Finally beat Cave Story after battling the final set of four bosses for over three hours. They don’t make games like they used to; this was only one of three games over the past few years that actually required some sort of skill (the others being Donkey Kong Country Returns and Rayman Origins (of course with Rayman it was because of a stupid bug that I replayed this level repeatedly).
In any case, I was on the verge of giving up. My tolerance for unforgiving games has definitely gone down over the years, but I’m happy to have beaten this. The game is pretty unforgiving to first time players who do minimal GameFAQing: I didn’t get the best weapons in the game and also forgot to exchange my Mimiga mask back for my booster, which I think would have made the core a lot easier. Had 60 Health and 30 Missiles heading into the last bosses.
Just some notes for my future self if I ever try to pick this up again to get the best ending (very unlikely): Misery: use the machine gun, keep moving. Don’t worry too much about bats or spinning barriers, since they only do -2 damage. First doctor: stay as close as possible so you can jump over the red wavy shots, machine gun works fine. Second doctor: use missiles, watch out for him jumping and dashing. Core: beat Sue/fill up on missiles, beat Misery, use the cloud platforms to get close enough to deal damage with the swords, then switch to missiles when the Core starts shooting those huge laser balls towards the end. Also don’t forget about the life potion. I had completely forgotten that I had it.
It’s still cool to see how a game like this forces you to get better. I went from losing nearly all of my health on the first Misery to losing 2 on the last couple of playthroughs.
Unfortunately it’s hard to find time for gaming (or anything else) with a full-time job and a kid. But I’ve managed to squeeze in a few hours here and there.
The Unfinished Swan: The first 10 minutes are as creative as any game I’ve played, and I really enjoyed this game. It plays out as a children’s storybook. I don’t want to give anything away here, but this is definitely worth a play-through; I liked it better than Journey, which I’m guessing puts me in the minority.
Mighty Switch Force: Played this over the Christmas holiday and really enjoyed the challenge. It’s a puzzle-platformer with a lot of cool twists. In theory you can finish a level in a minute or two, but good luck with that.
Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack: Fun, cute, short. Katamari-style eat everything with some cool game mechanics, and a ton of personality.
The Cave: Old-school LucasArts-adventure-style game set in a talking cave. The puzzles are cute. Unfortunately you have to play through the game multiple times to see all of the endings (there are 7 characters and you take 3 each time). I’m on my second play-through, and I’m already getting annoyed at having to re-do the common puzzles (each character has their own ‘level’ in the game, but there are a few common areas). If you’re pressed for time, skip the Monk. I found his level really boring.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Ok, this isn’t a short one. My last save file clocks in at 39:59, and it took me about 14 months to complete. But at the end, I was really sad that it was over. The story and cutscenes are stronger than in any previous Zelda game, and this is one of the few games that makes use of the Wii’s motion controls in an effective way. The dungeons are gorgeous. Wish that the targeting could have been better and that they cut the weird running mechanic, but overall this may be my 2nd favorite Zelda game (after LTTP).
Camille’s sleep schedule has been a bit erratic over the holidays, so we still need to be vigilant about going to sleep at a reasonable hour – at least on most nights. Over the past month or so I’ve been kept up past our bedtime to play a couple of games – Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii) and Heavy Rain (PS3). Both were totally engrossing in their own way, and I’ve gotten enough of a gaming fix to last me for a while.
Donkey Kong Once you die 8 times in a level a pig shows up and asks you whether you want to skip the level. He mocks you by waving a little white flag. I’m happy to report that I beat the levels myself but saw the stupid pig a handful of times. I hate that they didn’t include a non-motion-controlled option because that would have saved me a lot of frustration. Other than that, this game is fantastic and unforgiving, even if you don’t try to collect all the hidden stuff.
Heavy Rain This is more like an interactive movie (with lots of different endings) than a traditional game. If you don’t replay chapters, you basically have one shot at completing each scene – if something ‘bad’ happens you just continue and the events get woven into the storyline. The story is pretty good, the atmosphere is haunting, and the action sequences are intense. There are a lot of mundane activities, like feeding and changing a baby – what happened to video games being an escape? Definitely worth a play-through though.
