Thursday, June 05, 2014

Shall We Do It? (THE 'DENPA' MEN 3, Etrian Odyssey IV, Final Fantasy Adventure and Nontan to Issho: Kuru Kuru Puzzle)

I've got to be honest here: I haven't had a ton of time to play games since I published the last installment of "Shall We Do It?" a week ago. I believe I spent just enough time with the games mentioned above and below, though, to share at least a few thoughts on them here. So, let's get to it, shall we?

THE "DENPA" MEN 3 (3DS)--Speaking of the above, I only played this 3DS eShop RPG for an hour or so this past week. I would've spent more time with it, but ... I'm kind of lost. I'm guessing it's nothing a quick trip to GameFAQs couldn't help me through, but the fact is I'm not sure I'm interested enough in what's going on right now to bother perusing that site.

As for why that is, well, a big part of it is that THE "DENPA" MEN 3 is starting to feel an awful lot like THE "DENPA" MEN 2-- and I don't necessarily mean that in a good way. Way too many battles pop up while traversing part three's overworld, for starters--and this is coming from someone who usually likes grinding while playing RPGs. (I voiced a similar complaint while attempting to work my way through part two last year.) Combine that with the fact that it can be difficult to know where you're supposed to go to advance the story--even with the game literally pointing you in the general direction--and you've got a not-always-pleasant experience that sometimes veers directly into annoying territory.

Does that mean I'm through with THE "DENPA" MEN 3? Not at all. In fact, I'm going to do my best to put a good dent in it during the next week and a half. Should I get stuck again, though, or should that "good dent" not be enough to fully engage me in this game, I wouldn't be surprised if I gave up on it well in advance of the ending credits (just as I did with its predecessor).

Etrian Odyssey IV (3DS)--Although I think there's also a chance that I'll give up on Etrian Odyssey IV before I encounter its end credits, I have a feeling I'll find a way to finish it--and hopefully in the next week or two.

I'm still meandering my way through what I believe is its final dungeon, by the way--or maybe it's the dungeon that leads to the final dungeon? Regardless, I'm seemingly about halfway through it now. (I'm just about to start the third section--I think.) Like I said in my last "Shall We Do It?" post, I'm not at all sure why this game's designers or developers decided to make players go through portions of previously visited (and beaten) dungeons at the end of the adventure. For me, that's about the worst kind of buzzkill you can throw at me as a title nears its climax. In fact, I usually want and expect the opposite out of an RPG's closing salvo--as in, new enemies, new environments and new experiences. Otherwise, it can feel like a slog--as it is in Etrian Odyssey IV right now.

Final Fantasy Adventure (GameBoy)--It may sound strange, but I'm currently enjoying this "old" RPG--which is the first Mana, or Seiken Densetsu, game, in case you haven't heard already--far more than I'm enjoying either of the other, more modern examples of the genre that I just mentioned.

That said, I do have a few critiques to level against it. One such critique: it's far too easy to get lost within its dungeons and even while exploring its overworld. In fact, I found myself lost on three occasions the last time I played it (last weekend), and only one instance could've been blamed on my own ignorance. (As in, I forgot that I could use my battle axe to chop down trees to access otherwise off-limits areas.)

Speaking of getting lost on this game's overworld, the map that's made available by pressing the GameBoy's "Select" button is some kind of cruel joke, right? I mean, what's the point of it otherwise? Sure, it displays towns and a few other points of interest while also showing the player's proximity to them, but that's about it. It's so bare bones that I'm honestly confused as to why it was included.

Other than the above, though, I'm really, really digging this portable adventure--which is one part Final Fantasy and one part Zelda, if you've yet to play it yourself--and I fully expect to "beat" it before long (and most likely before I beat either of the aforementioned titles).

Nontan to Issho: Kuru Kuru Puzzle (GameBoy)--Those of you who've actually heard of this adorable import-only puzzler deserve some sort of prize. Sadly, I'm all out of prizes at the moment, so, uh, give yourself a pat on the back?

Anyway, I started playing this one after my blogging friend and podcast cohort Anne Lee announced her #PuzzleMonth game-along event a couple of days ago. (Go here to learn more about it.)

If this is the first you've heard of Kuru Kuru Puzzle, for the most part it's your typical match-three--or in the case of this game, match-two--puzzle game. It does offer up a slight twist on the tried-and-true formula, though; that being that the tiles can't be rotated as they can in other such games. Rather, they can be flipped--with the image on the flipped side generally being an alternate take of the previous side's imagery. (Examples: a whole apple and a half of an apple, a fish and fish bones, etc.)

It's not what I would call a mind-blowing change to the genre, mind you, but it definitely helps make this particular game just interesting enough to be worthwhile for folks who like puzzlers that require them to match tiles.

Finally, a couple of fun facts about Kuru Kuru Puzzle: the cat with the fly-catcher mouth that serves as this game's protagonist also served as the protagonist of a series of children's picture books first published in Japan in 1976, according to this HardcoreGaming101 article. Also, the folks behind the Pokémon series, Game Freak, developed a Super Famicom version of this game. (Some company called Access made the GameBoy iteration.)

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


Justin Difazzio said...

That screen shot of Final Fantasy Advance! Umm...I need to find that game ASAP. said...

Yep, you do, Justin! It's a lot of fun despite a few quibbles :)

Zaphod65 said...

I had the original boxes for most of my GB games until the lady in the apartment above managed to flood her place last year and send water down into my apartment. The boxes were ruined, but I was able to save the overworld map that came with Final Fantasy Adventure. said...

Oh, that's terrible, Terry! Also, it seems I have to pick up a complete copy of FFA sometime soon, as that map sounds invaluable!

Zaphod65 said...

It looks like this: said...

Awesome! Thanks, Terry. I'm still going to pick up a complete copy of this one sooner rather than later, though :)

Matt S said...

Funny you mention FFA - I actually liked the FF Legends games on the Gameboy. I have been hoping and praying that Square Enix brings them to the 3DS Virtual Console, but that's looking unlikely now, I guess :-( said...

Oh, yes, I really liked the FF Legends games, too -- or at least the first two. (I'm going to give the third one a second shot sometime soon.) As for any/all of these games being released for the 3DS Virtual Console: I'd love for that to happen, too, although I don't know how likely it is at this point :|