Pokémon Sun (3DS): COMPLETED!

I am best at cockfighting

That was excellent! Quite a different game to Pokémon Y, although not in the way it is sold: No gyms! No gym leaders! No HMs! No, except trials are almost exact replacements for gyms, captains are virtually the same as gym leaders, and the Ride Pager replaces HMs. Net difference, almost zero.

What’s actually different is how the UI has been improved, with tweaks like being able to immediately put a caught Pokémon in your party. And the streamlined box management, simpler local trading, being able to see move effectiveness (against Pokémon you’ve already fought or have caught) – stuff like that.

Mega Evolutions are gone again, but Z-Moves are really pretty similar replacements. All of the PSS has sadly been stripped out and although the system that is here as an alternative (a mix of the Festival Plaza and Poképelego) is good, it lacks the always-on abilities, Streetpass, and the online web-based games you can play outside of the main game. Since the full announcement of the Nintendo Switch – which doesn’t have Streetpass, but does have a version of Pokémon Sun/Moon coming for it – it’s perhaps clear why this is the case. Anyway. The new features are great for levelling up a load of Pokémon at once so it gets a pass.

As for the game itself, 66 hours is a lot. Not far off twice how long it took to complete Y, in fact, and I’ve not even started the post-game content. I assume there is some (other than just filling the Pokédex), anyway.

SteamWorld Heist (3DS): COMPLETED!

Heist to see you, to see you…

The final third of the game was mostly about voltbots, who had various powers like lasers, teleportation, and cloning. Oh, and shield orb things that hovered near them and had to be destroyed before you could damage the voltbots.

With three of my steambots up to level 9, the final level, with the end boss in it, was actually a walkover. Sure, he kept respawning shield orbs, and magically making other voltbots appear, but provided I stayed away from the lasers (you get a move to, er, move), it was simple. I only took two hits, and one of them was friendly fire!

Completing the game took just over 12 hours, although I do have a few more stars to collect, and I haven’t played many missions in higher difficulties than “regular”. And I’ve New Game+ to get stuck into now too, so still plenty to get on with!

Pokémon Sun (3DS)

I have reached Po Town! Which is a bit grim. Imagine Team Skull were secretly evil Inklings, and it rained all the time. That’s Po Town – dark, covered in paint splatters, and a bit wet.

You even have to pay a dodgy lady who definitely is not Nurse Joy $10 to heal your pokémon! Pff.

SteamWorld Heist (3DS)

In space, no one can hear you rust.

Imagine, if you will, a cross between Worms and X-Com. Only instead of worms and space soldiers, you have steambots, of the sort found in SteamWorld Dig. That’s SteamWorld Heist: A 2D, side-on, turn-based tactical shooter strategy game. And I really should have bought and played it months ago because it is excellent.

steamworld heist

Each level involves you and a few steambots, each with different abilities, entering a ship and taking out the bad robots within. These abilities include being able to wield weapons from various classes, move further each turn, and so on. More abilities unlock as you play, increasing your health, adding secondary shooting modes, or giving you higher critical rates or steadying your aim.

The evil robots are similarly varied, and coupled with fixed gun turrets, exploding red barrels, flammable goo, orbs that provide shielding, and baddie-dispensing spawn points, the levels are pretty diverse. There are boss fights too, with some huge metal goons that, naturally, have way more energy and some unique skills and attacks.

steamworld heist

All these things are great enough on their own, but the game is taken to even higher echelons of awesomeness through the graphic style, the humour, and the levelling system. You’re rewarded for grabbing all the loot stashed around during each mission (in fact doing so is more important than offing the bots), and most levels net you an improved weapon. With each level having a possible score of three or four stars, and you can only obtain all of them by 1) not dying, 2) getting all the loot, and 3) completing the objectives, there’s replayability here too. Even more so when you realise that you can attempt any mission again only on a harder setting to boost the XP bonuses.

steamworld heist

I’ve loved every minute so far, and as I’m just over 2/3rds of the way through (I’m guessing, based on Events In The Game That Would Be Classed As Spoilers), with most stars obtained so far, I’m slightly saddened to think it might all be over sooner rather than later. But wait! There’s DLC! Yay!

Mr. Pumpkin Adventure (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Pumpking of the world!

As this was very cheap in a sale before Christmas, and looked very much like Machinarium would do if drawn by the Links Der Isar chaps.

