Thursday, May 21, 2020

Taking the Plunger into Paddles and Flippers

The very first electronic pinball game I think I played was the Wildfire handheld game.

Nice, right? I played that stupid thing for hours as a kid.  Later I turned to Video Pinball for the Atari.

I also played that thing for hours. So many hours. Now that I think about it, it's no wonder I can survive grinding in an MMO, but this post is neither about MMO grinding or old school pinball games, but rather a couple of games I've recently been playing that made me think about those wonderfully fun, old torture devices:
  1. Yoku's Island Express
  2. Pong Quest
Now I know, I know . . . Pong is not pinball, and if it is, I should have absolutely included Pong with the  above "pinball" examples, but look: PADDLES AND A BALL! IT WORKS, OK?!?!

Yoku's Island Express is a refreshing platformer that is all about moving your character through the maze through the magic of flippers, bumpers, and plungers galore. I've played plenty of platformers in my day, but none quite like this.

You're an ant that works for the post office and you're tied to a pinball!

It can be a bit frustrating at times, however -- you can get stuck trying to aim a ball in a general direction with less-than-accurate flippers. It's tricky and can lead to you getting stuck just hitting a ball over and over just trying to get it to go in the perfect direction. That act kind of trumps and coincides simultaneously with the typical frustrations found in platformer games, which is, as one person brilliantly put it, "puzzle solving for your reflexes."

I've only put a couple hours into this game so far, but I'd like to get a bit deeper to see what more it has to offer.

As for Pong Quest, I was kind of floored when I saw this interesting beast pop up on my Twitter feed from Atari.  It's not every day you see a skinny rectangle sporting outfits and undertaking an RPG, but here it is.

I'm a rectangular blue demon with a nose ring and a skeleton suit. Sounds about right.

I suppose it's the natural evolution of all things from my childhood and Atari has definitely proven that you can dress up a skinny rectangle and give it charm all its own.

The gameplay is everything you'd expect it to be and more. It's pong, but with all kinds of different ball types that you pick up while questing in a Zelda Rogue-like crawl.  Your inventory is limited, so you have to pick and choose which ball powerups you grab along the way, and that's the main frustration I had as well . . . I want all the powerups!  It's kind of amazing how many choices they give you. There are 58 ball power-up choices and I've only run across about half of them so far.

So many different types of pong balls!

There's tons of charm here after several hours into it. It was kind of fun having my kids plop down and play this one as well. Kind of strange that my 10 year old had never even played a pong game before. He struggled a bit, but then again . . . so have I! Some of the twists and turns the pong game throws at you are truly unexpected.

I made my enemy little with a shrink ball . . . MUHAHAHA!

Happy Dueling

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