Things I’ve been playing recently

A few things that might not warrant a full post each. Or I’m lazy. Or both! Or neither.

Super Mario 64 (Wii U)

Technically, I’ve been playing this on the Wii U, but it’s actually the N64 game on the Wii Virtual Console via the Wii U.  Erm, but anyway.

I’ve not got very far in, and playing it was mainly to entertain my daughter, but I’ve picked up about 15 stars. It’s still one of the best games ever made, and as good as Super Mario 3D World is, this still bests it by a considerable margin. Not bad for a game that’s 18 years old!

tumblr_n5lyespnhy1svmpf2o1_400Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)

It was my birthday, and the animals threw me a party! And some sent me (terrible) presents. But the thought was there.

I’m now just 4 weeks away from having played this for an entire year. I’ve still got so much to do – I’m nowhere near filling either the museum or my catalogue, and I still don’t have a police station. Still, I did manage to get a new tree stump pattern I’d not managed before. Looks like I might be playing this even after my 365 day stint is up…

tumblr_n5qgrqjqab1svmpf2o1_400Nintendo Pocket Football Club (3DS)

I’ve been promoted to the third league (the one with the football as the logo), and spent the summer training, playing Italy a lot (which gives you loads of cards), buying some new players (some of mine have aged already, and are dropping stats!) and preparing for the new season.

Which started badly as I lost my first game. Thankfully, it was only to the team that had just dropped down from the next league up, so I should still be able to beat everyone else. In fact, I have beaten two other teams already, so things are looking up!

I wish my striker, Jaimie, could manage more than two matches without getting injured though. Useless.

Super Metroid (Wii U): COMPLETED!

tumblr_n5g6uku1xw1svmpf2o1_1280And that’s it. Samus saved the day (although, in the end, all she saved was herself – spoilers). The game was completed in 7 hours 40 minutes, and with a collected items percentage of 79. I’m surprised it’s as low as 79%, as although I didn’t attempt to get 100%, I did search pretty much everywhere and only knowingly missed three upgrades – two missiles that I saw but couldn’t figure out how to reach, and a Reserve Tank that I never actually saw. I got all the Energy Tanks though, as I assumed the final boss would be a nightmare and I’d want as much health as possible.

Insert_Cypress_Hill_reference_here.It’s genius, then, that how much health you have is completely irrelevant to the final fight. OK, so shooting Mother Brain Inna Jar is tricky with all the Evil Party Rings of Doom, but they don’t do a lot of damage and Mother Brain herself doesn’t attack until after the jar is destroyed, and it’s at that point health is pointless.

UmYou see, she transforms into a monster thing who unleashes everything at you, and is a rocket sponge. After all my missiles, super missiles and power bombs were depleted, she fired a multicoloured beam that drained me of almost all my energy (see? It doesn’t matter how much you have), then was about to finish me off when Baby Metroid (Oh! How he’s grown! Hasn’t he just? How adorable!) returned having almost sucked me dry not ten minutes earlier before he realised I was his mum. He then latched onto Mother Brain and appropriated her essential juices, before transferring them to me, restoring my health. In the process, Mother Brain reanimated and started attacking Baby Metroid, destroying her. Aww.

Worst_baddies_everStill, I’d recovered by then, and had a new rainbow beam power thing which made short work of what was left of Mother Brain, and then (of course!) a time bomb was triggered and I had to run back to my ship very fast. The end!

Yes, I’m aware I’ve missed out a lot of stuff from between my last post and the final boss. There’s just too much good to say about the game. I loved the pacing, the music and the exploration. There’s always something great about getting a new ability in games like this, that allows you to get past a room you were scratching your head over previously. Slowly building you up to be a virtually unstoppable powerhouse with each upgrade and item.

Almost_everything___supermetroidIt may be a game from 1994 (that’s TWENTY YEARS AGO), but it hasn’t aged. The pixels are still beautiful. The gameplay is timeless. Some people said they didn’t think it’d stand up today, especially coming to it now having never played it before (which I haven’t), but they were so very wrong. If this was a new release now, it would stand up perfectly against current titles. One of the best games I’ve ever played. I’m just amazed I’d managed to miss out on it for so long.

