Things I’ve been playing recently

A lot of things, it seems. I’ve had a glut of new games overt he 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

Fantasy Life (3DS)

I_m_a_pretty_boy__t_httpt.coZ9NL1XkMp4It’s like 8 RPGs in one! I chose my first life to be a Paladin, applying the logic that any combat required in the other lives may benefit from my skills as a trained killer. Or something. I’m not very far in, only a couple of hours, but I’m already engrossed in the seemingly endless number of sidequests (which, unlike most RPGs, actually affect your progression in the game in a big way), and the game is both charming and interesting. I think I’ve guessed the real identity of Flutter the butterfly already, though, but then perhaps I’m meant to.

A “doom stone” has just smashed into the roof of my house, which can’t be a good thing. Now I have to go off and find another one.

Persona 4 Golden (Vita)

tumblr_ngyez0p4no1svmpf2o1_1280It took a lot of attempts, but I finally managed to defeat the boss at the top of Yukiko’s castle. Having done so, I asked around about it and it seems that having all your characters on around level 15 (the same level Yukiko is when she joins your party afterwards) is recommended.

All mine were on 10 or 11. Yeah, that’ll be why it was hard.

Once_you_pop___t_httpt.cof7YNA00Kv7I’m a bit concerned about the inability to grind and the forced time limit on defeating each boss before the fog claims the next victim, but I’ve been assured that you can still grind as much as you want (until you run low on SP) by revisiting completed dungeons and never leaving. So, after rescuing Yukiko I spent some time redoing her castle to level up. Reached a new boss at the end of it, which can wipe out my entire party in a single hit. Methinks I should probably avoid him for a bit…

Super Smash Bros U (Wii U)

WIN (1)I’ve barely touched it so far, but have played through some of the single player modes a bit, and had a few fights online (which, sadly, were so badly lagged they were impossible to play), but I can already see that the huge amount of content and collectables will keep me coming back. Hopefully it’ll be a return to the greatness of the Gamecube game, as the Wii one wasn’t great (although I put that mainly down to the controls).

Scribble Shooter (Vita)

tumblr_ngwlhdv8j01svmpf2o1_1280This may be a demo, but it’s hard to tell. It’s a Playstation Home Arcade game, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to purchase the full version so I don’t know if it’s just very, very short or what. It was quite good fun but over very quickly.

Wipeout 2D (Vita)

tumblr_ngwk8xmxnc1svmpf2o1_1280Another Playstation Home Arcade game. It’s exactly what it suggests – Wipeout in 2D. It plays like Super Sprint, but the handling feels terrible and I didn’t really enjoy it. Motorstorm RC is a billion times better, and the similar F-Zero themed minigame in Nintendoland is what Wipeout 2D wishes it was.

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

One_left_to_open__Probably_6__of_the_game_complete_overall.Of course. This just keeps on giving! I’ve a single square in Adventure Mode left to open now, and it’s proving pretty difficult. I’m having to level up some rarely used characters to build up to another attempt, but I keep getting sidetracked and hunt for better weapons and stuff instead.

I’ve bought my first Amiibo this week, and, which Hyrule Warriors in mind, it had to be Link. He unlocked the Spinner weapon which is awesome to use. Sadly, it’s only a Level 1 weapon so only does 80 damage. It’s kind of made up for with Link himself being on Level 112, but a 420 damage Spinner would be nice!

Apparently I can use the Amiibo once a day to unlock more stuff, so I’ll be giving that a go.

Hello Kitty Happy Happy Family (Demo) (3DS)

tumblr_ngoy7mbxfj1svmpf2o1_1280Sadly, not a return to form for Kitty. I was hoping for something more like the fantastic (truthfully) Hello Kitty Roller Rescue, or even the GBA Happy Party Pals game, but no – it’s a sub-Cooking Mama set of rubbish minigames. What a shame, although I did expect this was how it was going to be.

Weapon Shop de Omasse (3DS)

tumblr_nh7nfs6h1d1svmpf2o1_400All the Level 5 Guild 01/02 games have been on offer recently, so I picked this up cheap along with The Starship Damrey. I haven’t played it a great deal yet, only through the tutorial and as far as the french bloke and the two girls returning from their quests. Seems quite good so far though – a sort of rhythm action game where you make the weapons and level them up by sending them out with adventurers. It’s pretty funny too, especially the almost Twitter-like Grindcast, which updates you on the quests your customers go on.

Things I’ve been playing recently

It’s a been a little while since I posted, so a round-up of recent gaming adventures…

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

Best_Almost 50 hours have been spent on this now. It’s such an addictive game, and considering how few level maps there are (maybe 10?) there’s so much actual game content and variety. With loads of weapons still to unlock, and several characters still mostly unused, never mind a yet-to-be-started Master Quest mode, there’s a lot left to do.

