After finishing The Outer Worlds, I needed something very very different to unwind with before bed, so I looked through the Switch Online SNES app and stumbled upon Super Puyo Puyo 2. I'm certainly a fan of Puyo games. I've played many of them, be it in Mean Bean form or meshed with Tetris or I don't know. I've played a bunch of them over the years on many systems and with many names.
Super Puyo Puyo 2 was released for the Super Famicom in 1995, and apparently never made its way to the west on SNES. Personally, I love that Nintendo has been dripping feeding us some imports on the Switch Online app over the years. Even when they don't localize them - like in this case - it's still really neat to get some interesting and previously unreleased in the region games like this on top of your usual Marios and Donkey Kongs.
That said, Puyo 2 is fine. It's Puyo Puyo, which means it's good. But it's also been absolutely eclipsed by later games in the series. So I mean, I'm having a good enough time playing it, but I can't really see any reason that I'd return to this installment when I've got other better iterations (Puyo Tetris) that I could be playing instead.
But I don't know. I'll probably still try to finish playing this little story mode that I've started. I think it's story mode - I can't read any of the menu text.
Alright, so I played through the arcade mode, which probably cost me a couple of "dollars" in free credits via continues. And overall, Puyo 2 is a good game. Though, not really great. It's Puyo Puyo - but I'm not sure why I'd choose to play this one over any other entry in the series. I did think some of the little enemies were cute and funny, and it's a bit crazy that the end boss is Satan.
But I also found that playing smart - IE, stacking up combos - didn't really help me, and instead the best bet was to play defensively and just let the enemies tire themselves out. That made the arcade mode feel a little shallow to me. It's probably better against a human opponent. But again, there's better Puyos out there for that. Heck, Puyo Tetris 2 is coming out soon even.
My wife and I used to play games together quite often, but now that we've got a little one in the house, finding time to do so has been a bit more difficult. There's always things to be done. And when we have time to crash and relax, I tend to play games while she tends to read or watch things. She also tends to go to be earlier than me. (Because she's smarter than me). But we're trying to squeeze in a single hour GAME NIGHT once a week now. And so we decided to start with Kirby's Epic Yarn - a critically lauded game that I think I picked up super cheap two or three years ago and haven't touched since.
Kirby's Epic Yarn has a completely co-op mode, and while we worried we'd get in each other's way a la New Super Mario Bros Wii, that hasn't really been the case so far. Yes, there's been some accidental picking each other up, but for the most part, it feels more cooperative. Like, I can pick her up and throw her to a higher platform to reach a collectible or something.
It's a super cute game. Which is another way of saying it's a Kirby game, I guess. But the yarn style is great. And man, the Wii still looks impressive over composite. Or component cables? What's the one with the five plugs instead of three? I'm blanking here.
Our only real complaint thus far is all the BS in between levels. There's a dude that wants us to decorate an apartment with furniture, but we don't care. Also, between every level it feels like the game has to LOAD and SAVE multiple times which kills the momentum. But the actual meat of the game is pretty fun. Not overly hard, though sometimes slightly frustrating. The riding balloons to the top of a stage was annoying. And the lava rising level got frantic toward the end - which may have been easier in a single player game.
But overall, it seems fun so far. At least an hour in.
Our second hour into Epic Yarn was a bit less fun. There's a lot of parts with precise platforming that would be fun and challenging with one player, but a total annoyance with two players because if one of us misses a jump, we'll both have to go back and start the section over. At some points, we'd just pick each other up and carry the other person through a section, which kind of kills the point of co-op.
Then - THEN - there was a section where we turned into a train and you have to use the Wii remote to "paint" train tracks which was a total mess. We got pretty frustrated with that part and I don't know. I think our opinion has gone way down on this game. Which is a shame because the fun parts really are fun, but the annoying parts are REALLY annoying.
As much as I loved Skyrim (which was a lot), I never got into the Fallout games. Which is slightly weird, because I'm more of a sci-fi fan than a fantasy fan. But the thing is, the Fallout games always looked a little weird to me. The whole post-apocalyptic setting didn't do much to entice me. But when The Outer Worlds was announced for Switch? A whole different story. Because this one - while hyped as Obsidian's kinda sorta Fallout spiritual successor - mostly looked TO ME like it was Skyrim In Space.
I'm a few hours in now, and Skyrim in space is a pretty good description. Sure, the dialogue is a little sillier. But the UI and the way items and weapons work; the skill tree; the companions; the quests - everything has a very familiar feel to me. In a good way. And like Skyrim, this is a big giant open world that's full of freedom. Your choices really matter in the story, and HOW you choose to approach any challenge is up to you.
