Author Topic: I just beat __  (Read 136069 times)

winstein

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Re: I just beat __
« Reply #1820 on: November 26, 2018, 10:37:56 AM »

Typoman Revised (PC)

Also available on: Wii U (non-Revised), PS4, XBO, Switch

The first time I played this game was back when Nintendo released demos for indie games on the Wii U around the time during E3 2015, and this was one of the games I played. The premise was interesting, I thought, wherein the words that are formed will affect its behaviour. For example, a word called "RAIN" will continually rain down water, which is a problem since the player character can't swim. What you should do is to swing a string with a "D" attached, spelling "DRAIN" so that the water is drained.

The game has something in commmon with LIMBO, which is a linear platformer taking place in a grim setting, though of course the main draw with this game is using words as a puzzle in addition to the environment, so figuring out the right word is just as essential as making it safely to the next area. The universe in which exist in this game is basically one where letters can string together and not only inherit the properties of the word it forms, but also come to life. The player character has the letters "O", "E", "H" and "R", which would spell out "HERO". The supporting character has wings that spell out "MUSE", and on the way there is a troublemaker who would spell out "GARMR" that would obstruct the HERO's journey with a mechanical monster that is called a "Fenrir", judging by the spelling of the word later in the game. The quest is a dangerous one, for the HERO is vulnerable to all sorts of hazards, and occasionally enemies forming the words "HATE", "FEAR" (as shown in the image above) and "DOOM" would interfere with the HERO's journey. Therefore, the HERO needs to be quite skilled with navigating the hazardous obstacles.

Although only several words are needed to finish the game, the game recognises a ton of words, which is surprising because most of them don't do anything useful. The game still keeps track of the words you made, which means it's at least good to have a good vocabulary since the breadth of your vocabulary is ranked online. There are certain words that do something interesting even if it's insignificant, such as "FAT" which increases the girth of the HERO, "NOPE" causes the HERO's to shake his head, and "DEATH" that would make a gravestone squash the HERO. Normally moving the letters is a cumbersome process, but there is a "Word Scrambler" that allows the player to form words instantly. The feature was used on the Wii U Gamepad in its original version, but the Revised version allow you to open the menu on the fly, though it's not as intuitive as using the touch screen.

Amusingly, this game also has an antonym system, where certain words can transform into different ones when exposed to the "LIE" robot (that can turn into one just by spelling the "LIE" word), meaning that the exposed word becomes the opposite, so for example, "BIG" will transform into "LITTLE", while "NO" will turn into "YES". This versatile system is facilitated by a minigame called "Antonymizer", where a set of 12 letters are given while the player needs to use the "LIE" robot to generate letters not found in the selection to form the instructed word. Although the word system is rather versatile, the main quest is rather short so its full potential might not be realised.

And that's the thing with Typoman: it's a really brilliant concept, but it's probably a challenge to design levels since there are just so many words to use that it's practically difficult for a smaller developer to make a longer quest. Given that an indie developer is doing this game, it's naturally going to be quite short. It's quite fortunate that the developer is able to implement a system of Easter Eggs, however, because the concept of words materialising into something applicable is wonderful (which is why Scribblenauts' handling of this concept is brilliant). The game may be short, but I appreciate the way the developer handled the mixture of platforming and word-building.

Thank you for reading.
(Credit goes to Alex95 for this signature)

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Re: I just beat __
« Reply #1821 on: November 27, 2018, 08:52:29 PM »
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Switch version)

I beat this on Wii U like four years ago and enjoyed it but didn't remember a lot about it so it was worth replaying. Still pretty good

winstein

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Re: I just beat __
« Reply #1822 on: November 28, 2018, 11:10:28 PM »

Super Mario Party

I have completed almost every part of the game, which includes the Mario Party, Partner Party, River Survival, Sound Stage and the Challenge Road. For both River Survival and Challenge Road, I even beaten the more difficult stages so I can safely say that I managed to perservere through the toughest parts of the game. The only game that I haven't beaten is Puzzle Hustle, which I felt is best played with multiple people. While I have beaten this game earlier this month, I decided to get this out of the way as I am about to beat another game.

