The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread

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Re: The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread

Post by LoveSlug on Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:41 pm

Everyone should own a Wii U so that they can play Super Mario Maker, it's literally the best game of this generation.

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Re: The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:25 pm

#27

Game: The Last Story.
Year: 2012.
Genre: RPG.
Publisher: Nintendo, Xseed.
Developer: Mistwalker.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Few games had as much controversy getting released as the Last Story. Fully localized in English for release in Europe, NoA did not see value in publishing it in North America. This was one of the three titles featured in Operation Rainfall which pressured Nintendo in releasing games in North America.

Basically, this was a JRPG game coming in a time when JRPGs severely declined in North America. A time different than the revival we see today. It was made by THE JRPG visionary, Hironobu Sakaguchi (creator of Final Fantasy), and probably was thought be Nintendo to be a failed prospect considering its European sales.

XSeed ultimately picked up Publishing duties, and it managed to become XSeed's highest selling game, selling twice as many copies in NA than in Japan.

"Balancing on the edge of a knife, that's how we lived our lives"

The Last Story, suspiciously similarly named to the Final Fantasy series, is similarly placed in trying to convey a unique story in familiar JRPG setting. Here is where we find the game's strengths and weaknesses in its storytelling.

First, the story suffers greatly from the weakness of their central characters. Zael is your typical JRPG hero, and is in the same vain as those other blonde Final fantasy protagonists you feel you have seen a hundred times. Calista might as well be Yuna or whatshername in FF8. So getting into the game, expect to dislike the leads, but don't expect that they will destroy the game's story.

That's mainly due to a good supporting cast, that despite conforming to some popular tropes, still manage to be charming. Anyone of them would have been a better Main Character than bloody Zael.

In summary, the story follows Zael and a band of mercenaries run by the charismatic Dagran as they attempt to get ahead in life. The world is in constant turmoil, with the dying land causing several factions to fight against each other for resources. They go to Lazulis Island, where it somewhat escaped the scourge of the land. In the background, there is an ancient war with a different species, the Gurak.

It's not a unique story, and there are many ways where it could have been better focused. There are cliched one dimensional villains, ancient mysterious powers, and a bland chosen hero. All staples in the JRPG genre. However, the sum is greater than the sum of its part.

There are elements that could have been explored better, like Dagran's social climbing, and the true nature of nobility, but it all is done in a good enough way.

Good Story Despite the cliches: +3
Good Characters: +3
Poor Main Characters: -3

"If I get killed cos' I'm too hungry and weak to fight, then don't blame me"

Initially, the battle gameplay in The Last Story doesn't seem to have much actual player interaction. You can simply walk around as Zael auto-attacks, and your party decimates the enemy. Occasionally, you can go into 3rd-person view, and shoot some arrows like in a very limited shooter.

You will mostly get this impression if you make the mistake of playing in "Normal" mode. Immediately when you start the game, switch to "Manual" mode and never look back. I am not even going to consider "Normal" mode beyond these two paragraphs.

In "Manual" mode, you control Zael as you move  around the battlefield in real time. You can attack enemies at will, but you have a limited combo and your attack power isn't too much, especially since enemies will guard your attacks once the first combo is over. This means that if you go head on and try to bash an enemy to death, it will be a long time until they actually die.

The battle system actually demands more attention from the player. Zael must take cover, try and switch between enemies, chain attacks with his teammates, take advantage of items and magical circles on the ground, and occasionally uses his arrows to shoot down enemy snipers and mages.

However, you are not responsible only for dishing out damage yourself. While the friendly AI is pretty good at dishing out some damage, they require your help to be most effective. For instance, the health of each character is divided into 5 health bars, and once one is depleted a "life" is out. Only you can revive them quickly enough, or else they take a while (once all their lives are out they cannot be revived).

Mostly, you play the general and the decoy. By attracting enemies towards you, you can free your mages to use their magic and take the pressure from your bruisers. Also, you can specify orders and generally choose what your allies do (in a limited fashion).

It can be overwhelming, but the game does an excellent job at introducing new mechanics with short tutorials and a constant pace. Well into the half-point, the game introduces something to shake things up.

