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?