Spirits : Un voyage onirique

Rarement un jeu m’aura autant enchanté. C’est même tellement rare que je préfère en parler succinctement pour attiser votre envie de le découvrir !

Contrairement à la plupart des jeux que j’ai précédemment testés dans cette chronique, Spirits n’utilise pas l’esthétique sobre d’un flat design. D’ailleurs, je m’interroge sur la légitimité du terme « jeu vidéo » au sujet de Spirits. A mon sens, il fait partie de ces jeux qui offrent une expérience absolument unique. Pour peu que l’on soit séduit par l’univers, il se transforme en un véritable voyage onirique.

Ceux qui ont eu la chance d’essayer Limbo, Ico ou encore MIND : Path to Thalamus sauront de quoi je parle. Il ne s’agit pas tellement de jouer que de se laisser entraîner dans un univers fabuleux.

Spirits vous convie à un voyage enfantin et poétique

Les esprits que vous contrôlez, particulièrement fragiles et assez lents, mettent en relief le caractère naïf et éphémère qui a guidé la direction artistique du jeu. Nous y retrouvons de nombreux éléments rappelant notamment l’œuvre cinématographique de Miyazaki : la nature, ses dangers, son ésotérisme, la fragilité de son écosystème…

Entre couchers de soleil, branches et arbres en contre-jour, les effets de lumières sont particulièrement bien représentés. J’ai vraiment ressenti le travail poussé sur ces effets, le décor étant d’un gris sombre, l’arrière-plan utilisant généralement des couleurs chatoyantes (le rouge orangé du crépuscule) permettant de faire ressortir les esprits lumineux du reste de la composition.

Probablement dessinés à la main, les décors sont particulièrement réussis et sont, à mon sens, d’autant plus poétiques que la musique apaisante qui les accompagne les sublime.

Jeux mobile Android et Steam Spirits

Un gameplay rudimentaire mais efficace

Dans un décor de forêt en période automnale, de petits êtres d’un blanc laiteux à l’allure de champignons émergent des feuilles mortes. Dans le calme de la forêt, ces esprits luminescents peuvent se transformer pour modifier le terrain afin de permettre à leurs confrères de poursuivre leur avancée.

Voilà donc le but de ce jeu d’énigme : guider les esprits des feuilles mortes à travers les puzzles bloquant leur chemin. Quand vous sélectionnez l’un des esprits, le jeu se met en pause pour vous permettre d’étudier l’environnement et de choisir la meilleure action à effectuer. Vous pourrez ainsi demander à l’esprit de se métamorphoser pour modifier l’environnement : en créant un souffle dans une certaine direction pour sauter au-dessus d’un trou, en creusant un chemin dans la terre ou encore en créant un pont…

Rien d’exceptionnel dans le gameplay, mais sa relaxante simplicité opère et sublime l’ambiance générée par le style artistique.

Spirits jeu Android Steam

En conclusion

Sans rentrer dans la catégorie des expériences vidéoludiques qui m’ont le plus émerveillé, comme un Limbo ou un MIND précédemment cités, je ressens quelque chose de particulier pour Spirit. La poésie délicate et douce de son univers me rappelle qu’un bon jeu tient avant tout aux émotions qu’il parvient à susciter. C’est du moins ma vision de l’univers vidéoludique.

Malgré un gameplay sobre, voire sommaire, l’esthétique du jeu si particulière (qui ne plaira pas forcément à tout le monde) est pour moi source de grande inspiration. Je trouve le titre parfaitement réussi dans son style graphique et la composition sonore accompagne et complète idéalement l’expérience proposée par Spirit.

Décor Spirits

Les chiffres clés de Pokémon Go en France

Pokémon Go sur l’hexagone

Déjà plus de 75 millions de téléchargements dans le monde…

Alors, que se passe-t-il en France pour l’appli de réalité augmentée qui fait le buzz et que l’on surnomme déjà la madeleine de Proust digitale?

Le sondage Ifop, réalisé pour Metronews auprès d’un échantillon représentatif de 1051 individus âgés de 15 ans et plus, nous permet d’en apprendre davantage :

Pokémon Go en France

Qui sont les chasseurs de Pokémons?

Quelques infos clés à retenir sur le profil des dresseurs de Pokémons français:

  • Des joueurs urbains: 28% des joueurs résident dans la capitale;
  • Plus de dresseuses que de chasseurs: 59% des joueurs sont des françaises;
  • Un profil d’habitués: 35% des dresseurs actuels connaissent le jeu Pokémon depuis les années 2000.

