Kirby Mass Attack
(Didn't I just cover a Kirby game?) Yea, I remember doing Return to Dreamland...several weeks ago, actually. I could've sworn it was closer. I guess my Radiant Historia blog last five days from now is screwing with my perceptions of time. Whatever. That means I am now beyond the limits of time itself. Cause and effect are but funny words I shall outlive. Nothing means anything to me. Mass Attack means nothing to me. Why? Transcendental nature aside, Mass Attack isn't exactly the most compelling game in the world. In fact, I'm confused as to why I'm using that word to describe the game at all.
So what word would I use to describe this game? Cute. Really, really goddamn cute. It all begins with the wizard Necrodeus, who splits Kirby into ten Kirbys because....I actually don't remember. Shits and giggles? Anyway, Necrodeus decides to make more Kirbys and OH MY GOD, LOOK AT HOW CUTE HE IS! Man, that sentence sounds familiar, probably because I was saying it over the course of the entire game. This game is so cute that kittens and puppies don't do it for me anymore. If you show me a puppy trying to fall asleep in a shoe, I'll tell you to get that shit out of my face and show me a Kirby horde trying to climb up a step. I'd rather watch Kirbys maliciously cannibalize a Waddle Dee than a kitten pounce on absolutely nothing. Hell, you can't even navigate the world map wi-SO MOTHERFUCKING CUTE! NNNGGGGHHHH!!!! Trust me, it needs this cuteness, because strip that away, and the game doesn't look too good. In fact, it looks like a really good GBA game, which isn't that good of a compliment when you remember that it's running on hardware more powerful than the GBA. Now that I think about it, it sounds like a GBA game, too. Did this begin as a Kirby RTS for the GBA before somebody remembered that the system had been dead for three years, and then they decided to rework it for the DS?
Actually, no, it can't be that, because that's the exact opposite of this game in every way. For example, while a GBA game has no touch screen controls, this game is nothing but touch screen controls. Oh, and remember what I said about it being an RTS? Well...OK, it's real time (maybe; again, the boundaries of time mean nothing to me), but there's not a lot of strategy. Here's how the game works: you get up to ten Kirbys you can guide through a level, and that's about it, really. It's that simple. Yea, it makes the game stupidly easy to jump into (wait, that's next paragraph), but I just wish that it would do more with this awesome idea. Most of the time, the Kirbys will be chasing after their heart like a manic coke fiend, and you'll be tapping the screen like....well, like a manic coke fiend, really. Actually, given how badly I've clawed at my skin lately, I'm guessing that this game has turned me into a manic coke fiend. What was I talking about? Coke? Yea, but before that, I think it was Kirby. Anyway, that "tap the screen like crazy" thing is the only thing you're gonna do in the game. There's never any real reason not to tap the screen or divide your Kirbys or use any sort of strategy. It feels underdeveloped, like nobody could really think of anything to do with ten Kirbys....that wasn't slanderously perverted. Yea, it picks up pretty damn well in the third world, when it starts doing more with the levels and introduces some cool one-world mini-games, but by that point, about half the game has gone by.
Oh, that reminds me: did I mention how stupidly easy this game is? (Sort of, I guess.) How is it easy? Well, let me phrase it in a way opposite to what I've said before: it's impossible to die. Here's what it takes to kill one Kirby: first, he needs to be hit. Then he needs to be hit again, just in case the game didn't realize that he was hit. So now you have a dead Kirby, right? Sort of; at this point, Kirby's soul starts rising to Heaven, and it's your job to drag his ass back down to Earth. Sounds hard to kill a Kirby, right? Well, multiply that by ten, and you have Mass Attack. Go ahead and try to kill just one; by the time that happens, you'll have collected enough fruit to summon another one from the netherrealm, thus destroying any sense of challenge the game once had. Sure, it tries to introduce some challenge by resetting your Kirby count between worlds and...no, wait, that's it. Doesn't make the game more difficult. In fact, there are really only two difficult parts of the game, if I remember correctly: finding all the little secrets, and the final boss. I'd say that the secrets can be pretty cool, since I can't think of any other DS game with achievements, but then I'd remember that the game forces you to get a lot of these secrets to beat the game, thus forcing me to retract my statement and stop this hypothetical narrative bullshit. That just leaves us with the final boss, who....is actually kinda cool, I guess. He's got a lot going on at once, he manages to strike a decent balance between easy and hard (a bit on the easy side, but a bit), and like my blog, the game ends immediately after he's brought up.
Wait, I still have the synopsis to write. Damn it.
- Anybody wanna edit this picture to make it about Kirby?
- Kirby Mass Attack! Experience the thrill of tapping a screen and...tapping a screen some more!
