Thursday, January 26, 2017

Shall We Do It? (Boxlife and The Starship Damrey plus Kirby: Planet Robobot and Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World demos)

Although I've spent more time with Dragon Quest VII in the last couple of weeks than I've spent with the games discussed here, I'm going to save my comments about the former for my inevitable review of it. (Yes, this means I'm that close to finishing Dragon Quest VII's main campaign--thanks to putting more than 25 hours into it since 2017 started.)

Plus, I think I've said more than enough about my Dragon Quest VII playthrough up to this point. And then there's the fact that I've had so much fun with all of the games named in this post's headline that I'd rather write about them instead.

Boxlife--Who could've thought that a game about putting together boxes would wind up being fun? Besides the folks at skip Ltd., the makers of Boxlife (Hacolife in Japan), I mean.

Actually, let me step back a bit and revise my comment about this DSiWare (don't worry, you can still buy it from every region's 3DS eShop) title being fun. A more accurate way to describe it would be "enjoyably frantic," or maybe, "challenging--sometimes in a way that makes you chuckle, and sometimes in a way that makes you want to crush your DSi or 3DS system beneath the heel of a heavy boot."

OK, so, yes, Boxlife occasionally will cause you to lose your cool, but the good news here is you'll usually walk away from those occasions feeling like whatever mistakes you made during your last round were your fault, not the fault of "cheap" artificial intelligence.

At any rate, my advice to anyone who buys Boxlife after reading this write-up: stick with it. The game's "factory mode," especially, may drive you batty at first, but spend some time with its "R&D mode" and things eventually will click. That's when Boxlife's brilliance really hits you and makes you happy you dropped $4.99 (or whatever it costs in your neck of the woods) on it.

Kirby: Planet Robobot demo--It's been a while since I played a Kirby game. In fact, I think the last one I properly put through its paces was Kirby's Return to Dream Land for the Wii. I intended to follow up that experience by buying the pink puff's first 3DS offering (Triple Deluxe), but for whatever reason I never got around to it. When a demo was made available for that title's sequel, though, I decided I had to try it.

Now that I have, I'm itching to give the full game a go. Why? For starters, Planet Robobot focuses on what every Kirby game since the first (that would be 1992's Dream Land for GameBoy) has focused on: having fun. And by that, of course, I mean having a blast inhaling enemies and then taking on and using their special abilities against other foes. Planet Robobot also is a real looker, with candy-coated visuals that are as likely as the title's gameplay to bring a smile to your face.

Most importantly, though, this effort positively differentiates itself from past entries in the series by tossing something decidedly new at players: colorful mech suits that Kirby can pilot. Without fail, they're overpowered, but that's surely the point. Regardless, it's a blast climbing into one and then basically having your way with the rest of that part of the stage, and I look forward to finding out how they impact the overall adventure this time around.

The Starship Damrey--Although I've thoroughly enjoyed all of the Guild series games I've played so far (and that includes Aero Porter, Attack of the Friday Monsters!, Crimson Shroud and Weapon Shop de Omasse), I spent a long time dragging my feet in regard to The Starship Damrey.

I ignored it for a few reasons, of course, with one being that I've never been a big fan of games that have to be played from a first-person perspective and another being that a few folks told me The Starship Damrey was short and not worth my while. I'm glad I pushed aside both roadblocks late last year and bought this digital title while it was on sale, because the two hours I've devoted to it in the last week or so have been beyond intriguing.

If you don't know much about The Starship Damrey, the gist is that basically plops you into a seemingly abandoned spaceship and then tasks you with figuring out why you're there and what's happened to your crewmates. Oh, and you do this using a handful of robots that are placed around said ship, as you're unable to get out of the bed you wake up in at the start of the game.

Anyway, I have no idea how close I am to figuring out the mystery at the heart of The Starship Damrey (I just passed the two-hour mark last night), but even if I accomplish that feat in the next hour, I know I'll walk away from the game feeling I got more than my money's worth with it.

Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World demo--I've been of two minds about this 3DS port of Good-Feel's undeniably adorable Wii U platformer since it was first revealed last fall.

At first, I was thrilled I'd finally be able to give it a go (as I don't own a Wii U and I loved the developer's similarly crafty Kirby's Epic Yarn) while on the go. Later, my enthusiasm faltered when I decided Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World's visuals were far less impressive than I initially imagined them to be.

Well, things took a turn back toward "OK, I'm buying this sucker ASAP" after I played the game's demo--a few times over, at that--over the weekend. When seen on an actual 3DS screen, Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World looks almost shockingly good. More importantly, it feels shockingly good, too, and that's true whether you experience it on an original 3DS or a New 3DS. (I played through the demo twice using both systems. )

If you're a frame-rate snob, you'll want to make sure you own a New 3DS, but rest assured you'll still have a blast with it if you only have access to an OG system.

See also: 'Are we f$%kin' there yet? (or, more thoughts on Dragon Quest VII after spending 40-plus hours with the 3DS remake)'

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