Une application connue de tous

Un engouement et un succès fulgurants qui se traduisent clairement dans les chiffres:

  • 87% des français déclarent avoir déjà entendu parler du jeu;
  • 12% affirment avoir déjà testé Pokémon Go;
  • 68% de la population porte un regard positif sur l’appli en considérant qu’elle offre l’occasion de sortir, de découvrir des nouveaux lieux et de rencontrer d’autres joueurs.

Binary Rush : fight on 2 battlefields at once!

Split your brain and focus

Behind this dubious name hide an exciting gameplay, a pretty cool design and all in one, a great game! Come on, you know I won’t write about a lame one; I want you to discover new mobile game that are at least good enough to enjoy the everyday bus trip. This one, I hope, will keep a very special place in your phone, as it did in mine 😉

Original gameplay

As far as I know, Binary Rush is the only game of this kind. The goal is simple, a common denominator in good mobile game: scoring. So far, nothing incredible. Nevertheless, the concept gets tricky when you discover you have to play on two battlefields at a time! Indeed, you control what we’ll call hockey pucks (and it obvisously is), moving from the bottom to the top of the screen. All you have to do is to pat the screen when an obstacle appear on your way. you can’t control where you go, there’s just two positions, left or right. Nothing hard, but you have to do this on two fields at a time: there’s a puck on the left half and on the right half of the screen.

I’m having trouble to explain it clearly, but it’s actually very simple…

gameplay of binary rush

 

As you can see, the two pucks are independant, so you have to use both hands, one for each side (thanks captain obvious!), and each puck can move from the left to the right of his half, they can’t cross to the other side and go friendly-friendly with their long-time-no-see siamese twin.

A simple design

I don’t really know how to call it, I’m no expert, just a random guy who loves to play video games so forgive me if I screw something up because I don’t know the correct name for something. I’ll take a risk and call it flat-pop design, because…. yeah I mean it’s colourful and the map is just straight lines sooooo….

Nothing much more to say here, it is colourful, without frills. It occasionnaly change during the run, which can be tricky when it suddenly turn form dark green to brighty yellow just when obstacles come to crush you!

The swedisj version of Binary Rush

Product placement level: Ikea 😉

 

Reasons to play Binary Rush

I randomly run across this mobile game when scrolling for new apps to test. The name was intriging enough for me to download it. And believe me or not, but after 10 seconds playing it, I knew I’ll be addicted. My girl and I spent hours beating records over records, trying to be the best of the 2.

The concept is easy, but focusing on two different object and their path is not that simple, but so exciting! At the beginning of the run it is very slow and easy, but the difficulty progressively grows to end in an infernal chaos, leaving the player drooling with massive cross-eyes ! (It never hapenned to me – hum – shut up Carl ! )

Anyway, a nice game Binary Rush is, simple but efficient, and I can improve my reflexes, and it’s free! Come play it and try to beat my own record 😉 I don’t know if it is a good one, but I made my best and I’m still trying to beat it :p

Personnal record on Binary Rush : 155 points

Micro Trip: Kill the sickness !

A game into your own body

There are some games you just don’t want to spend two hours writing an article about. Call me lazy or whatever you want, but I just wanted to present you a nice pastime without entering too much into details (#MakeItSimple)…

So here we go with Micro Trip. It is that kind of game you enjoy playing for a while and finally forget about it, a few days later.

The Micro Trip’s Story

From what I understand of the game, you play as a white blood cell. If you remember your chemistry class, these cells are in charge of your body and health protection. They are able to track the viruses, or other bad micro-organisms, and kill them.

In Micro Trip, you are then one of these white blood cells and must travel through the veins, trying to reach the highest score. However, weirdly, you are not here to save the body, you can’t kill the viruses you meet (they can actually make you tons of damage) and you have to take pills and drugs to survive and go as far as you can.

White blood cell versus virus

The Micro Trip’s game play

Micro Trip uses a down scrolling system, meaning your character falls continuously for the top to the bottom of the screen and you have to avoid the obstacle while grabbing the bonuses. The game play of Micro Trip is quite simple: you have to move your phone to either go on the left or on the right (you can also use your fingers, which I find more intuitive and easy).

Obviously, you have to keep away from viruses and to avoid also other elements on your road. For example, there is this “slime” which slows you. You have to survive as long as possible and take as many drugs as possible to stay alive, because you gradually lose your life. You can also eat pills you will find on the road, which have different effects: make you big and resistant, allow you to automatically attract drugs or repulse enemies.

Micro Trip’s success and drawbacks

The game is quite entertaining, and very easy to play. It is intuitive and great fun but it is not worth playing it for hours. It isn’t a bad game, quite the opposite actually, but unfortunately for Micro Trip, the competition is tough.

There are zillions of games, including those which are similar to Micro Trip: down-scrolling, avoiding obstacles, reach high score. The formula is good but there is nothing more to it, no background story, no evolution in the game, almost no changes of the “map”. Micro Trip suffers from all of those similar games which are better.

