I’m aware I’ve not posted in a while, so just a brief catchup.
Stardew Valley (Switch)
Just reaching the end of Winter, Year 3, and although I’m ready to wed the lovely but crazy Emily, there’s been no rain for the entire season so I can’t see the guy on the beach and buy the necessary amulet. I’ve been making friends with everyone while I wait instead. I’ve also managed to complete Qi’s increasingly more bizarre requests and now have access to the casino. I’ve not won much though.
I think I’m nearly done with the game. Once I’m married I’ll consider retiring, unless it opens up more gameplay stuff. I’m almost 110 hours in and there are other games that need playing.
Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
800-odd moons now. I’ve completed The Darker Side (but not The Dark Side), and collecting the remaining moons is tedious beyond belief. It’s the least fun Mario game in ages now. But I feel I must get them all, so…
Million Onion Hotel (iOS)
I talked about this for a bit on the ugvm Podcast (which you really should listen to). It’s a 5×5 grid, screen tapping puzzle game that I paid real actual money for and it’s madness. And too hard. I reached the third boss but that’s as far as I’ve managed so far.
Picross S (Switch)
Not very much though. Just the odd puzzle every now and then. That’s not knocking it – it’s how I want to play it!
I wouldn’t even consider a Coldplay referen…oh. Dammit.
That podcast that I do, you know, the ugvm one? Well, Luffer was on it this week and he told us all about a mobile game called Yellow. It piqued my interest, despite being a mobile game, so today I looked it up and discovered it’s free. Free! Something I read said it was ad-supported, but I didn’t see any, so not sure how that works. Free!
It also does the other thing that negates the issues I have playing telephone games, buy having sensible, touch-screen usable controls. No virtual sticks and buttons here. Ticks all round.
The game itself is a set of 50 puzzles where you have to turn the whole screen yellow. The thing is, you’re not told how to do this, and the puzzles are all different (with only a few sharing similar ideas). You have to not only work out what you’re supposed to do, but how to do it.
Some involve pressing shapes in order, others need you to move things around. There’s a Rubik’s Clock type one, a couple involving wordplay, and one with RGB sliders – only they’re not exactly RGB.
None of them are especially taxing, and the whole game is only around an hour long, but it was fun, and clever, and that’s more than enough a free game needs to be.
I’ve mentioned before, but I don’t often play games on my phone. Sometimes, though, one comes to my attention. Like Data Wing did.
Data Wing feels like a cross between Super Sprint, Thrust and escapeVector. You control a dart shaped object – supposedly a data carrier in a computer system – by pressing the left or right of the screen to steer. Simple controls, so workable on a touch screen!
Levels vary between reaching the exit in a fast enough time, racing other darts, finding keys, navigating through heavy gravity, and so on. Skimming the walls with your dart increases your speed, and some areas boost you, slow you down, or strip you of control temporarily.
There’s a story about a process in the computer, Mother, wanting to use you to become a real human, and a possibly reformed malware entity who suspects Mother might not be all she appears. You can also collect files that contain message fragments from the computer’s owner, revealing another story there.
Data Wing is a simple, short but excellently executed and fun little flying/racing title. And current, it is totally free. Free! Not even any adverts or anything. Amazing.
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”.
Anyway. 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.
Look at this. I have not only completed a telephone game, but it was a telephone game that I had to buy with actual money. How rare. So rare, in fact, I don’t think I’ve done that in years. I gave up on the whole iOS game market ages ago as it was full of clones, IAPs and rubbish. Lifeline was recommended by the Midnight Resistance podcast, and sounded interesting. So I bought it.
Remember text adventures? It’s a simple one of those, but integrates into your phone. It starts with you getting a notification (a real actual app notification too) from Taylor, a student scientist onboard a spaceship. Well, they were onboard. It crashed and somehow you’re the person Taylor’s communication device contacted.
They tell you whats happening, and periodically they ask for advice or a decision. Sometimes they’ll disappear for (real life) hours at a time while they’re busy, for example hiking or sleeping, and then you’ll get another notification when they’re ready for another conversation.
Your aim is to keep Taylor alive by choosing the best option for them (I keep saying them and they – Taylor’s gender is never given) and ultimately leading them to rescue. They can be directed to explore the not-as-barren-as-first-thought moon, and decisions are as simple as go east or west, or as stressful as fight or run. Yeah, they’re not exactly alone. Minor spoiler.
I managed to kill Taylor a couple of times, but bar that it took maybe three days to beat the game and get them rescued. There’s not a huge amount of game there, but it’s spaced out (no pun intended) and somehow feels more real due to the phone integration and the way in-game things take real actual time to complete. An interesting diversion with an original concept, if not as great as I was hoping for. The writing is OK (and the story is right out of the sci-fi books I’d read as a kid), but Taylor’s humour doesn’t really fit with their situation. Still, you can spend 79p on much worse.
With over 80 hours racked up now, this became my most played Wii U title some time ago. No matter how repetitive it seems to be, even playing exactly the same mission over and over with the same character, it never gets boring. I have now at least started the Master Quest from the first set of DLC, albeit to just play about four missions to see what they were like. Since then, there’s been another set of DLC which included another new character and a slightly smaller Adventure Mode map (which I’ve barely even looked at), but no Legend Mode additions, sadly.