Super Metroid (Wii U)

That_s_one_doomed_Space_Marine_To my eternal shame, I have never completed Super Metroid. In fact, I’ve never played it for more than the first five minutes. I don’t know why I decided to rectify this situation now, but I did.

Maybe it’s the fun I had with of-the-same-era Earthbound, or maybe it’s a Backlog Fighter/OCD Unplayed Home Screen Games combo prompting me. I’ve always intended to play it, and I’m a big fan of the two GBA Metroid games so I was pretty sure I’d enjoy it. It just never happened. Until now!

So far, it’s been pretty much what I expected – similar to the GBA versions only with bigger and slightly worse looking sprites. I’ve never really played the original Metroid, or the Game Boy Metroid 2, so the intro to Super Metroid was a little lost on me as it (I presume) replays the ending to one or the other of those.

tumblr_n552oxtwo81svmpf2o1_1280The controls are a little odd, specifically pressing L and R to aim diagonally down and up respectively, but it didn’t take too long to get used to. Not having the map always on the Wii U Game Pad, although never going to happen, is a shame – especially after relying on it so much in Knytt Underground recently.

There’s very little signposting as to where you need to go, so I’ve found that if you’ve not unlocked the map you’ve no idea what lies in each direction so you’re exploring blind. Which is the point of an exploration based game, I suppose, but I get get somewhat lost for ages.

Well, not so much lost, more stuck. I’d descended into Norfair, picked up the high jump, and then couldn’t find anywhere else to go. I couldn’t backtrack as I needed the ice beam to freeze baddies to create steps, I couldn’t go another way because the room was too hot (I later found I needed the Varia Suit here), and another route was blocked as I couldn’t run fast enough. In addition, there was at least one yellow door which I didn’t have a weapon to open. Stuck.

Who_s_a_pretty_boy_thenUntil I found that bombing (literally) everywhere revealed a few extra areas – netting me the “Spazer” weapon and eventually access to Kraid, who was a lot easier than I was expecting once I saw he/she/it was three screens high. In fact, the enemies have been surprisingly easy so far. Knowing where to go, less simple.

After leaving Norfair though the overheated area, I found some new bits to explore which gained me the Speed Booster and, utilising this in Norfair where I previously couldn’t run fast enough, lead me to the Ice Beam and then another new area – leading me back to the planet’s surface via the Power Bomb, which can open yellow doors. Excellent.

Super Mario Bros 2 (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Dinner_time___spoilers_for__qazimod_Super Mario Bros 2 appeared on the Wii U Virtual Console months ago. I think it may have been one of the 30p games from a year ago. Either way, I’ve not played it since it came out, although I had reached level 5.

Spurred on by playing NES Remix 2 recently, of which Super Mario Bros 2 is a part, I thought I’d best finish up the full game properly, and so did.

Look_behind_you__A_three_headed_mon_uh__snake_It was much easier than I recall from the last time I completed it, which was on the NES soon after release, actually. This is probably because all the hard bits (in particular, the bosses) were part of NES Remix 2 and in some cases were trickier there due to additional rules or being unable to use my character of choice (Mario, obviously).

As a result, I cleared the remaining few levels in about half an hour and saw Wart off without any problems.

NES Remix 2 (Wii U): COMPLETED

FINALLYI loved the original NES Remix. Even though several of the included games were, er, not of the best quality (Pinball, Clu-Clu Land, Urban Champion, Golf), the package was fun and the challenges were great. Getting Remix 2 was always going to happen.

And it happened! And all was good.

404The selection of titles this time round seems much better. That’s not surprising as Nintendo have picked some later NES titles for this sequel – Metroid, Super Mario Bros 2 (and 3), Zelda II, Kirby’s Adventure, and what I believe is what the final official NES game, Wario’s Woods.

If you’ve played the first Remix, you know what to expect here. The bulk of the game is made up from playing short sections of the NES games, often with different rules (take no damage, collect X coins, you can’t jump, etc.). The rest of the game is taken up with remix levels.

