Kid Icarus is a cool game. You can tell right off the bat that the Smash Bros dude is responsible for it because all of the menus look like they were pulled directly from Brawl. On top of that, the environments all look an awful lot like something out of the Smash Bros series and Pit looks almost exactly like his model from Brawl.
I'll just get right into the controls because that seems to be what everyone wants to talk about with this game. Personally, I don't have any problem with them whatsoever and I'm left-handed. I just switched the circle-pad controls over to the A/B/X/Y buttons and the "fire" control from the L-button to the R-button. That's pretty much it, and everything works fine for me. Now maybe I had some minor fatigue/soreness after the first time I played the game, I admit the way this game controls does take some getting used to no matter what. But honestly, controlling this game doesn't feel any more difficult than controlling any other DS/3DS game to me. The first time I played this I sort of had the impression that maybe this game would be better served by the Wiimote for some reason, that impression has sort of faded as I settled into things. I haven't one used the stand that comes with the game, and I have no intention of buying a Circle Pad Pro. I do occasionally have trouble moving the camera with the touch screen, especially during boss fights. Controlling things on the ground can just be a hair imprecise, even when you are used to the controls.
There really is a lot to do in this game. I've put almost nine hours in and I'm only up to the 9th chapter or so, that's because I keep replaying the earlier levels at higher difficulty settings. Beating the levels on harder settings without dying at least once really forces you to put your reflexes to the test and learn all the details about how Pit moves. I haven't played any of the multiplayer yet, I'm honestly not sure if I ever will. I mean, it looks cool, it's just that playing it in person is almost out of the question unless I head to a convention of some sort, and my chances of playing online are pretty limited too. Oh well.
They put a lot of work into the characterization and localization of this game, there is a ton of inter-character dialogue that plays at almost all times during a stage. They also throw in some fourth-wall breaking and a few references that don't exactly fit in with the game's setting ("in this economy," ect.), but that isn't really much of a problem.
So buy this game I guess. It seems to be cheaper than other Nintendo 1st-party stuff in some places. Is it not selling? That kind of sucks.
The North American e-shop I mean. I know the rest of you have had this game for a while now. Why is Nintendo of America so slow on this stuff? I hear Nintendo of Europe already has Wario Land 3, and North America won't get II for another two weeks. What's the deal? Bah.
Anyway, Wario Land II is hitting the e-shop later this month. A personal favorite, if you forgot to jet over and read my favorites list (because everyone has such an interesting favorites list). The Wario Land series was always excellent, yet it always seemed to fly under the radar for no apparent reason despite the Game Boy's enduring popularity. Wario Land II was the game that introduced Wario's invincibility powers and also the ability to change his powers depending on how enemy attacks effected him. Now in spite of my love for this game, I have to say that the presence of these moments in the game is exaggerated just a tiny bit. Most enemy attacks just knock Wario backwards a little bit and cost him a few precious coins. The enemies that alter Wario's status are rare and almost appear as events. Still, their status effects do usually end up being used in clever ways, and the levels are all memorable and well-designed.
Wario Land II (and its immediate sequel) might best be described as a fairly simple platformer that did away with the concept of "death" and added some unique platforming puzzles to the mix in order to make up for what some might see as a lack of challenge. When you can just restart things anyway, does death in a video game really matter anyway? Apparently not, because this is an extremely fun title. The worst criticism you might level at it is that the game requires you to check literally every surface of every stage in order to find all of its secrets. Levels don't normally assume that you're psychic, but there are a few hidden locations that might frustrate you to find. Other than that though, this is an excellent game and probably should've been on the e-shop a long time ago.
Does Crashmo feel different from Pushmo? Do you have a reason to buy one if you haven't finished the first? Is the second one necessary if I played the first? All questions people enjoy asking about the sequel to last year's 3DSWare "killer app." Well, I hope to answer those here. First of all yes, you should buy this. Really. Even if you didn't finish the first game. Also, you should buy the original game if you got this one first for some reason. I swear, it won't ruin the plot for you. They're both, er, complimentary to each other. They both play like games that were developed at the same time. Games that could possibly have been packaged together. But they both include so much material that it isn't a problem at all that they were released on their own. So yeah, get both.
