Metroid & Vania: The Lion king for SNES

Welcome to the Platformer where we talk about games in an extremely amateur but fun way! This post is in regards to my Metroid (me) & Vania (girlfriend) series where I introduce my girlfriend to video games! We recently played The Lion King for SNES.

“Fun, childish Joy!”

The Lion King for SNES is a 2D platformer (woo represent) where you play through the life of Simba from a cub to a fully grown adult. This was one-off Vania’s favourite games as a child and I wanted to see if Nostalgia could get her involved in a game on her own. The nostalgia and fun appeal of the game kept her playing however the intentional frustrating difficulty implemented by the game developers meant that it was hard to get truly invested because it felt like you were being cheated, even with my help.

Vania and Me had so much fun playing this game from the beginning especially the second level. Why? Because the backing track was a faithful 16bit rendition of ‘I Just Can’t Wait to Be King’. So as we were playing, we were singing along to the song (her better than me).

Not only did the level have the correct backing track but aesthetically it was bright, colourful and full of life just like in the movie. The level was a perfect recreation of the sequence from the movie and that identity is throughout the game.

The animations are smooth and ripped straight from a cartoon, the character designs are instantly recognisable. The nostalgia wasn’t just from the game but the movie as well. Each level is also creative as they each have a unique obstacle that you have to overcome. The second level had a puzzle were monkeys would throw you around the stage and the platforming would have you constantly interacting with animals, whether you were swinging off hippo’s tails or rolling down a Giraffe’s neck. Another level had you constantly defeating Hyenas in an elephant graveyard in a way that it forces you to perfect your skills in defeating Hyenas, like a Lion. Even if it did come with a ridiculous difficulty spike. Later in the game, you are expected to climb a waterfall, which again, very fun and creative but if previously there was a difficulty spike, this was a wall. This is where the game started to lose us.

This is harder than I remember. I have to leave it and come back another time.”

Vania about to snap a controller in half.

The Lion King for SNES comes from an era of games where developers would increase the length of the game by intentionally making it unfairly difficult so players would have to replay certain areas of the game again and again. I knew this so decided to play this game on an emulator because when a collection of classic games come out, they always allow save states. So during the second level, the player is expected to ride an Ostrich and the timing required to jump over the obstacles are impossible to get right on the first attempt.

So we failed, and failed, and failed again. We were getting frustrated then I explained how the save states worked and we forcefully got through that area which we would have anyway, we just took away the frustration of replaying areas of the level for 100th time. In that same level, you have to swing on Hippo’s tails as discussed before. What I didn’t mention is that the timing and precision required is so small that it feels unfair because you would swear that you landed the jump but it would not register. The Hyenas were fun to defeat but that’s because we could start from the beginning of the fight after failing so we kept trying but if we attempted to do it without save states it would have taken all day.

No area was worse than the stampede. Vania had to start and restart this level over 50 times to a point where she resulted in saving after every minute and moment of rest. There is no warning to indicate when the Wilderbeasts would appear or any suggestion from what direction so it wasn’t testing your reaction and skills but instead your memory.

The Lion King is definitely a product of its time but not because of the graphics as it is usually but because of the unfair difficulty and even with the help of save states it still feels like you’re constantly battling the developers to stay alive.

Overall this was a fun trip down memory lane for Vania as she enjoyed exploring the deep recesses of her brain and finding long lost memories. To my surprise, while I was at work I received a text asking me “How do you start Lion King?”. Ladies and gentlemen, I had a silly little smile of glee and I’m not ashamed, especially since she had done the stampede on her own! She loved the save state feature and the fact that she could save her progress whenever she wanted. As a game, we love playing it together because we took turns and took on the various challenges together which help keep the experience from being too frustrating. She would recommend this to everyone who loves the movie and would obviously play on her own as long as you play with save states.

This game showed that she is a fan of platformers even if they are a bit challenging so Super Meat Boy might be fun and maybe I can find another good licensed game. She loves Disney and she melted when she found out there is a level based on Nightmare before Christmas in Kingdom Hearts.

I’m glad she had a fun experience so next, I want to show her one of my most enjoyable experiences where you play as a border control agent trying to keep their family alive…

Papers, Please

Thanks for reading! Feel free to like this post because it helps a tonne and you’ll me feel quite happy, and don’t be shy if you want to leave a comment.

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Batman: Arkham Knah you’re alright

Welcome to the Platformer where we talk about games in an extremely amateur but fun way! This post is in regards to my Ultimate Video Game List where I’m on a journey to discover what my personal favourite game ever is. Will Batman: Arkham Knight stealthily take down Mario Odyssey, or will it blindly fall into second place.

