Things I’ve been playing recently

A lot of things, it seems. I’ve had a glut of new games over the last month and I’ve been playing each for a short time. I’ve yet to settle down and just work on one or two, so I’ve not made much progress in each. So here’s a list, in no particular order:

Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition (Vita)

tumblr_nhtwabelmc1svmpf2o1_1280My subscription to PS+ was autorenewed before I could cancel it (the whole service got DDOS’d and I couldn’t log in), so I thought I might as well make use of it. This is one of the rentals.

It’s Duke Nukem. A bit easier to control than the 360 version that appeared on XBLA, and with a nice (but often broken) rewind feature if you die. It’s the same game that it ever was, so great. Half way through the first episode so far.

Hohokum (Vita)

tumblr_nhzgjbfpdm1svmpf2o1_1280At least, I was playing this until my family hijacked my save game. I’ve no idea what’s going on. You’re a snake which flies around bizarre levels bumping into things which sometimes react, solving puzzles that aren’t really puzzles, in an attempt to reunite with other snakes. I think. You’re just dropped into the game with no explanation and just expected to get on with it. It’s good, but I’m confused and lost. No idea why I bought it, although it was on offer.

Super Smash Bros U (Wii U)

Oh.I’m sure the Gamecube version of this was easier to control. I’m still sticking mostly to Mega Man, and I’m trying, but it does seem very vague as to whether I actually pull off moves or not. And I can never remember in the heat of the moment how to do the special moves that try to carry you back onto a platform when you’ve been punched off. It’s utter chaos, but then I suppose that’s the appeal.

Whoa Dave! (Vita)

tumblr_nhttyfer181svmpf2o1_1280Another PS+ rental. It’s an 8bit (or lower, perhaps – it’s more like an Atari 2600 title) looking single screen arcade platformer. Eggs drop from the top of the screen, and after a while they hatch. Baddies pop out and when they hit the lava at the bottom of the screen they “level up” and become more dangerous, and then level up again each time they hit the lava. You have to beat them by chucking eggs at them, or by destroying the eggs by throwing exploding skulls at them. Then UFOs appear and it all gets really hard. Really like this game, so much so I’ll probably buy it when it hits the 3DS. My high score is $1.76, in case you want a target (an easy target) to aim for.

Peggle (Mac)

tumblr_nhtn2lm76a1svmpf2o1_1280I happened to be using my old MacBook, and Peggle was on it, and I couldn’t remember playing it on there before so wasn’t sure it would work and then I ran it to see and it did work and then an hour passed magically. It’s Peggle, and that’s what happens with Peggle. No idea how far I got.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Demo) (3DS)

I didn’t want to like this because I really wanted a Wii U version instead. Sadly, that doesn’t look likely to happen. It’s Monster Hunter, but made a bit easier to play (on the 3DS) as I’ve a shiny new New 3DS with extra buttons and a prodnipple, so it’s essentially got the same controls as the Wii U version of MH3U anyway.

I chose the Great Jaggi hunt as I know where I am with that, and picked a hunter with twin blades, not a class I’d used before. I don’t know if it’s the different weapons, or the different game, but the combat was so much swifter than I ever had on the previous game. Mind you, that was with a Great Sword and so slow and ponderous came with it. I like how you can now jump on the back of the Great Jaggi and slash at his (her?) neck, and it’s nice to have some new maps to hunt on. Do I want this now? Yes. Yes I do.

SteamWorld Dig (Wii U)

Toot_Toot_Sonic_WarriorIt’s the same as the 3DS game that I completed last year (or the year before?), but that doesn’t matter. It’s just as good, but all in HD and on the tellybox. I bought it as it was on offer and I was trying to spend enough in the Wii U eShop before the end of 2014 to get another £5 credit before they stopped running the scheme. Don’t know why I started this before the other games that I’d bought but haven’t played before – that’d make more sense, surely?

