Welcome to the second week of Nintendojo’s Backlog Summer! What kind of progress have the staff made through their backlogs since last week? Read on to find out!
I didn’t chime in last week, but I want to declare that for the next few weeks, I will be having the summer of Wa-Wa-Wa-WARIO!!!!!
I now have in my possession all four Wario Land games across the Game Boy, GBC, and GBA. As such, I want to take my greed to the next level and try to get through them all! My only previous experience with these games was spending some time with Wario Land II as a kid. And I have beaten Virtual Boy Wario Land, which was a great game. I feel that Wario Land is under-appreciated and has fallen to the wayside since Wario decided to change course and make the WarioWare games. So not only will I be experiencing some of Wario’s adventures for the first time, but I will also be gaining an appreciation for how they advanced over time. Maybe I will even finish Wario Land: Shake It! on Wii if I get through the portable games.
So I’m currently playing Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3. It was released in 1994 for the original Game Boy. For the most authentic experience, I’ve decided to play it on my Game Boy Color for the time being. We’ll see if I can tolerate the GBC for the entirety of the adventure when I could be using my GBA SP or Game Boy Player…
I’m only a few levels into the first Wario Land, and it’s pretty enjoyable. I really dig how distinct Wario is from Mario. A lot of platform games can be samey, but not Wario Land. Wario is a fat bastard who moves slowly and packs a punch. I’m surprised by how high he can jump, but I guess Wario is not one to be underestimated. The levels even in the first world aren’t strictly straightforward– there are side doors and rooms full of coins to discover. I love Wario’s charge attack and how he feels like a tank plowing through enemies! However, there are tons of spiked enemies that punish you for charging carelessly.
One thing that the first Wario Land features that later games do not are the different hat power-ups. Wario can grab a few different hats to do things like breathe fire or fly horizontally with a jet hat. I remember this being a big part of Virtual Boy Wario Land, but by Wario Land II these were replaced by the contextual and temporary transformations. Another thing is that Wario has health in this first game. He gets hit once and turns into small Wario, and another hit leads to death. In Wario Land II I remember you just losing coins if you were hit.
But I’m still in the first world of Wario Land. I am only now realizing that Virtual Boy Wario Land is pretty much this same game with different levels! My Wario adventures continue until next time! Wa-ha-ha!
Like Kyle, I also didn’t chime in last week, but I fully intend to knock off some games on my backlog list! I’m constantly looking for good deals and if I see a cheap game at retail or on the eShop, I’m going to pick it up on instinct. But of course, I never play them immediately. Instead, I just let them sit there as I forget about their existence. Obviously, more important games required my attention at the time!
Now that we’re in the thick of the summer, it’s time to fix this issue. Most recently, I’ve been playing Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call on 3DS. After recently completing Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy IX for the first time, I’ve enjoyed returning to each of the game’s respective soundtracks. From a gameplay perspective, it keeps things simple for a rhythm game as most things just boil down to button presses or touch screen taps, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. What matters is if the game is fun and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call definitely accomplishes that.
Next on my list would be Retro City Rampage: DX on 3DS. I constantly hear about how this is an exceptional indie game that pays homage to both GTA and the 8-bit era, so I decided to pick it up months ago on sale. Hopefully I’ll finally get a start on this one soon!
Shout out to the Didn’t Chime in Last Week crew!
I just got back into Dragon Ball Z a week or so ago after falling back in love with the characters through Dragon Ball Super. So, with that, I’m getting all of the Game Boy Advance titles, the Super Nintendo fighting ones, and even some of the RPGs. I’m working my way through The Legacy of Goku right now as I re-watch the show, but man. It’s difficult, to say the least. The game is a bit clunky and hard to swallow, but knowing the story as it happens gives it some life. If this were a “what if” series, I don’t know if I could get through it all. I never played the other two, but I caught some reviews before taking the plunge and everyone seems to say the second and third fight for best in the series and that they’re actually decent games.
