Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash (3DS): COMPLETED!

Bite his shiny metal IAPs

Although I went into this knowing it wasn’t a true Chibi-Robo game, I had to buy it because it was cheap and came with a Chibi-Robo Amiibo and actually, it was pretty good when I played the demo. That was a while back though. Not sure why I picked it up, finally, this week.

A brief overview would be this: it’s a better than average platformer with a decent gimmick (the “zip lash” of the title) and a few utterly baffling but thankfully not game-ruining design choices. And it’s cute and twee and stuff.

The zip lash, and the similar whip lash, are moves where Chibi-Robo flings out his cable, to attack baddies, grab items, smash blocks, or anchor on ledges and use them to climb up. He can also swing from marked ceilings, and after extending the length of his cable, use the zip lash to bounce the plug off walls and reach items and other hidden areas.

Six worlds, with six levels in each, and there’s the usual platforming array of themes – grass, sand, ice, fire, and so on. They’re fun though, and varied in that Nintendo way of having hundreds of great ideas that are infrequently used. A couple of levels have you on a skateboard, some more hanging from a bunch of balloons, and some that take the form of a jetski obstacle course. A traditional boss at the end of each world, plus a final end boss, and that’s your game. Pretty short, mostly very easy, but enjoyable nonetheless.

However! There are two completely out of place parts to the game, both of which feel like this was supposed to be a free-to-play game with IAPs to fund it.

The first one is how you move on from each level. Normally, you’d expect after level 1-1 you’d go to 1-2, right? Here, at the end of a level you have to hit a copper, silver or gold UFO that are floating around. Hitting them get you 1, 2 or 3 (respectively) spins of a six segment wheel. Each segment has a number on it, and the number you land on is how many levels ahead you move – looping round from level 6 to level 1 if necessary. At first, this feels like a level skip bonus, but you have to complete all the levels in a world to move on, so why would you want a number other than 1? All it does it make it more likely you’ll need to repeat levels later. And here’s the first clue to ditched IAPs: You can buy, with in-game coins, segments for the wheel. You can pay to cover up all the 2s and 3s with 1s, guaranteeing you don’t need to replay completed levels.

Of course, repeating a level has its own worth – more coins, higher scores, find the rest of the missing big coins/sweets/mini Chibi-bots/baby aliens (all of which are optional), but being forced to do them because you span the wrong number? Why not pay to bypass that?

The second one is the coins themselves. They let you buy batteries (which refill your power bar if it runs out), a jetpack (to save you once if you fall off the bottom of the screen) and these wheel segments, but they’re incredibly cheap and mostly unnecessary. You can also feed coins into a gatcha machine which dispenses random figurines for you to collect. They serve no purpose, but gotta catch em all, I guess. So you rack up a few thousand coins, spend them on baubles because there’s nothing else, and then – just before the final boss – in order to save the world you have to buy “giant parts” for Chibi-Robo and these cost about 20,000 coins in total. Unless you’ve been saving them up for the whole of the rest of the game, you hit the end and then have to grind earlier levels for more.

Or… in app purchases? Well, it certainly looks like that was the purpose originally anyway. And what kind of world makes their hero pay for the upgrades necessary to save them from oblivion? Tch.

But those two things aside, I enjoyed the game and it’s well above your usual character platformer. I’d probably have enjoyed it even more if I’d not “wasted” my coins before then end. If you don’t do that, you’ll probably enjoy it too.

Things I’ve been playing recently

Lazy round-up time!

Puzzle & Dragons Z (3DS)

I think this might be in my top three most played 3DS games now, and I’ve not even touched the Mario themed option. I got stuck on a boss, then powered through a few more levels, then got stuck on the previous boss again when she cropped up later with another monster at her side. Too hard. I’ve been trying lots of dragon combinations and came close once to besting them, but then one of the two baddies almost completely healed both of them and that was it. Maybe some grinding is in order. Or some different dragons again.

Lego The Hobbit (Wii U)

We completed it, but since then we’ve been mopping up stuff. It’s pretty slow going though, and we haven’t even revisited any of the levels yet. Daddy Pig seems to voice half the characters in this, which is slightly absurd. Especially the blacksmith’s wife. With her beard. Hmm.

Ninja Usagimaru: The Gem of Blessings Demo (3DS)

A not very good puzzle game. I got bored before the demo even finished, to be honest.

Fairune Demo (3DS)

There’s a game called Witch & Hero on the 3DS which is the most ridiculous concept ever. You walk into baddies to kill them, but when you do, you take damage – meaning you’re inevitably going to die. It was rubbish.

Fairune seems to be by the same people and has the same mechanic, only instead of protecting a static character on a single screen, it’s a flip-screen RPG of sorts. And somehow, I’ve gotten a bit hooked on it. I’ve finished the demo and now will almost certainly buy the full game. This surprised me.

Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash Demo (3DS)

Everyone loves Chibi-Robo, right? And taking pictures of real things to include in the game and collecting junk just to tidy up because he’s a cute robot that does that? Awesome, right? Then why is this a slightly crap platformer instead of any of that? How disappointing.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes Demo (3DS)

Well, I tried to play it. But it said no. I was in some sort of lobby and there were a couple of people to talk to and I found if I ran into a wall a ball fell from the sky and I could play keepy-uppies with it for a while but then that was it. I assume I needed some friends online to play with.

tumblr_nxtmcz0iec1svmpf2o1_400Badge Arcade (3DS)

No way am I giving money to this, but so far, I’ve not needed to. I’ve done well enough in the practise crane games to rack up a few free plays, and so far I’ve bagged about 12 badges. Not that I can use the badges because I’ve barely any space left on my home screen. I was hoping it would expand again, as it does when you hit about 80% full, but not this time. Boo.