As a quick example, while exploring one planet I walked into a camp of enemies without realizing it. They spotted me before I did they. I quickly realized I was outnumbered, so just ran the heck out of there. And they gave up chase. Very Skyrim. Know when to hold em, and so on.
The interesting battle mechanic is that you can slow down time, briefly. This skill is on a recharge, so you need to use it wisely. This adds plenty of depth in how you approach a fight.
As far as the story goes, normally I play very "the right way." I'm usually all about making the best ethical choices I can in games like this. But right now, I just don't have the time to care as much so I'm approaching it more from a "what's my quickest solution" route. I guess I'm thinking of my unfrozen astronaut (Newt) as a bit of a neutral character. I don't want to get dragged into the politics of these planets. I just want to get myself out of here alive.
To some degree, I'm a loner, Dotty - a rebel. But I have two crew mates along with me for the ride so far because we could all use some help. But ultimately, I'm approaching this story so differently than how I normally play such games. Whatever it takes to survive, that's what I'm doing.
But the game is definitely got its hooks in me. Sometimes I'm not sure how much I'm "into" it. As I've said, the story doesn't really "matter" to me, in the sense that I don't really care what route I get dragged down. But then I realize that an hour has flow by in a blink, and that tells me that this is a really good and compelling sci-fi game.
This game is really really good. And like I said, I'm playing it very differently than how I'd approach most games like this. It's like a super slow speedrun, haha. But the point is, every decision I make is basically about "what's the quickest way to solve this problem?" In that sense, it feels more like a puzzle/adventure game than a first person shooter to me.
As an example, I was doing a quest where I needed to buy a nav ticket for 10,000 bits. That's a lot of bits. Now, I could do a sidequest for the lady (Gladys) to get her to just give me one, but somehow I botched that sidequest. So I figured, screw it, I can just turn in this other guy (Phineas) and forget about controlling the story path and see what happens. But when I tried to turn him in, I needed to now buy some report for 8,000 bits - again from Gladys. And again, this is way more bits than I had. So what's the quickest way to fix this? I'll just take out Gladys and steal the papers I needed and save the 8,000 bits. Again, this is the sort of awful thing I'd not normally do in a game. But my first playthrough is sheer chaos. Which makes me think this is the kind of game that's so good, that I'd want to come back to it in the future and do an actual MORAL playthrough of it.
I've been using my skill points to up my conversation and hacking skills. To me, that's making the game hugely fun because it means most of these puzzles I can resolve using my words, or breaking into stuff. At least that's better than innocent bloodshed! Case in point, I needed a sherpa to get me to the next area, and she happens to be a pill popper. The RX had cut her off, so I went over and the pharmacist told me no way. Now, I could have just gone guns blazing to get what I needed but instead I snuck upstairs and broke into the supply closet. Problem solved. This game is really neat.
The more I play The Outer Worlds, the better it gets. I was thinking about it last night, and given the low number of games I've played this year, I think this is now my front-runner for GOTY 2020. This surpasses Hades which I thought would be my favorite. And I'll tell you why: The Outer Worlds feels 100% like Skyrim In Space for me. And I love that. I love that I'm just focusing on the story right now, and doing it dirty, but that I could start a completely different playthrough later and do nothing but explore and ignore the entire story. The world here is amazing and bright and colorful, and the vast cast of NPC's and side-quests (that I'm currently ignoring) means that there's reason to keep exploring this game later and experiencing new things. Much like Skryim. But this one is in space!
Watching the credits roll on The Outer Worlds was bitter sweet. I spent the entirety of my playthrough constantly moving forward at whatever cost. And yet, as it concluded, I felt like I was just really going to miss this world. And that, my friends, is the sign of a good game.
Yes, I've said it from hours earlier in my playthrough, The Outer Worlds is so good that I can myself jumping back in for another - more thoughtful - playthrough of its story. I can see myself jumping back in to actually explore various sidequests. And more likely, I can myself jumping back in just to do nothing and explore the vast world - much like I've done with games like Skyrim or GTA5 - all games I've loved.
The Outer Worlds is a fantastic game. It's one that I'm glad I took a chance on. It's one that will stick with me for a while, and it's easily my 2020 GOTY.
The other game I've been playing lately is Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Yep, I finally took the plunge and have upgraded from Smash U. It's just been so hard to hold out on the hype. And over the weekend there was even a tournament streaming on Nintendo's YT page, so I was really in the mood to get into this one.
I have to admit, the gigantic roster actually sort of intimidated me going in. It's that whole choice paralysis thing. Freedom from choice is what we want! But Nintendo was SUPER smart on this one. They start you off with just eight playable characters, and you slowly unlock new ones as you play. This is a great move as it makes decisions early on easier about who to experiment with.