I've read random comments on the Internet that suggest that this game is harder than last year's game was. I'm not sure that I agree really. I had an easier time getting into this one at least. For some reason, Crashmo feels less complicated than Pushmo did, even though in reality it's actually more complicated. Disassembling blocks and then putting them back together to form a staircase just feels easier. Is it? Well, no. These puzzles have a good way of making you feel dumb. So did the last game, I know. But the stages in Crashmo just seem to move faster. You can be breezing along and suddenly realize that you ruined everything six moves ago and have to start over from the beginning. Many of the solutions are so obvious in retrospect that it can make you feel dumb.
I know this sounds an awful lot like Pusmo, and well, it really is an awful lot like Pushmo. The difference is that this game requires you to take gravity into account while you attempt to go through the same thought process the last game took. Puzzles also need to be looked at from three dimensions now, as you can travel around behind them and move pieces around the entire playing field if you want. Everything has this cool feeling of taking something apart in order to make it work correctly. This game is more like a variation than an advancement on the original. Like I said, they compliment each other really well. So get both if you haven't.
I'm a huge Paper Mario fanboy. Maybe that colors my perceptions of the games a little bit. Then again, who cares? It's my right to like a stupid video game. Of course I'm going to have a positive opinion of a game if I like it. So of course I like Sticker Star. I like it a whole bunch. The reviews that started trickling out mostly seem to describe the game as fun yet frustrating. Brilliant yet enraging. Something along those lines. Parts where the game expects you to win some sort of guessing game that's suppose to be "intuitive" or backtrack a lot. I've also heard a few people complaining about the battle system for some reason.
Now in all fairness I've encountered the first two issues in my three hours with the game (I'm through the first world). The first time I got stuck, it turns out there was a path I was supposed to take that wasn't so much "hidden" as it was that I had failed to be thorough enough to notice that there was a fork in the road. I've also found myself going back to the main city after almost every stage to heal up and restock my sticker supply at the store. I guess I don't mind this at all because I'm the sort of person who loves endlessly exploring this series and doesn't mind a little repetition in a Paper Mario game..
As for the combat system, well, I was afraid that needing stickers to do literally everything would make managing your inventory annoying, but the game does a good Resident Evil 4-style job of making sure that you always have just enough ammo to keep on plowing through your enemies. So far it feels like I could have run out of attacks if I'd been sloppier, but I never did. I really like the combat in this game. It feels like the earlier entries in this series, only with the sticker thing. Not too simplistic, but not too complicated.
The writing is as fun as ever. Lately I've begun obsessing over the amount of localization work that goes into video games. The people who worked on Sticker Star really did a top-notch job. One of the biggest reasons I use to scour the old games was so that I could scavenge literally every last bit of text the game had to offer. One of my favorite things was reading up on the back stories of absolutely every NPC and enemy in the game. Unfortunately, this one doesn't let you do that. I think. No more finding out that Random Toad #37 who hangs out in one of the far corners of the home city actually has a cool and slightly detailed history behind him. I miss that.
Anyway, its a good game. I'm one world through it, in case you missed that part. I intend to finish as soon as I possibly can. Maybe it does feel a little scaled-down compared to the console games, but that could just have something to do with the feeling you get from playing things on a handheld. If you want a really brief summary of my impressions so far, it's like one of the first two Paper Marios only with the sticker mechanic/gimmick. I feel bad for calling that a "gimmick," I really think the sticker thing is cool. I like this game, yes sir.
Pushmo is a cool game. I'm with the rest of the Internet on this one. I have no complaints about it whatsoever. Well, okay, I have an issue with the level editor. I'm not so good at it. That's not really a problem with the editor of course, that's my fault. As a person who pretends to be creative that's kind of frustrating. Maybe I'd develop a feel for it with practice? Ha! As if.
Anyway, I'm just a tad ashamed to admit that I haven't actually finished it. Nope. I'm not even close to the end. I'm somewhere near the very end of the "Nintendo Murals" section. I've been going at it randomly for months, trying to finish stages here and there. Doesn't mean I don't enjoy the game. I'm even starting to develop a feel for it, breezing through puzzles I had difficulty solving just a few weeks ago. Still, there's work to be done. I haven't read up on what the last two sections of the game are. Not a clue, didn't want to spoil it for myself. So I have no idea what lies ahead or how long it'll take me to complete such a thing. Pushmo is the kind of puzzle game that can stop you short, and force you to spend an hour on one puzzle that annoys the dickens out of you. This is a real problem in game that's usually designed for short bursts of playtime.
