Monday, December 31, 2012

The Unfinished Swan: balloons

Most balloons have colour to them, but some are white and so are easy to miss.  I've not missed any yet.

I've now completed the second chapter.  Again, read no further if you want to experience it yourself.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Flower: completed!

The tower was indeed the key to the sixth level, and indeed the whole game.  Winding up through the city, lightening the buildings and swings, I entered the mass of girders and destroyed as many as I could as I was blown ever upwards.  There were few flowers inside the structure, but as I reached the top I had a huge number of petals following me.  The tower fell, and a tree grew.  End of game.

I've found three hidden flowers on the first level, and one one every other level.  I'll be back to play this again.

Flower: purple and pink

By level five, it's getting a bit fraught.  The flowers and the wind do have an enemy, it seems, in the shape of electricity pylons.  Getting too close to these sets fire to accompanying petals, and smoke trails follow the wind for a while.  The pylons seem to be broken and falling, but at the same time they're a menace to the world.  Chiming with blue flowers at the base of pylons turns them from black and rusting to silver, but they remain no less broken.

By the end of the fifth level, this had turned from being a happy and cheery game, to being dark and depressing.  The flower given for finishing the level is wilted and dying.  I almost didn't carry on to the sixth level, but I'm glad I did.  The petal and wind are stronger here, and can break through the pylons - something I found by chance after trying to avoid them for ages.  Destroying pylons brings colour back to the world, and I find myself in an overgrown city with repairing buildings and roads.  The centre of the city seems to be a huge tower of pylons, and maybe that holds the key to getting past this level.

But I've been stuck on the road system for six minutes, trying to make sure I'm colouring the whole city, and I've not got there yet.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Limbo: into the haze

I now own Limbo on three formats: Mac, Xbox 360, and PS3.  I've only even played it to the first encounter with a big spider, which I found to be intensely annoying since I died jumping over the bear traps over and over again.

On the 360, I seem to have a little more control.  Certainly I was able to get past the spider not just once but a number of times (including being caught in its web, urgh), and have found some people who seem to want me dead.  I've been killed many times but have progressed a lot further than I ever did before.  Recent progress has been down into caves where it's even darker than normal, and everything is hazy.  I'm a bit claustrophobic.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Unfinished Swan: feet

The Unfinished Swan is an experimental game, in a number of ways.  It's an experiment on the part of the developer, who have included a number of different gameplay mechanics from the first level onwards.  It's an experiment in terms of playing it - it requires the player to try and work out controls and where they are, with no instructions other than a brief story.  It's an experiment on the part of Sony, who are increasing the exposure of more artistic games such as this and Journey.

Warning: if you want to play this game yourself (and I recommend you do) I recommend reading no further.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Super Mario Galaxy: lost

Arriving at the hub world, I was given five lives by a toadstool who shuffled over, breaking the cobwebs that had bound him. Peach had sent me a letter, despite being in captivity. I'm sure she's thinking that she'll never escape.

Rosalina asked me if I wanted to go to the special place. There was a sense of longing in her voice, as she pointed out I now had enough stars to go and rescue the princess. Longing and perhaps disbelief, that the hero had returned after all these years to complete the job that he had left unfinished.

But no. I spent a few minutes reacquainting myself with the space station, and found a chubby star thing (what are they called? Lumia? Or is that a Nokia phone?) who showed me a map. Where can I go to get new stars? It's not entirely clear. But there's a new galaxy in the engine room.

It took a while to find the engine room. Despite years of neglect, the robot inside was still whirring away, carving his trails into the mountains of dust. I jumped to the central star, and found that as well as the new galaxy, I had only collected one star from the toy-themed one. I elected to go there.

Mario meets Mario. The last part of the stage was a Mario-shaped floor with disappearing tiles. In order to get there, I had to navigate a complicated shape collecting jump star pieces, which took a while given the fact I couldn't remember how to ground pound. I was expecting the screw mechanism encountered half-way through to have rusted up, but someone's been keeping it oiled.

Onto the Mario floor, and I died several times as the yellow tiles flipped over and left me with nothing to jump from. Luckily there was a 1-up near the start. I had to collect five silver stars, which then became a gold star and was positioned at the start of the Mario floor. Unfortunately, I'd stepped on the tiles around that and they'd disappeared. Fortunately Mario has a long jump.

So I collected one more star. After I saved, as I turned the console off, I'm sure I heard a whisper. No, I won't forget, I'll be back.