Some things I’ve played recently

Round up time!

Doritos Crash Course 2 (360)

I turned my 360 on for the first time in months this weekend, and my download queue kicked in. The first thing that downloaded was this. It is, considering how it’s both a shameless advert for Doritos and free, really good fun. Much like the first game, really.

I was enjoying it, until I ran out of the stars you need to buy the next level. You see, you collect and win stars in each level, and then you spend these to buy ever more expensive extra levels to progress. A bit like Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing Transformed. Only when I ran out of stars, I was told to buy some more. For real actual money. I said no and turned it off. Ain’t playing that again.

Cloudberry Kingdom (Wii U)

cloudberry

This promised to be a lot better than it turned out, sadly. It looks and plays like a freebie Flash game. A good one, sure, but still – it’s a purposefully hard platformer with a million levels that just ramp up the difficulty to “clearly impossible”. Although the levels are short, and you instantly restart, the harder levels are almost trial and error, or worse, luck – it’s impossible to see a path through the spikes and fire and stuff, let alone avoid them all.

It is fun, but perhaps more suited to an XBL Indie Game.

New Super Luigi U (Wii U)

weegiu

At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this. I don’t enjoy Luigi’s jumpyslidey physics, and the game world seems to be the same as in Mario U. Having just 99 seconds to complete each level would, I thought, make them all a mad rush. No restart points would be frustrating.

But, of course, I was wrong. His floaty flutterjumps make some of the levels easier. The levels are shorter too, so the time limit rarely comes into play. In fact, the only thing I’ve not liked so far (and I’m up to the “in the clouds” world already!) is the lack of a restart point at the bosses. Oh, and the fact the bosses are the same as in Mario U, I suppose. Still, it’s really good and well worth getting.

Super Mario World (Wii U): COMPLETED!

smwLook at all the little eggies! Look at them! I rescued them all! Woooo! Oh yeah, and the princess.

It was certainly harder than I remember, and I’ve only done the main route through the game with very few secret levels – 53 exits in total. The final boss, and the level leading up to him, was far, far easier though. Odd.

Now, I realise that to many this is evil heathenry, but I have to say – SMW is not the best Mario game. It is utterly fantastic and better than 99.9% of all other games, but I always preferred Mario 64. And, having recently played New Super Mario Bros U, I’m able to reconfirm that yes – that game is better than Mario World. It may not have the same impact, and may be lacking (comparatively) in new ideas, but it’s a more fun, more fluid, more vibrant and playable game. It takes nothing away from SMW, but definitely shows itself to be the better game. The best game. In fact. Ever.

Which is digressing a bit as this is supposed to be all about Mario World. Um. Yeah – that’s ace too.

Things I’ve been playing recently


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Round up round up round up!

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U)

Closing in on 60 hours played now. SIXTY. Between this and Animal Crossing, I’m really not going to finish off many other games this year.

I seem to find myself playing mainly online these days. Hunting a monster in a team, regardless of which monster, who the team is, or even what rank everyone is, is always fun. Entering a room and everyone remarking on your rank and then offering to help you rank up is fantastic. I’m HR3 at the moment (but almost HR4), so although it’s still VERY early days, I’ve already been able to help some others reach HR3.

Offline, I’ve reached 5* and just have to capture a Lagiacrus to progress. Well, I say “just” – I find caps pretty difficult.

I’ve also completed my Rathalos armour, which has now replaced my Jaggi armour as my default choice. It’s not much better in terms of defence, but I haven’t pimped it out with Armour Spheres to the level I had with the Jaggi stuff, so I can improve it further.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)

Meanwhile, AC has clocked up 90 hours play. Erk.

Sold my turnips for a 100% profit, only to find I could have got 500% the next day. That’s the way it is. Still – at least I made a stack load of bells. Made a load more selling perfect pears “abroad”.

In development news, I’ve built a street clock, a yellow bench, and a fountain, and filled my basement with urinals.

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (3DS)

This was one of the free games I obtained from the “So Many Games” promotion. It wasn’t one I especially wanted, but it was either this or Pokemon Mystery Dungeon so I tossed a coin. I have never been a fan of the series – I hated the SNES and Game Boy Donkey Kong Country/Land titles, and Donkey Kong 64 almost drove me away from gaming completely, but so far – only half way through the second level – I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’m actually rather enjoying it, despite it being pretty difficult already.