I haven’t played a game as engrossing as Batman: Arkham Asylum in a very long time. I stayed up until 3am Friday night playing it and finished it up starting at 830am this morning. It’s a phenomenal game, kind of Metroid-vania-ish in nature.
The game is really immersive. The graphics are phenomenal and the controls make it really easy to pull off lots of different maneuvers. You never panic when facing hoards of enemies because everything feels really natural. All of the locales are distinct and rich. The gadgets are really fun (and useful). The story is good enough to stand on its own. For once I actually feel motivated to collect bonuses because some of them are really interesting (like interviews with some of the villains).
Minor complaints: boss battles can be a bit easy/simplistic, and the game is a bit too helpful at times when giving hints. The sewer level is annoying (though most games have many more annoying parts than this one does). It’s also a bit on the easy side, but I didn’t mind since I was too busy exploring and being a badass superhero. Also I want to drive the Batmobile.
Before playing this, I was worried that I was outgrowing video games. I was also worried that I’d never really be impressed by the PS3. Batman changed all that.
A few days ago we bought Mega Man 9 from tne online Nintendo store. It’s a brand new Mega Man game done NES-style, and, though difficult, it’s amazing. I’ve forgotten how satisfying it is to replay a level over and over until you’ve perfected it. Cy and I have probably logged 4-5 hours and have beaten five of the bosses, and we savor each sweet victory (especially the ones that come with one remaining sliver of life).
I do think it’s kind of cheap that you can buy as many energy tanks as you want. I clearly remember there being four in all of Mega Man 2, and that I hoarded them until the very, very end. I’m willing to overlook this because the second I picked up the controller I was instantly transported back to my 10-year-old self.
Available for XBox360 and PS3 too. What are you waiting for?
I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon playing through the first world of Zack and Wiki. It’s definitely got a kiddy-feel to it, with colorful cartoony graphics and cutesy bunny pirates (the Sea Rabbits), but the point-and-click-style puzzles are solid and immensely satisfying. Everything you need to make progress is there, usually staring you straight in the face. Using items in the game usually involves motioning with the controller, and it really draws you into the game. You can die in a variety of gruesome ways, and it’s definitely something to be avoided because you’ll need to restart from the beginning of a stage or be charged a ticket to continue from the point at which you died. Definitely makes you think twice about trying stuff carelessly.
If you are a fan of old Sierra and LucasArts adventure games, Zack and Wiki is well worth checking out.
Over the past year, our Wii didn’t see nearly enough action to justify the 430am Black Friday trek that I made to acquire it. After beating Zelda there wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about. Fortunately, that’s changed over the past few months (Metroid, Guitar Hero) and there’s a lot to look forward to (Mario Galaxy, Mario Kart, Smash Bros.).
One game that’s pretty much guaranteed to be a huge sales failure is Zack and Wiki. Cursed with unrecognizable characters and cheesy cover art, the game has been well-received by reviewers, who are excited about its challenging puzzle-oriented gameplay and great use of the controller. I’ve decided to pick up a copy of the game in support of Capcom because it’s a shame that creativity is not generally rewarded by the gaming public. I’m looking forward to playing it over the next few months.
Way back in April, I received Super Paper Mario as a gift. A part of the Paper Mario series, it depicts the world and characters inside it using 2D paper cut-outs. Paper Mario and Paper Mario 2 were RPGs with some platforming elements; Super Paper Mario is a platformer with some RPG elements. Over the past few months I’ve been playing through it, one or two hours at a time, and I finally finished it last night. It has a lot of charm and some cute ideas, but the lack of challenge made it a lot less enjoyable and satisfying to me.
+ Good gameplay ideas. You can rotate the normal side-scrolling view to get a side view of certain objects, reveal new paths to explore, and dodge enemy attacks.