Here, the games are modified more severely, such as being all in black and white, or the screen is upside down, but some are mashed up with other games. Collect all the coins in a Mario level, as Samus, for example. Disappointingly, and like the first game, these mash up levels aren’t as frequent as you’d hope. There are more in this outing, but still very few.

Nope.It is great, and technically – due to the better game selection – it should be better than the original, but it falls a little short. One reason is that it is generally a lot harder. Perhaps some people wanted this, but I found the first game just about hard enough. Here, I’m struggling to get even two stars on some challenges, whereas I got three stars without to much difficulty (comparatively) on most of Remix 1. A Kirby challenge where you can’t deflate, and a Punch-Out!! one where you have to beat a super powered Glass Joe (quickly!) almost caused the death of my gamepad.

Another reason is there doesn’t seem to be as many games. I’ve not counted, but I’m sure there aren’t. Certainly, in the unlocked Bonus section, there’s just one – the terrible Ice Hockey game. I’m sure the original had more.

Secret_Weegi__That_s_two_I_ve_seen_now.__yearofluigiFinally, there’s the many Mario challenges. We’ve already done Super Mario Bros, so adding The Lost Levels here doesn’t really feel like adding a new game – it’s just a retread.

Having said that, there are two pretty big additions to this iteration. Firstly, despite just missing out on The Year of Luigi, is the inclusion of Super Luigi Bros. Sure, it’s just Super Mario Bros, but mirrored horizontally so you now run right to left instead of left to right. Luigi’s physics more closely match his strange jump movement of more recent games too.

Super_Weegi_BrosSecondly, there’s Championship Mode. Here, three challenges are thrown at you and when you complete them you’re put on a worldwide leaderboard. It’s supposedly set up to resemble ye olde Nintendo Championships, and works well. There’s only one set of three challenges so far, but I presume others will follow.

As you can see from the title of this post, I’ve completed NES Remix 2.  I don’t have all the stars (I’ve about 410 overall, I’m not sure how many there are in total – I’d guess around 500), but I’ve completed every challenge in the game and unlocked all the Remix and Bonus challenges (and beaten them, too).

Worst._Challenge._Ever.It’s definitely worth a purchase, and certainly a lot of fun, but some better challenge choices and more work on mashups would have bumped it up the “needometer” a little. The replay option (you can even replay how people who posted on Miiverse played, which is nice) is a great addition but ultimately doesn’t fix the few slight issues.

And the challenge where all you have to do is watch the “how to play” demo on Kirby’s Adventure? What? Who thought that would be a good idea?

Earthbound (Wii U): COMPLETED!

tumblr_n4nk6botmw1svmpf2o1_1280It took around 30 hours, and there was a break of about eight months between the first six and remaining 24 hours, but finally, Giygas has been defeated, Ness has saved the universe, and everything is perfect and wonderful again.

Which is lovely, and the game was utterly superb, but there’s a darkness there. Behind all the sunshine and happy box of Crayola, I realised that this Giygas wasn’t just the end of game boss. He wasn’t only the terror from the past set to destroy everyone and everything. There was something more. Spoilers follow.

tumblr_n474mqtdhw1svmpf2o1_1280The main task in Earthbound is to reach eight “Your Sanctuary” locations across the game world. Most are at the end of some sort of dungeon, and can only be accessed by defeating a boss at the end of each dungeon. When entering each Sanctuary, as well as your party getting healed and having their PP fully restored, Ness records a sound from the Sanctuary with his sound stone. This triggers vague memories for him too, from when he was a young boy, a baby, and even before then. This is quite sweet, until you make the connection to Giygas that I did.

The_boy_in_the_striped_pajamasIt is hinted multiple times that Giygas only exists because of Ness. In fact, it could well be interpreted that Giygas is Ness, or more likely, the evil part of his psyche manifest as a world destroying demon who lives in the past. From the Sanctuary memories, things that Pokey (who starts off as your bullying neighbour but ends up as Giygas’ powerful henchman) says, and the spoilers given to you when you drink the dodgy coffee provided by Mr Saturn and the little green thingies all reveal a little about how Giygas came to be. Ness’ mum says some pretty odd things too.

