Thursday, October 08, 2015

A few more thoughts on The Legend of Legacy demo now that I've put almost nine hours into it

Actually, I've put "just" eight hours and 40 minutes into the Legend of Legacy demo thus far, but it's easier to say "almost nine" in a blog headline so that's what I went with here.

With that out of the way, some of you probably are wondering how on earth I could spend nearly nine hours playing this upcoming 3DS game's downloadable teaser. That's surprisingly easy to explain, actually. In fact, here are six reasons that just popped into my head:

It allows you to play as a frog--OK, so anyone who's at all paid attention to The Legend of Legacy's development or release probably knows that one of the game's potential party members is a frog. Unsurprisingly, he's been my "main" for the entire eight-plus hours I've spent with this demo since I nabbed it from the 3DS eShop a couple of weeks ago. (If you're wondering who my second-favorite character is at the moment, that would be the saucy Eloise.)

It features some deliciously "old school" RPG fights--I know a lot of gamers have moved on from turn-based battles, but I still love them. Not only that, but I still prefer them to the kind of MMO-esque battles that are at the heart of so many modern RPGs (like Fantasy Life and Xenoblade Chronicles). Anyway, if you, too, are a fan of turned-based battles, you should get a kick out of that particular component of The Legend of Legacy.

Its battle scenes also call to mind SaGa Frontier--Kind of. Like the ones that serve as the centerpiece of that PlayStation classic, this current 3DS offering's fight scenes are far more thrilling that your run-of-the-mill ones thanks to the random bursts of light that signify one of your party members has learned a new move. Sadly, The Legend of Legacy's battles aren't as kaleidoscopically complex as those in SaGa Frontier. Specifically, the former don't allow you to produce the eye-popping combos that help make the latter such a joy to experience.

Its soundtrack is the definition of sublime--Considering how many game soundtracks he's worked on over the years, it's a crying shame that this is the first time I've heard any of Masashi Hamauzu's music. The stuff he created for The Legend of Legacy is so lovely, though, that there's no doubt in my mind I'll keep an ear out for additional examples of his work in the following months and years. Thankfully, I can turn to a few games already in my collection if I want to accomplish that quickly and easily, as it appears he had a hand in Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon (PlayStation), SaGa Frontier 2 (PlayStation), Unlimited SaGa (PS2) and Sigma Harmonics (DS)--all of which I've owned for some time now.

It's shockingly light on story--In fact, I'm not even sure I'd say The Legend of Legacy's demo includes a story. Sure, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cut scene kicks things off, but after that the focus is squarely on making maps and battling baddies. Which is fine with me, as I happen to be one of those crotchety "old" gamers who believe today's RPGs are far too wordy. Mind you, I won't mind at all if a smidgen more of a story pops up in the full retail release of this Atlus-published title, but I also won't mind if that aspect stays as lean and mean as it is in this bite-sized version.

It's obtuse as all get-out--OK, so I'm not sure I should point to this as a positive. That said, there's something kind of cool about playing an RPG that treats you like you have a brain, don't you think? Or maybe I should say it treats you like you're smart enough to track down an online FAQ or to ask your Twitter followers for helpful advice. I also like that there's an air of the first Dragon Quest to this demo. It plops you into The Legend of Legacy's diminutive world and says "figure it out" before hightailing it out of there like it's late for a dinner date.

Have any of you played The Legend of Legacy demo? If so, what did you think of it? Did it leave you feeling desperate for the game's full retail release (due out next week in North America), or did it leave you feeling kind of cold? However you may feel about this 3DS teaser, let me know about it in the comments section below.

See also: 'While we wait for me to get off my lazy butt and begin to play The Legend of Legacy, let's drool over its lovely packaging'

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Has any game ever looked as frightening *and* adorable as Nippon Ichi's Yomawari?

Seriously. Just look at this new trailer (below) for Nippon Ichi's Yomawari.

At first glance, it appears to be a cute, but dark, adventure game for the Vita. Then the enemies start popping around (around the 1:25 mark) and everything literally goes to hell.

As much as those hungry, toothy eyeballs scare the bejesus out of me, though, I'm going to do my best to play Yomawari as soon as my pre-ordered copy arrives on my doorstep.

That won't happen until sometime in early November, sadly, as the game doesn't hit Japanese store shelves until Oct. 29 and it'll take my purchase at least a week (if not two) to make its way to me.

I don't mind as much as I may be letting on, though, as the delay will give me plenty of time to figure out how I'm going to keep a grip on my precious pink-and-white Vita whenever one of Yomawari's adorable-yet-frightening baddies surprises me with its presence.

Are any of you similarly curious--if also a smidge apprehensive--about this upcoming spookfest? If so, please tell me why in the comments section below.

See also: previous posts about Yomawari

Monday, October 05, 2015

Photographic proof that, even when it comes to game-related pickups, bigger isn't always better

You know that ages-old saying, "big things come in small packages"? (Some of you may know it as "good things come in small packages.")

