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12:54 AM on 03.16.2013

Harmo Knight: The Game That Brought Me To Tears

I want to preface this piece by saying how I am writing this piece after midnight, so I might not be mentally sound, and I might go off and not make much sense, while feeling the need to post this up immediately. Not even bothering with pictures.

As the title implies, Game Freak's eShop title, Harmo Knight, more specifically the demo, made me spend about five minutes crying in the corner and five minutes before that hitting myself because of how horrible it made me feel on the inside. I’ve gotten upset about games in the past, but Harmo Knight made me feel bad as a human being while playing it. Why? Well, the simplest way one could put it was that the title, a cute little rhythm game, was too hard for me to get past it’s third freaking level.

I’ll admit to not being super good at games. Sure, I beat Ms. Splosion Man with par time on most of the levels, and got every pink doodlebob in Rayman Origins, as well as eventually beating the semi-optional final baddie. Sure, I died a lot in both titles, but I managed to get through them. If I messed up, I tried once more. But never before have I been determined to keep going, while thinking there was no possible way for me, and only me, to not beat a game. Even Dark Souls did not induce this much depression, as I could find flaws with the challenge I was being presented, namely how exiting the game as I was about to die was the best option, and it shut a door I spent two hours opening.

But through a mix of a charming and colorful art style and actions that are extremely simple in theory, I could not shake the impression that the fact that I was messing up was solely my fault, and it was an isolated issue, seeing as how I was alone, with the Patron Saint, Jonathan Holmes, praising the title along with everyone else. To be blunt, it made me feel like I was retarded.

And I do mean that I actually was developing some form of mental retardation as I kept on playing, the world around me changing to a point where my thoughts, my ideals, or anything would be viewed as simplistic, or not be able to be viewed by anyone else. Which is essentially my idea of hell in a nutshell. My most valued trait of myself is my mind. My personality, thoughts, insights, the whole spiel. And out of all the media I consumed in my life, and even every aspect of school I can recall encountering, I can not recall a single thing that made me feel so horrible and useless.

And to make it all the worse, Pokemon was more or less how I was introduced into this medium. And having a title from the same company produce this feeling, is kind of like being pooped on by the family dog, as everyone around you blames you for being pooped on. Or maybe I am just spouting off a wrong opinion, and I am just the one person who is woeful at a game that I would’ve assumed to be enjoyable by individuals of all skill level. Which I guess I would be removed from, seeing as how I was left feeling bad for even trying to touch a controller.

I just felt like sharing that. Sorry if I messed things up.

Oh, and sorry I haven't written anything, I didn't have the confidence to post my stuff after whatever I posted here last. You lovely people make me feel like I'm not good enough for that.   read

11:07 AM on 10.26.2012

Code of Princess Review

I always feel bad when someone talks about how a title is a spiritual successor to a beloved classic, when I do not know much of anything about the original title. Sure, I played the demo of Guardian Heroes, but I found it to be a bit too slow for a beat-em-up. However, I still preordered it. Why? Because Atlus is the kind of company who would rather understock than overstock, and it was $30 now, or $50 later. And it came with a CD and neat box, so that at least supplies the cushion. Yet, as someone who has little experience with anything like Code of Princess, what do I think of it? Well, let’s just say I’m a bit torn on the subject.
Not that it matters much, seeing as how this review is already past the relevant posting date, meaning the game is over a week old.

Code of Princess Review
Release Date: 09/10/2012
Platform: 3DS
Developer: Agatsuma Entertainment
Publisher: Atlus

Before I begin, I realized that I forgot to mention multiplayer upon my proofreading, mostly because I forgot about the feature. So, yeah, I’m reviewing this as something I got for $30 and is solely single player, okay? Moving on now!

Taking place in medieval fantasy kingdom #85,973, monsters suddenly start attacking people after centuries of peace, with some great ancient evil controlling all of them via an even more ancient artifact. Nothing is really new, yet we all can forgive samey plots. Yet, while the story is basic, focusing on a team of mismatched adventurers. Ranging from a princess who is nearly naked and has jiggle physics up the bum, a thief who literally locked her breasts up, a soul possessing a bunch of corpse parts, which I think still classifies her as a zombie, despite her insistence otherwise, and a wise cracking bard, sorry, I mean sage.

However, this is one of my favorite narratives to come from a game where it could be good without a good narrative, and for one reason, it is wonderfully written. I made it clear that while I can appreciate a serious story, I always like something that makes me laugh, which this game did in 75% of its one to three minute cutscenes. The story is aware of things being cliche, mention exp and stats, and know this fantasy rigeromole like the back of their hands. Yet, what really seals the deal is this game’s voice work. Every line is delivered about as well as they could be, and they definitely got some grade A voice actors together.

Although, I have issues with the actual plot. The game follows a series of level based set of scenarios with our heroes exploring the countryside and trying to figure out their next course of action. With plot cutscenes shoved in to provide more of a framing device than anything for some levels, and others being worth replaying solely for the dialog made by the boss or playable characters. However, the group of heroes eventually decide to destroy all magic in the world in order to get rid of the monsters. Say people needed to destroy all electronics in the world in order to stop robots, most of which are made of tin, from attacking people who are only dealing with them due to one guy. Sure, you would be happy about it for the first few days, but if you live with technology as much as we do today, you’d be pretty depressed if you lost all of it, everyone would!

They do make the idea plausible later on, with one of my favorite moral choices in games, because they are both equally valid choices. Even though, the weighing of pros and cons when the subject first comes up gives me the impression that the writer was just stumped. Which is surprising when you consider the very cool plot twist they used near the end, even though it makes me wish the game’s story for all of the seven main characters were just as developed. Seriously, where’d the space samurai come from? Or does he just like astronomy? It might be bonus content, and I just missed it, but I already logged in enough time to delay this review once, and I’m not going to do it again.

Moving to the gameplay, I came to a bit of a problem with reviewing this title. I do not have much experience with the type of combo focused enemy juggling and staggering brawler, or really this entire genre. Then I realized that those 200 hours of Smash Brothers was enough experience, seeing as there are really just two attack buttons with their variations being moving them in different directions that never get more complex than a hadoken. You see, this game does not have a very good tutorial, in fact it is pretty bad. I had a lot of difficulty with figuring out how exactly I was intended to play the game for my first couple of hours, where I just pressed buttons while following a list of combos the game displays at the bottom screen, with no indication of what they do.

I'm still not sure what the thief’s whistle is suppose to do, and did not know that I was suppose to juggle baddies by doing a teleporting dash move until I saw the gameplay in the credits. There are only seven main characters, they could at least tell me how they work, rather than just giving me the group and trying to figure out whether or not they are balanced on my own time. Yes, experimentation is important, but a tutorial where I watch the game play itself, is not a good tutorial

The game has six visible and alterable stats that can be changed as you level up form completing and replaying the game’s story based or side levels, along with finding or buying equipment from a pharaoh cat. I kept my stats flat across all the board, even though speed seemingly did nothing, and some characters still had way higher attack than others. The Nun’s mace heavy attack where you just press one button while not moving the D-pad, was able to kill a giant robot in two hits, while it took the scantily clad Princess a good thirty, while dealing double damage. I would not mind that as much, except for how the Nun lacks any real disadvantages other than her awful running speed, which just eats up time when going from group of baddies to group of baddies.

And don’t even get me started with the bard, who, if you just press one button, does and area effect move that hits both sides, stagers them, and does not even consume any of his magic power. And what is the monk suppose to do? Most of his moves are just pushing back enemies, dealing minor damage while having a pretty limited range when he is not performing his attack that is a mix between a Hadoken and a Kamehameha.

Onto a more positive note, I like the system where there are either three or five 2D planes you can fight on, with some attacks going across the screen to enemies that were either up of the character or below them. It addresses one of my biggest problem with most beat-em-ups, where it can be hard to get one the same plane as your foes. Even if there are times when enemies forget you exist id you leave the plane, causing them to get confused, which always makes me smirk a tad. I am also a fan of the damage multiplication system they utilized. By pressing Y, you do a move that locks onto an enemy, displaying their HP and letting you do double damage, with the only downside being how it often is not a very useful move otherwise, so you must be strategic about it. At the same time, pressing X uses up your ever replenishing magic meter, which also fills up as you inflict or block damage, to stun the enemy for a second, and doubling your attack power with a depletion rate that also seems to vary for every character.

I really do like the system, because it can really get you out a of a pinch when you learn that pressing X to enter the double damage mode, you can replenish your health that has lost its defense. Let me explain, as you deal damage or take it, health bars start to become both green and red, when the green is gone, their defense is crap, and they go down very easily. Or at least I think that is what happens. Although, I do not like how powerful the guard is, because it pretty much allowed me to max out the main seven character’s levels if I just navigate menus. About the fourth or fifth final level is a scenario where you do not need to kill enemies, the only one I can think of in the entire game, where you get about one level’s worth of experience everytime you beat it, even if you do it ten times in a row. How do I survive, I placed some tape of the left shoulder button, and my guard rarely ever broke, and went back to blocking after the character automatically got up. I gained 20 levels for all seven, with the stage and menus taking up about 2 minutes each time, all because I wanted to do some optional levels where you needed to deal damage faster.

Now, that’s a pretty big flaw, and I would mark the game down for that, but after beating the final boss, I unlocked about 40 characters to play as, the enemies I have been fighting for most of the game, even the slimes and exploding chickens could be theoretically leveld up to the point where they could fight the final boss and win. They provided a reason why the monk and samurai could not equip the normal armor, because most of them could just equip a sword that raised their defense by 15, and not a trinket more.