Good Action Game

Bad Batman Story

Batman: Arkham Knight is the third entry of the Batman Arkham trilogy where you play as the titular character in an open world taking down the swine that Gotham City has to offer including the likes of the Joker, Scarecrow, Two-Face, Joker, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Joker, Arkham Knight oh and the Joker. If that was too much Joker then maybe you should tell the writers because they cannot leave a good thing alone. I will talk about how a gorgeous game with some troubling mechanics but fun combat gets severely hampered by terrible video game storytelling.

I will start with the biggest positive of Batman: Arkham Knight and that is the visuals.

I’m not just talking about the realism because I played it on a sub-par PC but I could appreciate the Noire style gothic aesthetic. The intentional choice to make in constantly raining giving ever second of gameplay a sense of drama. Setting the game at night is standard for the series but in this game, the use of lighting technology truly brings everything to life creating contrast in the city. My favourite bit of design are the new villains.

The first appearance of Scarecrow is out of a horror film, he is scary and considering the backdrop and his powers it’s perfect. Arkham Knight is a supreme combatant and technologically advanced, so even at first glance the player knows that this will be a challenge. Even Gotham was memorable I found, I remember multiple recalling a previous event at the location I was in. So If you wanted a game to just brood on rooftops and experiencing the most beautiful version of Gotham you will see it’s perfect. Realistically though, that lasts 10 minutes max, so what does the game have to offer.

Well, the game as stated before is beautiful. It’s a shame that most of it will be blurred because of the addition of the Batmobile (definitely a tank). You travel from waypoint to waypoint in the Batmobile simply because it’s the fastest mode of transportation thus all of the beauty goes to waste especially since the city streets are not fun to drive around in with narrow streets and constant tight turns which leads to a lot of crashing.

Eventually, you do get the ability to fly as fast speeds so you can appreciate the city except you can’t. The open-world is littered with side quests that need to be completed if you want any kind of a satisfying ending. The easiest way to find these side quests? Detective vision. Detective vision turns everything into an ‘x-ray’ vision, therefore, all the grandeur and the beauty of the game is gone. The mechanics of the game do not communicate with the vision of what the game looks like because in an open-world game a player spends a large amount of time travelling. A game looks great while standing still, just make sure to not actually play it.

I will discuss the aspects of the story that I enjoyed and the areas I have issues with. Since there is no way of discussing this in detail without spoiling it.

!!!Spoiler Warning!!!

I will start with the areas I enjoyed…

I guess I will start with the negatives. Arkham Knight is a story that holds up in no other medium, so why is it looked at positively in gaming? It could be due to its ambition, possibly the twists and turns make the story intriguing. I’m not biased, I love games but the standard of storytelling is lower than Batman’s voice, only through unbiased criticism will this change.

The main issue is that the writers lack severe confidence in their story. The story does not commit to any significant plot point and is terrified of changing the status quo of the Batman universe but wants to make the player believe it will. This makes the experience feel worthless and manufactured. To keep it brief, the following are the resounding experiences that emphasise my point:

  • In the previous game (Batman: Arkham City) the Joker dies. No resuscitation or last gasp he dies. You wouldn’t know it as constantly he appears as a vision to Batman more than any other villain but he is dead so he can’t be defeated so the writers didn’t have the courage do have a Batman story not include the Joker. Scarecrow looks amazing but is outshone by a mirage.

  • The developers promised that the Arkham Knight was going to be a new character, so I was confused when there were very heavy-handed hints that he was Jason Todd. So the Arkham knight isn’t a new character, he’s just a worse version of the Red Hood a story we’ve already had but this time told less interestingly.In the previous game (Batman: Arkham City) the Joker dies. No resuscitation or last gasp he dies. You wouldn’t know it as constantly he appears as a vision to Batman more than any other villain but he is dead so he can’t be defeated so the writers didn’t have the courage do have a Batman story not include the Joker. Scarecrow looks amazing but is outshone by a mirage.

  • Scarecrow has a great introduction and truly strikes fear in the player, the pace quickens so you would expect him to be a presence. Nope, he disappears for large portions of the game once again showing that the writers could not deliver on their promising of a city stricken by fear, instead it’s filled with tanks to shoot.The developers promised that the Arkham Knight was going to be a new character, so I was confused when there were very heavy-handed hints that he was Jason Todd. So the Arkham knight isn’t a new character, he’s just a worse version of the Red Hood a story we’ve already had but this time told less interestingly.In the previous game (Batman: Arkham City) the Joker dies. No resuscitation or last gasp he dies. You wouldn’t know it as constantly he appears as a vision to Batman more than any other villain but he is dead so he can’t be defeated so the writers didn’t have the courage do have a Batman story not include the Joker. Scarecrow looks amazing but is outshone by a mirage.

