Nova-111 (PS4)

In space, no one can hear you bump into everything.

Nova-111I gave this PS+ free rental a try despite everything I’d heard about it (which admittedly wasn’t much) not being too positive. Dull, was the takeaway message from various forum posts, I think. It surprised me, then, when it wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I think it’s really rather good. It’s a bit unusual, being a sort of turn-based strategy exploration game with some real-time elements and not a lot of strategy. And you’ve only one “unit”, unlike more RTSes.

You explore a planet, looking for lost scientists, lighting up dark areas of the map as you progress, and bumping into everything along the way. Rock needs breaking? Bump into it. That wall might be a secret passage? Bump into it. Need to kill an enemy? Bump into it. Switch need, er, switching? Bump into it. Power-up container? Bu–you get the idea.

Nova-111Soon you pick up a laser which needs to recharge after so many moves, and a phase shifter that lets you jump through one square, and bombs that freeze baddies, and most levels throw a new type of enemy at you. Some just head for you one square at a time, others zoom across the screen, some grab you from afar with tentacles, and others shoot glowing doughnuts at you. It’s quite funny too, with the things the scientists say and some weird mole creature that randomly pops up to say nonsense.

I’ve no idea how long it is, and although I can say I’ve reached the area that seems to be a laboratory, I can’t say how far in that is either.

Bayonetta (Wii U)

Tentacles? Why did it have to be tentacles?

Manneken Pis
Um. What.

There’s a plot? Well obviously there is a plot about Bayonetta somehow losing her memory then meeting Jeanne and realising she has something to do with her past, but apparently there’s a lot more to it than that. Firstly there’s the guy she keeps calling Cheshire who can’t always see her (something about there being three dimensions that are laid on top of each other that Bayonetta can travel between yada yada), who says she killed his parents and then some little girl (with magic dimension-crossing glasses on) turns up and starts calling her Mummy? I have no idea what’s going on with the story.

Or with the fighting most of the time, truth be told. I’ve tried doing the combo training during the loading sections, but I don’t understand what a white dot in the combo chain means, and I’m not sure why when I press Punch Punch Punch Punch Punch I actually get a Punch Punch Punch Punch Kick combo. Who knows? It doesn’t seem to matter.

Motorbike
It’s just like that bit in Grease 2.

There was a level on the world’s longest road (it reminds me of that terrible driving level on Sonic Adventure 2, actually) which I rode a motorbike. It was quite good fun, sliding under closing fire doors in the tunnels and jumping exploding tankers and doing loop-the-loops up and around bridges, but it went on. And on and on and on. Forever, or at least an approximation of it. Finally I blacked out or something and when I came to I was on the next level.

Some interesting boss fights have occurred, including a giant ball with loads of heads and those heads have tentacles coming out of their mouths. As you do. There have been a few platforming sections as well, which were a mixed bag, and for some reason I ended up in Vigrid yet again. And supposedly Nintendo are the kings of asset reuse.

Victoria
Victoria from Life is Strange makes an ill-fitting cameo.

Still, it is a lot of fun. The bonkers fighting and guns and the over the top punishments and demon executions are excellent and some parts of the game look utterly gorgeous. I have, however, been warned the final boss is a bit of a git though, and as such you will have to wait for a proper judgement.

Lego Jurassic World (PS4)

We have now 85% completed Lego Jurassic World. We’ve managed to pick up all of the red bricks, all the races, rescued all the workers, completed everything on all four game maps, and have most of the amber bricks within the levels. All the vehicles are unlocked, almost all the characters and dinosaurs are unlocked, and we “just” have to work through all the levels again mopping up the last few amber bricks and the majority of the minikits.

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Really itching to get this put to bed now. It’s not that I’m no longer finding it fun, far from it, it’s just that I picked up Lego Lord of the Rings stupidly cheap recently and want to get that done before we can move onto Lego Marvel Avengers, which came out last week.

Lemmings Touch (Vita)

No.

Lemmings Touch
Stupid.

What, you want me to expand on that? Erm. I’ll try: Lemmings Touch utterly ruins how Lemmings works by reversing the order you command your lemmings. In the proper, unbroken and excellent games, you click on what you want a lemming to do, then click on one or more lemmings to do that task or become that sort of lemming. It’s intuitive and it works. In this game, you tap on a lemming then a circle of options comes up and choose what you want that lemming to do. It means that for every lemming you want to make a climber, you have to tap the lemming then the climber icon. What’s the difference? Try making ten of them climbers.