Well, I'm now a firm believer in it being applicable to game-related pickups as well as all sorts of other life situations.

This revelation was brought about by the surprisingly small package that can be seen in the photo below, by the way. (Look past the copy of Mr Driller: Drill Spirits, which I included so as to provide a proper sense of scale.)

The package in question was just (or, rather, over the weekend) delivered to my doorstep, and it contains a surprising amount of gaming goodness.

As for exactly what that gaming goodness entails, I'm sorry to do this, but I'm going to leave that for an upcoming post. Not because I'm a fan of teasing people who happen upon my blog with overly vague write-ups like this one, mind you. No, I'm doing it because I haven't yet taken--and properly prepared--photos of its this box's contents.

Still, I wanted to publish a note (and photo) about its arrival because it has me feeling more excited than I have in quite some time.

In the meantime, you could always try to guess what's inside this tiny package. Or you can wait a week or so until I share this post's follow-up.

If you decide to go with the second option, maybe you can tell me (and everyone else who reads this write-up) about any game-related pickups that have thrilled you in recent weeks?

Friday, October 02, 2015

Another Year of the GameBoy: Pri Pri Primitive Princess! (Sunsoft, 1990)

I think I may be the only person on earth who even slightly enjoys Sunsoft's Pri Pri Primitive Princess! for the GameBoy.

OK, so that's probably overstating things a bit, but it's an easy overstatement to make considering every person I've chatted with on line about this game and every review of it I've read (here's one example) has ripped it to shreds.

Granted, I'm overly fond of the single-screen platformer genre, which includes such all-time classics as Bubble Bobble, Don Doko Don, Snow Bros. and many others. 

In other words, I may be more willing than most to give a rather rough offering a break. 

It helps, of course, that Pri Pri's gameplay seems to have been inspired by one of my favorite single-screen platformers, The Berlin Wall

Don't take that as me saying Pri Pri is anywhere near as polished as that Kaneko-made quarter-muncher (which earned a rather wonderful Game Gear port). Still, my experience with the former hasn't been as tortuous as that of many others.

And even if Pri Pri Primitive Princess is a turd, it's a turd wrapped in some rather beautiful paper, don't you think?

I especially love its cover art, which can be seen in the first two photos that kick off this blog post.

This Japan-only GameBoy title from 1990 also sports an impressively produced instruction manual, as evidenced by the snapshot above.

It's not quite at the level as, say, Konagi's Famicom games or Taito's PC Engine efforts from the same period, but it's still pretty great.

Another aspect of Pri Pri's packaging that earns brownie points from me is that the little flaps that help keep its box closed are branded with adorable illustrations.

Oh, and the striped, kaleidoscopic logo that's not too far away is kind of cool, too, if you ask me.

So, what do you think? Do Pri Pri Primitive Princess' box, cartridge and manual help make up for the fact that its gameplay isn't as compelling as could be? Or do you think all of the above are on the "meh" side, too?

See also: previous 'Year of the GameBoy' and 'Another Year of the GameBoy' posts

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Shall We Do It? (Danganronpa, The Legend of Legacy demo and Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits)

Now that I've wrapped up my many-hours-long playthroughs of 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors and Hotel Dusk (read my impressions of this pair of top-shelf DS games here and here), I'm finally spending time with some other titles I've been eyeing up for ages.

Specifically, I'm spending time with Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, The Legend of Legacy demo that hit the 3DS eShop last week and Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits.

Here are a few thoughts on the above-mentioned games based on my recent experiences with them:

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (Vita)--I started playing this Vita-based visual novel earlier this year but then moved it to the back burner because ... actually, I have no idea what prompted me to walk away from it for a bit.

Regardless, I’m back to playing it again—although I’ve got to admit I’m only doing so in fits and spurts at the moment. (You can blame that on The Legend of Legacy demo that commandeered my attention shortly after I downloaded it late last week. Thankfully, I think I’ve nearly exhausted that teaser’s content, so my schedule should open up again shortly.)

Anyway, the few hours I’ve played of Danganronpa since I wrapped up 999 a couple of weeks back have been pretty darn enjoyable. In large part, that's because I really like this game’s unsettling atmosphere. Its jazzy, low-key soundtrack is partially responsible, too.

One aspect of Danganronpa that I’m currently reveling in and reviling in equal measure is its free-roaming nature. On the one hand, I love being able to move around as I please, but on the other, that flexibility makes it easy to get lost—or at least become confused as to where I'm supposed to go or what I'm supposed to do next.

Of course, that’s a problem I've had with every single visual novel I’ve played to date, so maybe I shouldn't point to it as an example of something that's wrong with this particular example of the genre.

I'd recommend taking all of the above with at least a medium-sized grain of salt, by the way. I still have a long way to go before I see Danganronpa's credit roll, so it's more than possible my opinions of this much-acclaimed game will change between now and then.

