Akermans Arcade Asylum A Touch of the Obscure

April 12, 2010

Akerman’s Arcade Asylum – A
Touch of the Obscure


By Nick
Akerman

There is an old friend here, but
several titles that are also flying under the radar

This must be the
most obscure column I’ve ever written. Apart from the return of an old friend in
Mega Man, appearances are made from mammal unicyclists, gnarly wakeboarders,
robotic bouncing balls and we take a potato-dodging journey through the sky. To
top it all off, we’ll even stop off at the nearest hospital to witness an
extreme birth technique. Intrigued? You should be, as this week’s column
provides enough obscurity to make Lady Gaga feel overwhelmed.


 

Mega Man 10
(Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and WiiWare)

Based on the
8-bit formula of the original games, Mega Man 10 has been introduced with a
number of goals in mind. Veterans of the series will enjoy the familiar feeling
of overcoming threats with routine efficiency, but alas, new players can
approach the series like never before. This incarnation includes the much
anticipated Easy Mode, a factor that has been missing for far too long in the
Mega Man series.

For those who’ve
avoided Mega Man’s outings like robotic influenza, there’s a decent game to play
through here. Of course, it’s that futuristic flu that’s causing all the
trouble, as robot companions fail to compute, and eventually turn the world into
a war zone. Whether there’s enough original ideas here to keep purists happy is
another question, as the game isn’t overly long, and fails to add anything new
to proceedings. Still, with tight gameplay and a nostalgic retro feel, it’s
great to see Mega Man strolling across our screens again.

Old Spice
Racers (Xbox Live Indie Games)

Unicycle fans
unite: there’s finally a game featuring your single-wheeled brethren. Sure, it’s
a cartoon, completely bizarre and oddly repetitive, but these things work in Old
Spice Racers’
favor. You’ll sprint across colorful pipes as bears, old
men and a host of other strange creatures, with a single objective in mind. This
may be reaching the finish as fast as possible, trying to overcome sticky sludge
that locks your wheel, or it may be trying to ramp up a high score on an
outlandish half-pipe.

Whatever the challenge, Old Spice
Racers keeps you on your toes. Memorizing a track is the best way to produce a
competitive time, as there are various sections that force you to change your
momentum. Needless to say, heading towards a giant loop is going to take perfect
judgment and skill in order for you to make it out in one piece. This is
definitely worth a shot if you’re looking for some softcore Trials HD action.

Wakeboarding
HD (PlayStation Network)

If there’s
anything addictive about Wakeboarding HD, it’s not the gentle waves, vibrant
visuals or intense challenge, it’s the leaping over giant rubber ducks. It seems
that attaching yourself to the end of a boat is a linear and predictable
experience, so you’re going to have to make the most of what you’ve got to play
with.

This title urges
you to crash through wooden boats, surf across and through roofs, and even
traverse deadly minefields as often as possible. You’re set a number of
objectives for every circuit, and must complete enough of them to progress to
the next level. It’s decent fun, but the entire game feels predictable, as you
take the same route every single time. All you can do is swing from side-to-side
and hope you rack up enough points to progress. And when bailing out is so easy,
frustration creeps in on a game that could have been so much more. It’s
well-produced, but carved out with the prowess of an armless sculptor.

Blazin’ Balls
(Xbox Live Indie Games)

A simple title,
Blazin’ Balls provides a robotic Super Monkey Ball experience. There’s a lot
less thrills, and the dousing of
color is nowhere to
be seen, but this title is certainly worth a shot.

You must guide
your ball across a pit-filled maze, and collect as many coins as possible. It
really is as simple as that. Various stages induce a level-changing effect to
mix things up, but for the most part, Blazin’ Balls is all about precision and
forward-thinking. Are you going to reach that coin without landing in the
bottomless hole, or is it best to stay clear? There’s enough risk and reward
here to make things exciting, as this title does its best to knock you off your
stride with inverting tracks, changes in speeds and endless amounts of jumps.
Another indie game to add to the futuristic pile that’s built up over recent
months.

Baby Maker
Extreme (Xbox Live Indie Games)

Last time on AAA
we featured Avatar Cannon, a title that tasked players with launching their
online presence across numerous animals and as far through the desert as
possible. This week, things get a little weirder. In Baby Maker Extreme you’re
first tasked with delivering a human child (or your avatar) by following QTE’s,
a process that allows you to build up power ready for launch. Simple, if a
little unsettling.

The real fun
comes from the birth itself. This is no ordinary child, as you fire out your
mother’s legs and across the hospital, ready overcome any obstacles that may lay
ahead. You’ve got the ability to boost your flight or to dive down onto momentum
giving machines, in this humorous take on the popular formula. For the love of
god, please nobody ask the expectant mother if she can do the ping pong ball
trick- we expect she could shot putt for Russia with that delivery.

Super Avatar
(Xbox Live Indie Games)

It was promised
at the start of the column, and here it is. Travelling through the sky at
immense speed, this is a simple QTE based challenge to dodge incoming obstacles.
Of course, these obstacles can be mashed up and placed alongside a roast dinner,
as potatoes are your main enemy here.

There’s not much
to it, despite deserving a mention for being the only game we can think of that
pits you against vegetable based explosives. Not exactly time consuming or worth
your cash, but the free trial provides enough insight for you to understand that
the avatar-based game is well and truly getting more surreal by the week.

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Thanks for tuning
into Akerman’s Arcade Asylum. Check back soon for more delicious downloadable
content.