Friday, February 28, 2014

Surgeon Simulator 2013: it's completely impossible!

I believe it's supposed to be impossible to control, but I was surprised just how difficult it is.  It's not helped with my fingers constantly getting caught under ribs and in the bars of the table.

I have completely failed to get anywhere in this.  I just about managed to break open the rib cage in order to get to the heart, and managed to pull out a lung, but that quickly fell on the floor alongside the hammer and scalpels, and I managed to stab myself with one of the syringes meaning that my vision went all woozy.

The second time I played it I did a little better, until I accidentally cut the patient's windpipe.

I can't see me ever getting off the first stage of this.  However, I did somehow manage to get the video into the VCR on the receptionist's desk, and so was able to attempt an extreme heart transplant on the heavy from Team Fortress 2.  No windpipe made this a bit easier.

Not much easier, though, and then my hand got stuck in the table and I couldn't wiggle it out.

I don't think I'm cut out to be a surgeon.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A World of Keflings: do it yourself

I got this free from Microsoft last year and hadn't heard too much about it, so didn't bother trying it.  If I'd known that it was a real-time strategy game which was broadly similar to Populous: the Beginning, I may have paid more attention.  Yes, there are many differences - directly controlling the main character, having to craft parts to build new buildings, no enemy tribes - but I got the same vibe.

And, like Populous, the game makes hours disappear.  I quickly completed the first chapter, set in the frozen lands, and met the king without a castle.  I built many new buildings and set many keflings on tasks to collect raw materials and transport them between workshops.  I travelled back to the ice kingdom, and built a palace.

I travelled back to the main kingdom, and decided that I ought to call it a night.  I have a feeling that the game won't last me too long, unfortunately ...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Picross e2: ah, that's what it is

There's far too much I want to write about, but I have very little time in which to do so.

I want to post about From Dust, which I played the demo of years ago and loved, and then a couple of nights ago I played the full game after buying it in a sale and found it rather pedestrian (though I didn't play it for long enough, I suspect).

I want to post about Super Mario Bros Deluxe, which I got free for registering a NNID on the 3DS.  I can't believe I fully completed this on the GBC; the viewing distance is awful and requires many leaps of faith.

I want to post about Frobisher Says, which is an amazing Wario Ware type game on the PSV Vita.  I will post about that one day.

I want to post about Everybody's Golf, which has been consuming my commutes.

I want to post about Ecolibrium, which is similar to Little Deviants in that it doesn't allow you to play a portable system while travelling.  About ten minutes into the game, it requires you to turn the console around 180° to look behind you.  When sitting on the train, that's not happening.  I've not turned it on since.

I could take some time on my commute to post about these, of course, but unfortunately I realised I've not completed Picross e2 yet, and so am working on that.  Some of the resulting pictures are pretty tenuous, to say the least.  I manage to complete around five puzzles a day, so it probably won't last me that long ... but then there's Picross e3 ...

Friday, February 21, 2014

To the Moon: completed!

The end of the game was a bit weak, I feel.  The section showing John meeting River for the first time, away from school, was touching, with it explaining many of the links throughout the games.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

To the Moon: confusing

A real roller coaster of emotions, answering more questions and causing more confusion.  This is starting to get into the region of proper spoilers now, so I'm going to hide the rest of this post.  If you want to experience this for yourself, don't read on.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Wii Fit U: unexpectedly good news

Installing Wii Fit U, the game found my old Wii Fit save historic and imported my historic data.  It only imported one score (the top one) for each of the minigames, but that's better than nothing.

On my first try, back in November, it told me that I had a Wii Fit age of 29.  Since then I've played the game from time to time, and it's hovered around 25.  This is very good news, given that I'm 36.  Even better news is that according to the historic data, I'm now at my lowest weight since 2008.

This surprises me, particularly since I ran the London Marathon in 2008.  I would be the first to admit that I've let myself go a little since then.  Still, as long as I ignore the idea that it might be caused by the balance board being used on carpet now, when it was previously on a wooden floor, it means I can eat more chocolate.  Hoorah.

