Showing posts from June, 2011

Snap Judgement: Super Scribblenauts

Platform: Nintendo DS Total Play Time: 45 minutes Super Scribblenauts is an advancement from the original Scribblenauts, there's no faulting that.  The control issues have been taken care of and there are more words and modifiers than in the first game.  The overall premise, summoning anything you want out of thin air, remains the same. I have to admit that I laughed when I accidentally put a zombie on a dinosaur and he commanded the dinosaur to kill me.  But besides that chuckle I was mostly bored.  While I love the idea of Super Scribblenauts I just couldn't get into the gameplay.  I saw how it was meant to be fun and how others could find the game fun, but it just didn't click with me.  I was hoping all the improvements would really wow me, but the game hasn't made a giant leap from where it started.  It's probably more of a problem with me than with the game. I will say there's a ton of potential in this game for you if you love words, vocabulary, and

Snap Judgement: Inside a Star-filled Sky

Platform: PC Total Play Time: 20 minutes Inside a Star-filled Sky is full of interesting design decisions.  The core gameplay idea is that while fighting your way through a Shump  you are able to dive into enemies, power-ups, and yourself to change inherent characteristics.  Not only are you diving into all these things but while not inside of objects you're trying to ascend to higher planes of existence.  Needless to say, there's a lot going on here. Unfortunately, these interesting concepts are marred by generic and flawed gameplay.  The twin stick shooter concept works well enough, but it's been done to death by now.  The main problem with this game in particular lies in corridors.  A twin stick shooter needs a decent amount of open space and lots of enemies to be fun.  Inside a Star-filled Sky has few enemies and lots of narrow corridors.  This results in all kinds of cheap deaths and impassible sections because there's no room to dodge.  It's extremely fru

Sunday Reading: Deep Thoughts Edition

I haven't done a link dump post in a while and this week I read a bunch of really interesting posts.  Here they are for your perusal. Kill Ten Rats : Time outweighs the price of entertainment. Elder Game : Fun loops and gameplay loops. Systemic Babble : Complex vs elaborate games. Killed in a Smiling Accident : MMO combat is based too much around the UI. Killed in a Smiling Accident : Concern for the MMO blogging scene. Support the Indie Game documentary by checking out their Kickstarter page and donating!

Snap Judgement: Marvel vs Capcom 3

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The Legendary Legend of Zelda

A remastered 3D Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time was released yesterday and there's been a lot of press coverage since it's widely considered the best Zelda game.  Now I have Zelda on the brain.  By the way, if you're interested in doing a community playthrough of Ocarina of Time, along with forum posts and discussions, you should definitely check out The Brainy Gamer  as he's organizing one this very moment. After reading a  round-table discussion about the creation of OoT (seriously, go read this now if you're a Zelda fan) I have an itch to play a Zelda game.  Since I don't own a 3DS and don't feel like buying one just yet that means I'll have to play something besides the new release. Ocarina of Time is considered the definitive Zelda and most people say A Link to the Past is a close second.  Personally, I found Wind Waker, with it's cel-shaded graphics, to be one of my favorite's and I'm extremely tempted to go back and replay it.

Snap Judgement: Final Fantasy Four Heroes of Light

Platform: Nintendo DS Total Play Time: 40 minutes My first thought on booting up the game, "These graphics are ick."  I would rather have beautiful high-res 2D graphics than these blurry/muddy 3D graphics.  What a bad first impression. After that initial letdown I realized the stylus was bugging me.  It created a feeling of disconnection from the game.  I'm so used to touching a screen with my finger on my ipod touch that the DS stylus feels awkward,  especially after just completing FFI entirely on the ipod touch. There is absolutely no tutorial in Four Heroes of Light and I immediately felt lost.  I got to the first cave, at which point they told me I had to go back to town to buy a torch, but I got back to town and had no money so I wasn't able to buy a torch.  I figured it out eventually but it still would have been nice for some straight up explanation of what was going on. The playthrough wasn't going well and then I decided to save.  I quickly disc

Snap Judgements

With my Gamefly subscription in full swing I've decided to start a series of Snap Judgement posts.  I'm going to be trying out games and treating them almost like a demo, but I'll give them a little extra time and effort. My only rule is that I'll give a game a minimum of 15 minutes.  If a game can't hold my attention in the first 15 minutes then I'm done with it.  With every game I drop, I  will  let you know how long I played that game before setting it aside.  But, if I like a game, I may very well end up playing it to completion. Expect to see a handful of these posts over the summer.

