Not every game needs to be a violent affair. Sometimes I want to sit down with my little sister or a nephew and play through something a little quieter. Something that doesn't have blood and guts, or swearing, or even an ESRB label above an E10+. Thankfully this year at E3 I got to see three games that gave me some options.
LEGO DC Super-VillainsFirst up I got to go check out LEGO DC Super-Villains at Warner Brothers' booth. If you haven't been living under a rock for the past few years, you're probably vaguely aware of how huge LEGO video games have become. These beat 'em up/platformer/puzzle hybrids keep getting more and more creative while pulling in nearly every license under the sun. After three LEGO games from the perspective of the DC heroes, it's time for the villains to get their time in the light.
The big draw this time? Customization. Right at the beginning of the game, you'll be able to create your own super villain. You have an almost overwhelmingly large selection of costumes, colors, and fighting skills that you can make your own baddie with. Don't worry, you're not stuck with your choices. Don't care for something? Then you can go back and edit it later. LEGO games have always had character editors, but they've never been nearly as in-depth as this one is and it's awesome to see.
Once you got your villain perfect, you're broken out of jail by Lex Luthor and Mercy Graves. Lex, as usual, has a villainous plan and employees you, along with Soloman Grundy and Cheetah, to help carry it out. What's the plan? Well, that's still under wraps, but it requires the help of Metallo. So before you can break out of Stryker's Island you first need to break further in to free the kryptonite bot. That's where the fun begins.
If you've played any other LEGO game then the basics of LEGO DC Super-Villains shouldn't be that different. You smash items and enemies with some extremely basic combat, and over time you'll find parts that you can use to construct things and solve very basic puzzles. Each character has special abilities to help with this. For example, Lex can destroy silver objects with explosives, while Mercy can use agility to wall jump. There were also puzzles I couldn't solve, which, in typical LEGO game fashion, means I will be replaying that level later with new characters to unlock more things.
Eventually, the villains get close to Metallo's cell, and my custom character (who I've lovingly named Guy) stumbles across a weird machine. By interacting with it he gains his first superpower: heat rays. Sure enough, I'm brought back to the customization screen where I once again have the ability to mess with and customize my character further, making the heat ray uniquely his. After this, Guy can use his new power to help break Metallo out.
At this point a long, and funny, cutscene saw the Justice League (sans Batman, who's busy) show up to fight with the collected villain group. The perspective then changes over to Joker and Harley Quinn, showing why exactly Batman is busy. The gameplay doesn't change at all, Joker and Harley bring their own unique skills to solve puzzles, but it's nice to know that we'll get the see the perspective of villains who aren't hanging out with your character too.
After getting through a short section with those two, I reach the final cutscene. Things start to look bad for the Justice League when a mysterious group of copycats show up and assist them. Those who know their DC lore will recognize them as the Crime Syndicate of America. What exactly are their plans? How will they get along with the other villains? Well, I'm honestly excited to find out when the full game launches.
LEGO DC Super-Villains will be launching October 16th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Adventure Time: Pirates of the EnchiridionAfter I was done with Warner Brothers I then was off to see Outright Games, a publisher that focuses on family-friendly titles. They had two games to show me. The first was Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion. If you can't tell, this is based on the rather popular TV show. I'll fully admit: I've only seen a few clips from the show and maybe an episode or two at best. However, I felt like I could get right into the world with little issue.
The game opens up with Finn and Jake discovering that the Ice Kingdom has melted, flooding the world. Thankfully they find a convenient boat (named Jeff, after a fan contest chose that name) that allows them to travel the world. Hilariously, the duo sings sea shanties as they sail around. Of course, there's a point to these shanties, as they both recap the story up until then and help remind you what you're doing next. It's rather funny, and I found myself smiling the entire time I watched the sailing. Notably, all the actors from the show have returned to voice their roles, though the story is all new.
After they reached the Ice Kingdom the two could wander a bit. I learned that both characters had unique powers: Finn had a sword to break things, while Jake could turn into a scooter to help travel faster. Later in the game both BMO and Marceline will join your party as well, giving you more abilities to play with. It makes it look like traversing the world will be easy enough, but with all the abilities it'll still be fun.
