Batman: Arkham City (Wii U)

Dinner dinner dinner dinner fightman! Dinner dinner dinner dinner hideman! Dinner dinner dinner dinner glideman! Climbman! Batman!

85% done now. With the story, at least. It would appear that only equates to about 30% of the overall game, which presumably includes all the side missions, Riddler trophies and after-game fun. Of which there is clearly a lot for the maths to work.

Having beaten up Mr Freeze and found his wife for him, lost the cure for Batman’s poisoning, and punched the Joker a lot – too much, I’d say, given his weak and spindly frame, yet still he walks – I set off to rearrange Strange’s face. Which was all too easy, and I did wonder what exactly he was playing at to make it so easy and then… SPOILER! I genuinely didn’t see that twist coming. I was expecting something, but not involving that particular character. Clever girl.

Er, by which I mean the game, not the character.

What next? Well, off to punch the Joker again it seems. For a painted twig, he’s remarkably resilient.

The Cave (Wii U): COMPLETED!

I have a lot of games on the go at the moment so in an effort to resolve that I made a concerted effort to not play anything else until I’d finished some. It didn’t work as I accidentally started playing Assassin’s Creed III.

I did, however, manage to finish The Cave. It’s not a big game, having clocked in at about 7 hours, but it was very funny and quite clever. The three characters I’d chosen were Hillbilly, Time Traveller, and the best of the lot – the Twins.

Oh my was The Twins’ story dark.

It was all pretty good as well. Some of the puzzles were a bit annoying due to all the to-ing and fro-ing (like the prospector bit) with items and characters, but overall it was well designed. I also loved the “commentary” from the Cave itself – very dry.

Yes, I’ll probably run through with three different characters, but not for a while.

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!

Trine 2 (Wii U): COMPLETED!

With about 15 hours on the clock, I’m done. Woo!

As previously posted, once I got the controls sorted, I was well away and really enjoyed it. Sure, there are a few puzzles which I appeared to fudge or break in order to complete them (I don’t think I did them any of the accepted “correct” ways), but that didn’t seem to matter.

A very pretty game, and well worth a play through. I don’t think I’ll go through again to get all the collectables, though – I don’t think it’s worth a second run. Especially not since Batman has arrived and I’ve just bought The Cave…

Trine 2 (Wii U)

However pretty it is, for some reason I didn’t quite gel with Trine 2 at first. The controls were fiddly, having to swap character and weapon and use all the buttons and the touch screen, and as much as I wanted to love it, I didn’t.

Then, when I realised it’s the only Wii U game I have that I haven’t completed (aside from Nintendo Land, which I’m not sure counts? That’s a debate for another time, perhaps), I got back on it.

After a couple of hours, I was hooked. The controls suddenly worked, and I went through the whole of the rest of the game having fun. Or so I thought, since the end of the game, the final chapter (called “The Final Chapter”), referenced online as the final chapter, isn’t actually the final chapter. There was more. A lot more.

You see, I’d not read anywhere (and still haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere) that the Wii U version of Trine 2 actually includes the DLC episode “The Goblin Menace” from the other platforms. Which, it seems, is about half as long as the main game. Bonus!

So I’m now about an hour into that. Awesome.

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!

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)

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.

Nano Assault Neo (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Omikron was hard.

Very hard.

I don’t know how many attempts at it I had, but only two of them got me as far as the boss, and most of them failed on the first level. I later learned not to stay in one place for too long – the baddies crowd you. Once I realised that the best tactic was sweep round the level, and when it gets busy move away for a bit, it was much easier.

Sigma, which followed Omikron, was a walkover in comparison. I limped into the boss fight on my first attempt, with no spare lives and just a single hit point. Thankfully, I’d just done one of the great bonus levels and used the credits won there to beef up my craft, and that was enough to beat him and win the game.

Mighty Switch Force HD (Wii U): COMPLETED!

On one hand, Mighty Switch Force HD isn’t much more than the 3DS version I completed a while ago. On the other, it does have new levels, modified levels, and it looks even more awesome. Mainly though, it’s fantastic, regardless of what has gone before.

As it is then, Mighty Switch Force HD is a great platform puzzle shooter, with lovely aesthetics, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Again.

I even went straight back in and played most of the bonus extra levels. I think there’s only one left now!

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

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

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)

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

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.