August 22, 2016

Kirby's Dream Land 3 (Part 2)

We’re continuing this review of the last Kirby game in Kirby’s Dream Collection – and before you ask, yes, we’re almost done traveling across Dream Land, but we’re far from done freeing it from the evil that is Dark Matter.

I can already feel flashbacks to the strongest Quebec winters
I have ever seen.

Pictured: The torture of a sound mini-game.
Next up is the Iceberg, because when the sky isn’t able to kill you, the ice might be. Freeing flowers from ice, killing Metroids with your ice ability… it all sounds simple but the truth is much different. This also has the most unbearable mini-game in the whole adventure. You meet Chef Kawasaki. Five Gordo will come down, each making a sound. Kawasaki will then hit his own Gordo with his frying pan, and you select the Gordo among the five that made that sound. Easy, you say? Hell no. Especially because you have to do it three times, and on the third time, the sounds all come pretty quickly, so good luck remembering the order. And of course, the sounds are not all that loud, so good luck hearing them… And of course, like all other mini-games put together by characters in levels, this one takes place close to the end of an extremely annoying level in which it’s incredibly easy to die, repeatedly. I wasted over 20 lives on that level alone. Kawasaki, once I’m done with your mini-game, you know where you can shove that fucking Gordo. ….Well, provided you actually have that kind of orifice on you, which is probably not the case in Dream Land… Either way, Kawasaki, I like you a lot more in the Kirby anime than in the games.

I mean, I knew Kirby games could be pretty difficult on the platforming side. It’s always been a part of these games. And, to be fair, “hard” doesn’t always equate to “bad”. It can equate to “annoying”, “tedious”, “frustrating” even, but it only gets “bad” when it’s unfairly tipped against the player, with really cheap tricks making the game infinitely harder than it could be – and even then, a lot of gamers actually like that added challenge. I get that the mini-games were meant to add a nice color, but in my opinion, they were done rather poorly. Their placement near the end of the levels, especially at the end of a hard level, can make them really annoying. Not to mention that the time window is very short to memorize what the game wants you to. Even worse than that, I suspect the mini-game character’s requests afterwards are also randomized, so sometimes it’s almost completely down to luck. And as I said time and time again, I am about as lucky as a guy who opens umbrellas inside, breaks a mirror once a week, and crosses the same black cat under a ladder every day on his way to work. I finally managed to solve Kawasaki’s mini-game… and I swear I’m never going back to that level again.

You'll believe a broom can sweep
your ass.
In Level 5, you must face almost all of the enemies in the game in various rooms, and to get the Heart Star you must do it with one particular Animal Friend, Nago the Cat, all the way through. In the last proper level, you have to collect an angel’s feathers, each in a different room, by using the ability earned in the previous room. Tough, because most fights here are against mid-bosses, but you just have to remember to get rid of your previous ability before picking up the next one, and repeat this eight times. Finally, we have all 30 Heart Stars, and so we can fight King Dedede.

The penguin is tough, but this time around you are allowed to keep your Animal Friend for the fight, and the Rick+Cutter combo works like a charm. At first, King Dedede uses his normal attacks, but when he’s defeated once he rises from the ground, his belly becomes an eye or a mouth and it starts attacking like Dark Matter. Shooting blobs of darkness, turning into a mouth and trying to chomp Kirby... That’s some pure body horror right there, can you even imagine the goofy, comical penguin suddenly looking like that? 

Image from Brawl In The Family.
You should see the Meta Knight one.

Once Dark Matter King Dedede is defeated, he falls to the floor and the Heart Stars of World 5 join to expel Dark Matter from the Iceberg region. Now, the center of the planet, the epicenter of Dark Matter, is available, known as World 6. All thirty Heart Stars merge to form the Love-Love Stick, a scepter that shoots hearts. Pretty much the number 1 reason why Heart isn’t a power that sucks. Oh, and there’s also all that friendship stuff and whatnot… But nobody cares about that.

