F-Zero is another Switch Online game that I tried to mess with. I played it ONCE back in the day and wasn't super impressed. I know there's a huge cult following to this series but I've never been big on it. I want to like it. I mean it's sci-fi racing! But eh, I've never quite come to grips with the controls. Everything feels weird to me.
It looks good, though. My goodness it looks great. Its Mode 7 puts Mario Kart to shame. The sense of speed is fantastic as well. But game-wise - or fun-wise - I'm not feeling it. I got bored after a few races. My ship blew up and I just kind of was all set. I'm not so sure this series is really for me. Not that I've played much of it.
When I was in junior high I hung out with this kid who lived a block away from my dad's house. We'd play street hockey and skateboard and I think he was on the same CYO basketball team as me, though my memory is a little fuzzy. What I do remember is playing NES games. We played lots of NES games.
For some reason Blaster Master stands out. It was a popular game, at least in a sort of cult way. And I thought it was good. But not really a game I wanted for my own collection. In the years since I know I've dabbled with it again from time to time. I feel like there was a GBC remake that I played a long time ago? Or was that a sequel. Hmm.
Anyway, it's on Switch Online now so I have easy access to it again. And... I don't know. It's okay. I guess. It has a very Sunsoft feel. Take that how you will. Some might think of that as a great compliment. For me it equates to... pretty okay. Like, it's an interesting game. It has some good ideas. It doesn't feel quite great to me though.
The main exploring is pretty good. I like the little jumping car. The guns work pretty good with the free aiming and all. The out-of-vehicle parts are... also just pretty good. Your character feels so gigantic, though. It's jarring. And I have trouble lining up shots. I don't know.
My main problem is just how open the game is. At the time that felt awesome. It was vast. But now, it feels... too big? I don't know. I think I have issues with so-called Metroidvanias now. I'm very picky. And this, I just feel like I'm getting lost and going nowhere and wasting time.
I've had my eye on Wargroove since last year. Billed as a sort of spiritual successor to the Advance Wars series, I was pumped. In fact, I was even more excited about this one than Fire Emblem: Three Houses. And I'm a FE fan! But something about Wargroove just looked awesome. Maybe it's the throwback art style? Maybe it's the campaign editor? Maybe it's the fact that Wargroove is considerably cheaper than Three Houses? Haha. I don't know.
But I was also determined to wait on a physical release of Wargroove. I KNEW it would happen. I mean take a look at what Limited Run Games, Super Rare Games, and like a dozen other boutique publishers have released this year on Switch. It HAD to happen. And I was right. It's here.
And was it worth the wait? Oh dear goodness... YES.
I've only played a couple of hours so far, but man, it's so good. It has that solid Advance Wars throwback vibe. But the setting is a lot closer to Fire Emblem. So it's almost a mash-up (minus that RPG leveling of FE). The visuals and music are great. I'll be honest, I don't care much about story in a strategy game like this, but the gameplay? Wowza.
It's got everything. There's the usual classes who have different strengths and weaknesses. There's capturing areas on the map to raise resources. There's the risk/reward of putting your commander on the line. There's deciding which new units to call in each round. There's... a lot to think about. And I love it.
The controls and menus are super intuitive. Everything you need to know is a click away, and what you need to know depends on how deep you want to get. There's also lots of customization in presentation and gameplay. Everything has been so well thought out here.
Before I even started the campaign, I also spend a while browsing the user generated content. It's so awesome to see these fan projects remaking OTHER games within this engine. The Advance Wars and Fire Emblem series are obvious, but still exciting as it means there's going to still be lots of reasons for me to continue playing this outside of the main campaign.
Wargroove is no joke. It looks so sweet and cute, but damn it's actually a super deep game. Which I appreciate as a big fan of the genre. But truth be told, I might need to take a break right now. It's just a much heavier game than I feel like I have time for right now. What I need right now is more pick-up-and-play stuff. I think.
I'm now in chapter 4 (of 7) in the main campaign and the difficulty has spiked immensely. I'm not even embarrassed to say I've bumped the difficulty down a notch because it was eating up so much time. I had a couple of battles that took me twenty-something turns to then beef it and find myself starting over again. If this was last year I'd be in heaven. But right now with a baby in the house and such limited gaming time, these kinds of setbacks bum me out.
Again - this is a brilliant game. It's just not something I have the time nor concentration for at the moment. So I'll probably approach the second half of the game in smaller chunks instead of really focusing on this as my go-to game for the moment.
Oh dudes, I am a Jeopardy FAN. Anyone who knows me knows my love of Jeopardy. It's the only show I like NEED to watch during the week. I just love it, and have for years. And given this, I've played A LOT of Jeopardy video games in my life. This goes way back to the early 90's when I starting with the NES game. Not that I was good at it back then. I was a kid. And spelling out answers on a time limit was tough for me. But still.