I’ve still not finished Adventure Mode. In fact, I’ve still not even cleared the full map, let alone collected all the weapons, hearts and skulltulas littering the place. I have made some headway in ticking the lot off, but I estimate at least another 30 hours before I’ve done the whole thing. I have at least picked up some decent weapons for most of the characters now, although the likes of Wizzro and Midna are still woefully underpowered through lack of use. Link’s Lv3 Power Gauntlets, complete with Chain Chomp wrecking ball are a sight to behold though, and his apparently naked giant Great Fairy is ludicrous. In all: Best Game.
Persona 4 Golden (Vita)
Everyone seems to rate this as one of the best games ever. It’s one of the few games I wanted a Vita for, so when it was reduced to a silly price (on the same day as Akiba’s Trip) I snapped it up.
Even though I’d heard a lot of good things about it, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, aside from “an unusual RPG”. I thought this meant something along the lines of Contact or Earthbound, and as I’d been cautioned to avoid anything describing the actual game or plot as it’s apparently best to dive in blind, I wasn’t prepared for what I got.
The fantastic yellow submarine/katamari hybrid opening sequence segued into Shenmue before becoming something somewhere between Phoenix Wright and Eternal Sonata, via a Japanese dating sim and The Ring. Confusing and compelling, although (so far) mostly non-interactive, I’m just past the second murder (yes, it’s a bit grim in places) and, from what I’ve been told, have only about 78 hours left before I complete it. Erm.
Or Love Trousers, obviously. I have the PC version, but I don’t play PC games. This is a free-for-a-few-weeks PS+ rental, and it’s a lot of fun. I’m terrible at it, but it has some addictive progression and that ever important “just one more go” factor. It’s like Time Pilot, only distanced from that title in a similar way to how, say, Pac-Man CE is from Pac-Man. And in sepia.
Mega Man 6 (Wii U)
I finished Mega Man 5, so started Mega Man 6. It’s just more of the same, which isn’t really a complaint, but even when they add new stuff to the formula it still doesn’t actually change the basic game. As the last NES Mega Man it’s a little sad to be nearing the end of the series, but I do have the SNES Mega Man 7 and Mega Man X2 lined up for the future, so it’s not really close to being over.
Instant Hero (iOS)
What’s that? An iOS game that isn’t Slay? Well, the team behind this asked for beta testers, so I volunteered. And I’m pleased to say, that they’ve really responded to feedback from myself and the other testers, and quickly moved this from a far too simple, slightly rough and seemingly pointless title to a polished, perfect for mobile play game. It plays a little like Peggle but with Super Kick Off style aftertouch. And your little man is the ball. And he can only beat the baddies (uh, like the pegs in peggle) if he (or she) runs into two of the smaller sized baddies first. Or you die. And there are bosses.
Look, I can’t explain it. It’s out soon, and is free with IAPs to buy continues (and remove ads) and it’s definitely worth a look. Not least to see me in the credits.
Titan Attacks (Vita)
Another PS+ rental. It’s OK, but really it’s just a relatively normal Space Invaders game with a few bells and whistles. Not that there’s anything really wrong with that, but come on – we’ve have Space Invaders games for years now, and some (like Space Invaders Extreme) are far better than this. Still, it was free.
Need For Speed Most Wanted (Vita)
EA game this away for free. And it’s not even “PS+ Free” either – it’s actually really free. It’s also the same game, albeit smaller, lower resolution, and not quite as nice generally, as the Wii U version I’ve already played to death. It is still pretty and fun and everything, but I don’t know if I can be bothered to complete it again.
With my daughter. We’re up to world/level/mission/event/chapter 9-ish now. Whichever is the one just after the cyclopseseses. It’s a fun game, but play is disrupted when your co-pilot wants to change characters every 45 seconds.
Art of Balance: Touch! (3DS)
This was never really on my radar, but a demo was released last week which I really enjoyed. Then it was deal of the week on the eShop so I couldn’t resist. It’s a fun shape stacking game, with some twists (some of the blocks vanish, flip gravity, and so on). I’m on the final world already, but have only completed about half of the puzzles. Excellent fun, and well worth the £4.49 it is until Thursday!
Sonic the Hedgehog (Wii)
The original and still almost the best.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II demo (iPad)
Dear God no. Viewport too small. Still has rubbish physics. Background too cluttered. The demo level is just Marble Garden crossed with Aquatic Ruin, rather than something new. Touch controls don’t. Awful terrible horrible rubbish pile of crap.
Super Crate Box (iPad)
This was free recently, so downloaded it for that reason only. It’s sort of fun, but the controls make me cry and I’m not really sure of the point. You get crates which give you different weapons, but you’re usually better off not getting crates, as often the weapons are worse than what you have, and it doesn’t matter because killing the baddies achieves nothing. What.
Ages back, I bought the Mac version of this in a hitherto unplayed Indie Bundle. Or Humble Bundle. Or something. I was using my laptop the other day, and my daughter, being nosy, wanted to see what I was doing and decided we had to play something. One of the few games I had installed was this.
We had a go, and she liked it, but she can’t use a trackpad so kept getting frustrated and tried poking the screen. I decided to buy the iPad version instead, in the hope that would be easier. Thankfully, it was.
Between us, we completed it in about 4 hours. That’s probably a lot longer than the game actually is, but she is only three and I did try to let her solve as many problems and explore everywhere as much as I could.
It was a pretty good game too. Some of the puzzles were a bit obscure, and I didn’t really like the arcadey “Hall of the Things” type bit near the end, but my daughter really enjoyed it and it was great playing it together.