Super Mario World (Wii U)

Once Kirby was completed, I returned to this. I’ve now reached Chocolate Island, so I know there’s not that much game left between me and Bowser now!

Stuff I’ve been playing recently


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Or the “can’t be bothered with lots of posts” post. Woo!

Super Mario World (Wii U)

Bought this on the Wii U VC as an upgrade to the Wii VC version I have. It is, as it always was, fantastic. But much harder than I recall. Losing it in my old age! I have managed to clear the forest though, so I’m what, half way? A bit further than half way? Something like that.

Kirby’s Adventure (Wii U)

Oh no! 50Hz! I have no way of telling! Good job someone else pointed it out so I could be angry! That aside, Kirby’s Adventure is also still excellent fun. Yeah, it’s one of the easiest games in all creation (well, except for Where’s Waldo on the Megadrive, obviously), but that matters this much: not at all. Just about to complete Butter Building.

Crimson Shroud (3DS)

I have no idea what I’m doing. Still. At three hours in I’d have hoped I’d at least understand the game by now, but I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m supposed to be doing, so I’m aimlessly wandering round all the locations I’ve been in already in the hope I’ll stumble across the next bit I’m supposed to do. I like the game, and the combat is lovely, I’m just… lost.

Zen Pinball 2 (Wii U)

I bought some more tables as they were on offer. I’ve tried them all (some of which I already have on the 3DS or the 360), and none of them are bad. The Avengers table is probably my favourite though. The high score tables seem oddly empty amongst my friends though, even though some I’m sure have some of the tables. One guy even shows up twice on one table, with one of his scores being identical to mine – which I find highly unlikely. Server issues, maybe.

New Super Mario Bros 2 (3DS)

And that’s it! Well, mostly. The main thing is that I’ve rinsed the levels – all five (shiny) stars got, just like on New Super Mario Bros U. It didn’t take me quite as long as on the Wii U game, mainly because NSMB2 is a lot easier. In fact, bar a couple of the cannon levels, I don’t think any levels were particularly challenging.

Sure, I don’t have a million coins yet (in fact, I have barely 70,000), and I don’t think I will – it’s not that much fun doing the same levels over and over trying to get lots of coins. Maybe in Coin Rush. Perhaps.

nsmb2-done

Stuff I’ve been playing recently


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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.

New Super Mario Bros 2 (3DS): COMPLETED!


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The thing with New Super Mario Bros U is, that sadly, it doesn’t have an infinite number of levels and doesn’t carry on until the end of all time. That is pretty much its only failing, but nonetheless, it means I ran out of game.

Which is why I bought NSMB2. As it’s sort of more of the same.

In actuality, it’s not as good as NSMBU. It’s a lot easier. There’s no proper world map. There’s no Acorn power up. You can’t do that little spin in the air to gain a bit more distance. Having said that, it’s still a great game. It’s very similar, albeit with more of a need to collect all the coins ever, and I’m really enjoying it.

I did complete it a bit sooner than expected, though. And lost less than 10 lives in total.

Of course, I only completed the game. I didn’t find many secret levels (there are two whole secret worlds I’ve not found yet too), and I’ve still a load of Star Coins to collect yet. I did, however, open up Star Road, and complete all the levels there. They too were much, much easier than the NSMBU Superstar Road, however.

Still, it’s great.

New Super Mario Bros U (Wii U)

And that’s it. All done. Every level completed, Nabbit Nabbed on every world, every Star Coin in every level, every level on Superstar Road unlocked, completed, and coins grabbed, and the final level unlocked and done. All five stars now adorn my saved game.

And what a superb game. I loved it from start to finish, never felt the coin hunt was “filler”, never found a single level – regardless of how difficult – that I didn’t think was doable, and it was only my lack of skill holding me back. A completely perfect game. And I’ve not even done most of the challenges yet.

mario-u-100pc

You know what? It’s better than Mario 64. There. I said it. Which means, in my opinion, it’s the second best game ever made. It really is that good. (What’s the best then? Well, this.)

New Super Mario Bros U (Wii U)


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I may have already completed it, but the game just keeps giving!

Today, while trying to get all the big coins (I’ve all of them on the first two worlds, and most on the fourth now), I stumbled across a secret exit in a ghost house. That opened up yet another level for me to do!