Eventually Finn and Jake found the Ice King and they had a talk with him. Here I got a look at the game's interrogation mini-game. Yes, interrogation. Finn and Jake decided to play Good Cop Bad Cop with the Ice King to see if they could get him to tell them why the world was flooded. Each character reacts differently to other characters and the role they play. In this case, the interrogation was won by having both Finn and Jake play the Bad Cop. Ultimately he couldn't, but he did tell them where to find his missing crown and gave Finn a sword to use. I was told that you'll be able to interrogate multiple characters in the game and that failing an interrogation doesn't actually result in a game over. Instead, there are different outcomes for victories or failures. One example I was given was that you can interrogate a Candy Corn King, and if you succeed his guards will no longer attack you. Fail, and the game continues, you just have extra enemies to deal with.
Speaking of combat, that's the last thing I saw in my demo. Adventure Time plays out like one of the Paper Mario games, with you partaking in turn-based combat that requires some participation during your attacks. You can't just tell Finn to attack, you have to be ready to hit a button as he does so. It's a fun and easy way to get kids into the turn-based system without boring them. Each attack fills up an action bar that all characters share, and you can then use this bar to use special attacks. For example, I got to see Jake turn his arms into axes and whirl around, hitting multiple enemies. As you win fights you're awarded gold that you can spend on upgrades for your characters, with each skill being able to get upgraded as well.
The demo I saw was mostly on an Xbox One, but I was quickly shown the Nintendo Switch version of the game. It's basically the same game, only there are longer load times. There isn't even much of a graphical hit, which is pretty cool.
I came away from Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion rather entertained. It looks like a fun mash-up of turn-based combat and an IP that people seem to genuinely love. I can easily see it going over well with a younger audience. Plus Finn calls someone a dongbongle, so there's that.
Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion will be launching July 17th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Crayola ScootAdventure Time wasn't the only game Outright Games showed me. I also got a chance to look at the newly announced Crayola Scoot. The game is like an interesting hybrid between Skate and Splatoon. It turns out this is actually a combination I never knew I wanted.
You'll play as a new kid in town who loves to Scoot. In this case, Scoot is a sport where people ride scooters while doing tricks and shooting out colors to paint the park. You'll be able to customize your character and pick which colors you feel like using while scooting. It's not super in-depth, but it's nice enough that the options are available.
After this, you enter the hub world. This serves as a place to practice tricks and get used to the mechanics. Much to my surprise, the game played closest to Skate. You would launch yourself off of ramps and flick the right stick in directions to perform tricks. If you're not interested in using the right stick, there's also the option to use the face buttons to do the same tricks. Either way, performing a trick fills your boost meter and flings colors in random directions. The better the trick, and the bigger the combo, the more paint you fling.
You want to at least be a little strategic over where you perform your tricks. Doing so in specific spots can activate features around the level that can further assist you. For example, one area I saw had a switch that, depending on what color it was, would cause a fountain in the middle of the level to spew that color. It's a smart way to make the game more than doing kickflips down a straight line. This is especially useful for the color frenzy mode, where you try to have as much of the map as possible covered in your color. This appears to be the game's main mode, though I was also told there's a zombie tag mode where you have to avoid zombies. However, I did not get to see this mode.
I then got a quick glance at the game world. There are three different worlds in Crayola Scoot, which are then broken into 4 maps each. There are 48 challenges available for single player, though you can also play the game online or in local co-op.
We then moved into the final part of the demo, which is showing off a challenge from a legend. I was told that these serve as the game's boss fights and that you'll defeat them to advance. How do you defeat them? By playing a game of Horse, of course. Well, in this case, it uses the letters S-C-O-O-T, but it's the same in theory. First, the legend does tricks, and then you have a limited time to do a combo that scores more points than theirs. Fail, and you get a letter. Succeed, and they get one. Once someone has all five letters they lose. It's a cute way to have a "fight", though I'll admit it seems a little weird to put the entire painting/coloring segment of the game on hold for this.
Similar to Adventure Time, I mostly saw the demo on the Xbox but got a quick look at the Nintendo Switch version. Also similar, they're the same games, look nearly identical, and the Switch version has longer load times.
I thought Crayola Scoot would be a weird budget game cashing in on the brand. Instead, I found a surprisingly delightful genre mash-up. It's not perfect, and it's clearly aiming for a younger audience, but I was still entertained by a mash-up I never knew I wanted.
Crayola Scoot will be launching October 23rd on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.