Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1000 Heroz: losing patience

I've not been playing this every day recently.  I've not decided it's rubbish - far from it - but the game itself is conspiring to make sure I can't play it.  When I open the app, it spends an absolute age trying to connect to the server, then half the time it just gives up and says that no connection is available - even when I'm connected to a WiFi network.  If it does manage to connect, then sometimes the score I get on a level isn't uploaded to the leaderboards.  It's just not fun.

I'm not the only one with this issue.  This is a game that people paid for, which is seemingly being left to die by its developers.  The dark side of online gaming.

Friday, January 25, 2013

New Super Mario Bros Wii: excessive lives

I am very pleased with myself.

I'm still finding the game relatively tricky, but I've progressed a bit more.  The main issue, as with all console games, is just finding time to play it.  I've been continuing with around 10 lives, losing some, gaining some, sometimes dropping to just a few left before completing a stage.  It's made some bits pretty stressful.

And then last night I found a way to get infinite lives.  If you can kill a number of enemies in a row through a continuous action, then you get a lot of points - 200 for the first enemy, 400 for the second, and so on - and eventually you start to get an extra life for each enemy.  This action could be jumping from enemy to enemy without touching the ground, sliding down a slope, or hitting enemies with a thrown shell.

On world 2-5, I found an area in which Lakitu is dropping spiky enemies over and over. I was able to jump on a yoshi just before this section.  Yoshi ate one of the spiky enemies, spat it out, and it bounced between two blocks on the ground.  As long as I avoided Lakitu's thrown enemies, they would land on the ground and be killed by the bouncing shell.  After a while, each one that landed and was killed gave me an extra life.

Avoiding the shells thrown by Lakitu wasn't always easy, but I died the first time after getting 10 more lives; the second time after 20 more, and then the third time the counter went up to 99, which seems to be the maximum.  I recorded this on my video capture box, so may well upload the video at some point.

Of course, on searching I found a number of videos of people who had already done this.   But I found it myself, which is why I'm feeling so smug.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Super Mario Bros 2: lots of coins and lives

I have now collected over 10,000 coins - still some way to go to make a million - and have 92 lives.  The last couple of stages (I think 5-2 and 5-3) have been very easy indeed, and I've been able to collect a large number of lives just playing through them normally.  There was one section with numerous bullet bills where I was able to collect six or seven lives just bouncing on enemies in sequence.

That's not to say this is a bad thing.  Because it's easier, I'm being more reckless than I was in the Wii game, and a few deaths have come from trying to be too flashy or quick.  I've not felt that any deaths were unfair or out of my control - indeed, they've almost all been because I've been trying to be too clever.  That makes the game fun.

I've not found too many secret exits as yet, and have obviously missed the entrances to the other worlds at the bottom of the map.  I've got quite a few of the star coins though - normally two or three per level of the three available - and I can see that I'll be trying to get all those at some point in the future.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Super Mario Bros Wii: excessive difficulty

I've had this on the shelf for over a year and never played it. The brilliance of New Super Mario Bros 2 has encouraged me to play it.

I may have lost a few lives in the 3DS game, but that is much easier than this. I was struggling for ages to get past the end of the first world, in fact, but after a while I realised that my video capture box was on the post-processing setting which adds a slight lag to controls, and so I wasn't able to react quickly enough.

Even with that corrected, I'm still not breezing through the game. The sand world with its collapsing platforms and annoying wind has caused a fair few deaths already, and I'm only up to 2-6. I've not quite got the hang of the propeller hat, and the shake-to-activate is frustratingly imprecise.

Despite these criticisms, it's still a great game; it's well designed and looks lovely. There are some great touches, such as the way the enemies dance to the music. The encouragement to play levels again through hidden giant coins and captured toads is hardly needed - this isn't a game I'm rushing through.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Who doesn't like me?

According to my Xbox 360's blog, my reputation fell last week.  This means that someone who I was playing against marked me as someone he'd prefer not to play against in the future.

The only game I'd played multiplayer during that time was Peggle.  I won a couple of games of that, once with a very skillful (read: flukey) shot that got me 80,000 points in one go.  I feel there must be a sore loser around.


