Author Topic: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame  (Read 31067 times)

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Offline Ceric

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #75 on: August 30, 2011, 11:30:22 AM »
Now the real question.  Could a Three Year old play it?
Need a Personal NonCitizen-Magical-Elf-Boy-Child-Game-Abused-King-Kratos-Play-Thing Crimm Unmaker-of-Worlds-Hunter-Of-Boxes
so, I don't have to edit as Much.

Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #76 on: August 30, 2011, 11:45:38 AM »
Depends on the attention span of the 3 year old. If they can remember what the buttons do, then yeah, probably. They most likely wouldn't get the high scores and medals, but they could manage it.

Put it this way. At age 4, I played Super Mario World, a considerably harder platform game, and although it took a long, long time, I eventually conquered it.
Tom Malina
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Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #77 on: September 01, 2011, 05:38:09 PM »
Braid

Status update: I've traversed all worlds up to and including world 6, and have all the puzzle pieces in worlds 2 and 3. It's now dawned on me that I will be unable to access the last world until I obtain all the remaining pieces, which makes me wonder why the game allowed me to skip past them. Although it might be nice that I can exit a section that I'm stuck on and return to it with a fresh perspective later, it fosters the impression that these puzzle pieces are, to some extent, optional.

My current feeling is that, for all its clever, evolving ideas, Braid would be better if it did a greater job of explaining things. To give the quick synopsis, Braid is a 2D puzzle platformer that uses a time rewind ability as its central mechanic. Each successive world puts a twist on this, which leads to elements like basing the flow of time on which direction you move in and creating a shadow of your movements. This is what's awesome about Braid. You'll spend a several levels learning one concept and applying it, then in the next world, there's a different set of rules to consider. It's a cool progression structure with a good amount of variety - throw in a 'painted' art style, and you've got the recipe for something really special. Right?

Well, only half right. In the hub area of every world, there are a bunch of text files that attempt to tell a story about the relationship between the main character and the princess he is trying to rescue. This in itself seems heavy-handed and unnecessary, but that's not where the problem lies. The problem lies in the fact that, where the narrative stuff is totally overdone, the explanation of important functions is severely underdone. Okay, you've told me that objects with a green hue are not affected by time reversal. How about mentioning that sparkling objects let me rewind without my character retracing his steps? That's just one of numerous key functions that aren't described well or at all. There are still certain things I don't understand, specifically regarding the inconsistency of which keys open which locks.

To put it simply, I wish the game didn't leave me to work out these mechanics by some fluke. It's especially a kick in the teeth that these go unexplained, while it felt the need to give me worthless paragraphs about my character's emotional wellbeing. Putting aside how overblown the story beats are, the rest of Braid has zero connection to all that.
Tom Malina
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Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #78 on: September 04, 2011, 04:05:20 PM »
And Yet It Moves

Completed this on WiiWare, and did a sampling of the PC version, which came in the Humble Bundle.

As a fan of gravity manipulation and world orientation in my games, I dug And Yet It Moves. It doesn't have the really satisfying speed or twitch platforming of something like VVVVVV, the inaugural game in this backlog, but what it lacks in pace, it more than makes up for in smart environmental brainteasers and nuanced controls. The Wii version has a handful of control options to choose from, although I actually had the most fun with the Remote and Nunchuk scheme, as I found tilting the Remote was the most accurate for making very minute, subtle adjustments to the world.

It's unfortunate that the PC version is less enticing. Whereas the Wii game allows for complete freedom of rotation in any increment, the PC game is much more restrictive, with only 90 degree turns enabled. From my experience playing the first few levels that way, it just feels really clunky. There's one early puzzle where you have to use the mechanic to move falling water drops around platforms - this was a nice, easy one on the Wii, but on PC, with limited rotations, it was too cumbersome to be much fun.

So to anybody interested in downloading And Yet It Moves, go for WiiWare. Outside of the main mode, there are time trials to pursue, as well as a robust Achievement list. My personal favourite is the breakneck challenge of going from start to finish in a level without touching the ground.
Tom Malina
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Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #79 on: September 07, 2011, 06:30:09 PM »
Trine

...and now I am eager to get my hands on Trine 2, coming later this year.