+ Play as Bowser. He’s the funniest character to join your party, and he also breathes fire.
- Weak use of the controls While I did like the fact that the Wii remote is held like an old-school NES controller, it’s obvious that this was a GameCube title ported over to the Wii.
- Too easy. I can’t recommend this game to anyone who is reasonably good at video games because it just wasn’t hard enough. For much of the game I felt like I was just going through the motions to finish it rather than taking satisfaction in playing it. There are also some parts of the game that just are really boring and pointless (World 6 in particular). I will say that World 8 is quite good in terms of challenge and using the 3rd dimension, but it doesn’t make the game worth playing through.
Overall, quite disappointing. I’d recommend Paper Mario 2 over it, and won’t be coming back to play through this one again. I’m a bit surprised by the high review scores that the game got.
After a long wait, Planet Puzzle League (Panel de Pon, Tetris Attack, Pokemon Puzzle) is finally out. I picked it up (two copies) about a week ago, and I love it so far. Feels a bit strange to be getting so much enjoyment out of a game I’ve played so many times before.
+ Touch screen control is awesome. No more frantically moving the cursor up and down with the D-pad. Just for kicks I tried playing it with the D-pad this evening and it felt really sluggish.
+ Online play. Would have liked Tetris DS-style rankings, but this is good enough. Will probably be playing with people I know for the most part. When playing against friends you have the option of turning voice chat on.
+ It’s the same core gameplay.There’s a great mixture of well-planned attacks, on-demand chaining, and frantically searching for a single match. I think that the best play mechanic is being able to continue to manipulate the game board as a chain propagates (unlike in Puzzle Fighter, Puyo Pop, Bust a Move, etc.). Powerful special items have been added to make the game a lot more interesting and unpredictable, giving you new ways to screw with your opponents.
Meteos-style skins and music. Very reminiscent of this other DS puzzler. Not sure if I like it since I always use red hearts, green squares, yellow stars, blue triangles, and purple diamonds.
- No avatars. I truly miss the Tetris Attack animals and the Pokemon from previous incarnations of this game, especially the sounds that thye made. I also kind of liked the 1P mode of battling different opponents.
- No easy way to refer to the game.“Tetris Attack” and “Pokemon Puzzle” were good names. “Planet Puzzle League” is not, and “PPL” is confusing to people.
When I saw Grant over the holidays, he lent me Excite Truck. This weekend I finally had a chance to sit down and play it. I fired it up while I was waiting for dinner to cook and ended up spending about 3 1/2 hours beating all of the challenges of the main game. My thumbs and fingers were sore from holding down the buttons; when turned on its side, the controller is not that ergonomic, especially on the left side.
+ There’s a good sense of speed. As you race through different areas, the scenery flies by. There’s a nice motion blur when you pick up a turbo boost. Ramming into other cars is satisfying. Getting enough air to jump over stuff is awesome.
+ It’s fun to move your arms wildly. Even though it wasn’t necessary, I found myself making exaggerated motions, especially when trying to turbo-jump off of hills. Tilting the controller back keeps in you the air for longer, so I found myself jerking the controller back upon leaping. I found this to be the most fun way to play.
The graphics aren’t great, and the music is annoying.. I didn’t go through the trouble of putting music on my SD card, so I was stuck listening to the blaring background music.
- Mid-air controls are inconsistent. If you manage to land your truck with all four of its wheels on the ground, you get a speed boost. In theory the orientation of the truck is determined by the orientation of the controller, but at times the truck didn’t seem to respond to my mid-air commands. This could have been better integrated into the “trick system,” which weighs in at a whopping 1 trick – you can spin your truck around while it’s in the air, but it’s done by a specific gesture, not by actually rotating the controller. Would have liked to see more freedom and better sensitivity here.
- No multiplayer. 2P Multiplayer is amusing, but not really compelling.
The game is an interesting and fun diversion. Definitely kept me amused for an evening, still deciding whether I want to go back to try to finish the rest of the game.
« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »