One of my last appointments at E3 was with Majesco, but it certainly wasn't the least, because as we all know, they're home to the Cooking Mama games that we all know and love. And while I saw the latest in that series, plus another spin-off title, there were also other games to check out, including a solid shooter, a bizarre pet sim, and a surprising rebirth for a franchise.
All the deets on the next page!
The first game I was shown was a Kinect title called Take Shape which is due out on October 15. Basically, you use your body to twist yourself into the appropriate shapes depending on the game mode. First I saw someone demonstrating a game that's kind of like reverse Tetris called All Fall Down. You have to move your body into position so it matches the shape to make it disappear from the grid. Then the shapes above fall into place, and you continue doing it until the screen is cleared. There's a two-player mode called Shape Frenzy where you and a friend have to team up to fill shapes like star, butterfly, moose, and whatnot. And naturally, after you're done, the game shows you all the embarrassing photos it took of you and your friend where you look like you're doing unspeakable things to each other. Wall Jam is like that TV game show I can't remember the name of where a wall is coming at you and you have to position yourself into the same shape as the hole in the wall so you can pass through safely. And the last mode is Mirror Mirror, where one player makes a shape that the other one has to match. Honestly, Take Shape skews kind of young, and it didn't look particularly picky about how accurately you're making those shapes with your body, but I can also see it being fun at parties when everyone's had more than a couple!
The 3DS title Pet Zombies is exactly what you think it is. It's a pet simulator with zombies. What, did you think it would be something else with a title like that? Nope, you get your very own pet zombie to take care of... or torture, if that's more your speed. There's both a nurture and torture meter, so you can make your zombie into a calm tranquil dead dude or a feral monster. While there are five mini-games to play with your pet (including a kind of Zombie Angry Birds) to earn money to buy stuff for your zombie, it's mostly props, as the customization is sadly minimal. Just the level of decay and the color of the clothes. But we'll see how much variety is provided in the final game. You can use the 3DS StreetPass feature to trade items, and you can have up to six pet zombies. It's a weird little game, and while I tried to get the zombie in the demo to play with a severed arm, he seemed much more intent on playing Solid Snake with an empty cardboard box. Seriously, I tried taking the box away from him, and he got really upset. It's bizarre. But it might just be so bizarre it's awesome. Oh, and they're hoping to get Pet Zombies in stores for Halloween... obviously!
Mama makes her way onto the 3DS with Cooking Mama 4, due out in October. Unfortunately, because the action in these games takes place on the touch screen, the 3D on the top screen is minimal. Very minimal. Although they have created something they're calling "Happy Accidents," where they encourage you to screw up the recipe so things happen like a burger flips out of control and goes right up in your face. They are taking advantage of the 3DS's gyroscope so they can combine the DS and Wii controls from earlier games. You know, you can tilt the 3DS to tilt the frying pan and move the pat of butter around... or flip the system to flip with a spatula. There will be 60 new recipes, and some will be whimsical ones that are somewhat less realistic than others. And of course, there will be kitchen-themed mini-games.
Then there's another spin-off to the Mama series with the DS game Camping Mama. This time, Mama and Papa take their kids camping, and you will instead play the son or the daughter in a series of over 100 mini-games through 38 different levels. They've designed this one to be a much longer game than the traditional Cooking Mama. There's some cooking, crafting, and whatever else they can think of to have you do in the woods. Look out for the poison ivy!
I was taken by surprise by the next game on the shelf, which was the 3DS shooter Nano Assault. Part of the Nanostray series, this game looks absolutely beautiful. Honestly, I was super impressed, and not just because I was coming off of Cooking Mama 4's flat 3D effects. The graphics are lovely and detailed, and the 3D is kind of spectacular. There were two modes I played in the demo. One had me controlling the ship as I navigated around a spherical cell Mario Galaxy-style as I blasted the viruses. The other was a more traditional 3D shooter as you shoot your way through obstacle- and enemy-filled tunnels. Honestly, this game looks pretty awesome, and I don't even like shooters. I would probably suck at it, but for you shooter fans out there with a 3DS, this should definitely be on your radar!
A much less impressive 3DS title was Jaws: Ultimate Predator. You're the titular shark from the movie, and you're tasked with various missions that entail the usual shark kind of actions. You know, like eat five people and destroy three fishing boats. Just a typical day, really. While it's a tie-in to the film license, and the original score is included, this version of Amity Island doesn't look like much to write home about yet. It looked bad and controlled worse. I was trying to eat a person floating in the water, but kept shooting right past them, so I was instructed to hold down a button to slow my swimming. Huh? Why would you hold down a button to slow down? Shouldn't you have to press a button to speed up? Maybe because sharks aren't supposed to stop moving? Either way, it was unintuitive, and I finally gave up and let the swimmer live another day. It was a very early build, so they may sharpen up the graphics and refine the controls before its release this fall. I mean, they didn't even have any screenshots, which is why you're looking at a packshot.
Face Racers will be the first kart racing title to hit the 3DS, launching in September before Mario Kart. It's a typically cartoony kart racer, but the twist here is that you use the 3DS camera to take photos of your face and customize your racer with it. You take four pictures: normal, happy, mad and upset, so you're covered whether your racer is winning or losing. You can also customize the hair, accessories and wardrobe. The demos kept crashing, so I wasn't able to see an actual race, but I would expect the usual crazy courses and power-ups.
In the back corner of the room was the surprise revival of a somewhat forgotten franchise, BloodRayne: Betrayal. Coming to PSN and XBLA in August, this is a spectacular 2D action platformer from Wayforward. Using an anime style complete with word balloon dialogue, it's like a comic book come to life. And the animation flows like butter. Through five different environments, you will face off against five bosses and their underlings over the course of 15 chapters. You have to avoid sunlight (or UV lights), battle enemies with your blades and suck their blood to replenish your heath. Or, if you'd prefer, don't drink 'em dry, and instead infect them so that a few seconds later, they explode in a juicy mess, taking out other nearby enemies! And despite the super gory action, the game still got itself a Teen rating! (The developers were just as surprised as I was.)