Then there’s the point where you reach Giygas itself. Some more exposition from Pokey, and your face appearing in Giygas’s “eye”. The way the final path to the end boss seems to be inside a living being.

This all points to one explanation, which I can scarcely believe I’m writing.

Ness’ mother is also Giygas’ mother, and Ness has travelled back in time to go inside his own mother’s womb to destroy Giygas.

It sounds horrific, and bonkers, but if you’ve played the game and paid attention, it all makes perfect sense. I’m less convinced about some of the specifics about exactly who or what Giygas is, whether Ness’ evil twin, a manifestation of his evil side as I’ve mentioned, or something else – Ness from another dimension, perhaps. It isn’t clear.

Pokey says something about how he was friends with Giygas, and in another conversation it is mentioned that even though Pokey bullied Ness, perhaps it was only so that Ness played with him. Perhaps this is why – because Giygas is the friend Ness could not, or would not be, but was still Ness in a way.

Even one of Giygas’ forms resembles a foetus. I told you it was dark.

What__earthboundBut that’s the story. “Just” the story, if you like. It’s not the game. 99% of the time spent playing it had little bearing on this dark side of things, and in a way that only makes the dark darker.  Thankfully, the rest was all very enjoyable. The fights were mostly fun and not frustrating. Unlike many JRPGs (which this is, no matter what your eyes tell you), especially those from this era, there’s no grinding. Defeating feeble enemies is done instantly without even entering a battle, and dungeons (not that most of them look like dungeons) aren’t huge complicated mazes where you need a pencil and a stolen school maths exercise book to get through as unscathed as possible.

tumblr_n4nk3tjxte1svmpf2o1_1280Everything is done to please the player, streamlining where possible (for example, you’re told who can use new weapons and armour, and if its better than the current kit, before you buy, and you can equip it when you purchase and instantly sell what it replaces), and introducing a teleport power that allows you to warp to pretty much anywhere in the entire world instead of tedious backtracking.

It was a pleasure to play from start to finish, but it was only a few hours after it has finished that I realised the real tale behind the game. If you’ve played it and come to the same, or different, realisation as I did, I’d love to know.

Things I’ve been playing recently

FUZZY_PICKLESEarthbound (Wii U)

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.

They_see_me_rollin_._They_hatin_.__cos_cubes_don_t_roll.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.

tumblr_n3krwn7ttt1svmpf2o1_400Animal 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.

tumblr_n3ebuzyrew1svmpf2o1_1280Steel 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!

Playing_dress_up._Or__since_I_have_no_other_clothes__dress_down.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:

Earthbound (Wii U)

tumblr_n2uujodry91svmpf2o1_1280Even though I was all over this several months ago, I stopped playing. Not because I was bored with it, but I got stuck. I couldn’t get much further than the pencil bit – the enemies were just too hard, and I died $hlmun times.

But, with Backlog Fighter still in full effect, I returned to it a week or so ago and did that bit on my first go with no difficulty whatsoever. The game was back on. Woo!

The_whonowAcross that area was Paula, who I needed to rescue. We then returned to Twoson where I was given $10,000, which I couldn’t spend on myself, so gave it to popular beat combo Runaway Five so they could be released from their contract and drive to Fourside, dropping me off in Threed on the way. Threed that was full of zombies.

Great._That_ll_come_in_handy.Zombies who caught me, and I had to take control of Jeff instead, who came to the rescue. With three members of my party, I took down the zombie menace (actually, I put some paper on the floor and they all stuck to it). Oh, and killed a sentient circus tent. No, really.

Whatever_it_is__I_don_t_want_it.Now I’m on my way somewhere else, presumably Fourside via a non-direct route, and I’ve ended up in Saturn Valley. This place is populated with strange scrotum people who are all called Mr Saturn. And they speak in a very difficult to read font. And have telephones up ladders. And say Zoom a lot. I’m scared they might do… something… while I sleep.

