Friday, May 6, 2016

#TeamHandheld Report - 05/06/2016

Before I dive into this week's #TeamHandheld Report, I just wanted to share some good news. My latest cancer scans came back clean, so that's the best news I could have hoped for in this case. That said, now they want to cut me up and remove my esophagus (esophagectomy) next month. Looks like I might have a fun hospital stay with that, so it's a good thing I have a lot of handheld games to play!

Now Playing

Half-Minute Hero (PSP)

I decided to jump on the retro bandwagon this past week and replay a fantastic, favorite PSP title. Half-Minute Hero reportedly didn't sell very well on PSP, which is a true shame as it's a creative, brilliant title. This title eventually received two other versions, one for XBLA and another on PC, before its sequel was released on Steam. I really wish this would have received more love at retail, as it reviewed very well, so the sequel could have hit PSP in English as well.

If you've yet to play this one, you can get it on PSN right now for $10. No, go do it now; I'll wait. The Hero 30 campaign is the highlight of the game and the biggest section. During this part, you go through over thirty different RPG-like stages where you have only thirty seconds to level up via random encounters, gather money, buy new equipment, and beat the boss. The stages are very puzzle-like, so you'll need to find a trick to finish each stage before time runs out. Thankfully, the Time Goddess is available to reset the timer for you for a modest fee, so you really do have more than just thirty seconds to finish each area. Sometimes this reset is required, as there are events that happen in that change the landscape and need to be undone. There are also hidden paths and items throughout the different areas that can change the course of the game.

These Hero 30 sections are just a delight, and I'm even willing to go back through the game's other modes just to get to the game's final challenge, Hero 300. It's just a longer, more complex version of the standard Hero 30 RPG mode. The other modes aren't bad, but I'm not as big a fan of those as I am the RPG. Evil Lord 30 is a real-time strategy game, Princess 30 is a simplistic shooter, and Knight 30 is an awkward action game. These were removed in the ports and in the sequel, so they were clearly seen as weaker points. They are worth finishing to get to Hero 300, though, so don't let them stop you.

It's a quirky little game, but I'm having such a blast replaying it. Even though this one didn't do well on PSP, it's a shame that the concept was given up on completely for handhelds. It is such a perfect portable experience as it's very addictive, I might have to even break out a laptop to play Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming on Steam, which would be a rarity for me. Or I might just play the PSP import I have instead and try to work my way through the Japanese. Either way, I really want more of this.

-One of the best PSP games-

Sega 3D Classics Collection (3DS)

When I was young, my experience with Sega games was mostly limited to games like Phantasy Star and Shining Force. I played a bit of Sonic and hated it, and my brief encounters with Altered Beast in the arcade were not enjoyable either. Clearly, I was playing the wrong non-RPGs from Sega, because those two are still not for me, but the other games in the Sega 3D Classics Collection are much more interesting. Power Drift, Puyo Puyo, and Fantasy Zone II held my attention more than the rest, but I couldn't help thinking this collection should have included some of the other better Sega 3D releases from 2015 instead.

This package was a nice look at what Sega had to offer back in the day, but for a real classic collection it would have been even better with 3D Out Run, 3D After Burner II, and 3D Streets of Rage at least. These titles were already released individually, but it would have been fantastic to have them all in one place, especially instead of multiple versions of Fantasy Zone II. That aside, I love what Sega's been doing in working with M2 on these and can only hope for more in the future if possible. 3D Shining Force II needs to be a thing and soon.

-Better Sega games than I played when younger-

Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution 2 Plus (Vita)

I know plenty of people who love the Civ simulation games, but I've yet to check one out as I'm just not a PC gamer. Thanks to 2K dropping this one out of nowhere, after months of it being indirectly teased, I was finally able to check out Civilization Revolution 2 Plus for Vita. While it took a while to really get a good idea of what to do and how to best progress, I had a lot of fun with this one. Having never played a Civ game before, the tutorials do a good job of pointing you toward what you should focus on without holding your hand too much. That said I still didn't win, if that's even a thing, but I was ready to go back for more. This port runs really well on Vita, better than 2K's other surprise release XCOM. Civ Rev 2 Plus just feels like a game right at home on a handheld.

-Small, world domination fun-

Upcoming Games

Super Punch-Out!! (3DS VC)

I super love all of these SNES games coming out on the New 3DS, and Super Punch-Out!! just hit out of nowhere. There's no way I can pass up on some of my favorite SNES games, so I've bought Super Metroid, A Link to the Past, and Super Punch-Out!! already and cannot wait for more. Fingers crossed for things like Super Mario RPG and maybe even some Square RPGs.

Murasaki Mist: Akara's Journey (Vita)

This indie action RPG seems to be trying things that I've been curious to see on Vita for a while, so let's see how it holds up.

#TeamHandheld Updates

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