In a (very) late entry into completed games in the year 2014, I give you Pop’n TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventures! It’s not a shoot ’em up like the other Pop’n TwinBee games – instead being a platformer with some elements borrowed from the likes of Castle of Illusion, Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario World, but somehow totally different from all of them.
Whereas in the shooter games in the series you pilot a cute spacecraft and take down other cute spacecraft (like a chibi-1941), you pilot a cute spacecraft who runs and jumps around levels punching things and hitting foes with a big hammer. No, really.
I have played it before, a long time ago in an incomprehensible Japanese form, but something made me want to buy the Wii U English eShop version a couple of days ago. I never got very far previously, but made an effort to complete it this time.
And it was great! I did find it pretty easy, most of the bosses especially so, but there were a couple of levels I was stuck on for ages. They were both maze-like and I just couldn’t find the right exit. One of them involved lots of pipes, none of which seemed to take me to the exit which I’d clearly seen but was unable to reach. Another was made up almost entirely of destructible blocks, and although I could locate the exit without much issue, the key on that stage (which you can use to open doors to bonus areas on other stages) was apparently inaccessible. After 20 minutes I gave up looking for a way in.
Which means I finished without collecting all the keys. I don’t think they’re necessary for anything special, though, so I’m not too bothered.
In all, it’s a strange but enjoyable (and very Japanese) game, with varied levels, and it’s a shame I missed it first time round and never paid it much attention until now. Perhaps it’s the way it’s a spin-off, as they often don’t fare too well, but in TwinBee’s case, it’s well worth a look.
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.
Yes, this did take a while longer than previous Mega Mans (Men?). Not in terms of actual play time, as this came in at a little over 4 hours, so slightly shorter than Mega Man 4 (bucking the trend of Mega Man games getting longer in sequence!), but in terms of number of weeks over which I played it.
My excuse is HYRULE WARRIORS, which has eaten most of any game time I have. I’ll turn the Wii U on, intending to play Mega Man or UnEpic or Mario Kart 8, but ending up with Hyrule Warriors instead. Occasionally, sometimes, eventually, my finger has managed to successfully prod Mega Man 5 and I’ll play for a few levels.
This game’s “new thing”, as each game has so far added something, is Beat. A semi intelligent homing attack bird robot. Obviously. So pointless is Beat, that I didn’t even consider using it until the final boss battle.
As for the rest of the game, it was more of the same. You can see they were really struggling with robot bosses and powers at this point, as many were retreads of previous ones. One of the levels tried to be a bit different with a sort of jetski section, but it was frustratingly hard and, ultimately, crap. Still, at least there was nothing as rubbish as Top Man’s awful flying spin-kick power, although the Charge Kick neared it. The final boss was similar to a previous boss (in Mega Man 3, I think – at this point they’re all starting to blur into one), but somehow even easier. Especially with Beat. Disappointing, in a way.
Overall I’d have to say it wasn’t as good as Mega Man 4, but better than 3, even though this breaks my until-now perfect run of sequentially better Mega Man titles. 4>5>3>2>1. I suppose it also breaks the run of getting bigger each time too, since it’s slightly shorter than 4. 6 next? Aye, go on then.
It can’t be two and a half years since I last played this. Surely. I’m sure I’ve played it more recently. Maybe I did, but didn’t mention it.
This playthrough had a rare occurrence! Usually, when I reach the final level, I have nobody to beat and just instawin. You see, in the last few epochs, you’re supposed to hibernate some of your men so they’re around for the final battle.
Your rival gods are supposed to do the same, but they almost never do, meaning you reach the end fight and have nobody to fight against. This time, though, I had someone to beat!
And that took ten seconds as I had ten times as many men. One day, Mega-lo-Mania! One day you’ll beat me!
Yes, I know it’s not considered to be a great game. And I know it’s less than an hour long. And yes, I know it’s very, very easy. And I’m aware of how the graphics are a bit odd and how the viewport is too small and that the controls aren’t as tight as most Mario games. I know all this.
But it doesn’t matter because Yoshi’s Story is the most god damn happy game ever made and if you don’t grin from ear to ear for the entire duration you play, frankly you are dead inside and have no soul.
And I’ve just completed it on the Wii U, via the Wii. Because my daughter told me to. And it was great. So there.
Progressing well through this now. Well, at least I was until I entered Moonside where everythings is… wrong. The map is like Fourside only upside down, and all in neon. And there are invisible walls. And some people you talk to warp you all over the place but not to anywhere useful. And “yes” and “no” are reversed, except when saving your game. It’s very odd.
