XBLIG Friday: The Impossible Game

Alright, it’s Friday, so it’s time for another edition of XBLIG Fridays!  This one’s gonna be short and sweet, since I have a headache and I want to get some sleep.  Regardless of that, don’t think that the pick is shabby and not worth your time!

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The Impossible Game is very simple.  You’re a block, and you jump over spikes and other blocks, and don’t die.  That’s pretty much it.  Even though the graphics are simplistic, the gameplay is completely solid.  It’s also hard as hell, as there are NO checkpoints whatsoever (unless you’re a pansy that plays on Practice mode), and dying means starting back over from the beginning.  The game becomes a test of patience and memorization, which obviously isn’t up every gamer’s alley, but is worth looking into for the 80 MS points for those who are.

Oh yeah, and the music’s pretty awesome, too.  You actually jump somewhat with the beat of the track (though which particular beat it is won’t be the same throughout the level), and is something I found a bit helpful to combat my terrible timing.  Of course, relying on a trick like that would get you killed quickly, as the timing’s not always right, but that adds to the challenge.

It’s good to note as well that The Impossible Game Level Pack (it’s really just a sequal as opposed to DLC) recently came out on XBLIG, which gives you two harder new levels with some crazy effects, all for a buck as well.  Of course, as the developers warn, it’s best to play and beat the original first.

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My Top Ten 2010: #5-1

Alright, it’s the day before New Year’s Eve, so it’s time to finish my top ten list!  I mean, I WAS going to wait (read: procrastinate) until tomorrow to write it up, but hey, that would be Friday and I write stuff on Fridays and I don’t like writing more than one post per day.

REGARDLESS, these five games practically defined my most enjoyable gaming moments this year.  If you want to see games 6-10, well… just scroll down!  That post should be right underneath.  Now, let’s get started with number five.

#5 – Mother 3

Unlike every other game on this list, Mother 3 wasn’t released in America.  A devoted fan translation group finished English-izing the game a while back.  I had played the game in the past, but a faulty ROM deleted my save, and I didn’t restart until late this year.  This game is great.  The story is fantastic, the gameplay is refined (though working with some things is a pain!) and the game itself is relatively fast-paced.  I’ve yet to finish the game (I’m on Chapter 7), but Mother 3 has been a blast for me to play.

#4 – Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride

You know, I paid fifty dollars for DQ5, more than I have for any other DS game.  I’ve learned my lesson of waiting to buy something that has a chance of becoming rare, but I must say that paying the inflated price for the game was well worth it.  This remake of the Super Famicom original is terrific:  The graphics are a great mix of 2D and 3D, the story’s one of the best I’ve seen in the series, and all the little bonuses really add to the package.  Despite the fact that I paid so much, it was worth every penny, and I’m looking forward to when DQ6 comes out on Valentine’s Day next year.

#3 – Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

I’m not an FF7 fangirl.  But I am a Zack Fair fangirl.  This action RPG prequel to the PS1 classic obviously appeals to my tastes already, as I got to see more into Zack’s backstory.  In addition, though, the gameplay is fun, and the insane amount of optional sidequests add as much to Crisis Core as you want it to.  It was a great game to play, and the ending still made me sad, even though I already knew what was going to happen.

#2 – Ys Seven

Unlike every other game on this list, I’ve already written a review on Ys Seven, so you can check out the details of my gushing for this game there.  Since you can, I’ll just sum it up quickly here: Amazingly fun gameplay, nice graphics, and awesome music all come together to create the best Action RPG I’ve played… possibly ever.

#1 – Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

Alright, this is it:  This is THE game I’ve enjoyed the most this year, and this is also my Game of the Year, since it came out in 2010, as well.  DQ9 is a massive game, filled with so much that even at my current 135 hour mark, I’ve barely touched any of it.  Hell, my roommate’s at over 250 hours and he hasn’t seen everything yet, either!  The story isn’t really all that much to look at, but it’s everything else about the game that really shines.  Take some classic Dragon Quest gameplay (job-system flavored), mix in some (mostly) well-developed multiplayer, and top it off with constantly changing online shop deals and equipment, and you’ll find yourself becoming addicted to DQ9.  When me and my friends got it on release day, we played it for about three weeks straight in multiplayer, and we had a blast.  This game has defined the year for me, and I’ll hope I’ll have more awesome experiences like this one next year.