My closing words on Trine largely reflect what I said before. Throughout the later levels, it's still inventive with its environmental puzzles, adds more abilities and rewards vigilant play with a level-up system that gives worthwhile upgrades. The 2.5D visuals also continue to be bright, colourful and fantastical. Occasionally, there's an issue of perceiving depth in the sense that background details can look like they are part of the foreground you are playing on, but this rarely has a serious impact on the experience. Nope, Trine is totally worth tracking down if you like physics-based platforming of any kind.
Tom Malina
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"You'll have to speak up, I'm wearing a towel."

Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #80 on: September 10, 2011, 01:38:57 PM »
Chrono Trigger

Status update: Gotten to Mystic Mountain 60,000,000 B.C. for the first time and have Ayla in my party. I want Chrono Trigger out of the way before I properly sink my teeth into Xenoblade Chronicles.

This has been a grand experiment for me. I've vocalised in other venues my general distaste for most JRPGs (the exceptions being Pokémon, which I can get it into because it is so customisable, and Mario & Luigi, which is flat-out great). Others have since persuaded me to try out the universally acclaimed Chrono Trigger, which I have been told is a good entry point into the genre. I don't think I'm 100% on board with that line of thinking.

At the moment, I'm teetering back and forth on whether I like Chrono Trigger. My lack of experience with Japanese role-playing games has definitely been a barrier, and despite putting several hours under my belt, I still don't have a really solid grasp on all of its systems.

On a positive note, the underlying theme of time travel works nicely, and leads to a neat parallel world dynamic akin to the Dark World in Link to the Past or the changing overworlds in the Oracle games. It's a lot of fun to visit the same location centuries apart and explore these recognisable places, observing all the little differences in the characters and the environment. It would be even better if it pushed you along in the right direction little more. I've had to consult a guide a couple of times to find out where to go, something I would ordinarily try to avoid doing. If this is supposed to be relatively linear by 16-bit RPG standards, I'm alarmed, as Chrono Trigger certainly does not funnel you down the critical path.

Now, let's talk battle mechanics. On paper and out of context, they look interesting, especially the Dual Techniques; in practice though, I'm flustered. Firstly, when I learned of the Active Time Battle concept that Squaresoft apparently pioneered in several of their titles, I took that to mean that it was more action-oriented than the usual turn-based format, similar to how timing plays into attack and defence in Mario & Luigi. However, it wasn't long before I had to disable this feature. Active Time Battle is still very much turn-based, it's just that if you aren't snappy with your decisions, the enemy can hit you twice before you hit them once. Sod that.

Secondly, what is up with the elemental alignments? I was hoping to utilise my Pokémon knowledge when they were first introduced, but the strengths and weaknesses of the elements do not work in a rock-paper-scissors fashion - rather, it works in pairs. So water triumphs over fire, but fire also triumphs over water. What the hell? That makes no logical sense, and while I imagine it's probably explained somewhere, I obviously missed that memo. When I have to peruse a guide because I don't understand something mechanical, there is a problem.

Finally, I was informed that Chrono Trigger is a rare RPG that doesn't require grinding, which is always a plus. Grinding is insidious in practically anything. Unfortunately, there have been a few brick walls so far, particularly the fight against Masamune.

I realise I'm being totally sacrilegious with my analysis of this cherished title. Do keep in mind that there are many aspects that I am more fond of. Your party is a unique, disparate bunch of characters, and I like that each one has a distinct style of speaking to reflect their personality and the time period they originate from. In addition, the soundtrack... absolutely stupendous. Even though I haven't delved into a lot of Square's back catalogue, I had a clear impression of what their music sounded like. Chrono Trigger has defied those expectations. Here is my favourite example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHbF4t5Unrs

I have surround sound hooked up to my gaming rig, and this song, which you thankfully hear with frequency, sounds soooo good. Ah, that bass! This was highly unexpected the first time I hopped into a battle.
Tom Malina
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Offline Mop it up