I had super high hopes for the Switch version of Jeopardy. But it was terrible. First of all, who wants multiple choices in a Jeopardy game? That's awful. Not to mention how quickly you'll start to see repeat questions. And I guess the consensus was in because anytime I tried to play it online against real people to really test myself... there would be like one or two people online total. I'm talking about in the entire world. This was when the game was a new release... on one of the most popular platforms available... during the height of Jeopardy James' big run that should have driven fans to the game. So yeah. Not good.
This week my wife decided to dig out the DS version of Jeopardy so we could make a new character to play together. You'd think that combining our brains would make it easier, but there's now the challenge of trying to quickly have two people decide if they know something and communicate that we need to ring in. Also, things like coming to agreement on wagers. Things like that. It adds another dimension to the game that makes it feel different than if I were playing solo. I'm always looking for new and interesting ways to approach a loved game.
I'm impressed with the DS take on Jeopardy. I hadn't played it in a few years. But it's still quite good. The question pool is decent. The AI is pretty good - wrong guesses generally seem like "good" guesses for instance. It's all pretty believable. And of course, typing out answers with the stylus makes perfect sense. The DS was such a good platform for brain games. I can't even tell you how many hours I spent on the NY Times Crossword Puzzles on DS. My goodness.
Anyway, yeah Jeopardy is still great. We own other console editions as well, but it seems like leaving the cart in my wife's DS and playing a round when we have time after dinner or something with this new shared profile should be a fun way to revisit this particular version.
I tend to make it a habit to download any new free game on Switch. Because why not? It's free! Well, Asphalt 9 is a fairly mixed bag. The game itself is fine. Actually, it's pretty good. It's an arcade style racer and it looks great and the sense of speed is excellent.
But... it's a FREE game in the -To-Play mold. Meaning, the fun is probably going to run out soon enough as I hit a pay-wall that I'm not looking forward to. I'm already seeing the edges of it. The car "blueprint" rewards I'm getting from races feel like only fractions of the actual cars I'll want to unlock to stay leveled up enough to keep racing.
It sucks because I'm getting tinges of some other pretty great F2P games I've played in the past. Pokemon Shuffle comes to mind. My goodness, I don't want to go down the road again. I actually spent "money" in Shuffle (okay, it was Google Play Store credit, but still... I felt gross). So yeah, I don't know. I'd probably be better off just BUYING an actual retail racing game should I get the itch to drive fast.
When I was a kid, I remember being very aware of The Legend Of Zelda thanks to those commercials. Remember? "Zelda!? Zelda!?" I bet it's on Youtube. But I didn't have a NES yet. I had an Atari 2600. And while the commercial showed me NOTHING, I feel like I created this insane vision of what Zelda was. And I had to have it.
I got a NES a year or so later, and by that time Zelda II was out. I remember getting a copy of Zelda II and the Official Nintendo Player's Guide for my birthday. It was a huge deal. And I've written about how much nostalgia and fondness I have for Zelda II. But soon enough I knew I needed the original game. I brokered a trade with my cousin, Matt. I don't remember what game(s) he got in the exchange, but I can promise that I came out ahead.
The first Zelda quickly became an obsession. And it was and remains one of my absolute favorite NES games of all time. Shocking? No.
But I've replayed it many times over the years. It's straight comfort food. In the past year, I played through NES Remix which featured a sort of micro-version of the game where you just plow through boss battles and key moments. It was a fun and quick way to revisit the game. It was like getting a little Zelda fix.
Nintendo has done an interesting job in presenting new experiences for old games in the Wii U and Switch eras. I think most people probably overlook these SP versions of games on Switch Online. But some of them are pretty interesting.
The Legend Of Zelda SP is basically easy mode. You start off with better armor, better sword, a few items, some extra hearts and lots of rupees. Oh, and all the bushes with hidden entrances are already revealed. You might say this takes away from the experience. And it does - for a first playthrough. But for me - someone who's been through this game multiple times over the decades - it's like a nice relaxing visit home.
Now I can march right from one dungeon to the next and play a sort of mellow version of this game. It's not about the CHALLENGE, it's about reminding myself of the EXPERIENCE. Scoff at these SP versions as being cheap ROM-hacks if you like. But some of them are not without their merit.
I ran through the first four dungeons last night in about an hour. A nice way to do it for a dude who's got a four month old in the house that's still figuring out how to sleep through the night. To be honest, with such inconsistent downtime for gaming, having this sort of easy mode to revisit is actually quite the blessing. I don't need to spend time grinding for rupees or exploring the overworld map - it's all just the dungeons. Nice.