HEEEEEEAAAAAAAAARRRRTTT!
This place is one long battle against Dark Matter, in three phases: First is regular Dark Matter, using attacks very similar to its patterns in Kirby’s Dream Land 2. When Kirby destroys that one, it explodes, but soon its white center reforms to become a giant eye with a red pupil, known as 0 (Or Zero, if you prefer). That one is pretty tough, as it shoots miniature Dark Matters and sometimes even patches of red that we can pretty much state to be blood. Because that’s always how it is with the Kirby series; cute and adorable on the surface, with a world of demons hidden behind. Forget Whispy, Kracko, Dedede; those are nothing. Dream Land is a gate to the Nightmare Universe.

When Zero is defeated, it seems to go away, but its red pupil doesn’t yet want to leave. It can still kill you, so be careful; thankfully, it also has only eight Hit Points and is fairly easy to avoid, so if you’ve got some strength left, you should be fine. After 0’s center is destroyed, Kirby, still floating above the planet, gets to see Dark Matter’s grip vanish completely, leaving him with a beautiful panorama.


Of course, if you defeated King Dedede without collecting all Hearts Stars, you don’t get to see any of that. Instead, you see Iceberg freed from the evil, but that big dark mass in the center of Planet Popstar is still there, ready to strike again anytime soon. Due to time constraints, I tried to collect all of the Heart Stars as I was progressing through the game (now that I have a job, I have a bit less time to write these reviews). Even then, many Heart Stars were pretty tricky. You already know I raged at many of them. The upside is that once a Heart Star has been collected, you can complete the mission in a level again, but you’ll instead be given an extra life as reward. Which, hey, an extra life. Those become rare in late-game, and you’ll lose many trying to accomplish the later Heart Star missions, so you can’t refuse them! It’s a good incentive to beat the missions in World 1 again repeatedly!

Even if you did defeat it...
It comes back in the sequel, for the Nintendo 64.

Oh, but don’t you go and believe that this is over! You know that the Kirby series loves to include additional material! Once you’ve beaten the Story Mode, you can go back to the File Select to access the bonus stuff. This includes three options:
Ado: "I'm contractually obliged."
Dedede: "Can we NOT do this?"
Whispy: "If I'm getting beat up again,
SO ARE YOU!"
-Boss Butch: You knew this was coming, almost every game in the series has this option. You have only one Life, no healing items in sight, no Copy Abilities, no Animal Friends, and you can’t summon Gooey either! And you must defeat all eight bosses starting by Whispy, then Acro, Pon and Con, Ado (and all the bosses she summons, god damn it!), Dedede, Dark Matter, 0, and 0’s eyeball. To say that this is a challenge is an understatement.
-Super NES MG5: A special mode that combines all five mission mini-games. The advantage is that you don’t have to go across a level to do them, the disadvantage is that you have to ace each and every single one of them, yes, even the sound-based one. They’re a tad slower than the originals, so with excellent memory you might be able to do it.
-Jumping: During Story Mode, when Kirby finishes a level, he gets to a Goal Game where he has to jump to one square in front of him. You press A and, depending on how much Kirby prepared himself to jump, he’ll land on a square closer or further from his starting position. The squares include healing items, little stars, a 1-Up, and a few grinning faces that give nothing. The mini-game Jumping is basically this, except you have to do it multiple times to reach the end without ever getting a grinning face. Almost entirely down to dumb luck.

One of the stepping stones of modern gaming. Hi Jumpman!

That’s all there is to this game, I can safely say I’ve discussed every part of it. And yes, it is another fantastic Kirby game from the folks at HAL Laboratory. Quite a few things are required to make a game unique.

First is a unique style. On this front, many Kirby games try to look unique, whether it’s Kirby’s Epic Yarn or the more recent Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. Kirby’s Dream Land 3 looks like it was hand-drawn and hand-colored. Of course, nowadays thanks to the burst of indie games online, more games can look like this, but it was pretty special back on the Super NES.