Fallout 4 (PS4)

Oh yeah, this arrived.

Things I’ve been playing recently

tumblr_n7udoirp541svmpf2o1_1280Euro Truck Simulator 2 (PC)

My first ever Steam Sale purchase! Sadly, it isn’t as great as I thought it was going to be. The graphics are flatter and drabber than videos had led me to believe, the roads are samey and short, and you’ve little choice in the routes you have to take.

Still, driving all the cars off the road on the way to Belgium, then running down all the Belgians when you get there, never gets old.

tumblr_n7y3aztlhd1svmpf2o1_400Picross e4 (3DS)

Having completed Picross e3 recently, it was obvious e4 needed to be bought. It is, as you’d expect, just more of the same. More Picross. It has the Mega Picross puzzles from e3, and the Micross puzzles from e2 though, and certainly seems a much longer game than e3. So far the Mega Picross puzzles have been completely doable without resorting to educated guesses, so in all it’s a better game.

And you get 5 bonus puzzles for each of e, e2 and e3 that you already own too. I suspect they’re Mega Picross versions of “normal” Picross puzzles found in those games, as some seem familiar.

I’ve been jumping around the various modes so I can’t really say how much I’ve done so far, but perhaps a quarter overall?

Is_ita_bird_Is_it_a_fish_Nobody_really_knows.Pullblox World (Wii U)

It’s just like the 3DS version, only with different puzzles. Which is fine. It loses a little from not being in 3D, but gains a bit from a bigger screen. I’m almost certain that the 3DS game didn’t have an unlimited rewind too – it “ran out” – but here you can rewind all the way back to the start of your attempt regardless of how long you’ve spent on it.

It also appears that some of the levels are much bigger than in the original. Some are seemingly too big – as even zooming out doesn’t show half of it.

Apparently Pullblox World has something like 240 puzzles to get through. I’m on the final “page” of puzzles (with 10 on each page) right now, and completing them will total 120, so I’m not sure where the other 120 are…

StreetPass games (3DS)

The four additional StreetPass games are currently on offer (£8.99 for the lot, instead of about £15), so I bought them. I’ve exhaused Quest and Quest II, and apart from the occasional new picture, the puzzle game was finished long ago (and is quickly completed when there is a new one).

I’ve not spent ages on each so far, but some thoughts:

StreetPass Squad is a more than slightly enjoyable side-on shoot ’em up. StreetPass’d Miis provide different weapons for your not-at-all Opa-Opa cloned ship, and the levels are varied and fun.

StreetPass Garden is a surprisingly deep gardening simulator, where Miis help you grow flowers and harvest seeds from them, with new breeds and hybrids and stuff to collect. There are tasks to perform by growing certain types of flower, and all sorts of garden paraphernalia to collect. I hated it at first but it soon opens up into a more enjoyable game.

StreetPass Battle is like a cross between Janken and Risk, where you build up your troops (bolstered by StreetPass hits) and then take on other nations. How well you do is defined by how many troops and what sort of attack they use (in a Janken rock/paper/scissors type way). It’s very slow going though, building up your army to be big enough to defeat the next nation. Unless I’m missing something obvious.

StreetPass Mansion is part puzzle, part RPG where Miis you meet give you pieces of floor which you arrange in the mansion to create rooms. Put multiple pieces of the same colour together to make bigger rooms with better treasures, and put non-matching colours together to trigger battles where you fight ghosts. Your weapons can level up and be upgraded Fallout New Vegas style too. Lay enough floor tiles to reveal the stairs to the next floor. It’s really pretty good.

tumblr_n7ocn6ultr1svmpf2o1_400Nintendo Pocket Football Club (3DS)

Not doing too well in this at the moment. All my players are getting old and I’m unable to train up new players to replace them quickly enough. Also I’ve lost any chance of promotion from “The football icon” league, although I’m almost certain to end up in second place at, so I’m not too worried.

I’ve played a lot of online matches recently, mainly to farm cards, but I’ve been doing surprisingly well. Not enough to rise up the ranks much, but I’m certainly not dropping like I had been previously. Mind you, I’m picking my battles.

tumblr_n7w9sbxzkw1svmpf2o1_400Chibi-Robo: Let’s Go Photo! Demo (3DS)

I took a photo of my watch and it turned it into a badge. Then I cleaned up a kitchen with a sort of hoover thing, and chucked a load of rubbish in a robot bin blender thing. I had a conversation with a talking smartphone, and then wandered round a very small part of a very empty museum.

Which was all great. But I’m somewhat confused as to what all the cleaning up is for. One to wait for in a sale, I think. I’ll give it a miss at full price, not least due to having a trillion other games on the go at the moment.

tumblr_n7drd6fd641svmpf2o1_1280Theme Park (Mac)

Bought as part of the GOG sale, in a Bullfrog games pack. It’s as janky as I recall (although I mostly played the Amiga 1200 version, back in the day), slightly more so due to running under Dosbox.

I couldn’t remember how to research new things for ages, so only had the same few rides and shops for several game years. Then I remembered, but by then half my rides had exploded, everyone was too hungry and thirsty to stay, and nobody liked Vomit Park any more.

Then I screwed up salary negotiations and all my staff went on strike, during which the rest of my rides blew up.

All in all, rather successful, no?