Sidescroller: 2-D games can still charm the 3-D world

"Guacamalee"'s outrageous images are based on the Mexican Day of the Dead. Credit: Drinkbox Studios
The art of “Guacamalee!” is based on the Mexican Day of the Dead.
Credit: Drinkbox Studios

The first time Mario set his hefty foot atop a hapless Goomba, the 2-D sidescroller was born. With each passing generation, game designers find new and innovative ways to keep this ancient genre alive. Here are reviews of two brand new sidescrollers that merge the best parts of the last 30 years.

‘Guacamelee!’
Drinkbox Studios
PS3/Vita
4 (out of 5) Globes

This game technically falls into a category called “Metroidvania,” meaning that it owes great allegiance to both “Metroid” and “Castlevania.” This means an open world to explore, with plenty of side-scrolling action. Exploration is rewarded with new moves and abilities, which in turn let you explore new areas to find even more stuff. The perfect addictive cycle!

The hook with “Guacamelee!” is the world, which is set in Mexico and loosely based on the customs surrounding the country’s Day of the Dead celebration. It’s colorful, laugh-out-loud funny and features great controls.

One caveat though: The platforming in this title can be brutal. You may have to time travel and get your 9-year-old self to beat some of the more difficult segments.

"Terraria" plays like internet sensation "Minecraft" in 2-D. Credit: 505 Games
“Terraria” plays like internet sensation “Minecraft” in 2-D.
Credit: 505 Games

‘Terraria’
PS3/Xbox/PC
505 Games
5 (out of 5) Globes

Unless you’ve been hiding under an Internet-disabled rock, you have no doubt heard of indie darling “Minecraft.” That game’s mix of action and literal world-building has made its creator one of the most influential, and wealthiest, men in the video game world. “Terraria” takes the randomized, build-anything tomfoolery of “Minecraft” and makes it 2-D. Yeah. It’s as good as it sounds.

“Terraria” is more a brutal, life-changing addiction than a video game (in a good way). Once you enter your randomized world, you’ll be able to explore every nook and cranny at your leisure. And we do mean every nook and cranny. You can dig all the way to Hell and build bridges all the way into space. There’s also plenty of treasure to find and enemies to fight, including some really cool bosses.


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