Friday, August 10, 2018

Nintendo To Plays - Volume 4

Greetings again, #TeamHandheld. Sorry it has been so long since my last post, but I've had some major health issues jump up and get in the way. Enough of that, let's get to the games.

Nintendo To Plays - Volume 4

MUSYNX

I love that MUSYNX gets right to business. You start with a huge selection of tracks, an option for easy or hard mode, and then you dive right in. In 4K mode, you have four lines of notes coming down the screen and have to press the right buttons in time. It's your standard rhythm game, but with over ninety tracks and free updates with new tracks planned that's amazing. I've barely had a chance to scratch the surface on this, but I can say that some stages have been more manageable than others thanks to the fact that the color of the notes varies by stage, so some have been easier to follow than others. I have a few favorites already, but I still struggle to get perfects on them. MUSYNX might not have a ton of variation in gameplay, but the musical content is vast, which is way more interesting to me.




Octopath Traveler

While Octopath Traveler is definitely a beautiful game and has a lot going for it, the original demo didn't really click with me and the full game hasn't changed that. Call me weak, but I just don't enjoy the combat and the game is built around that pretty heavily. I've never been a fan of RPG battle systems where you have to exploit weaknesses or break opponents, and Octopath Traveler makes that a requirement for every battle, not just the boss fights. That's not to say that this is a flaw of the game, but it is just not my thing. I truly love the visual style, as this is one of the most beautiful I've seen in years, and I appreciate the character designs as I think they hold up amazingly. The game's structure doesn't bother me either, but I just don't mesh with the battle system.




Shape of the World

Like Proteus, Shape of the World is one of those games that has you exploring a mysterious world in first person in order to see the beauty that unravels before you. While lovely, the problem is that it takes too long to get through and requires more interaction than most other games of this style. If the point of the game is relax and enjoy the environments, then you should never be blocked by gameplay mechanics while trying to do so. Tossing seeds to plant trees that are used to climb seems simple enough, but it made the experience too gamey and took me out of the relaxing state that Shape of the World had done a good job of getting me into up until that point. It was only then that I discovered the chapter progression listing and saw how far I still had to go, and I quickly decided that I'd seen enough, especially if more of this was possibly waiting for me. I'm not sure if the developers were afraid of leaving this as just an experience game and tacked on gameplay sections out of fear of complaints, but it was much better before I got to those parts.




Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn

Want to talk about a ridiculous game, then Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn is just that. This side-scrolling beat 'em up has Shaq fighting his way through China punching with this big hands and kicking enemies with his large shoes. He can even power up into the robotic Shaq Diesel suit and pick up tubes of Icy Hot. It's one of the most absurd things I've ever played, but the worst part is that the combat mechanics are not that bad. It actually controls fairly well, though the game does get repetitive really fast. It's all just so ridiculous and one note that it gets tiresome quickly. I likely wouldn't have even touched this had it not been free for having downloaded NBA Playgrounds before the online patch went live.




Wizard of Legend

First and foremost I have to give Wizard of Legend a shout out for having a fantastic soundtrack. Dale North knocked this one out of the park. Now as for the game itself, it's not bad, but the repetitive gameplay loop doesn't really work for me. You unlock a variety of spells and skills that help you work your way through dungeons filled with pits and enemies. Die and you get to start over. This might have been better co-op, but I haven't gotten a chance to try that yet. Combat is fine, but I just can't get past losing progress here, as I never felt like I was getting better or learning what I was doing wrong. Oh well, I still have the soundtrack to listen to even outside the game, so I still win.




Yoku's Island Express

Yoku's Island Express is a super creative game. It is a Metroid-style adventure game where you advance using pinball mechanics. Yes, that means the levels have pinball paddles scattered throughout that you use to progress. It's a very original concept that I appreciate greatly. I'm still early on and things seem fairly linear by nature, keeping within the restrictions of the pinball design elements, but I plan to keep going, even though I am awful at pinball.



20XX

20XX is a clear throwback to the Mega Man formula, which would be much more effective if not for all of the Mega Man collections that have finally been released along with a brand new game coming. What 20XX does differently is offer the latest buzz of tossing in roguelike elements, which is quickly becoming a way of saying that the game is going to let you repeat a lot of the content to grind for upgrades while offering little new. The Mega Man inspired content is right up front here, complete with a cast that could be right out of the originals, but it quickly shows its hand and becomes another victim of the roguelike buzz. My tolerance is not very high when this happens, as I prefer a much structured focus. The game does control well, and I can't take that away from it, but it doesn't have the staying power for me.




Milanoir

I keep seeing games that I hope will fill that Hotline Miami void for me, and I was hoping that Milanoir might be that game. As far as setting goes, it's even dirtier than Hotline Miami ever tried to be as it's filled with foul language, sex, and murder all within the first few minutes of playtime. The problem is that the gameplay doesn't hold up. It's similar in that you control a character in third person and aim and shoot, but it lacks the quick lock on and kill feeling that I'm looking for as you have to spend too much ammo and time taking enemies down. It's not smooth and the pacing is much slower, which causes it to lose its edge and just feel like any old action shooter instead. So it's not bad, but definitely not what I was looking for here.