Most recently, I’ve been trying to rank up Zelda, as there’s a mission in the bottom left corner of the map that I need her to A-rank in order to both get a new weapon, and to open up another section of map with another new weapon in. I’ve managed AAC and ABB a few times, but even though she’s level 42 now, she is still too weak to deal with some of the harder captains quickly enough.

StreetPass Garden (3DS)

These few remaining plants are proving to be somewhat elusive. Even when I’ve had a seed with an 80% chance of growing into a new species, I’ve ended up with something I’m already drowning in. Still, at least I’m making  a lot of money selling useless plants and seeds. Not that there’s anything left to spend it all on!

Ratchet & Clank (Vita)

tumblr_ne865ae88u1svmpf2o1_1280Lets just ignore that V word there shall we? I made a mistake and want to move on without much comment or fuss.

Well, someone noticed I’d acquired said handheld, and generously sent me a download code for the Ratchet & Clank Trilogy for it (and the PS3 – it seems to be cross-buy). I’ve put about an hour into the first game, and… it’s rubbish.

Sorry, but it is. Yes, I know it’s a PS2 game so is a platformer from a different time when this sort of thing was common and acceptable, but it’s dire. Graphically, it’s improved over the PS2 (or, at least, it seems to be), but the camera controls are terrible and the characters soulless and forced. Yet another anthropomorphic animal? Didn’t we tire of those in the late 90s? (Answer: yes, we did).

The platforming itself is rubbish, with jumps requiring guesswork and an unreliable double-jump. There doesn’t appear to be a character shadow to see where you’re going to land, either. Your ranged weapon targeting system is broken, as it automatically locks onto who it decided you want to kill, not necessarily who is in front of you or nearest. Didn’t Zelda teach the devs anything about how lock-on should work? (Answer: clearly not).

I’ve spent more time fighting the game than fighting the baddies, and that’s not a good thing at all. Maybe the sequels are better?

Tearaway (Demo) (Vita)

Apparently the saviour of the Vita. I fail to see how. It’s a dull platformer (sort of) with Daddy Pig chatting all over it. A lovely graphical style with unnecessary and nonsensical rear-touchpad bodgery, many seemingly optional tasks which are devoid of fun or purpose (throw the boxes into the hoops? Joy.), and worst of all frequent appearances of my actual disapproving face in the sun, like I’m the baby in Tellytubbies.

I’m really not surprised, as I very much disliked Media Molecule’s previous efforts with Little Big Planet, and although this beats it in style and form, matches it in tedium and disappointment.

Lumines (Vita)

tumblr_ne5q0nx3kr1svmpf2o1_1280It’s Lumines. Apart from the little face in the bottom left corner which does… something when you poke it, and some different colour combinations and music, it’s the same as the 360 Arcade game from many years ago. Which is fine, actually.

I’ve not played it a lot, but it plays well and the music is nice and I’m not very good at it. So much like the other version then, really.

Rogue Legacy (Vita)

tumblr_nea43b9cbk1svmpf2o1_1280Oh so good!

I’d heard this was eventually probably coming to the Wii U, so would have waited for that, but instead bought it from PSN for the Vita (and PS3, I then found out – needn’t have bothered with this Vita after all…). It plays like a Castlevania Roguelike, where you’re a knight who infiltrates a castle for treasure and, er, probably something else. When you die, you’re dead, but you get to try again as one of your children who inherits your stats and money.

Unfortunately, in order to enter the castle again, you have to pay a toll equal to your entire stash of gold. Boo! Thankfully, you’re able to spend your inheritance before then on stat and equipment boosts, as well as unlocking new abilities and character classes.

It’s very “just one more go”, and never frustrating despite the number of deaths (30+ now for me) and having to start over every time. I’ve just unlocked the ability to boost my loot gathering and also reduce how much I have to pay for another go, but haven’t managed to buy anything in each ability slot yet. I’ve also faced at least three different bosses, some more than once, who have all been completely overwhelming. I suspect I need to play a bit longer and boost my skills and stuff before trying again.

Things I’ve been playing recently

tumblr_n7udoirp541svmpf2o1_1280Euro Truck Simulator 2 (PC)

My first ever Steam Sale purchase! Sadly, it isn’t as great as I thought it was going to be. The graphics are flatter and drabber than videos had led me to believe, the roads are samey and short, and you’ve little choice in the routes you have to take.

Still, driving all the cars off the road on the way to Belgium, then running down all the Belgians when you get there, never gets old.

tumblr_n7y3aztlhd1svmpf2o1_400Picross e4 (3DS)

Having completed Picross e3 recently, it was obvious e4 needed to be bought. It is, as you’d expect, just more of the same. More Picross. It has the Mega Picross puzzles from e3, and the Micross puzzles from e2 though, and certainly seems a much longer game than e3. So far the Mega Picross puzzles have been completely doable without resorting to educated guesses, so in all it’s a better game.

And you get 5 bonus puzzles for each of e, e2 and e3 that you already own too. I suspect they’re Mega Picross versions of “normal” Picross puzzles found in those games, as some seem familiar.

I’ve been jumping around the various modes so I can’t really say how much I’ve done so far, but perhaps a quarter overall?

Is_ita_bird_Is_it_a_fish_Nobody_really_knows.Pullblox World (Wii U)

It’s just like the 3DS version, only with different puzzles. Which is fine. It loses a little from not being in 3D, but gains a bit from a bigger screen. I’m almost certain that the 3DS game didn’t have an unlimited rewind too – it “ran out” – but here you can rewind all the way back to the start of your attempt regardless of how long you’ve spent on it.

It also appears that some of the levels are much bigger than in the original. Some are seemingly too big – as even zooming out doesn’t show half of it.

Apparently Pullblox World has something like 240 puzzles to get through. I’m on the final “page” of puzzles (with 10 on each page) right now, and completing them will total 120, so I’m not sure where the other 120 are…

StreetPass games (3DS)

The four additional StreetPass games are currently on offer (£8.99 for the lot, instead of about £15), so I bought them. I’ve exhaused Quest and Quest II, and apart from the occasional new picture, the puzzle game was finished long ago (and is quickly completed when there is a new one).

I’ve not spent ages on each so far, but some thoughts:

StreetPass Squad is a more than slightly enjoyable side-on shoot ‘em up. StreetPass’d Miis provide different weapons for your not-at-all Opa-Opa cloned ship, and the levels are varied and fun.

StreetPass Garden is a surprisingly deep gardening simulator, where Miis help you grow flowers and harvest seeds from them, with new breeds and hybrids and stuff to collect. There are tasks to perform by growing certain types of flower, and all sorts of garden paraphernalia to collect. I hated it at first but it soon opens up into a more enjoyable game.

StreetPass Battle is like a cross between Janken and Risk, where you build up your troops (bolstered by StreetPass hits) and then take on other nations. How well you do is defined by how many troops and what sort of attack they use (in a Janken rock/paper/scissors type way). It’s very slow going though, building up your army to be big enough to defeat the next nation. Unless I’m missing something obvious.

StreetPass Mansion is part puzzle, part RPG where Miis you meet give you pieces of floor which you arrange in the mansion to create rooms. Put multiple pieces of the same colour together to make bigger rooms with better treasures, and put non-matching colours together to trigger battles where you fight ghosts. Your weapons can level up and be upgraded Fallout New Vegas style too. Lay enough floor tiles to reveal the stairs to the next floor. It’s really pretty good.

tumblr_n7ocn6ultr1svmpf2o1_400Nintendo Pocket Football Club (3DS)

Not doing too well in this at the moment. All my players are getting old and I’m unable to train up new players to replace them quickly enough. Also I’ve lost any chance of promotion from “The football icon” league, although I’m almost certain to end up in second place at, so I’m not too worried.

I’ve played a lot of online matches recently, mainly to farm cards, but I’ve been doing surprisingly well. Not enough to rise up the ranks much, but I’m certainly not dropping like I had been previously. Mind you, I’m picking my battles.

tumblr_n7w9sbxzkw1svmpf2o1_400Chibi-Robo: Let’s Go Photo! Demo (3DS)

I took a photo of my watch and it turned it into a badge. Then I cleaned up a kitchen with a sort of hoover thing, and chucked a load of rubbish in a robot bin blender thing. I had a conversation with a talking smartphone, and then wandered round a very small part of a very empty museum.

Which was all great. But I’m somewhat confused as to what all the cleaning up is for. One to wait for in a sale, I think. I’ll give it a miss at full price, not least due to having a trillion other games on the go at the moment.

tumblr_n7drd6fd641svmpf2o1_1280Theme Park (Mac)

Bought as part of the GOG sale, in a Bullfrog games pack. It’s as janky as I recall (although I mostly played the Amiga 1200 version, back in the day), slightly more so due to running under Dosbox.

I couldn’t remember how to research new things for ages, so only had the same few rides and shops for several game years. Then I remembered, but by then half my rides had exploded, everyone was too hungry and thirsty to stay, and nobody liked Vomit Park any more.

Then I screwed up salary negotiations and all my staff went on strike, during which the rest of my rides blew up.

All in all, rather successful, no?