Boss battles shake things up considerably; rarely are they straightforward affairs. Mostly, each boss have a specific weakness that must be triggered. This requires more direction from Zael, and usually a smart utilization of your powers.

Its a unique battle-system that always keeps the player engaged. In may ways, I feel it could be expanded upon and improved, but I like it a lot as it is. Yet, I feel the game's battles never give it its due. There are few enemy types, and rarely is the game challenging enough to warrant a full investigation of how you can best use the system.

Great Gameplay: +5
Sometimes too Confusing: -1
Does not Reach its Full Potential: -2

"Well, well. The human from the castle, blessed with bravery, guts, and stupidity"

I don't think its hyperbole to call Lazulis Island one of the best designed cities in RPG history. Its vibrant streets, busy townsfolk, bustling energy, and all those tight organic hallways, all combine to make a very believable city.

Here is, finally, a place where I can believe a hundred thousand people can live. Sure, I only see place for about a thousand or so, but I can also see houses in the background, and what I see here favors the illusion of a bigger city.

Walking around the city is going to be a huge deal in the game. The game doesn't have many side-quests (they are actually never tracked), but you will need to walk the streets of Lazulis Island and interact with its citizens to find what few there are.

You can also go to market and play as a merchant, or just simply walk around looking for random trinkets. The game rewards you simply for walking around, as you see limitless items that help upgrade your gear.

Unfortunately, the same level of care has not been carried over in designing the rest of the game's areas. I am not talking about the lack of other cities, which might be a problem for a few, but about the limited dungeons.

In fact, one dungeon repeats itself in a different fashion nearly three times. Sure, they look organic enough, but they are nearly all straight hallways and battle rooms.

One exception is in a very cool side-mission set in a haunted mansion. Like other parts of the game, this side-quest could have been much better, but it still showcased a different dungeon design than what we see most of the game.

Great City: +5
Limited Dungeons: -2

"For the brighter the light, the greater the shadow it casts"

It's obvious that the game tried to tax the Wii to its limits. The Lazulis city-space itself caused some noticeable frame-drops, not to mention in battles where too many things happen at once.  I won't give credit for that technical achievement, but I will give credit for that technical achievement actually producing something of note.  

Graphically, the game's art design is very fantasy focused, but it also showcases the same over-design mentality that plagues Square-Enix. Whatever the hell Dagran looks like, I won't understand. This over-design actually leads to some memorable enemy shapes, as well as some good outfits and motif. In this game, I wasn't overly turned off by it.

Characters look good, like an early PS3 game, but with derpier faces (if you allow me to use that word). In fact, they all look good with the exception of Zael (you can tell I don't like the guy).

From far away, everything looks great, with the distance filter covering up for all the graphical flaws. Its only when you get close that the muddy graphics start showing the lack of texture detail.

As for the game's audio, I cannot complain about the Voice Acting. Since this was first localized in Europe, the English VAs used an all UK cast, and it fits really well with the game's setting. Dagran, Yurick, Syrenne, and Lowell perform admirably. Their jokes don't fall flat, and their banter and dialogue is believable. Mirania's VA doesn't hit those highs.

As for the two Main Characters, I cannot blame the VAs as much as I blame the script. I simply think all the awkwardness in their delivery is related to the inherent awkwardness of poorly written cliched dialogue.

The soundtrack is another one of those good, if not great, Nobuo Uematsu soundtracks. Aside from the very good main theme, and a couple of great tunes, the game's soundtrack is simply good. It doesn't reach the heights set by Uematsu himself, but it rarely falters either.

In many ways, its like the game itself.

Good Enemy Design: +2
Good Soundtrack: +3
Good VA: +3
Good Central Graphics: +3
Muddy Background Details: -2
Frame-Rate Issues: -2

In Conclusion:

The Last Story might not be the best JRPG of last generation, ore even the Wii. It might not even be in the conversation of being among the best. Yet, looking at it from afar, you can see that it did have all the elements needed to be among the best, but the final product is a bit lacking.

Still, it doesn't go all south, as the game manages to be particularly good in most of its length, and even amazing at times.

