Welcome to another installment of Nintendojo’s Backlog Summer! How are the staff’s backlog adventures progressing this week? Read on to find out!
Guess who’s playing his SNES every waking moment. Nope, it’s me. I’m getting into Link to the Past again and it’s pretty addicting. With most games, I play a bit, get bored or tired, and come back a few hours later; rinse and repeat. This game has me hooked though and I think it’s solely because of the way advancement works in it. You go to the first dungeon so you can get a cooler sword and then…story spoilers happen. Added on to that, the SNES era had some beautiful games and pixel art. Vibrant colors everywhere, detailed sprites, and even attention paid in places where it’s usually free (my metaphor game is strong, it seems).
Then there’s Super Mario All-Stars. This game may be my favorite only because it’s a delicious repackage of the best series known to man. The sprite upgrades, the inclusion of Super Mario Bros. from Japan, the ability to save (insert Tim “The Toolman” Taylor grunts here) it’s all so wonderful. Working my way through the games again is always enjoyable and strikes a cord of nostalgia that isn’t often mirrored elsewhere. These games mean something to me and I’m playing them all over gorgeous S-video on an SNES. Does it get any better?
It’s been a while since my last Backlog Summer entry because of vacation and other reasons. But I’ve stayed true to my intention to play through Kirby’s Dream Collection! After some head-scratchers, I’ve made it to World 5 of Kirby’s Dream Land 3 with every little puzzle solved. Some are quite easy, some are tougher (which are my favorites), and some are just obscure. The obscure ones are by far the most annoying, as I’ve had levels where I tried everything under the sun to solve the puzzle, when it was really about a thousand times simpler than I thought. That’s not particularly fun, and it definitely affects my mood when a puzzle is elusive for the wrong reasons. But the difficult puzzles are so satisfying when they take a little thinking to decipher. Other than the puzzles (which keep this game from being a little on the short side), I’ve noticed that I take damage a lot more frequently than other Kirby titles. Chalk this up to personal preference, but I enjoyed the damage detection better in the original Mega Man than Dream Land 3. Other than that, this Kirby title is quite the decent game, even though I would place it at the lower end of the spectrum of Kirby titles I’ve enjoyed. Here’s hoping getting 100 percent is worth it, because I’m not playing any other game (except maybe Splatoon) until I do.
Other than that, all I’ve been doing is collecting a few Amiibo (just scored Rosalina and King Dedede through my sister’s mad refreshing skills!), and I’ll be showing up to EB Games to pre-order the 3-pack of Duck Hunt, Mr. Game & Watch, and R.O.B.
So my Batman kick has sort of evened out after a couple of weeks of caped crusading. I still have to finish Arkham Knight, but I think my brain needs a bat-breather before I finally crack into it. Confession time, though: my PS3 lured me back with The Last of Us. I bought it day one and started playing it, but the game frankly scared the hell out of me and I could only get through it in chunks. (I’m weak when it comes to horror games!) I finally just sort of stopped playing and let it sit unfinished.
Flash forward to now, and I found myself randomly wanting to finally beat it, which I did. I know it’s not a Nintendo title, but it’s easily one of the most amazing games I’ve played on any system. The visuals are out of this world– I can’t wait to see the PS4 version whenever I finally buy that console. The game world is as fully realized as anything I’ve ever played. I was compelled to explore every nook and cranny it had to offer, regardless of what creepy monstrosity was waiting around the corner. More than anything, though, I loved the story.
The voice acting and narrative intertwine into a perfect whole. Troy Baker is a madman. I didn’t even know it was him back when I first started the game; he’s that good at sounding not like himself. All the performances are gritty and sincere feeling, to the point where the line between the drama of what a Hollywood movie and video game can offer has been permanently blurred more so than ever. The moral conundrums at play, the moral ambiguity of leads Ellie and Joel, it’s all just gripping beyond words. I don’t know what compelled me back to The Last of Us, but it was one of the most rewarding gaming experiences I’ve ever had.
Again, this week Smash Bros. has not once seen the light of day. I honestly love the game; it’s just that I need to prioritize and get one game finished before I hit up another. That being said, unfortunately Donkey Kong Country Returns has also taken a small time out these past few days. So exactly what have I been playing this week that has taken me away from the very games that I have neglected in the past? Well, that would be the fault of a little company called Rare.
I totally forgot that just after its E3 announcement I had made a pre-order for the Xbox One exclusive, Rare Replay. As soon as I saw it previewed at the event I knew it was the game for me, and so I pre-ordered it online as soon as it became available. In my defense, this was way back before the Backlog Summer piece began. However, I appreciate this makes me a massive hypocrite and goes against everything I previously said about prioritizing.
Rare Replay is great though. As soon as the three hours or so had passed required to install the thing, I was straight on the original NES version of Battletoads. I was so impressed how much the game has held up in terms of its sheer playability for an 8-bit title that’s almost 25 years old! Yes, it’s as hard as hell, and yes, the graphics (although impressive at the time) are inevitably dated, but there is a delightful charm about this quirky sidescrolling beat-’em-up that still puts a fat smile on my face and allows me to forgive and forget all the game’s little annoyances. There are another 29 retro titles included in this bundle, most of which I haven’t even tried yet. I have skimmed through a few others, namely Killer Instinct Gold, Battetoads Arcade, and some of the really early Rare titles such as Jetpac and Lunar Jetman. The games I can’t wait to start and get my teeth into are Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Banjo-Kazooie. Having missed these the first time around, I’m eager to get stuck in after hearing so much about how good these games were when they were initially released. However, I have put a pin in Rare Replay for now. As I mentioned, I must prioritize, and so it’s back to Donkey Kong Country for the rest of the week, I promise!
Like Craig, Super Smash Bros. has taken a bit of a backseat for me this week. Instead, Splatoon has consumed the majority of my gaming time. While I’ve enjoyed the game’s single player campaign, the multiplayer is such a draw that I kept neglecting to wrap things up! I finally rectified that this week. The game’s final boss was challenging, but very rewarding. The battle really fit with the game’s crazy style! You have to give the localization team a lot of credit. That was probably the most I’ve laughed at a video game boss outside the Mario & Luigi games!
I’ve also been spending a lot of time with the Tower Control matches online. As much as I enjoy playing Splatoon online, I think Tower Control has taken over as my favorite mode in the game. It’s addicting, and I love that it offers something quite different from the other online options! I’m getting pretty good at it, but I’m still trying to find the right weapon. I rely heavily on the Inkbrush in most online matches, but Tower Control requires actual firepower. I’ll have to keep looking to find the perfect match!
Of course, I probably won’t be playing much Tower Control this weekend because the Splatfest is going on! Hopefully I can help lead Team Hot Dog to a much deserved victory!
What games are you playing this weekend? Let us know in the comments!