This week we examine a game that designs gruesome executions and another that charms the player with 8-bit level design.

Gears of War 3

Gears of War 3 The swan song of the series, Gears of War 3 opens up with a bang. Sending the player into the dreamscape of Marcus Fenix, players are introduced to the power and the beauty of Epic's latest version of Unreal Engine 3. Fans of Gears of War will already be familiar with the game's established weapon mechanics and cover-based gameplay. The action is a little faster this time around and provides new weapons for players to tear into the Locust horde. Other additions include a 4 player co-op campaign, a vastly overhauled multiplayer system, an improved Horde mode, and the introduction of Beast mode. Beast mode is easily the most exciting addition to the series. Here, players take control of different Locust beasties in attempt to fight through 12 waves of COG soldiers and civilians. The more kills you rack up the more beasties you can unlock to play. This reversal of Horde mode is an excellent addition to an already over-packed gameplay experience. (Wikipedia)

GD Highlights
• Active Reload mechanic that offers a damage bonus
• 4 player co-op campaign
• Over-the-top weapon executions
• Cover based, third person view action game
• Rewarding and expansive multiplayer experience
• Horde and Beast gameplay modes


VVVVVV You've just been dropped into an 8-bit alternate dimension of gravity flippin' madness. You are Captain Viridian, and when your spaceship crew becomes lost it's your task to find them all. It won't be easy, as you'll encounter many difficult areas that will test your reflexes. Did I mention that you can't jump? Luckily, Captain Viridian is equipped with the ability to flip gravity up and down to allow him to move around troublesome obstacles. There are plenty of checkpoints along the way, which is a major hint that you need to prepare to die (a lot). The open-world (a la, Metroid) feel is especially inviting, allowing you to explore the game at your own pace. The chiptune music complements the game extremely well and should help ease your tension as you die for the 50th time on the same spike. Though the game is especially short, that doesn't necessarily take away from its charm. (Wikipedia)

GD Highlights
• Flip gravity to overcome obstacles
• Chiptune music
• 20 "Trinkets" to Discover to encourage exploration
• Old school 8-bit Graphics