Welcome to another week of Nintendojo’s Backlog Summer! How much progress have the staff made through their backlogs since last week? And what do they think of their neglected titles so far? Read on to find out!
Finally, my Mario Amiibo has been opened and unleashed on Super Smash Bros. I have started the training process with him and fed him the varying rewards I have earned from playing through the solo events a few times. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until after I had fed him everything I had collected that building up and training my Amiibo is a bit of an art form. For every positive effect on any given attribute an item gives to my character there is consequently a negative effect on another, making the whole process of upgrading my Amiibo a careful balancing act, and one which I will be taking much more notice of from now on.
Donkey Kong Country Returns, as promised, has had most of my attention this week. I’d forgotten how good the game was, and why I had played it so intently before my whole corrupted save file fiasco. Having to revisit the first half of the game again is actually a blessing in disguise; I find I am taking a little more time in completing the levels and allowing myself to explore all the little nooks and crannies so as to find all of those puzzle pieces and bananas. In fact, if I’m to complete the game before this backlog feature ends then I need to stop doing this and speed things up a bit. The sheer amount of collectables that you can pursue through the levels is huge, and if I were going for 100 percent completion I would have no chance in getting this finished in time. So, a slight change of tactic for next week’s gaming. I’ll refrain from just rushing through levels like a lunatic, but I am thinking less leisurely stroll and more brisk walk.
My life is slowly becoming Wario. WAH!
I am still playing through the first Wario Land, and I have made significant progress. Wario and I are now in the fifth world, the dark and mysterious Parsley Woods! I have to say that I am quite enjoying this game. The levels are short enough that it is never a problem to just play a quick level or two on days that I am a bit busier. There have been a few unusually challenging levels, but so far the game has been ramping up slowly with the difficulty.
I am really having fun Wario’s play style here. He has a lot more presence than Mario as I mentioned last week, and each of his powers really change how you navigate and attack. My favorite power-up by far is Jet Wario, which allow you to rocket through the sky when you charge in mid-air. It’s so much fun to soar and pummel enemies in the sky! There are benefits to using each of the three main hats, and there are secrets that require the use of a specific power-up.
Speaking of secrets, Wario Land has a ton of ’em! There are apparently fifteen hidden treasures scattered throughout the game, and I’ve only found a handful so far. I know I must have missed several in earlier levels, too. Like Super Mario World, a lot of levels have multiple exits, so I am keeping Wario ever vigilant and on the lookout for special secrets. In the second world, Mt. Teapot, I stumbled upon an alternate exit that opened up an entirely optional world! It was the icy Sherbet Land (no relation to the one from Mario Kart, it seems) and it had quite challenging levels. I think it’s really cool that a whole world is hidden away as a secret.
But it’s no surprise to me that Wario Land is such a great game despite its age and the limitations of the Game Boy hardware. The game was designed by the team at Nintendo R&D1, EAD’s older cousin. R&D1 designed some of Nintendo’s seminal games from NES all the way to Game Boy Advance. These included Metroid, Kid Icarus, Excitebike, Super Metroid, and so many more. Of course, R&D1 also developed the two Super Mario Land games for Game Boy, which are predecessors to Wario Land (Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins is one of my favorite games of all time, by the way).
I’m just having fun playing a good old-fashioned platformer again. I am also still playing it on the Game Boy Color, by the way. I haven’t gotten this much mileage out of my old device in years, and it feels quite nostalgic to give the Game Boy Color system some love. Anyways, my Wario adventures shall continue. Perhaps I can get through the rest of these worlds by next week? WAH!
I’m sad to report that my progress with my backlog has been excruciatingly slow so far.
I’ve played the beginning of Watch Dogs and, while I really liked the shooting and hacking mechanics, what I heard about the game’s driving is sadly true. I found it incredibly unwieldy and (despite this being the very first time I was allowed behind a wheel) I quickly found myself being hounded by the police. I’m going to keep playing through, though, so maybe I will get used to it?
Beyond that, all I have had time for is a few games of Mario Kart 8, which I am still in love with. I’ve only got the Mirror Mode left to complete now and once that is done I’ll be getting all of the DLC released in the last year. It’s still one of the best looking games on Wii U in my opinion and one of the best games to play locally with friends.
Looking ahead to next week, I’m aiming to complete Hyrule Warriors, make a dent in The Witcher 3, and see how far I can make it in Watch Dogs. If I get the time, of course!
I transitioned over to 999 for a little variety this week, and it’s just as unsettling now as it was the last time I played through it. There’s something about the visual novel genre that works so well on a handheld. I don’t know if maybe it’s because holding a DS isn’t all that different from holding a book or what, but I really get sucked into these sorts of games on a portable. With a game as grizzly as 999, it creates the perfect atmosphere to compliment the experience. 999 isn’t a horror game, so to speak, but rather a psychological thriller. Starting off locked in the small cabin of a ship that is slowly filling with water, you’re thrown right into the deep end and expected to immediately start swimming. The game has been keeping me on my toes, and I’m hoping I make some better choices this time out!
I also started randomly replaying Batman: Arkham City this past week. Man, what a game. I’ve been enjoying Arkham Knight, but this second time at bat with Arkham City has changed my opinion of the title. I loved Arkham Asylum more initially, but I’m inclined to think I might now be crowning City my favorite game in the series to date. Combat is excellent, the environment is rich with secrets to discover, and the story and presentation are impeccable. Seriously, go and snag a copy on your Wii U if you have yet to experience Arkham City— it’s so dang fun. I tend to have trouble with open world games like this, but Rocksteady did something truly special with this one that’s drawn me right in.
I’m slowly but surely picking away at Yoshi’s New Island, but this week, the majority of my focus has been on Super Smash Bros. on Wii U. A friend recently bought it, so we’ve been playing online a bit. When I started to see levels I never even knew existed, I realized just how little time I’ve sank into this game, so far. While I really enjoyed the 3DS version, I think the game’s earlier release caused me to neglect the Wii U version, and I’m trying to rectify that. It’s such a great game!
With my interest in Smash reinvigorated, I’ve been working my way through Classic Mode and the game’s various challenges. I haven’t looked up how to unlock the characters or stages I’m missing, though. Right now, I’m just playing around and seeing what I unlock. So far, I’ve pretty much exclusively gotten new music, but that’s okay in my book. I think the music customization is one of the game’s most underrated features. Eventually, I might cave and look up online how to unlock my missing fighters and stages, but this is fun for now. Super Smash Bros. is one of the few games where it doesn’t feel like cheating to me if I look up how to unlock something online, but I still prefer figuring out as much as I can on my own!
What games are you playing through this weekend? Let us know in the comments!