Abandoned Games

We've all done it.  We start a game with dreams in our heart only to find it lackluster as we play.  One day we just stop playing and then never really find our way back to it.  I know it's happened to me and I know it's happened to you. For some reason at some point you have abandoned a game without getting your money's worth. This year I dropped Red Dead Redemption and Dragon Age II without completing them.  I try to be good about only buying games that I'm going to play to completion, but it's not always possible to know in advance how much I'm going to like a game.  That's one of the reasons I save up my "maybe" games throughout the year and then try them out with my Gamefly subscription in the summer.  I really don't want to invest $60 in a game that I won't get the most out of. I don't feel as bad when I buy a cheaper game and stop playing them part way through.  That's probably why I'm trending towards downloa

Final Fantasy I Post Mortem

After months of chipping away at it, I've completed Final Fantasy I.  It had it's ups and downs but I must say it has provided me with hours of entertainment.  You have to admit, months of entertainment for $9 is a steal.  My completion time was right around 18 hours, but it was broken up into chunks of 5-10 minutes which is why it lasted so long.  I think the longest play session I did was around 30 minutes and that only happened once.  As always, my initial impressions still stand but I had a few other thoughts along the way too. The main thing I liked about this game was the chance to look back at the foundation of modern RPGs.  Final Fantasy basically defined the shape of the JRPG genre and many of the conventions set forth in this game can still be seen in RPGs today. The whole game was fun back-to-back dungeon romps.  If you're in the mood for that type of gameplay then Final Fantasy I still measures up. Where it doesn't measure up is the story.

Clash of Heroes Post Mortem

I just finished the Clash of Heroes single player campaign and thought I'd reiterate how much fun it was.  A tactical RPG puzzle game isn't something you come across every day and this one held me captive most nights for the past few weeks. On top of what I mentioned in my initial impressions  there were also a ton of battles with interesting win conditions.  If I ever felt like I was close to getting bored, one of these odd battles would pop up and re-engage me.  Switching between 5 main characters helped keep things fresh too. In the end, Clash of Heroes took me 30 hours to beat and provided me with weeks of entertainment for only 15 dollars.  And there's still a whole multiplayer aspect that I haven't touch yet. I liked this game a lot and now it's put me in the mood for something else tactical.  I want something slow-paced.  Maybe a turn based battle system of some kind.  I'm in the mood for more thoughtful decisions and less twitch action.  Please l

Games for the Summer, Games from the Year

With the summer slump setting back in for the gaming world I've done my yearly re-subscribe to Gamefly .I reactivated my account and started adding games to my queue. I sorted through all the games released in the past year for every console I own (Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS) adding everything that I didn't own but wanted to try.  Most summers my queue is full of somewhere between 50 and 75 games.  Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the queue button, after hours of dissecting this year's releases, to find that I only had 13 games there! I started to wonder what happened over the past year to cause such a huge discrepancy.  After looking through my game collection and thinking back over the past 12 months I realized that I barely played any traditional console games at all.  Most of my gaming time has been spent on the PC or with downloadable titles on Xbox Live Arcade or on my ipod touch . I only bought 3 full priced ($60) console games this whole year.   Halo

Outland Impressions

During my latest exploration of the XBLA offerings I not only picked up Clash of Heroes but also stumbled upon a gem called Outland.  Outland is a platformer that any metroidvania fan would feel right at home with.  Throughout the course of the game the player slowly gains more abilities which in turn open up more sections of the map. The real fun starts when polarity is introduced.  Obviously drawing inspiration from Ikaruga , the hero can be in one of two states, Blue or Red.  Or, in the mythos of the game, "good" or "evil."  The important part is that projectile attacks don't hurt the player if they are the same color as the hero and only enemies of the opposite color can be hurt.  This leads to a continuous on-the-fly adjustment of polarity between colors. This is one of the few games lately where I've lost myself in the flow of the gameplay.  Figuring out and executing complex patterns of polarity switching while running, jumping, and attacking