By MajorMitch 0 Comments
To be honest, there wasn’t a ton of gaming this week. I was out of town for the weekend, which is when a lot of my gaming typically happens, but I did get some in during the week. For starters, we tried pushing into Act II Inferno on Diablo III a little bit, and actually made some progress (we’re roughly halfway through the act now). Said progress came an inch at a time, and involved a lot of running away from the more absurd mobs, but progress is progress. Can’t argue with that. Oh, the real money auction house also came online last week. I think it’s kind of crazy, and don’t plan on spending any money on it, but I’m interested to see the kind of economy that comes out of it. Now if only those stupid spam bots would stop sending me friend requests...
Anyway, we’ll keep chipping away at Diablo III as best we can. Otherwise I spent more time with my new 3DS playing Pushmo and Super Mario 3D Land. For me, Pushmo is the system’s breadwinner so far. I’ve done about 100 puzzles (I think there’s around 250 total), and the progression of the game is silky smooth. The puzzles come at a snappy pace, and they continually introduce new scenarios in a way that keeps it fresh. I would actually place Pushmo alongside other good puzzles like sudoku or Picross, and I have a feeling Pushmo is going to become the 3DS’ version of Picross DS for me. I kept going back to that for years, picking up and playing a quick puzzle or two whenever I felt like it, and Pushmo feels similar. There’s a simplicity to the basic idea (push/pull blocks to climb to the top) that makes it easy to just jump right in, but enough nuance and little details that give it a lot of lasting appeal. In other words, Pushmo is totally awesome.
I also played some Super Mario 3D Land, though not as much as I would have liked. I’ve finished the first two and a half worlds, which more or less serve to introduce a lot of the game’s mechanics. I’ve heard that the game starts slow but eventually ramps up, which seems accurate so far. Still, I’ve definitely enjoyed what I’ve played. Every time I play a Mario game I’m constantly reminded how good Nintendo is at making them. They just feel right. The responsiveness of the controls, the pacing and variety, the level design; when the big N brings it they can still knock it out of the park, and Mario 3D Land looks to be no exception. The 3D Mario games (I’m talking the Mario 64 kind of 3D here, not the Avatar kind) in particular have always grabbed me. Stuff like New Super Mario Bros. is fine, but can get kind of old after a while. I’m not sure exactly why it is, but the series’ 3D installments always feel fresher to me, and seem to present a lot more interesting ideas.
I haven’t necessarily seen a ton of that yet in Mario 3D Land, but the framework is there. There’s a lot of openness to the game’s big levels, and they do a good job of rewarding you for exploring the little nooks and crannies. The main way this comes into play are the three big coins hidden in each level. A few of those have already been a little tricky, and I’m sure they get even more so later on. I think they add a lot to the game; unlike a lot of collectibles they are used to highlight the game's tougher challenges. They're more than a simple photo hunt. There’s also a fun selection of suits both new and old, with the tanooki suit being the highlight. I also think it’s hilarious that a lot of the enemies have tanooki tails, from goombas to bullet bills to even Bowser himself. It seems like the sub-theme of the game, which is kind of rad.
I’m sure I’ll have more to say on Mario as I get into the meat of it, but that’s a quick first impression. I may or may not have much time for gaming this coming week; I’m getting ready for a big trip to the UK! But what time I do have will probably be spent on the same trio of games. The Civilization V expansion, Gods & Kings does come out this week, and I’m really looking forward to that, but I might save it until after my trip. We’ll see. That’s going to do it for now though, until next time!
Currently playing: Pushmo, Super Mario 3D Land, Diablo III