Who though hamsters were an effective way to scale
mountains?
Second is a unique gameplay. The Kirby series has always been unique, and I don’t think there has ever been another video game character using copy abilities to the extent that Kirby does. Once again, most Kirby games try to put a spin on those abilities; Dream Land 2 introduced the Animal Friends, a concept we see here again, improved with three more Friends (and Gooey). It introduces the quests, which you have to complete in order to get the Heart Stars; this is different from the Rainbow Drops in Dream Land 2, as those were scattered around the many worlds and you didn’t meet NPCs that you had to help. The mini-games were also pretty novel back then, considering they are parts of levels, and you have to win at them to get to the final boss. Last but not least, many levels here have gimmicks. Those range from the mission-imposed ones (don’t step on flowers) to air or field traps (as an example, in the first level of Iceberg, you have to thaw flowers out of the ice, and not crush any of them, which is tricky since there are heavy clouds passing by always blocking the view, which makes it hard to see where the flowers are). Yeah, New Super Mario Bros. Wii may have done a similar thing, but the concept definitely existed before. I must mention as well the game’s attempts at surprising you with unexpected changes to the regular opponents, like Whispy Wood suddenly charging at Kirby or Dedede suddenly growing an eye on his belly.

Third is memorable characters. Kirby, Dedede, they’re memorable alright, which brings me to the villain: Dark Matter. Notorious as one of the most evil monsters in all of the Kirby Universe, being the villain in no less than three Kirby games, and while it was already established as some sort of Eldritch creature in the previous game, here it becomes downright terrifying, despite still being nothing more than a floating sphere. It shoots blood, for Christ’s sake! In a game for kids! You’re gonna remember it, that’s for damn sure!

Pretty great that they upgraded some Kirby bosses...
and then got very devilish with some others...
Thanks again, Ado, for your Kracko...
I do have a few points of criticism for the game. In some cases, you’re not going to know what to do in a mission, as the NPC at the end of the level cannot speak to you. Thus, you have to figure it out yourself. That’s already tricky, but then take into consideration the harder missions where you have to use a particular ability, often with a particular Animal Friend (or in one case, switch between two Animal Friends multiple times)… Then as I mentioned earlier, I quite dislike the memory mini-games that are given as missions. Not only do you need to think fast, you also need to be able to remember what’s presented to you, and failure to do so means you must restart the entire level (because Kirby can only respawn on a screen where he dies, and he can’t die in a mini-game room, so if he dies in the next room, he’ll respawn there).

But do I have anything else to say? Nah, not really. Awesome game, you should try it. And now, with these words, I have officially finished reviewing the sixth Kirby game in Kirby’s Dream Collection, which means I can finally move on to something else!

…Oh no, wait, I have to talk about the three episodes of Kirby: Right Back At Ya that are also in that collector Wii game… Well then, how about we do that next week?

August 19, 2016

Kirby's Dream Land 3 (Part 1)


Over the course of the past two years, I covered five games available in Kirby's Dream Collection: I started off in May 2015 with Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, because I had it on the Wii’s Virtual Console. Then, later in 2015 I started placing Kirby reviews at the beginning of my review order. In November I reviewed Kirby’s Dream Land. Then, come 2016, I went through Kirby’s Adventure, Kirby’s Dream Land 2 and Kirby Super Star. (On the side I also reviewed Kirby’s Epic Yarn in 2014, but nobody cares). It got progressively more difficult as I was going through these games, because there’s only so many jokes I can make about Kirby’s copy abilities before I run out.

Are you ready? In the next three weeks, I’ll cover everything I’ve still got to cover about Kirby’s Dream Collection. That includes Kirby’s Dream Land 3, the three episodes of the Kirby anime that can be found in the Gallery, and a final post about the collector’s item as a whole.

Kirby’s Dream Land 3 is the second game in the Dark Matter Trilogy, and I can already spoil that because I reviewed the final installment where Kirby, helped by both old and new friends, defeats Dark Matter once and for all after it revealed itself to be a white, angelic demon with a bleeding eye, a halo, wings and large spiky vines coming out of its ass. It’s the Kirby series, it’s hardly big news; Hell, the other day, some little jester decided to wish for ultimate power and nobody batted an eye… You get used to the world being constantly in danger. “I just saved the world for the 274th time, can I have a 24-hour break before I have to save it for the 275th?”