I’ve reached The Old World, and have a couple of upgrades from there. I’m pretty sure by this point in the 3DS game I had the ability to punch by now, so I’m wondering if I’ve missed something…

Rock Boshers DX: Director’s Cut (Vita)

tumblr_ninhulrwnN1svmpf2o1_1280Stumbled across this, and as soon as I noticed it was basically a brand new Spectrum game, I had to buy it. Turns out it’s a twin stick shooter, with Spectrum graphics and sound, and even had a two minute long load (which you can skip – I didn’t). The plot is incredible – you appear to be Queen Victoria, dressed as a man, who decides to go to Mars in a giant bullet shaped space ship that’s shot out of a huge cannon, and, when you arrive, you have to shoot guards and zombies and collect keys and avoid massive centipedes while looking for tea and jammy scones. YES. It’s the best thing ever.

Picross e5 (3DS)

tumblr_nip7ql5orv1svmpf2o1_400I was having a look at the eShop the other day and realised Picross e5 was out and I hadn’t bought it. So I bought it, and started playing it. It’s Picross, and I like Picross, so I like this. Aside from different puzzles (obviously), it seems to be no different to Picross e4. That’s not a problem, as Picross e4 was lovely.

Minecraft (360)

Oh, remember my 360? Never before has a console so frequently used in the past been dropped so quickly. Mine barely gets touched these days. In fact, the only reason I turned it on was because I finally decided to get Minecraft, mainly for my daughter. I’d a pile of free credit, and since the 360 is the only machine I have that 1) plays Minecraft and 2) I have two controllers for (for co-op), it had to be that version.

Created a “creative mode” map, which was far too vertical to navigate, so after a while we binned it and created a flat world – which we forgot to make “creative”. So cue all the baddies in the world appearing when it got dark and we hadn’t built any shelter because all I had were a couple of oak tree seeds and some dirt. Then we explored a lot and it seems everything wasn’t just flat, as we found a monastery (I think) and I fell in a well and couldn’t get out and drowned. Yay?

Skylanders Giants (360)

While the 360 controllers were out, and we’d just taken delivery of a cheap Skylanders Swap Force starter kit (for the Wii U – to hell with the 360 now!), I thought we shoudl probably finish off Giants.

So we worked through two more levels – Kaos’ castle, and a Ghost Ship. I’m sure the game it waaaay harder than the original Spyro’s Adventure, you know. We’ve about 30 Skylanders and ploughed through pretty much all of them on both levels.

Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! (Wii U)

Prison_breakThis was on sale and even though I know it’s not supposed to be very good, we are big fans of the cartoon and it was very cheap. And it’s multiplayer co-op.

It’s not too bad, actually. For the most part it plays like Gauntlet, complete with food and baddie generators and smart-bomb magic, but there’s also a Rogue Legacy style shop system. You can quit the dungeon after every 5 levels, and then spend your money to get better stats, but any money you have left is lost when you return to the game. The best bit is how the Gamepad becomes a giant Beemo face, who comments on your action with such gems as “food is where the hearts are!”. Excellent.

OlliOlli (Vita)

tumblr_ningobQfD61svmpf2o1_1280With various deals and cheap credit, I got this for less than £2. I’ve wanted it for a while, but keep being put of by people who say it’s rubbish. At that price I thought I’d risk it. And I’m glad I did as it’s pretty good.

It’s no Tony Hawk’s, obviously, but is instead an endless runner with things to grind on and ollie off. It’s all about timing, and the tricks are more like the Skate games in how you flick the stick to pull them off.  Was getting well into it, and then it crashed. Bah.

Things I’ve been playing recently

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!

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U)

I’ve had this for a little while now, but for some reason I’ve not made any posts about it. I’d decided to buy the game, expensive as it was (£50!) directly from the Nintendo eShop. I thought it would benefit from always being installed rather than having to find the disc when I wanted to play, and given how much time I ploughed into the Wii version (Monster Hunter Tri) I thought £50 was still going to be value for money.

Either that or I had a funny five minutes.

Sure, I’m generally against the prices of eShop “retail” games, but the cheapest boxed copy I could find at the time was £44, so it wasn’t a massive saving. Then I found, just 24 hours after buying it, that Game did download vouchers for £42.99. Ah well, you live and learn.

How is the game, then? Well, excellent. I had two major issues with the Wii original – the controls (specifically the item selection during battle), and the inability to get certain items unless you played online. MH3U fixes both those problems, with item quick-select on the gamepad, and optional online. As much as I enjoyed it before, it’s far, far more accessible now. Which is A Good Thing.