And most of them can not block like the main seven, so they need to be strategic throughout. I am so grateful that they let me play as a little girl who fights ghosts that fire electro-balls, that I am hesitant to complain about anything. That, and I think the game is still a blast to play through. Which is surprising when you consider how combat is the best kind of mess. With my favorite moments being where I hit some dudes, they explode, their explosion causes other guys to explode, which causes the original guys to explode, which causes the second wave to explode, which causes me to join the pile of explosions.

I played through nearly every normal quest with all of the seven main character, and I still had a blast, with the notion of playing as every single model in the game just making me all the more tempted to try and spend 100 hours on it. Except that I have over 200 games on my “To Play” list, so I just cut it off about two hours after I properly beat it. Yeah, you think you have a big backlog, I have made it a goal to review nearly every game I own! Yeah, most people are getting fat off of games, I’m getting to the 400 pound level of obesity from trying to go after every good one I can find. What was I talking about? Right, the gameplay. As a whole it is very flawed, but it manages to remain enjoyable if not a little repetitive after I went through my 25 hour run with it, even though you could still beat it in less than five, if you just focus on one of the four characters who are playable in the story mode, excluding the last three due to... Reasons?

Sifting into the audio, as previously stated the voices are great right down to the oft repeated clips during gameplay, even though I would have liked to hear the Japanese voices just to compare. The sound effects are very satisfying and all carry the proper weight of hitting a creature. While the music ranges from the a-bit-too-loud title screen music, to the fierce and booming battle music of the gameplay where it really does help you feel like a badass, even when fighting a living tree for five minutes straight. Even though I heard the normal battle theme at least 150 times, I’m still not sick of it.

At the same time, the visuals are nice, assuming you do not look too closely at them. I have stated that I prefer 2D images over 3D models for most 2D games, and if it gives me smooth animation and a ton of characters, I am willing to compromise, yet the game still looks very rough. The actual models for the characters are devoid of faces during combat, with only their really cool looking visual designs separating them, which is fine due to how they have portraits from the waist up in the cutscenes, but something just feels off. The animations are actually pretty jerky when you look really closely, and there is some kind of filter over most of the game, causing the models to not look very sharp when you are shoving the 3DS up to your face to see them.

Even then, the game seems to be trying to look 2D while using the models, through a process I can’t really describe beyond cel shading of some sort, and when I analyze it, the game actually looks pretty subpar. But that is only when I am focusing on the quality of the visuals up close. When you are just comfortably holding your 3DS away from you, which is about 25 cm for me, it is actually a bit hard to notice the models’ shortcomings unless you are looking very closely at it. Also, the backgrounds still use sprites, making me really think they wanted to do sprites early on, yet production costs, time, universal animations, all that jazz.

In a rainbow colored shoebox, I do really enjoy Code of Princess. Great and funny dialog all around, frantic gameplay, and a ton of content to explore, but I still have a number of issues with it. While I love the mechanics in the gameplay, the characters and stats can feel unbalanced, the visuals are blurry when you look closely at them, and the actual plot’s outline seems like it was made during a lunch break, with the personality being added afterwards. There are indeed issues, but I can overlook them due to how much simple fun can be had from the title. Besides, I only really noticed them when I looked closely enough.

Have a positive or negative response? Please leave one below, it's the only way I'll improve.
Like my work? Check out my personal blog, NigmaBox, if you want to see more. I do reviews of older games and anime, along with a very... Interesting narrative that I am writing, it is called Intertoids.   read

1:20 PM on 10.14.2012

Intertoids Tale Three: The Longest Fantastical Star

Okay, going for yet one more! I have plans to make this into a series, and now to reuse one of my ideas for lore! This time it is centered around Tara Long of the Destructoid Show, because it is easy to do these when the person is seen doing video work. Also, I am really not saying much about her, I’m pretty much just using these people as framing devices... Just read my words!

Sorry for the lack of pictures, but if you have some you think would fit, please direct me to them via link, or email them to me at [email protected] And if you are wondering where the second one is, I will only post Intertoids relating to Destructoid member. I did one on Yahtzee, and it, along with all other posts, can be found here I will post one every Sunday for probably nine more weeks.

It was the aftermath of yet another live stream of the Destructoid, and the cast of Max Scoville and Tara Long were returning home. There are two stories here, but let us stick with Tara for now. After taking her commute back to her home, she was surprised to discover a package addressed to her. The package was about the size of a DVD case, so it might be a game someone forgot to tell her she would be playing for a review during this crowded holiday season. But something about the package was unsettling it her. Namely how it was a deep shade of purple as opposed to the orangish tan normal packaging. Also, why would it go to her house, and not Revision3 studios? After all, she worked there and it would be safer if the publisher was afraid of their games getting leaked.

After getting comfortable at her home and making a little something for dinner, she opened the package and it revealed not a game, but a rectangular black tome of sorts. It felt as light as a game case, yet was still oddly uncomfortable to hold. She examined the tome further and she uncovered a gemstone that, upon touching, caused her to pass out on her couch.

Tara woke up in a daze, her body felt stiff and her surroundings replaced by that of a cabin made of stone and wood and her couch replaced by a bed full of hay with a thin piece of cloth over her. This confused her, how did she go from San Francisco to what looked like a house from the middle ages. Also, what happened to her clothes? She now had a white robe on, which felt very irritating on her skin. She then left the small bedroom she was in and found what looked like a medieval armory. She thought this might be a museum, but the lack of plaques describing every item made me abandon that idea.

She wandered off through this unfamiliar place, looking for clues regarding her location, or just something more comfortable. After nearly fifteen minutes of walking along stone corridors and occasionally walking up stairs, she felt one of the rocks supporting her bare feet sink downward. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out this was a trap. Tara was still startled as the room was sealed by iron doors, and she saw the walls leak a green gas and liquid. Running to the corner and using her uncomfortable robe to block out the gas, she was horrified to say the least. Unfortunately, the robe was not enough to keep the gas out of her lungs, and when she inhaled a decent puff, she fell.

She awoke once more, in the same room as before. Tara lifted herself up with surprising ease, and noticed that her robe was replaced by a white pelt of sort that covered her torso, upper arms and upper legs. It was more than a little awkward to wear, yet it was refreshingly comfortable. As she was examining herself, she realized how her body was far more tone and fit that it was before. But upon examining her clothing, she found that it had a mildly large hole in the crotch region. Perhaps this was a man’s clothing that someone put her in. however, when she tried to determine whether or not she had any underwear on, she discovered something very disconcerting. A penis.

After the initial shock, Tara tried to think it away, and, well it did. She thought for it to come out, and it did, except this time it was about a foot in length, and she could manipulate it so it was barely sticking out, or it could be the size of her legs. It could move in any direction she wanted to, and was really more like a Tail. So she decided that would be a better and less embarrassing name for it, so she want with that.

After getting a tad used to the Tail, she continued through the stone caverns, pushing pressure plates to open one-way doors, and as if the universe was yanking her chain, she was outside in a lush green field after two minutes. Fan-freakin-tastic! Outside of the small visible section of the dungeon she was in, she found a brown horse with a white mane. Well, calling it a horse was a bit rash. Namely due to how it lacked any eyes or had a saddle with sockets for limbs built into its body. Tara attempted to interact with the creatures, which did notice her, but did nothing but move its head. She looked around and only saw more greenery, meaning that no one was nearby to claim this horse. And since there was no way into the dungeon that she could find, she decided that nobody would mind if she used this horse for a bit.

She had ridden horses before, so getting on was not overly difficult, even then the horse did not react as she got on it. After trying to use the odd saddle, she found something near her crotch reason, a hole. With much discomfort, she brought out her tail and stuck it in the whole, only to have her body sink into the sockets and be locked in.

After a brief second of darkness, she was now viewing the same field through a different angle, that of the horse-like creature. She backed up in confusion, which was oddly natural, and then heard a voice. It was oddly her Mother’s, with the same inflictions and wording, but the gist of it was that she needed to follow a trail that the horse-like creature, which she referred to as a Centaur-set. With no other leads, Tara thought it was best to follow the anonymous entity that was mimicking the voice of her Mother, because that is always a good sign for a trustworthy individual. But seeing as she could not get out of this horse, she was pretty much stuck

She rode through the prairies, wind in her mane, her large heart beating a pleasing rhythm. And when she found a small pond, she looked down and realized that the Centaur-set she was controlling had morphed into one that was a light tan with a red mane, oddly enough. Meanwhile, her body was lying there, in some form of temporary coma. Her body looked so peaceful, but was a bit uncanny looking, seeing as how Tara had not seen her normal form since the gas altered her. Yet, the changes were all positive, with a better body than her original one waiting, she rushed through the easy going and windy field and made it to her destination by sunset. She was not sure when she left eh cave, time seemed to fly as she was galloping about.

After searching around for a bit, a flash of darkness hit her again as she was back in her human body. Except, she was no longer in a pelt, she was in some form or light metal and leather armor. How this came about was of little concern to her, due to the immense rumbling of her stomach. After all, she had not eaten anything today as herself or the horse, and who knows how long she was out for, since who knows how long the gas knocked her out for. She loosened her limbs from the sockets, and the Centaur-set stood there, with its only motion being the same rhythmic breath she’d been making for a few hours. Although, he normal breathing was still more natural to her.