It is this flirting with greatness that attracted people to fight for it in Operation Rainfall. It was its failure to reach its promise that alienated some of those that fought for it; an anti-hype reaction of you will. Which is a shame, because the end product is still worth the time, and even worth the effort it took to bring it West.

Final: 40/50

"Tips"

1- Change Battle command to Manual.
2- Seriously follow tip 1.
3- Look around the city for items and stuff.
4- Don't forget to upgrade your equipment.
5- Listen closely while walking around, it might give you hints about some side-quests.
6- Try and get a hang of the Trade Market, its the best source of income.
7- Don't rush into battle, your primary job is to manage your team.

"Next Game"

I really liked The Last Story despite its flaws. It managed to grab my attention even after all the cringing the beginning hours had me in. I even began to like the cast (except Zael). Its too bad it didn't turn out greater than it was, but it was still good.

Next game in the list at #25 is the Wii release of one of the best Rail Shooters around, House of the Dead: Overkill. This won't be be the last Rail Shooter in this list, you can count on that.

Stay Tuned
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Re: The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Awesome on Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:23 am

Oh man. Loved this game. The Soundtrack is amazing .Though I still was irked when I heard those screeches in the Final Battle theme (Title is: The One Who Rules All). Still tho amazing battle music and main themes. My favorite tracks are all of Jirall's themes.

Loved the story as well. Grinding isn't as hard and time consuming. Wish JRPG'S would follow this example more often. Less grind more plot.

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Re: The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:16 am

@Lord Awesome wrote:Oh man. Loved this game. The Soundtrack is amazing .Though I still was irked when I heard those screeches in the Final Battle theme (Title is: The One Who Rules All). Still tho amazing battle music and main themes. My favorite tracks are all of Jirall's themes.

Loved the story as well. Grinding isn't as hard and time consuming. Wish JRPG'S would follow this example more often. Less grind more plot.


I hated that final battle music. Uematsu's pedigree is much higher than that nonsense.

As for the lack of grinding, that might actually be taken as a negative by some JRPG fans. In Destructoid, I have seen a lot of people that like "healthy grinding", as it encourages them to experiment with the battle system and just relieve some stress.

Personally, I think there is a place for both kind of games. But I dislike very grind heavy games.
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Re: The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:57 pm

#23

Game: Punch-Out!!.
Year: 2009.
Genre: Puzzle, Fighting.
Publisher: Nintendo.
Developer: Next Level Games.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

In a time that games were becoming more complex, and every other game seemed to have some RPG elements strewn in, an exact replica of a 20 year old game sounded like a bad idea. Making a Punch-Out!! game that does very little to update the decades old formula could have failed.

Yet, it is a testament to the work of Next Level games, and the great quality and originality of the Punch-Out!! formula that it manages to be so entertaining.

"Now kid. It's time to show the world that you got what it takes to be a champ"

Like Super Punch-Out before it, Punch-Out Wii is simply a remake of the original NES game. Coached by the ever expanding Doc Louis, Little Mac goes on a quest to get the World Boxing championship belt.

Except, this is an obviously disorganized championship. If not, how can you explain the great disparity in Weight classes, illegal moves, and all around ridiculous behavior going in the ring. To get that belt, Little Mac must fight his way through 13 varied characters, of which only one is probably in his weight class.

The game is not really about Little Mac though. He is simply a suitable avatar that allows you to face off against the real stars of the show. Each of the 13 characters you face is larger than life. Ranging from the Over-the-top to the ridiculous, these fighters say it all in the way they move, the way they talk, and the way they fight.

Glass Joe's prime weakness is obvious from his jittery form and his obvious high guard. It tells you of the shame and tension he must face, having only won once in the ring. Super Macho Man in contrast oozes confidence, with his oily body literally taunting you with his every move.

12 of these characters are simple updates of their NES and SNES versions. Which has great nostalgic value, but its and unfortunate lost opportunity. I say that because the new addition, Disco Kid, is just very well-done, and fits in with the crazy cast with his Disco movements and Disco smile. It makes me want to see more of Next Level's ideas.

Great Characters: +5

"It takes two to flamenco baby!"