  • The most egregious piece of writing was the decision to have Barbara Gordon commit suicide in front of you. There should be no way she survives leaving the player devastated. Well someone didn’t tell her because she just pops back up. Alive. What a jokeScarecrow has a great introduction and truly strikes fear in the player, the pace quickens so you would expect him to be a presence. Nope, he disappears for large portions of the game once again showing that the writers could not deliver on their promising of a city stricken by fear, instead it’s filled with tanks to shoot.The developers promised that the Arkham Knight was going to be a new character, so I was confused when there were very heavy-handed hints that he was Jason Todd. So the Arkham knight isn’t a new character, he’s just a worse version of the Red Hood a story we’ve already had but this time told less interestingly.In the previous game (Batman: Arkham City) the Joker dies. No resuscitation or last gasp he dies. You wouldn’t know it as constantly he appears as a vision to Batman more than any other villain but he is dead so he can’t be defeated so the writers didn’t have the courage do have a Batman story not include the Joker. Scarecrow looks amazing but is outshone by a mirage.

  • Maybe there’s a satisfying ending after defeating scarecrow there’s a dramatic finale, a final test. The game turns into Call of Batman where you shoot the Joker and when you do apprehend Scarecrow the same cutscene occurs when you complete the side quest, the writers had such little confidence in their main plot they didn’t want to highlight the ending and you don’t get to finish the game unless you’ve done a certain amount of side quests!

Overall the combat and the stealth elements mean that it is still an enjoyable experience and the side quests are incredibly enjoyable. Considering they’re compulsory, they better be. So if you enjoy open-world action games and care very little for the Batman mythos then there is great fun to be had. Luckily the ‘main’ story is not long and is not that difficult unless you go searching for the challenge. This fits firmly below Super Mario Odyssey in second place.

After such a stressful experience (thank you for letting me vent) I’m going to take to the green in…

Golf Story

Thanks for reading! Feel free to like this post because it helps a tonne and you’ll me feel quite happy, and don’t be shy if you want to leave a comment.

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Nintendo Direct 04/09/2019 – FOV

Welcome to the Platformer where we talk about games in an extremely amateur but fun way! This post is in regards to Nintendo Direct that aired on the 4th of September 2019 and you the reader will experience it through my field of view. As there were many announcements I will choose to focus on some stories more than others because they interest me whereas some other I will glance through.

Overwatch is coming to Switch!

This release has been long rumoured as many have been yearning for it, even playing games like Battleborn to get their fix. I understand that it will be more difficult to control with the analogue sticks compared to a mouse and keyboard. However, they announced ‘new ways to play’ showing some gyro controls. So there is hope that aiming will implement this new feature. I have always enjoyed free weekends with this game and as my love for Rocket League is finally starting to die out. Maybe Overwatch is a good direction to head towards.

Release: October 15th

Super Kirby Clash – This is a typical multiplayer ‘free to start game’. If you enjoy Kirby game and want to play with your friends then this might be quite fun but not for me, at least looks well made. (Available Now)

Trials of Mana – This is yet another 3D remake of a 2D RPG but hey at least it’s not Dragon Quest XI so I’ll give it another look. RPG’s aren’t my favourite genre but it looks high quality. Release: 24th April 2020

Return of the Obra Dinn – From the creator of Papers Please! one of the best games ever. Return of the Obra Dinn is a detective puzzle game where you found out what happened on a ship filled with corpses. Haven’t played it yet but with the game being on Switch that won’t be long because the creator Lucas Pope is God in my eyes. Release: Autumn 2019

Luigi’s Mansion 3 looks amazing.

Nintendo showed off more details about the upcoming Luigi’s Mansion 3 and after every announcement, I have been more and more interested to a point now that I desperately want to play it. Here they announced some of the environments you will get to play in and they seem so fun and demonstrates the scale this game will have compared to the others. The Spectacle Catch is a world set somehow at sea where you have to catch a ghost shark, the Dance Hall seems you have to battle, but by a dance battle with the ghosts to capture them and the Tomb Suites is an adventure style level which includes free rolling boulder. Each world is so creative and interesting and I didn’t even include all of them here.

Also comes with a party mode for which I am a sucker for and it looks like great fun to play. So I’m answering the call to go hunt these ghosts.

