Things that ruin games.


Not knowing what to do in a game is one of the worst feelings for me; especially when after spending a significant chunk of time and finally succumbing to the urge to look up the answer, I realize the answer was something I couldn't possibly have been expected to know or figure out. Adventure games seem to be the biggest culprits of this, although I have seen it in other genres.
Not knowing what to do in a game is one of the worst feelings for me; especially when after spending a significant chunk of time and finally succumbing to the urge to look up the answer, I realize the answer was something I couldn't possibly have been expected to know or figure out. Adventure games seem to be the biggest culprits of this, although I have seen it in other genres.
Agreed. While I don't need my hand held, I would at least like a hint as to what to do or where to go in order to make progress.
The sticker system isn't a bad idea in and of itself, but it works against the rest of the battle system, making it so battles aren't rewarding because they take away a limited resource to attack with.
And speaking of limiting, you can't choose who you're going to attack, and while it can be strategized around, it feels like an unnecessary way of further limiting what I can do for a system that already limits how I can attack to begin with. The third Kamek fight in Sticker Star and the Dino Rhino Tamer encounter in Color Splash show the reason why not being able to choose which enemy to attack isn't a good design choice, especially when you have enemies whose behavior depends on another enemy. Another thing that further limits my options for attacking is inventory space, specifically the size of certain stickers. Bigger stickers take up more space in your album than smaller ones, meaning they may be more important, and your inventory space only expands after beating a boss and obtaining a Royal Sticker.

Color Splash's battle system is overall worse than Sticker Star's battle system. In Sticker Star, all you have to do is pick a sticker to use in battle. In Color Splash, you have to select a card using the Wii U Gamepad, fill it up with paint if it doesn't have any, and flick it onto the TV once you've selected it. Preparing to attack with Battle Cards takes longer than doing the same thing with Stickers, though there are different ways to do this. Combat Controls come in three different types: Basic, Basic + Buttons, and Advanced Touch Controls, and each control scheme has its advantages and disadvantages. This manages how you control picking, coloring, sorting, and playing your cards. "Basic" is objectively the worst option, as it's all touch controls on the GamePad, where you scroll through the cards by sliding the stylus, drag the card you want to the front, when asked to confirm it asks you to color in your cards with paint if they don't have any, and then flick them onto your TV. You're essentially confirming what you want to do three times per turn. "Basic + Buttons" is the most popular way to play the game, but even this has a glaring issue. It's the same as "Basic", except you can navigate the menu with the Control Stick, D-Pad, and face buttons. Instead of tedious touch controls, you navigate the menu the same way you would in any other RPG, but you're still taking up my time by having three separate menus for one turn. "Advanced Touch Controls" isn't as bad as it sounds. This is Basic Controls with one less step. There's no "Paint the Cards" screen, because you can paint the Cards as soon as you drag them onto the Card selection, streamlining the process. However, my question is, why do we need three separate control schemes? Why not give us just the one? Just have the "Basic + Buttons" controls, and add the ability to paint the Cards after you select them, like "Advanced Touch Controls" has. It's the best part of every single control scheme. It's still too many steps for what should be a simple turn-based menu, but if you're going to insist on having these mechanics, at least make them fun.

Another issue with Color Splash's battle system is that it limits what you can do in combat further by having the paint mechanic. I love this mechanic in the overworld, as it is a genius way of implementing a collectathon system that encourages players to explore the world. However, it's carried over into combat, where you can get blank cards that require you to fill them in with the same paint meter you have in the overworld. On the whole, it doesn't make a huge difference, but it's still an extra resource you can run out of, and it will not be fun when it happens, especially if you're near the end of the game. Also, while you don't have as limiting an inventory as in Sticker Star, Color Splash makes up for it in how quickly you burn through Cards and how scarce they are. It's great that you can hold up to 100 Cards in your inventory that are all the same size, so you don't have to worry about making sure they all fit. There's just one problem: Cards are only found in Question Blocks, by painting blank areas in the overworld, and after winning a battle, instead of on the environment like Stickers are in Sticker Star. But it's kind of a sunk cost, as you'll usually use more Cards than you get back after a fight, meaning you'll typically end up with less Cards than what you started with, so much like the previous game, there's not really an incentive to engage enemies other than Coins to buy more Cards.

Oh, and I need to talk about Replica Cards. The Replica watermark is funny the first time, but it gets obnoxious really quickly. They also do less damage than the real Thing cards, and on top of that, there's one other thing that Replicas do, which is a much bigger deal than just dealing less damage. Because every single Koopaling requires at least one Thing in order to defeat them, and most of them have one hit KO attacks that they'll use unless you play a Thing Card at exactly the right time. Even assuming that the Know-It-All Toad's hint is useful to you during a Koopaling fight, if you you use the Thing too early and are only left with the Replica, you will lose the fight no matter what because the Replica does not affect the Koopaling. The only reason they designed it this way is precisely because you can get Replicas for free during the Battle Spin, potentially giving you what the game assumes is a way to cheat. You're giving me a means to win a fight, only for me to realize that I'm going to lose no matter what simply because I don't have the right version of the Card I need. It could get me out of a tight, otherwise unwinnable situation, but no, I just have to take the loss when you could have made Replicas far more valuable and your game a lot more fun to play.

On the topic of the Know-It-All Toad, he's what I would like to call a Soluçãonemproblema. It's a Portuguese word I made up that roughly translates to, "a solution to a problem that shouldn't exist in the first place." One of the many problems with Sticker Star is not knowing what Thing I'm going to need for any given section, because there is no way I can foresee what's coming until I'm already there. And I can only guess that the Know-It-All Toad was created for the purpose of mitigating this problem. I feel justified in my complaints, because it makes me think that one of the developers must have realized how inconvenient not knowing what Thing you'll need next is. However, the Know-It-All Toad doesn't fix anything, but he DOES represent Color Splash's overall design philosophy, which is doubling down on every problem they created with Sticker Star, and adding a mechanic or character that only serves to prove that it's a bad game design choice to begin with. If they designed both Sticker Star and Color Splash better, we wouldn't need to have the Know-It-All Toad. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have him than not, but I'd rather not need an NPC like him in the first place.
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I do not like when games have pointless busywork that takes up my time for no tangible reward. An example would be Assassin's Creed or other Ubisoft games, which are packed with content that does not feel rewarding to complete yet takes tens of hours to collect. It is optional, but does not feel good to me.