The only update to the Punch-Out gameplay formula is adding two optional control schemes. Both use some form of motion control, and they are not as good as the traditional control method, especially given the degree of precision needed in this game.

Basically, you can choose between right and left punches, and you can direct them high or low. To evade opponent's attacks, just pick the appropriate directional input. These are all the limited inputs you need.

It's simply not a real boxing game. Its a tactical match, based on identifying opponent tells, anticipating their attack, dancing around them, and going back to punish their opening. In that way, it has the spirit of boxing, if not the mechanics.

Matches are designed to be lost, because that's a learning opportunity. You must learn what each enemy vocal and visual cue means, so that you can counter or evade. There isn't really any game like it. More a puzzle game than a fighting game, it still needs split second reflexes and serious memorization to excel.

Unique Engagingly Game play: +5
Can be Unforgivingly Difficult: -2

"Hard work pays off kid, and there ain't no harder worker than you"

Since this is more like a puzzle game, each match is more or less permanently solved once you figure out how to beat you opponent. While there are special challenges to prove your mastery, and there is always a better record to break, the game does seem to consist of only 13 fights.

Of course, that doesn't mean you are going to finish this quickly. While these 13 fights can technically be completed in under an hour, the average player would probably spend more time getting their face punched out than the other way around.

Except, the game doesn't end when you get the championship belt. That's when the second half starts.

Each of the 13 fighters now want to get a chance at that belt, and they have trained for it. In Title Defense mode, its the 13 fights again, but an already difficult game just become more difficult. Even Glass Joe himself has a chance to beat you now.

It adds another dimension to the characters as well. Their frustration at being beaten against the odds, and how they changed their style to beat you. Glass Joe wears a head guard now, and King Hippo duct tape a manhole cover over his belly button.

The game didn't need Title Defense mode, but its inclusion cements it as the best Punch-Out for me. Not only because it increased the length of the game, but because it forced you to re-work how you defeated those fighters before.

Title Defense Mode: +3

"Tell your face to leave my fists alone"

Since Next Level Games did not update the mechanics of the game, nor did they add much to it besides Title Defense mode, transferring the game to the Wii was all about the graphics.

To showcase the crazy character of the cast, nothing other than the cell-shaded style used in the game could have worked. It allowed the devs to make a cartoonish and highly expressive style that wonderfully translated the NES and SNES sprites into full fledged 3D models.

Seriously, the graphics look great on those characters. Obviously, with no need to work on backgrounds, effects, buildings, or really anything but these 13 characters, Next Level Games managed to craft them to the tiniest of details. This also supports the gameplay, since clear visual cues are part of the game.

Audio cues are important as well. On the Wii, this allowed the devs to have full VA for the boxers. There isn't any dialogue though, they just trash talk, taunt, and express delight at defeating you, or dismay at losing. In an excellent touch, each fighter talks in their native tongue. We might not understand half of what they are saying, but that ads to their crazy character, even if its not as funny as Piston Honda muttering random Japanese cultural items before the fight.

Other than the sounds, we get a pretty good soundtrack, with a theme for each fighter. These are all good tunes, updated from the originals and with a little more flourish.

Great Graphics and Character Design: +5
Very Good Sound and Music: +4

In Conclusion:

Punch-Out!! on the Wii, like Super Punch-Out!!, is not one of the best games in the system. There are games that are more expansive, more varied, and simply larger in scope. Punch-Out is too limited to ever be seriously considered among the best games of the generation.

Yet, it does what it does very well, almost perfecting its unique gameplay. In doing that, it is also presenting a great cast of crazy character, in such funny and well realized artistic style. Punch-Out is a game that doesn't aim to be anything but a game, and that is super fine.

Final: 45/50

"Tips"

1- Observe what your opponent is doing, and learn what each tell means.
2- Sometimes, the enemy repeat their patterns, this means you should prepare a patters to your counters.
3- The most efficient strategy is to counter punch the enemy's attack's, you stop them and get a star point.
4- Star punches are the best way to get a KO.
5- When the opponent is down, mash the 1 and 2 buttons to recover some health.
6- If you get TKOs, you might be able to recover if you mash the 1 and 2 buttons (once per match).
7- Between rounds, press the (-) button to recover some health (once per match).