Her destination was a small home at the foot of a small mountain. After landing a few audible knocks, a young woman who was in armor that looked just like Tara’s, opened the door and invited her in. Apparently she’d been expected, since there was a small feast of sorts lying out for her and presumably the greeter. The greeter said that talking can wait, now it is time to eat. And they did, they dug in with little regard for table manners, because who really gave a damn? But as an odd note, Tara found herself digging into the meats on the table despite how she never used to be big on any. Perhaps it was due to how it was the only real source of protein available. After the two finished their feast, Tara glanced around the house, it reminded her a lot of Skyrim, with animal hides, wood and cobblestone making up most of the house.

After the meal, the woman told Tara that they would be going to the city to conclude their mission. Despite never hearing about this, Tara somehow knew where the city was, and that these women had been traveling for several weeks to do... Something. The four went to bed shortly after, Tara feeling oddly comfortable while resting in the skin of an animal.

They woke up at the crack of dawn and all got on a Centaur-sets, feeling as invigorated as ever. The two galloped across the plains and around the mountains until by mid day they reached a massive city. Neither talked much, and this was presumably just business for the young woman, who revealed her name to be Raine. What, with how easily and emotionlessly she want between the rock formations.

The city looked like something out of the Italian Renaissance, and odd departure from the stone filled world she’d seen thus far. But Raine did not seem interested in the shops or the painters and artisans on every corner. Instead she went to the center of the city, which seemed very... Rural in comparison. Well, that might be a bit generous, seeing as how it had naked people roaming around like cattle. Tara only now realized that there had been no men around in the city, and there were only women, she had almost even forgotten about her Tail that was, for all do respect, a multi-purpose penis.

However, the men were apparently in one place, this center farm-like area. It was nothing much beyond a loft of dirt and poo, which made it seem odd that they’d center their city around it. Unfortunately, Tara was too distracted by the appearance of these men, who were drenched in brown stained hair, and had no penis that was visible. However, they still had ball sacks, although they were pretty swollen. Well, it was more like there were ones with slightly larger ones, and ones where they looked to be holding basket balls as they dragged in the muck. Needless to say, the sight was pretty damn gross.

This was her destination, but for what? Shen she asked Raine, she said it was to procreate. Tara was shocked. How could she even have sex with what looked like homeless people if they had rolled in the sewers? But the very idea did something she had surprisingly not experienced. She was somehow aroused by that idea, yet it was most likely her Tail acting up, it wanted her to go.

After rummaging through the only clear trail in this, place, I suppose shithole is a bit of a pun, but it pretty much sums it up. The two found what looked like some kind of cheap motel, except made of cobblestone. And there was a female receptionist, who gave them both a room number after looking at a sheet. Tara was confused, although she felt compelled to go there and ask these disgusting men what is going on. Upon entering the room, she found it to be surprisingly nice, well furnished with fresh flowers emitting a pleasing fragrance. And a bed that looked to be filled with cotton, rather than hay. And the man she saw looked to be groomed. He was still hairy, but it was trimmed and looked presentable. He was also free of shit, yet still butt naked. And it was only now that she realized that it was these “men” had what looked like Vaginas, which made her Tail emerge from the crotch hole in her armor.

The tail bursted out and pounded the man straight to the wall. The pumping motion was uncomfortable , yet felt oddly empowering and comforting. After twenty minutes of pounding the man against a wall, keeping herself a good meter away, Tara felt herself zone out, as if she drank enough alcohol to make her pass out within the course of three seconds. Her vision faded out, focusing on her tail, and then something odd happened, she appeared to be looking at herself through a fleshy filter and from a lower viewpoint. She tried moving, yet could not in the slightest, her body left the room leaving the door open as cheers consumed Tara’s now far more sensitive vision. She couldn’t make out much, but it sounded like Raine and a few other young women were lifting up Tara’s body, with her tail still loose and looking longer than it had before, while shouting, “Tara the Longest!”

Tara tried to scream, but nothing happened. As she was struggling towards the door out of the room, she felt her entire body and her surroundings get up. As Tara saw a hairy hand appear, and she recognized her height, she realized something, she was not in the man’s testicle, not sure which one though. Apparently this was one majorly screwed up world where men were slaves and used as child carrying vessels, while women were dominant. Based on her mumbled hearings, she understood that she was going to have good blood upon birth, and would get to see the one they referred to as “The Longest”.

It was several months later, and she had forgotten about so much, her old life, old world, and even minor customs, as she was being reborn, her mind became blank, just forgetting information over the course of what was a year, until the one day, after months, of being so heavy and large that the Carrier, as she now knew these men as, had to sit to not disturb her growth, Tara was reborn, but not as someone resembling her former self, despite being the spitting image of the one known as “Tara the Longest”. She was just an infant with good breeding, and also had a brother Carrier next to her, who was literally thrown in a bin for not having the proper traits. It may seem wrong to us, while to this new Tara and her world, it was proper justice.

...Yes, all of these will center around the destruction of the self. And yes, this is probably the most deviant the world will become. Notice how I said world, and not story. Because trust me, we are just getting started. You know who is next, and it will be getting pretty Regulos if you know what I am referencing.

Have a positive or negative response? Please leave one below, it's the only way I'll improve.
Like my work? Check out my personal blog, NigmaBox, if you want to see more.   read

6:00 PM on 10.10.2012

Let Us Talk About Fun

Okay, this post is pretty much a response to the latest episode of Extra Credits, Beyond Fun. However, this mutated into its own piece about the concept of fun, so I guess I'll do that as well. Now, even though I love the show and want nearly everyone to watch it, I am not really commenting on what they say, which boils down to, “Games can and should be more than just run, fire, kabowie, zoom, blop, save the world!” However, it is the use of the word “fun” within the episode that I disagree with.

You see, I agree with Borderlands 2 and former Destructoid writer, Anthony Burch, who once boldly stated that “Fun is not enough.” I also agree with Jim Sterling where in an old episode of the Jimquisition, that I could not find, where he said that fun is crucial. All while agreeing with Bhalspawn when he stated that fun is the point of gaming. I think that all four of them are correct, but not all of them share the same definition of fun.

Recently, I’ve been going through a second playthrough in Deus Ex Human Revolution, when I noticed that I had collected some flavor text that was an unsent email from a father to his wife. He was assuring her everything will be okay, and work is going great, with the email right next to some revolver ammo in his cubby hole of a hotel room. What was my reaction? It made the experience a lot more enjoyable. I would go as far to say that it made me have more fun searching through the city of Hengsha. Yet at the same time, I was silent for a moment, then wandered off and read more about the world. All while smiling like a kid on Christmas Morn. Not because I like things to be dark, because I like seeing them done well.

I had similar experiences reading the short tragedies in Lost Odyssey, and throughout the entire run time of 999, well, after the initial hour of adjusting to the genre. Hell, even with Berserk, I cried three times during the night where I plowed through the end of the first arc, which featured disgusting rape, the complete destruction of a likable man, both physically and spiritually. And what I consider to be one of the most awful images of all time... However, I still can’t think of a single time where I had more fun reading something!

Yes, Extra Credits called this engagement, but looking back on 999, a game so bleak and miserable that the title of the Japanese version of its sequel is Extreme Escape Adventure: Good People Die. I can not think of a single word that describes my thoughts on the game more than “Fun”. In order for someone to be truly engaged in something, they need to be enjoying it, and if you are enjoying something, would you not say that you are having fun? After all, that is one of the many variants of fun’s definition, a source of enjoyment.

I am not trying to say that Extra Credits is wrong for wanting less of what I refer to as “Basic Fun”. In fact, they could not be more right. I think that “Basic Fun” is not enough for an entire industry to become something that could rival books, film, or music. Yet without any form of fun, you do not have an industry, you just have a bunch of boring collaborations of 1s and 0s. And as a whole, the entire point of art, or really any form of entertainment, is to have a good time. Who's to say that it is not fun to analyze something? I formally do it with nearly every game and show I encounter. Why do people want to hear a tragedy, get frightened, or see something unsettling? Because that is the fun of it!

There is nothing quite like being silent for a minute after you finish something and then fully dissect what made it enjoyable, and what made it fun to experience. Yet, to quote a show called Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, which is some of my favorite “Basic Fun” in recent memory “You know how there are those times when you go see a movie and think, I don’t care what that’s about. I just want to see something blow up for Christ’s sake and mind my own damn business. And is that so wrong? No. In fact, it couldn’t be more right.”

Fun can be whatever the hell you want it to be, it can be deconstructive, insightful, or it can be a guy getting shot 7 times in the face. Although, the game industry, and probably most industries should focus more on the first two, not that there’s anything wrong with it, its just a tad saturated. There are so many flavors in the world, that it’s silly to have the same one every single day.

Have a positive or Negative response? Please leave one in the comments, I really would love to get a discussion going! Even though I feel like this should have been said a million times by now, and probably better since I rushed to get this done.   read

4:23 PM on 10.05.2012

Solatorobo: Red The Hunter Review

I really like games that people rarely ever hear of beyond a cool trailer or two. Games that are given a box release and clearly have a budget of a few million, but are neither indie or AAA. And I got bored and want to revisit a game because I thought it would be fun! So I’m just going to talk about a game I enjoyed and see how it holds up, read on if you feel like it... God I’m crap at intros!

Solatorobo: Red The Hunter Review
Release Date: 27/9/12
Platform: DS
Developer: CyberConnect2
Publisher: XSEED

The game’s protagonist is the titular Red the hunter, a fairly kind dog person in a world of floating islands and other dog and cat people. However, instead of hunters going out and killing animals, hunters in this game are adventurers who take up quests from a french maid. And during one of these quests, Red goes aboard a ship and finds a magical medallion and a young girl named Elh. Well, they have a subplot about Elh looking like a boy, but I have never seen a boy who wears something that looks like an apron as his default outfit. Anyhow, it turns out that both Elh and the medallion have some greater meaning, and have something to do with a giant monster made out of stone who, you guessed it, is a tool for a greater threat who wants to take over the world.