New Super Mario Bros 2: ker-ching

I completed New Super Mario Bros almost six years ago.  At the time, I knew there were bits of the game I hadn't found, but I had at least unlocked all the worlds and played through all the levels.  I hadn't found all the large coins.  I thought I might go back and complete more at a later date.

I didn't.  I have a feeling the same will apply to the sequel, which seems to be more of the same although more inventive with different types of level, puzzles to get to different routes, and a clever overall mechanic of collecting lots of coins.  There's a meta-task of collecting a million coins, which the game tries to assist with through the provision of coin fountains, golden leaves meaning that enemies create coin trails, golden fireballs turning blocks to coins, and so on.  And yet collecting 100 coins still gives you an extra life.

As a result I've over 60 lives now and I'm just starting world 3.  I would have more, but my skills at Mario games seem to have disappeared to some extent since 2007.  Maybe it's because I'm using the analogue stick.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask: Completed!

Completed in which way?

Story: completed.
All story puzzles: completed.
Layton's challenges: completed.
Shop minigame: completed.
Rabbit minigame: completed.
Robot minigame: completed.
Robot extra game: not completed because it's dull and I can't be bothered.

The end game was a bit more exciting than I was expecting, and the controls and story became less of an issue as I continued to play.  In fact, the story was, in the end, probably the best written of any of the Laytons, and although I guessed the identity of the villain early on, there were enough tricks to lead me to doubt myself a few times.  Not least Henry's evasiveness.

I must pull together all the Layton games at some point to open up the hidden doors in them all - and make sure that all the minigames in earlier games are complete, since I can't remember that far back (and my posts on this blog don't really help).

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Walking Dead: get off her!

I don't like zombies.  I'm not a huge fan of horror films in general, but zombies are just disgusting and scary.  The idea of waking up in a world where everyone is walking around eating each other and turning others into zombies is very disturbing indeed.

So why am I playing a game where I'm experiencing just that?  Even more so when you consider this isn't a House of the Dead style blaster, or even a Resident Evil style action game; this is a scripted adventure about survival in a world of zombies with virtually no way of fighting them.  It is at times scary and lonely; at other times it is sad and emotional.

I've now finished the first episode, and while the lack of inversion on the look control is a hindrance there's nothing that's sufficiently action-based to ruin the game.  The storytelling is great, and it's clear that a lot of attention's been paid to the game writing.  There is a sense that actions do matter, with the smokescreen dropping only occasionally.  There was a big decision at the end of the first episode, which I presume affects the story considerably going forward - I saved Carly over Doug, since he seemed a bit hopeless and she's good with a gun.

I got the rest of the episodes for cheap in the Xbox sales, and I'm going to start episode 2 soon.  Maybe when it's daytime though.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Journey: completed!

Journey is the other half of the artistic game bundle I bought on PSN at the end of last year.  With The Unfinished Swan completed, I've spent a bit of time on this during the past week.

It's amazing.  You enter the game controlling an armless figure who can sing, and soon you learn to jump.  The game guides you across the sand dunes, with no instructions other than a clear visual symbol of the mountain in the distance.  You reach stones, you find a door, you learn how to jump further.

You stop reading now if you want to play it yourself.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask: repetition

The fifth game in the Layton series, and it feels like it.  It's a little over-familiar, except the side puzzles aren't as good (the robot and rabbit are annoying, though the shop is a neat puzzle), the controls are more annoying (since you no longer directly touch the background, you instead have to guide a magnifying glass on the 3D screen while touching on the lower screen), and the story is all over the place.  Randall died many years ago, and Layton may or may not have had something to do with it.  Angela was Randall's girlfriend but is now married to Henry who's a bit of an oddball.  Dalston is a bit of an outsider.  A masked man is pulling off "miracles" which are blatantly faked. You jump back and forward in time to see Layton when he was young, and see what happened when they found the mask of chaos.  I don't really care much.

I think some of my ennui is caused by the appalling battery life of the 3DS when this is running.  Normally the system would last a few days in sleep mode, but with this I need to charge it every other day or it runs out of power and loses all my progress.  I've had to redo quite a few puzzles now - including the dull rabbit stuff - just because I forgot to plug the console in.

Still, I think I'm over half way through the game, and most puzzles have fallen at the first attempt (in fact, I think all but two), so I should be able to complete this before getting completely bored of it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013