Tag Archives: Groundhog Day with bombs

REVIEW: City Tuesday

Having been affectionately refering to it as ‘Groundhog Day with bombs‘ for the past year-plus, City Tuesday (80 MSP) marks one of my more anticipated Uprising releases. Its originality doesn’t peak at the black & white art and stickmen, opting for story and gameplay elements that venture past the indie comfort zone.

As the man in the red shirt, you’re out to stop a terrorist group that’s bent on bombing heavily-populated areas throughout the city, hidden behind or within simple to moderate puzzle situations. That group, called the Black Fang, is never given any backstory or reason for its ‘some men just want to watch the world burn’ attitude. Though for a lawless sort, they do have a lot of rules to abide by (over a hundred, at least).

That same lack of context applies to you, the supposed protagonist. Forget how you caught wind of the plot and insist on stopping it yourself, why are you reliving the same day and able to fast-forward it, the same few minutes, Bill Murray / Jake Gyllenhaal-style? And as an added gift (time-travel and immortality not enough?) you can read the minds of those around you, gleaning personality quirks and personal details that factor into the puzzles and give insight into the daily schedules (also of importance) of the populace. The bombs you’ve disarmed during a day stay so on subsequent runs, and failure (sometimes the only way to advance) or not, you’re as good as new each time, not a scratch on you, not a dent in the fender.

Using the frozen-in-time Vignelli Station as a sort of hub level, you can branch out to a further three areas. The world map is slickly-represented as a series of subway stops. Ridding each ‘line’ of its explosives extends a bridge at Vignelli Station by one length, getting you closer to reaching the ‘big bomb’ and clearing up the surrounding mystery. After the tutorial level in the museum, followed by a slightly longer level that also eases you into the flow of the game and the concepts of its puzzles, you’re given the promise of a huge city to explore (well, medium-sized), and set out to disarm the rest of the bombs.

You see, kids, before Blu-ray and streaming video…

This final section of the game is much larger and diverse than the previous two primers. It open its petals slowly to reveal a layered puzzle with interesting routes you’ll need to learn and follow to achieve your goals. It’s fun and necessary, watching for the patterns and observing the events from different angles, even seeing the intersecting paths of some of the bombs and knowing you’ll be following up that lead the next (same) day. Given the terrorists’ actions and your bizarre circumstances, you’re intrigued and getting settled in for a deeper adventure. Yet after a few more mind-reads and defusings, it just ends without explanation, in an odd and anti-climatic fashion to boot.

Truth be told, I was expecting a lot more from it after the long run-up to its release, but City Tuesday earns its dollar price tag despite the short playtime (certainly under a half-hour for most players) and pedestrian use of its unique premise and art, but just barely. A sequel is teased, or is seemed to, in the denouement. Here’s to hoping for an extended story that builds on the bedrock of this city and trusts its players with a little more responsibility and ingenuity.

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Review on The Indie Ocean

Review on Indie Gamer Chick

Review on Clearance Bin Review

Review on The Indie Mine

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Prelude to the Uprising: City Tuesday

I have to go all the way back to June of last year, for Nate’s round-up of news at Gear-Fish, to recall my ‘love at first sight’ moment with the artsy, mostly black & white City Tuesday, the first game from developer Chris Zukowski. The game made eye contact with me, I looked away, shy, a bit awkward, but eventually found the courage to walk up and watch the trailer. I was hooked from that moment. The idea of a ‘Groundhog Day with bombs’ has stayed with me since.

In City Tuesday  you play a man who is stuck reliving the same five minutes before a terrorist attack. You must learn from the city’s residents and the environment where the bombs are stashed and diffuse them before time is up.

Learning the layout of the city and its inhabitants seems prohibitive, though the trick here, as the game implies, is that you will need to fail at stopping these attacks multiple times in order to eventually succeed, and that solution probably won’t be as black & white as its look. The five minute timer doesn’t afford much in the way of sightseeing either, even though I’m sure I’ll stop to take in the scenery; I’ve come too far with City Tuesday to want to finish it quickly. It’s good to see it finally entering the home stretch, after a year+ of (somewhat) patiently waiting.

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City Tuesday will be released on September 18th.

Interview at Clearance Bin Review

Preview at Clearance Bin Review