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Sore Thumbs

1/16/2013

sore thumbs anarchy1‘ANARCHY REIGNS’    (M)

***1/2

Sega

PlayStation 3

Compared to “Anarchy Reigns,” other action games look like simulations of watching paint dry. In an average moment of play, you might find yourself halfway through a complicated combo with your chainsaw-swinging brute, only to be interrupted by a quick stiletto-heel kick to the face from Bayonetta — one of the fifteen player-controlled combatants you’re trying to decimate simultaneously. Before you can seek retribution, a hulking cyborg deals you some sort of explosive attack — the details of which you can’t quite comprehend through the hail of colorful particle effects. Then you regain your bearings just in time to glimpse the giant semi-truck randomly careening through the battlefield and crashing into all those unfortunate enough to be standing in its path. This game is one giant brawling multiplayer free-for-all, and whether or not you enjoy it depends largely on whether you like your bedlam with a few extra helpings of chaos.

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An afterthought of a single-player campaign serves primarily as a tutorial in which you can learn and unlock all of the characters you’ll eventually drag into the multiplayer madness. If you don’t have your preferred character’s move-set down pat before you face off against live players, you’re likely to find yourself used as a human hacky sack. The game’s brutality forces its way into all the various modes. Usually in Capture the Flag, the flag-bearer is a vulnerable target. In “Anarchy Reigns,” he’s a guy armed with a really big stick. The graphics are less than eye-catching, and the frame-rate can start to chug when too many players use their special attacks at once, but if you can muscle past the frustration of your first few merciless beat-downs, there’s a good, relentlessly action-packed time to be had here.

 

sore thumbs labyrinthbox‘LABYRINTH LEGENDS’    (T)

***

Creat Studios

PlayStation Network

This is about as basic a dungeon crawler as you’re likely to ever see. The story — told in two thirty second cut-scenes that bookend the game — is that your bride has been kidnapped, and you must rescue her. To do so, you’ll travel through a series of subterranean mazes, battling zombies, skeletons, mummies and pretty much the least imaginative bad guys to ever stand between a 2D sprite and his damsel in distress. But the puzzles you’ll encounter en route are actually rather well done, requiring quick reflexes and an eye for subtle detail. It’s like “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” without any of that pesky substance and flavor.

 

sore thumbs pagebox‘PAGE CHRONICA’    (E)

*

Red Hare Studios

PlayStation Network

“Page Chronica” combines the platforming gameplay of a 2D sidescroller with the vocabulary-building gameplay of Scrabble, while failing to retain the pleasures of either game. As our heroine travels through the storybooks of a magical library, translucent letters float around her like a ghostly alphabet soup. In order to shoot, double-jump, run or do any of the most basic moves we take for granted in platformers, we must first slow down time and assemble a word from any or all of the surrounding characters. There’s no puzzle aspect to it. Literally any word will do. Here are some of the first that will spring to mind: “A-N-N-O-Y-I-N-G,” “T-E-D-I-O-U-S” and “R-E-F-U-N-D.” CV

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