Mario Party is a traditional round of what we know and love about the Mario Party series, going back to the basics of the structure of taking turns moving on the board and playing a minigame after each round. Overall, the boards are smaller than what was found in the past games, but since the dice roll doesn't normally reach 10 spaces (only a handful of characters can achieve this), the size of the board didn't feel cramped. The optimal setting for the board is 10 turns, which might also sound like it's too short, but the game doesn't allow ways to speed up the board movements, so it's pretty much a 1-hour game, unlike past games where 20 turns is usually conducive for a 1 hour game. Even the maximum number of turns (20 or 30 in the last board) is probably going to last quite long compared to other Mario Party games with the same number of turns. Since I have played with the old Mario Party format several times, it's a familiar and pleasant feeling to play through a traditional board, and it's even better when the CPUs are dominated. This is not ragging on Mario Party 9 or 10's "everybody travels" mechanic which several players are wont to do, in case you are wondering. I would like to add that this game is surprisingly very tense since the game could very well have a turnaround for even the less-skilled CPUs. Once I played on the Megafruit Paradise, I lost to Goomba because the Star awards was not enough (I got both, but Goomba shared one of them), and that was when one of them is at Hard difficulty. I got some unlucky calls, like getting "0" with Shy Guy's dice block 3 times in a row, which was discouraging to say the least, so you can't claim that I got through this mode smoothly.

Partner Party does something different: while previous Mario Party games would use the traditional Mario Party board and have both partners travel separately, the game takes after Mario Party: Star Rush's grid-based board that emphasises free-range movement. Unlike the past Mario Party partner system (and similar to Mario Party 7's 8 player implementation), both players contribute to the dice block movement, but they still are allowed to take their own path. This system does feel like both players are actively contributing to the team since each player's actions matter, and is most conducive for better strategies since unlike Mario Party, Partner Party has overall higher movement rolls. It would probably be better with another player, but I like what I played.

In both Mario Party and Partner Party, there are items once again, and luckily, not only do the player/team get to carry 3 items, the selection of items is once again quite robust similar to Mario Party 3 and 4, which lends itself for quite a number of strategic plays. The games tend to have more than one item shop, and the tougher ones to reach tend to have the better items, which includes the Golden Pipe (brings player in front of the Star). The issue I can see is that many items are only available from the Item Space, which isn't a guarantee landing. The game also allows players to recruit more allies to not only have more options for dice blocks, but to slightly increase board movement. Having a party of characters to travel is just as pleasant as it sounds, even with characters I am indifferent to.

Super Mario Party has rhythm minigames, but it's this game that puts them in the stage, literally. There is a mode called Sound Stage where players play through 3 or 6 rounds of Rhythm Minigames, and they are all motion-controlled so it's not like Rhythm Heaven, which tend to implement button input instead. Personally speaking, my interest sparked with this game because of this type of minigames, and while there are only 10 of them and they are pretty much done once I beat them (both Normal and Hard varieties), it feels great to play rhythm minigames because I enjoy catchy music. The minigames that I have the most trouble in are Strike It Rich and Fiddler on the Hoof, especially the former.

River Survival on Normal is pretty easy even with CPUs, I felt, as they were very cooperative in the mini-games. The timer is quite generous too, as there are several moments to gain time, most notably when reaching new sections. They might be tough to cooperate when travelling through the flowing river, but overall they got the job done. It's funny how Donkey Kong was there during the third run, because to see him stand out in the more generic crowd is funny. I used almost every character for this mode so most characters don't miss out. Now Hard Mode is another story. Since that mode has fewer ways to regain time and in fact rewards less time, it's naturally quite tough. No longer are the AI able to cooperate well and I have to retry the levels more often than usual that I only managed to reach 2 estuaries. It was therefore that I got the epiphany to control two players at once, which allowed me more control and, true to what I theorised, I have a higher rate of success in getting the rest of the exits. I felt that River Survival is best enjoyed with multiple people than with AIs because it's tricky to figure out what they were thinking when they made certain moves.

And finally, there is the Challenge Road, which is basically beating every minigame in the game, with a goal or restriction in mind. This mode can only be selected once every minigame is unlocked, and luckily, the game always pick unlockable minigames in the roulette so it makes unlocking this mode less cumbersome. This is a mode that I wish every Mario Party game included, because it's always great to beat these minigames if a purpose is given to them. I felt that Mario Party 3 needed it the most since it has all-new original minigames unlike Mario Party 2. Anyway, the game has two types of challenges: one is the normal version and the other is the difficult version. The normal ones are usually about beating the minigame, but it's the difficult ones that are the devillishly tough ones. They can either have higher goals to reach, being on the challenging side of a 1 vs 3 team, a stricter time limit, avoiding any hits or having zero teammates in minigames (while the CPUs have more). They are quite a nail-biter for their requirements, but eventually I managed to beat them all, with the toughest being Train In Pain. One thing I like about Challenge Road is how characters dance when they are standing on a Rhythm Minigame space, which I have a few clips of.