"Next Game"

Like with Super Punch-Out!!, I don't think this game will be in my top 10 games for the Wii. Ironically, it might score more than a couple of games in that list in my own rating scale. That's because Punch-Out!! is such a unique series that does what it does to perfection, even if what it does is somewhat limited in scope.

Next game, at #20, is a game that is anything but limited in scope, Red Steel 2 tries to use the Motion Control of the Wii to do a hundred things at once. While the original Red Steel game failed because of that, the sequel apparently succeeds.

Stay Tuned
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Re: The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:35 am

#20

Game: Red Steel 2.
Year: 2010.
Genre: FPS Action.
Publisher: Ubisoft.
Developer: Ubisoft.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

With the launch of the Wii, one of the most obvious possible application of the Wiimote motion was as a method to support more immersive swordplay. Another aspect was the pointing capability which brought us back to the IR shooting cabin days.

Ubisoft decided to combine both aspects in making the first Red Steel game. Which, even though it had a lot of promise, have failed miserably as a game.

Red Steel 2 is Ubisoft making amends to that initial promise, and succeeding.

"Outcast or not, you are still Kusagari"

The game's main catch is its combination of Sword fighting and gunplay, in some way combining the FPS genre with some First Person action as well.

It is then fitting that sets place in two asynchronous settings. The Katana comes in from its Japanese Samurai influence, while the revolver is an obvious Wild West trope. In essence ,the game's settings is a marriage of the Edo era Samurai dramas with the Wild West.

Anyone familiar with the history of spaghetti westerns would know that this mix fits in very well with that genre. The first spaghetti westerns, such as A Fistful of Dollars, were adaptations of Japanese ronin films such as Yojimbo.

Outside of its interesting setting, the game's plot is a rudimentary revenge tale with no narrative power whatsoever. Almost all the characters you meet are reused cliches that are not even able to be cool despite decades worth of material to be inspired by.

This is most represented by the player character, the "Swordslinger", who could have been an interesting substitute for the "Man with No Name". Yet, for some reason, the character was not consistent, and is silent most of the game, but speaks enough lines that his silence becomes more jarring and unnatural. Either speak normally or stay silent all the time damn it.

Great Setting: +5
Weak Characters and Plot: -3

"I am going to cut your throat with your own katana. Ain't that poetic"

If you are not interested in motion control combat, or not willing at all to give such gameplay a chance, then this game is simply not for you, regardless of how much you like its other elements.

Red Steel 2 makes excellent use of the Wii's motion capabilities, and perhaps crafts as good a game as it can mechanically offer. This means that the game utilizes all the special qualities of motion control, but it does not mean that it removes all of its inherent problems.

Let's start with the negatives. First, there are the usual hardware related issues. Sometimes, the Wiimote loses calibration, both for motion control and for IR pointing. It didn't happen frequently here, but it was enough to irritate in such a title requiring constant motion controls. Another issue is related to physical fatigue, specifically when over-committing in the required motions.

Both issues do affect your enjoyment, but they are not frequent enough to overshadow what is a unique and engrossing gameplay system.

As you can imagine, Swordplay is handled through motions, and gunplay through IR pointing. Because of using motion control, switching from both is natural with your own motions, and mixing and matching can frequently be utilized depending on the situation.

Sword play requires specific diagonal moves, but that's not it. Through button combinations, special moves are executed. Through an evade button, the game solves how to move around in a comprehensive fashion.

Most of all, you will want to master the combat, simply because it looks cool, and you do feel like a "swordslinger" badass.

Unique and Engaging Game play: +5
Fulfills the Promise of Motion Controls: +4 [/i
[i]The Usual Technical Difficulties: -2


"It's about time you came to help. I am down to three bullets"

To move the player from one fight to another, the game is divided into two level structures. Some levels act such as an open hubs, with missions guiding the player from on objective to another. Other levels are like mini-linear dungeons, culminating in usually a single objective.

All that really does is move the player from point A to B, fighting enemies in the way.

Some missions ask you to find or destroy "collectibles" in the game-world, and before it was vogue, some missions consisted of hacking communication towers. It is a weak mission structure, that frankly neither helps nor hinders the game.