I originally praised the plot when I first played this game, but looking back, it hits so many notes it could have been produced by a random anime generator. However, it is not necessarily bad. If I had to pick an anime that it feels the most like, it would probably be Jyu-Oh-Sei. A relatively interesting idea, but a message that has been regurgitated to the point where it induces yawns when trying to describe it in full detail. Both have an interesting looking world, an oddly paced plot with a large derailing at the halfway point, and a twist that anyone could have guessed from fairly early on. But the world is more creative and vibrant than the average anime, with unique locals being introduced often, yet they are sadly lost after a chapter or two in their vicinity. Well, you do go back for quests, although they are still very small areas, with the area with flying fish being a large disappointment, since the town area only has 3 rooms in it aside from the dungeon areas.

And the actual artstyle is unique, with a very neat look on machinery, with mechs and aircrafts being the focus point of its usage. But throw in furred humanoid creatures in very odd looking outfits, at least for the main characters. Well, they might not be that odd looking, but we see them so rarely, since the dialog in this very dialog heavy titles has headshots of the characters as they emote, while the in game models choose to use the DS’s limited 3D capabilities. Well, that’s not entirely true, the game uses a mix of both 2D and 3D models to portray its world. A lot of backgrounds of cities are just drawings, NPCs who are not enemies are just idle sprite animations, and the dialog segments use sprites for facial expressions. The cutscenes on the other hand, use entirely different models, ones with a very cool looking mix of sprite bits and an actual models for the to go on. But if I had to sum it up in one statement, the game looks unique and is probably one of the best looking DS games to use 3D.

But now onto the actual gameplay, as if it was what the developers thought of second, because that is what probably happened. The core combat in the game is this, Red has a robot named Dahak that can lift up other robots, and throw them at other robots, or just the floor. So the action segments of this game is basically just playing Doki Doki Panic, except you grab from the sides, and it is a semi-overhead view. I say semi-overhead, because the camera is tilted down to show what is north of Red, making moving down very difficult, since your range of what is there is very limited, and your health bar helps obscure it.

Here is everything you can do in one of these combat sections: Lift an enemy into the air, jump and get to throw it four times, or grab it while you are on the ground and throw it three times, dash by double tapping the jump button, or flutter by tapping the jump button. It is easy if you are just fighting enemies, but hazards like fire, the camera, boxes that you end up lifting, enemies who are unliftable due to their displacement on another plane, and your movement speed. Let me explain something, I actually was able to keep everything from my previous playthrough when I started this one, so my upgrade to attack, defence, lifting speed, and movement speed all remained. But even when I was not focusing much on speed, it felt like I was moving too fast when it came to obstacles. In a game with a simple upgrading system, why is it okay to have the improvement of one stat be a negative impact on the game? And speaking of stats, why don’t I feel like i am doing more damage after I upgraded my attack. And why do I still lose the same amount of health when I upgrade my defense. I remove my upgrades and noticed a difference, but adding more did not create a difference that I could immediately notice.

Other than combat, you are pretty much just lifting things with your robot, and you can oddly get off of it to find expansions for your upgrade slots and money, which is hard to stockpile, since you keep getting near the same amount between the beginning and end of the game. There is also a problem with gaining levels, the most one enemy gives you in terms of EXP, is 105 from the final boss, and by the time you reach level 17, you need about 4000 EXP to level up, toss in the fact that battle don’t happen a lot and rarely give you the peak of 30 EXP per defeated enemy, and you have a game where you need to beat it three times just to get to level 20. Leveling up just gives you another hit point, so it does not need to be conserved as much as it is. Money is the same way, all you buy is cutscenes or upgrades for the Dahak.

But there are three alternate gameplay types, all of which the game introduces and then forgets about. The first is traversing a series of small islands over a sea of clouds, or a sea of fish. The problem is the fact that the camera is a pain to control, draw distance is crap, and throughout the game I have had trouble telling where I was on the map, so doing it while in a jetpack makes it all the harder. But if you fall, or your jetpack runs out of power, you just respawn on the last island you touched, with no penalty which is odd. Since the game desperately tries to make itself harder by adding cheap little picks at your health, when it is actually a breeze where I did not come close to dying at any point other than the boss rush in both of my playthroughs. Then we have a flight based racing game where you are in a tube, and it serves as a very soulless multiplayer function that only has a handful of samey maps, and 4 uninspired power ups that you can use while collecting boost icons. There is also battleship fishing, which is a fishing mini-game, which is as fun as fishing games tend to be. Even with a harpoon being fired on crabs, I couldn’t be bothered.

As a whole, Solatorobo has a lot of potential, and there is clearly a lot of work place into its world. Unfortunately, the same feeling plot diminished that. The areas are vibrant and look great in the game’s unique mix of 2D and 3D models, although they are used and then forgotten other than some dungeons that look bland by comparison. The gameplay is only difficult due to cheapness, and lacks variety due to the limited amount of techniques that you can perform on this dual campaign 20 hour long title. The secondary forms of gameplay that are suppose to add more life to the title all feel like they are still in beta, and none are worth going back to. However, the game is still fun due to the overall good writing, and the characters all function well. It is a bit of a mess, but it is a game made by people who wanted to make something different, and I can safely say that the result is above the set bar of average.

Have a positive or negative response? Please leave one below, it's the only way I'll improve.
Like my work? Check out my personal blog, NigmaBox, if you want to see more.   read

5:04 PM on 10.03.2012

Intertoids Tale One: M of the Silver Holes

Let me just say that writing this story was a horrible idea, and so is reading it. At best, this is a writing exercise of sorts, at worse it is someone who cannot write a decent narrative if his life depended on it, trying to write a narrative. And I’m making it into a series, because I am insane like that.

Also, no pictures because I have no idea what I would put here, and I lack the knowledge to make images.

It is no secret that dozens of big names occupy every fourth quarter of every year, in the rush to release their title before the annual day of sales, dozens upon dozens of games are released. It is both cruel toward those with limited income, and those who must play all of them. One of the latter is Jim Sterling, who must do this on an annual basis. After Jim cleared through a title and wrote his thoughts on it in one mid October evening, he was both pleased and exhausted. After examining his work for any errors, he scheduled his review to hit sometime early tomorrow morning.

There was always a sense of dread he felt when he posted a review of a big title and his opinions were viewed as “wrong” by a small, yet vocal minority. He has been fighting this battle for several years now, surely these fools would learn how to act like adults by now. With 4 other titles to go through in 9 days, Jim promptly went to bed on this cool mid-October evening. A bit early for him, but Octobergeddon, as he likes to call it, always tired him out. He cannot think of a job he’d rather be doing, so it is worth the pain.

While in bed he debated a few ideas with himself. Maybe this review’s reaction will be a lot more accepting? It is Monday, so he has a lot of time before he needs to find a topic for the next week’s Jimquisition. He hopes there is not some form of political shitstorm that I’ll need to discuss, because it vaguely relates to video games. But within a minute, he was in deep slumber, with his wife, Alex, still finishing some tidbits that need to be done.

Jim then opened his eyes, still groggy and with a light shining down on him. His vision took focus after a few seconds of examining what looks like a hospital room. This confused Jim, he has been gradually getting more fit and healthy, so what could have brought him here? He was still lying on his back, except he was now on a cot. As he tried getting up, he felt a series of straps keeping him in place. And when he tried to call for assistance, he discovered that his mouth was covered as well. His entire body felt numb, and his mind was still hazy. He tried to stay awake, and roll his cot to the door, hoping that it will be open. But as he began to nudge his body weight to make momentum, he grew exhausted far faster than usual. He eventually fell back to sleep.

As he awoke a second time, Jim found himself in the same cot, still strapped, still gagged, but now surrounded. As he looked past the lab coats three figures of varying height and weight proportions, he discovered that all three of them had the same face, the face of Jonathan Holmes. His mix of several ethnicities, odd facial texture, and sleepy looking eyes were undeniable proof of that. Something was odd about them. None of them blinked as he looked at them, none talked, of even moved their face in any way, just a blank expression of his friend and coworker.

After trying to mumble to them, Jim saw one of them move their right hand, revealing a syringe containing a green liquid. Jim was not so much frightened of the needle, but of the fact that they could be injecting him with pretty much anything, and he struggled once more, as he did, the other two Jonathan Holmes restrained him, while the third Holmes took the unknown substance, and injected it into Jim’s neck. It was a sharp searing pain that brought him into a deeper state of tiredness. The last thing he saw was his skin growing a slightly darker color than his pale exterior, and the feeling of his insides jagging against themselves. The pain was not enough to keep him from falling into a deep slumber.

He woke up in another room, except it looked like a proper bedroom, and almost instinctively pulled the chain of a lamp near the bed. The room was fairly minimalistic, but what struck him the most was the woman next to him. She wasn’t Alex, who was she? He had a sudden need to poop, and went to the bathroom connected to this bedroom. He could worry about where he was later, now he was tired, confused, and needed to do an activity that he disliked. He wasn’t sure why he briefly recalled pooping as that, but he lacked the energy to question it.

After doing his business, he went to wash his face, but wait, something was wrong here. He didn’t know what exactly, yet something about his bald head and rough face, and tannish skin tone seemed a bit off. He never thought of himself as attractive, his face felt weird, but why should it, he’s had it for all his 36 years. Wait, where’d that number come from?

