Author Archives: Lucas Matney

Magic Leap One’s first big game is another Angry Birds; here’s what it’s like

Magic Leap promised us a world of dreams, we’re getting Angry Birds.

After about a month in the public spotlight, the Magic Leap One is starting to get its first titles. Rovio and Resolution Games announced publicly today that they will be releasing Angry Birds FPS: First Person Slingshot this fall for the Magic Leap One.

It’s an actual game, not just a little tech demo. I had a chance to play with the soon-to-be-released title and it’s actually pretty refreshing and fun making the futuristic hardware feel a little less alien.

It wasn’t my first bout with Magic Leap’s new hardware, but it was the first time that I truly appreciated what improvements it boasts over headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens.

You could probably beat the 20 levels of Angry Birds FPS in around an hour, but I started fumbling and having to seriously strategize after just a few of them, though like many others I can honestly say I haven’t played an Angry Birds title since I had an iPhone 3GS so it’s been a minute.

That said, the mechanics are pretty familiar in that you’re trying to knock over a little tower of blocks and the green pigs that inhabit their far reaches. What’s unique is that the tower is now stacked on your coffee table that you can approach from any angle and the Magic Leap controller is your slingshot that you can aim a lot more precisely as a result.

The Resolution Games team said that they had previously been experimenting with Microsoft’s headset but it was Magic Leap’s positionally tracked controller that really opened up the headset to develop something like a full gaming title.

It’s kind of interesting that Apple’s main ARKit 2 demo and Magic Leap’s first full title are slingshot games, but I guess you find what works and move from there.

The title isn’t ground-breaking by any means in terms of enabling some sort of futuristic AR use case, but perhaps the most unusual thing about it was how familiar it felt. Part of that is obviously the IP with Angry Birds but it’s also a game that doesn’t ask you to freestyle too much and doesn’t give you a world of options. It felt like a mobile game, if only one that allowed you to visualize the mobile content overlaid on the world in front of you.

You learn to deal with limitations like field-of-view and there does seem to be a lot developers can do to minimize that being the only thing you focus on. It’s kind of bizarre that Magic Leap didn’t actually ship the headset with more content like this because the short demos that came onboard the One Creator’s Edition really didn’t sell it too well. Fortunately, the device is definitely a developer’s edition and it seems that even by the company’s developer conference next month, more content seems to be on the way from partners like Resolution Games and Rovio who have been building this title since January as an early partner of Magic Leap.

Magic Leap One may not be the headset everyone wanted it to be — or what the company told us it would be — but judging by the first big title coming to it, it seems like it gets enough right that developers are going to have a fun time with it even if it is just a labor of love for them right now.

Nintendo finally announces some new games for the Switch

Nintendo is at last (at last!) bringing some new content to the Switch! Yes!

In a Nintendo Direct, the company let fly a number of games and a couple of original titles. The biggest Nintendo-produced titles we had glimpses of are a new Animal Crossing in development for the Switch and Luigi’s Mansion 3.

We learned next to nothing about the new Animal Crossing, other than that it’s coming in 2019, but we did get to see some gameplay from the latest chapter of Luigi’s only titular adventure in the Nintendo world. Luigi’s Mansion 3 seems to follow in the ghost-vacuuming footsteps of its predecessors with the bizarre camera angles and all. It’s also heading to the Switch stage in 2019, setting up a couple of Nintendo titles for us to look forward to next year, possibly alongside Metroid Prime 4 (?).

Other familiar additions to the Switch include a port of the Wii U game New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe coming in January and Yoshi’s Crafted World coming in spring 2019.

Aside from the Nintendo-made titles, fans were served up a big surprise with the announcement that some recent and old-school Final Fantasy titles are coming to the Switch. Final Fantasy VII, IX, X, X-2 HD Remaster and XII are all arriving in 2019.

There are about a dozen other incoming titles (several of which are remasters), including EA SPORTS FIFA 19, Starlink: Battle for Atlas, Diablo III: Eternal Collection, Mega Man 11, Katamari Damacy REROLL and plenty of others that you can jump through in the Direct below.

The Nintendo Switch is a fantastic system, and while it has a lot going for it, I barely have any games to play for it anymore. It’s not all that out of character for Nintendo to delay the hell out of the instant gratification its customers want, but the Switch has had a particularly stuttered content rollout since its launch. Hopefully the company can pick up a little more consistent cadence as it gets more third-party studios onboard.