Speaking of that, now I want to talk about the minigames. I love that they implement practice mode in the instructions screen, because now that's two less screen transitions to get the hang of the minigame. The minigame selection is also not bad: it has a good mix of Free-for-All, 1 vs 3, 2 vs 2, Team Minigames, Co-op Minigames and Rhythm Minigames. The minigames also provide a nice mix of button inputs and motion controls, and I think the motion-controlled ones are inspired, such as Sizzling Stakes and the Rhythm Minigames. There's even a Mariothon where 5 minigames out of 10 are selected to perform the best in. I do wish there is a Decathlon version where all 10 minigames are selected, because sometimes I want to see how well I can perform in every one of them. 80 minigames aren't all the minigames Super Mario Party offered, as there are also 4 more in Toad's Rec Room.

One of the issues I can see with Super Mario Party is that Toad's Rec Room minigames are best enjoyed with 2 Switches together, and of the four games, only "Banana, Split" enforces this. I felt that the developers should do what NAMCO did for NAMCO MUSEUM on the Switch. Basically, when said game was released, they also provided a free downloadable Switch app that allows players to connect to a Switch with this game, as that way, they were able to enjoy PAC-MAN VS without the hassle of requiring a game for each Switch. Sure it might be minor, but I felt that it's unprecedented for a Mario Party game to enforce two copies to enjoy all its content, and it's in fact a detrimental precedent.

There are also stickers which can be bought or rewarded, but I am yet to do fun stuff with it, so unfortunately I don't have anything to show. What I am surprised to see is how robust the system is, as backgrounds can be selected, and the size and angle of stickers can be adjusted to fit the image.

If there were to be a future update, and I hope there is, here are my requested features:
- Extra board(s), as 4 boards is not a lot. 1 or 2 would suffice.
- Decathlon version of Mariothon, where all 10 minigames are played through.
- Ability to play 4 player versions of Team Minigames in the Minigame selection.
- Allow human player configuration changes without going back to the title screen.
- A simple app that allows people to play on more than 1 Switch with a single copy (for Toad's Rec Room minigames).

The spirit of Mario Party has always been here, as like every previous game (including 9 & 10), we have pun-ridden minigames, catchy music and a colourful aesthetic. Even though I put this in the thread of games I have beaten, the Mario Party games is all about replayability, as the party never ends.

Thank you for reading.

(I wished I waited and bought the much cheaper Super Mario Party + Joy-Con bundle, though...)
(Credit goes to Alex95 for this signature)

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Re: I just beat __
« Reply #1823 on: November 29, 2018, 02:09:28 AM »
Call of Duty: World at War

ok i guess, not too memorable but Reznov has gotta be one of my favorite video game characters now

winstein

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Re: I just beat __
« Reply #1824 on: November 30, 2018, 08:52:46 AM »

Puzzler World (PC)

Also available on: Mobile, DS

The name of the game is self-explanatory: it features a collection of puzzles. The games tend to have simple, bite-sized puzzles to ensure that each of them can be solved in a short time, so it's a very handy pick-up-and-play for handhelds, which I am unfortunately not playing on since I played on the PC. I am surprised by how many sequels the game have, as they have many games on Nintendo systems too. I think this is a licensed series since Puzzler is a (minimum 45-year-old) company whose main product is a magazine containing puzzle games, so an adaptation to video games is rather logical, especially on systems that has touch-screen (like the Nintendo DS). Surprisingly, they are able to capitalise on this and go on to have many video games, and some of the games even have a PC version. As I have Puzzler World 1 and 2 on Steam, the number of Puzzler video games astounds me.