Since combat is its strongest suite, there is no real reason to provide a litany of objectives just for the sake of it.

Battles encourage experimentation to get a better score, which gives in more gold. The gold can be used to upgrade your stuff, which can then be used to kill more enemies and get more gold. It is a basic feedback loop that does the job, and is extra rewarding because of how fun it is to see all that gold literally fly into your pocket.

Boring Mission Structure: -2
Gold Feedback Loop: +3

"Good, then we are all safe. I will become a gardener"

In a further step-away from the first Red Steel game, Ubisoft decided to forgo the "realistic" style in favor of a cell-shaded look that manages to give the game a graphic novel look. Seriously, it looks like the characters, enemies, and the entire environment stepped out from some comic book.

I already mentioned how the juxtaposition of the Wild West and Samurai setting work thematically. However, that is mostly due to how great they look graphically. Seeing the classic Pagoda roof against dusty canyons is great, especially with how the cell-shading manages to contrast the two.

Characters are the same, with unrealistic proportion, but undoubtedly cool designs. So cool, that in the introduction of each new enemy, Ubisoft knowingly introduces them with their meticulously designed 2D Art, and yet you are not disappointed when you see them in the game.

As for the VA for these characters, it runs the gambit from somewhat bad, to somewhat decent. A missed opportunity originating from the predictable story and characters, and not the Voice Actors themselves.

In sound production, the game offers a thematically suitable sound, with both Japanese and Western influences. A soundtrack combining some Ennio Morricone influence with Masaru Sato's work on Yojimbo, without even approaching their brilliance though.

While the soundtrack is thematic, it is too muted, and never prominent enough to stand out.

Great Graphics and Character Design: +5
Good Sound and Music: +3

In Conclusion:

Red Steel 2 is the rare game that could have never conceivably happened in something other than the Wii. By showcasing the freedoms and advantages of motion control, all encompassed in a single attractive package that is actually a game, and not a tech demo, Ubisoft made a good case for Motion Control to still be utilized in mainstream gaming.

Unfortunately, despite its critical and user reception, the game has failed to meet its modest target. In a way, it was Red Steel 2 that proved how gamers probably don't want to give motion controls a chance, regardless of how good the actual product is.

Final: 43/50

"Tips"

1- Learn early what position is more comfortable to play at. You will need some space to move your arm, so lying down would not work.
2- Break all boxes you see, it gives you money and its fun.
3- Enemies can guard your attack effectively, so attack from the angle they are not guarding.
4- Guns alone are not an effective tool, so regularly use your melee attacks.
5- Try and do the optional missions, since they do give a lot of cash.

"Next Game"

Red Steel 2 might be the best actual game to showcase the Wiis Motion Control capabilities and promise, along with Skyward Sword of course. And its failure, despite its brilliance, is proof positive that Motion gaming simply did not catch up with the cor audience.

Next game, at #17 is the cute platformer about A Boy and his Blob, which is actually the title of the game. It seems to be another of those cute games that can only be conceived for Nintendo consoles.

Stay Tuned

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Re: The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Fri May 19, 2017 4:50 pm

#17

Game: A Boy and his Blob
Year: 2009.
Genre: Puzzle Platformer.
Publisher: Majesco Entertainment.
Developer: WayForward Technologies.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

A Boy and his Blob is exactly the game the Wii was made for. I do not mean a game that was is only possible by using Motion Control, but a game that did not need the extra processing power of the PS360 consoles.

A simple, mid-budget game, that manages to look great and play well on a weaker console. Even if a lack of ambition is a little bit detrimental to the final product, as in this case.

"One day, an Earth boy came to save Blobalonia"

Apparently, this game is actually a remake of a NES classic. Looking back at that game, I am actually surprised at the mileage the original game manged to get out of the NES. No similar technical effort is attempted this time.

As you can gather from the title, the game is about a boy and his blob, which is a sentient blob-like being (hence the name) that can transform into many shapes. There is an overarching story to the game about an evil blob king's attempt to control Blobalonia. However, outside of the game's manual, the opening movie, and one bonus art work, it is never alluded to in the game.

