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

Friday, May 1, 2020

Nice Mice and Lots of Brawl Stars Spice


How's your quarantine going?  Lemme know in the comments.

As for us, we've been watching a lot of Netflix and Prime Video. My wife got sucked into Ozark, and man is that stuff dark. It's awful watching a family put family first while breaking every moral code known to man and slowly descending a stairway to hell. Netflix has also presented us with a few interesting movies I probably wouldn't have watched otherwise, like Dinner for Shmucks.

Lately I've just had a big pull to my phone and the PlayStation VR.  My PC hard drive dying might have also played a little part in my PC game absence.

Forever my family has been on the hunt for our copy of Moss that we got for Christmas. Yup, we've been looking for our copy of the game since it got put to the side in favor of Beat Saber and then "lost" in the shuffle of Christmas cleanup.  Eventually we decided to really clean the kids area upstairs and pecked through every corner. This whole time I've been looking for a CD case, but come to find out it was a simple piece of paper with a downloadable code on it.  In fact, I almost threw it out when my wife handed me a big wad of "looks like junk" papers. 

What is Moss?  Oh!  It's an adorable story-based 3D platform puzzle game where you go through a series of levels playing as an adventuring mouse named Quill.

The only problem, as said earlier in the post, I watched Dinner for Shmucks the night before I started playing the game. If you're not familiar with the movie, Steve Carell plays an idiot savant who makes taxidermized mice dioramas.

Now I can't help but think that I'm playing inside of one of these creations when I play the game, which is a great game, but now it just has this taxidermized mice diorama shadow over it. I'm going to need a bit of time to forget the movie so I can enjoy the game.

Don't get me wrong. I liked Dinner for Shmucks; it's a really funny brom-com flick and the mice dioramas are definitely adorable . . . I just can't get them out of my head when I play the game, so it's spoiling the experience.

As for mobile games, I'm still playing quite a bit of Brawl Stars. I'm up to 7242 trophies as of this morning and climbing (stops to play a couple games of Showdown with Bibi). I'm up to 7258 trophies as of this morning and climbing!

I really love this little mobile game battler. I'm also pleasantly surprised by how vibrant the creative community is for this game. I mean, it is a Supercell game, so it's to be expected that it's a quality game and would have a following, but if you haven't checked out their "maker" website for the game, you're missing half of the fun. Their current campaign is titled Bibi and Bae: Hero or Villian? The request is that those artists who can make 3DMax skins for the game choose to make a model that represents either character as a hero or villain, and there are some super cool skins being made here.

MikeblueG has created a skin that re-envisions Bibi as a futuristic gladiator that definitely got my vote.

The good news for me is that I ordered a new PC hard drive and have a couple games I'm eyeing for future blogposts! 

Happy Dueling!