Thankfully, Kirby is always excited like a child to go and save the world again. Blissfully unaware that this new adventure could be his last, never conscious of all the risks he’s taking. This isn’t a Kirby game without dangers and monsters of near-godly power. This also wouldn’t be a Kirby game without some unique style to it, and as a result K’sDL3 has an art style reminiscent of colored pencil sketches. It might be interesting to point out that this was the last game released in America for the Super Nintendo console, in 1998, and that it uses a unique rendering procedure known as “pseudo high-resolution”, which gave the game a wider palette of colors to work with, creating tones and ameliorating the “hand-drawn sketch” feel.


Left to right: Coo, Pitch, Chuchu. Rick (with Kirby
on
him), Gooey, Nago and Kine.
Also, this wouldn’t be a Kirby game without a brand new gimmick or an upgrade of an existing gimmick. As a result, the Animal Friends from K’sDL2 are back! Rick, Coo, Kine and Gooey are here again, but more Animal Friends appeared: Chuchu the octopus, Pitch the bird, and Nago the cat. I can already feel their popularity never getting anywhere close to Coo, Rick and Kine. Well, Chuchu maybe, but the other two, I doubt it. Also, we now have 8 different abilities to choose from, and with Kirby alone + 6 Animal friends, this makes 49 different combos to try out! Also, while he cannot summon allies out of abilities like he could in Kirby Super Star, this time around Kirby can summon at will Gooey, sacrificing one Hit Point to get a second character able to get rid of annoying enemies and other hindrances. That would be good, if Gooey wasn’t sometimes a bother himself (well, unless you plug in a second controller and have a friend play as Gooey, of course).

Why, thank you, miss Tulip!
(In a later mission, a mushroom asks you
to crush all the flowers.)
Last but not least, this wouldn’t be a Kirby game without a puzzle aspect that ties into the copy abilities. Kirby’s Adventure had some of it, Kirby’s Dream Land 2 counted on Ability+Friend combinations to collect Rainbow Drops, some puzzles in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shard had levels where getting certain shards requires a specific combination of abilities. The Kirby series always had a knack for crafting puzzles around the copy abilities. This time around, every level ends with Kirby meeting an NPC who needs a service given to them. That service often requires, you guessed it, the correct ability or the right Animal+Ability combo. Comically enough, some Nintendo characters cameo in some of these puzzles, like R.O.B. or Samus Aran. That’s pretty awesome. Since those encounters happen only at the end of a level, this once again means you have to complete whole levels with particular abilities. Hope you don’t have to beat a tough level with a crappy ability, as there’s at least one level like that in every Kirby game with ability puzzles. Completing a side-quest earns Kirby a Heart Star, with six Heart Stars per world, one per level, for a total of 30.

Okay, enough about the game’s functions, how about we get into the plot itself? The intro is simple. A large mass of darkness with a single eye blast across space and soon finds Planet Popstar. Kirby and Gooey are enjoying a nice day fishing when the entity descends and spreads its tentacles across the world, taking control of key characters like King Dedede or, *pfffft* Whispy Woods – okay, sorry, there is no way that tree can be a notable force that an evil demon would take control of. Anyway, with Popstar in danger once again, Kirby sets out to free the world of this shadowy creature’s influence for good, this time helped by seven helpers.

"We have to stop this monster! What do you say, Gooey?"
"I like fish! Herp dee derp!"
"That's the spirit! Let's go, pal!"

That’s all we need, right?