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #81 on: September 10, 2011, 03:19:48 PM »
What game do you think would be a good entry point for RPGs, whether it exists or is what you'd hypothetically consider ideal? The problem with making an RPG more accessible is that doing so tends to turn it into another genre entirely, or a sub-genre at best. For example, an action-RPG is usually easier to get into than a menu-based RPG, but the gameplay is also entirely different. Even something like Mario and Luigi plays pretty differently from a traditional RPG, whether or not it's actually in a different genre. Chrono Trigger successfully streamlines the formula without morphing it into something beyond recognition, and even though it still has a couple problems with direction, I can think of no other RPG that does a better job.

Yeah, the Active Time Battle is basically the game's hard mode. It makes it so that monsters don't stop their actions when your menus come up, so you have to select your commands quickly before they attack.

I'm glad you're liking the soundtrack though, it's one of the best out there, and it might just be my favourite.

Offline UltimatePartyBear

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #82 on: September 10, 2011, 06:07:22 PM »
Masamune really is a pretty hard boss fight if you're not a little over leveled when you get there, but Chrono Trigger is still one of the best RPGs there is for not grinding, IF you don't avoid fights.  The game's much touted avoidable encounters make it easy to be under leveled instead.  It's an odd thing that two features the game is praised for so often run counter to each other like that.

I like to think the music is so good because the composer nearly killed himself pouring his soul into writing it.  Yasunori Mitsuda threatened to quit unless he was allowed to compose, so Square let him be the sole composer on Chrono Trigger.  He worked himself so hard he had to be hospitalized, and so Square's most famous composer, Nobuo Uematsu, finished for him.  Unfortunately, I don't know which tracks were written by Uematsu.

Mitsuda worked on Xenoblade, too, by the way.

Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #83 on: September 12, 2011, 06:11:05 PM »
Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg

Nah nah nahnah nah nah nahnah nahnah *cheerful whistling*

I'm willing to bet that there's a lot of people of give Billy Hatcher a miss because of its disgustingly sweet, unapologetically Japanese presentation. For some people, I understand that this might be a difficult layer to get past, but trust me, if you can track it down, I think it would be worthwhile. Aside from some weirdness with the controls, it's a quirky 3D platformer unlike any other that actually gets quite challenging, despite what the childish aesthetic may lead you to believe.


The only real source of frustration I encountered during my playthrough (which I also remember grating on my nerves when I played it years ago) are the hoops that break up the standard platforming. I can't think of much analogous to these, except for maybe the Donkey Kong Country barrel cannons, in that some hoops shoot your character out immediately, some rotate and others can be aimed. As you could probably imagine, in three dimensions, it is tricky to perceive what angle you will be fired out at and where you will end up.
Tom Malina
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Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #84 on: September 17, 2011, 08:43:35 AM »
Chrono Trigger

To my knowledge, I got the standard ending.

As somebody who takes a conservative approach to buying games i.e. I buy games that I'm fairly sure I'll like, it is not often that I take the plunge on something unknown, even if it is an idolised classic like Chrono Trigger. Fortunately, this turned out to be a successful endeavour - I've learnt a lot and have some sort of context for why this holds such acclaim, and I'll admit, it was mostly a pleasant experience.

The story is well-told with some unexpected twists, such as *SPOILER* ... your main character being killed and revived much later, and one of the major antagonists joining your party. The music remains spectacular; it can't captivate me like some SNES soundtracks did when I was a young whippersnapper, but it's still right up there in my personal Hall of Fame for great game music. I also really like the seamless transitions in and out of battles.

Honestly though, I think it's too late for me to really get into the JRPG scene. This was fun, but that doesn't mean I now have a burning desire to delve into the back catalogue for Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Most of the issues I have with Chrono Trigger are issues that many people would gloss over because they would understand them intuitively. Some of you might feel this game is fairly easygoing, yet I struggled on several occasions. Some of you don't need to think about where to go, yet I got lost too often for my liking. Some of you might not have to even think about when it's the right time to use a tech or how to effectively manage everybody's hit points, yet I was guessing, being quite wasteful and probably got lucky a few times when I won a tough battle.