As he was examining his 200-some-odd pound physique, he realized that he forgot to flush his poop, and when he went to look down, he realized it wasn’t a poop at all, it was a foot tall fat man in a black suit. With wide eyes, he lifted up the man, who was currently shouting at him with his somewhat effeminate voice. He couldn’t make out much, although he did hear a, “Goddamnit Jonathan!” Jonathan? That’s right, how could he forget his own name, he must be more tired than he thought. As he was crying off the fat man with a towel, he looked into his bedroom, it was 3:12 AM, no wonder he was so sleepy.

After giving the little man, who he recalled was named Jim, went back to their bed together, yet it didn’t feel right, isn't there suppose to be someone else with him? Wouldn’t that mean that he, Jonathan, was cheating on Jim? He loved Jim, his little muffin as he called him. He wasn’t feeling quite right with moving, or being in this bed, but he chalked that up to just being sleepy.

Jonathan awoke at 7 in the morning, feeling fresh as a daisy. After furnishing himself up and dressing in his regular suit, he went to the kitchen to eat the usual breakfast Jim made for him. He was never sure what Jim saw in him, but he wasn't complaining, loyal spouse, comfortable job as a doctor, and not a care in the world other than their happiness. After consuming his food, Jonathan kissed Jim goodbye on his chubby little belly.

After entering his expensive vehicle, he looked in the rear view mirror to make sure he looked just handsome enough, after all he was renowned for being a dashing young prodigy. Never with his head in the clouds or bothering with any escapism. Those clods always confused him, why bother doing something that wasn’t actually living. But his time was far too valuable for those underachievers or the sad crafters of that “art”, he had patients to see.

Once he arrived at his clinic, Jonathan met his first patient, a “cute” young woman who was sent here to get fixed. It was a standard procedure of injecting her with testosterone, because what could a woman do that a man couldn’t do far better? She screamed a lot, a trait he had grown to view as the subject’s final demonstration of weakness. She even tried to confuse him by claiming that she was his “wife”, hah, the stupid under-lifeforms. He couldn’t wait until he got to the fun part, “changing their minds”. He always lavished over the amount of power he had, to fix society’s ills, to alter those who were undoubtedly inferior, and turn them into proper examples of men, the true version of humanity.

After several more of the reworking procedures, Jonathan knew that he was helping his planet, and did not even consider anyone thinking him as wrong, without being wrong and retarded for doing so. But most of the mentally diseased have been fixed. All those retards and straights, and dames, and escapists, and artists were on their last legs, men like the honest, manly man Jonathan were the founders of humanity’s true golden age.

But he returned to his little friend, his servant, and the one who was made to love him, Jim. He was presented with his warm and delicious dinner, an expected result, but he was feeling generous, so Jonathan would just convert Jim into his flush-phase and let him enjoy his favorite white drink. All in another glorious day of his life as a wonderful savior known as Jonathan Holmes.

It was a parody that I had fun writing, of course it is shit, that was kind of my goal! And if this is inappropriate for the site, somehow, I'll remove it from here.   read

11:15 AM on 09.29.2012

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit Review

As I try to make clear in most of what I do, I love things that are weird, odd, unique, eccentric, or just plain old different. So when I see a game that looks to have a unique angle from it, with a studio whose previous Xbox Live Indie Games I enjoyed, it makes sense for me to schedule a review slot for it. But does this wild looking title shine through, or is it just a nice coat of paint that makes the titles sound even stupider? Let’s find out and also see if my quality of reasoning degrades under a self-imposed deadline! Yay for trying to be topical!

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit Review
Release Date: 26/9/2012
Platforms: XBLA(Reviewed), PC, PSN
Developer: Arkedo Studios
Publisher: Sega

First, let me explain what I could gather about this game’s history. Arkedo was working for a publisher who was limiting their creativity and they wanted some creative freedom from their dull lives, and started work on an anarchic project that became Hell Yeah! And after they realized this anger filled project could be something people would buy, they went to Sega in order to help give them some guidance with their chaotic project. And since the staff was forced to make lots of cute things, they wanted the game to be centered about killing and enslaving them.

The game’s plot is fairly simple, you play as Ash, an undead rabbit who is the king of hell after he murdered his father. But Ash is also a “sexual deviant”, god it hurts to type those words, who likes ducks, and some swanky photos of him and his duck got leaked to the “hellternet” and he needs to kill the 100 demons who viewed them. It is fairly simple, and is centered more around the frame work for its style than normal storytelling. However the little bits of dialog all seem to fall flat.

You are an angry cute character going through a world in which you kill cute things, how hard is it to just give him a few dialog cues and a few witty lines that someone voiced. I’m sorry, interrupting a game that is primarily centered on action through text boxes makes me just want to skip past them. I had this same problem with Moon, but seeing as how this game is suppose to be humorous, I just find it hard to care about what is going on with the world. I am one of the few people who love little bits of lore, yet when you have 100 entries about the demons I killed and their former lives, some of them are bound to sound samey, and you will get bored of reading all of them

However, Arkedo’s never been huge on the story, so maybe the gameplay can help this title stay afloat. Sadly, that is not the case, but it could be fixed in a remarkably simple fashion. To quickly summarize, this is a platformer where you move around on a mix between a buzz saw, tire, and jetpack. Although, when you are not leaping, drilling, and sawing through foes and hazards, you are shooting at foes with the right stick to aim. However, there are two massive oversights with the shooting that could be fixed in about a day of work, tops.

First of all, the jump button, which you use a lot seeing as how you have a jetpack, is the A button, and you cannot remap your controls on the console version. So if you want to shoot and fire your weapon at the same time, enjoy jumping with your tilted left index finger. Secondly, the game’s camera is in too close, 90% of the time. Now, I have this gripe with a lot of titles, yet here it is just pathetic. You see, by pressing the right bumper, you can pause the action and zoom out the map. And since enemies can attack from offscreen, they are clearly rendering them through the map, if not then why would the loading screens be 10-15 seconds long for a 2D platformer? But I might be able to deal with that, except for how firing off screen results in your weapon’s fire being destroyed.

I need to question whether or not anyone tested a game when I see problems as simple as these. They are not intricate schemes. I mean, I nearly failed my AP Computer Science class, and I could at least remap control inputs. And you barely ever zoom out, so it being activated by the A button would really not change anything for it. Well, it would make the three demons that you kill by using it harder to kill. Yes, three of the 100 “unique” foes in this game are killed just by pressing one button. Hell, there are about six guys who run around and need to be juggled by sawing into them. And even then, none of the battles with these colorful beasts are all that memorable. I mean, I ended up accidentally killing about 10 of them.

But here’s the kicker, after you kill these cute neon... They have no consistent theme, so I’ll just call them things. You get to play a little Warioware style minigame. Now, I actually enjoyed Warioware quite a bit with the first GBA title and the DIY DS one. And my favorite thing with these was practicing them so I could get a long combo going. So when it turns out there are only about 30 or so of these, with them only being one per demon, I was a bit disappointed. That, and they can be a lot harder to understand, since the one word prompt is trying to be funny, and they have to deal with several buttons, rather than just doing it with two at its most complex point.

After plowing through this title within 3 days, which totaled at about 10 hours, I can hardly even remember what the beginning of the game was like. All of these little annoyances like money you collect for personalized items, the abundance of insta-kill spikes, because they are just wonderful and fair. The somewhat floaty controls, where every jump is a leap of faith, because the developers don’t understand that jetpacks fire in bursts. It all becomes one great blur on minor design errors that make this really feel like it was designed by people who had no idea what they were doing.

Granted, this game is at least 10 times more complex than Arkedo’s other titles, with things like multiple weapon slots and an entire metagame where you use your slayed foes as day laborers, in a main menu option known as the island. Let alone a few dozen customizable one piece outfits, and multiple coverings for your buzz saw. So I should feel some understanding that the gameplay is very rough, and I might be willing to, since the game can get pretty intense and fun when the invincibility frames are not being reduced to less than a second’s worth. It is just a mess of ideas that could fit, but don’t really mesh well. And the same could be said for the visuals.

Now, I absolutely adore 2D art, to the point where I find Rayman Origins to be the best looking videogame of all time. And I will say that all styles are fine in my book, yet Arkedo’s art direction always felt a bit off to me. I think the game is trying to be as cute as it can be so the blood splatters feel all the more potent, by the way, this is somehow a T rated game. But it is almost to the point where it just gets annoying. I love primary colors and things that are both disgusting and adorable, yet these deformed creatures just look like random doodles from the artist, with no real consistency or quality control, just the first 100 miniboss ideas they could muster up.

Now, I wouldn’t call them especially poorly designed, some look great for the minute they are alive but with the entire world being a stylized rainbow mesh that is trying to be as colorful as possible, the entire game starts looking bland later on. It is somehow both anarchic and very, very safe, trying to wallow in the fact they are killing monsters that are very cute, and it just gets dull the tenth time you do it. Moderation is the key to impact, keeping a superb engagement flow of peaks and valleys is how you keep an audience, but here it is always on, and always hitting either the same or very similar notes.

I do actually like some of the tracks, with the second area and the happy-happy worlds having either a very cool beat, or a French woman seeing a song that oozes TwistedPixel’s style. Yet the entire game could benefit more from getting some voice work than nearly any other I could think of. Seriously, the game is ripe for a psychotic sounding French guy to voice Ash and cackle as a madman, while tearing up insects and... Seriously, what the hell are these designs? And don’t worry about subtitles, this game is suppose to be insane, and another language’s direct translation would already sound wonderfully mad for people who don’t speak French, and just the fun kind of mad for those who do.

