Assemble With Care (iOS): COMPLETED!

Another nice little Apple Arcade game. This time, you’re a repair woman who is trying to make some money while visiting a town for some festival or other. You seem to be able to turn your hand to repairing everything, and despite having turned up with just a small suitcase, you’re equipped with spare parts for a watch, a music box, a handheld games console, and a slide projector amongst other things.

Like Possessions, which I also completed today, it’s short and easy, but the disassembly, repair, and reassembly of these items is just the delivery mechanism for the story. A story which involves two sisters who have fallen out, and a father and his daughter who have forgotten how to have fun together. By repairing their stuff, you can repair their relationships.

It’s not actually quite as twee as I’ve made out, but it’s enjoyable enough for as long as it lasts.

Possessions (iOS): COMPLETED!

This is a little puzzle game where you’re give a 3D view of a room with some objects hanging in midair. The idea is to rotate the camera in such a way that the items appear to be in the correct place – flowers on a window ledge, taps on a sink, that sort of thing – before moving on to the next set of items.

It isn’t hard, and the game is incredibly short, but it was fun and looks really nice. There’s also a story that plays out with the man of the house becoming more and more absorbed in his work and less and less interested in his family.

Not a game I’d have bought, but certainly worth a play on Apple Arcade.

Jenny LeClue – Detectivú (iOS): COMPLETED!

You know, I’m actually enjoying Apple Arcade a lot more than I thought I was going to. This is another of the titles on there I’ve completed.

I won’t go too much into the plot, but it’s a story of a girl solving a murder which turns out to be more than “just” a murder. There are interrogation sections where you prod people and question them about evidence you find, lots of puzzles (often of the jigsaw and press-the-right-buttons variety), and some platforming. Being an iOS game, the platforming is a bit woolly, as you don’t have direct d-pad control of Jenny. Instead, you sort of drag her around, or flick her to jump. It’s a bit fiddly, but you can’t die and it’s not against the clock so doesn’t really matter much.

None of the game is particularly difficult, with most of the puzzles being quite straightforward, but it took me a good 12 hours or more to complete so it’s a decent length. The plot is excellent though, and the way it’s framed as a book an author is writing, under duress, is very unusual and adds a sort of second plot.

My only real complaint is that when you solve the mystery at the end… you don’t. It’s left as a To Be Continued, which was a bit annoying.

Pilgrims (iOS): COMPLETED!

This was a very short Apple Arcade point and click adventure game from the makers of Machinarium. You have to complete little tasks for people, some of whom join you in your quest, and then when everyone is happy, you win.

There’s not a lot more to say about it without spoiling anything, but it’s a nice little thing to play for the hour or so it lasts.

Tint (iOS): COMPLETED!

Tint is a relaxed puzzle game, where you use watercolour paints to colour in objects on each level. Mixing colours produces different colours, as you’d expect, and the trick is to make sure you don’t cut off routes from paint sources to objects as you paint.

There are a lot of these sorts of games around at the moment, such as Lines on the Switch, but this one isn’t grid based and gives you much more freedom in working out a solution. On the other hand, it can be a little fiddly weaving your paint line through narrow gaps without touching other colours already down.

It isn’t very hard, nor very long, but is an enjoyable little game while it lasts.

Mini Motorways (iOS): COMPLETED!

Let me just address your question of “Alright deKay, how are you going to claim you’ve completed this?” right off the bat. Each level has an achievement for getting a certain number of cars on the map, and I hit this target and got all the achievements. Happy?

Mini Motorways is very similar in style to Mini Metro, which I have on many different devices and enjoy very much. It’s not surprising it’s similar as it’s the same developers, of course, but there’s something not quite right with it and I’m not sure it’s entirely down to me not being very good at it.

The aim is to join up houses with a matching colour building, by drawing roads, so people can get to and from work. If you can’t supply enough people in cars fast enough, then it’s game over. And here is the problem: sometimes you can’t through no fault of your own.

Of course, you can fail by causing too much traffic congestion, or having routes that are too long, or not making use of motorways, bridges or traffic lights most efficiently, but I was failing even when I’d the shortest possible route with no delays or junctions. The game simply wasn’t proving me with enough people to service the buildings, or was but randomly putting them far too far away from each other.