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Well, these are the games I’ve enjoyed the most in 2010.  2011 already looks to be promising for me; with all the backlog of awesome games and some hot games coming out, I’ll likely have a better year than the last.  Have a happy new year!  :D

My Top Ten 2010: #10-6

It’s the end of the year!  It’s the time for all the big gaming sites to pick their games of the year, what they enjoyed and hated, et cetera.  So why not join in on the year-end fun?  As you could probably tell, I’m making a list of the top ten games I’ve played for 2010… but I’m not limited myself to games released this year.  I’m poor, so many of the games I buy and that I have aren’t the most up-to-date… and most of the ones I do have I haven’t started!  So, instead I’m going to broaden it to any game I played this year, regardless of release date.  So, before I begin, here’s a few fun facts about my list, just for the hell of it:

  • Of these ten games, seven of them are RPGs.  Of the remaining three, one of them has RPG elements in it.  Yes, I love RPGs.
  • Of the ten, five of the games were released in 2010.  From there, three were released in 2009, one in 2006, and one in 2005.  I’ve been playing more of the recent games than retro.
  • All but one of these games is a portable game.  Geez!

Well, that’s all.  Let’s begin with number ten!

#10 – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

I’m not really a shooter fan.  I guess I just have a shaky hand, or something, because I suck at them.  But Modern Warfare 2 is a great game in every right, even if I did suck at it.  The game was fun and had a great tutorial, so even someone like me could get the hang of it.  Also, the story was intriguing and made me want to play more, even if I had to deal with the frustration of my suckage.  Throw in some kick-ass multiplayer, and this game forces its way into my top ten.

#9 – Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

I hate Aria of Sorrow.  I’m not sure why, I think I just had a bad memory of it when I played it in my younger days.  When Dawn of Sorrow first came out, I scoffed at it, shunning it with the combination of my dislike of the first game and the… questionable change in art style.  However, now that I’ve been practically forced to play it, I can see how much I was missing out on.  Great classic Metroid-vania gameplay, the addiction of collecting souls, and other little mechanics made DoS a joy for me to play.

#8 – Ace Attorney: Miles Edgeworth Investigations

I LOVE the Ace Attorney series.  The courtroom antics and the intense melodrama makes me love (almost) every entry, and this new game is no exception.  Instead of the game taking place in the courts, though, you take control of everyone’s favorite purple-clad prosecutor and take it to the crime scene.  Ace Attorney 5 might be a bit easier than previous entries, but the charm and eccentric characters make this a terrific entry to the series.

#7 – Pokemon: HeartGold Version

I have spent around 140 hours with this game already.  That alone should go to tell you how addicted I got to this iteration of the Pokemon series.  The second generation games (Gold, Silver, and Crystal) were my favorites was I was a kid, so booting up HeartGold and playing through it was an intensely fun nostalgia trip.  Add in all the extra features from the newer games and almost double as many Pokemon to find from before, and this game sucked me into the region of Johto again.

#6 – Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals

I kinda felt sorry for Lufia 5 when I got it.  I had an unnatural hate for the series, as the only game I played before was Ruins of Lore (Lufia 4), and that game sucked super ass.  Also, I started playing this game RIGHT AFTER Ys Seven, and since Curse of the Sinistrals is also an action RPG, I saw flaws in the combat pretty quickly.  Despite all that, however, this game turned out to be a great experience for me.  It’s a re-imagining of Lufia II, so the great story is still there, but he gameplay and dungeons are more streamlined, so that you can enjoy the experience without all the backtracking and frustration those old-school RPGs had.

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That’s the bottom five of my list!  Stay tuned for Thursday, where I’ll put up my top five to 2010.

XBLIG Friday: Garden Gnome Carnage X

Oh, would you look at that.  A title with the word ‘Friday’ in it?  It must be a new blogging series!  For XBLIG Fridays, I’ll take an Xbox Live Indie Game every Friday (obviously) that you should play, and well… show it to you.  The Indie game area of the Xbox is horribly ignored, and have some really great games hidden under all the shovelware.  They’re usually pretty cheap, too (the highest that can be charged for a game is 400 MS points, though a game rarely goes that high), and the games I’ll be highlighting are worth wasting an afternoon or weekend on.  So, let’s begin.

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For the first edition of XBLIG Fridays, I scoured the library for some kind of Christmas themed game to feature.  Is IT Christmas Eve, afterall.  And much to my surprise, I actually found one.

Garden Gnome Carnage X (or GGC X, as it’s called in the Marketplace) does not seem like the kind of game that’s… good.  Nor does it seem like a Christmas game in the least.  But bare with me, and I’ll show you why this game is worth your 80 MS Points (or a dollar, if you prefer).

So, you play as a garden gnome.  And garden gnomes apparently hate Christmas.  And… well, that’s all I knew before downloading the demo and booting up the game.  But when I saw a garden gnome semi-parody of the beginning of Mega Man 2, I knew this simplistic castle defense game had something going for it.

Uh... yeah.

