Stuff I’ve been playing recently

It’s another lazy roundup! Yay!

Nintendo Land (Wii U)

I’ve completed the Pikmin Adventure game, which took a couple of hours (and unlocked some more, harder levels). It’s really very good, and has me itching for Pikmin 3. I also played Octopus Dance some more, but no matter how well I do, a controller calibration or disconnection problem happens and I lose. Bah.

Mighty Switch Force HD (Wii U)

Although the level called “Bonus 5” is seemingly the same as one of the levels on the 3DS version, I simply can’t do it. I think some of the problem is that it’s an “autoswitching” level, where you have no control of the in-out switching nature of the blocks. Instead, they switch automatically every three seconds. That’s not so hard in itself, but on the 3DS the sound mix was better suited – you get BRRRP BRRRP SWITCH, BRRRP BRRRP SWITCH, etc. You do on the Wii U version too, but it gets lost in the music and harder to work with. Maybe headphone will help.

Little Inferno (Wii U)

Yeah, I started it again. This is my third runthrough now. A lovely, lovely thing to play with.

Trine 2 (Wii U)

Perhaps my least loved Wii U game. I don’t know why – it is excellent. I just rarely seem to be in the mood for a difficult platform fighty puzzler with really, really, fiddly controls. Having three characters with three different control methods doesn’t really help. It’s a shame because I really do like Trine 2 – I just can’t gel with the controls.

Rayman Legends (Demo) (Wii U)

So happy and clever and fun. The demo consists of three levels. One is a “traditional” Rayman platforming section, one is a new Wii U-centric touch screen controlled section (where you manipulate the level, rather than directly control the character), and the third is the best of all – a full-tilt running level, with jumps and punches timed to hit the riffs in Black Betty by Ram Jam. YES. A THOUSAND TIMES YES.

New Super Mario Bros 2 (3DS)

I’ve found one of the hidden worlds! The mushroom one. And completed it! And then I found a few more exits on some other levels, and completed the levels they unlocked too. Awesome.

Gunman Clive (3DS)

I’m sure it shouldn’t be this hard. But it is. The train transformer boss was really hard. Then the level after was hard. Basically, it’s hard. Good, but hard.

escapeVektor (3DS)

Now on world (area? section?) 5, I think. It’s as least as good as the Wii version, and great for dipping into for just the odd level here and there.

Lollipop Chainsaw (360)

Erm. I wanted this because I like Suda51’s games, right? Not for any other reason. OK? Good. So long as we’re all aware.

Lollipop Chainsaw plays a lot like a cross between No More Heroes and Onechanbara, both on the Wii. That’s not a bad thing, but it does mean it’s a little rough (invisible walls and stuff), very strange, and has a difficulty curve that’s akin to the movement of the Thames Barrier in a storm. It plays similar too, being a combo-based brawler.

It’s actually great too, with a totally nuts story and mental characters. In fact, the only issue I have with it so far is that the levels are just too long to play in one sitting. I’ve spent almost three hours on it, and I’ve only completed the second one (that is, Level 1 – there’s a prologue).

Skylanders (360)

We got some more Skylanders. Now we have at least one of each type. So we replayed most of the early levels opening up new paths and stuff. I also played alone to progress the story, and I’m up to Chapter 18 (of, I think, 22), so not far from the end now.

Sonic Adventure 2 (360)

YES! It was on offer on XBLA, so I bought it! And I’m hooked on the Chao Garden all over again. So much so, in fact, that the progress through story mode (just done the Pyramid levels on the Hero side) act merely as places to get more animals and chao drives for my chaos.

Little Inferno (Wii U): COMPLETED! (again)

Having got to the end of it last time, I found there was an item I’d burnt along with everything else in the game which is needed for something right near the end. So, naturally, this meant I had to play the entire game all over again, from start to finish, retaining that item.

It was actually quite hard to do, as I very nearly absentmindedly chucked it on the pire by mistake, and my daughter decided to be “helpful” and  almost did the same, but after three hours I’d completed it. Again. And got the thing I couldn’t before, which made no difference to anything bar a two second cut scene.

Still a great “game” though!

Little Inferno (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Is this a review? Yes. Probably. It’s hard to review a game that isn’t a game though. I’ll try.

Little Inferno is a toy. Sure, there’s an end, and yes, it has some (very minor, almost optional) gameplay components, but you don’t die and all you need to complete it is time. In this toy, you burn things. All the things. You’re provided with a Little Inferno fireplace, some money and a catalogue, from which you order things to burn. Then you burn them in the fireplace, and get more money.

With this money, you order more things from the catalogue. Which, as before, you burn.

You can get special combos of things to burn (e.g. the “Wizard of Oz” combo requires you to burn a robot, a scarecrow, and a heart together), and sometimes you get sent letters – strange, disjointed and increasingly maniacal letters – which you can also burn. Oh, and spiders (or at least, spider-like creatures) sometimes appear in your fireplace (burn them), but that’s it.

Synopsis so far: Burn everything.

Sure, you have to burn everything in the catalogue to unlock another catalogue, and sometimes have to find combos to do the same. You need to make money to progress, but that’s easy – just keep burning stuff. Burn everything.

Is that clear enough for you? Do you have a grasp now of how to play?

You are probably wondering if it’s any good. Let me tell you this: It’s the most fun burn-everything simulation involving a toy fireplace and catalogues of bizarre items (ranging from spider eggs to the moon) to torch that I’ve ever played. From start to what-the-hell finish, setting stuff alight remains fun, funny, and fantastic. Oh! The joy to be had setting fire to a powder keg and a mountain of marshmallows – waiting for the kaboom, and the resulting squealing of the seemingly alive confections. The art style, which sits somewhere between Corpse Bride and Fallout’s Vault User Guide, provides disturbing creations that delight both when aflame and not. But burnt is best. Flicking the smouldering spent remains of a teddy bear’s eyeballs around the brickwork never gets old.

Then, when all is burnt and things happen, it’s time for the interactive Game Over sequence, which sadly involves very little pyromania, and the same sort of bafflement that precursor World of Goo provided.

The score, then: flame on!/10