The game has a Challenge Mode, which I gauge my game completion on. There are 560 sets of puzzles, and each puzzle is accompanied by a main puzzle and a bonus puzzle. Each portion of the selection has 16 puzzles, with a set ratio between 8 types of main puzzles and 6 types of bonus puzzles that include:

Main Puzzles
- Wordsearch (4/16): Find words in a grid of letters from a themed list
- Fitword (3/16): Fill in a blank crossword with all the words from a list
- Sudoku (3/16): Fill in a blank grid with numbers so that each row, column and box contains unique numbers
- Link-A-Pix (2/16): Link coloured lines to form a picture
- Crossword (1/16): Fill a crossword puzzle using the clues
- Codeword (1/16): Fill a crossword puzzle by assigning a letter for each number
- Spot The Difference (1/16): Mark 10 differences between two similar images
- Silhouette (1/16): Fill in the dotted areas to form a silhouette

Bonus Puzzles
- Hangman (accompanies any of the Word games): Pick letters so that a word is formed, with a limit of wrong guesses (11).
- Chain Letters (accompanies any of the Word games): Arrange a web of letters so that they form a word.
- Equate (always accompanies Sudoku): Choose numeric operators so that the equation is correct. Always go from left to right regardless of symbol.
- Jigsaw (always accompanies Silhouette): Rearrange tiles to form the picture made in Silhouette.
- Missing Piece (Link-a-Pix): Choose a jigsaw puzzle piece to complete a picture.
- Picture Quiz (always accompanies Spot the Difference): 3 questions are asked based on the picture used in Spot the Difference.

The other mode is Quickplay, which features only Main Puzzles, and unlike the Challenge puzzles, they are very easy to solve since their complexity is at the lowest possible, and I daresay it's even easier than Challenge's easiest puzzles. Only Silhouette and Codeword have no discernable difference so they are probably the best. Perhaps the intent is to spend as little time as possible on these, since it's after all labelled "Quick Play".

Many of the game's puzzles have progressive complexity, meaning that for example, the first Sudoku puzzle has a 6x6 grid, but later on, it will upgrade to 9x9. Even the Bonus Puzzles are subjected to this, so for example, Hangman and Chain Letters start with a 6-letter word while the final versions of each puzzle require 11-letter words. Quite a few puzzles are static in its complexity so they never quite get tough later on, such as Silhouette and Missing Piece. Speaking of the difficulty, each of the puzzles are not that tough, which is a good thing since this game has a variety of puzzles, so to make each one tough is a detriment to those who wants to just enjoy a quick game of puzzle. I am especially grateful that Sudoku did not increase in difficulty because those are the most time-consuming puzzles. The one that comes close to requiring online help is Crossword, since my vocabulary and trivia knowledge is not sufficient for solving the crossword.

After every puzzle is completed in Challenge, the game will allow players to pick a present out of three possible choices. Two of them rewards either 5 or 10 Hint Coins that can be used to buy hints, and one of them unveils one of seven letters that spell out "Puzzler", and collecting them all rewards 100 coins, which is more than if Hint Coins are collected normally. Normally this is considered a luck-based reward, but since you will always win something, it's not all that bad. The game is paced in such a way that it's possible to max out to 9999 coins eventually, so it's somewhat encouraged to use them. One way they can be used is to save time, which comes in handy in especially Sudoku, to save the trouble of guessing. Hints are only available in Main Puzzles, so there's no wasting them during Bonus Puzzles.

Since this game has a lot of word games, I learned some new words when playing through them. A few of them include "Hogmanay", "Homburg" and "Chintz". It's just unfortunate that the idea of writing these new words down only occurred to me after I solved around 80% of the puzzles, since I can forget many of the previous words that I noticed.

This game is UK-based, as evidenced by not only the UK flag at the top-left corner (the US flag is at the bottom-right corner), the Puzzler company is also UK based. It's little wonder this game has the English that I am familiar with more, with British spellings used more than the American English that most games used. By the way, when booting the game, the game always ask the player to select a language, and since this game has word puzzles, it's reasonable to assume that each language has its own set of save files, each with their own versions of word puzzles. Yes, even the US version is separate, but I didn't check if the word puzzles are the same since both UK and US are English.

In case you are curious, this is what happens if you 100% Challenge Mode:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Thank you for reading.
(Credit goes to Alex95 for this signature)

winstein

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Re: I just beat __
« Reply #1825 on: December 07, 2018, 11:20:25 AM »

Tembo the Badass Elephant (PC)

Also available on: PS4, XBO

This game was teased back when SEGA and Game Freak were going to collaborate on a new game, with SEGA as the publisher and Game Freak as the developer. This isn't the first game that these two cooperated on, as Pulseman was a previous game between those two. The most notable part of this game is that unlike most games after Pokemon, Tembo was never made for a Nintendo system. Given that this game was made in Unity, it was an odd decision, but I imagine the performance might be a bit difficult to balance since my PC had to use the lowest settings for the best performance, and it's a pretty recent PC (2017).