It’s a point and click puzzle adventure game, with some abstract puzzles, some obvious puzzles, and some multi-part what the hell am I supposed to do here puzzles. Mr. Pumpkin Adventure follows Mr. Pumpkin as he wakes up with amnesia, and has to figure out who he is and why he can’t remember anything. The outcome is very much The Matrix, almost literally, and there are sci-fi references all over the place on the way.

mr. pumpkin adventure

And a giant octopus that wants a Wario hat. Erm.

Look, I’m not doing a very good job of explaining the game because there’s no decent way of doing so. I’ll say this instead: if you liked Machinarium or other, similar games, you’ll love this. It took two or three hours to complete, and was definitely worth the quid or so it cost me.

Lego Dimensions: Sonic the Hedgehog (PS4): COMPLETED!

Toot Toot Plastic Warrior

After a few false starts a few weeks back, where we were unable to progress past Metropolis Zone due to a bug that prevented Eggman from appearing, we had a bug-free playthrough today which allowed us to finish it. And let me say this: it’s bloody awesome.

Visiting Lego versions of Green Hill Zone, Metropolis Zone, the beach from Sonic Adventure, Sonic 2’s Special Stages, Marble Zone and (Sonic’s least favourite) Labyrinth Zone – as well as Chaos appearing – it does a better job of celebrating the Sonic series than Sonic Generations ever did.

sonic the hedgehog

It’s genuinely funny too. Gollum appears at one point, looking for gold rings. Eggman says “Get a load of this!”. Omachao chaosplains how to play (“Fire is hot!”, “Pushing blocks makes them move!”), it’s filled to the brim with egg puns, Amy the Overly Attached Girlfriend, and so on.

The hub world for Sonic is pretty good too, with areas based on Ice Cap, Carnival Night, Sandopolis Zone, and others. There’s even a snowboarding section, and Sonic quotes lines from some of the songs in his games!

It’s funny to think that Traveller’s Tales, who are part of TT Games, who make the Lego titles, actually made Sonic games in the distant past – Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic R were theirs.

And of course, you want to know how this expansion compares to the others, right? Well: Sonic the Hedgehog > Adventure Time > Midway Arcade > Doctor Who > The Simpsons > Ghostbusters > Back to the Future.

Yep. It’s the best. Here’s my playthrough, in case you don’t believe me.

Pokémon Sun (3DS)

I’ve got eight Z-Crystals now, having just beaten Sophocles and the electricity totem. I thought Ground moves were super effective against Electricity type Pokémon? Mine certainly weren’t, rendering my sexy Dugtrio mostly useless. Fire seemed to be the way to go, for some reason!

Lego Dimensions: Ghostbusters (PS4): COMPLETED!

Who do you expect you should likely telephone?

No, not the new film and the (much longer) level pack: this is the original one with Bill Murray in. As with other level packs, this takes an abridged look at the source material. There’s the fight with Slimer in the hotel, some stuff in the streets of New York, and then the face-off with Gozer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

ghostbusters

The only Ghostbuster available (at least, unless you can unlock more in other packs?) is Venkmann, and there are very few places elsewhere in the level where you need to use other characters. In fact, I didn’t even put Batman on the portal. The Ecto-1 physical model is great, even if it doesn’t offer anything you can’t already do with the Batmobile, but the ghost trap does something new: You collect ghosts with Venkmann’s proton pack and then “steer” them into the trap. Just like in the film!

It’s full of audio straight from the source, and there are some funny additions.

Current status: Adventure Time > Midway Arcade > Doctor Who > The Simpsons > Ghostbusters > Back to the Future.

 

Lifeline: Whiteout (iOS): COMPLETED!

No, no Richard Hammond. That’s something else.

Rarely, I play games on my telephone. I used to a lot, back when I got my iPhone 3GS, but these days? Nope. There might well be some good telephone games on the App Store but without recommendations who knows? There’s so much tripe to work through. And, since most people I know, follow, etc. don’t play telephone games either, it’s hard to come across good stuff. Yes, there are sites that review them but I don’t believe them. I’ve had enough of “experts”.

lifeline: whiteoutAnyway. Some time ago I was pointed in the direction of Lifeline. It’s a text adventure with minimal, mostly choice based, interaction, and I not only bought it, but played and completed it. High praise indeed.

A few days ago, a sequel to Lifeline, Lifeline: Whiteout was free on the Fruit-Themed Telephone App Store and I downloaded it. And completed it.