This is a hair inconvenient because in case you haven't heard, Pushmo has a sequel coming out this month. Cool, right? I think it's cool. As a person who enjoys Pushmo I'm eager to get my hands on this. The only problem is that I haven't finished the original, and I find it kind of embarrassing to head into the followup this way, even though they're clearly different games. This is a really minor frustration, I know. Could it not even be worth writing about? Maybe I've just wasted two minutes of your time? Ha! And you thought putting in the effort to read this was going to be worth it.
Ah Doom.... Doom.... fifteen years ago they were calling you "outdated." This is back when "state of the art" meant Half-Life, a game that, while still playing really well even now so don't get on me for that, is sort of showing its own age at this point. Doom invented the first-person genre. Well, not really, there were other first-person games from Doom's own developer before Doom came out. But it was so popular that for a while the term "Doom Clone" was used to describe any other first-person shooting game, and some developers would fall over themselves to explain why their own game was different and better than Doom.
Anyway, I still love Doom, more than almost any other first-person game. I can't put my finger on it. Yes, nostalgia has to be just a little tiny bit of what I like so much about the original Doom. But there are other things about it that I like too. Doom focuses almost entirely on action. There is no catering to "realism" or current events or anything like that. You collect a stupid key, kill a few thousand monsters and go look for the next stupid key. At the end you push a switch. Level over. No cutscenes, almost no dialogue, and no crap in-between. There are hardly even any high scores, although you do get a rundown of how much of the local monster population you've taken out, along with the items you collected, secrets you've discovered, and the time it took you to finish. Once you touch down, it's go time kids. Endless running and shooting until you run through everything and shoot everything.
What I meant to say when I started was that every year when it starts getting dark around 5 PM and stays that way for twelve hours, I inevitably feel compelled to drag Doom out from the recesses of the ancient Windows menus on my desktop. Every year around this time I attempt to play through every single Doom stage that I keep stored on my system. Now admittedly I usually end up getting bored around January and not completing my mission. I start with the officially released maps, the areas that were released as a part of The Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and Final Doom. Not in any particular order, just whichever ones I happen to want to play. This usually starts with TNT: Evilution, probably my favorite WAD of all. Playing through it usually takes zero effort, I'm all fresh after not playing any Doom for eight months and having my favorite levels all set out in front of me and ready to go. Then after I finish that, I drift back to the Ultimate Doom and just continue to play until I've hopefully finished Doom II. After all that it's usually back to FInal Doom, but unfortunately I tend to get bored and slack off halfway through The Plutonia Experiment. By then its February and Spring is right around the corner, or at least I'm telling myself that while I stare out the window.
These days, thanks to the Internet and the foresight of the game's original creators, there are all manner of player-created levels on the Internet. Hell, Final Doom itself was the creation of a few people who caught John Romero's eye. There's no chance of me ever finishing this many levels, but at the same time at least there's no chance of me running out of stuff to do if I should decide to play Doom. Plutonia 2 has manage to enter my regular rotation in the last few years. I've never finished it, I hate almost everything about the last stage, and sometimes it takes a whole evening to finish one bloody level, but I still love it. Maybe this is the year I complete it? I dunno folks.
Because I seem to remember it being awesome or something. Yet for some reason everyone on this site seems to hate it for no apparent reason beyond "It was not Thousand-Year Door." I can check the boxes for both games for you and confirm that you are at least right about that. Or maybe it was just one dude sprinting to every single thread on the Paper Mario boards because he just has to have everyone hear his important opinions.
Heh. I have no idea what that is like.
And why is Sticker Star going to be bad just because it has stickers and no helper characters? What on Earth is wrong with that? "Help help, this RPG looks simplistic in video form!" "They changed things! I hate change! I also hate when things stay the same too! Everything is bad and I refuse to be happy about any of it!" Its not like a different developer has taken over the series or something, and every Paper Mario game has been awesome so fa- oh wait, I forgot that Super Paper Mario is bad. Never mind....
