Saturday, March 04, 2017

Shall We Do It? (Go! Go! Kokopolo 3D, Kirby: Planet Robobot and Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World)

My last post focused on impressions of a trio of mobile games: Dandy DungeonForget-Me-Not and Heart Star. I enjoyed all three and solidly recommended each of them as result.

Of course, it's easy to throw your weight behind games that basically are free. (You can hand over money to help you through Dandy Dungeon, but in my experience it's not necessary. Also, you can pay a couple of bucks to remove ads from Heart Star, but otherwise it won't cost you a dime.)

The 3DS titles discussed in this write-up are not so cheap. Go! Go! Kokopolo 3D will set you back just shy of six bucks (or a smidgen over after you factor in taxes), while Kirby: Planet Robobot and Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World will cost you five to seven times that amount (about $30 to $40), depending on where you pick up a copy.

Are they worth those amounts? Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is more than worth its asking price, assuming you tend to like platformers. I'd say the same about Kirby: Planet Robobot if the asking price in question is closer to $30 than $40 and if you're OK with straightforward games that are more about letting go and having fun than they are about uncovering secrets or strategically taking out tough-as-nails foes.

As for Go! Go! Kokopolo 3D, I think I'll make you read the next couple of paragraphs to find out whether I consider its price tag to be just right or a tad too high. And while you're at it, read the paragraphs that follow, too. They'll help explain why I'm so gung ho about Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World and not quite as gung ho about the latest Kirby title.

Go! Go! Kokopolo 3D--Although the original Go! Go! Kokopolo fascinated me when it was released back in 2011, I didn't own a DSi at the time and so had to pass on it. I finally bought it a month or so ago when it dawned on me that it was still available on the Japanese 3DS eShop, though, and after giving this curious "chase 'em up" a thorough once-over I sternly berated myself for ignoring it for so long.

The good news for those of you who are unable to access the first Go! Go! Kokopolo (it was pulled from the European and North American 3DS eShops some time ago for reasons I can't recall): this follow-up is nearly identical to its precursor in terms of looks, sounds and gameplay. Yes, Go! Go! Kokopolo 3D features a ton of new level designs and a pair of additional playable characters, but in general it's almost indistinguishable from Tanukii Studios' first effort.

Which is great--for the most part. I say that because while I adore its aesthetic (seriously, the sprites and backdrops showcased in Go! Go! Kokopolo 3D are of the highest order) and enjoy its classic, Pac-Man-inspired gameplay, I also think it has a tendency to be complicated, confusing--due in large part to its overly long, winding and asymmetrical stages as well as its too-tight camera--and frantic.

In the end, I wish a Go! Go! Kokopolo 3D demo existed so folks could see if it's their cup of tea before handing over hard-earned cash to acquire it. Since that's not the case, my suggestion would be to watch a few videos of the game in action. If what you see seems appealing, you probably won't regret your purchase.

As for me, I'm happy Go! Go! Kokopolo 3D exists and I'm glad it's currently taking up space on my 3DS' home screen, but I'm not sure how much more time I'm going to put into it. I honestly find it a fraction too frenetic at the moment, so for now it's moving to my system's back burner, as the saying goes. I'll do my best to let you know if that changes and this digital title returns to my good graces.

Kirby: Planet Robobot--I wish I could tell you why I passed on Kirby: Triple Deluxe even though it excited me when it was first announced. I guess I just wasn't in the mood for another Kirby game at the time. Hell, I turned my nose up at Planet Robobot well past its release date, too. I only picked up a copy a couple of weeks back because I had some "free" money burning a hole in my pocket and I'd read so many positive assessments of the game that I figured I should break down and give it a go.

Now that I've done just that--and then some (I dropped nine hours into Planet Robobot during my week-long playthrough)--what are my impressions of the experience? For starters, I've got to say it's an audio-visual delight. Many of the stages on offer here (the one featuring giant ice cream cones that fall forward and attempt to impede your progress is a prime example) will make you grin from ear to ear, as will the buoyant tunes that accompany them.

Beyond those admittedly superficial details, this 3DS entry follows in the footsteps of every other worthwhile Kirby title in that it proves to be a blast to play. That's true when it comes to testing out the new copy abilities--I especially got a kick out of the "doctor" and "ESP" ones--and it's even more true when it comes to rampaging through entire sections of a particular stage using the titular Robobot Armor.

The lone complaint I'm willing to level at Planet Robobot: sometimes I wished it were a little less straightforward. So much care was put into ensuring this game was as colorful and charming as can be that it's a real shame you're rarely encouraged or even allowed to slow down and appreciate your surroundings. Still, if you're in the mood for a breezy platformer that won't tax you too much, you could do far worse than purchase Kirby: Planet Robobot.

Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World--It's been a long time since I've fallen in love with a Yoshi game. Although I liked Yoshi's New Island well enough, it pales in comparison to the 16-bit original. The same could be said of Yoshi's Story for the Nintendo 64.

Well, Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is miles better than both of those titles, in my opinion. Not only that, but it's nearly on par with the game that started it all. In a few respects, I'd go so far to say it surpasses that effort. One example: its gameplay. This 3DS title is a bit slower than Island, but it makes up for that possible shortcoming with (seemingly) longer levels that beg to be explored. It also tosses tons of unique and interesting challenges at players. One of my favorites pops up in a stage that forces you to use disappearing Bullet Bill contrails as platforms, although it's just the tip of the iceberg as far as such things are concerned within Woolly World.

Aside from that, Woolly World's crafty art style is to die for (think Kirby's Epic Yarn, but better), its soundtrack is the best since Yoshi's Island and it provides an almost obscene amount of overall content. (I've already put more than 15 hours into the game and I've only just started what I'm pretty sure is its final world.)

For me, Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is the clear winner among the trio of 3DS games discussed here. It's easily the most expensive of the bunch, but in my experience it also provides the most enjoyment.

To those of you who've played any or all of these portable titles: what do you think of them? Please share your impressions and opinions in the comments section of this post.

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