I don't know what happened. I actually played this a bunch over the weekend. I did some of the dungeons out of order because I forgot where they were. Anyway, I got up to Gannon's dungeon and died a couple of times and then just kind of quit. I don't know. I feel less compelled to finish this up now. I've beaten the game in the past, so I'm not super motivated to see it through. And I feel like I've played the bulk of the game - or at least had fun revisiting it for now. Still an awesome game. Top 10 Zelda for sure.
I get that thing sometimes where if I play Tetris 99 before bed, I go to sleep seeing falling blocks. It messes me up because it's like my mind won't stop going when I'm trying to settle down. And the same applies to Overwatch. I'm back into Overwatch hard, but if I play until bedtime, I end up seeing the fast pace action when I shut my eyes. It's no good.
So sometimes I just need to cleanse the pallet and play something light before bed. Y'know what's a good game for that? Kirby's Adventure.
I didn't actually play the old 8-bit Kirby games when they were new. In fact, I didn't really explore the Kirby series until the Dream Collection was released on Wii. I remember finding a brand new sealed copy of the big box edition on a deep discount. I kind of wish I hadn't been so hasteful in getting rid of that thing - it seems to go for a much prettier penny these days. But alas, I'm fickle. Live and learn.
That said, Kirby's Adventure is one of the Switch Online "free" NES games so I kind of stumbled into playing it again last night. It's been a good five or more years since I last played it and once again I was impressed.
HAL Labs really knew how to squeeze a lot out of minimal hardware. On that note, anyone who hasn't played their Ghostbusters game on Game Boy needs to rectify that. But I'm not talking about Ghostbusters, I'm talking about Kirby's Adventure.
I don't know how you could discuss this game without using the word CHARM. It oozes charm. It's just a wonderfully cute game that makes me smile. But what's most impressive is how much is going on here. Sure it's a late NES game, but still. I'm amazed at all the crazy detail and the mechanic of swallowing enemies to gain their powers - it's just great stuff.
I doubt I'll play this one through to the end however. Not that I'm not enjoying myself. I am big time. But like I said, this is more of a twenty minute pallet cleanser game for me. Cute, lighthearted, fun and most importantly - devoid of the stress that comes from playing a more competitive game.
Miami Law is a 2009 DS game published by Gaijinworks - the first game for Vic Ireland's new company after Working Designs. What makes this interesting is that WD never published on any Nintendo systems. And I'm pretty sure Gaijinworks avoided Nintendo after this one. Huh. At any rate, Miami Law is a sort of point-n-click adventure game, and a sort of visual novel, and it has various puzzle and shooting segments. Think of it as a kind of budget meshing of Vice City and Snatcher. Although that might be overselling it. The gameplay changes from moment to moment, as does the quality of the gameplay and writing; as does the level of fun.
The adventure/GN side of the game feels akin to something like Hotel Dusk, though not really as deep. There is some impressive depth to the size of the fictional Miami and the cast of characters. But the problem is that at times any illusion of choice is shattered by how utterly linear it really is. While investigating a case, you might want to go to one location you feel interested in, only to be told "I shouldn't go there right now." The times where you ARE genuinely given a true choice can sometimes result in a swift game over, forcing you to go back and make the right decision instead. This wouldn't be so bad, but sometimes you're forced to go back a big chunk of time which is tedious.
The game also wastes your time in how you move through the world. For instance, let's say I need to go talk to the chief at the Miami PD. I'll need to click "Move To," then select "Miami PD." Then I'll be outside the building and I need to click "Move To," and "Enter," and remember which floor so "Main Floor." Then I'm on the main floor. "Move To," "Chief's Office," "Enter," and finally "Talk to," and "Chief." WORSE is when this results in him just telling me to meet him down in the investigations room instead, and more clicking multiple times to get there. It just seems like it's there to pad things out. I suppose that's necessary in a linear game like this. There's only five missions, and I've done the first three and each clock in at about an hour. That includes the extraneous clicking.
PUZZLES are a big mixed bag as well. There are some that feel like actual puzzles, but others are definitely just there to kill some brief time. Hacking computers literally involve typing a code you're given into a keypad. It's nothing. Another involved using the stylus to "cut" some rope. There's a lot of stuff that's just tapping on the screen - I guess to remind you that you're DS has a touchscreen. There's some shoot/duck/reload parts that are mildly fun, I guess in lieu of Snatcher's legit lightgun sections.
In light of all this, I think there's actually a somewhat interesting and fun game buried under these complaints. The story and dialogue are super pulpy. Like an edgier version of Miami Vice. And it is weird to be playing a VN with these anime looking line drawings talking about drugs in suitcases and everything. To some degree, this game is almost in the realm of so-bad-it's-good. Or at least it's odd enough that I am compelled to see the story through to the end, which I'm pretty sure is only two hours away if HLTB is to be believed.