This game is directed by James Turner, and the art style of this game shows. In case you aren't aware, James Turner previously directed Harmoknight, which has a very similar artstyle to this game. Pokemon Trozei (the DS game) is another game that has his art style over it. He also designed a number of Pokemon that includes the Vanilluxe line, Guzzlord and the Golurk line, though if you ask me, the Vanilluxe line is most distinctively his style despite being redrawn by Sugimori if going by the artwork he did. So basically, game's artstyle is distinctly James Turner that it's undeniable he had his hands on this game.

The basic premise of this game is that a large-scale invasion by PHANTOM, an evil organisation, had caused them to take over a peanut-shaped island. To combat the forces of PHANTOM, the military summoned Tembo the elephant from his jungle to help demolish PHANTOM and rescue civilians, all told in stylish comic panels. In fact, the cutscenes uses sequential animated comic panels where the appearing panel will move. This game is a bit comedic because of the absurd premise. After all, this is about an elephant soldier, and the peanut symbol is found throughout the comrades, which indicates that peanut is the way of life for this island. Did I mention that Tembo flies to the island with the help of birds carrying him on strings? The game didn't quite comment about the absurdity of the whole thing, as the cutscenes and the scenarios are somewhat serious (did you know that Steam requires an age check to view the page?). I also like some of the transition screens, such as this one after you defeated the third boss with all civilians rescued (I felt that the first two are better but I didn't have the forethought of saving a screenshot):



Tembo is normally slow, but you can charge forward to make him a battering ram and to move fast. Moreover, Tembo's offensive moves (besides charging) include using his trunk to volley, ground pound, and do a dive in the air. Finally, Tembo also has the ability to spray water to douse heat or stun certain enemies. With these actions, Tembo has everything he needs to defeat PHANTOM. Speaking of controls, Tembo feels oddly unintuitive in certain areas. For one, Tembo moves quite slowly so while it's probably precise, it's still moving slower than I would have liked. Turning is also rather slow, as though Tembo has a lot of inertia doing this, which most affects anything that is aerial, in my experience. Tembo's charging is also very prone to error, because if the charge key is pressed in the air accidentally, Tembo will dive uncontrollably with no way of cancelling it, which could possibly put him in a bad spot, or worse: falling to his doom. The worst part is: the Switch Pro Controller is not compatible with this game! That's why I played this game with the keyboard throughout.

The game has 3 zones to conquer, with each having 3 regular levels, a PHANTOM base level and a boss, which makes it 5 levels per area. The regular levels and the base level each have 10 civilians to rescue, and once rescued, they will ride on Tembo without worrying about any danger like dropping off. Rescuing every civilian in a level grants a medal for the effort. There is a second medal that can be obtained for defeating every PHANTOM enemy. The bosses are more or less similar to the Donkey Kong style where there are several phases (except the first one) and they have to be defeated without dying. After the 15 levels are conquered, 3 more levels are unlocked, which includes a regular level, an enemy gauntlet level and a final boss. The final levels are pretty tough that cost me a lot of lives, so I can say that this is not as easy as it should look.

In terms of difficulty, I think this game is kind of difficult but at the same time also rather merciful. The difficult part is due to how Tembo is somewhat rigid and a big target so a wrong move makes him prone to enemies. At the same time, it's merciful because there are few sections where the player is forced to be fast. The level design is a little bit linear in that backtracking is not an option, though there are branching paths that either have civilians or something good. Despite this, I did miss out on a perfect run in some levels on the first time, so it is trickier than I let on. While the levels are a bit mellow in terms of how it plays out, there is a lot of spectacle here and there, especially when cannons are involved since a few of them allow for travelling between layers of 2D sections (kind of like Donkey Kong Country Returns).

With only like 18 levels, this game is not that long, and it's also decently challenging, but I do not know if this game is wholly recommended since it's not like Mario where the character felt good to control due to how much control Mario has, since Tembo is not that flexible. Still though, it's not a bad game that I wonder why it's not on a Nintendo system, since these type of games are more easily at home with the various colourful characters among Nintendo games.