I also had a great time playing with my daughter helping on the game pad. She was laying down blocks over holes, and helping me reach coins that would otherwise require a powerup or a special Yoshi. It was awesome.

New Super Mario Bros U (Wii U): COMPLETED!


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My first completed Wii U game! And a fantastic one it was!

I genuinely believe this is the best 2D Mario game since Super Mario World. It’s just perfect. Varied worlds, secret exits, challenging levels (all pretty much missing from the other “New” SMB titles), and for the first time, the 3D Mario character actually works. In every other game with a 3D Mario played in 2D (even as far back as Mario vs Donkey Kong) he just looks wrong. Here, though, he’s perfect.

I also love the MiiVerse integration. Seeing other people’s posts on the game map, warning you of difficult levels, gloating about getting all three big coins, and writing letters to Bowser about how much he sucks. Amazing.

Back to the game itself though. It seems I only had one world left from where I was previously (er, aside from the three worlds I seem to have skipped, somehow) – Peach’s Castle. Oh my, was one of those levels hard. Flames from the sky while the floor keeps dropping into the lava? It wasn’t easy. The final boss, however, was. Pretty much.

And then I went straight back in to play some more of the levels I’d missed. Fantastic game!

New Super Mario Bros U (Wii U)


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This is lovely.

I mean, really lovely. And not just the graphics (which are also lovely) either. It’s a massive, varied, pretty and inventive platformer. It’s harder than the far-too-easy DS and Wii NSMB games too, and better for it. Sure, I’ve completed four worlds (1, 2, 4 and 7, for some reason) and have about 90 lives, but some of the levels along the way have been real gamepad smashers.

Take the Paratrooper Beetles level. It’s a vertically autoscrolling level, where you have to jump up flying beetles. When you land on the smaller ones, they rise. Land on the bigger ones, they fall. Simple – only rise too high and you hit things off screen and die. Drop too far and you’re unable to progress, and die. Fail to notice the coins arranged in a massive Bullet Bill shape, so you can’t avoid the massive (as in, screen-sized) Bullet Bill that appears, and you die. Hit the tempting P-block only to realise it makes more massive Bullet Bills appear, and die. And die. And die. AND DIE.

And the Ghost House with the doors that lead round in circles and the ? blocks that aren’t lively coins or power-ups, but instead turn evil and home in on you and you die. And die.

But that’s great. That’s what I want. And boasting on MiiVerse when you’ve nailed a level? Awesome.

The First Wii U Post


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My Wii U arrived! So I spent most of the weekend playing it and the games I got with it.

Nintendo Land

It’s not a minigame collection. No matter who tells you it is, it isn’t. It’s a collection, sure, but some of the games are full, proper games. Take the Pikmin Adventure game. It’s Pikmin. Sure, it’s not got all the item collecting and night-time save-all-the-pikmin bits, but it’s a complete and reasonably long “campaign”. Single player only game Yoshi Cart would be a £7-ish 3DS download title in a parallel universe – loads and loads of levels (I’ve made it to 37 or something so far), and it’s an excellent puzzle game.

Zelda Battle Quest is also pretty long. It feels like a multiplayer version of Link’s Crossbow Training, and would also make an excellent budget stand-alone release. See also Metroid Blast – it’s a complete game in itself, and probably the biggest of all those in Nintendo Land.

Even the “smallest” of the games (in my opinion) – Donkey Kong’s Crash Course – is still a great Screwball Scramble type game. It’s fun, difficult, and very addictive. Balloon Trip Breeze is another “small” game, but is infinitely replayable.

Mario Chase, Luigi’s Ghost Mansion and Animal Crossing: Sweet Day are all fun multiplayer games, and I suppose do come closest to those in a “minigame” compilation. They’re more substantial than the likes of anything in, say, Raving Rabbids or Mario Party though, and definitely don’t feel throwaway or filler.

Overall, it’s a great package. It trains you in using all of the Wii U’s functions well, and I know I’ll be playing some of the games for a long time.

New Super Mario Bros U

For some reason, many people slated New Super Mario Bros Wii, and (to a lesser extent) the DS’s New Super Mario Bros too. I really enjoyed them. Sure, they weren’t as good as Mario 3 or Mario World, but then, very little is.

NSMBU is more than just a HD continuation of the NSMB “series”. It’s a homage proper to the previous Mario games, taking inspiration from Mario 3 and Mario World (similar world map, Toad houses, Koopa Kids, and so on) and adds gloss and shine and new and HD and makes it drip with wet runny gameplay. It’s the best 2D Mario game since Mario World, and I’m only a third through!