As a result, success was much more down to luck than planning, of which there was an element in Mini Metro but here it’s more obvious and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The Get Out Kids (iOS): COMPLETED!

Another Apple Arcade title, and one that looked really nice but turned out to be pretty weak. There are lovely little dioramas for each location, with what starts out as simple point and click puzzles in each. Unfortunately, the puzzles are all far too simple throughout the game instead of getting harder or more complicated.

The story also seems to start out interesting, a couple of kids in the 80s sneaking out at night to watch a film, but then it veers into uninteresting vampire nonsense. Props for being inclusive with the characters, but they’re poorly written with shoehorned 80s references cluttering the dialogue and, well, just too much dialogue.

It’s not puzzley enough to be a puzzle or adventure game, and not clever or exciting enough to be a narrative discovery game, so ends up as a bad one or the other or in limbo between the two.

Some pretty unfortunate dialogue, not least the offensive “spazzing” here, spoil things somewhat.

What the Golf? (iOS): COMPLETED!

I didn’t think Apple Arcade was ever going to be for me, and to be honest I still don’t, but that hasn’t stopped me getting the month’s free trial and giving a few things a go. What the Golf is one game that stands out as “working on a touch screen”, to the point where I’ve managed to complete it. And, more importantly, enjoy completing it!

The game starts off as a golf game. Pull back your finger to aim and control power, and get the ball to the flag. Very quickly, however, things change. The flag moves, or you “hit” the club instead. Or the golfer. Or the hole. Or cars, bottles, footballs, bicycles, houses, saw blades, and many other increasingly ridiculous things.

As you move around the map, you reach areas with levels last pay homages to other games – Flappy Bird, Super Meat Boy, Portal, Superhot, Mario, Katamari Damacy and Metal Gear Solid. The rules of the game frequently change, with many ideas used just once then discarded. Instant restarts and for the most part unlimited “swings” reduce the frustration, so the game remains constantly fun. The only level I didn’t enjoy was the final one, and that was because it’s very long with many sections – and I encountered a bug in the final section which meant I had to keep restarting. That aside, What the Golf is excellent.

I do wish it was on the Switch instead, though.

Things I’ve Been Playing Recently

Lazy roundup incoming.

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!

Yellow (iOS): COMPLETED!

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.

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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.

Data Wing (iOS): COMPLETED!

Winging it.

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.

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.

Lifeline (iOS): COMPLETED!

tumblr_nws6j822qc1svmpf2o1_1280Look 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.

tumblr_nws6k14r8y1svmpf2o1_1280Your 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.

Things I’ve been playing recently

Roundup time!

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

Chain_Chomp_GET_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)

tumblr_ngc51blbfz1svmpf2o1_1280Everyone 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.

Luftrausers (Vita)

tumblr_ngaaqfyfrv1svmpf2o1_1280Or 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)

Yamato_Man_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)

tumblr_nfyz6ge3o81svmpf2o1_1280What’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)

tumblr_ngabs8h2x71svmpf2o1_1280Another 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)

tumblr_ngbsjgmamj1svmpf2o1_1280EA 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.

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric Demo (Wii U)

This_is_stupidNo. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

No.

Games I’ve Been Playing Recently

Yes! Another lazy round-up post 🙂

Skylanders (360)

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.

Ristar (Megadrive 1)

Was this ever good? I don’t recall ever liking it. The controls are too fiddly, and the almost but not quite 2.5D is jarring. It’s HAPPY FUN BLUE SKIES, but sadly that’s not enough.

Rolo to the Rescue (Megadrive 2)

So hard. So very hard. And this game doesn’t even have save states or passwords or anything, and the map is massive. I predict only three people have ever completed it. The bunnies are awesome though.

Sonic and Knuckles (Megadrive 3)

Lovely lovely lovely. Felt odd playing it naked (as in, without Sonic 3, you perverts), but it’s still a great game.

Notes:

  1. Actually, a handheld MD clone thing, but whatever.
  2. As above.
  3. Ditto.