We regularly cover releases that aren’t new but have been ported to different systems for a new lease on life – reaching out to new audiences. This week is no different, as we check out the console version of Beautiful Desolation, the PS4 port of Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection, Call of the Sea on PlayStation and the Quest port of Touring Karts.
Appearances can be deceiving, because although Beautiful Desolation looks like a typical isometric RPG not unlike some of Obsidian’s games, it actually has more in common with classic point and click adventure games. The fact that the presentation style for the game is so different from the genre conventions makes it interesting in its own right, but the storytelling is the real draw here. Previously released on Steam for PCs, it’s now available on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch as well.
Although the story starts off in 1970s South Africa, an alien invasion quickly fast forwards the scene ten years into the future, with protagonists Mark and Don trying to infiltrate the Penrose, the alien ship that landed on earth. When they’re spotted, they’re whisked away to a post-apocalyptic future where Earth is now populated by new forms of life, many of which have formed their own societies. Amidst that new reality, your biggest wish is to somehow go back to your own time, a quest during which you’re joined by a robotic dog. It’s a great premise, and a strong driving force for the narrative.
Despite the refreshing visual style, the gameplay unfolds much like other point and click adventures do – involving inventory management, dialogue choices that help steer the story and a need to combine objects in order to progress. There are also quite a few mini games/puzzles that break up the narrative flow for a bit, and they’re hit and miss – mostly because they’re not always tied to the plot and thus feel like padding that breaks the immersion for a bit.
Beautiful Desolation is an extremely impressive title when you consider it’s mostly been created by two to three people. The world building, narratively, is excellent, and so is the visual design for the isometric world you traverse. The South African voiceover work takes a bit of getting used to because it’s different from what most players are accustomed to, but that doesn’t take long either. After that, all you notice is that it’s been very well done – though the character models you see in closeups betray the game’s modest scale.
Developer The Brotherhood was created something quite unique that we rarely see, especially on consoles. With an original gameworld and interesting narrative, combined with a refreshing take on visuals for an adventure game, this is one that you’ll want to check out.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection
Hot on the heels of Capcom Arcade Stadium comes the PlayStation release of Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection. Originally launched as a Nintendo Switch title back in March, we reviewed it and pointed out that it retains the infamous difficulty level of the arcade classics while also offering options to make the experience more accessible to those less skilled with a gamepad – or arcade stick, for those who feel really nostalgic.
We also commented on how attractive the art style was, retaining the look and feel of the 2D arcade original while delivering it all with a ‘storybook come to life’ kind of aesthetic. What we didn’t touch on, however, was the ability to play the game using its local co-op mode – something that Covid-19 restrictions made difficult to do.
Now, with the PlayStation version of the game, we’ve finally been able to test that part of Resurrection, and it’s an absolute blast. We didn’t know how it was going to turn out, but the asymmetrical nature of it works well for a game like Ghosts ‘n Goblins. You essentially still play the regular adventure as Arthur when you’re player one, but player two can jump in as one of the “Three Wise Guys” and offer support, making the game a little easier.
The Wise Guys can’t do what Arthur can, but depending on which one you’re playing as you can conjure up platforms, throw up barriers or carry Arthur for a bit. It’s worth pointing out that all three characters are actually ghosts, which is why they can only interact with the game world in very specific ways. It makes beating the game a little easier though, and it definitely makes doing so more fun. If you’re chasing a high score then you’ll notice that co-op is going to cost you serious points though, so keep that in mind as you learn more and more about the game’s patterns and the weaknesses of your enemies.
Call of the Sea has arrived on PlayStation 4 and 5
We covered Call of the Sea when it launched at the end of last year, but back then it was exclusive to PCs and the Xbox. Luckily, Raw Fury has now also released this truly excellent narrative adventure for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Both versions come bundled as a single purchase (is “cross-buy” not a term anymore?), so there’s no need to fret about going current/last or next/gen either.
Having already enjoyed and completed the game on PC back in December, we fired up the game on a PlayStation 5 to see how well it would translate to Sony’s new console, and the answer is that it’s absolutely gorgeous. The beautiful art design, the stunning lighting and engaging narrative all hold up – and already knowing the answers to the puzzles helped us appreciate it all even more.
What was also worthwhile in our playthrough was seeing how long the game would be when just focusing on the narrative and blazing through the puzzles. It cut down the playthrough from seven to roughly four hours, but for a game that’s being released at a budget ($20) price point that it still excellent value for money. Highly recommended for those looking for a stunning PS5 game to add to their collection.
Touring Karts is free on the Quest
Touring Karts from Ivanovich Games is another title we previously covered, which we did when it arrived on PlayStation VR. The developer has just released the game for the Oculus Quest, and has done so by offering it up for free!
There’s a “PRO” version that’d paid, but Touring Karts on the Quest isn’t just a demo, it’s a fully featured game that has nearly all of the content that was in the PSVR version. That means you get 8 player multiplayer races online, 22 tracks and 30 different cars, as well as all of the Mario Kart-inspired power-ups that work with motion controls in VR. There’s even a lengthy story mode to play through, which you can play on- or offline. Easily one of the best freebies available for the Quest right now.
So what’s missing when you pick up the game for free? Buying the PRO version instantly unlocks all of the game’s content without earning it through objectives, which is good for those hoping to save time. Most of the content is cosmetic in nature though, so if you don’t feel like personalizing your character or kart then definitely try out the free version first – it’s available through the Oculus AppLab.