Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Vita To Plays - Volume 3

Greetings, #TeamHandheld. Welcome back to Volume 3. There are a few great games here this time that I really enjoyed, but also a lot of stinkers stretching all the way back to the launch of the Vita. Let's start off with the good.


Vita To Plays - Volume 3

Devious Dungeon

Devious Dungeon is super addictive. It takes everything that I hate about Roguelike games and tosses it out. You progress through stages that have random layouts, but you never ever lose momentum. You keep all your gold and experience points when you die. You're simply booted back to the starting area where you can buy new gear and quickly get back into the dungeon. Checkpoints are available every three or four levels, so you never get kicked back too far. Controls may be a little stiff, but it's a pretty catchy game that I found myself continuing to want to play over and over, even more than I did something like Rogue Legacy. I even finished Devious Dungeon and got the platinum without even expecting it. It was over before I was ready for it to be, which is a rare feat for a game these days.



Reverie


Reverie is a short and sweet Zelda-style game that really nails the pacing and combat of that type of 2D action adventure title. The world is tightly designed, dungeons are mostly challenging without being annoying (though one dungeon did have a couple of irritating puzzles, but I figured them out). There's not a huge progression curve, as the game is fairly brief, but it's a great experience and a solid take on the genre. I'd love to see more in this style.



Bit.Trip Presents...Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien


Playing Runner2 is about as tiring as saying Bit.Trip Presents...Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien every time you mention the game. During my hour or so playing through the first world, I couldn't put it down. I'm far from being a fan of runners, but this game is so well-designed that I kept at it. I was constantly challenged, yet it was always fair. By the end of my play session, I was drained. It keeps you on edge and never lets up. There's nothing wrong with Runner2 other than needing to space out my game time playing it so that it didn't beat me to death.



League of Evil


League of Evil is a very straightforward action game. You jump, slide, dodge enemies and bullets, avoid traps, try to collect briefcases, and smash the heads of evil scientists. Each stage gets a little harder, and that's about it. Not too deep, but somewhat catchy.



InkSplosion


InkSplosion is a super colorful, crazy twin stick shooter. It's often hard to tell what's going on, but you get different types of guns for each stage. Sometimes you get a shotgun, others a long range gun, etc. Stages are a single screen, and the point seems to be to top your prior high score and move on. It is very cute and colorful, but is a tad too chaotic for me.



Coconut Dodge Revitalised


I'm a FuturLab fan, and Coconut Dodge Revitalized seems like a fun little game, but it just doesn't do much for me. It's pretty cool moving a crab back and forth to collect gems and avoid coconuts, but that's about it.



Doki-Doki Universe


Doki-Doki Universe seems like a game that could have been a robust thing, as players can travel around to other planets and visit the world of PSN friends to answer personality questions. The concept is interesting, but it just doesn't pull it off with enough content to make it worth sticking around for as it's mostly the same questions and interactions over and over with no purpose.



Germinator


This is one of the most awkward and annoying puzzle games I've played. Even the tutorials are tedious and had me starting over and over because I didn't do the one specific thing required, and the game was never clear what that was supposed to be. Germinator is a huge swing and a miss.



Ninja Senki DX


Ninja Senki DX is a pretty simple, yet challenging platformer. You play as a ninja with a throwing star and a double jump. There's nothing too exciting here, and the concept is nothing new. Not a bad game, but it was a quick pass.



Pinball Arcade


I cannot get into Pinball Arcade, but it seems like a decent enough title. Like other pinball games I've tried, it seems solid, but I just don't seem to have the knack for them. I'll stick with Zen for now.



Terraria


World building games like Minecraft never have held much interest for me, so Terraria had an uphill battle here. There's just not much appealing to me about building a world from scratch for no good purpose. That's especially true after finding such a solid experience in something like Dragon Quest Builders, which really does give you a reason to do so. Terraria might be deep, but it also just felt sloppy and unappealing.



Little Deviants


Lots of early Vita titles wanted to try something different to show off the features of the system, but in the end just showed how pointless a lot of those features were. Little Deviants does just that, as it's a mini-game collection that starts you off in an augmented reality setting where you move the Vita around aiming to shoot down ships flying around the room. It's a shame that so much effort went into this game for no good reason.



