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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Sony Online Entertainment
Developed By: Play Brains / Fuel Industries
Genre: Platformer
Players: 1, Local Co-op
Rated: E10+ (Mild Language, Fantasy Violence, Crude Humor, Tobacco Reference)
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Screenshots: Link
Price: $9.99
Written By: Matthew Prunty

February 23, 2012 - Platformers were once the bread and butter of the videogame industry. Titles starring famous characters like Sly Cooper, Crash Bandicoot, Mario & Luigi, and Mega Man were everywhere and everyone just couldn’t wait for the next “big thing” to make its debut. With the release of the PS2/GameCube/Xbox era, first-person shooters became increasing popular; which is now the driving force of the industry in our current generation. While we still play the likes of Mario and LittleBigPlanet; outside of the big players, very few platformers are being seen, experienced and enjoyed. Developers Play Brains and Fuel Industries looks to take players on a journey… a journey into the heart of platformers and why they are a magical experience to behold.

Sideway: New York puts you in the role of Nox, a Ney York City graffiti artist who has a passion for brightening up areas with his unique brand of artwork in the five boroughs. Everything was as usual until the day Nox decided to tag over another tag from an artist by the name of Spray. This doesn’t sit too well with Spray, who decides to take action against Nox. Instead of having a tagging battle like normal people, Spray decides to use his “special abilities” to pull Nox into the 2D world from which their artwork thrives. Spray in-turn looks to become part of the living, breathing, 3D world that we all love and enjoy. So it’s up to Nox to stop Spray and his minions, save his girlfriend and return to the 3D world in time for another tagging session.

Sideway: New York is all about point of view, which is always changing and you traverse your environments. All of your actions take place within the 2D plane along the walls and rooftops of various buildings. Just when you think you have reached a dead it, simply climbing the wall or turning the corner keeps the action free-flowing and ongoing. Once you understand this and are able to manipulate your surroundings, getting from point A to point B is a matter of which direction you take. Each level has varying paths to explore, which can result in finding hidden items and even coming up against enemies that want to do you harm.

Sideway’s gameplay can easily be enjoyable, yet very frustrating at times. There are moments where you only have to worry about jumping over some spiky vines and avoiding one or two enemies; then there are moments where it’s an all out battle just to survive. Thankfully the game is never too intense, forcing you to give up your quest due to an inability to come out the victor. Combat is fluid and fast paced at times with Nox having a myriad of abilities at his disposal; many of which can be upgraded. What’s also interesting about the combat is that you will always find yourself using all of your abilities in order to get the job done. There won’t be one level where you won’t have to worry about jumping, sliding, lobbing gobs of paint or even slowing ones descent by sliding along the wall.

The biggest takeaway from Sideway: New York is its visual presentation. No matter what level you are on, each is unique and offers a distinct visual flair that’s pleasing to see in a platformer. The in-game camera provides interesting angles, presenting the levels in a way to help direct the flow of traffic. Character animations, especially those of Nox, are nicely fleshed out. Going hand-and-hand with the visuals is the engrossing soundtrack. The use of hip-hop music helps set the tone of the game, while at the same time giving the player something to jam to. The soundtrack can get a bit repetitive at times; however not too jarring.

Sideway: Ney York is a downloadable title that can easily be beaten within 5 hours. While that may seem short to many, it’s the replayability which makes the adventure well worth the price of admission. There are about a dozen levels and a handful of boss battles throughout the game. Depending on your style of play and your need to find everything within the game, you can easily spend an additional 10-15 hours finding all the spray cans and other harder-to0find collectibles scattered throughout the game. While there is no multiplayer to speak of, there are leaderboards which allow you to upload your score from the various levels and overall in order to see if you can best your friends and the rest of the world.

Borrowing inspiration from the past titles, Sideway New York was able to carve out its own path within the realm of the platformer. While this title can easily be looked over by many, it’s one of those gems that make you take a step back to enjoy the simplicity of gaming. Whether or not this title will spawn sequels or prequels in the future is up to the powers that be. Hopefully someone other than me can find solace in knowing that the platformer genre has some fresh blood coming up in the ranks.


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