We all know that behind every Kirby game, there's a
Grass Land as your first challenge. A proof that
you can face whatever's coming next.
Either that or it's just a place for beginners.
Dark Matter’s tentacles have spread to the five branches of Planet Popstar, each representing a world. This adventure brings us first to Grass Land. Why bother with creative names when bluntly stating what a world is about works just as well? This first world already brings to us the puzzle aspect, and shows from the very first level that it won’t always be about bringing the right ability, the right Animal Friend, or the right combo to the end of the level. In Level 1-1, there’s a room with multiple tulips planted here and there, and Kirby – as well as his Animal Friend and Gooey – must make sure that they don’t crush a single one. If they crush any, the flower at the end of the level won’t give them a Heart Star. In the third level, the quest is a memory mini-game where a round character with a red cap will throw a Gordo with an odd design or face behind two columns, and you have a split second to look at it, then you must pick which Gordo it was among six different models. There's one mini-game like this in every world, and all of them revolve around memory, so you'd better be ready to remember everything.

Same old, same old. Why would
it change? It's just Whispy.
So, at the end of this world, I already know who we’re gonna be fighting. It’s gonna be Whispy Woods again. Why would it be anyone else? It’s always been Kirby’s starter boss. It stays in place, throws apples at you, sometimes blow air in your direction, and it’s always laughably easy to beat, as is expected from bosses who never move from their spot. I mean, we’ve seen variations, like a stronger Whispy that could summon Gordos, or Twin Woods, which had conjoined Whispys, but none were all that tough... Whispy is never meant to be a tough boss.

And of course, once again. it’s a ridiculously easy fight. It summons apples, we inhale them and throw them back. And before you know it, since this guy sucks so much, we’re halfway through the fight, and on the way to definitive succe-wait. …WHAT? Whispy has uprooted itself and is chasing Kirby? THE TREE IS RUNNING AFTER ME! AAAAAAH! It’s gotten harder to grab apples and throw them! And the tree might just crush our pink pal! Why did I make fun of you all these years, Whispy? Whyyyy? Is it my comeuppance?? …Oh hey, look, it still goes down with a few more hits. Guess I panicked for no reason. Congrats to HAL Laboratories, though, to throw this curveball at us. I never saw it coming.


...Did I panic? ………………..Nooooooooooooooooooo…. I was merely… surprised, that’s all! Totally not panic. Just surprise. I swear.

When Whispy is defeated, if you collected all six Heart Stars in Grass Land, patches of black seem to rise out of the world around, which is now freed from the influence of Dark Matter.

This guy wants a Kine+Parasol show.
Gotta beat the level with that...
World 2 is Ripple Field, the obligatory water world. This is where the puzzles start getting a little more complex. Once again, you frequently need to figure out what to do, explore every corner. Thing is, you’ll often meet the giver of the quest at some point in the level, but it’s also possible that you’ll meet them only at the end, often without any indication of what you must do. It doesn’t help either that some of the quest givers that offer mini-games are located near the middle of tough levels, and the memory mini-games themselves are often hard enough that you’ll have to retry them multiple times. And of course, after you failed the mini-game, you cannot go back to the previous area; you need to start over, or beat the level and then try it again. Urgh.

At the end of Ripple Field awaits Acro, an orca that really acts opposite to all orcas. Its behavior is all backwards. It starts the attack on land, but then takes it to sea, and your best chance there is to toss back at it what it throws at you.

Whoa, was the last Waddle Dee I ate high on LSD?
I feel like I could just trip all day.
So purdy backgrounds...
World 3 is Sand Canyon, which has a lot of patches of sand slowing down Kirby’s movement. The sixth level also has a high-tech pyramid on Level 6, which has trippy backgrounds and the most infuriating Heart Star in the whole game; you have to collect the five pieces of a R.O.B., except every piece is hidden behind a puzzle, some of which require the exact Animal Friend and the exact copy ability. The lowest door takes Kirby to a room with enemies with all the eight abilities, followed by two rooms containing all six Animal Friends, and you need to figure out the required combos to solve the puzzles. Oh, and have great reflexes too, because it’s very easy to die in almost every single one of these rooms. It’s devilish!

All this to save a dumb R.O.B. that will never be useful to me.

The boss is a duo: Pon and Con, a tanuki and a fox who team up and bring around their offspring to hit Kirby. Aw please, don’t drag kids into this! Kirby will inhale them and hurt you with them! They also throw bombs on the battlefield! And those can also kill the kids! This is a slaughter! Tactical suicide! Either way, Pon and Con are defeated, and the influence of Dark Matter is repelled from this part of the world.

