Itchy Thumbs

Completing games then reviewing them

Archive for November, 2010

Android Gaming Round Up!!!!

Posted by D on November 23, 2010

So. Android games.

Buka : Fun avoid/destroy the asteroids asteroids clone. Could do with multitouch enabling

Gem Miner: Dig Deeper : This is a bad, bad boring game

Dynamo Kid Touch : Nice procedurally generated platformer, lacks depth and longevity

Flight Frenzy Deluxe : Pretty good Flight Control rip off.

Sky Force Reloaded : Strong, well presented 16bit style, top-down scrolling shmup.

Zenonia : Solid JRPG, good dialogue although a little tedious and grindy later on

Flight Director : Really excellent Flight Control rip off. Might even be better than Flight Control

SpeedX 3D : Really great avoid-the-obstacles tunnel racer.

Hyper Jump : Adequate rip off of iOS’s Mega Jump

MiniSquadron : Truly brilliant take on the 2D biplane combat game. Like the old Amiga BIP/Biplanes Duel or Altitude games.

Drop7 : Mind bendingly addictive puzzle game with an awesome soundtrack

Alchemy : Another entry in that odd combining things genre. Kind of like the taking the bit in old point-and-click adventures where you were stuck for what to do and were reduced to just trying to combine things and turning it into a game. Except they all fail to be puzzle games because they never actually tell you what the goal items are.

Angry Birds : Ridiculously popular smash up shit game. Excellent fun but comes apart a bit when you’re trying to 3 star the levels. The process is just a little too stochastic so the same action doesn’t always lead to the same out come.

Steambirds : Nicely turned out and addictive turn based strategy puzzler.


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Final Fantasy XIII

Posted by D on November 23, 2010

I have just completed this after spending months picking at it. I did the story and completed all the missions. I have learnt some things, some things about myself, some things about the game.

Things I have learnt:

1) I will put up with a surprisingly amount of bullshit.

2) The dialogue writing in Final Fantasy games is still as crappy as it always has been

3) The narrative was utterly, utterly awful. Roughly you are compelled by the evil bad guy to destroy a thing/it/he-she/whatever which will DESTROY EVERYONE FOR THE GOOD OF EVERYONE but instead you decide to kill the evil bad guy. But then you have to destroy the thing/it/he-she/whatever anyway even though it’s done nothing to you or anyone else and you’ve never seen it before. But once it’s destroyed no one actually dies for completely magical bullshit reasons. God fucking damn it.

4) The pacing of the story is beyond bizarre. You’re more than halfway through before you learn who the bad guy is and have any grasp of what’s going on, that’s 25hours of game time with no discernible plot beyond “run down this corridor and kill those monster”. It’s probably only in the closing handful of hours that you find out that you have to destroy the thing/it/he-she/whatever and that makes little sense then and little sense when you get there.

5) The combat though weirdly disconnected and disembodied  is actually really good

6) The game never ever explains much about the combat mechanics, if you ever want to understand what is actually going on and get good at it you’ll have to go elsewhere. Although now that I think about it I suspect you’re supposed to also shell out for the official guide.

7) There was surprisingly little level grinding for a JRPG, I probably did about 4 hours across the 75 hours I spent with it. Although this also begs the question: did those 4 hours actually bring anything to the game? It’s not like I’d have found the game too short if they weren’t there. Why can’t RPGs be laid out so that grinding isn’t necessary?

8) I’m never playing a FF game again in fact I’m never playing a game that is 20+ hours ever again. I’ve never yet played a story driven game whose story can hold up much beyond 12 hours so I’m checking out of that nonsense (note also: this will go out the window when Kingdom Hearts 3D is released).

9) The best bit of the game is after the plot, tooling around clearing up the missions, that was actually fun. Is it worth playing the game for 50hrs to get there?

10) Unlike other FF games where the story really feels like it plays out on a grand/global scale this one never feels like it’s about anyone other than the 6 main characters, in spite of the dialogue and narrative repeatedly trying to tell us about all the people in peril. I think this is because there is no dinky overworld map that you can cruise around in a hyper-fast airship.


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Super Mario Galaxy 2

Posted by D on November 23, 2010

Yo, what is up with this game? I’ll tell you what’s up with this game – it is stone cold awesome although largely identical to it’s predcessor. I broadly like both games in this series, this second one iterates on the first in a pleasing although not very adventurous manner. We’ve got Yoshi (yay!) and a steeper and higher difficultly curve the latter of which makes this a more solid and worthwhile purchase. Flipside is that you’ve seen it all before and even at it’s hardest it’s not really that hard. I’ve heard it said that it’s some manner of object lesson in games design and I’m not sure I’m on board with that. From that point of view both  Super Mario Bros Wii and Yoshi’s Island DS are stronger games in my opinion. But SMG2 simply never makes any missteps. Gone is “play the whole game again as Luigi for a single bonus star” and instead they’ve added hidden green stars that you can go back and collect. It is a nicer way to encourage people to revisit levels without making them just replay the level. But at the end of the game when the green stars are unlocked you end up having to grind each level 3 times to collect each star. And it gets a bit boring seeing the level over and over. Were it me I’d have had 1 or 2 of the hidden green stars available during the initial run through of the game so you could have broken up the green star collection throughout the play time rather than doing it all at the end. Also Gone is the hub world, replaced with a Mario Bros 3 style level select. It streamlines the level selection process but I kind of liked the hub world.

One thing that does baffle me is that in the Boss Blitz Galaxy, which is effectively a SMG1 boss rush, I really don’t understand how it is that I defeated the Bouldergeist so easily without being hit. I swear to god I near destroy thing, people and pets in frustration trying to complete the SMG1 Bouldergeist Perfect Run challenge. Go figure, maybe I am getting better at this stuff. I remain eternally grateful that there was no revisit of the Luigi’s Purple Coins challenge. Because that was eye stabbingly horrific in SMG1. So saying the Granmaster Galaxy Perfect Run challenge in this game was so much bullshit. God damn it that was hard and so, so, so, very much harder than anything else the game had to offer. And as I’ve said before I hate it when games have weird huge steps in their difficulty curve. Also, what was with the paper play guide and How To Play DVD that came with the game? It’s not like all the information wasn’t in the game. Like I care to and have the time to watch a DVD about playing a game I’m just about to play. Odd.

So if you’ve not played it already or got bored of it by now this is a game worth having.

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New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Posted by D on November 23, 2010

I don’t really have a great deal to say about this. It is a tour de force of 2D platform design. End-to-end -spectacularly put together and brilliant. I’m not entirely sure what the multiplayer brings to the table, it’s kind of diverting but really frustrating and none of the platforming elements require more than one person to execute. But it was fun watching the unlockable multiplayer play throughs of levels, that is some awesome expert shizzle but so far beyond what I’m ever going to sit down and coordinate with friends. So yeah. And I can’t say I liked the shake-to-spin control, would rather that had been mapped to a button instead and I simply do not understand why I couldn’t use my classic controller, what was that money spent for? All that aside it is my favourite Mario Bros game since either Super Mario World or Mario 64DS or Yoshi’s Island or Yoshi’s Island DS. You know what, fuck it. All Mario platformers are good. Just go out,  buy them and shut up.

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