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stories by Brandon Williams

Review: Shovel Knight – An indie love letter to retro platformers

Shovel Knight is an indie 2D platformer from Yacht Club Games for the 3DS, WiiU, and PC. This marks the developers first release. The game uses 8-bit graphics, and the gameplay is a throwback to old-school NES platformers like Mega Man, Ducktales, Super Mario Bros. 3 and Castlevania. The soundtrack reflects that same sentiment with a robust lineup of chiptune beats. Difficulty steals the show however, proving itself to be every bit as punishingly hard as the games it homages. There are one-hit kill spikes, pitfalls, and enemies created for the sole purpose of making you set the controller down and count to 10. Anyone with a low tolerance for losing should turn back now. This is going to be a rough ride folks, but if you stick with it the feeling of accomplishment is worth it.

Watch_Dogs: 5 Invasion Tips

Watch Dogs is primarily a single-player game, but it also features an online invasion aspect. While you can disable invasions with a setting, I personally I think they add to the game and increase immersion since the story is about hackers chasing each other around most of the time. Someone could strike any time, but so could you. If you’ve ever played the Assassin’s Creed multiplayer modes, this should feel somewhat familiar. You need to quickly blend into your surroundings while accomplishing a goal (in this case, tailing or hacking a player without getting spotted/killed). Assassin’s Creed is much more action oriented due to having multiple players and a focus on killing your enemies whereas Watch_Dogs is all about the one-on-one, cat-and-mouse chase. This makes things much harder since your enemy is now only looking for one target, and you don’t have some of the tricks available to you in Assassin’s Creed like blending into crowds, smoke bombs, or the like. However you do have a few options and there are several things that can instantly give Fixers away. The main game types are Tailing and Hacking. Tailing requires you to keep in visual contact with a Fixer while remaining undetected, the target can try to escape or move out of range and you’ll have to follow carefully. Hacking requires you to stay in the same area while the Fixer tries to find you before the hack is complete, forcing you to find a good vantage point or confuse your target. It should be noted that if you haven’t been spotted yet and your target is highly suspicious you can quit the mission at no loss of reputation. If someone took off on a motorcycle and is 1000m away, you can quit and find a new target. However if you profile or get profiled and then try to leave, you’ll be penalized.