Like before, the premise is that someone in trouble contacts you and asks for help. You don’t know them, they don’t know you, and in this case, they don’t know them either. You advise them where to go, what to do, things to avoid, and so on in a series of decisions. In the first game, the person you were helping was lost on a planet, but in Lifeline: Whiteout they’re stuck in some snowy tundra and require your help in order to 1) survive, and 2) figure out who they are.

As with the original, the story plays out in real time, over the course of about three real days. Some conversation happens, and then your guy goes off for a bit to carry out tasks, sleep, and stuff. When he’s finished, he sends your phone a notification he’d ready to chat again. It’s quite immersive. I can’t say too much about what actually happens as there lies spoilers aplenty, but there are a few grim moments.

It’s another good game, and I can recommend it even to other mobilegameophobes like myself.

Pokémon Sun (3DS)

Alola Pokédex 25% complete.

Lego Dimensions: Doctor Who (PS4): COMPLETED!

Doctor I’ve got this feelin’
Deep inside of me, deep inside of me
I just can’t control my feet
When I hear the beat, when I hear the beat

And the first completed game of the new year is this. It’s another Lego Dimensions level pack, but it’s another good one. There’s timehopping and the inside of the TARDIS and a trip to Trenzalore and a London bus gets blown up and Peter Capaldi is excellent.

doctor who
A TARDIS in a TARDIS. Of course!

You also get to build K9, and ride him while he fires lasers, which is pretty awesome too. So yes, well worth buying this particular expansion. To update my list, Adventure Time > Midway Arcade > Doctor Who > The Simpsons > Back to the Future.

The Doctor Who hub world is excellent too, if somewhat buggy (there are a number of areas where the floor just lets you drop through). There’s time travelling there too, and each time The Doctor dies he regenerates, cycling through all twelve Doctors. Yes I know it’s technically thirteen, but The War Doctor isn’t an option. Anyway, this in itself is fantastic but even better is how the interior of the TARDIS changes to match the incarnation of The Doctor. That’s some attention to detail – sadly missing from the solid geometry of the hub world… And Missy is in it too! It’s the level pack that just keeps giving.

doctor who
Just look at it. LOOK. AT. IT.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I do have more levels packs to play. Ghostbusters (the original one) is here already, and Mission Impossible and Portal are both on the way.

No you have a problem.

I don’t know. How IS this possible?

Pokémon Sun (3DS)

That’s the fire captain in the volcano beaten. Pretty bizarre that was, all the dancing and stuff. And the hiker photobombing.

And I’ve discovered Poké Pelego, which is weird and addictive. Combined with also being addicted now to the Festival Plaza which I previously rubbished, I’m concerned I may never complete the main game.

Pokémon Sun (3DS)

16 hours in already! I’m on the second island, and have just taken part in the four-way battle with Hau, Gladion and absolutely not the Professor in luchador gear.

I’ve also spent a lot of time in the Festival Plaza, which is a bit weird but oddly addictive.

Off to Route 7 now, to meet the captain who lives in a volcano. Uh huh.

Lego Dimensions: Midway Arcade (PS4): COMPLETED!

Wizard has eaten all the food lately.

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t expecting much from this Level Pack. It seemed a little contrived and almost like Warner Bros was scraping around their big ol’ IP library for something a little different and came out with this. They haven’t even got a “known” character as the main figure in the set – he’s just “Gamer Kid”.

However, it turned out to be awesome.

midway arcade
Robotron 2084

The level itself, for the most part, is quite small and doesn’t have a great deal to do in it, but the hook is that you unlock a load of actual real emulated arcade machines as you play. Gauntlet, Gauntlet II, Joust, Super Sprint (which, bizarrely, suffers from horrible slowdown), Defender, Spy Hunter and Robotron 2084 to name a few. There’s also a Lego representation of Paperboy, in which the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz have stolen the newspapers. It’s fun.

Paperboy
Super Sprint
Super Sprint

The dimension hub is fantastic too, with references to Rampage, Toobin’, Vindicators, Badlands, 720, Gauntlet and all sorts.

I’ve a complete playthrough of the level here:

Lego Dimensions: The Simpsons (PS4): COMPLETED!

Yellow Peril

This self-contained level follows, more or less, the episode of The Simpsons with the chilli cook-off in it. So Homer has to get there, taste various chillis, then have his weird psychotic episode where there’s a coyote and a golf shop and the sun breaks. Then there’s a lighthouse.

the simpsons

You know the episode. Everyone knows the episode.

In Lego Dimensions, there are obviously changes and bits missing, but it’s pretty good regardless. For those keeping count so far:

Adventure Time > Simpsons > Back to the Future