Moreover, I’d like to quickly talk about the lack of consistency of the game. The concept could have been a great idea if exploited correctly: You are a white blood cell, but you don’t kill the disease, you avoid it. Not logical to me. But I think the developers could have done something amazing with the “mise en abyme1 : The white blood cell is actually the body you must defend, because you have to take drugs to stay alive, and the pills you eat kill the viruses on the screen.

To conclude, I’d say it is a funny game, not the game of the year obviously, but still. Anyway it could definitely be improved…

1 french term for “story-within-a-story”.

1010! High score, vicious and no combo

A good alternative to Tetris

1010! gameplay

If you have liked Tetris, you will probably enjoy 1010! too! Indeed, this app is very similar to Tetris in its gameplay. It is called after the game itself as the playground is a large square made of 10 out of 10 smaller squares.

At the beginning, the main square is empty, and three Tetris-like shapes may be placed anywhere you want on the field. At each turn, you will have three new shapes to add within the square. The goal is to complete a vertical or horizontal line, which will make the line disappear, offering more space for the next shapes. There are about 19 different shapes, each recognizable by its color. You also have to consider different volumes and length that offer the gameplay many possibilities.

The player must reach the highest score he is capable of, the game has no proper end, and no level. It is always the same 10*10 square you have to fill and empty. There is no time constraint but you must complete the lines, which is much more complex than it seems… Each time you place a shape you win points score. The same thing applies each time you complete one or several lines.

It is a very entertaining game, very pleasant, addictive but still more difficult than it seems. I have spent hours and hours trying to beat my own high score and I am constantly trying to exceed my own capabilities. The only regret I have about this game is the absence of combo: indeed, completing one or 3 lines at the same time makes no significant difference. Your score will be higher, but there’s nothing more, no « Combo » written on the screen, no special FX… Not dramatic, but I’m pretty sure the game would be improved.

1010! has a vicious mind and will try to defeat you

Maybe it is just my impression but sometimes I feel like the game is communicating. It seems to me that it’s trying to make me understand something. I believe that each shape it gave me belongs to one specific space on the square, and nowhere else. I must find the right combination to continue the game, and if I don’t, if I’m wrong, the game will know it. Then it will only give me shapes that do not fit anywhere just to make me feel messed up !!!

So I try to keep on, and fight back. But I can’t, I have lost control over the game! I’m powerless and defenseless in front of this evil mind which feeds me with another round of shapes, just to see me panic and completely lost. The game still feeds me with more and more shapes, always one that doesn’t fit, never one that could complete a line. There it is, the screen is full. I probably won’t live long enough to see another round. Maybe if I just put this one here…  And then I wake up, defeated, again !

1010! is a great game, quite addictive, especially when you organise a competition with a friend to compare your highest scores. I am convinced that the game gives you the shape that fits until you miss the opportunity. In that case, 1010! will make everything to make you lose. Maybe, I am paranoiac but I am sure there is an evil mastermind behind this game!1010! gameplay

One advice before you run to download 1010!: use the options to turn the back screen from white to black. Your eyes will be pleased !

4 Phone games you will enjoy !

Check out these free games for both iOS & Android !

We all get to this point … We are bored in the subway, the bus or waiting in a queue but we don’t have anything to play (or at least nothing new). So we check the usual apps (if there is an Internet connection) such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even Snapchat, to make sure we haven’t missed any crispy news. Obviously, nothing new …

What if you didn’t have to get across the Google Play or the AppStore to find something fun? This article presents short and easy-to-play games which are completely free. Then, you will have no reason to be bored again (at least until the next article!!!).

Geometry Dash

geormetry dash, phone apps, android, iphone, iosOkay, this one has two versions: a free one and a charged one, but I can assure you that if you do succeed in all the free levels, you are a genius. The pitch is simple, you have a series of obstacles with various heightsand by simply clicking on the screen you make your square move onto them. Yes, it looks easy at first, but whenever you fail and your square breaks, you go back to the beginning and start it over. The achievements work with percentages. If your score exceeds 50% of the track it’s already a good job ! What about reaching a 100% ?

Screen Geometry DashiOS version

Android version

Circlecircle, phone apps, android, ihpone, ios

Do you remember this app that buzzed so much that the developer got it out of the AppStore and the Google Play, it was called Flappy Bird ? Well here, the plot is slightly the same but you play with a circle and there is a curved line, that looks like your heart beat line in an hospital, that you cannot touch. You have several challenges to take up to earn diamonds. With these diamonds you can change the appearance of your circle (a bear, a penguin…). There is nothing more to it than this, but the simplest things in life are often the best. So give it a try and beat my best score (which is 51…) !Screen CircleiOS version

Android version

Don’t touch the spikesdont touch spikes, phone apps, android, iphone, ios

Probably the easiest game to play from this article and everything is in the title: don’t touch the spikes ! You play with a little bird in a closed-environment, the size of the screen. The goal is to go from one wall to another without getting hit by a spike. Again, we talk about small games that you can play whenever you have two minutes to kill so don’t except something marvelous but at least you will have the choice to play one or another game and not always go to the same one (2048, Clash of Clans…).