Knytt Underground (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Last_bell___darksoulsChapter 3 is enormous. Like, really enormous. It contains the maps from chapters 1 and 2, and then about 50 times as much content again. And it isn’t just how many rooms there are, either – the puzzles and platforming sections are harder, so take longer. There are quests to get  items which have you travelling (not too far, usually, thankfully) round the map as you try to complete them. With enough of certain items, you can ring bells, but not until you’ve figured out how to reach them, and with five bells rung you can ring the final one.

And not once does it get dull, or repetitive, or frustrating. No matter how hard bits are, you don’t go back far when you die, and you instantly restart, so even the most difficult screens don’t cause anger. Actually, even the few I was really stuck on I found to be optional anyway, since there are more items than the bare minimum, and usually if you’re short you can supplement them with coins, which are found more frequently and are normally easier to collect – you just need more of them.

With the final bell rung, it was completed, with one of the most half-hearted (and purposefully so) endings I’ve ever seen. In fact, there it is in this very post. Basically, the narrator (who wrote the game) says that’s the end, and he’d off for a cup of tea. OK, so there’s a bit more after that, but not much that makes any sense.

tumblr_n2qbqwlb0e1svmpf2o1_1280With it done, I found a bit on the title screen I hadn’t accessed (perhaps I couldn’t?) before, which was a short set of platforming challenges in the style of the intermission previously in the game. A couple of bits were pretty tricky, mainly involving those magnetic robots as you fling yourself from one to another trying not to crash into walls of death. I think that’s it now though.

A lovely little game, that well deserves some attention. The morals it tries to deal with and the story could have done with some work, perhaps something is lost in translation, or is too deep for me, but I didn’t really understand a lot of what was going on. I get the Myriadist/Internet divide is a religion/atheism thing, but much of the rest didn’t really work. Ignore all that though (and the terrible character art), and just enjoy a pleasant and involving platformer with some fantastic in-game artwork.

Knytt Underground (Wii U)

LasersHow can a game which looks so lovely, with its giant alien flowers and plants in the background, and mysterious silhouetted machinery and dwellings in the foreground, all fantastically lit and darkened with lanterns, lasers, mist and smoke, also look so terrible with its woeful character portraits? It’s like the game’s amazing scenery artist got his 8 year old daughter to draw them.

Thankfully, that doesn’t matter, as Knytt Underground is a great Jet Set Willy clone for a more modern game player. There’s nimble platforming and wall climbing, a turn-into-a-ball mechanic which you can use to bounce higher and further (losing some control in the process). There’s also several sparkly things you can collect that temporarily turn you into a glowing light that can, depending on the colour, shoot upwards like a star, do a sort of double jump, or shoot enemies. There are timed switches, doors to find keys for, and fetch quests aplenty.

Knytt_time.And a MASSIVE map. Not only is each screen pretty large, with your character being just a few pixels tall, there are supposedly 1800 of them to navigate. The map on the gamepad has tiny, tiny squares for each room. Chapters 1 and 2 start you off with few abilities and a small map, but Chapter 3, where I am now is immense. I can see several locations on the map where I have to pick up some sort of set of artefacts, but the route is blind and with so many dead ends and diversions I’ve hardly come close to any of them yet.

Pokémon Rumble U (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Pokewon.With Mario 3D World completed in 2-player with my daughter (after completing it in single player), we moved back to this. It turns out there weren’t actually that many levels left, and with our ridiculously overpowered White Kyurem NFC character we didn’t exactly struggle.

I’m not going to sing the game’s praises too much. It’s a very simple button basher (even more so than the Wii and 3DS precursors), with very few differences between levels. Even having different Pokémon means very little, providing they actually have some decent HP and moves. Yes, there are “defend the fort” levels, and “beat the boss in under 120 seconds” levels, but ultimately, you play every level the same – point your ‘mon at the baddies and hammer A and sometimes B.