Don't ever involve your kids in your feud against someone!
Especially not if the kids might die!

The game never explicitly states that Rick can do that;
It's implied early on since it's shown Rick can jump
when staying right next to a ledge, but it's not clear
enough.
We step into the fourth world, Cloudy Park. Oh goodie, the obligatory sky land. I can’t wait to fall into any of the hundreds of endless pits down there. And it starts off with a very annoying Heart Star, too; in the first level, you have to use the clean ability with either Coo or Rick, in the final room of the level, to clean up five flowers, and you cannot crush them. That room comes after many tough rooms where it’s fairly difficult to navigate with either of these big Animal Friends, and it’s also fairly difficult to control them so that they do this without ever crushing a flower. The puzzles here require not only the right combo, they also demand incredible dexterity. Later on, you need to complete a platformer-heavy level with Rick the Hamster, a level that requires that you know about Rick’s wall-climbing ability, as it’s the only way to get to the end – and even if you do know, it’s still tough because of all the enemies in the way, placed at exactly the right spots to be a pain in the ass.

Go, my creation! Kill Kirby!
I realize that in the Kirby universe, "Draem Land",
the power of creation (implied by the Paint ability)
is probably the strongest, as it derives directly
from creativity and the subconscious, therefore
it gets its power from what dreams are made of... 
The boss at the end of this one, it’s a sky world, it’s gotta be Kracko. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? Fucking Kracko… Always the most infuriating boss, even worse than the final bosses! And it turns out to be…. Ado? A painter girl? Well, color me surprised. That can’t be so hard, the other painter girl, Adeleine in Kirby 64, was kinda easy. Ado starts off by summoning Ice Dragon. Okay, a boss, but not all that tough. Then, Sweet Stuff is summoned. That’s a bit harder, I admit, but still, not a big threat. Then she summons Mr. Bright and Mr. Shine…. Oh boy, now this starts getting pretty difficult. Because those two still work as a team even if they’re using a simpler pattern than usual, and so it can be hard to avoid them at all times, not to mention one goes crazy when the other is down. Then, Ado summons… Kracko. OH, FUCK ME. As if Kracko as a boss wasn’t already fucking hard enough, they put him at the end of a quartet of bosses, and make him as hard as he normally is. Holy Christ, HAL Laboratories, this is insanity. Ado has got to be the hardest boss in the whole game, and if you don’t have a Copy ability, she’s nearly impossible to beat. Though, if you defeat Kracko, she attacks by herself and has only one hit point, so there’s that. She can still kill you, though. FINALLY, we win and we can free Cloudy Park from Dark Matter. Christ.

Fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff------ Kracko, man!

Well then, that’s about everything I could cover for Part 1, how about I continue this in Part 2 this Monday?

August 16, 2016

Return Of The Updated List Of Games (+ Steam List)

I haven't done this in a long while, I figured it was time to do it. This past year hasn't seen much of an increase in my collection of Nintendo games, in part due to me sparing my money for various reasons. Thankfully, this has been made easier by me actually finding a job I could keep. What happened to the previous one? I realized it wasn't for me. This one, though, it's definitely for me. Proximity with the public, a lot of socializing, a lot of talking... It's not a full-time thing, but it paws well and I'm very happy with it. Now I'm sparing because I have plans to take a trip to the United States next year. I don't even have that many new physical games. Not even sure I have any new physical games, to be honest. However, I have a LOT of games on Steam now, so I will have to keep a list around.

Once again, I will only keep track of the video games I still haven't reviewed.