Legend of Kay Anniversary

I'd never played or even paid much attention to the original PS2 version of this game, but I decided to try out Legend of Kay Anniversary on Switch to see what I was missing. Whenever a game tosses around the term RPG, I have to investigate to see if it's true. In this case, what you have here is a platformer with adventure game segments like quests to complete and such. Neither of these parts are that interesting and the game quickly becomes a boring back and forth for Kay, the adventurous ninja cat with attitude. It's all well and good, but this game doesn't stand out enough to warrant an anniversary edition. *coughSummonercough* There are plenty of other games that could have used this treatment instead. Oh well, no harm done.





R.B.I. Baseball 18

It's a true shame that there are not more options for baseball games on the Switch, because R.B.I. Baseball 18 is a major disappointment. The game may be accurate in the terms of player content, but it lacks everything that could make it fun to play. Controls are sluggish, options are limited, and it just lacks soul in every way. It's a chore to even start an exhibition game to play for a quick session. The Switch could really use a fun baseball like Super Mega Baseball, because this current game is just sad.




New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers

New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers is a town building game that is very slow and not intuitive. You get to chop wood, fish for food, build new structures, but it's just not enjoyable to do so. The goal is survival and having your town thrive, but it's pretty dull to do so. The whole thing just feels low quality and never did anything to make me want to play more.



Thanks for reading. I've got some Vita stuff up next, so look forward to that.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Vita To Plays - Volume 5

Greetings, #TeamHandheld. This volume mixes up some new games and old ones. Along with playing all the games I've yet to touch, I've decided to add in and talk about more and more of the games from my collection that I have already played. I figure, why not? Here's a mix of those, and I hope you enjoy the variety.

Vita To Plays - Volume 5

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception

I only started Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception initially to get through it as quick as I could so that I could sample the sequel, Mask of Truth, quickly and be done, but along the way I found myself drawn into Mask of Deception instead. Believe it or not, this visual novel has some really good tactical RPG combat, though it is a bit easy. I found myself loving the combat system, as with visual novel style games I tend to only enjoy them if they offer more than just walls of text (like Danganronpa and its adventure game content and trials). Utawarerumono choosing to break things up with TRPG combat was enough to make me stop and take notice, despite skipping through pages of dialogue about characters making sweets and droning on about nothing. Having finished this, I'm thrilled to play Mask of Truth, but I will need a bit of a break before I do.



Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon

I'd expected Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon to be a cheap, throwaway game that I wouldn't spend much time with, because it was just a free game included for backers of the main Bloodstained title that's still in development. I was wrong. This throwback to the original Castlevania is a blast to play, as it doesn't just copy that original style, it also brings in multiple characters like Castlevania III did. You have four characters total to swap between by the end of the game and each had their own uses. The stages are never too long and the bosses are more manageable than you'd expect. It serves its purpose as a classic experience perfectly, and I enjoyed the entire game. The various difficulty levels mean that whatever fans want out of the game, they can have it. I, for one, couldn't put it down.



Riddled Corpses EX

I can say easily that Riddled Corpses EX is the most fun I've had with a twin stick shooter. That said, I still suck at it, but the game gives me hope that I can get better. I've made it through the first stage easily after leveling up the starting character, but have now unlocked Cloe who has a magnet that draws all the gold to her without having to wade through the zombie hoard to retrieve it (thanks for the tip, @MyPSVITApl). Now that I'm working on leveling Cloe up, maybe I'll be able to make better progress on the second level. While definitely not my usual genre of choice, I plan on keeping Riddled Corpses EX on my Vita for a while so that I can chip away at it.



Bad Apple Wars

Diving into Bad Apple Wars, the first thing that I noticed was how horrible the font is. If you are making a visual novel, why would you choose a font that makes you squint to read it? That's got to be rule number one right there. That aside, this game starts you off as a high schooler on the first day of school. Apparently you die and wind up in the school of the dead where you have to decide if you want to be a good kid or hang out with the bad apples. This off-the-wall premise didn't do much for me, but I don't know if I'm going to be the target audience for any of these otome games. Sorry, Bad Apple Wars, you are a little too rotten for my taste.



Amnesia: Memories

I have to give Amnesia: Memories credit for being right on the nose with its title. You play as a girl who has hit her head and lost her memories. You get to choose from four worlds, each of which has a different suitor and a different way she lost her memories. I chose the diamond route and was quickly annoyed by Toma, who was very overprotective and kept trying to get me to go back to the hospital. Yeah, once again I think I've struck out on this visual novel. That's OK, as I have plenty more to go.



Norn9: Var Commons

Norn9: Var Commons is a strange one. You start off this visual novel as a young boy on a field trip, but are soon whisked away a hundred years into the past where you meet up with a girl who has lost her memory. Shortly after that, you find yourself in a flying spaceship with a group of weird guys and girls who have extrasensory powers. The whole thing is crazy, and I couldn't get into it at all. The characters were annoying and the plot was all over the place. This was a quick eject.



