has to get through puzzles to reach a record player. It wouldn’t be very creative or even that fun if there wasn’t such a heavy focus on the music. Every enemy makes a sound which matches the beat perfectly, and you can even use the music to time enemy patterns to help you navigate the puzzles. There are notes to collect, and each one adds to the music already playing. Collecting more will enrich the soundtrack and really deepens the overall experience, as well. Add in creative level design that can be very challenging, and even a level editor to make your own tracks, and there are a lot of reasons to play this game. If you like puzzle platformers, then this is definitely a game you should check out.
Fat Princess can be defined as a MOBA, but it is recognized because it’s a very clever game that encompasses simple controls to remain user-friendly while also incorporating complex tactical strategies. If that wasn’t enough to be unique, it also looks adorable with its vibrant colors and cute characters that will only shock you more when they start decapitating one another with large splatters of blood staining the ground. There are really only a couple buttons needed to play the game, which is why it can be considered simple with a small learning curve. However, because there are multiple classes to choose from, different strategies to implement, and lots of teamwork needed to win, the game is complex and challenging.
Generally, you have to capture the other team’s Princess, whom they fatten with cake to make her harder to carry, but that isn’t the goal for every mode. Rescue the Princess and Snatch and Grab involve capturing the Princess, while Domination is all about controlling outposts. There is a Team Deathmatch which everybody should know at this points. Then there is Gladiate mode, which is a fighting/survival-type game, and even a surprisingly fun soccer game that is more mini-game than anything else. In most modes, you empower yourself with unique abilities by donning different hats. Each class has its own task, and only by working together will your team win. A worker has an ax to chop trees and gather resources. He is undeniably the weakest fighter, so it’s up to other classes with more fighting prowess to protect him as he upgrades the classes or makes a catapult to launch into the enemy’s castle. Do you get a bunch of strong warriors and storm the enemy’s gates or build ladders to climb over their walls? Better bring a healer with you to keep your advancing army healthy. There are multiple routes to take to achieve your goal. There is local and online play to really give this game an extra edge on top of the already fun gameplay.
The last game in this collection is When Vikings Attack! It is a side-scrolling beat ‘em up, but instead of punching or kicking, you throw objects around. You play as citizens defending yourselves from Vikings that are doing what Vikings do best: causing mayhem. You pick up objects to throw, and the more people you have in a group, the larger the objects you can throw. It is very reminiscent of an arcade-style game; it isn’t so much about advancing through each level, but more about getting the high score on those levels. Hitting a lot of Vikings in one throw or throwing from across the map will give you more points. The game is fun, but it is repetitive, so it can become tiresome rather quickly. That is playing alone, of course, because when you play with friends, the game feels completely different and is an absolute riot to experience. So it is highly suggested you do just that.
The best part about a collection like this is how different all the games are. Normally, a collection brings together a series or many similar games like the Worms Collection, which can cause the overall bundle to be pointless in some regards. When the games are so similar the collection can be unnecessary or get repetitive among the games included. With the PSN Vol. 1 Collection this doesn’t happen. The games are vastly different, because each one has its own allure to keep you entertained. The price is currently at 40 USD, which is a deal if you don’t already own any of the games. Sadly, if you do own one or two, then for obvious reasons, this collection may not be worth it for you. To those that have never played any of these games, it might not be a bad idea to add this collection to your library.
This review is based on a retail copy of Best of PlayStation Network Vol 1 published by Sony Entertainment. New Gamer Nation did receive a review copy.
- Four Good Games
- No New Content