Then they added evil lemmings to the game, which you have to prevent from getting to the exit.

Lemmings Touch
Or don’t bother, and go and play a different game instead.

Look, it’s just rubbish, OK? And it was a day late on PS+. Burn it.

Bayonetta (Wii U)

There are a lot of cut scenes in this, aren’t there? I’m almost certain more time is spent watching the game than playing it, and it isn’t all just so you get gratuitous bum shots without all that silly fighting. I say silly fighting, but it’s obviously very good fighting – there just hasn’t yet been enough of it. Maybe it isn’t the game I was expecting?

Bayonetta
Axe to see you, to see you, Axe.

That isn’t really a complaint, I should  stress, and I’m enjoying it a lot. It is completely nuts and typical Platinum nonsense. Today I had to outrun a lava flow, kill a two headed dragon in a church, and carry a giant egg timer out of heaven and into the middle of a volcano. As you do. Then I handed in some golden LPs and exchanged them for some guns, which is just like real life.

Oh yes, and I visited Balamory then watched it burn.

What's the story in Balamory, Wouldn't you like to know?
What’s the story in Balamory, Wouldn’t you like to know?

Bayonetta (Wii U)

Bayonetta: Demon Angels. No, really.
Demon Angels. No, really.

I bought this as part of the Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 twin pack ages ago, but never got round to actually playing it. I have played demos of both games in the past, and quite enjoyed them, so I was pretty sure I’d like the full games. A naked Sue Perkins with magic hair with guns on her shoes shooting demons from heaven? What’s not to love?

Bayonetta: Naked Sue Perkins.
Naked Sue Perkins.

I’m not very far in yet. I’ve played the prologue (well, I say “play” – most of it is cutscenes with gratuitous ladybottom-centred camera work, and guns) and then the first level? Chapter? The bit until just after the train station, anyway. The fighting is fluid and intuitive, with virtually any button combination seemingly being a pre-programmed fighting combo. Aside from watching for the “tells” necessary in order to dodge, mashing A and X seems almost as good as actually doing the punching and kicking properly.

Bayonetta: Literally kicking bottom
Literally kicking bottom.

Apart from that, the graphics look really good and the music is astounding (I loved Magical Sound Shower kicking in when in the car) and it’s really a lot of mostly mindless fun. Apart from the almost-puzzles which require a sliver of thought, of course.

Hatoful Boyfriend (Vita): COMPLETED!

tumblr_o1tnzmdqoj1svmpf2o1_1280When I looked up how long a game this is, I read it took about 8 hours to finish. So imagine my surprise when I reached the end credits in about 50 minutes.

Afterwards, it became clear that I got just one of many endings. Presumably my choices affect which bird I end up becoming close to, and since I spent all my time choosing the library, I got Nageki’s ending. Nageki who was… a ghost. WoooOOOO! Oh, spoiler. Sorry.

tumblr_o1tnz2bg5k1svmpf2o1_1280Yes, I was “getting close to” birds. Mostly pigeons. In school. And no, I wasn’t a bird as well – I was a human girl who lived in a cave and considered themselves a hunter-gatherer. Look, I didn’t come up with the game’s concept and quite clearly whoever did was dropped on their head as a child because even within the bizarre realm that is Japanese dating sims, Hatoful Boyfriend is elephant grade nuts.

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I expect I will play it again for other endings. Because I happen to like elephant grade nuts.

Thomas Was Alone: Benjamin’s Flight (Vita): COMPLETED!

image It has to be said that there were two things harder than the actual game itself, but related to the game itself. Number one: actually getting the damn game to load. I had to download the Benji DLC again, restart the Vita, and sacrifice several virgin goats just to get as far as the menu screen. Number two: actually figuring out how to play the DLC. Turns out you have to choose to replay a scenario and then pick Episode 10. Which isn’t listed as Benji DLC. Ho hum.

imageOnce in the game, it’s short and sweet with an abrupt ending that made me think I was missing some more levels. Not that it really matters.

Benjamin adds a jetpack ability, making his levels a bit faster and floaty than in the main game. It also seemed to make things a lot easier, and I rattled through the lot in just over half an hour. Not including problems with getting the game loaded and restarting from two crashes. Anyway, it was worth the 60p or whatever it was I paid.

Grim Fandango Remastered (PS4/Vita): COMPLETED!