That's because the developers made a conscious decision of limiting all story and writing from the game. Simply put, you start the game in the Boy's bed, get introduced to Blob, and finish the game without a single word of instructions or dialogue.

Obviously, the developers wanted to build an emotional connection between the boy and his blob. This is the only reason they actually put in a dedicated hug button, at which the boy will hug the blob in a charming and endearing animation.

Unfortunately, they do not exactly pull it off, mostly because they never introduce the danger in any effective way. Earlier appearances of the evil blob king would have been effective.

That is not to say that the partnership is not charming. Simply, that it is obvious the developers wanted to build a Pixar level connection between the two, and they fell short in that goal.

A Dedicated Hug Button: +2
No Narrative Pull Whatsoever: -3

"Ready!"

The boy is brave and resourceful, but he is still a 6 year old boy. As such, he has a low jump, cannot fight any small danger, and cannot swim. These are all obstacles the player must puzzle out by the help of blob.

Equipped with a bag of infinite jellybeans, the boy can help blob transform into a variety of objects to solve puzzles. These transformations are the core mechanic of the game, and their variety is what sets it out to be a great Puzzle Platformer.

Usually, there isn't a single transformation that solves each puzzle. The catch is in figuring out which combination of transformations are needed, and in exactly how to use them.

Let us explore a couple of transformations; there are 15 in total.

The anvil allows the boy to have a foothold to jump into higher platforms, but it can also squish enemies, as well as serve as platforms to travel on the heads of larger threats. Trampolines and ladders can be used to reach higher ground, but are used in different ways.Then there are the more action focused transformations like the rocket and the hamster ball. Using both changes the game to a higher gear.

The regular game consists of 38 levels, each containing 3 treasure chests. Getting the treasure chests require more puzzle solving than simply finishing the game, and once collecting all three, you open up challenge levels.

Challenge levels are more difficult, and usually focus on one or two transformations only. Also, they are more fun, as they take more risks with the puzzles, and the extra challenge makes finishing them more rewarding.

At the end, the game felt like a slog. Especially since there are simply too many load screens, and they take some time. Once stages become longer, the puzzles seem less fresh, and the originality of the transformations erode.

Rarely do I say so, but this is one game that could have benefited from a cut in the number of stages.


Fun and Original Puzzle Gameplay: +5
Fun Challenge Levels: +4
Too Long with Too Long Loading Times: -3

"BLOB!"

One thing that cannot be discounted about the game, is how great it looks. WayForward are well respected for their 2D art ability, and it certainly shows here.

Not only are the character design cute and endearing, their animation is spot on. The boy's movement are clumsy for instance, exactly how a 6 year old boy would walk. The blob in the other hand is amorphous, yet his transformation all somehow retain the same mass as the original.

There there are the excellent backgrounds, which showcase a level of detail that was not possible before. Even in backgrounds that are rarely used.

While the same cannot be said of the music, it certainly sounds nice, and it does the job. It is suitably relaxing in the first stages, but escalates in challenge levels, as well as when the boy and his blob travel to more distant locations.

WayForward knows how to design a 2D game, and along with their Shantae series, this is one of their best looking games, and one of their best productions.

Excellent Graphics and Animation: +5
Good Music: +2

In Conclusion:

It's easy to criticize A Boy and hid Blob for what it could have done better. There are multiple areas for improvement, especially regarding its narrative (or lack thereof) and how long it felt.

Yet, we cannot ignore the fact that it is more than a competent puzzle platformer. It is a charming game, that manages to be smart at times, as well as true challenge. More often than not, it is fun to play, and that's what matters most.

Final: 37/50

"Tips"

1- Spread out your playing to time to avoid fatigue.
2- You won't always need all the transformations given at a stage.
3- Call Blob three times to summon him if he is far away or behind passable obstacles.

"Next Game"

In theory, A Boy and His Blob could have been made on any platform. However, it fits right in the Wii's library.

Next game to be reviewed is one I actually missed. At #22, Rhythm Heaven Fever is that crazy Nintendo game with all the crazy Rhythm-based mini-games. This would be my first try at the series, and I don't know exactly what to expect.

Stay Tuned
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Lord Spencer
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