Hot Games of the Week Reviewed: September 1st

If you got rid of your Xbox 360 or Ps3 and regret the choice because you could no longer play Dishonored, now is the time to rejoice. Thanks to another excellent remaster, the stealthy and stylish 2012 game is back in its strongest form yet. That’s not the only game from yesteryear to get another go. Also out is Q.U.BE. Director’s Cut, which breathes new life into the excellent PC and iOS puzzle game. If you’re seeking something more fast paced, the wacky Wii U download Runbow will fit your needs.

Reviews by Phil Villarreal. Phil is an authorblogger and Twitterer. Publishers provided review copies.

Dishonored: Definitive Edition

(Xbox One, PS4, $40, Mature)

Buy Dishonored: Definitive Edition here

The 2012 steampunk stealth/action hybrid was one of the most exciting new series of the last generation, and continues the long line of remasters that bring back the best older games in their finest form yet. The package, as expected, rounds up all the DLC that was released for the original. Since Dishonored was a strictly single-player affair, that means the add-ons were story additions that considerably added to the length of an already sizable tale. Other than the add-ons, you can see impressive improvements in visual detail and framerate. Since the game looked so superb to begin with, the added polish keeps the game on par with the majority of better-looking titles to have come out this generation.

You play as a man framed for murder who becomes an assassin to get back at his enemies and clear his name. Many of the missions have multiple paths to success, bringing to mind some of the better Hitman games. While you can power up your character to the point where you can create such a formidable force that can power through most any situation, you can get the most out of what the game has to offer by using subversion and finesse. One of the signature abilities Dishonored introduced is a teleporting mechanic that lets you appear at nearby places. You can create a distraction for a guard, then appear behind him and execute a stealthy takedown.

Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut

(Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, $10, Teen)

The first-person puzzle game has you navigate a slide puzzle-like world of movable block walls. You push, pull and slide blocks in order to clear your path, advancing deeper and deeper inside a cubelike alien structure that is hurtling toward the earth. The game plays something like the 3DS puzzler Pushmo, with a more intense perspective and more maddening level of difficulty. Most of the environments stick with the same colors, making it easy to pick out the different-colored blocks you’re able to move. You’ll need to use your imagination to manipulate the blocks in the right way to move on.
Levels are designed with precision and care, with tough solutions that reveal themselves after tinkering, restarting, trial and error. Online walkthroughs could help you speed through the game, but it’s much more rewarding if you save those as a last resort. The director’s cut adds a time trial mode that lets you test your speed run times against others, but otherwise stays true to the 2011 original, which came out on PC and iOS. Even though it’s old, the game is long and challenging enough to justify the price. Fans of Portal and similar games will find it to be money well spent.

Runbow

(Wii U, $15, Everyone)

A multiplayer-friendly platforming racer, Runbow takes place amid levels that constantly change colors, making objects appear and disappear depending on the timing. You sprint, leap, jump and climb your way over obstacles, often taking the time to smack an opponent along the way. As in Mario Kart, the chaotic racing makes you laugh, wince or slam your fist in disgust. Fates can change in an instant. You may find yourself comfortably in the lead, only to have a platform vanish and leave you free-falling into a spike pit. One of the first releases in the Nindies program, which draws on fresh ideas from small studios to buff up the system’s slim roster of games, Runbow won’t easily let you forget it. Crude graphics, barely evolved past stick figures, and a catchy sing-son score make it feel like you’re playing a lost classic from the Atari 2600 days.
Fast-playing levels and rapid reloads keep the action flowing at a breakneck pace, and there’s always a reason to keep on playing, if only to get revenge on an opponent for a cheap victory. The seemingly haphazard nature of determining winners and losers can wear on you, but you’ll find that the most skilled players — who are best at adapting on the fly and overcoming screw jobs — are the ones who tend to rack up the most wins. You can blame the color changes or unluckily timed head-bashes for losses, but most of the time you can point the finger at yourself. Other than the racing through the smattering of courses, there’s not much depth to the gameplay. But that doesn’t stop Runbow from being an ideal download for those looking for a reason to bust out their extra controllers on the Wii U.

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