Screen SpikesiOS version

Android version

DuetDuet phone app, android, iphone

This one is my favourite ! Why ? Because it is easy to play but it is also tricky as hell ! Again, if I have to describe how to play, nothing hard. You have two dots and with your two thumbs you can make them move to the left or to the right. The goal is to go through various bars and squares without touching anything. Whenever you do, one of the dot explodes and you will see a stain on the track to remind you where you failed ! The levels are progressive and some of them will get you out of your mind. But strangely, you will open the app again and try to finish it. And this is how you know a game is good !

Screen DuetiOS version

Android version

Instagram : What a big deal !

Well, it’s not a new deal. Anyway, it’s probably one of the best deal of our recent digital history. I’m obviously talking about the Instagram purchase by Facebook. Indeed, the photo-sharing network was acquired by Facebook back in April 2012 for only 1 billion dollar. The key idea is that, this week Citigroup has raised the valuation of Instagram from $19 billion to $35 billion !!! Here are the crispy details of the story

Facebook-Instagram

Cubic Tour: a new experience

See the world in 3D with Cubic Tour

Cubic Tour is one of those smartphone games that will challenge your mind. Be prepare to have a seizure next time you play tetris, because Cubic Tour will ruin your childhood memory!

So here we go, dark screen, slightly gloomy music playing. Let’s dive into Cubic Tour!

In a 2D world, you will have to think in 3D. I mean… you’ll have to LEARN to think in 3D, because it’s soooo unnatural, at least for people like me, who need a mental endeavor to pass this “3D in 2D” mindtrick.

Cubic Tour Smartphone Game

Cubic Tour Smartphone Game

Cubic Tour ruins your Tetris experience …

Cubic Tour 3D smartphone game

Using the geometric shapes, mostly from Tetris, you will have to turn and turn and turn the shapes to make it correspond with the “shadow” of the shape you have to form. Said like this, it seems childish right? Remember this game you played, when you were young and pure? The square goes in the square, the triangle goes in the triangle… Cubic Tour might just be the adult version of it, forcing you to be quick and to develop a 3D analytical mind.

But beware … As the level goes, the difficulty increases. Not only does the speed of the game goes from “grandpa on a walker” to “that’s like the Hyperloop, man!” 1, but the shapes will harden too. The Tetris-like kind of shapes will soon turn into very, very complex shapes you will have to tame.

A punitive game

It is clearly a punitive game! Whatever your skills are, the game will be hard. You will lose, and lose again. But Cubic Tour is fun enough to push you to try again. It is punitive as you will have to improve your skills and retry several times to succeed, but in the manner of a SMB2, the game perfectly knows how to dose the punishment with the satisfaction of victory! Cubic Tour is punitive, but sooooo rewarding when you finally go to the next level!

Cubic Tour 3D smartphone game

Cubic Tour 3D special smartphone game

The marketing behind Cubic Tour

On a marketing viewpoint, a few things come to my mind:

Simple: The concept around the game is very simple, easy to catch, just like a good catchphrase: really easy to understand. For a product to sell, it has to show quickly what it is used for and how: the game is then intuitive: it takes a few seconds to know what to do, and how to do it.

USP: Unique Selling Point: what is the ONE reason to buy the product, what is the ONE benefit you will get from the product? The Cubic Tour USP is definitely the overcoming promise: learn to think/visualize quickly and act, surpass one’s skills…

Sensorial Marketing: The music is far from what you can hear on “mainstream” games, it has its own unicity, create an ambiance and helps the user to dive totally into the game’s atmosphere.

– Enough with the freemium games! Indeed, the marketing technic used in those games is devilishly efficient but also very frustrating.3 It is refreshing to have a game designed for addiction through a subtle way. The difficulty progression is excellent, which will make you play more, think more and try to prove your skills!

I also wanted to talk about another game as Cubic Tour reminds me of it, but I didn’t know how to introduce it without breaking the rhythm of the article… So, just a few words about a PC/Xbox game, using the 2D/3D effects in an other way: Play “Fez”, you’ll thank me later …

1 See Elon Musk from Tesla, for more details : http://www.teslamotors.com/fr_FR/blog/hyperloop
2 Super Meat Boy (PC-XBOX, which I highly recommend!)
3 It is actually the key of this technic