Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks: hunting rabbits

I've completed the four temples in the four quarters of the map, and Zelda's urging me to hurry to the tower to visit Mr Wheelchair Man* who may, for all we know, be dead. The whole world is hanging in the balance.

So I'm off to hunt rabbits, collect treasures to buy trains, and ferrying people around the world and collecting fish, ice and wood. I've been burnt by this before; I don't want to leave so much of the game incomplete. I want to find all of the rabbits and claim the prizes that Mr Rabbit* promises me. I want to open all the tracks and see what the things on the beach in Ocean World are. I want to find a nice husband for the ugly bint in Paprika Village*. I'm having a great time doing it.

I've just finished motoring around the maze that is the top of the volcano, and notice a large space on the map to the North East. And in the town, a goron wanting to go to the city. I hope to see many more tracks after I've completed this run ...

* names may not be correct

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Angry Birds: blowing up the pigs

Angry Birds is like Worms in single player, with lots of additional bits of scenery that you can use to crush the frog/pig hybrids which are your enemies. The projectiles are different sorts of birds, and with some of these you tap the screen again to perform an action. OK, it's not really like Worms at all.

The genius of the game is the star mechanism. It's easy enough to complete every level - by destroying all enemies, but to get three stars you have to achieve a certain number of points - which means not using all your birds, hitting lots of scenery, and generally being overly destructive. I've managed three stars on around 70% of the levels, but there are some that just seem impossible.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks: choo choo!

I don't think this is as good as Phantom Hourglass. To be more precise, I don't think the general world is as engaging as that in PH, and the train annoys me a bit compared to the wonderful sense of freedom you got in the boat. Having said that, the boat in PH paled in comparison to sailing in The Wind Waker, so it's all comparative. The story is typical Zelda, though it's a bit more self-aware than normal; the plot as to why Link ends up in standard Hero of Time garb is amusing, and it seems to recognise that the series has become clich├ęd in some ways.

I've already collected hundreds of rupees, I have a shield which I've used once, and I've been to the forest and snow dungeons. I know the settings.

However, the dungeon puzzles in this game are up there with the best, with inventive use of the boomerang and ice flames to freeze pathways on water, the use of a fan to blow keys around, and clearing snow with fire. The blizzard temple boss was pretty hard, though as ever a bit of cautioness meant that I didn't die. The hardest part of the game, in fact, seems to be avoiding the evil trains on the tracks outside.

The one annoying thing about the game is the extensive use of the microphone to play the pipes, blow the fan, and so on. I play the DS on public transport, which is noisy. As a result, the game thinks the microphone is constantly being blown into, and that makes things pretty tricky at times. A sensitivity option would have been good ...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Peggle: no longer challenged

I've finally, finally completed the challenges in Peggle. I completed most of them months ago, in fact, but there's one - the 750,000 on a single level challenge - which is just ludicrous.

I saw this many times.

On the screenshot above, I came so so close - but not quite. I almost quit forever.

But coming that close just shows you that it's not impossible. Finally, on one game I managed to score around 340,000 off of a single ball after hitting the triple score. It was still touch and go as to whether I'd do it, though, since it was reliant on me either clearing the stage or getting the ball to land in the 100,000 bucket at the end. But, oh no.

Now all I've got to do is 100% every level. Easy. Erm.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Mirror's Edge: keep on running

I'm really enjoying this. I picked it up ages ago when it was £7 somewhere, but never got around to playing it. There's a well-thought out setting, a reasonable back story, and emphasis on non-combative progress through the levels. At times, it reminds me of the puzzley nature of some Tomb Raider levels, or working out how to scale buildings in Crackdown. I like climbing.

There are some places where there's evidently more than one route though a level, but I do get the feeling that it's not quite as liberal a it pretends to be. All too often there are set doors you have to go through, or only one set of pipes you can climb. Although you can theoretically run through levels without fighting or shooting, I'm not sure if that's really possible, since the soldiers or police are often directly in the only path that I can see. Maybe that' just my inexperience.

It took a while to get used to the controls, but now I'm running and jumping like a seasoned veteran. Most of the time. Wall runs can be a bit tricky at times - it seems to be a little random as to whether you'll actually do one or not. The frequent restart points and general fast pace of the game means this doesn't really matter though, and I'm making good progress - having just finished the fourth level.