NINTENDO DS
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
Fossil Fighters
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
Rhythm Heaven
Spectral Force Genesis

WII
MadWorld
Mario Super Sluggers
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Rabbids Go Home
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
Rise of the Guardians
Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space
Sonic and the Black Knight
Sonic Unleashed
Spectrobes Origins
Super Mario Galaxy
WarioWare Smooth Moves
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Duel Transer

KIRBY'S DREAM COLLECTION
Kirby's Dream Land 3
New Challenge Stages

VIRTUAL CONSOLE
The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past
Paper Mario
Phantasy Star
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Metroid

WIIWARE
Deer Drive Legends
La-Mulana
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Sonic 4 Episode 1

NINTENDO 3DS
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Pokémon X
Rabbids Rumble
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

3DSWARE
Pokémon Shuffle
Pokémon Picross

VIDEO GAME FILMS and TV SHOWS
Ender's Game
Max Payne
TRON
TRON: Legacy
Sonic Boom
Rabbids Invasion

STEAM
Okay, gear up, it's gonna be a long list.

AdVenture Capitalist, Adventurer Manager, Airscape: The Fall of Gravity, Auditorium, Battle Ranch, The Beginner's Guide, Blackshot: Mercenary Warfare FPS, Brawlhalla, Card Hunter, Carpe Diem, Caveman World: Mountains of Unga Boonga, The Chosen RPG, Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, Clockwork Tales: Of Glass And Ink, Clover Tale, Cry of Fear, Cubicle Quest, Defy Gravity, The Desolate Hope, Dev Guy, Disilllusions Manga Horror, Dungeon Defenders II, Dungeonland, Electric Highwats, Elisa The Innkeeper - Prequel, Emily is Away, Emporea, Eternal Senia, Everlasting Summer, Fingerbones, Fishing Planet, Five Nights at Freddy's, Five Nights at Freddy's 2, Five Nights at Freddy's 3, Five Nights at Freddy's 4, Floating Point, Frederic: Evil Strikes Back, Gems of War, Gravilon, Grimm, Gun Rocket, The Hat Man: Shadow Ward, Hearts of Iron III, The Howler, I Zombie, Infinity Wars - Animated Trading Card Game, Insanity Clicker, Intergalactic Bubbles, Jigoku Kisetsukan: Sense of the Seasons, Kight Online, Labyronia RPG, Labyronia RPG 2, Legend of Mysteria, Legend of Numbers, Lux Delux, Mad Combat Marines, Morphopolis, My Lands, Narcissu 1st & 2nd, Neverwinter, The Old Tree, One Way Heroics, Only If, Out There Somewhere, PARTICLE MACE, Pink Heaven, Pink Hour, The Plan, Polarity, Portal, Portal 2, Rabbit Hole 3D, Realm of the Mad God, Revolution Ace, Rolling Sun, Save Jesus, Saviors, Serena, ShipLord, Shonen Idle Z, Simply Chess, Sins of the Demon RPG, SNOW, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Spaceport Hope, Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion, The Stanley Parable, Star Trek Online, Storm of Spears, Sunrider: Mask of Arcadius, Survarium, Team Fortress 2, Tenrow, TERA, Time Clickers, Time of Dragons, To Burn In Memory, Trackmania Nations Forever, Transistor, Transmissions: Element 120, Trove, Twisted Worlds, UFO Online: Invasion, Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe, Undertale, Unturned, Urban Trial Freestyle, VEGA Conflict, Viridi, Voices From The Sea, WAKFU, Waveform, World of Guns: Gun Disassembly, Worm.is: The Game, You Have To Win The Game.

Phew!

I'll be keeping this list around to remember what I had at this precise point in time, and the next time I edit my list of Steam games I will remove whichever titles I have reviewed for this blog.

August 15, 2016

Worst 12/Top 12 Sports in Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games

I’m back with a new list! Boy, I haven’t made a double list of the worst and the best in the same game in a long while… Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games contains 24 sports, which means I can classify them in two lists of 12: The ones that I don’t like much, and the ones I like. You know how it goes; I get rid of the negative first, with the Bottom 12, and then I get into the Top 12 to end on a high note. I had to replay every single sport of this exhausting game in a matter of a few days to compose these lists, just for you. I hope you’re grateful. How about we get this started?

