Into the zone


Very few peo­ple are good at some­thing from the get-go. True mas­tery can take hours of prac­tice, ded­i­ca­tion and even some sleep­less nights – and that’s just mag­a­zines. Videogames can be just as de­mand­ing. Plenty are pur­pose­fully de­signed not to of­fer short­cuts to vic­tory: if you want to be the best, its cre­ators say, you’ll earn it by the sweat of your brow. But this month’s clutch of Hype games of­fer a help­ing hand to mo­ti­vate you in your quest for fi­nesse. You catch more flies with honey, af­ter all.

Some­times the al­lowance is a me­chan­i­cal touch, as in slick and silly shooter My Friend Pe­dro (p40). Fresh from work­ing on Lit­tleBigPlanet and

Tear­away, its cre­ator wanted to de­velop his next game for a smaller sub­set of play­ers de­ter­mined to push them­selves to the heights of gory glory. The al­loted bul­let-time in which you learn to ex­e­cute flips, spins and ri­chocet head­shots is, there­fore, gen­er­ous. The same sense of char­ity is in Spin

Rhythm (p46): fol­low­ing a spin of the wheel, sim­ply tap­ping on the beat af­ter­wards sets you on the right colour for the next note, in­stantly mak­ing you feel more like a mas­ter DJ than some­one with only a pass­able sense of rhythm, and inspiring a de­sire to im­prove.

Spelunky 2 (p44) aims to take a more holis­tic ap­proach: now soft­ened some­what by his ex­pe­ri­ence as a fa­ther, Derek Yu plans to es­tab­lish a more nur­tur­ing at­mos­phere in the se­quel to en­cour­age play­ers through strict chal­lenges. It’s Tetris Ef­fect (p36), how­ever, that mar­ries the two. Its Zone me­chanic lets new­com­ers deal with com­plex set­ups with­out pres­sure, while also al­low­ing seasoned pros to pull off some truly mirac­u­lous stunts. All the while, Mizuguchi’s in­fa­mous mas­tery of au­dio­vi­sual el­e­ments syn­chro­nises with your ac­tions, fu­elling a hyp­notic climb to the up­per lim­its of your abil­ity. The re­sult is Tetris, tran­scended – a game full of the beau­ti­ful, as­pi­ra­tional feel­ing that there is in­fi­nite po­ten­tial to be found in the most un­ex­pected places.

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