To condense this into something that is just 3 pages in length, I am actually shocked at the final product of Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit. Not by the fact the game is bad, since there is some fun to be had in small doses. Rather how the title has so much that could be done well that seems so easy in hindsight. It did not frustrate me as much as some other titles, but I certainly was not smiling a lot during it. From the relatively boring visuals, the lack of sound clips that would enhance a game like this tremendously, the repetitive gameplay, and a stupidly short blink time, I cannot recommend it either. It is what I call a failed shuttle of a game, one that can only be learned from, but is really not worth playing. perhaps a designer can find some interesting lessons about planning ahead, but for the average buyer, it falls downhill after the demo. Feeling mishandled at the best of times, and processed at the worst.

Have a positive or negative response? Please leave one below, it's the only way I'll improve.
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4:33 PM on 09.27.2012

Jet Set Radio HD Review

I have heard that it is a better stance to be indifferent toward everything from the start, in order to prevent disappointment. However, if you are indifferent towards entertainment from the initial standpoint, why would you ever bother purchasing it, when you are not able to portray an emotion towards it, good or bad. I say this because I was fairly excited for this game and it did indeed let me down, yet by how much? When I break down this game on paper, it sounds like a prime contender for one of the best of all time, so by default it must be a disappointment, but how so and how much? Let’s dive on in!

Jet Set Radio HD Review
Release Date: 19(18)/09/2012
Platforms: XBLA(Reviewed), Playstation 3/Vita, PC, iOS, Android
Developer: SmileBit, ported by Blit Software
Publisher: Sega

Set in the semi-futuristic city of Tokyo-To, a wave of graffiti spraying roller skaters, referred to as Rudies, have been assaulting this town with their creative expressions. You play as members of one of the gangs, the GGs, who are trying to obtain more territory over the city so that they could spray it with more of their art and style. Thus begins a struggle for power involving several themed gangs and their eventual stumbling onto a massive corporation that is trying to take over this city and bring on the lack of individuality.

Yeah, Japan has this thing where, and I’m paraphrasing someone with more knowledge than me, the end of high school brings forth a life that shuns creativity and desires every worker to just be a machine who spends literally half of their life working. Taking refuge in a spouse early on, in order to plant the seeds of their next kin, and repeat this cycle all over again. So they need to make media that reflect that fun time, hence their love of characters in high school.

However, beyond my first paragraph, the game is very lean on things like plot. You see, instead of seeing the characters do anything, this game tells us what happened through an eccentric DJ known as Professor K, the only character with more than 30 seconds of voice clips. So right out the gate it provides a pretty solid and, at least in recent years, formulaic set up, but then drops the ball and does something that breaks the first rule of filmmaking, let alone gaming. Now, I am attracted to this game’s lore like iron to a magnet, so it was incredibly saddening when I discovered that the 10 or so characters you get through the story mode, the changing antagonists, and a lot of the world itself, all feel very basic and flat. I understand limitations and the expected level of story, but would it kill them to include a paragraph to describe every character?

They all have a unique design, so I am attracted to learning about them, but I am not really given anything. Subtleties within gameplay are a great way to learn about characters, but they all feel pretty much the same, and there is not a lot of incentive other than how many spray cans and health these characters can hold. I understand removing a learning curve with all characters, yet this is not a good way at making everyone feel like any more than a skin. I only complain because of how much I care about seeing this world be fleshed out, but the entire plot of this game is the cliffnotes of a modern game’s plot, which just makes the potential feel utterly wasted in the narrative sense.

But hey, this game is trying to pull off an arcadey vibe, so I can understand having a brief plot, I guess, and the gameplay would be where this title really needs to stand out. As stated prior, the game centers on a gang of roller skating youngsters who like to graffiti things beneath arrows. As explained through both the game itself and its hard as crap tutorial, because discouraging you by telling you to do a 50 part combo is a great way to get you to teach you the ropes. Every normal level of the game has the same goal of stylishly getting to spray points through grinding on rails and doing jumps and wall runs. You gather around spray cans so you can spray more points and enter the QTE, which actually do sorta feel like spray painting something, required for them.

However, there are really only three large areas where you search for things to spray with your customizable graffiti, but all of them depict a different time of say and section of the city. Sure, you have two large urban areas with a very nifty pier and housing section, but I actually had a blast going through and memorizing how to best get through these areas, although sometimes I feel as if I shouldn’t have. You see, during the later levels, the game limits the number of spray can to just being one or two areas, and since these places are, in the end mostly linear. You need to either try to power through the areas or skip through a bunch of it in order to spray the larger sections, which take more time and leave you vulnerable to attacks from police officers, helicopters with machine guns, katana wielding afro men, and machine gun jetpackers. It sounds pretty awesome, but this is what I classify as a Flow Game, which is a title more about style and finesse, rather than just going through it without getting your ass kicked too much. So getting hit often due to some tricky to dodge machine gun fire. And with some hard to make jumps, it is easy to feel like you just suck at the title.

The game also does not allow you to quickly reset a stage unless you die or the 10-15 minute timer runs up, which it did a ton for a few stages. This lead to scenarios where I spent 3 hours desperately trying to get through one single level because I couldn’t get the wall run to work properly, and guys were whipping my Asian girl’s ass. Now, this could just be due to how I suck at games, which I kinda do. I couldn’t get the last purple coin rolling mission in Super Mario Galaxy 2 or beat Cave Story’s hell level. But I’m pretty sure that it is due to how the physics of this game are, well, kinda crap. And not the controls as some have said, the only problem with them is how the spray button repositions the camera, which disorients you up while spraying moving targets.

This game originally came out in 2000, before Havok and Unreal were used for 60% of games, and in house engines were made for pretty much a game by game basis. Pair it off with the fact that the only game like this, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, was set in part specifically made for skating, and it is easy to see why traversing the streets of Tokyo-To can be difficult. But it still feels like crap a ton of the time. I am no expert on physics in any regard, but the way that speed can just be completely lost like it is here, just feels wrong. As do the moon jumps which can be a pain if you want to keep your speed while grinding, and not making an ass out of yourself.

It is hard to explain, but it is not comfortable to traverse this world, when you can screw it up this easily. The challenge should not be in execution, it should be in using the mechanics to build up enough points to get a high rating if that is your thing. And having sharp corners in a game that requires you to be smooth, along with little gaps you need to awkwardly jump over, a bit of a misfire in level design. Now, I like how it looks like a city that could exist, the game is cel-shaded, you can get away with things that are stylized.

Oh yes, the cel-shading. I will go on record by saying that cel-shading is one of the greatest things to happen to gaming since it came into 3D. It is actually very saddening to see there being so few titles that bother to use this. I am aware that people prefer to use preset shaders, since they are easier than making several new ones. But so far, Borderlands 2 and the The Darkness 2 have been some of the best looking games of this year, because they decide to adapt a style that ages really, really well. Hell, as a title that came out in 2000 for the Dreamcast, the game looks a bit low in terms of polygons, and could use some more environments, but still looks great despite that. The vibrant colors, great looking character models, and surprisingly busy world all make for a game that, despite the lack of polygons, is one of the best looking 3D games I’ve seen.

And the music is also pretty great, taking a good amount of up-tempo tracks that manage to fit the vibrant and lively look if the title to a near fault. And considering that the soundtrack contains everything from J-Pop, Jazz, Rock, Electronic, and funk, it is impressive how going from one song to another does not have any large tonal shift. I’m pretty sure there is a song or two missing, but even as a collection of 28, although some might be cut due to regions, but I think that was amended, it is varied, upbeat, and always picked me up when the physics and level design disagreed on how I should do an action.

Through the glasses of modernity, I can still declare Jet Set Radio to be a game that is good, yet owes a lot to the positively lovely aesthetic sense it has. The wonderful style of the skater culture the game is influenced from, and the sheer brilliance of the very concept help forgive a lot. While the story is underbaked and pretty poorly executed despite a cool narrator , and the physics are kinda broken, especially with the way the levels can be set up, do break the flow the game relies on. But the satisfaction of getting things to work properly, and the fact the game stay so damn happy throughout, help make the title worth playing.

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1:48 PM on 09.23.2012

Addressing the New Dante

This is a response to the utter rage over the DmC reboot and reactions like, well, this. I felt like giving my two cents about the issue, because I don't see my views being shown in this whole... kerfuffle.So read my words if you feel like it, since it'd make me happy!

To be honest, I kinda understand where people are coming from with the character design.Now, I am not much of a fan of the original Dante's design, so I don't think I have a major bias towards the old design. At the same time, I don't think this redesign is all that good. When you break it down, the new Dante is a lean guy with brown hair, a white tank top, jeans, and a red jacket. In terms of character design, it is really just cutting back the muscles and making it look a bit more realistic. However, he doesn't look overly appealing as a character in a game where you use weapons to beat up monsters.I had a similar problem with Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, the developer's previous title. Where the main character was just a muscled guy with some weird spiky hair. If you showed me just that, I'd think the actual design was pretty lame. However, I ended up enjoying all the characters in that game for one simple reason, they were given character. You see, the appearance of a character in a primarily visual medium is still important, but it is not necessarily a deal breaker. For example, just look at the wave of nondescript movie stars in games aspointed out by good old Jonathan Holmes. None of them are very appealing to look at, yet my good, and pretty much only, friend adores the character of Nathan Drake warts and all. So why would it matter that Dante looks like Travis Touchdown if his lost the shades and got all of his outfit from a bin?

Seriously, am I the only one who noticed this?