Basically, if I weren't such an RPG rookie, I'd enjoy Chrono Trigger more. I suppose I can't really hold that against the game.
Tom Malina
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Offline Mop it up

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #85 on: September 17, 2011, 02:07:15 PM »
Maybe you should try Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, which I think goes under a different title in Europe (I want to say Mystic Quest Legend but that might be Final Fantasy Adventure...). Whereas Chrono Trigger is just a more streamlined RPG, FFMQ was created as an introduction to RPGs in an attempt to get idiotic Americans into the genre.

Offline UltimatePartyBear

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #86 on: September 19, 2011, 06:13:37 PM »
The problem with that recommendation is that Mystic Quest isn't actually very good.  Unlike Chrono Trigger, which is very good indeed.  It's like saying "You tried filet mignon but still don't like red meat?  How about some pur√©ed beef flavored baby mush?  It's even more tender, after all."

Offline Mop it up

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #87 on: September 19, 2011, 07:24:57 PM »
Yeah, I almost made a comment about how the game isn't that good, but there are people out there who like the game. But, it sounded like he was looking more for a game that eases a player into RPGs, and Final Fantasy Mystic Quest would do that better than Chrono Trigger. I also felt the music was well done, and it's probably worth playing just for that.

Offline UltimatePartyBear

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #88 on: September 19, 2011, 07:33:12 PM »
Mostly what I remember about MQ is that there was no random number generator.  Everything was based on stats alone, so every fight against a particular group of monsters played out the exact same way every time.  Same turn order, same damage from attacks.  It took a couple of tries to find the optimal solution for an encounter, and then you just repeated that until a level up changed your stats a little.  It made for the most monotonous RPG I've ever played, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #89 on: June 12, 2012, 01:52:13 PM »
UPDATE INCOMING

So it completely slipped my mind that I made this thread. One year on, I've cleared out a fair amount of the backlog, yet the list is still almost as long as it was when I started. I updated the original post with the current list and thought I'd begin by knocking off one that I'll probably continue to dip into from time to time:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Binding of Isaac

You remember in school, that one slightly weird kid who, instead of paying attention during class, would draw scenes of violence and grotesque monsters in his notebook? If that kid's mind were made into a videogame, it would probably be a lot like The Binding of Isaac. This is a twisted, twisted game - a sequence of procedurally-generated dungeons with inspirations rooted in the first Legend of Zelda, except here you play a young boy named Isaac, trapped in his basement with an assortment of truly disgusting creatures. Seriously, these are perhaps the most hideous enemy designs of any game ever - between this and Super Meat Boy, I'm starting to think that Edmund McMillen needs professional help.

If you can look past the layer of disturbed art design, what you are left with is a short but reasonably addictive dungeon crawler in which you move around and shoot monsters with your tears. At first, the game was simply a myriad of frustrations - the controls were part of the issue (the inability to shoot diagonally was particularly irksome to me), but mainly, it was the game's ridiculously obtuse nature. Over the course of a playthrough, you will come across dozens of items and there is zero indication on what any of them do. Consequently, I was dying a whole lot, and unlike the rogue-likes it has been compared to, death resets everything.

However, where the similarity to rogue-likes does apply is that it pays to be patient. If you lack patience, you will not make it. Through trial and error - mostly error - I worked out the AI routines of the enemies and gained an appreciation for the decision to forego diagonal shooting, as it forces you to take a more considered approach in clearing out a room. At the same time, I gradually figured out what items were for, how to use them in tandem, when to spend money and so on. It is not immediately gratifying, so I could absolutely understand why many people would not stick with it. With that said, I felt amazingly accomplished on my first successful playthrough.