Thank you for reading.
(Credit goes to Alex95 for this signature)

winstein

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Re: I just beat __
« Reply #1826 on: December 09, 2018, 11:38:59 AM »

The Bridge (PC)

Also available on: XB360 (LA), Android, XBO, PS3, PS4, PSV, Ouya, Wii U, Switch

The game's most recognisable trait is that the level designs defy any rule on spacing, so it's basically similar in look to M.C. Escher's famous paintings where gravity function differently for everyone. Indeed, the paintings serve as this game's inspiration, due to its monochrome look and the fact that gravity can be rotated to affect the objects of the level. Like any good real-time puzzle game like Catrap, there is a rewind function which is a very handy feature because of how timing and precision is involved when solving puzzles. While there is some sort of story in this game, it's more or less subtle.

The game is split to four rooms with six levels each, though they don't seem to match a theme that many games tend to do. What they do have is introducing new elements every now and then. The amount may sound like there are few puzzles, but there are actually more. You see, after you complete the first batch, an event will occur and mirrored levels can be accessed. Yes, that means another four rooms with six levels, and while they sound like they should be the same as the regular ones due to the "mirrored" moniker, that could not be further from the truth. The levels are certainly mirrored, but they have different objects that actually makes them more difficult than the regular levels. Oh, and even during the mirrored levels, new elements could be introduced.

The most fascinating part of this game is the mirrored levels, because not only are the levels different versions of the the regular levels, the implication is also that the place is cursed. This is indicated by how the paintings between the standard and mirrored dimensions are different, with the mirrored versions being creepier. Even if not as fascinating, there are many things that are fascinating too. For one, there are balls called "Menaces" that have a creepy two-way face that meets at the mouth, and touching them is deadly.

Speaking of deadly, I find the death messages very funny. As an example, touching the balls will render the message "And my last memory... was that of pain", and falling out of bounds is "And there I plummeted, eternally...". The thing is, objects cannot fall away because the puzzles are designed in such a way that require them. The best death message is when two copies of the player character touch each other, with the message "My own mind has molded the seed of my downfall...". They might not sound funny when you just read them, but when playing the game it was funny to see the experience of the death of the player character.

As a puzzle game, the puzzles can get tricky, especially the mirrored levels. I am not ashamed to say that I resorted to a walkthrough for several of the mirror levels, because there are some tough ones. There are even collectibles that are in the shape of wisps, and most of them have obscure locations. In my normal playthrough, I only collected one. For example, one of them requires putting in the Konami code to make it appear, and another requires rewinding at the beginning of the level so that the player is in a position to reach it. It's truly for the curious, and collecting them unlocks pieces of a portrait, so it's nothing major.

This puzzle game is great and fascinating, but it's probably also very frustrating. Still, the fact that there is a guide mean that not all is lost (since the game requires a level to be completed to unlock the next one). I felt that it made great usage of the Escher influences, which makes for a memorable game. This game won many game awards back then for a reason. Before I go, I must say that this game looks very good in colour if there were colour. Just look at one of the ending moments:



Thank you for reading.
(Credit goes to Alex95 for this signature)

winstein

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Re: I just beat __
« Reply #1827 on: Today at 10:42:47 AM »

Runner3 (Switch)

Also available on: PC, PS4

Runner3 follows up on Bit.Trip Presents... Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien. Runner3, on the other hand, ignores the timeline and just have a humorous storyline featuring CommanderVideo and his escapades, essentially dropping the Bit.Trip name that encompasses a chronological journey of CommanderVideo.

Much like the first Bit.Trip Runner and Runner2, Runner3 is an auto-runner. The basic formula for the Runner games is that the player character, normally CommanderVideo, must run forward while dealing with any obstacles on the way. Some requires jumping over, some require sliding underneath and there are even those that you must attack to get past. On the way, there are gold bars that the player can collect, and they might also act as a forewarning against incoming obstacles. There is a bonus when the player collects them all, so it's a good idea to do so. There are also four special collectibles that will make the music livelier, going from Hyper to Mega to Super to Ultra to Extra. They were red plus symbols in past games, but in this game, they come in the form or boomboxes. Finally, the games have the player character run through some weird and wonderful places. You thought hills having eyes are weird in Mario, but in this game, they are weirder because they have full faces.

