Mary-Kate and Ashley: Magical Mystery Mall
(That last blog left me absolutely tired.) Did you expect anything less? I had to act like I wanted to kill myself while convincing my computer not to do the same. So for this next blog, I decided to take it easy with some easy games. And hey, I get the added benefit of unlocking the myriad secrets of the female mind! What more could you ask for? In the case of this game, quite a bit, actually.
So after a shitload of corporate logos and bass, we finally get our story proper. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen spend their time between "being cute girls on Full House" and "turning 18 and into masturbation material for all kinds of creeps" shopping at the nearby mall. A woman who can't bother faking a Russian accent for two minutes (I'm just as confused as you are) sells them two magic amulets they MUST NOT JOIN TOGETHER. So of course they join them together. This turns the mall into fucking HyruleCastle, and it's up to the girls to skip their way across the mall and collect the five jewels that will unfreeze time. So far, the title fully delivers: it's magical, there's a mall, and at least one mystery is present. For instance, why was that woman faking a Russian accent? And if she knows where the jewels to restore time are, why didn't she just keep them on hand in case this thing happened? For that matter, why did she sell such a dangerous thing? Why are the girls trapped in the mall (because that's also a thing, I guess)? Why did this magic time stopping amulet cost five dollars? It's best not to ask questions about this game, though. From the promotional photos on loading screens, it's fairly obvious the girls didn't give two shits about this game; why the hell should I?
This is where the blog gets odd. The game itself is just a small hub world filled with five mini-games (and one mini-game you have absolutely no motivation for playing), and there isn't a lot to say about the rest of the experience. The only common themes are pretty good graphics (sometimes) and TOO MUCH SHITTY DIALOGUE, so I'll go through them in the order that I played them. First up, we have:
If you think that a mall is a terrible place for a photo shoot, you're completely right, even if you're thinking about modern malls in all their splendor. So instead, the game warps you to a beach town, and you are tasked with taking pictures of one of the girls...stalking two fairly generic guys. And don't think that I'm exaggerating anything. The guys know that they're being followed, and they fucking hate it. They run away at every opportunity, but it's your job to send one of the twins after them. Why? So they can pose, of course. A weird compulsion for a stalker, but as long as they're not burning down those guys' houses or something, I'm content.
Of course, they could have been burning down houses, for all I knew, because I spent my first experiences with it taking way too many pictures of a black guy with a boom box. I wish I was kidding, but it's all too true. The game even punished me for it, saying that I had to take pictures of the girls posing or whatever. So I played by their rules and found the game oddly competent. Yea, at first, it's pretty lame, but eventually, the two guys decide to fuck around with the photo-shoot in all sorts of weird ways. This is when strategy and some form of skill enter the picture and make things compelling. A bit luck-reliant, too, but not too much. Up next...
Because what every celebrity teen girl looks for in a mall experience is a part-time job. Now this mini-game may sound banal, but anyone who has played it (probably just me) can attest to how effed up this can be. For instance, you play as one girl and NOBODY ELSE. You are the only one working that shift in the middle of a lunch rush. Sure, your sister might help sometimes by handing customers drinks (apparently, these people are too goddamn lazy to push a cup against a metal lever), but for the most part, you're on your own.
So naturally, the game can get a tad difficult over time, even when you discount the stupidly loose controls. Sure, things start off easy, since every customer wants nothing but pizza (no drinks; just pizza), but over time, orders start becoming more complex. People begin ordering ice cream and pretzels as full meals, and no, I don't mean "ice cream and pretzels"; I mean "ice cream" and "pretzels". Not as dessert, but as full meals. Maybe a drink, but only if you've proven yourself a fast food master! This involves weaving from food to customer to other food to drink to other customer to ad infinitum. Actually, that's unfair, as this mini-game is oddly fun. It's easy to fall into a satisfying rhythm, and all the stupid bullshit I previously outlined certainly doesn't hurt. I fear I'm starting to like this game far more than I should. Let's fix that with...
OK, so this isn't a terrible mini-game, but it's definitely not as good as what we've seen so far. Why? Well, first off, the choices are utterly meaningless. Yea, the other games had choices, but whereas those are just choosing which girl you play as (somehow, I always chose Ashley), this one has you choosing opponents and snowboards and stuff. The only problem is that the choice never matters, as there's always a best choice. Sure, there's always something with better jumping or whatever, but this ain't SSX, so speed is the only thing that matters. That means you pick the second board, face off against Jeff (because he's a fucking pussy), and leave his ass behind. That brings us to problem number two: it's too easy. All you have to do is pay attention and go through the flags (avoiding them requires effort on your part), and poor Jeff will never catch up. In fact, he has to rely on your failures to succeed, because he can't succeed for shit. So I guess what I'm saying is fuck Jeff and this middling, repetitive mini-game. Speaking of fuck...
No, not at a mall, silly. In fact, you get a choice of where you want to show off your latest fashions: a runway or the airport (known for its fashion!). And when I say "your latest fashions", I mean your latest fashions. You get to dress up your Olsen twin however you want...within the game's limits. And trust me, there are limits. There aren't a lot of styles to choose from, and quite a few items look pretty same-y. This made it very hard to achieve my goal of an Olsen twin who looked both slutty and stupid. So I opted for just stupid. And then the gameplay started, I took a few pictures, and moved on with my life. That's not me saying that I took screenshots for the site; that's me describing the gameplay. Lame. And while I'm on the subject of lame...