Interest started to wane the closer to the end I got. Puzzles continued to make less and less sense, and even the interest with following the plot was becoming difficult as it was taking longer and longer to solve the puzzles so the story was frequently put into stasis for long periods.

By the end it had become so drawn out I’d forgotten half the characters and the secretary, Meche and the woman from the hipster club all blurred into one. Then Celso appeared and confused me further. What I’m trying to say, is either have the great, funny story and a simpler or less difficult route to progress it, or stick with convoluted and obtuse puzzles and have an easier or more straightforward storyline. Or something.

Things were hampered further by playing the final year or two of the game on my Vita, where it crashed frequently leaving me stuck in scenery or completely kicking me out of the game. On another occasion I was supposed to pick up a grinder with a hand in it, but it wouldn’t let me until I’d quit the game and reloaded an earlier save. I’d also put down the Vita’s smaller, lower res screen (compared to the PS4, I mean) as cause of much annoyance when searching for a body in a meadow in the final section of the game – you can’t see a thing as everything is too small – but since I’d already had similar problems earlier on the PS4 (the sign in the wood bit) I can’t.

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Items generally were fiddly to deal with. There was no way of accurately “activating” scenery, so often looking for items or clues turned into a Duke Nukem secret room style search, only without the HNGH HNGH WHERE IS IT. It was so easy to miss things, even when I was being helped (I didn’t use a guide, but did have a hint FAQ and Twitter at my disposal) simply because things were virtually invisible or you had to be pixel perfect to use them correctly.  Could I not cut a rope with my scythe because I’m in the wrong place? Or I can but not yet? Or it isn’t time yet? That sort of thing. Even objects you’d managed to pick up were a pain to choose from your inventory as you have to cycle through them all in what appears to be random, and ever changing, order one at a time.

tumblr_o1s0jhbhcz1svmpf2o1_1280I suppose back in the late 90s on original release this interface and 3D graphics style were still in their infancy, and later similar games rectified things a little, but for a game almost universally acclaimed as a classic falls way short simply because of the unnecessarily clunky interface – ironically an interface that seems designed to do away with the unnecessarily clunky interface of earlier titles like Monkey Island with its verb/noun point and click system. It’s a shame they didn’t improve the input method when they improved the graphics for the Remastered version. Oh wait! They barely did that either. Aside from being slightly less jagged and with altered – but not necessarily better  – lighting, the different between old and new is barely perceptible. In fact, at one point I’d been playing it for over an hour after accidentally putting it on “classic” mode before I realised.

Still it was funny, and I did, mostly, enjoy it. I just can’t help but feel a bit disappointed that it’s nowhere near as fantastic as I’d been led to believe. Shame.

Grim Fandango Remastered (PS4)

_t__PS4share_httpst.coXWnvZYbI75Well, Rubacava was annoying. I had two main issues: the first was the disjointed way all the locations fit together (meaning I kept getting lost), and the second was how the hell was I supposed to know there were two ticket booths that look identical but one is sort of hidden and you can only progress if you use that one. Gah!

Some of the puzzles I nailed just fine, but others were frustrating in that I knew the solution but the chain of events to solve it I kept doing out of order. Some were totally random, like locking the waiter in the cupboard, and there’s no way in hell I’d have figured out the forklift in the lift solution without help from Twitter. Thanks Twitter!

_t__PS4share_httpst.coJfBmjnjqltAnyway, I’m done with that place, and after a trip in a boat (with a fun anchor puzzle) and some wandering around underwater, I’ve finally caught up with Meche! Although things are not going as well as I’d hoped, not least because Domino has apparently murdered Glottis. Boo!

If you want to catch up with my playthroughs, I’ve a couple of videos here (so you can see for yourself how lost I got):

Lego Jurassic World (PS4)

_t__PS4share_httpst.copS3N483GWlAnd still we continue with this! Almost 70% complete now, with most of the red bricks and amber bricks collected, and all bar about 6 characters to be unlocked. We came across both the Aviary and the Mosasaurus tank recently, when we’d somehow totally missed them before. That meant we then has to go and find some actual pterosaurs and a Mosasaurus to make use of them, though.

Much of what is left is now redoing all the levels and picking up what we couldn’t before as we didn’t have the necessary character or dinosaur. Hopefully we’ve enough of them now so we don’t need to keep re-redoing levels!