The Legend of Legacy demo (3DS)--In the six days since I downloaded this demo, I've put nearly five hours into it.

That alone should indicate how much I'm digging it, as only the most special of games are able to grab that much of my attention these days.

So, which of The Legend of Legacy's components are most responsible for me feeling so gaga about it at the moment? One would be the map-drawing focus of its overworld and another would be the strategic, turn-based nature of its fights, that's for sure.

Speaking of The Legend of Legacy's overworld, I've become similarly enamored with the pop-up effect that's used with such confidence in each and every area you're tasked with exploring within this demo. I'm sure some will find it maddening, but I think it meshes well with the rest of the game's coloring-book aesthetic.

So, which of this FuRyu-made and Atlus-published (in North America) RPG's many components have yet to trip my trigger, as that quaint old saying goes? The best example I can come up with is its character designs. Although I love the frog prince, Filmia, and the bosomy Amazon, Eloise, I find the rest of this game's potential party members to be a snooze.

Sadly, I consider even the most boring character designs to be downright thrilling when compared to the majority of The Legend of Legacy's enemy designs. A few of the bosses showcased in the demo are OK, but the rest of what's on offer here is blah at best and tragic at worst.

All that said, I'm very much looking forward to getting my hands on the full, retail version of The Legend of Legacy halfway through October. I don't suppose any of you are in the same boat?

Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits (DS)--I've got to be honest here: when I bought Drill Spirits, I did so expecting not to like it very much. My previous experiences with the Mr. Driller series left me cold, mainly because they made me think there was absolutely no depth to its gameplay.

Still, I've always loved the series' protagonist, Susumu Hori, and I've also always loved its Candy Land graphics, so I picked up Drill Spirits in the hopes that they would prompt me to fall in love with the rest of what Mr. Driller has to offer.

Has it succeeded? Actually, I think it has. After all, I've devoted more than three hours to Drill Spirits in the last week or so.

An even more impressive feat, if my opinion: all of that time has been spent on the first two of this game's "Mission Driller" stages. (I call that impressive because usually spending such a long time on just two stages would drive me batty--to the point that I'd rather toss the cartridge in the trash than continue to plug away at it.)

I'd say the most positive thing about my playthrough (if it even can be called that) of Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits so far is that it's gotten me to stop thinking of this series as being one full of releases that feature paper-thin gameplay. No, there isn't a ton of depth to be had here, but there's more than initially meets the eye, that's for sure.

Even if that weren't the case, though, I'd still probably get a kick out of Drill Spirits' frenetic excavating action. I don't know that I'd call it fun, exactly, but it's definitely satisfying--especially whenever I'm able to complete a level without any special-item assistance--and that's more than enough for me right now.

See also: previous 'Shall We Do It?' posts

Monday, September 28, 2015

Wait, a Tetris-like Katamari Damacy puzzler hit Nintendo's DSiWare service back in 2009?

In the comments section of my recent post about "book-style" DS games, two fine folks pointed me in the direction of a Giant Bomb write-up that detailed a good number of such releases.

One of the many games highlighted in that post was Korogashi Puzzle Katamari Damacy (or ころがしパズル塊魂).

Unbeknownst to me, the folks at Bandai Namco dropped Korogashi Puzzle Katamari Damacy onto the Japanese DSiWare shop (or whatever the hell it was called) all the way back in 2009.

Given my love of book-style DS games, Katamari Damacy and puzzlers, I nearly fainted when I first became aware of Korogashi Puzzle Katamari Damacy's existence.

Sadly, unless I'm horribly mistaken (someone please tell me if this is the case), Korogashi Puzzle Katamari Damacy never made the leap from the DSiWare shop to the 3DS eShop.

Oh, well, maybe this is just the universe's way of telling me I need to pick up a Japanese DSi pronto?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

WonderSwan doodle

I decided a couple of days ago to start prettying up my workspace. Specifically, I decided I'd produce at least one doodle (on a sticky note, of course) each day and then pin the resulting creation to the padded wall of my cubicle.

The doodle I came up with on Friday focused on a subject that's been bouncing around in my brain for the last few days: Bandai's Japan-only competitor to Nintendo's GameBoy, the uniquely named WonderSwan.

I'm sure many more game-inspired doodles will follow this one in the coming weeks and months, and I'm also sure that I'll share snapshots of at least some of them via Instagram. (Don't worry, future photos should look far better than the washed-out one that follows.)

Speaking of which, my Instagram handle is "rainbow_blight," just in case any of you want to follow me there. 

I regularly use all sorts of other social-media sites and apps, too, by the way--including Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Tumblr and Twitter--so please follow me there (and chat me up now and then) as well if you're into such things.

Other than that, do any of you also have the WonderSwan on the brain at the moment? Or are you otherwise fans of this quirky handheld? If so, please show your love in the comments section below.

See also: previous posts about the WonderSwan