Deadly Tower of Monsters Vs. Evolve

So this game was recently announced from Ace Team:

It looks great to me.  Ace Team is one of the more interesting developers making medium-sized games.  Even though you can usually spot their work, they tend to use a different art style and try a different genre every time: art nouveau for Abyss Odyssey, Monty Python for Rock of Ages, I-don’t-even-know for Zeno Clash, and now pulpy 50’s and 60’s scifi movies for Deadly Tower of Monsters.  By the trailer it looks like they’re taking advantage of every aspect of that style: a robot like Robby, bosses realized in pseudo-Dynamation, and narration in the form of eccentric director’s commentary. It’s perfect.

The real reason I’m writing this though is to compare Deadly Tower of Monsters to the game Evolve.  You might wonder why I think there’s any connection between the announced top-down game and the asymmetrical multiplayer shooter that is Evolve.  Simply put, Evolve should have been smart enough to have DTOM’s art style.

As Evolve exists now it looks like a gritty dark scifi monster movie from 2003, somewhere in Pitch Black or The Cave territory.  You might remember that basically all the movies that fall into that category are bad and do not even feature memorable monsters.  Evolve has the same problem: the goliath is just a rancor, the kraken is your standard tentacle beast, and the wraith suffers from the unnecessary extra limbs most bland modern monsters have (see Super 8, Cloverfield, After Earth, and Godzilla).  While Evolve has many other problems (I think the main source of their failure is their abysmal business model), the game would no doubt be more memorable as an homage to cheesy cinema.

Imagine its hunters with ray guns jetpacking around matte painting backgrounds.  Picture a multi-headed monster flailing around with patches of fur twitching from the imaginary fingers that touched it between frames.  The monsters could have names like the beast from 500 light-years, macabrasaurus, or the gargantuan concubine!  All it has now is a pile of warty screeching blobs.

Developers need to understand that a game’s visuals almost have to set them apart from the pack.  Why do Cuphead and Return of the Obra Dinn look so much better than AAA games?

As a final note: imagine Batman: Arkham Knight in the style of Batman: the Animated Series with cel-shading.  It would also be much better.


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