That’s not all that’s new, though. Capcom have added some new monsters, areas and weapons too. I still went with a Great Sword though, same as before. I did consider trying something else, but only the Great Sword seemed “right” to me. I’m playing as a woman this time though, not that it really makes a difference.

Something I didn’t realise would matter so much is the improvement in the game’s graphics. They’re so much clearer that they make the game substantially easier. Enemies in the distance are more distinct – so you can see their “tells” better, and “gathering” areas (for mushrooms, mining, etc.) are far easier to spot. I even found two “secret” routes in the Deserted Island that I hadn’t seen before simply due to blur.

At the moment, I’m nearing how far in I got with the Wii game. I’ve not reached Tundra yet, but I’m way ahead in the sword improvement and armourcraft stakes – having full sets of both Rhenoplos and Jaggi armour. I never managed a full set of anything in MHT. I’ve not had a go at Barroth yet either, but I have defeated a Great Wroggi and several Arzuros – neither of which were in MHT.

I’m currently trying for full Ludroth armour, and mopping up a few remaining 2* quests and the rest of the 3* quests. Around 20 hours on the clock!

The Irregular Lazy Catch Up Post

Yep. Another one of those. You love them really. So, here are things I’ve been playing recently:

Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (360)

I’m now, I dunno, half way into the first of the two year 7 films? I have no idea. Things seem to have hit the fan though, as the beardyman has died and the moon has turned into a Lego skull and everything was on fire.

Literally no idea.

Skylanders (360)

My daughter is able to play this really well now, so we play in co-op and she pretty much manages by herself without me needing to control her or anything. She even goes and collects keys and things, and knows to hang back when there’s a load of baddies to dispatch. Awesome. We’ve done a few more levels, and redone some earlier ones again, but I’m not sure how far from the end we are now.

Batman: Arkham City (Wii U)

It’s fantastic. I’m now almost 9 hours in, and have just completed the Demon Trials bit, which is how far I got on the PC version before giving the PC version up because it’s the PC version and who plays PC games? Eh? I’m surprised I’d played it for that long on the PC though. In fact, I probably played it a lot longer, as I recall a lot of aimless wandering, side quests, and Riddler Trophy hunting – none of which I’ve really done in the Wii U version yet.

The Wii U Game Pad makes it a lot easier to manage gadgets and stuff too, and it doesn’t look any worse than the PC version did on my machine, so it’s better overall. Nice.

The Cave (Wii U)

Still on my first runthrough. I don’t know how long the game is, but I’m now doing the third “individual” puzzle section – for the Time Traveller – having already done the Hillbilly and the Twins bits. The Twins one was hilarious. And dark. The controls have clicked now too, which is great. It’s a shame there’s no Game Pad Only mode, though.

Zen Pinball 2 (Wii U)

I still only have the Marvel Infinity Pack of tables (I think that’s what it’s called, anyway – Avengers, Infinity Gauntlet, World War Hulk and Fear Itself), but they’re all great. I’m at the top of my friends list on all the high score tables now, and have broken the top 50 in the world on a couple of them – and 5th in the UK on one!

F-Zero (Wii U)

The SNES game for 30p. I’m not a fan of F-Zero (and never really have been, actually), but at that price, you can’t say no. So I didn’t say no.

It’s as good (or “average”) as I remember it. Quite good fun, but the tracks with the 90 degree “square” corners are too hard, the “cars” are too floaty, and the collision detection, particularly with walls, too ropey, to really enjoy properly. At least it’s in 60Hz. Miiverse would explode if it wasn’t…

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Demo) (Wii U)

It’s Monster Hunter Tri, only in HD. And with more bits. But basically, that. It looks utterly fantastic, plays well, and I really want it, but… the controls! Oh my!

They were terrible on the Wii, but you’dathunk on the Wii U, with more buttons and a touch screen for easy item access, they’re be easier? Right? Wrong. You still have to hold L and press Y and A to cycle through your inventory. Why?! Madness.

Tank! Tank! Tank! (Wii U)

This is now free. At least, being able to play one of the multiplayer game modes up to three times a day is free. Rude not to download it, really.

It plays like EDF 2017, only with big happy cartoon graphics, Japanese photobooth style silly photo avatars, and tanks. It’s fun, but it’s Story Mode I think I’d get most out of, and that’s not free. Sure, it’s only £7.99, but I’ve a lot of other games on at the moment and it’s likely the disc version will be nearer that price (with all the other content included) soon. I’ve seen it for £15 so it’s only a matter of time.

