The beauty of having a week off of work: It feels like you have all of the time in the world.

As a kid, you don’t realize how much time you have and how lucky you are to have that time. It’s not till you get older and start working, going to school, having a family, etc, that you realize how much free time you had to game.

With that said, I was fortunate enough to have this past week off and this is what I played:

 

Zeno Clash

This game is as disturbed and screwed up as you’ve heard about. Wait…I called it a game? Scratch that. It’s a world…it’s an experience. I rarely use the word “experience” to describe game. To me, it’s the highest honor. Bioshock was an experience. Portal was an experience. Zeno Clash was an experience. While Zeno Clash isn’t quite as tight as the other two aforementioned “experiences” it is amazing nonetheless.

The world feels real. As screwed up as it is, it feels like it exists somewhere. In just a four hour game they packed in mountains of lore just off of a short main story, a few side stories, and some of the most beautiful art direction I’ve ever seen in a game.

It almost feels like a dark or weird fantasy movie from the 80’s like “The Neverending Story” or Jim Henson’s “Dark Crystal”. This game proves that it’s much more about art direction than engine power.

Along with the setting the story is awesome. I mean, I HAD to know what Father-Mother did. I had to. And like any well-constructed story, you don’t find out the truth until the very, very end.

My only real gripe about the game was that because I loved the world so much, I felt bummed out that I couldn’t explore it more. I wanted to open doors, search every house in the village; explore every hill, nook and cranny. But I guess this is a testament to how much the world enthralled me than it is a knock on the game itself.

Mad World

This game is flat out cool. “Cool” is the best way to describe it. The graphics are sweet. The kills are sick. The announcers are funnier than most stand-up comedians. And the character “Black Baron” is the best new character in a video game this year, even though his role is limited in Mad World.

There are very few experiences like this out there. While the Wii has been a disappointment to me, this is one of those games that seem to justify my purchase of the Wii.

My favorite line from Madworld? It came from the announcers and it goes a little something like this:

Announcer 1 “Looks like Jack got an extra life.”

Announcer 2 “You know I had an extra life once. I came back as a cock roach. Did you know that cock roaches could live a week without their heads?”

Announcer 1 “Big deal. I’ve been married 8 years without any head.”

Plants vs. Zombies

I saved the best for last. What? Am I serious? Plants vs. Zombies beat out Madworld and Zeno Clash? Not only was it by far my favorite game to play this past week, I was absolutely addicted to it.

The game is the classic example of being simple and highly complicated at the same time.

Simple: Don’t let the Zombies cross the yard and eat your brains.

Complicated: We’re going to throw at you a million plant types and a million zombie types.

The game play is classic, but original. It has a real personality and sense of humor to it. And the strategy is deep and complex. For the life of me, I could not get past the “Hard” extra stages you unlock after you beat the game until I forced myself to improve and change my strategy.

This, my friends, is the best $10 you will spend all year.

So my vacation is over. I now need to go back to my real life and responsibilities. By while I was away, I thoroughly enjoyed the captivating world and experience of Zeno Clash, the LOLROFLLMAO moments of Madworld, and the deep, addicting strategy and personality of Plants vs. Zombies. I promise you that each of these games is worth your time and money.

Do yourself a favor and experience them.