E3 07: Sony Booth Tour

Posted by: Chuck at 7/14/2007 4:12 PM
Sony’s PlayStation Network is slowing but steadily creeping up on Xbox Live Arcade. Well that’s not really true as Sony has struggled to get new content up on the service on a regular basis but they are starting to turn things around (remember it took Microsoft almost a year before they got the weekly content release cycle down).  The first stop at Sony’s “booth” tour this morning was two upcoming PSN titles.

The first game was Pixel Junk Racers, a new slot racing game from Q Games. This game is the first game in the Pixel Junk series. Racers is a slot racing game and the controls are very easy to pick up. You move left or right with the D-pad and then press R2 to accelerate. It sounds simple but there are several different game modes. Besides the standard racing mode there is a fireball mode where you have to pass other cars on the track to build speed, once you pass enough cars your car turns into a fireball and you get to blow through all the other cars on the track. You keep this until you stop passing cars. The second mode was kind of the opposite where the NPC cars on the track build up speed behind you and you have to avoid getting hit. The games are pretty simple to pick up and since the game supports up to seven players I think there’s a lot of fun to bed had if the games can deliver.

Everyday Shooter was a game that I had heard about but had never really seen anything on. The game won several indie game awards at GDC and after playing the game I know why.  The best way to describe the game is if you blended Rez, Geometry Wars, and a John Meyer CD together. At it’s core the game is a straight up shooter like Geometry wars but what’s different is that the music and audio in the game changes to match what you are doing on screen.   The guitar music in the game is pretty mellow but does change to reflect what is happening on screen. The object of the game is to survive the waves on attackers, who leave little white dots when they die. Each Dot is worth one point. The trick is to hit certain enemies that generate chain reactions as they can score you a lot of points at once. I was reminded a lot of playing fL0w but with faster paced action and a bit more challenge.

Ratchet and Clank:Tools of Destruction was up next and although we had played some of the demo level at the Sony press conference it was nice to get a chance to finish playing the rest of the demo level (which should be up on PSN before the game ships later this year). The demo level has you trying to escape the city of Metropolis as it is being destroyed by alien invaders. What’s amazing about the game is the size and scope of the action going on around you. There’s a real sense of scale of the game and you really feel like you’re fighting your way through a futuristic city. There are a couple of really cool scenes where you are sliding down a rail as a large building explodes behind you. The game really looks next gen and I think people are going to be really impressed with the game when it finally comes out later this year.

LittleBigPlanet was a game that won a lot of praise at GDC this year and after playing it a bit I can see why. It’s a hard game to explain because it’s part puzzle game, part puzzle creation with a touch of humor. Sony finally unveiled the creator mode which allows you to create and share you own puzzles.  Besides playing with the textures you can actually build items in the game that move. One of the cool things I saw was that you could build a tank by gluing a few shapes together and then bolting on thread spools for the wheels. The game isn’t exactly easy to “get” but I think once people play with it and the cool little puzzles they’ll be sold on the concept. I also think Sony is going to make a mint off of additional texture and items for the game, I just hope they are priced right.