Reality Fighters


I spent about ten minutes just trying to get Reality Fighters to take my picture, because I couldn't even start playing the game until I made it through this process. What a ridiculous thing to force if it's not going to work properly. No wonder this game didn't do well. When I finally got to play, it was so awful that I wish I hadn't bothered. The fighting mechanics were sluggish and the animations were a mess. What a piece of junk.



Chronovolt


Chronovolt is boring. You roll around collecting viles and trying to beat a specific time per stage in order to unlock enough stars to progress to the next level. You can freeze objects and rewind time, but it's not fun. Boring.



TorqueL


TorqueL seems like a very clinical version of Thomas Was Alone. Instead of dealing with cool shapes with unique personalities, you get a puzzle game where you have to maneuver around a sterile stage, avoiding traps, and using different buttons to move and extend your square around. I found the controls tiresome and ended up not feeling like fiddling with it much beyond the first few stages.



Furmins


This game is just dull. Furmins has you setting up a stage, hitting go, and watching to see if you lined things up right in order to roll and collect the titular Furmins into a basket. I couldn't delete this game fast enough.



I've made good progress, I still have 31 RPGs and 7 visual novels on deck. That's going to take a while, but I'm going to make it.

Today's To Plays: 16
Current Remaining To Plays: 52

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Vita To Plays - Volume 2

Greetings, #TeamHandheld. I'm back with volume 2. As I head into this crazy week of being treated for a brain tumor, I figured what better way to distract myself than by playing and writing about all these Vita games. Well, here's my thoughts on one great game (Cosmic Star Heroine) and nineteen others.


Vita To Plays - Volume 2

Cosmic Star Heroine


I've been waiting for Cosmic Star Heroine to hit Vita for a while now. Even though I backed it on Kickstarter and received a PS4 code last year, I supported it because I wanted it on Vita so I patiently waited to play it there. I have to say that it was definitely worth the wait. With a large cast and a four character party system, it does so much that I enjoy in an RPG. There are times when you are focused on using specific characters and also times when you have total freedom of party choice. It balances the best of both worlds in this case, though I sort of wish I'd gotten more focused time with the cast. The story is well paced, skills unlock at regular intervals, new characters are introduced at a brisk, yet perfectly extended pace as well, so you are not overloaded from the start. Combat was fun throughout, and when I finished the story, I was happy to go back and collect all the trophies I had missed to get the platinum. It might have taken a while to hit Vita, but it was worth the wait and I'm thrilled to be able to play it on the go.




Berserk and the Band of the Hawk


Berserk and the Band of the Hawk didn't start me off with high expectations after all of the other Omega Force failures I've had this lately, but imagine my surprise when this one actually gets to the point fast and had me wanting to play more. While I am not familiar with the source material, the dark tone fits the creepy, slow combat well and the spooky characters and unsettling narrative made me stick around longer than normal. I don't think this one will take me the distance, but I was more impressed with Berserk than anything else similar to it so far.



Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds


I've been collecting quite a stack of visual novels/otome games, so I figured I'd finally give one a shot. Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds was already downloaded, so I fired it up. It has a very interesting start, which is nice, because it didn't beat around the bush with a lot of filler in the prologue. I'm curious about it enough to stick around for more, but we'll have to see if the pace keeps up as I jump between a lot of games.




Attack on Titan


Well, I just couldn't get a break Omega Force titles, but at least I am getting through them quickly. Attack on Titan brings about a twist by having players be able to jump around and swing at enemies instead of just the standard bum rush. That said, wow is the swing and attack awkward to pull off reliably. Even during the training sections I felt like I was just blindly flying around accomplishing nothing. Sorry, but this one is another hard pass.




Azkend 2: The World Beneath


What the heck is Azkend 2? I was asking myself the same thing when I downloaded it. Turns out that it's a match-three puzzle game with an adventure game overlay. While I don't have much time or interest in this style of game right now, it seemed decent enough, though parts of the adventure side were a little directionless.




BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma EXTEND


I have no idea how many BlazBlue games there are, but I feel like I've tried all of them on Vita. These 2D fighters are pretty, but I just can't get into them. Sadly, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma EXTEND hasn't broken that trend.




Broken Sword 5 The Serpent's Curse Episode 2


While it's not fair to judge Broken Sword 5 The Serpent's Curse Episode 2 without having finished Episode 1, I'm pretty sure that I'm never going to play the first so I might as well get this off my plate. The story in the original started off slow, so diving right in here with a tad more context might have actually been fine. The UI is a little awkward, but once I adjusted to it things started going smoothly. Oddly, I now am somewhat curious about going back to see how long it would take to get through both.




Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires


Oh Warriors games, we both know better by now. Why do we even bother with each other? Not only is Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires full of hack and slash combat that doesn't hold my interest, but there's also a lot of story and strategy that holds no appeal for me. At least this was over quickly.




Escape Plan


Escape Plan is solid enough for a puzzle game, but has done nothing to hold my interest. It's just another ordinary puzzler in a sea of puzzle games. Oh, and it uses the Vita back touch, which is always a turn off.




Flower


Flower is a beautiful, peaceful game. I've already played and enjoyed it on PS3, but it looks just as lovely on Vita. The controls are a little bit awkward here, but I hate motion controls on portables and the movements do work better on a controller.




Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved


After hearing about Geometry Wars for years, I was finally able to get some time with a game in the series. Yes, I know Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is from a completely different developer than the originals, I still had to download it and try it out. And guess what? It feels like a twin stick shooter. Nothing special, but this is also not my genre.




King Oddball


King Oddball feels like a game I'd play on a kiosk at a Chili's. You get three stones to swing at and hit vehicles sitting on different platforms per stage. It's kind of catchy like a free download on mobile (which it might have been), but I'll probably move on...after one more round.




Kung Fu Rabbit


Kung Fu Rabbit seems like a decent, though extremely basic platformer. You jump, collect carrots, avoid black gunk, and eventually attack enemies from behind. Not seeing the appeal of this one at all, sadly.




Lemmings Touch


I've always been curious about the Lemmings series, having followed it for years, but Lemmings Touch is my first hands-on with it. While I can see the puzzle appeal, it is just not my thing. I don't have enough patience to really give this enough time to make a solid judgment call on quality, it just wasn't for me.




ModNation Racers: Road Trip


ModNation Racers: Road Trip feels like what you get when you try to mix Mario Kart and LittleBigPlanet, but you leave out the charm and fun characters. Controls are sluggish, it feels slow, and is just boring. Pass.




Samurai Warriors 4


Oops, here we go again. At least this one gets to the action a lot quicker, but I still struggle to care. Sorry, Samurai Warriors 4.




Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3


Oh, check this out. Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 lets me start off by creating my own character. That's pretty cool, but why does she looks so much worse in action than in the character creator? Oh who cares? I'm already back to the boring hack and slash, even though I was able to speed through the boring dialog sections. It was sort of cool to get dialog options, but they didn't really mean enough for me to care. Please no more Warriors games.




Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time


Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is pretty interesting, but I am not too keen on the stealth aspect it focuses on. The controls on Vita don't feel precise enough to make this feel comfortable to play. It's nice to see something this meaty on the system, though.




Super Star Wars


Super Star Wars appears to be a faithful re-release of the original SNES game based on A New Hope. You start off as Luke shooting creatures in the desert and then move onto flying around attacking jawas. Though it plays well, it still has the SNES trappings like limited lives. It was fun for a few stages, but I'm not in the mood to go backwards like this right now.




Type:Rider


Have you ever wanted to play Limbo, but replace the creepy kid and brutal deaths with lessons about fonts? If so, then Type:Rider is the game for you. It's super simple and totally steals the Limbo vibe, but it works...if that's what you are looking for.



That's all for now. I've got a lot left to get through, so maybe next time I can plow through tons of the Atelier games. A little with each should be enough.

Today's To Plays: 20
Current Remaining To Plays: 66