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Video Games Plus is getting a little cartoony this week. We've got Mickey Mouse teaming up with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Sony's colorful new entry into the kart-racing world. And we review the new downloadable Angry Birds variant. But in case you get the impression that we're getting all soft on you, we'll also preview the upcoming installment of Max Payne.
MICKEY GETS EPIC, AGAIN
Mickey Mouse is making another appearance in the video game world, and this time he’ll be in high definition. Disney Interactive recently announced the development of the sequel to the 2010 Wii title “Epic Mickey.” In addition to appearing again on Nintendo’s console, “Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two,” will also be coming to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Gameplay also gets an added dimension: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit will be a playable character. Armed with a powerful remote control that allows him to command electricity, Oswald will team up with Mickey in a return to Wasteland, an alternate world filled with 80 years of forgotten Disney characters and theme park attractions. Once again, Mickey wields his magical paintbrush that allows him to use paint and thinner.
The creators of “Epic Mickey 2” are calling the game “the first video game musical.” Apparently, there will be many points during the adventure where characters will advance the plot through song (with all-original music and lyrics). Players will also hear tunes and instrumentation that change based on their actions, ultimately allowing them to “conduct” their own unique soundtracks.
FIRST IN-DEPTH LOOK AT “MAX” MULTIPLAYER
If you weren’t already excited by the prospect of playing multiplayer in the traditionally single-player world of Max Payne, get ready to be.
Rockstar Studios has released the first in a video series showing off the new multiplayer modes and so far, it looks spectacular. In theory it would be a mess to give all players in a multiplayer match the ability of Bullet Time, which slows time down during gunplay, so the developers have decided to limit it to opponents who are in a line of sight from each other. The video also gives gamers a closer look at Gang Wars, which delivers immersive, story-based rounds of matches using warring factions from the single-player game. New branching storylines in this mode dynamically change objectives based on the outcome of each round.
Meanwhile, a mode called Payne Killer gives players a chance to play as Max Payne and his partner, Raul Passos, in a blend of co-operative and competitive play. Outnumbered by enemies, Max and Passos must band together, fighting off other players and using signature weapons, Bullet Time and painkillers to stay alive. The long awaited “Max Payne 3” launches for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on May 15 in North America.
SACKBOY GOES KARTING
Mario may soon need to check his rearview mirror, because he’s about to get some new karting competition. Sony announced this week that “LittleBigPlanet Karting” is coming to PlayStation 3 later this year. The game is being developed by United Front Games, the team behind “ModNation Racers,” so unsurprisingly the first trailer looks like a combination of “Racers” and “LittleBigPlanet.”
Sackboy looks to be up to his D.I.Y. tricks again, as he’s seen racing in a kart made of cardboard and cork tires. Four-player, split-screen and online multiplayer for up to eight people in races, battles and other modes will be part of the experience and the game will also feature 3-D compatibility. It also appears that there might be boss battles, grappling hooks in cars and 2-D side scrolling levels. Stay tuned for more details.
Angry Birds Space Review
Sit in a crowded bus, train or classroom, and you’re likely to find someone deeply focused on a game of “Angry Birds” on their smartphone. It’s beyond everywhere, and too much of a good thing can be bad. That’s why the nonstop merchandising and news of a movie and a cartoon series has us itching to hit the backlash button on “Angry Birds.”
On the other hand, there’s a reason the game has pecked its way to the top of app store charts. It’s simple fun – just pull back on the slingshot with your touch screen to hurl a disgruntled avian on a collision course towards an evil pig – but difficult to master. It also gets repetitive and tiresome after hundreds of levels, which is why Rovio’s new “Angry Birds Space” thankfully tweaks the formula a bit. There are a couple new bird species to fling and catapulting them completely around the orbit of a planet or through zero-G creates new challenges, even if it also means you’ll be relying on luck a bit more than skill.
If the sight of "Angry Birds" makes you, well, angry, there's nothing here that will change your mind, but fans of the series will no doubt enjoy this one.
For more from Ryan Smith, follow him on Twitter: @RyanSmithWriter