Anyway, as I said before, you play as a gnome, and you want to defend the roof of your building so that the nasty elves and Santa can’t deliver their presents.  You’re not as powerless as a gnome as one might think, either.  First off, the gnome is apparently a bungee freak, and he spends the game flailing about the stage, knocking elves off of the building and Santas from out of the sky.  While the gnome’s flying around, you can grab bricks from the building and throw them, causing a lot of splash damage and allowing you to hit elves you couldn’t reach yourself.  Bricks aren’t unlimited, though, and you can only get more by allowing your cat friend to make it to the top.

What, you say it doesn’t make sense?  Oh, did I mention the building is on wheels, and you move it about effortlessly?  How about that you can control the elements themselves, and control the way the wind blows, affecting the gnome’s bungeeing area?  To top it all off, you can call in airstrikes, too.  Yeah, you should have know this game wouldn’t make sense in the first place.

The gnome's always chillin' with his shades

However, the sheer insanity of it all is what adds to the fun.  GGC X is simple fast-paced, completely nonsense fun.  Sure, there are better games out there, but for a buck, there’s not much to lose with this one.  So download it and share it with your family this Xmas.  You’ll be sure to get some laughs and ‘WTF’s from it.

Humble Indie Bundle #2

This is pretty awesome.  ‘Pay what you want’ deals are becoming more frequent in the indie scene, but this one really takes the cake.  The Humble Indie Bundle #2, hosted at humblebundle.com, has five awesome indie games (Braid, Macninarium, Cortex Command, Osmos, and Revenge of the Titans) for WHATEVER price you want.  Yes, you could pay only a penny for all five games.  Better yet, the games come with Windows, Mac, and Linux compatibility, and can be downloaded as many times as you want.  Talk about an awesome deal!

Finally, you can choose how your payment is spread out: either between the developers, the charities that the bumble is helping to support, and to the coordinators of the Humble Bundle themselves.  So, it may be worth paying more than a penny… but regardless, it’s worth at least a look!

UPDATE: Great news!  Now, when you buy the bundle, you even get a code to get the games in Steam!  Cortex Command and Revenge of the Titans currently are unavailable, but when they are released on Steam, you get them automatically!  That’s certainly something to sweeten the deal.

Yes, this is cute.

This little cheetah cub is JUST TOO CUTE, I couldn’t help but to put something up about him.  This little guy, the two week old Kaburi, just opened his eyes and just is SO ADORABLE.  Everyone must go to this site and watch this little cheetah and just go AWWW a million times over.

This picture just melts your heart, doesn't it? Go watch the video! (I grabbed this pic from Cute Overload)

Quickie Review: Mega Man Maverick Hunter X

As you probably already know, Mega Man Maverick Hunter X (referred to as MM:MH from now on) is a remake of the original Mega Man X for the Super Nintendo.  However, much like Mega Man Powered Up was, is much more than a simple port to the PSP.  This isn’t really a short ‘quickie review’, but hey, it’s not really a full-on review, either.  Regardless, let’s get started on the comparing/contrasting.

When you first boot up the game, the only thing that’s available to you is ‘X Mode’, which would obviously let you play through the game as X.  The game overall plays much like the original: You run through the eight Maverick stages, finding power-ups and stealing the bosses’ weapons, then you blast through Sigma’s palace to take on the main baddie himself.  The levels are overall unchanged, though a few things are moved around, most notable of which being the locations of X’s armor upgrades.  In addition, some of the bosses get some new tactics in this game, which can make them easier or harder (in my opinion, mostly easier).  Overall, the game is easier than the original (at least, it was on Normal Mode… that may not be the case on Hard), which can be good for Mega Man newcomers, but not so much for veterans of the series.

Moving on, though, when you beat X Mode, you get two things: An anime short and Vile Mode.  Let’s touch on the movie real quick… it’s about twenty minutes long, and it explains some of the events before the first game.  It’s interesting if you’re interested in the actual story of the series, and it surprisingly doesn’t spoil any plot points in other games.  Of course, if you don’t care about the story, then you probably won’t find much good in the anime.

However, the most interesting part about MM:MH is the new Vile Mode.  Vile plays completely differently from X, featuring the ability to use three different kinds of weapons at once.  He also gets a bunch of new weapons every time you beat a Maverick, so he gets to be really customizable.  However, Vile’s mode is also a lot harder because of this:  You’re gonna have to find new strategies for the bosses.  Thankfully, Capcom did a good job tweaking the levels so that the enemies sets and other things are better suited for Vile’s playing style.  What that basically means is that the difficulty doesn’t stem from cheap deaths or an enemy that’s hard for Vile to hit.  It’s also interesting to note that Vile’s story stays pretty canonical to the original story (or X’s, if you will).

MM:MH is a pretty good remake.  It offers stuff for both the newbie and the old veteran, and the price I paid for it ($15) was worth it.  Of course, this is a game where mileage will vary, and you can see why by everything above.

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