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Brianbusters: Best Puzzle and Adventure Games

Two genres of games that seem to go hand in hand that I feel get the short end of the stick in gaming are the puzzle and adventure game genres.  Both get slammed with that damning label ‘casual‘ and tend to get noses thumbed at them by serious ‘hardcore‘ gamers, who don’t consider them real games (I have a whole rant on that coming up in a future post).  Well, phooey to that, great puzzle and adventure games are damn hardcore challenging your mental prowess both logical and outside the box (in the case of some adventure games, really outside the box).  And phooey to those who say video games will rot your brain.  Many puzzle and adventure games will make your brain work so hard you risk the chance of it reproducing that head explosion scene in Scanners.  While both genres of games share the idea of pushing your brain to the max, adventure games often tend to focus more on delivery of a great narrative and often feature puzzles that aren’t as mind bending as their sisters, whereas puzzle games are more cut and dry, but do offer some cool ‘stories’ sometimes too.

Here is my list of the top 5 of each genre.  I’m only including games I’ve actually played, so I’m sure I’ve missed some gems.  Sooo, if you know of a great puzzle or adventure game shout it out in the comments, I’m always on the hunt for great games to play.  Coming up next time on Brainbusters, Strategy Games: Top 5 Real Time and Turn-Based.  Enjoy!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

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Game Review: FEZ

”  Reality is perception.  Perception is subjective.”

If you were to take a quick glance at FEZ you would see a cute little retro style 2D platform game where you run around and collect stuff.  If you were to play around with the demo you will discover a neat little gameplay mechanic where you rotate a 3D world and explore on a 2D plane.  If you were to start actually digging into the game you’ll find clever environment puzzles you need to use the mechanic for to collect your items and treasure.  If you make a bit of progress you will find some of the most challenging and unique puzzles ever crafted in a video game.  If you start to dig further into the game your mind will start melting.  If you make it to the end of your first playthrough you will be questioning reality and the meaning of life.

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Full Album Streams: Bloodrayne: Betrayal Official Score by Jake Kaufman and FEZ by Disasterpeace

I’m sure you have all noticed that we love our video games in these parts.  For me, a huge thing that really defines a game is how well it utilizes music to create a certain atmosphere which enhances the play of the game.  Just imagine if you took away the whimsical music from the Mario Bros. games.  The Mushroom Kingdom just would feel all that magical.  Here you will find two game scores from two modern indie games, both have very excellent scores that add so much to their respective games, it would almost be impossible to imagine playing them without any other music rolling in the background.

The first is the score for Bloodrayne: Betrayal by Jake Kaufman.  This Gothic power metal score rounds out the hyper-stylized look of the game and also compliments the games insane speed of side-scrolling action.  The speedier metal parts play when you are in battle slicing enemies up with your glaive, sucking their blood, and turning foes into mobile bombs to detonate on large groups of enemies.  There are also fast paced escape sequences that the music also enhances making the task at hand feel more urgent.  The more mellow Gothic piano parts work wonderfully for fleshing out the dark Gothic architecture of stages and really setting the tone for when the action is at a slow down.  On its own the score holds its weight being a fun and rocking listen.  Check it out, and if you are a fan of fast paced, insanely difficult side-scrollers, give Bloodrayne: Betrayal a shot.  Reviews online are mixed, some damning the game for being overly difficult, others praising it for being unwilling to compromise itself and it’s amazing hand drawn sprite based graphics.  Me, I loved it, and while challenging, it wasn’t that bad.  Contra and Mega Man are still much tougher games.

And FEZ, oh FEZ.  Where do I begin at how amazing this game is.  Well since I’m still cracking away at the games mind twisting platforming and cryptography puzzles I’ll start at the music.  No, this score is not metal in the slightest, but it’s still really damn good, and any opportunity I can take to talk about this mind melting game I’ll jump on.  FEZ is a game bereft of conflict, it just want’s you to relax and take your time exploring the colorful 8-bit retro world discovering treasure chests and solving some of the most clever puzzles I’ve seen in a game to date.  The game is all about relaxation and thinking in a relaxed state of mind, and along with the gorgeous visuals the music really helps achieve that goal.  If it weren’t for the soothing chip tune music, my Xbox may have been out the window as I worked out solutions to some of the games trickier puzzles (and some I’m working on now are really damn tricky, when was the last time you pulled out a pen and paper to play a game 😉 ).  This score works delightfully both in-game and out providing some great ambient music whenever you may need to just chill out.  Check it out, and if you are a fan of puzzle games and platformers you need to get FEZ now.  I’ll hold back go on how great this game is for when the eventual review comes, but I’ll just say, that it may quite possibly be my top game of the year.  “Reality is perception.  Perception is subjective”.

Bloodrayne: Betrayal Score

FEZ Score

Trailers for both games can be found after the jump.

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