Whatever happened to the tower defence genre?
It is not remotely surprising to me that Mini Motorways was immediately snapped up by Apple for a couple of years’ exclusivity on Apple Arcade. The game is an extraordinary aesthetic achievement — a perfect blend of rounded edges, pastel colours, minimalist interface and intuitive touch-centric controls that seems to have been laser-targeted at Apple’s UX designers with the intention of sending them into paroxysms of orgasmic joy. I have no doubt that when an iOS developer goes to sleep at night, they dream of things that look very much like Mini Motorways — and not without good reason, either, since Mini Motorways is in many ways the Holy Grail of UX design. I have worked in several organisations that would kill to be able to express the core purpose of their product as simply and as naturally as Mini Motorways does. It’s a pleasure to look at, a pleasure to interact with, and a pleasure to play.
For the first hour or so, anyway.
It’s taken me the better part of a year to get around to Desperados 3. This may seem a little odd given how much I liked Shadow Tactics, the previous game from Desperados 3 developers Mimimi; however, there’s a few reasons for that, first and foremost of which is that, historically, I haven’t liked Westerns as a setting for videogames. I’ve played a few across a range of different genres — Red Dead Redemption, Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger and Hard West are the ones which immediately spring to mind — none of which struck me as being particularly bad, but none of which I managed to stick with for more than a few hours. This is strange because I am quite a big fan of movie Westerns, particularly anything from Sergio Leone, but I can never take them seriously when they’re transplanted into a videogame; matching the mechanics to the setting is always a sufficiently contrived process that I end up feeling like I’m wandering around inside a knockoff version of Westworld and quit shortly afterwards.
This is why I never took the time to go back and play the original Desperados games, and it’s a big part of why I’ve dragged my feet on installing Desperados 31 until now. I’m glad I did though, because now that I’ve finished it I’ve realised two things:
Well, this is embarrassing. I told myself I wasn’t going to buy another Call Of Duty after they switched back to doing their oh-so-tedious contemporary settings, but with the werewolves and the giant castle this newest one at least looked a bit diff – wait, what? This is a Resident Evil game?