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New Releases for The Week of Mayors and Dangerous Waters

New Releases for The Week of Mayors and Dangerous Waters

windows steamThe Showdown Effect is a 2.5D, Soldat-esque, multi-player deathmatch game. Players choose from among classes that represent 90’s action film cliches, then jump around dynamic platforming levels shooting the stuffing out of each other. It’s a game that is easy not to take seriously, and for that reason, looks like a lot of fun. It’s the type of game that has simple enough mechanics and goofy enough themes, that it will likely generate a boatload of riotous multi-player moments. I would only recommend trying out this game with friends.

windows steam xbox ps3The new Tomb Raider restarts the story of Lara Croft, going further back this time than the original game, which showed us a Lara already familiar with danger and capable of handling it. This Lara is a spirited girl, surely, but not one accustomed to surviving rough situations. She will start soft, and undergo dramatic transformations throughout the game, developing the character much more completely than any previous game in the franchise. She also looks significantly different: Gone is the gratuitous bust and chiseled face. The new character design is more ‘regular girl’ and less ‘mysterious beauty’, presumably to make her more relatable. The gameplay is that of a third-person open-world adventure game. Lara is stranded on an unexplored tropical island. Beset with hostile natives, she must rally her courage, and face insurmountable dangers to save herself and her crewmates. Of course, there will be some tombs to raid along the way. There will be a multiplayer mode as well. The team deathmatch game was created as an afterthought by a separate studio. I wouldn’t expect too many players to be buying this game for the multi-player, but I guess they felt they had to offer the option. I doubt I’ll even give it a chance.

3ds eshopKersploosh! is a game about dropping rock down a well, and the desire to hear the satisfying splash at the bottom. with gameplay similar to the AAAAAAaaaahhhhhh! series, players will guide their stones down a series of different wells, with increasingly complex obstacles, earning bonus points for various tricks and maneuvers. With a bunch of different stones to play as and various special powers, there is plenty of replay value for those who get into it, but the cool part is the use of 3D. This style game is perfect for the 3DS’s unique technology

windows originThis week’s Icrontic Spolight throws into contrast the skyline of SimCity. Like Tomb Raider, SimCity is an icon of gaming culture, and also like Tomb Raider, this new iteration will reboot the series, and return to the original title. SimCity is the original city management simulation game, and there hasn’t been a good entry in the franchise since SimCity 4 about a decade ago. Now, SimCity has been rebooted with many of the features that made the original games so great, and a number of enhancements to the engine and gameplay. The really big deal here is the nature of the simulation. Unlike any past SimCity, this iteration does not simulate with macro algorithms. Each element: every business, every person, and every environmental factor is individually simulated, so that interactions among these elements become more dynamic than ever before. As an example, rather than determining unemployment with a macro algorithm which compares your number of residents and their education breakdown with the number and types of jobs you have available, each ‘sim’ will instead become educated and search for a job individually—and will be employed at an actual business in your city, which you can see when you look into his/her life. If you were to then go bulldoze that business to put in a new road, that person will lose their job, and have to look for a new one. If they can’t find a new one, you may see them move into cheaper housing, or perhaps even become homeless in the park or start protesting outside of city hall. This micro-level simulation engine creates a stronger sense of personal responsibility in the player, as every action can be directly felt by distinct sims, rather than just changing numbers on a spreadsheet. This may seem a small distinction, but experientially, it’s a huge difference.

In addition, one will be able to interact with their friends’ cities in ways never before possible, due to persistent online integration. Each city one builds is part of a ‘region’, which will have only a certain number of spots for cities and ‘major works’. You could run all the cities yourself, or you could invite friends to run the other city slots. The cities will interact directly with one another in many ways, including sharing employment opportunities, making business deals (like buying water or electricity), or working together to build the ‘major works’—external constructs designed to provide a benefit to all the cities in the region, like an international airport or a major university. Being always online also means that player’s cities will be stored in the cloud, and thus there will be no ‘reloading’ if you mess up the city, nor will there be any cheatcodes. MMORPG players are used to this kind of play by now, but if the myriad complaints around the internet are any indication, Sim fans have some getting-used-to-it to do. Honestly, I’m personally too excited to be playing SimCity again to even care. It even broke my long-held resistance to EA’s Origin service. Maybe I’ll finally play some more Dragon Age and Mass Effect, since I’ve got to have Origin installed to play SimCity anyway.

I ain’t even mad.

20130304nr simcity logo




Following is a full list of this week’s announced North American releases:


  • Tomb Raider20130304nr tomb raider charart
  • SimCity
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Dollar Dash


  • The Amazing Spider-Man: Ultimate Edition


  • Naruto Powerful Shippuden
  • Kersploosh!

Xbox 360

  • MLB 2K13
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
  • NBA 2K13/MLB 2K13 Combo Pack
  • Tomb Raider
  • Dollar Dash


  • Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk
  • Bit.Trip Presents…Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
  • Germinator
  • MLB 13: The Show
  • MLB 2K13
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
  • Tomb Raider


  • MLB 13: The Show



  1. midga
    midga I just can't decide whether I want to Sim City... It looks like a pretty sweet updated version, but between not wanting to give EA any more of my money, the fact that it's not on Steam, and the price, I just don't know if it's worth it. Guess I'll sit on it for a while and wait to see what people say.
  2. d3k0y
    d3k0y Gotta go with Midga on this. Is SimCity in all of how awesome it looks enough to overcome my huge hatred of EA and Origin.

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