- It shouldn't be surprising that this is a pretty easy game.
What did I post when I last did a Kirby blog? Something about censors? This seems close enough, then:
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
(And now you understand why I referred back to my other Kirby blog for the title.) It was pretty much an excuse to play this game all over again, only on the Famicom Disk System (pretty much the NES but with stupidly long load times and strange implementations of the Japanese language). Also, because time has started to repeat itself now that I've blazed through Radiant Historia. Oddly enough, though, I am not the least bit depressed by this situation. After all, it means I get to play more Simon's Quest, and Simon's Quest is a pretty cool game.
Part of it's definitely the atmosphere, although I'm not sure the developers actually knew any of this when they were making it. How do I know this? Just listen to the music. But before you do, let me get this out of the way first: I like the music. It's pretty damn good. It's just not fit for this type of game because it's too damn cheery. Now you can listen to it, in all its peppy glory. You can just imagine how stoked the harmonica player was when he was told he would get to perform this song. Again, it's not bad, but it just sounds really strange when set against everything else that the game is trying to do. Don't believe me? Look at the game in action. I'm aware of how washed out the game looks, but I consider that a good thing. It makes the game feel like something dank and depressing and unpleasant, like how I imagine Transylvania feels like all the damn time. What? I don't think that's a large leap in logic. After all, it explains why everyone in this game is a fucking asshole. Ignoring the fact that literally every person is a werezombie who suddenly die at sunset, undie at the same time, and then come back to life at sunrise, half the NPCs will lie to you for literally no reason. What could they possibly hope to gain from lying to me? Do my hearts just scatter along the road when I die, or do these people seriously enjoy just fucking with the first person they see that day? I can't assume the former, because even the world can fuck you up and play tricks on you for no discernible reason. Infamous "equip a crystal and stand here for a while" puzzle aside, nothing in this world is as it seems. Water can float in mid-air and drown you unless you look down, and blocks can be made of thin air that coincidentally looks a lot like block. Simply put, you can't trust a damn thing in this game, and that's what I love about it.
Of course, this makes navigating the game an utter pain in the ass, which doesn't help it be any less of a pain in the ass than it already is. I've already told you about the blocks and shit, so let's get to the main reason: the jumping. Once you start jumping, you have absolutely no control over where you're going to land. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if the game didn't expect you to be a master of jumps, but guess what it does? Just that. And when I say that the jumps are strict, I mean that they are strict. If you're a pixel off, the game's going to kill you for your inability to measure pixels. Or maybe it'll just make you jump up again, because it's not its time that it's wasting. Speaking of massive wastes of time,
don't make the obvious joke, you butthole the dungeons in this game. Here's how they go down: enter, find a stake salesman, buy the stake, go find an orb, stab it, repeat until you get that picture on the right. I know that doesn't seem like much, but I don't think the stake part doesn't feel the least bit necessary to this. It's like the level designers couldn't be bothered to do their damn jobs. I'd call them out on this, but the credits being the mess they are, all I can do is curse Konami in general. Sad, because those problems aside, they're actually pretty cool. Yea, they're pretty damn short if you know what to do (I know that sounds weird, but have I ever said anything that hasn't?), but they still manage to strike a decent balance between linear and nonlinear. Imagine Zelda II, but with a whip instead of a penis.
And that brings us to the combat. It's a thing, alright. The game says that you can press B to whip something (I don't know Japanese, so there's a chance), and sure enough, pressing the B button will make Simon whip whatever's in front of him. Doesn't sound interesting, right? Well, yea, that part isn't particularly cool, but the special weapons sure as hell are. To be fair, you're going to stick with either the holy water or the sacred flame for the most part, since they solve that whole "invisible block" problem, but that doesn't mean there's no strategy to using them. Do you want to plant somebody in place while you whip them to death? Well, that sounds horribly sadistic, but whatever; the sacred flame will do that pretty well. Of course, if you're a rational person, then you just throw a knife at them or something and put them out of their mis-Wait, I just realized something: this is only for the regular enemies. What about the bosses? Well....they're shit. That's all I have to say. I can't really name any particularly challenging bosses; you can walk right past two of the fuckers, and the third will stand in fire and think nothing of it. If you were suicidal, you'd still have a stronger survival instinct than the fucker I'm talking about. (It's Dracula.) And that's how the game ends: a few days of wrestling with strict controls until you can light Dracula on fire.....and somehow, I still ended up liking it. I am a strange man.
- I'd ask if there are any darker NES games, but then somebody would grab a harmonica, some bells, and then start freaking the fuck out.
- The levels are pretty cool until they require you to jump.
- For the most part, combat gets the job done pretty well.