Mario Kart 7 is a cool game, that much I can say. Something that annoys me: I noticed that most of the "straight line" courses take about as long to complete as a single lap used to take on most of the longer courses back in Mario Kart 64. What's with that? Why are tracks so much shorter in this game? Because it's portable? That's the only real answer I have.
They changed the rules to Battle Mode, now it's not a fight to the finish, it's a contest to see who can cause the most damage. Running out of balloons only nets you a penalty. Of course, I don't remember if it was the same last time a Mario Kart game came around because it's been a while since I played one. But I don't really care for this rule anyway.
For some reason my right thumb hurts a ton when I play this game. I don't understand, I've been playing SFIV on my 3DS for months and this never happened. If I stretch it for a split second everything feels better again but that's really strange, I think it's the first time I've ever experienced anything like this.
I want to come up with something positive here so let me just mention that the brand new tracks in this game are insane. I mean that, somebody must've gone out of their minds designing those things. Check out this game's version of the Rainbow Road to see what I mean. There are also a lot of subtle ways the developers tried to shoehorn 3D effects into the game as well. Check out the giant Toad balloon in Toad Circuit or the confetti that drops after you complete a lap.
Fuck Blue Shells. If you play on 150cc mode (the mode you need to play to unlock any new drivers outside of the Mii), you're going to get hit with up to and maybe more than three of the damn things if you have the gall to stay in first place. This isn't Mario Party, why the Hell does this "random lol" shit keep happening?
It looks like Time Trial is probably going to be my favorite part of the game, again. Those ghosts have a way of making me feel hyper-slow for some reason. I haven't taken this online yet, I bet when I do I'm going to feel even slower.
Mole Mania came to the 3DS eShop today. This is really cool to me because I spent all day yesterday complaining that it wasn't available in the eShop and apparently wouldn't be for a very long time. The lesson here is apparently that complaining will get me what I want. The squeaky wheel gets the grease I guess. There's an overflow of cool stuff on my 3DS that I haven't finished because more stuff keeps going on sale or getting released.
Anyway, Mole Mania. What do I like about Mole Mania? It's a cool little action puzzle game produced by Miyamoto himself for the original Game Boy that was apparently ignored by the general public. Personally, I wasted my childhood, so any new game that hit the Game Boy wound up on my radar because I had nothing better to do. It really is an excellent game. You spend it trying to get a black ball from point "A" to point "B" without dying or getting stuck somewhere. But this is a Nintendo game, so it's always really easy to just start over and try a puzzle again. Since the game wasn't really popular, it just sort of disappeared and there were no sequels or nostalgia references to it in later Nintendo games. I guess there's an off-chance that it's popularity could improve now that it's out there for cheap and getting more attention, but I dunno. Come to think of it, a game like this could be perfect for a system with two screens like the DS. Complaining got me this far. Are you listening, Nintendo?
So I recently downloaded Avenging Spirit from the 3DS eShop because back in the days of hanging out at my grandparent's house after school during the middle of a frigid winter, my thing was playing Game Boy platformers. Oh sure, I played other games. RPGs mostly. But I was a platformer fanatic first and foremost. So Avenging Spirit, a game I missed the first time around, was naturally of great interest to me.
Well here's the problem: Avenging Spirit isn't that good. Now this is something I knew I was risking by spending actual money on a random Game Boy platformer that had apparently been forgotten even by time itself. But hey, testing it out was fun, right? Right. It's not bad, really. It's a standard-issue Game Boy game with the character-possessing thing tossed in. Here's the problem though: the characters you posses are all sort of boring and generic, and towards the final stages the game's difficulty level starts to get incredibly frustrating, with things like one-hit deaths and enemies that are almost impossible to avoid. What I'm saying is that once the difficulty level goes up, the game goes from "acceptable" to "irritating" and you'll probably just want to finish it and get it over with.
Now I'd like to write a formal review, but I don't know how I feel about reviewing a six-level game that I never completed. It kind of annoys me too because normally I don't give bad reviews because I research the Hell out of something before I spend money on it. Maybe writing a bad review for once would be fun? Or different, I don't know. But I haven't actually finished the game because the last levels are such a boring pain in the ass. So if I never get around to finishing it, just let me assure you that Avenging Spirit isn't very good. At least unless you have a high tolerance for repetition. It's not really even a decent museum piece because apparently this game never caught on with anyone anywhere. About all you can say for it is that it's interesting for a little while.