PMG Presents: Controller Support

Well as a few of you may know this past week has offered video game sales far and wide.  I, for one, have been glued to Steam’s Autumn Sale and I have bought and gone through a whole mess of new games, so I’ve thought long and hard about which games I’d like to cover this week, and since I’m still playing through a few of the games I bought, I thought I’d instead talk about a couple of games I’ve had on my plate for a while now, games that require controller support.

It’s a very interesting thing that games like these exist in the first place.  Many of them are ports from consoles, but a few games originated on the PC with the need for a controller.  Why is it that a device that relies so much on a keyboard and mouse should require a controller to get a better experience?  Well most of these games require controllers just because of the fact that arrow keys do not provide enough maneuverability or poor button placement on the keyboard impairs one’s enjoyment.  As I’ve discussed earlier, one of the reasons why ‘Super Meat Boy’ becomes such a better game with a controller is because it becomes so much easier to control and maneuver about the tight environments.  This is readily the case with these four games.  They require quick movement and maneuverability that a keyboard just can’t support.  Well let’s jump into it.

First on our list is a little game called SpelunkySpelunky is another roguelike dungeon-crawler where you play as an archaeologist who ventures off to discover riches and women (or hunks/dogs depending on the settings) in a series of always shifting underground caverns.  Spelunky began its life as a small indie game which is still available for free download on the Spelunky site.  Then a revamped version with improved graphics was released for the Xbox Live Arcade, but was then ported to the PC and PlayStation.  In the game you run around killing monsters, collecting treasure and women, and progressing further into the caverns.  You start the game with a small sliver of life which can rapidly be taken away from careless mistakes (a single attack can take off one of four original hearts, and a fall or shot can take away two, three, or even four).  The only way to get truly far in the game involves more luck than anything else.  As you progress you get the chance to unlock numerous other characters and get upgrades to ease your adventure.  This game is incredibly fast paced due to the ease of death,  and can easily play through 8 or 9 times in the span of a few minutes.  Spelunky has a great little cartoony art style with blocky landscapes that you progress through.  This game is nice and easy because you can pick it up for a few minutes without getting invested in it, though you can play it for hours when you devote yourself to progress in the game.  It’s a fun little game to pick up and to be perfectly honest it doesn’t even really require a controller to play.  So if you want to pick it up, you can find it on Steam for $14.99.

Next on my list is a game that was gifted to me by a friend by the name of Foul PlayFoul Play is, put simply, an old-school style beat-‘em-up/combo competition.  It follows Baron Dashforth a fantastically moustached daemonologist and his spunky sidekick Scampwick as they hunt demons and beat them to a pulp.  The game takes place as a play where you play the actors and beat up monsters in acts and scenes for the enjoyment of the audience.  The game is not hard, mostly because there is no life bar or health to worry about.  The main focus of this game is racking up enormous combos and subsequently more points.  The game features a prominent two player mode over local connection or on the internet.  It’s a fun little way to hang out with a buddy in a cool and unique game, though it’s not necessarily high up on my list of fun games, though that might just be because I’m not very into beat-‘em-up games.  If you’d like to take up the role of Dashforth or his companion, you can get it on Steam for $14.99.

The next game I have to cover is another roguelike, this one even has “rogue” in its name.  Rogue Legacy is a platformer where you go around collecting treasure and defeating monsters.  Each time you play the castle where the game is set is randomly generated and filled with different monsters and chests.  The game has a very Castlevnia-like feel  in that the game is very open and there is no one set path to follow, though there are hard areas that initially you might not be able to get through without a good deal of luck and skill.  The game has a very interesting difficulty curve in that each of the different levels has a constantly high difficulty.  The first few dozen times you play you will die and die quickly but as you go you will be able to purchase better armor, spells, and classes, as well as improvements to your health, which will help you get farther and farther.  In between each playthrough you are allowed to pick a heir who will be your character in the next game.  Before you enter the castle you are allowed to buy powerups and spend your money with the condition that you will lose any money that you don’t spend.  An additional feature is that your heirs will gain certain medical mutations such as dwarfism, gigantism, OCD, color blindness, and a variety of other disorders.  Each area of the castle has a boss that guards it.  When you defeat a boss it will remain dead throughout the rest of your playthroughs, giving you easier access to the final boss.  It’s a fun game that can be very enjoyable though very frustrating.  In all my times playing it though I have come across one small problem.  On my computer I have found certain moments when the game will slow to a crawl for no apparent reason.  I’ve found that I can avoid this by not choosing heirs who have complex graphical filters due to their genetic disorders.  There’s a lot of fun to be found in this game and hours of play.  You can pick Rogue Legacy up on Steam for $14.99.

To wrap up this article let me talk about one of my new favorite games: Guacamelee!  Guacamelee! is a metroidvania style of game  where you go around a large open world picking up powerups and fighting bosses, so that you can access new areas of the map.  What makes Guacamelee! so interesting and unique is that it is themed after Mexican Luchadors.  You play as Juan, an agave farmer who one day is forced to assume the masked role of a luchador to save the woman he loves from an army of the undead.  The game features a colorful cast of characters including a strange little goatman who teaches you how to be an expert luchador, a witch who plies you with constant sexual innuendos, a jaguarman warrior, and a bandit with a flaming head who shoots first and always forgets to aim.  As you progress you can upgrade your health and abilities, eventually discovering the power to travel between the worlds of the living and dead, as well as become a chicken!  You fight with a vast arsenal of lucha libre moves as you pile drive and throw enemies at each other.  The game has a pretty good story and gives you the thrill of a classic Nintendo game in the modern age.  On top of that Guacamelee! features a local co-op option if you have an additional controller.  This game is awesome it is funny and exciting and the gameplay seems original without being counterintuitive.  The game has that great combination of uniqueness while hiding countless mementos to other games within it (one of my favorite is a stylized grumpy cat picture).  Of all the controller support games, I have covered here today, I definitely put Guacamelee! one step above the others and if you have to play just one, play Guacamelee!  If you choose to pick it up, you can do so on Steam for $14.99.

I started this post in order to help people find games that are cheap, fun, and playable on most every computer, and these games definitely aren’t the cheapest, and the need for a controller to play them makes them all that much more expensive, but they can offer something special and unique not found in most other PC games.

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