For instance, in Smash U my go-to was usually Toon Link. But I don't have him here yet. So instead, I started out by just randomly trying whoever until I landed on Pikachu who I REALLY enjoy using. By limiting my choices early on, it made me find a character that I liked enough to learn some moves and now I'm having a blast.
I've unlocked Nes, Bowser, Wii Fit Trainer, Ice Climbers and Donky Kong so far. Maybe someone else? OH! But most importantly, I've unlocked Inkling which made me SOOOO happy as a Splatoon fan. Also, she's quite fun to play as.
So yeah, great game so far and I'm having fun seeing who I'll unlock next. Also, I'm not that great at the game, so it'll be a while before I even think about hopping online.
This game is so great, and there's no shortage of things to do to keep it fresh. I've unlocked quite a few characters already, but it's still just a drop in the bucket. I ran through Pikachu's story more. I spectated an online match and bet on it (and won). I've poked around in the soundtrack music player...
And I love just how customizable everything is. I've set my matches to play more like the sort of tournaments I've seen on YT. Meaning, matches are played with 3 lives stocked, run for 6 minutes, have no items or environmental hazards. And man, just those tweaks have made the experience feel better suited for me.
So far, Pikachu is still my favorite. But like I said, I've just scratched the surface. I'm enjoying playing as Ryu as well right now. Great game. Just a great game.
I am completely and totally hooked on Smash Ultimate. Not only does it feel like the ultimate Smash game, it feels to me like the pinnacle of fighting games. It's like, now that Smash has completely clicked with me, I almost don't know if I could go on and enjoy other fighting games quite as much as I used to.
There's just something so pure about the controls in this game - once they make sense and you've tweaked them as needed. For instance, I turn off the tap-up to jump option. And I make the A and B buttons jumps, while Y is attack and X is special.
Last night I unlocked several more fighters. Of utmost importance to me was Simon Belmont (YES!) and Zero Suit Samus (YES!). But my goodness, I feel like I'll just keep playing this game for a long time. And it'll definitely be something I'll continue to come back to between other games. It's just nice that now I totally GET Smash, whereas before I just thought it was pretty fun.
I completely love this game. I'm still slowly unlocking characters. And I'm having so much fun. Characters I really enjoy, I'll run through the classic mode with. And I've been using any gold I acquire solely to unlock more music. My goodness, the music selection is incredible for video game historians/fans. I feel like this will be one of those games that I'll just play on and off forever.
Well, it took me two weeks, but I finally unlocked all the playable (non-DLC) characters in Smash. It was a good run. And I have to admit that towards the end, I figured out the trick where if you exit the game completely and then restart it after each new challenger round, you'll pretty much be guaranteed a new challenger when you boot it back up, thus expediting the unlock process.
But yeah, this game rules hard and I'm glad I finally got into it. Now seems like a good spot to take a break from Smash and play something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT and then come back to it later with the intention of messing around online. Oh, and I'm pretty sure now that my favorite fighter to main is Ryu. I think he's overtaken Pikachu. And oddly, I don't even seem to click with Toon Link anymore who was my favorite in Smash U. Weird.
Madden NFL 13 is an important release if you're a Nintendo fan who enjoys football games. Why? Because it's the last time that EA cared enough to port a Madden game to a Nintendo system. Which is weird to me. Madden's huge. Nintendo's huge. Heck, they're still pumping out crappy versions of their FIFA games on Switch these days.
But the thing about Madden 13 is that they actually put effort into that one. Sure, it was lacking the advanced physics engine of the PS3/360 versions. But it offered other unique benefits via the Wii U's Gamepad. So outside of some cool looking animations, it was not only a fully featured Madden game, it was actually a more robust release than on other consoles.
Sadly - and as we all know - the Wii U didn't have the best install base. That's putting it gently. But for those of us who are fans of Nintendo's 'failure,' the library is rich with fantastic releases, including some very interesting ports such as this one.
I've decided to start career mode using a bit of alternate history. Think of it like I'm playing fan fiction here. Because in THIS version of Madden 13 that I'm playing, Jason Street was never paralized. Instead, he suffered a high school injury but went on to play college football in North Texas. He was never QUITE the same, though. Some of his confidence was gone. He recognized his own fragility as a human. Yet, he was drafted as a last pick by the New England Patriots. And that's where our story begins.
The pre-season has been a little rough. Street can't seem to get out of his own head. And the unfortunate side-effect is that he's constantly throwing interceptions or getting sacked. Yup. This is going to be a real trial by fire. Especially given that he's living in the shadow of Tom Brady, who is very much still a Patriot in 2013. Hopefully Street can shake his nerves out and earn himself some game minutes by the time the season proper begins.