Outside of those games, there’s…not really anything else. I’m trying to dive into the whole Dragon Ball world to the point where it becomes second nature to me. I’m going to become the biggest nerd in the world and I’ll eventually rule the world with a powerful anime fist, unstoppable by any measure of power. I’ll have to try hard to get sucked into other games coming out soon or just finish these games with speed only achievable by Goku going full on Super Kaio-ken.
I’ve finally opened up Super Smash Bros. for Wii U this week. Wow! That roster is huge, and still growing! I’ve had a good hour on it and completed the solo classic mode with Bowser and Little Mac so far. I’ve also given the All-Star mode a bash, which is great and probably my favorite of the solo events. I have yet to go online; I’m no expert when it comes to the Smash series and it usually takes a good few hours of play before I feel confident enough to take it online, only then to get owned by anyone I take on. Sadly, the Mario Amiibo is still unopened, but this weekend will see his debut in the Harnett household I’m sure!
Unfortunately, Donkey Kong Country Returns is still sitting there in my room, looking at me, making me feel guilty. I promise I will get to you very soon Kong, honest… Kong? Kong? Oh, come on, don’t be like that…
Gaming time has been scant this past week, but I stayed true to my word and started Kirby’s Dream Land 3, which has been pretty fun. It’s definitely one of the slower Kirby games out there, but teaming up with all of Kirby’s partners has kept things interesting. One cool aspect of the game is that every level has a hidden objective to achieve, which I assume contributes to getting the best ending at the finish of the game. I’ve only taken down the first world, and the objectives are the only thing remotely difficult about this Kirby romp. Hopefully that changes soon. At the very least, having secrets in every level makes one approach the level a little differently, sort of like getting the Rainbow Drops in Kirby’s Dream Land 2, but to a lesser extent. Even though I’m not totally captivated, the completionist in me will drive me to see everything this title has to offer.
I’m heading on a road trip to the western United States this next week, and I’m only bringing two games– Puzzle & Dragons and Star Fox 64 3D (along with a 2DS), which are technically two games in my backlog. We’ll see how far I get in these two titles, as I’ll be busy spending time with my family and taking in the sights. Maybe I’ll get a chance to pick up some Amiibo that are hard to find in Canada, where I hail from. Then it’s back to Kirby as soon as I get back.
So I’m going in reverse order of what I stated last time and starting with Skylanders Swap Force. I have to say, as introductions go, though this is the third installment in the series, I’ve hit the ground running quite smoothly. Let’s get this out of the way first, though: the narrative is definitely meant for a kid. Not in a mindless junk kind of way, but it’s simple, safe stuff that would be right at home on Cartoon Network. I’d put it a notch below anything in the Ratchet & Clank series. That said, it’s well done and just engaging enough that I’m not falling asleep watching the cut scenes.
The meat and potatoes of Swap Force is the gameplay, of course, and it’s here that I’m having a blast. Skylanders games are third-person action platformers, with a focus on brawling. Each Skylander toy comes with its own set of moves and attacks, though the core controls are the same no matter what. This makes swapping out figures a breeze, as there’s really no learning curve between Skylanders. If you can play with one, you can play with any of them. Melee attacks, swords, knives, energy beams– the variety of attack types is boggling and quite impressive, ultimately helping preventing any redundancy from creeping in when alternating between toys.
My biggest gripe so far? Character speed is sllooowwww. No matter which character I swapped in, movement from point A to B can sometimes feel like a crawl. There’s no run command, either, further compounding the issue. I suppose the developers figured this limitation would help keep the game accessible for younger players, but it’s borderline broken. Thankfully, battles and platforming distract from this flaw, as I was much more focused on earning experience and currency to keep leveling up all my different figurines. So far I’m impressed, but we’ll see how I feel come next week!
What games are you playing through this summer? Share your progress with us in the comments!