Of course, as with nearly all randomly-generated dungeon titles, there is the occasional clunkiness with how certain enemy placements, rooms or maps are laid out. Furthermore, the combination of useful or useless items it happens to spawn is also a bit 'luck of the draw.' The Binding of Isaac will definitely not appeal to everyone, but over time, I worked out a homoeostasis with the game's system and eventually came to enjoy it because of that.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2012, 01:53:49 PM by Killer_Man_Jaro »
Tom Malina
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Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #90 on: June 19, 2012, 01:49:43 PM »
Limbo

I'd be the first to tell you that I'm not exactly the most artistically-minded person you're likely to meet. You show me a piece of minimalistic art and I can try to extrapolate some way to appreciate it, but while I have some respect for the 'less is more' philosophy, at a certain point you have to draw the line. So when I read all the uproarious praise Limbo received at its release, I sort of looked at the game with raised eyebrows. Catching up with it now thanks to the Humble Indie Bundle, my suspicions were confirmed: I just don't understand what all the fuss was about. It's a short and simple 2D puzzle game that, in my experience, lost more and more of its appeal as it progressed.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am commenting on the whole game, not just the presentation, as I think the minimalist approach extends to everything about Limbo's design. I will, however, briefly address this part of the game by saying that the silhouetted visual style and low-key audio create a decent atmosphere of bleakness and hostility early on, but this effect wore off quickly. To its credit, the game maintains this aesthetic right up to the end, although that might be the issue - without any contrast, it stopped having an impact on me before too long.

And I think that, ultimately, that typifies my opinion of Limbo. It creates a strong first impression, but the simplicity and sluggish pacing caused my interest to wane over time. Despite clocking in at no more than 2 hours from start to finish, it took me 4 sittings to complete Limbo, for at multiple points, the compulsion to keep going was not there. That's not to say that the puzzles are totally dull or repetitive - on the contrary, they work within the limitations of the nameless protagonist's abilities to stay pretty varied. It's just that the game is made to be played so deliberately, and whenever it asks more of your reflexes or demands greater precision, it stumbles, because the controls and general feel of how the character moves and jumps is not immediate enough to suit these purposes.

Let's be clear here. I do not hate Limbo. However, back in 2010, this was considered a Game of the Year contender by many outlets. To be perfectly honest, I don't see it.
Tom Malina
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Offline Oblivion

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #91 on: June 19, 2012, 01:53:59 PM »
Can I steal this idea? I have a huge backlog and I need to get rid of it.

Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #92 on: June 21, 2012, 03:48:23 PM »
Botanicula

What a wonderfully weird game. Machinarium was pretty kooky, but this latest point-and-click adventure from Amanita Design cranks the oddball factor up to eleven. In the two hours that I've logged with it, I have already experienced an veritable feast of craziness. You might think that I'm playing this up for effect - in all seriousness, from what I've seen so far, this is the reason to play Botanicula.

In terms of its virtues in the adventure game genre, it may actually be somewhat of a step down from Machinarium, at least as far as intricacy or logic of the puzzles go. A heavier emphasis is placed on simply clicking everything on each screen and watching the events unfold, until something happens that contributes to you moving forward, and all puzzles more or less amount to 'find __ number of __ in this area'. In some sense, this can be viewed as a benefit, as if like me, you have played many games of this ilk, you will enjoy the momentum with which Botanicula moves.

I won't beat around the bush. This game is really an excuse to string together a series of audiovisual treats. The folks at Amanita clearly know how to choose a theme and then run wild and have loads of fun with it. There are countless interactive elements that have no bearing on the progression, but exist just to show off amusing animations and bizarre sound effects that put a smile on my face almost every time. At one point, your characters - a troop of sentient flora - have their greatest wishes granted by a genie, and of the five selectable sequences, only one of them is pertinent to the story; the rest are there to let you see and hear strange things (in a game already chock full of strange sights and sounds).
Tom Malina
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Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #93 on: July 01, 2012, 05:26:13 AM »
Pullblox

At last, the deed is done: I finally cleared all levels in Pullblox (or as it is known to many of you, Pushmo) this weekend. It was no small feat, and as I slowly parsed out the solutions to the last handful, I realised what a mistake it was to go on such a hiatus with it. Pullblox is the kind of puzzle game where you need to immerse yourself in its mechanics & logic and develop a vision for creating useful block formations if you are to make any sort of consistent progress on it. If you go too long without playing it, that vision will atrophy and you will have a hard time getting a feel for the puzzles until you build it back up.

