I can talk at length about a game I like. But when asked whether I’d recommend a game, suddenly it’s 100% trickier. A recommendation has to take into account the recommendee, which is exactly twice as many people to manage as when I normally talk about a game. But then there is the occasional game I would recommend without hesitation. Bastion is one such game. There is no man, woman, or child* to whom I wouldn’t recommend Bastion, which is available this week on Xbox Live. Just consider your Microsoft spacebucks account 1200 points poorer.
I had hoped Battlegoat’s Supreme Ruler: Cold War would be a more manageable and theme-driven version of their overbusy Supreme Ruler 2010 games. Based on booting it up and messing around a bit with the tutorial, and then accidentally escalating the world to Defcon 1, I don’t think any such thing has happened. I don’t know who plays these things, but they’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.
Runespell: Overture is a card-based trifle with a mess of fantasy RPG connective tissue, but it’s an engaging trifle. The combination of poker and solitaire — How come no one thought of this before? — has a surprising amount of depth. It’s out on Steam this week.
Also out this week is Call of Juarez: The Cartel, which takes Techland’s cowboy games and brings them into modern times. I haven’t played it, but Techland did some nice things with the previous Calls of Juarez. More importantly, playing Techland’s Dead Island at E3 was a revelation that these guys seem to have moved on from just doing fancy graphics engines to actually doing good game design. Maybe we’ll see some of that in The Cartel.
Finally, some licensed Smurfs game and Captain America game (pictured) are coming out this week. I would make a crack about not being able to care less about both things, but I actually kind of like playing Captain America in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. He’s the no-frills idiot-proof character anyone can play to learn the basics. Also, I liked Ryan Reynolds in Buried, so I’m happy to see him playing a famous superhero in the Captain America movie. It’s clobberin’ time!
* Kudos to developer Supergiant for not scrapping their innocuous enough liquor references and smoking pipe. Technically speaking, the E10+ rated Bastion features underage drinking and smoking!