Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (360)

I’m torn.

On one hand, this a beautiful, heart-wrenching puzzle-platformer. On the other hand, it’s ICO. Now, I sort of liked ICO. I liked the idea. I liked some of the puzzles. I liked the setting and the graphics (although the horrible low-res made my eyes explode). I didn’t like all the dragging Yorda round and stopping her getting killed, though.

This doesn’t have a lot of that, and the graphics are several billion times easier on the eyes, but still – it’s ICO.

Controlling both brothers at once is awful. Not so much when you do the puzzles like getting one to turn a handle and the other to run around, as you’re not physically making them move togther, but more just navigating from A to B. No matter how hard you try, one always veers off and gets stuck behind something or goes the wrong way, artificially making the easy bits of the game harder.

Since completion time has been reported at just 3 to 5 hours, I’d estimate I’m about half way through. Just after the bit where the younger brother hallucinates about the giant who seems to be his mum, anyway.

Bastion (360): COMPLETED!

A beautiful game. Gorgeous to look at. Fantastic music. Fun to play. Somewhat short, and incredibly easy (I didn’t die at all, ever), but really, really good.

After a few levels, I’d settled on the Fang Repeater and Machete as my weapon paring of choice. I set my special attack as the spinning shield thing, but frankly, I never needed it. Of course, I’d pick up other weapons along the way, but until I found the Calamity Cannon I swapped back to my mainstays as soon as possible. Both sword and gun were upgraded almost completely by the end, and tore through pretty much everything in seconds or less.

Spoilers follow…

The final few levels were a bit different from the rest of the game. Not only did I acquire the ability to jump (which was needed for about three minutes, when the game momentarily became a platformer), but I also picked up a massive battering ram, which replaced all my weapons until near the end of the level.

I chose to rescue Zulf, and then a slow walk to the skyway, whilst being shot at a lot until the Ura decided not to attack any more, and then chose the “evacuate” ending.

And then stupidly started New Game+, which meant I couldn’t return to the Bastion just prior to the final level and get the other ending. Tch.

Bastion (360)

After finishing Rayman, I found myself without a “currently playing” console game. Sure, I have a few that I’ve finished but not 100%ed, that I could have returned to (like Lego Harry Potter 2, Skylanders, or more Rayman), and yeah, I’ve Luigi’s Mansion on the go for “on the go”, and sure, I have The Wonderful 101 sat there unplayed… but I thought I’d play Bastion.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I’d been told it was good, and I’d read it was “a bit like Diablo” (which I’ve never really played), and some people said Heroes of Ruin was quite similar and I have played that, but I didn’t expect it to be exactly like Skylanders.

OK, that’s an exaggeration. But it is very similar. Levels set in the sky. A narrator. A hub world you gradually built on using items called “cores”. Lots of barrels and chests and boxes in each level to smash and get money from. Upgrades to your weapons that you spend money on. Characters that gradually populate the hub world. Similar weapons. No jump button. Similar enemies. Similar graphical style.

You may say it’s all coincidence. You may say it’s a disservice to say Bastion is like Skylanders. But the fact remains – they are very, very similar. In a good way. Because I liked Skylanders and I like this.

I’m not terribly far in yet, having only just rescued the first guy and built the first building on the east half of the Bastion itself. I’ve currently settled on the bow and machete as my weapons of choice, with a mirror shield as a special. I’m really enjoying plowing through all the enemies, and the narrator is brilliant (and doesn’t interrupt what you’re doing so much as on Skylanders).

Skylanders (360): COMPLETED!

Look! Look at that thing in the post title! And the tag list! LOOOOOK!! It says “completed”!!

That’s right. About 18 months after starting the game, my daughter and I finally completed it today. We’d been just a couple of levels off the end for months and months, but every time we got a new Skylander we played some earlier levels to level it up a bit and get money to buy upgrades.

Today, we went for one final push and did it. OK, so she dropped out of the final boss battle (there was just too much going on for her to cope with), and until I figured out that Double Trouble seemed to be the best at dealing sustained damage on Kaos we went through about ten Skylanders (although Spyro and Dark Spyro both hung on for ages).

The main issue with the final boss was that it took aaaaages. Like, a good 40 minutes. There’s only a short window in each “wave” where you can deal damage, and Kaos has a massive energy bar. The assorted minions weren’t a problem, and the hydra’s attacks were mostly simple to dodge (especially with [Dark] Spyro), but it just took forever to whittle that bar down to nothing. Eventually though, he was bested and Skylands was safe once more. Well, for a while anyway. Skylanders Giants beckons.

Just in time for Skylanders Swap Force, the third game, to be released. Ho hum.

Skylanders (360): COMPLETED!

Look! Look at that thing in the post title! And the tag list! LOOOOOK!! It says “completed”!!

That’s right. About 18 months after starting the game, my daughter and I finally completed it today. We’d been just a couple of levels off the end for months and months, but every time we got a new Skylander we played some earlier levels to level it up a bit and get money to buy upgrades.

Today, we went for one final push and did it. OK, so she dropped out of the final boss battle (there was just too much going on for her to cope with), and until I figured out that Double Trouble seemed to be the best at dealing sustained damage on Kaos we went through about ten Skylanders (although Spyro and Dark Spyro both hung on for ages).

The main issue with the final boss was that it took aaaaages. Like, a good 40 minutes. There’s only a short window in each “wave” where you can deal damage, and Kaos has a massive energy bar. The assorted minions weren’t a problem, and the hydra’s attacks were mostly simple to dodge (especially with [Dark] Spyro), but it just took forever to whittle that bar down to nothing. Eventually though, he was bested and Skylands was safe once more. Well, for a while anyway. Skylanders Giants beckons.

Just in time for Skylanders Swap Force, the third game, to be released. Ho hum.

Some things I’ve played recently

Round up time!

Doritos Crash Course 2 (360)

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

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

Cloudberry Kingdom (Wii U)

cloudberry

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

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

New Super Luigi U (Wii U)

weegiu

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

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