The introduction of the Wii Fit Meter changes things considerably.  I wore the pedometer for Walk With Me for months, eventually stopping simply because it was too much hassle having to constantly find the game cart and put it in my DS.  With this, the game is always on the Wii U and it takes about five minutes to download the data from the device, as well as do the fitness test.

So I get to see how many calories I've burnt off from simply walking.  It's not that many.

In fairness, this wasn't taking into account the fact that I took Nicholas swimming for thirty minutes (the WFM's not waterproof), but going by this I should be ballooning.

Time to burn some calories doing games, then.  The ski jump is as good as it's always been, though I'm nowhere near my old best scores.  I need to be going at least 60mph by the bottom of the ramp.

The second screen's used really well in many of these games - but I do need to find my stand, since it's not ideal with it being balanced in front of the TV.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

To the Moon: upsetting

Man, this is really quite a difficult game.  Not because of the gameplay, but because of the story.  As you go further back, it's clear why River experienced problems in later life, why John has been left with so much trouble in his mind.  The meaning of the paper rabbits has just been revealed; I've just seen John and River get married, with River saying that nothing felt different and John saying the difference was responsibility.  Did he know of River's condition at that point?

It's a beautiful game.  I was welling up as they danced at the top of the lighthouse, after (or, rather, before) naming it.  The cynicism of the researchers seemed ill-placed that point.

And my first bug ... pretty sure they shouldn't be standing in mid-air ...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

To the Moon: affecting

It's hardly the most stunning of games from a technical point of view.  I've encountered no bugs, but the slow text and stuttery animation are initially difficult to get past.  The graphics, while basic, are atmospheric, and at times feel rather foreboding.  And the story ...

You start the game arriving at a house where two kids are playing the piano.  It's a really lovely tune, and variants of it continue throughout the game.  You learn why it is you're there - to go back in time (or, at least, back in time in the memories of the client) and change things to ensure that your client gets to visit the moon (again, in his memories).

The script is well written and funny at times, and while at the start there are lots of little details that are easily overlooked, these tend to be expanded on later.

I've taken quite a few steps back in time now, but according to the timeline I'm still only a fifth of the way through the game.  The story is already getting to affect me though, as I know how things turn out when I learn about promises made, news being shared, and  feelings exposed.

You see, ordinarily that last screen would be a massive spoiler, but you know she dies from the very start of the game - in fact, at the start she's already dead, but you go back in time to find her.  That's where the spoilers lie.

I'll continue this sometime soon.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Stacking: completed!

Woah, where did that come from?  Nothing about the game at all, then suddenly completed?

Stacking is sort of an evolution of the point-and-click adventure game, except rather than using objects you find in the world, you use the individual abilities of the characters you meet instead.  You do this by stacking inside them - you play as Charlie, the smallest Russian doll in the world, and the other Russian dolls are of varying sizes.  To control a doll of size 3, you need to first stack into a doll of size 2.  You directly control Charlie (or the doll which Charlie is inside), and at times this was a little imprecise, with at least one instance of the doll getting stuck on scenery.

That was a minor annoyance though, and the game has plenty of charm to overcome it.  Presentationally, it's well thought out, set in the 1930s with a silent movie art deco feel to it.  It's very clever, as well, as most of the puzzles have multiple solutions, and you only require one to continue through the story.  On the first level I did just this, but by the time I was running around a Zeppelin, I was intrigued as to how to solve each puzzle in as many ways possible.

Not only that, but there are additional challenges and special characters to collect and amusing things to do.  I'm not one for repeating things over and over again, but this game was amusing, charming and (maybe most importantly) short, and I found myself at the end of a few hours seeing the ending with the majority of collectibles from levels three and four in the bag.

I still went back to those levels though.  There are some really funny bits of dialogue throughout the game, and some of the animations on dolls is ingenious.  The Widow Chastity manages to sway her hips, even though she doesn't have any hips.

Other dolls have their own personality.

So enamoured was I with the game, that I immediately went back to the first levels and found all the collectibles there as well.  I completed the game by wrapping five dolls in bandages aboard the ocean liner, which seems a fitting end.

There's some additional content available for about £3.50 (causing the locked achievements above); I may well buy that one day when I'm tired of playing a gritty brown adventure game.