Monday, August 03, 2015

Shall We Do It? (Contact, The Legend of Kusakari, Penguin no Mondai: Saikyou Penguin Densetsu! and Rhythm Tengoku: The Best Plus)

I've played a lot of games since I last published one of these "Shall We Do It?" posts (which happened all the way back on June 22, incidentally enough), so I figured now would be as good a time as any to get off my lazy butt and work up another.

As for which games I've played in the last month-plus and what I think about those experiences, here are all of (or at least most of) the relevant details:

Contact (DS)--Yes, I'm still plugging away at this always intriguing and sometimes infuriating adventure. Or at least I was plugging away at it until about a week ago. That's when I reached what I believe is the game's final location, and after spending a few hours grinding (the enemies in this level are quite a bit tougher than the ones I had to deal with previously), I basically chickened out on taking on the last boss.

The plan at the moment is to take care of him (or her, or whatever it may be) in the next few weeks, after I wrap up my playthrough of Penguin no Mondai: Saikyou Penguin Densetsu! (see below for more on that title), but who knows if I'll actually follow through with that.

I don't suppose any of you can provide me with any motivation here? I mean, will Contact's ending make my gargantuan effort thus far worthwhile, or will it make me wish I'd never shoved its cartridge into my trusty 3DS?

The Legend of Kusakari (3DS)--If you've never heard of this one, it's a 3DS eShop that's only seen the light of day in Japan so far. I picked up last week because it was cheap (just 300 yen, which is about $2.50) and because Brian, the proprietor of the Japanese 3DS tumblog, has said interesting things about it since it was released a couple of months ago.

Speaking of which, Brian recently described The Legend of Kusakari as being a "fun cross between the 80s ZX Spectrum lawnmower simulators and A Link to the Past," and even though I've sadly never played any ZX Spectrum lawnmower simulators, I definitely can see where he's coming from with this association.

After all, The Legend of Kusakari basically involves whacking away at clumps of grass, à la A Link to the Past, while bystanders and baddies block your path (both of them can cause you harm) and a timer ticks away.

No one is going to accuse this digital title of being an overly deep experience, but it's fun and cute and has a wonderfully weird soundtrack, so for me it's more than worth its bargain-basement price tag.

Penguin no Mondai: Saikyou Penguin Densetsu! (DS)--It's funny that I mentioned the Japanese 3DS tumbler's Brian in the segment above, as he's responsible for me playing this game, too. (Here's some more information on why that is, if you're at all curious.)

Although he deserves a hearty pat on the back for both introductions, that's especially true when it comes to Penguin no Mondai, which is a surprisingly enjoyable--and adorable--Metroidvania that was developed (I believe) and published by Konami.

In fact, my only complaint about this action-heavy DS release is that its protagonist--a roly-poly penguin--is made of polygons rather than sprites, which is what was used to construct pretty much every other component of Saikyou Penguin Densetsu!

Other than that little niggle, though, I've really gotten a kick out of the handful of hours I've put into this game in the last few weeks. I especially like how you regularly encounter various minibosses--which also are penguins, by the way--that offer up their outfits and weapons upon being defeated. From then on, you can mix and match their swag to alter your move set, health, power, defense and more.

Anyway, I've had such a blast with it that I'm planning to pick up the other Penguin no Mondai games Konami made for the DS as soon as is possible.

Rhythm Tengoku: The Best Plus (3DS)--Sure, I've put a lot of time into all of the previously mentioned games in the past month or so, but this is the one that's taken up the lion's share of my attention during that span. Specifically, I've plopped over 13 hours into my copy of The Best Plus since it arrived on our doorstep at the end of June.

As you may have heard, this iteration of Rhythm Heaven features a story (which a lot of long-time fans seem to hate), 70 "old" mini-games and about 30 new ones. I've now experienced--and "beaten"--all of them, along with their corresponding remixes. In fact, I gleefully encountered its ending credit roll this time last weekend.

So, what do I think of this iteration of Nintendo's fabulous series of music-focused games? I think it more than holds its own with its predecessors, for starters. Admittedly, the story does slow things down at first, and it takes far too long to get to this version's remixes (as well as a number of its new mini-games, a couple of which are as good as any that have appeared in past Rhythm Tengoku titles), but even then it's a joy to behold.

I'll say more in the "Great Gaymathon" review of The Best Plus that should be published late this week or early next, but in the meantime, just know that I highly recommend buying this game if you have a 3DS that's capable of playing Japanese carts. And if you don't, well, here's hoping the powers that be at Nintendo do the right thing and bring it to other regions sooner rather than later.

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

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