Or looking into, say, Silent Hill 2, the main character looks just like a regular dude, but how many people fell in love with his character? Hell, all live action media requires very simple character design that you will only remember if the character itself is good. And even with a character who doesn't seem likable, that doesn't mean that the game will suck, since based on this, and the other trailers, the environments look wonderful and gameplay looks like a blast. It is healthy to utilize caution with redesigns, but at least give the game a chance until you call in garbage. If you really want a reason to hate the game, pull out the whole anti-Capcom spiel. They throw coffee at employees, they don't let you go to the hospital if you feel like you're going to have a heart attack. They overburden their employees and make them beg for not doing the impossible. They have development teams of 600, and expect their title to sell 7 million because of it. Those are good reason to not buy a title. I am not trying to say that you shouldn't play it since it looks great and my town's tax dollars are so going towards it. But if you are going to hate something and not buy it because of it, don't bitch that a character is changing their hair from platinum blonde to brown. Besides, his old character is pretty dated nowadays, so they're at least identifying that and are doing something different.

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12:38 PM on 09.17.2012

Pheonix Wright: Ace Attorney Review

I enjoyed 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, and Ghost Trick Phantom Detective, So it would make sense that I would end up playing the most well known visual novel for the DS, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney! But is this series of murder cases interesting enough to have me search through the series? Let’s find out!

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Review
Release Date: 11/10/2005
Platforms: DS(Reviewed), GBA, WiiWare, iOS
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Price I Paid: $14

The game centers around Phoenix Wright, a rookie defense attorney during his first trial. His job consists of three tasks, searching around crime scenes to steal little knickknacks, showing people everything in his pocket, and pointing out contradictions in witness’s testimonies via evidence. However, he is a newbie, and always need the help of his tutor Mia Fey, and she is needed in every single case. And I do mean all five of them And even when she is nowhere around, he still has epiphanies about her telling him what to do. I think that might be a way of showing how he defend murder suspect himself, but it makes him feel incompetent. And he really isn’t since the trials you get into become simple murder, to elaborate schemes spanning a decade of deception and destroyed evidence.

The game keeps on saying how he needs to get 3 years under his belt, but he seems to be just as good, since he mostly engages against a somewhat ruthless prosecutor, MIles Edgeworth. Serving as the closest thing to an enemy in this game, Edgey has over two years of very successful experience, and he gets foiled every time you meet him. I appreciate that they are establishing him and not having a bunch of adversaries, but seeing as how colorful the supporting cast of suspects and witnesses is, I must wonder why they feared to add more. This is the exception to my rule of keeping the character count low, from the hyperactive kid who has been held back twice, the 1337 5934k1ng film director, and the cartoonishly overconfident posh final boss. Well, he’s the final boss of the fourth case, but the fifth one was added for this remake, since this was a GBA title. And guess what? It has next to nothing to do with the first three titles.

Speaking of characters, to juxtapose Phoenix’s straight man logic based approach that is not afraid to joke, we have a hyperactive 17-year-old sidekick. Mia’s sister, Maya Fey is a spirit medium who, and this is fairly common knowledge, so I don’t feel bad about spoiling it, channel’s her... Well endowed older sister so that she can talk to Phoenix and present withheld evidence. And moving to the gameplay, that is something that really ticks me off about certain items in this game, more than once, you lose a piece of paper that you could have just as easily copied the document, and you wouldn’t have lost it. This also applies into the contradiction search, which is called cross-examining. There are a lot of descriptions that request them to do things in a certain way, and for presenting a related piece of evidence, I was penalized by losing one of my five points. Writing a very precise cross examinations would take hours upon hours just to write for a game like this, but who uses the term, “sound the clock,” when the clock states the audio of the time?

But the actual writing has a lot of clever twists, funny lines, great characterization, and it keeps on feeling fresh even though you repeat the pattern of, search for stuff and talk to chaps, use your evidence in court, leave and find more info, over 15 times. But the actual searching part amounts to just placing a cursor on something, move to another room when you ran out of stuff to do, and hope the green text appears to state the area, because that means you are on the right track.

And I understand having a linear path structure, but most areas feel jumbled together, rather than important sections in a city. A simple map system could have remedied this, since that at least gives you a sense of location. However, regardless of the lack of gameplay in these parts, it is where you get the majority of the character bits, and the constant revelations do push me through figuring out what was going on that boat on Christmas Eve, and why people think there’s a loch ness monster here.

But the cross examinations in the courtroom remind me a lot about the puzzles from Portal 2. You have all the time you need, but if you do manage to get the contradiction right, the sense of satisfaction is most certainly noteworthy. Especially because of how on the surface level, the cases should be done within a day, rather than three, which is the maximum for cases in Japan, I think. Well maybe not, since the game takes place in 2016, where black and white photos are the norm.

Visually this is still a GBA title, except for the final case which has 3D models and touch screen segments. However, due to the nature of visual novels, they are allowed to be very well drawn and this game offers one of the best mixes between realistic proportions, and anime style expressions. And while limited, the animation is very smooth, but I praise a 2D game for having more than two mouth movements per characters, so maybe it’s not that great, but it is very distinct in the designs of the characters, and the backgrounds look lovely, so that must amount for something. Oh, and the music is pretty great as well. There are only a few tracks, but all of them are memorable, grant the title personality, and enhance the mood. A sound cue and screen shake can really help the mood a lot, and when you are basically taking a script and putting it into a game, you pretty much need that to justify it.

Overall, Phoenix Wright impressed me. The gameplay is what I refer to as the good kind of repetitive, where the structure remains the same, but the set pieces are good enough to hold it through to the end. It also does something that I really enjoy seeing from a game, make you feel really smart when you figure out what is wrong with the information provided to you. And while you can often be overloaded with supplies, especially during the last case, that just amplifies the feeling of accomplishment.

The characters you interact with are memorable and very expressive, with each of them having a clear personality by the end, and I do mean every character to have a very well drawn series of animation cells. Tie that in with memorable music that I’ve been humming since I started playing, and sound cues that make it feel like a waste of time to play the game without them, and you have a very well done package that is more than good enough for me to dive into the other 4 games we got thus far. Well, when I find them for cheap.

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3:59 PM on 09.12.2012

Moon Review

I tend to use the site Glyde for a ton of my impulse buys, because the price is cheap, and they sell both new and used titles. It is basically a less jerkish, more pro-consumer version of Gamestop. So I ended up finding this little title for cheap, and picked it up. From developer Renegade Kid, who I know as the guys who made Mutant Mudds, got their start making FPSes for the DS, with this being their second one. And as somebody who always thought a simplistic DPS could work well on the DS, can this result in a forgotten gem, or is the idea of an FPS on the DS a very stupid idea in reality? You know the drill!

Moon Review
Release Date: 13/1/2009
Platform: DS
Developer: Renegade Kid
Publisher: Mastiff

Why would you pick a name as broad as Moon for your game? No subtitle or anything, no extra words at all? Nobody had trouble searching for the game? Whatever, the year is 2058, and man has several bases on the Earth’s moon, which they are planning on colonizing while preparing the same for Mars. You are some guy named Ed Kane, a military person who was called in to investigate an anomaly. And we know the plot, aliens wreck your stuff, you have an officer telling you what is going on, and it is up to you to save the world. This is textbook stuff, but then we got to the truth that aliens have been kidnapping humans and smelting them into tubes of... Stuff, that increases a person’s vitality and makes them more athletic. Other than that, I could barely make it out. There are disjointed boxes of text that tell you some backstory, but interrupting an FPS with text never really bodes well.

But hey, Painkiller had a moronic story, and it is considered to be one of the best FPSes in the past decade. And did anyone care about the plot of Doom? No, they wanted to shoot demons in the face! But those only represent one third of what I consider to be the FPS paradigm. On one hand, you have your Serious Sam and Borderlands, games about the fun of the frantic shooter gameplay. On the other, you have your Half-Life 2 and Bioshock, games with a sense of survival and carry a strong narrative. And the other one is the multiplayer focused games, mostly having to do with war, the most boring subject matter ever made, unless it is in space, but space makes everything better. So where would I place Moon? Well, at the beginning, it felt a lot slower paced and had a more narrative focus than the plot would have me believe. But by the end of it, I was fighting an indescribable alien by shooting circular explosions at him.

So we have an indecisive title that wants to marry these two warring cousins, while not bothering with the one who was raised by children who consider war to be the ultimate joy. As such, I am a little conflicted when describing the gameplay. You only have seven weapons, ammo is limited for the most part, and there are exploration elements for upgrades. But on the other hand, enemies drop a ton of ammo, take the default weapons hits like you are shooting them with a BB gun, and they are floating metal eyes, golems, and robotic spiders. And speaking of the default weapon, for something called the Super Assault Rifle, it has a hard time killing rat sized bugs in more than 3 shots. I appreciate how it has infinite ammo, but that just made me try to use it for the majority of the game. I only used the other weapons during the last chapters of this game’s 17. Oh yes, and when a chapter that takes me nearly an hour is followed by one that takes me about 3 minutes, you might want to fix something.

But back to the exploration, the areas are linear corridors that occasionally have a small door that you main character cannot get inside, since he can only move, shoot, open doors, pick up ammo and ammo upgrades, and open doors. So Mr. Kane needs to find an RC car called a RAD, which looks like an alien form when you are controlling it, that can stun enemies, and temporarily flip switches. You use it a lot, but even during the five or so dungeons in the game, this puzzle was used to death. I understand maintaining the usefulness of an item, but I would like to see one area where the only secrets aren’t hidden behind an orange door that needs to have a switch shot before I can get my alien artifacts for a VR mission I’ll never play.