But in a good way. This isn't Marky Mark and (possibly) the Funky Bunch; this is Mary Kate and/or Ashley. What does this mean? First, you choose some dance moves that inevitably make your twin look like HatsuneMiku glitched the fuck out. Next up is the actual music video, wherein somebody managed to hire people to follow these dance moves. Think about that for a second: somebody looked at an Olsen twin having a seizure and not only approved of these visually, but wanted to get involved in such madness. And then more people thought the exact same goddamn thing. Needless to say, I left the camera firmly centered on this madness and failed miserably on my first try.
For you see, there's gameplay to this. Your goal is to make a music video that your producer will like. Obviously, this is balls-out hard. I'm dealing with shitty rap and a pop star rag dolling in a night club, and you want me to turn this into something people will willingly watch? How the fuck do you expect me to do that!? As far as I could tell, I just had to make the camera and special effects as off-the-wall and completely insane as the dancers were and hope for the best. Yea, there's a scoring system that should infuse some sort of arcane logic into this, but good luck figuring that shit out. Again: chaos rules, even if this mini-game really doesn't.
And that's pretty much the entire game in a nutshell: a series of mini-games ranging from oddly entertaining to simply mediocre. Of course, A lot of that entertainment comes from how bad the game is, so there's always that to consider. What, then, are you supposed to take away from this? Well, apparently, women love photo shoots, are fantastic snowboarders, but suck at dancing. Obviously, I do not yet fully understand women. I need more information damn it! More! And I'll get it from...
- Apparently, Mary Kate and Ashley have access to the Dark Hour, and they use it to get all types of shopping done. Wondrous.
- Oh, and I'm guessing they use their time in the Midnight Channel to snowboard and make music videos or whatever.
- I should stop writing synopses while listening to Backside of the TV if I want to start making sense.
Speaking of My Little P-wait, I'm doing that after this video. Well, anyway, here's a My Little Pony video.
My Little Pony Crystal Princess: Runaway Rainbow
(And here's the My Little Pony game.) OK, so I'm not so much trying to understand women with this game as I am Bronies, but surely there are lady Bronies, right?.....Right? Anyway, I failed even in that regard, because it turns out that there are multiple generations of My Little Pony. This is the terrible one.
Part of that is because of how ungodly girly it is. The last game wasn't this girly; Phantom Brave isn't this girly; hell, not even the current My Little Pony is this girly and cute. Don't believe me? First, here's a random clip from the show. Next, a synopsis of this game. It takes place in the magical land of Unicornia, where every pony looks exactly the same and all are required by law to wear a mouth guard at all times. We join Rarity (or Pinkie Pie, because all the colors are changed around like crazy) being educated in her princess duties. Or, rather, duty, because her only job is to summon rainbows with her magic wand. However, the first time she actually uses the wand, she fucks up gloriously and zaps herself away to a hamlet just two miles out of town. Now she has to get back to Unicornia before something or other happens, or else there will be no rainbows this year! Oh no! That's...a very weak threat. Of course, to make this threatening in any capacity, a lot of the plot is just Rarity fucking about with sleepovers and baking sundaes and other such inconsequential nonsense. Oh, and did I mention the bland pastel graphics and the "we had to fill this space with something" music? Now, tell me, dear readers, which of those is girlier?...Exactly.
Normally, this would be the part where I tell you that there's more to the game than the story, but there really isn't. It's just one long fetch quest. Now, in any other game, this would be a bad idea, and while the same holds true here, give Webfoot Technologies some credit; they've found very unique ways to make this terrible. For example, your pony (I'd say it's Rarity, but you do control Rainbow Dash for a brief amount of time) is slower than the people who make these types of games. Now sorry if I'm expecting a fucking horse to be fast, but it really does take your pony forever to get anywhere. And as if that's not enough of a problem, for many of the fetch quests, you can only carry one item at a time. One item. Apparently, the developers thought you couldn't count past one, and if that's true, then you probably deserve a game this terrible. And as long as I'm calling you an idiot, Hypothetical Gamer, you'll be delighted to hear that navigation isn't a problem in this game. Don't know where to go next? Just walk in a straight fucking line. It's literally that simple. Hell, there's a hedge maze at one point that's just one long line, and I sincerely wish I was kidding.
Ah, but it isn't ALL shitty fetch quests; it's only mostly shitty fetch quests. The rest of the experience is populated by mini-games. Now I know what you're thinking, but no: unlike the last game, there's really nothing redeemable here. Like the fetch quests, they're all really simple and really easy. Hell, the ease is why the simplicity doesn't really work. Without any challenge, I'm able to "appreciate" just how simple a lot of these mini-games are. It's mostly stuff like "grab these ponies" or "match the...stuff" or "the second thing again". So yea, nothing terribly engaging or thrilling in that package. Generally not too challenging, either, as I've said several times before. Hell, I'm certain that some of these games don't even have a fail condition of any kind. It's just an attempt to gauge whether or not you can do it, if that makes any sense. And if you can, holy shit! You're the best person ever of ever! You've just unlocked something (it happens ALL THE TIME) and you filled up a completely useless meter! Hooray for you! This game considers coloring to be a mini-game worth of challenge. That should tell you everything you need to know about this game. It should tell you everything I should have known about this game...yet I played it, anyway. Oh god...what's wrong wi-RELAPSE! RELAPSE! *downs an entire bowl of gin and horse Zoloft, passes out in blood and vomit*
- What happens to those who play this game.
- "Go get my toothbrush for me. I know it's just outside my house, but I'm too much a lazy ass to do anything, Rarity."
- Runaway Rainbow is the exact opposite of this, which means it wants you shooting puppies. I hope we're proud of ourselves.
- Wait, can't I just become a lady whenever I want? So why did I do this, again?...Anyone?...