So what's new in Runner3? For the first time, the player doesn't just run, thanks to vehicles appearing at certain times. For example, driving in a plane allows CommanderVideo to move up or down, and the minecart is fast and has a slower descent. The normal levels are also meant to be completed more than once, as there is a regular route and the gem route (Impossible levels only have gem routes). This is faciliated by the fact that every level has forked roads that can be changed manually (the chosen route automatic sets the right path). The game also introduced a couple of moves that will make returning to past games inconvenient: one is a double-jump, and the other is a slam that can basically cancel jumps. These two moves are indispensable in the journey because not only do the levels have obstacles designed around them, they also afford the character more movement options than ever.

The Retro levels are also unlike the previous games, because it plays more like a platformer than a retro version of an auto-runner. They are more or less platforming challenges that instead have different goals: you get to the end as fast as you can, while collecting 5 coins because that's the only way the player's best time is counted. Because CommanderVideo is not always running, there is no need to worry about colliding into things. However, the game doesn't want the player lingering too long, as bats will spawn to keep the player moving.

When starting the game, there is a disclaimer that this game is the most difficult Runner game yet, and they aren't wrong on that. For one, every level is generally longer, as each are I would say about 2 to 3 minutes to complete on average (without dying), compared to the more compact levels in the first two games (save for a few levels here and there). This is faciliated by the fact that there are 100 gold bars, which is a lot compared to the past games where the gold bar count doesn't even reach that amount for most levels. To make things tough, there is one checkpoint in the early default version, and due to how long the levels are, a mistake can undo a lot of progress. The Impossible levels take on a whole new level by not only having generally long levels, but it's also littered with tricky obstacles that require precise platforming. On the other hand, the boss levels are far easier than the rest of the game as they are generally short, except for the final boss.

Fortunately, the game received an update that made it the default to have more checkpoints, making the challenges more manageable. In fact, the update of the game basically have a difficulty changer, allowing players to change the Enemy Density, Checkpoint count and Stair Assist. The former is basically to change the amount of obstacles on stage, while the latter adds platforms at stair areas so that the player can more easily navigate around steps. Making the game easier also reduces the potential score the player receives, while making things harder for the player increases the score. Essentially this allows less experienced players to go through the game since the game never penalises players for going easy. I took advantage of the Enemy Density to go through the Impossible levels, because most of them are so tough at its normal setting. Despite this, the final Impossible level is very difficult because there are level layouts that won't make it easy even if you reduce its setting.

While the first Runner game has already got a lot of weirdness, the second game really ramps up the weirdness and even employ Charles Martinet as the narrator, which I felt goes very well with the silliness of the game. Come the third game, where the weirdness is pretty much carried over from the second game, as the story is told in the style of a theatre using puppets. Every level contains one puppet to collect, and by doing so the player can watch a theatre that pertains to a story that contains outlandish situations, verses, fourth-wall breaking jokes. I found them very amusing that it's worth it to collect them to see what ridiculous story they want to tell.

There are more wacky characters introduced. The previous game has various characters that you can unlock after beating certain levels, but this game added an additional requirement by needing to encounter NPCs to start a quest of collecting 3 items of their request, then returning to them for the character. Between Runner2 and Runner3, only one unlockable character returns as a playable (Unkle Dill), while two are non-playable (Reverse Merman and Whetfart Cheeseburger), and another two are completely absent (one of them is referenced as a costume though). Take a look at the playable cast:


There are some strange characters here, but what might have caught your eye are characters from other games. Yep, this is another game where Shovel Knight is starring, so add this game to the growing list of games that Shovel Knight is playable. Eddie Riggs makes an unexpected appearance from Brütal Legend, which even surprised me. Then there's Dave which is from a different game made by the same company, which explains why Dave has costume choices while the other guest characters don't. And finally, there's the Narrator, who is very clearly a caricature version of Charles Martinet, and in my personal opinion, the best playable character after the Commander himself. The rest of the characters are original so they aren't as interesting to talk about though.

I thoroughly enjoyed this game that I finished this game, clocking at around 25 hours and collecting all that needs to be collected, except for something found in the cryptic radio tower that I am not going to crack my head on. The music is fantastic, the platforming is very enjoyable and the humour is very good.

(Fun fact: The developers of this game are making a Bubsy game that is looking to be an auto-runner in the vein of this game)

Thank you for reading.
(Credit goes to Alex95 for this signature)