There are also vehicle sections, where you drive around in a car with a laser gun, and it controls like a literal brick. Despite being on the moon, it is controls like it is very heavy, and just doesn’t want to turn, instead it want to run into yellow indestructible mine put out by your colleagues. And we only see this three times, making i feel like it could’ve been cut, and all we’d lose would be a chapter or two. And speaking of the chapters, why is the boss a chapter separate from the dungeon? They average at about 5 minutes, and just make the game look longer than it actually is.

I also have gripes about the results contain something known as merits, but it never says what they are. I missed three during my run, but I thoroughly explored the area, well what I could access. There is often an inaccessible area on the map that just holds a set piece, meaning that you can never really clear out a map. It has no real purpose, but why even include it the set piece area on the map? I feel really annoyed when I beat a boss, but can’t clear their room, since there is a foot high ledge around the area that most of them sit in.

The enemies are pretty run of the mill, as stated earlier, and only fire projectiles that are pretty much always in a pattern, and only get annoying when you are in a cramped area and you are hoping that you pink space suit steps on a full heal item, which looks just like the minor heal items, which look just like a certain type of ammo. Seriously, this thing is the difference between dying and beating the bosses with your eyes closed. You are down to your last hit, step on some compressed human turned into juice, and are back to 100% health.

Speaking of bosses, these are some of the worst bosses I’ve fought in a while. The bosses are blatantly recycled, so I’m not spoiling much. There is one robot with four arms that you first encounter around columns, so you hide behind them and take potshots at his flashing red weak points. The you meet him again, but you have no columns, and it spins around to fire in every direction, and he kicked my buns like they were stale egg rolls. Then there was a rotating column that shot the same large and easy to touch balls of energy that every enemy uses, but if you stay back, his balls evaporate and your assault rifle can still hit him. And when you take out all four panels covering him, it is a giant yellow pillar that shoots four thin lasers at once, but you can still hide from them. Or at least I hope so, since before I developed this strategy, I had to travel the preceding area 4 times because there is no save point before this bass.

And in a later area, you need to fight three of them as separate minibosses. Except they no longer spin, and now toss grenades that have a stupidly large range. So it is again with the potshots between those and the three balls it fires. And then you fight one again, as the second to last boss. Only difference is that he has more health. But the worst boss needs to be the rolling one. Now, I defeat this boss in many ways. I got his face stuck between terrain and fire at it with your assault rifle. Then I had it ram into me, stuck in a loop, but never actually dealing damage, when it should’ve cut off a third of my health. And I simply circle strafe around it, while it did not roll at all. This is what you call greatly designed enemy AI. It is the kind of stuff that allows me to shoot odd a spider turrets feet while it is behind is corner, and somehow kill it. And a lot of bosses are protected by an eyeball door, kind of like the one in Metroid. Except this guy takes 3 minutes to kill, while I am standing still, holding the L button, not even touching the bottom screen to aim. This is what you call a pointless obstacle, since if I just use my infinite Assault Rifle that destroys its projectiles, I cannot be defeated by this thing.

Speaking of Metroid, there are three instances where Kane needs to escape a base or get to a location before a timer dings. This is a staple of the Metroid series, often done after the final boss, but they do not do that here, and there is no tension or challenge to leaving an area after you just did that twice with a lot of time left to go. The first time was pretty cool, with enemies firing at you, and you tried to keep them back while making it out of the area. But seeing the playable character carefully get out of a land rover is just boring, and distracts from the fact that you are being timed. These are like the Moon traveling, pointless and forgotten come the end.

So there is a lot of pointless crap, the difficulty curve is like a rollercoaster, and the shooting in unsatisfying, but how about the audio-visual stuff? The game does indeed pull of some of the best 3D on the DS, but there is a very notable fog, enemy filching is hard to notice, and everywhere looks the same. And as for technical stuff, it is impressive based on the hardware, but there is so much technology littering the corridors, that I was actually killed over 15 times by a boss, just because the wall was filled with holes that led to square pillars trapping me between some lasers. Just looking at it while the game is in motion, makes my eyes drawn away from the scenery, and therefore the world, destroying any hope of immersion. As for the music, it could work, but it dissolves into soulless electronic garbage that is just noise while you kill enemies. Early on, there was atmosphere, a sense of powerlessness, but it is hard to feel weak with a space rocket launcher!

As a whole, Moon is a mix between the run and gun shooters of old, and the resourceful shooter of yesteryear, but the actual shooting lacks any weight. There is a stupidly jagged difficulty curve, and so much unneeded crap is used to fatten this game up into 8 hours. The game is also pretty ugly and would be better if there was nearly no music, just ambiance noise. It is certainly interesting, but that means crap unless the product is still moderate quality. Moon is certainly worth observing, but I can not say that it is fun. There is a glimmer of some better game between its cracks. There are good ideas, but compensation due to the DS’ limitations have resulted in a slightly below average product. It was worth playing, but then it declined far into mediocrity, if not deeper.

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5:15 PM on 09.10.2012

Rayman Origins Review

Oddly enough, I am willing to publish a review I made in June, but not ones published on my other blog, NigmaBox, before August. Funny how that works.

Ubisoft, what the hell were you thinking with this title? It is odd enough that you would decide to release a 2D platformer, a sub-genre that has been reduced to downloadable titles unless it stars an Italian plumber, at retail for $60. But you release it on the busiest day of the busiest month in the industry? On the same day as your own Assassin's Creed Revelations? You developed an engine to make this game, so you were trying to toss it into the lion’s den? Well, joke’s on you, this game not only survived the lions, but it crashed into your office looking for more work. This is Rayman Origins, my favorite 2D platformer of this generation, if not all of time!

Rayman Origins Review
Release Date: 15/11/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360(Reviewed), Playstation 3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Publisher: Ubisoft

The game opens with Rayman, some big blue slap happy frog thing, and some little blue guys known as Teensies, munching on fruit and snoring so loud that it wakes up some old people who are under the Earth’s crust, and they end up taking over the world so the noise will stop. It is so stupid that is is great, and the game never goes off in a direction where the plot feels out of place. All you are really doing is saving busty fairies and letting them grant you powers so that you can make your way through the 11 areas in this game.

But kicking the narrative in the head, let’s talk about the gameplay. It is a fluent platformer that thankfully has the dash button be a shoulder button, because my least favorite part of 2D Mario games in how Nintendo never realizes that humans might prefer that option. You run, jump, punch, and glide through over 60 stages with secrets and a bunch of little yellow lums to collect so that you get prizes in the form of character skins. I cannot begin to describe how smooth the control is, never feeling slippery or tight, and it only comes close when you are running on ice. And I must applaud the game for having the best underwater controls that I have ever seen in a 2D platformer, mostly due to the fact that you actually swim rather than float around like a ball of fat or move with less gravity.

From the frantic wall running, the careful jumps where you must manage the distance with your ability to glide, and the occasional mosquito 2D shooter section, the game manages to feel fresh for an amazingly long amount of time. This is somewhat surprising, since you really only go through vibrant jungles with the best looking 2D water that I have seen in a game, didgeridoo filled windy deserts, fiery kitchens, giant freezers, a mellow sea, and some steampunk final areas. The themes are simple, but there is always a bit of an angle that makes the areas feel distinct from other games of a similar nature. But now I must talk about this game's amazing visuals.

I’ll admit that I am a sucker for 2D art, since I feel like I can never create it, while 3D art seems easier to make. But this game still looks wonderful, with a very unique and lively style that oozes with personality from every single frame. From the normal goons you fight, to the simple act of running on grass or getting hit. I actually feel bad for not having a massive TV to display this game on. Everything looks like a quick and jagged sketch after a team of artists polished it until it shined. And even though the game uses something similar to flash animation, it still feels far more livelier than a lot of games that use motion capturing for the majority of their animations. Every expression is lively and it feels like care was placed in every cell of every frame of this polished, but not necessarily professional style.

And the music! It is on par with the visuals in creating an atmosphere of pure fun! From the catchy beats and the overall oddness of it all, mixing many styles, from the lovely chime when you get double Lums for a few seconds, to the calming gibberish of the wonderful water levels. The tense sounds of some of the massive bosses, to the mix of westerns and didgeridoos in the desert area, it all sounds amazing. And if anything, it puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it. I actually have trouble finding any complaints with the game, from the creative and expressive enemies, the massive bosses that animate beautifully, so you want to just see what their next animation phase is, even though you died 8 times thus far. And the wonderfully structured treasure chest levels, with everything moving like an amazingly well done Rube Goldberg machine, with collapsing structures that you need to interact with while dashing at insane speeds. One slip up in your quest and bam, back to the beginning!

The only thing that some might dislike it's the difficulty, but this game does something so sadly uncommon that it creates limitless amounts of ecstasy when I see a game where when I die for 3 hours straight, and want to keep playing. I feel like going back on in until I master the well structured challenge before me. I don’t consider myself to be notably good at games, so the fact that me and my friend beat it 100%, it feels fantastic. Okay, I’m not counting the trophies and medals, but those I consider to be 101% and 102%, or in other words, pointless semantics. But I still got over 300 Lums in every normal level, found all secret rooms, cleared all the time trials, and it just feels wonderful to see how far I got in this beautifully designed, wonderful looking, and amazingly fun world.

Through a shifting development platform, and a bunch of assets going into a sequel, I am proud to have purchased this title a week after release, and play through it even though it took me about 7 months. many games can get annoying when you die for the twentieth time, but the lack of weight that the designers placed on the death really makes dying a minor hiccup in your journey to the end, and what a journey that is. It is an absolute joy to play a game so beautiful, so fair, and so much fun.

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