Every time I took a somewhat extended break from the game, I would do a poor job on the first level I popped into, fumbling my way slowly up this structure of blocks and more often than not reaching a point where I had no idea how to climb any higher. I would stare for a few minutes and then either come across the solution by accident or swallow my pride and skip to the next stage. But in the next level, everything would begin to make sense again. I'd start to think several moves ahead, properly account for what jumps my character could make, prepare for situations where I might need to drop down, do something then climb back up. Suddenly, I was speeding through the levels, and when I later returned to the level I skipped, it was such a cinch, I couldn't understand how I'd gotten stuck before.

Pullblox is one of those masterful puzzlers that takes one simple concept and wrings it for all its worth. After getting to grips with the basic premise, it finds numerous different ways to apply it to differently shaped structures, then layers on top a couple of new mechanics to expand the possibilities for puzzles even further. I give it my highest recommendation - if your 3DS is hooked up to the internet, this is the first piece of software you should get.

P.S. I wanted to briefly talk about the user-generated content, which is distributed through QR codes. Now I used to be as much of a QR code cynic as the next person, but having at this point filled up all 5 pages of slots for custom levels, I must admit that there is something kind of magical about scanning a picture on my laptop and all of a sudden, there it is, in my game! In some strange way, scanning in levels is almost more fun and addictive than playing them - as a general rule, the user stages are not as well put together as the ones Intelligent Systems built and most of the time, they are difficult by virtue of being absolutely colossal structures. Personally, I just like collecting really well-constructed 8-bit and 16-bit sprites.
Tom Malina
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"You'll have to speak up, I'm wearing a towel."

Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Project "Backlog Eradication" - Clearin' out the pile o' shame
« Reply #94 on: July 05, 2012, 05:45:51 PM »
Trauma Centre: New Blood

Status update: Reached chapter 3-4.

In lieu of Trauma Team, which will apparently never be released in Europe (you guys can complain about the 'Op Rainfall' trio, but at least you will eventually get them), I snapped up a copy of New Blood to keep my desire for virtual surgery in check. In certain respects, it makes noticeable advancements on its forebears, but I still sometimes get frustrated playing it, though not always for the same reasons.

If you are familiar with the Trauma Centre series, you will most likely find the opening chapter a very slow burn. After nearly an hour of the standard fare of excising tumours, removing glass fragments and manically suturing dozens of lacerations, I was feeling a little down on the game, as it seemed like it was all the same concepts being recycled again. I realise they need to teach the basics to new players, but I'd rather they were presented as a tutorial that I could skip, because that first act really dragged for me.


Thankfully, the game picked up significantly in the second chapter. Now, the operations not only have new ideas - I've installed a pacemaker, repaired a shattered ribcage and carried out skin grafts on severe burns - but they are generally more interesting and more challenging. It feels weird to say this, but playing Trauma Centre is stressful and yet I like that. Once you get past the tedium of the early operations, it puts across the tension of a surgical procedure impeccably. The best levels are the ones where you must move quickly & precisely and must be prepared to deal with sudden complications.

The operations haven't been particularly frustrating so far, but I'm sad to say that music notwithstanding, the sound design has been severely grating and I am slightly fearful that it will drive me insane before I reach the end. Voice acting has been added in New Blood, but whereas you'd think this will be a big presentational improvement, it's actually to the detriment of the game because the characters do. Not. Stop. Talking. For almost the entirety of each operation, they deliver a barrage of instructions. It is often things that I already know how to do, and because I'm regularly completing steps faster than they speak, their lines of dialogue are constantly being interrupted by new ones as they try to keep up with what I am doing. To add to that, nearly every action you carry out successfully is accompanied with a "ding" sound effect, so when you're doing a lot in rapid succession, this sound goes off again and again. This is stuff that I could really do without, and as I've started to enjoy the gameplay a great deal, I hope it doesn't get to me too badly.
Tom Malina
UK Correspondent
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"You'll have to speak up, I'm wearing a towel."