2 Fast 4 Gnomz (Demo) (3DS)

I played another game in this series on the Wii U. It was terrible. This, however, is… good? It’s a simple autorunning platformer, but it was fun. Fun enough to buy when there are a billion similar cheaper-or-free alternatives? Not so sure.

Fractured Soul (Demo) (3DS)

Erm. I’m pretty sure I’ve played an almost identical game to this before. Maybe on the Wii. It’s a “two planes” game, where you swap from one to the other (one on each screen) to progress – as enemies, switches, platforms and lasers only appear on one or the other. It’s a bit like Mighty Switch Force, but not even one tenth as good. I won’t be buying this.

escapeVektor (3DS)

Another few levels into this. Still great.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate: Demo of Game: Sub of Title (3DS)

It’s a 2.5D Castlevania, that looks like the 360 “reboot” graphically, plays a bit like it in terms of combat, but have the classic Metroidvania blue-map-filling thing going on. I hated the 360 game (it just wasn’t Castlevania), but this… this is awesome. It’s now on the list!

Monster Hunter Tri (Wii)

Another week of playing very little but this. After the stumbling block of getting the water sword, I’ve been progressing quickly – seeing off many of the 4* quests without any bother, including the Great Baggi quest, and the combo of a Great Jaggi and a Barroth – together. The Jaggi/Barroth quest was made somewhat harder by the mid-fight arrival of a Qurupeco, so I had to fight all three at once.

I also saw off the Lagiacrus much more easily than I was expecting, but the Rathian handed me my own bottom when fighting him, so I think I need to up some stats before returning there.

Monster Hunter Tri (Wii)

Hooray! I’m back in! After more than 70 kills or captures of Royal Ludroths, I finally got a crest drop! It came on a(nother) replay of the 3* Royal Ludroth hunt quest, appearing in the quest rewards after defeating him. Many many times I’ve already done this quest, and nothing. Gah!

But I’m over that little hurdle now, and am well away again. With the crest, I forged a new sword with water powaz, which I used to slaughter the Barroth I previously could barely scratch. After that, I had to kill the big angler fish thing in the Flooded Forest, which I did first attempt without any problems at all. I even then did the first 4* quest, which was incredibly simple – 20 Baggis? Easy!

So glad I didn’t give up on the game. It’s much too good!

Monster Hunter Tri (Wii)

Unfortunately, I think I’m coming to the end of my fun with this. I’m stuck, or rather, the game is stuck. I’m trying to obtain a Royal Ludroth Crest so that I can create a water-affinity sword to enable me to defeat the Barroth. Problem is that despite the crest having a 60-odd% drop rate (so long as you smash the crest on the Ludroth’s head), after almost 60 kills or captures I just ONE crest. And that was from my very first kill.

This means I’ve spent around 20 hours of play just killing the same monster over and over and over and over and getting nowhere. I’m convinced my game is broken, as this just isn’t right – I should have more crests by now.

As a result, it’s no longer fun, and I’m not sure I can be bothered any more. It’s a shame, because it was excellent.

Monster Hunter Tri (Wii)

This is a big game, isn’t it? I mean, long. Huge. Hours. I’ve plugged over 20 hours (offline) and at least 3 (online) into it so far, and I’ve only just started the 3* offline quests and have barely touched the online quests – let alone go back to previous quests to complete the subquests I’ve missed.

For the first 10 hours or so I was totally lost. Everything was confusing, from inventory management, to farming, the way online works, quests and hunting, combining items, forging armour and weapons, upgrades, skills… the lot. After every quest or two the game threw in another thing to cope with (I can send fishing fleets off? There’s a chef? I can trade commodities?!), and even at 20 hours I’m still learning. How do I even work the bowgun? Why is the Switch Axe useless? Where on earth do I get all these items I need to upgrade stuff?

But it’s excellent. It should be repetitive, mundane, and full of grinding. But somehow, it isn’t. It’s fun, frantic (in places), sedate (in others) and has an OCD Factor 5 hook to keep playing. And who doesn’t like smashing dinosaurs the size of buildings in the face with swords as long as telegraph poles?