Oh yeah, and Paula got kidnapped by a green squidalienghost in the department store, which means some of the fights now are pretty hard as I had been relying on her Freeze “magic” (although it isn’t called magic – what is it? PP? What?) a lot.
Edge (Wii U)
I still have some eShop credit and this was reduced last week to just £1.79 or something, so I picked it up. It’s a nice puzzle game where you roll a cube around picking up smaller cubes and hitting switches which make the platforms appear, move, or transform. Seems good so far, but I’m only about 20 (short) levels in. The controls are a bit of a pain though – it’s too easy to allow the cube to keep rolling even after you stop pressing the direction pad, which is odd as it’s a cube, not a ball.
Animal Crossing (3DS)
Still playing this every day! Big news this week though – I finally managed to get a lighthouse! That space I’ve been saving on the clifftop for almost EIGHT MONTHS has now been filled with a lovely shiny lighthouse. Awesome!
I’ve also been trying to get more special tree stumps. I’d visited someone else’s village and they had at least two special stump designs that I didn’t, so I chopped down half my trees in the hope I’d find them in my own village. I didn’t. So a lot of time has been spent planting new trees.
Skylanders Giants (360)
Late to the party with this, as Skylanders Swapforce has been out about six months now, but someone was selling Giants (and ten Skylanders we didn’t have) for a bargain price, so I snapped them up. I’ve been playing it with my daughter, and although we’re only about four levels in, and it does seems like more of the same (only without the right-stick “waggle” events to open chests and locks and things), it’s just as fun as the original. Having a pile of new Skylanders to try is nice too. We’ve 27 overall now.
Steel Diver (3DS)
This was one of the “three for a tenner” games I bought a while back, along with Tetris 3DS and Heroes of Ruin. I can see why people complained at the price when it was £30, but for what I paid it’s a perfectly good title. You control a submarine and have to navigate through areas by moving depth and velocity sliders on the touch screen, rather than with the d-pad. Torpedo firing controls are all “buttons” on the touch screen too, as is the attitude “wheel”.
There are three different subs to choose, from a nimble but weak tiny one, to a strong but difficult to manoeuvre underwater tank. You actually have to play all of the levels with all three subs to unlock the later levels, and I’m currently struggling to pass Level 5, where there’s a massive ship you have to destroy, only I can’t. Boo!
Megami Paradise (PC Engine)
I have no idea what is happening. I intended to play this for Game Over, Yeah!! but couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do, so didn’t get to any areas where it was possible to die, so had to abort it. It appears to be an RPG where you control a girl at a convent school (it’s full of nuns). I managed to find some other girls who were stuck in chests or surrounded by frogs, and then found a dressing room where I could strip to my bra and knickers (but it wouldn’t let me leave the room until I’d put my clothes back on). Pretty standard Japanese fare, then. See:
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.
Back in the day, I must have completed this a billion times. It’s not a hard game, but there’s something very satisfying about nuking the enemy before they’ve even had a chance to build any catapults.
WE’VE NUKED THEM!
So that’s what I’ve done a lot this week. That, and cornering the enemy in a useless sector of the map, with nought to defend themselves and no resources to create anything, before slaying them horribly with four pikemen, a cannon, and 150 jet fighters.
Also, Mega-lo-Mania is the best source of soundbites ever. “We’re running out of elephants” (actually elements, but the quality isn’t great), “No I don’t think so” (in a super-camp voice) and “Towwer cwitical!”. Awesome.
Completed it overandoverandover this week. And not once did any of the CPU players manage to hibernate any men for the final battle. Tch.
I got given an MSX this morning. Not only that, but it works! Not only that, but it came with some games! What an amazing day.
First up was Pairs. It’s a pelmanism-style matching pairs game, but you have a little man you have to guide to the cards to flip them, while avoiding the baddies. It was fun for a bit.
Then I played Eric and the Floaters. The original Bomberman game. Coincidentally, I’d actually blogged about this very game here only yesterday – even putting the Spectrum game on my site to play. Amazing! It’s virtually the same as the Spectrum version, except the deadly balloons have little smiling faces on them. Evil smiling faces.
Next was Hunchback. Which was very hard. I got as far as the screen with the arroes that shoot from the left, but couldn’t get past it.
Finally, International Karate. No, not “+”, the original. It was OK, but I couldn’t get to grips with the controls. Part of the problem was the stupidly loose Toshiba joystick with far too much travel.