Having said all that, there’s not actually much to dislike. It’s fun, it’s colourful, and it’s multiplayer. Shallow and repetitive aren’t features many 5 year olds care about, and frankly, I didn’t really mind either.

My only real complaint is that you can’t upgrade your non-NFC Pokémon. It’s not important; As I said, there’s little reason to change character, but when your co-player wants to use “the little crabby one!” with “power” of 150 on a level that recommends 1500+, it would have been nice to be able to spend some of those coins you win bumping Little Crabby’s stats up a bit.

Bit.Trip Presents… Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Old_Skool_RunnerAs it turned out, I was still on World 4, and not World 5 as I though. Still, I was close to the end of World 4, and World 5 was indeed the final world, so I wasn’t that far from complete.

Now I’m even less far from complete, having completed it.

I may have mentioned it’s hard. Oh boy is it hard. I’m not sure it actually got harder on the final world (aside from throwing me a bit by changing the graphics, and by changing how some of the enemies appear – some now move when they didn’t before), but that’s probably just as well as it was hard enough already.

I_made_a_new_friend_So many times I had the checkpoint (yes, I used checkpoints) or end of level in sight, but still died before passing them meaning I had to do it all again.

And then for the final level the worst fly in the ointment happens. You have to run from right to left, but the controls stay the same! So A is still Block, where Y would make more sense. Death after death. Not helped by having no idea what to do with the walls you come across (tip: turns out you have to slide-jump through them).

Which all sounds like a complaint, doesn’t it? It really isn’t. It’s a wonderful game which is just very hard. Unlike some games, though, it doesn’t suffer as a result. The short levels and instant restarts stop you getting totally frustrated, and the levels and controls are such that all mistakes, except perhaps the first time you hit something you didn’t see quickly enough, are entirely your fault. Hard but perfectly fair.

I should point out that I’ve not 100%ed it. I don’t have all the gold in all the levels, I don’t have all the bullseyes, and I don’t have all the chests, keys or anything like that. I won’t be trying to 100% it either – I feel it’s really beyond me. I almost 100%ed the first world and that was difficult enough, and although I know it would be a great achievement to perfect the entire game, I don’t think I’d enjoy doing it. Next!

Things I’ve been playing recently

tumblr_n1ad5ghslg1svmpf2o1_400Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS)

Have I posted about this yet? I can’t remember. It’s the main game-on-the-go-that-isn’t-called-Animal-Crossing on my 3DS at the moment, having started it soon after finishing off Zelda. So far, it’s a slight deviation from previous Layton games, as there are a lot of locations and travel between them. This makes the game seem a lot bigger, but as you’ve the option of finishing up several of the locations in any order (or at least, it seems that way) so it feels almost open world.

In addition, there are millions of downloadable puzzles this time round. Possibly literally. I’ve spent a few hours on those as well.

This_game_is_too_hard._Well__not_this_exact_bit__but_in_general.Bit.trip Presents… Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (Wii U)

In between bouts of Duck Tales (Woo-oo) I’ve been running (ha!) through this. It is so very, very hard. Leaving it for a couple of weeks and coming back is not a good idea, as you forget all the controls. Still, an hour or so’s play and it mostly comes back, and I’ve managed to reach world 4. Or 5? Yes, 5. Which I think might be the final world! The end is in sight!

Best_game_ever.Advanced Lawnmower Simulator Advance (GBA)

Actually, I’ve been playing it on an emulator on the iPhone. There’s one called GBA4iOS which you can install without jailbreaking and you don’t go through the App Store, which makes me think it’s just going to vanish one day, but until then… Advanced Lawnmower Simulator Advance is there.

It’s the best game ever, which of course I would say because 1) it is, and 2) I wrote it. Marvellous.

tumblr_n13xxprbyk1svmpf2o1_400Steel Diver: Sub Wars (3DS)

This nice little FPS in slow motion (submarines aren’t known for their speed and manoeuvrability)  is, for the cut-down version at least, free on the 3DS eShop, and was a surprise offering during last week’s Nintendo Direct.

I’ve not played a lot of it yet, but it seems fun enough.

Duck Tales (Wii U): COMPLETED!