THE WORST SPORTS

12. Dream Fencing
The Fight To End All Fights! Danger! Thrill!
Epées! No epicness whatsoever!
I find both fencing sports to be very middle-of-the-road in this collection. Neither is particularly great, neither is terrible. As a result, I was trying to figure out which one was worse, to put it on this list. I went with Dream Fencing because it has a scoring system different from regular fencing; in regular fencing, you must hit your opponent a certain number of times before they hit you that number of times themselves. In Dream Fencing, characters have life bars and a character wins when their opponent's life bar goes empty. When getting hit or sparring attacks, they have a gauge that fills up. When it’s full, that character can use a special move. This can make some CPU opponents, which can already be fairly difficult to defeat in normal fencing, a little harder. And of course, you can use these attacks too, but a CPU character will know what the best moment is to use their special move, and they might activate theirs right after yours, stealing your chance to win…

11. 400m
Maybe you're gonna be able to escape from Bowser
the next time he tries to kidnap you!
Keep winning that 400m event, Peach!
I mentioned I hated the “exhaustion meter” in the previous part, didn’t I? Expect it to be mentioned a few times here. Running the 400 meters requires that you shake your arms for a rather long period of time. I mean, if you don’t think 40 seconds can be long, go play that mini-game and come back to me. It would already be bad enough, but the exhaustion meter takes it to a new level; if it empties completely, your character will need to catch their breath and you’ll lose seconds. Your character spends most of the mini-game teetering on the edge of exhaustion, with your movements trying to make them run but not get too tired… Pressing the A button to get a boost in the final 100 meters, as they tell you to, will likely not help. On the contrary, it might give you more trouble.

August 12, 2016

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games


The 2016 Olympics in Rio are in full force! Many TV channels are talking at length about the many, many competitions that have been taking place since August 5th. Obviously, there’s money to be made with the Olympics in the video game industry as well, and thus Nintendo jumped on the occasion in 2008. After all, the Wii’s motion-detector controls would certainly allow the gamers to get more active, right? There are many other games out there that force the player to get up and exhaust themselves in front of the TV, but this one managed to separate itself from the others by featuring already-famous video game characters: The Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games series. With one game released every two years, for both summer and winter Olympics, this had to be a winning decision!

But wait… why Mario and Sonic, exactly? Well… there can be many reasons to bring the rivalry between these two mascots into the Olympic Games. For starters, Mario and his crew have always loved to play various sports, from the NES era to now. Golf, go-karting, tennis, baseball, soccer, hockey… The list goes on. As for Sonic’s franchise, it’s a lot less prone to make spin-offs based on sports, and they practice very few sports outside of those that requires speed – like the Sonic Riders series. However, the characters of the Sonic series are a lot more active, in a way. They explore, they climb walls and jump left and right all the time, Sonic almost does parkour in some games… The Sonic crew is physically active, even the less action-oriented characters, which makes them perfect for a sports competition. Doesn’t explain how Eggman’s body allows him to keep up with everyone else, though.
Can't get more symbolic than this. Remember, kids:
Mario and Sonic encourage good sportsmanship!

Then, there’s also Mario and Sonic’s rivalry spanning decades already. This is a clash everyone wanted to see, the battle to end all battles… as a 100-Meter race, a trampoline skill match, a javelin-throwing competition…. Hey! Where’s the Fight To End All Fights between these two giants of the gaming industry? Oh, you’ll get one… as long as you don’t mind it being a fencing duel. If you want to see these two duking it out, pop in Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, or Brawl. These video game mascot Olympics will be as friendly as can be. Probably as a way to avoid tipping the balance on a side or another, seeing as both the Mario and Sonic fandoms would be convinced that their side steamrolls the other in an actual fight. Never underestimate the power of fanboys to argue all day on who would win in a hypothetical scuffle. Everyone here has been given stats preventing them from reaching the full potential they exhibit in their home series – in particular folks like Sonic and Shadow, who were considerably slowed down. You can lose a 100-meters race while playing as Sonic here, how unbelievable is that?


Alright, enough discussion, let’s jump right into the game. There’s not a plot to speak of, so I’ll mostly go over the different modes and competitions. When you open a save file, you type a name and then choose a country of origin, the country to represent at the Games, and then we get to the menu.