Batman Returns (Lynx): COMPLETED!

tumblr_o1gvmhnl6y1svmpf2o1_1280What a pile of utter tripe. A game that on the face of it looks a bit like the original Batman on the Megadrive (which was actually pretty good), but is actually nothing of the sort.

In this game, Batman moves from left to right failing to avoid enemies and their attacks because it impossible to dodge them all. Sometimes he’ll fall in a hole because of this, and it’ll be Game Over. That’s right – you have a single life, and if you fall in a hole it’s instant death and you start the entire game all over again. Utter nonsense.

tumblr_o1gvlaq3ue1svmpf2o1_1280You can’t even bide your time and take baddies out when you’re able to avoid their guns or bombs or rockets or whatever, as they constantly respawn and crowd you. The game is impossible.

Thankfully, there’s a level skip cheat that I employed to save having to play the whole thing again every time I died. I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned it’s a missing Continue option.

Puzzle & Dragons Z (3DS)

tumblr_nzddm7kqik1svmpf2o1_400I’ve posted a little about this before, but not for a while. I’ve haven’t stopped playing, it’s just… there’s been some repetition. For much of the game there isn’t a great deal of grinding, although perhaps I’ve been lucky and just levelled up the most suitable of my dragons by random chance. Then I reached the end of game boss, and whereas almost every other enemy in the game can be wiped out in just a couple of turns by my main dragon team, the final foe is impossible.

Literally impossible. I can barely even register a hit on any of his five heads, let alone deal much damage to his core (that’s if I even get as far as him exposing it), and so it’s off to the grind trail to find some more suitable dragons (or rather, the jigsaw piece drops necessary to evolve my current dragons into them) then spend many, many hours levelling up. Joy.

tumblr_nzddmfmnyg1svmpf2o1_400Although actually, it isn’t that bad. The puzzle matching mechanic of the game remains fun in a way normal RPG fights wouldn’t after 20 hours of grinding. That’s not a throwaway number, by the way, that’s how long I’ve spent grinding so far, just for the the final boss. I’ve not even assembled the full team yet either, never mind near level 99 with them. There’s a long way to go yet, and I’m 60-odd hours in as it is.

And then there’s the Mario themed version of the game to start!

Grim Fandango Remastered (PS4)

_t__PS4share_httpst.cokFBsL5Np0lHmm. Look, I’m really, really trying to like the game. I do, I think. But it keeps doing things that are awkward or unintuitive or just rubbish and I’m wondering if the story and the humour are the only reasons I’m still playing.

Good things from today’s session were the pigeon and teeth puzzles. Not too obvious, but both made sense and I managed them without help. With that I was able to leave the town and ended up in the forest.

There was a terrible puzzle in the forest, which involved moving a sign. The main problem with this puzzle being, well, this:

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Can you see what is going on? Or where I’ve put the sign? Or even where I am? No, I’m not the car. The sign is literally invisible. Once you put it down, you can’t see it any more and you have to remember where it is as you have to repeatedly put it down in different places.

After that, there’s a puzzle on a bony bridge which was a little vague (you have to extinguish flaming beavers – no really – but often your extinguisher does nothing to them, squirting through them) and now I’m in some sort of port town. Onward!

Grim Fandango Remastered (PS4)

Grim Fandango Remastered
Manny isn’t allowed to drive.

I never played Grim Fandango back in the day. I’m pretty sure I’d have enjoyed it then, as I liked Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion and those sorts of things, but for some reason it passed me by. It was, however, recently on PS+ so I’ve given it a go.

At least, I’ve tried to give it a go. I’m not sure if I’ve lost my touch or something, but I quickly got very lost. I had no idea what to do, or, once I’d figured out my goal, how to do it. The receptionist told me to get in my car, but the only car I could find (in front of the building) was not able to be used. There were a handful of locations I could explore, but I couldn’t find anything much to do in any of them.

Grim Fandango Remastered
The Land of the Living is a strange place indeed.

I did enjoy all the dialogue, and I love the setting and the characters, but I’m already concerned I’m going to keep getting stuck like this. Thankfully, I found a door I’d missed that led me into a new area and I managed to progress the story a bit more before I rhetorically threw the game in the bin. I did get stuck a bit more after that, but a couple of people on Twitter assisted when I moaned I was unable to figure out what to do next.

Grim Fandango Remastered
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

For now, I’m going to persevere with Grim Fandango. There is a lot to like here, and hopefully that will continue and will be enough to keep obtuse puzzle solving agony at bay.