DUCK_NEWS__A_WOO-OOIn my unprompted quest to clear some of my backlog (see Wonderful 101 and NES Remix), this was cued up next on the list. Previously on Duck Tales, Woo-oo 1, I’d completed the first and second levels, and then… stopped playing.

As has happened before, many times, with many games. Stay focussed!

It’s not a very long game, so I thought I’d get it wrapped up. And I did. Turns out it wasn’t as hard as I’d thought previously – perhaps the first couple of levels were actually the easiest in the game? I don’t know, but I barely had a problem for the rest of it. Even the bosses were easier as I progressed.

I don’t recall a great deal about the NES original. I know I’ve played it, but not very much, so I didn’t come to it with a great deal of nostalgia. I do know however, and this is a Known Fact, that 8-bit Disney platformers are fantastic and 16-bit ones are terrible, so I was expecting to enjoy it. Thankfully, I was right as I did – very much so. It is true that it’s nothing terribly special, and it is also true that platformers have moved on somewhat in the intervening years, but that matters not. In fact, it’s nice to have a simple game like this every so often, without the constraints of the older consoles but with the “pure gaming soul” of the titles. Oh yes, and the Wii U version having the map on screen at all times is a nice helpful thing.

And that music. Joy.


  1. Or should that be, aha, “Duck Tales, Wii U”? Hilarious.

The Wonderful 101 (Wii U): COMPLETED!

tumblr_n17nb1ocvt1svmpf2o1_1280A concerted effort over the last few days has paid off, and I’ve managed to complete The Wonderful 101!

I really enjoyed it. It’s mental, but it’s so much fun to play. OK, so the number of times you fight the same baddies is perhaps a bit too high, and drawing Unite Morphs in a narrow or enclosed space is sometimes a little tricky, but there’s just too much to love about it.

It’s so bright and happy, with plenty of funny conversations (like Red’s ability to remember and repeat everything he’s told, Green and Black having a wager on who would win “mumble mumble mumble something something with Pink” if they destroyed more bad guys than the other, and so on), and somehow manages to be a little dark and sinister too. The way the action ramps up (as does the size of the foes) towards the end of the game is brilliant – when you realise that Platinum Robo dwarfs your team, but he then is essentially microscopic compared to other enemies later on. Amazing.

The levels are varied too, with some isometric shooter sections, a couple of Rez-like into-the-screen bits (complete with lockons), and even a few bosses you have to beat Punch-Out!! style.

Yep._Platinum_are_definitely_Power_Rangers_fans.I should mention the number of references to Platinum (the team who made the game) too, as there are a lot. Platinum Robo itself wears the developers’ logo on its head, and the massive super computer that controls Earth’s defence shield is called “Mother Platinum”, and is the shape of the “Platinum 4 Point Star”. You even collect said stars as powerups in some of the levels, and there are 5 hidden Platinum Coins on each level as well.

Sadly, there’s one nasty fly in the ointment. Each “Operation” is made up of three sections (A, B and C), with each of these covering many missions (destroy a large enemy, traverse a dangerous bit, solve a puzzle, etc.). Each of the three Operation sections takes, roughly, 20-30 minutes. The problem is, that the game only saves after each section, not after each smaller mission (even though the game actually says it’s saving, and the manual says it does so). What it seems to do is save your record for that mission, with your score and rating, but not actually your progress. This means there’s 30 minutes between save points. Which is bad.

What is worse, though, is the final Operation section – 009C. It’s not 30 minutes long, being final boss after final boss (he has something like 5 or 6 forms, plus other bits and cutscenes between them). In fact, it took me almost three hours. That’s too long without a save point, took me well past my bedtime, and soured what should have been an epic final battle as I was rushing to get it done.

Still, this probably would only be an issue if you don’t have the time, or you’re shooting for high scores so have to do the 3 hour final run over and over (because you get a terrible rating if you die), but it’s something they should have fixed. Why no “quick save” after every mission, Platinum? You craft such a fantastic game and then threaten to ruin it with a silly decision. Oh well.