New Little King's Story

Is it a sequel or is it a remake of the original? At the end of the day I still don't know, but it doesn't matter. New Little King's Story is still the same creative experience it was on the Wii. You aim and fire your soldiers against onii and other demons to win the day and restore your kingdom. The shame about this game is that Konami delisted it from PSN, so unless you already bought it digitally or imported a physical copy from Europe or Asia, you are out of luck. And people wonder why I buy physical copies of games.



Muv-Luv

Muv-Luv is one odd visual novel. I'm still very early on this one, but the main character has been hanging out with a girl who he's hit multiple times and her him, but he just woke up with another random girl he's never met in his bed. It's pretty curious so far, but the localization text leaves a little to be desired. There's missing punctuation and such throughout that makes it hard to read at times. It's nothing too problematic, but a clear contrast to the other visual novels I've played this time around. I still have a ways to go on this one, and since I have the sequel to play, I'll be working on this more over time.



Squares

With the latest PS+ titles hitting, I figured I'd get these out of the way quickly and did. Squares is the better of the two games this month, but it still isn't great. You get to tap and swipe squares on the screen to turn them gray and clear the screen before time runs out. Yeah, this is not my thing. In fact, it also caused me to drop my Vita for the first time, but thankfully it wasn't far and just caused a small scratch on the back, but it was enough to make me stop and delete the game. I wasn't going to play more anyway, but hey, it made me mad.



Atomic Ninjas

Another recent PS+ freebie, this one was barely worth the time and effort to download. Not only does Atomic Ninjas start off with an overly long tutorial, this training session is awkward to maneuver and simply highlights how bad the platforming mechanics are before you even start truly playing the game. Once I finished that I found that this game is focused on online play such as deathmatch modes. It should surprise no one that I couldn't find any matches for an awkward, online-focused Vita game. What a waste. At least this is done.



Farming Simulator 16

Ahahahaha. Ahahahahaha. Yeah, I tried Farming Simulator 16 and quickly learned that I should never try to farm. I'm pretty sure I broke my equipment and destroyed the farm in record time. It was like Sim City where you call down the disasters just for fun, except there was no fun.



Final Fantasy X HD Remaster

I love Final Fantasy X HD Remaster because of its characters and story, so it's fantastic to have this in portable form. When you add in the international content, this is easily the definitive version of FFX. That said, I couldn't stomach the Thunder Plains another time having already played through this twice before on the PlayStation 2. Replaying games really shows you their flaws, and excessive combat combined with inactive party members not leveling with the rest of the group stood out this time. I still love this game, but it's going to be a while before I'm ready to replay it completely.



Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA f

After all these years I was finally able to see what the Hatsune Miku hype was all about. Turns out Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f is a really well-crafted rhythm game full of music I've never heard before, but got caught up in pretty quickly. Easy mode was simple to master and normal mode ramped things up without going too crazy until the later stages. The mechanics on this one are tight, and there is a ton of variety in terms of songs, costumes, and customization. I'm very glad we got the chance to play Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f in North America, as I really enjoyed it even if I didn't know any of the music.



SteamWorld Dig

I'd heard great things about SteamWorld Dig, so I was thrilled to check it out when it hit Vita. While digging deeper into new areas to gather more jewels and obtain new skills was fun, it just didn't have a good balance between the digging portions and the rest of the game. I enjoyed working my way through the inner caverns and solving those puzzles, but the tedium kicked in pretty quick when I had to go back to smashing blocks to go further down the main area. Since initially playing this, I've since played and finished both SteamWorld Heist and SteamWorld Dig 2. Both of these games are personal favorites, so I would love to return and finish the original, but it just gets harder to play, especially after playing the masterpiece that is Dig 2.



Deception IV: Blood Ties

I thought the idea of setting traps and luring foes into them would be fun, but Deception IV: Blood Ties proved me wrong. Technically, the concept still could be really fun, but this game's controls, pacing, and structure were too much of a frustration to be enjoyable. I played through a couple stages, got stuck, and bailed. It might get better further in, but it would have to become a completely different game for me to enjoy this I'm afraid.



Surge Deluxe

Surge Deluxe is very likely to appeal to fans of games like Tetris or Dr. Mario, as it's well designed, colorful, and fun to pick up and play. I'm not personally someone who plays this type of game for any length of time, but I could recognize how this could get addictive to those who do. I did play quite a few sessions and enjoyed what I experienced.



Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition

Hmm...another Dynasty Warriors game? Could this game really be as bad as the others? Oh, who are these characters? Man, this setting sure is unappealing, but maybe the action will be fun this time. These are all about the action, right? Well, that's a couple hundred enemies down, is this stage over yet? Yes? Good. Wonder what the next stage will bring? Oh joy, more swarms of enemies. I think I know how to get rid of these. *deletes Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition*




Despite today's high number of games covered, the total remaining To Plays has gone up. For one reason, a lot of these games had already been played, but I'm still posting them as I'd like to eventually cover everything I own on Vita. On top of that, I did receive quite a few new games, so that added to the total. Nothing wrong with more content, wouldn't you agree?

Today's To Plays: 17
Current Remaining To Plays: 48