I also let my daughter play as the “helper” in Boost Rush mode. It generally worked really well, with her putting platforms to help me get coins, and tapping baddies to stun them. Really good fun.

Nano Assault Neo

One of the two eShop games I downloaded once my Wii U had arrived. The best way I’ve been able to describe it is it’s like Mutant Storm Reloaded played out on Mario Galaxy planetoids. They’re not mutants, they’re viral infections, and they’re not planetoids, they’re tissue cells, but you get the idea.

Twin stick shooters are one of the few types of shooter I enjoy, and this really is excellent. Eyeball meltingly so.

Trine 2

And this is the other eShop game. I’ve played very little so far, but the game pad touch controls (for the wizard, specifically) are perfect. I had played the Mac version a bit a few months ago, but found it impossible to control. The Wii U’s controller fixes that, so it feels as great to play as it looks. And it looks astounding. Really pretty.

Games I’ve Played Recently


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Roundup time!

Kirby and the Amazing Mirror (3DS)

Actually, the GBA version I got as part of the 3DS Ambassador thing. I thought I’d played it before, but I don’t actually remember any of it. It’s very confusing, as there’s no linear progression from level to level (like in Kirby’s Dream Land) or a map where you can replay previous levels (like in Kirby’s Adventure). Instead, there’s a complicated map system where you have to find different exits to access other levels, with occasional mirrors that are found which then leave a permanent link from the main “room” of the game to parts of the map. I suppose it’s a little bit how games like Metroid work, but the map is useless at telling you where you need to go, and it’s too easy to get stuck in a one-way route and have to redo miles of the game before you can try to find another route. I’m sort of enjoying it, but it doesn’t work well with quick bursts of play.

Skyrim (360)

Not progressed much since last time I posted about this, but I have agreed to do some Thieves Guild work (which involves roughing up some locals for money) so started that. I also slaughtered loads of people in the Ratway. I didn’t want to, but they attacked me and things just spiralled into badness. Also: my Flame Atronach is awesome.

VVVVVV (3DS)

Having completed the main game, I was going to go back and collect some more trinkets. However, I got a bit sidetracked with the plethora of other game modes and alternative maps, and so went off and did some of those instead. I also stumbled across some of the “accessibility modes” in the options, so have set the game speed to 60% which makes some of the really hard sections a lot easier. I suppose it’s cheating, but meh – whatdahyahgonnado?

Mario Kart 7 (3DS)

There was a patch for this in the week, so I decided to give it another try online. Had some great games with randoms, and I didn’t even come last most of the time. Unsurprisingly, not a single person chose to play the now-fixed (thanks to the patch) Wuhu Loop track, which certainly made it more varied. I think I was suffering from nasty lag though, as some of the other racers appeared to be invincible to my shells, or seemed to get blown up randomly even though nothing seemed to hit them. That’s my connection though, not the game.

Skylanders (360)

I’ll post more about this another time, but it arrived today and my daughter thinks it’s amazing. I enjoyed the half and hour or so I played it for too, so could be a hit. Glad I got it for about £19 though, not the £60 or whatever it was when it came out last year.

Rayman Origins (Demo) (3DS)

Oh! It looks so lovely!

Mario Kart: Super Circuit (3DS): COMPLETED


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I don’t know why I’ve been playing this throughout the week. I didn’t touch it when I downloaded it for free last year as part of the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Programme. Not because it isn’t any good, because it’s great, but just because I have so many other things to play.

Anyway, I finished it today. I was surprised how many of the tracks I still remembered – even those that haven’t resurfaced on later Mario Kart games. Strangely, though, some of them’s very existence seems to have been wiped from my brain. Sky Garden? I was convinced that was a Konami Krazy Racers track. Yoshi Desert? Er, don’t remember that.

Oh yeah, and once I’d completed it I realised that I’d never used the jump button (there’s a jump button?!). Oh well!

Super Mario Bros (3DS): COMPLETED!


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Yes, the original Super Mario Bros.

Yes, I’ve completed it before. Lots of times. But I’d not completed it for a while (how did it get harder?!) and certainly not on the 3DS, where I’d barely played it. So today I completed it. And very lovely, and hard, it was too.