Monday, April 29, 2013

New Super Mario Bros U: choosing a route

Nintendo fixed my Wii U in a very efficient manner indeed, although unfortunately the game saves weren't carried across so I'll have to restart collecting ornaments in Nintendo Land at some point.

For now, however, I've started to play through NSMBU, even though I've not yet completed the Wii game.  I'm not sure why I stopped playing NSMBW, but it seemed a bit too much hassle to actually start it up, and I think I was bizarrely put off by the fact that I found a warp from one of the towers to the start of world six.  I was finding the game pretty tough as it was, and so being catapulted through the game like that was a bit too intimidating, and I also felt like I was missing out.  I tried to travel back to world four, and then had difficulty in the tower level getting to the proper exit.

I'm sure I'll go back to it at some point.  It was jut a bit tough at times, and felt like there was too much content for me to actually get a grip on giving the limited time I get in front of the TV.

Perversely, NSMBU has more content, has a more varied and labyrinthine map, and at times is a little tougher (but generally seems a little easier), but I find that I can easily understand where I'm going and how much of the game is left to do.  Because of this I've played it a lot more; I've now defeated the boss in three worlds (Acorn Plains, Layer-Cake Desert, Sparkling Waters) and have half-completed two other levels (Soda Jungle and Frosted Glacier).  I found it a bit annoying having to choose a path after Layer-Cake Desert, but at least I knew I could go back at any time.

The game, as with all the NSMB games, is really well designed and playable.  Something that's new here and works well is the Miiverse integration.  You can see messages from other players before and after a level, and if you die then you also see things posted by other players who died at the same point.  It turns a single-player game into a social experience, even if half the messages are from people you've never met!

The other benefit of Miiverse, and its new webportal, is that getting screenshots is much easier than it used to be!  I just need to be a bit quicker in pressing the home button ...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Super Hexagon: ADD

Attention Deficit Disorder sufferers are likely to really appreciate Super Hexagon. It's a simple game where you have to steer your market around a central hexagon, avoiding the walls coming inwards. It's made more tricky by the speed, the fact that the entire playing field is rotating and skewing, and the music is pretty heavy.

I've managed to last just over 35 seconds on the easiest setting (called 'hard') which is the best of any of my friends on Game Center. I feel as if I'm improving all the time, and as the games only last half a minute each it's a game I'll come back to often.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Gunman Clive: Completed!

It didn't get dull; each level introduced new ideas, and then it finished.  The last levels were set in space, with changing gravity and directions.  The last boss took a couple of attempts to kill.  And then "duck mode" opened.  If you want to find out about duck mode yourself, read no further ...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gunman Clive: pew pew

When asked to name a cowboy, I'd probably go for Hank, Clint, or Joe.  You'd have to get pretty far down the list before you got to 'Clive'.

Gunman Clive is a charming 2D platform shooter, with the graphics looking as if they've been pencil drawn although they're actually 3D models.  The gameplay is pretty simple, jumping and shooting in straight lines, which is particularly annoying when your character can only shoot horizontally but enemies can shoot diagonally.  At times there's a puzzle aspect, working out how to get to a location you can shoot from without being killed.

I've completed the first set of five levels and killed the first boss.  I hope there are new ideas introduced in the next levels; while the game is fun it is in danger of getting a little repetitive.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Portal 2: in the depths

Portal is one of my favourite games ever. I've completed it at least four times now on various platforms. It's full of humour, clever design, and is sufficiently short.

I was worried about the sequel bring expanded to a full game, with the ideas stretched too thin. To a slight extent this has happened - but mainly to the story, which is a little weak at times. The way the game is separated into sections works well to break up progress, and I've just finished the set of levels introducing the repulsion gel. The weakest part of the gameplay is in a few of the between-chamber sections which rely on you spotting a wall in the distance where you can throw a portal.

The story hints that I'm closing in on the end now, but I've heard great things about the co-operative mode ... I just need to find a companion!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bulletstorm: I'm not a git, unfortunately

Bulletstorm is a big-budget first person shooter which, in the time I've played it, follows the standard formula pretty closely.  Its big innovation is that instead of a melee button you have a kick button, which sends enemies flying off in slow motion so you can shoot them more while they fall; you also have a leash that you can use to pull enemies towards you or throw them around.  You get different amounts of upgrade points for different enemy deaths, meaning that you are meant to think about how to vary your killing; in reality it's easy to simply use the leash over and over again and not worry about upgrades.

It wouldn't be a classic FPS without the lead character being moody and a bastard, of course.  Grayson has an awful personality, unable to admit his mistakes, revelling in killing the inhabitants of a planet he's crashed onto, looking for revenge because he was once tricked into killing some other people thinking they were evil.  Why they needed to be killed and not arrested, I have no idea.  The dialogue's at the twelve-year-old-mentality level, jokes about other character's mothers and other such crap.

As such, I can't really be bothered to continue playing it.  The game itself is reasonably fun, but it's wrapped up in something massively unappealing and I just don't relate to the character I'm playing as at all.  Films can get away as having a bastard as the main character, because you're not expected to carry out their actions.  Games don't have that luxury.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Forza Horizon: finding my way

I've never been excited by the previous Forza games, which is largely driven by the complexity they model and the feeling that unless you have an hour to spend tinkering with your car before each race you're not going to do very well. This is one of the reasons I've largely ignored the Gran Turismo series ever since playing around with it via bleemcast.  I just want to get in a car and race.

Forza Horizon allows you to do that, though there are loads of cars to choose between and there's the possibility of upgrading them with parts as well.  I've not done that, I've just bought a few new cars and raced those.  I've explored a lot of the world in free drive mode, have challenged a fair few of the other competitors (but only those driving crappy cars), and have participated in a number of the event races (and a couple of street races).  I've nearly gained the blue wristband which will open up even more content.

It's an excellent game.  It's an iteration of what's gone before, but it pulls things together excellently.  It has the free roam of Test Drive Unlimited, linked to the social gaming nature of Geometry Wars (constant updates of what friends are up to), with collection and exploration of Crackdown.  And an excellent driving engine underpinning it.

And it cost me £15.