Release: 31st October 2019 a.k.a Halloween

Link’s Awakening Remake – Still coming out and still looks incredible. Side note I hope you can unlock shadow link other than buying the amiibo. If not that is some bulls***. Release: 20th September 2019

Dragon Quest XI etc – Just come out already! I’m so sick at looking at your face in every direct. Release: You should really know by now

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore – A mix between Shin Megami Tensei series and Fire Emblem series. So much RPG. Also I apologise to all the Wii U owners who are loosing more exclusive game. *cries* Release: 17th January 2020

Town Finally has a title! Game seems pretty fun too.

Town surprised in this direct because like other games I’ve seen it many times now. But this time they introduced the combat which uses ideas and logic from the protagonist’s point of view. This is incredibly interesting if pulled off correctly and the demo is now available which I will definitely give a go. Seems like a genuine hero’s journey and I am quietly optimistic. However, the thing we are all waiting for is the official title and it is…

I hate it.

Release: 16th October 2019

Divinity Original Sin 2 – It’s coming to Switch I guess. Sure. (Available Now)

Deadly Premonition 2 – Wait this is being made!? Oh sorry the original is being ported over, that makes a lot more sense. Even though that game was universally regarded as ‘it’s so good it’s bad’ or just straight up bad a sequel would be weird. Release: 2020 & (Available Now)

Doom 64 – Still not forgiven Bethesda for E3 Release: 22nd November 2019

Pokemon spills the tea

Pokemon is one of my favourite franchises and I am incredibly excited for this new generation so prepare for extreme bias and ‘fanboying’. YOU CAN CUSTOMISE YOUR AVATAR! Besides looking fly you can set up a camp and allow your Pokemon to roam free in a little area. This is all I want, I have imagined my Pokemon in my little camp since the anime when they would let their Pokemon out and feed them which you can do here with curry and rice. They also announced two new Pokemon, one being Polteageist which is pictured above in addition to Cramorat who isn’t the most interesting from a design perspective but has an interesting ability where it will retaliate by using the fish in its mouth.

Release: 15th Novemeber 2019

Tetris 99 – New paid DLC coming out, it’s still Tetris, it’s still great moving on. (Available Now)

Mario & Sonic at the Olympics: Tokyo 2020 – I love the Mario and Sonic Olympic games, definitely a guilty pleasure and this time there are Retro events and a story mode. So excited Release: 8th November

Daemon x Machina – This game and Dragon Quest XI need to just come out and stop annoying me. I’ve played your demo. You’re dull Release: 13th September

Animal Crossing is a delight

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is my most anticipated game because I know that I have several friends that will be playing it alongside me. So I will be decorating my house all the time. It’s definitely been modernised with the use of crafting however this seems like a small action and not the focus. You will still be collecting rocks exploring your island and sharing it with as many people as you can. My island will be, the best.

Release: 20th March 2020

Super Smash Brothers Ultimate – Banjo is playable from the 5th of September and Terry from…Fatal Fury? Will join the the fight. They’ll let anyone in won’t they? Also to no one’s surprise more DLC characters are coming. Release: The rest of our lives

Rogue Company – This actually put me to sleep, seems to be a multiplayer shooter. Overwatch made this a little awkward I’ll be honest. Release: Why do you care? 2020

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Still happening, still can’t believe it Release: 15th October 2019

Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast – This was a cool announcement and if I didn’t already own it on PC would definitely get it but 100% would recommend. Release: 24th September 2019

Assassins Creed Rebel Collection – If Black Flag is a good quality port on the Switch then I will set sail 24/7 as I am a mighty pirate.

SNES games coming to Nintendo Switch Online

The online service on the Switch has had many critics but now with the introduction of SNES games, perhaps they will now be pleased. Some of the games include:

  • Super Metroid
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
  • Yoshi’s Island
  • Super Ghouls and Ghosts
  • F-Zero
  • Pilot Wings
  • Kirby’s Dream Land 3
  • Star Fox
  • And a few more

They also started selling a SNES controller compatible with the Switch for £26

Xenoblade Chronicles is back, again.

The original Xenoblade Chronicles is regarded as one of the finest modern RPG’s and even though I’m not a fan of the genre. The aesthetic of the game has always appealed to me. This version will definitely be the one I will be playing to properly get a sense of scale, which is what interests me, I’ll predominantly be playing on the TV.

All the other games announced!

  • Just Dance 2020 – 05/11/2019
  • GRID Autosport – 19/09/2019
  • Farming Simulator 2020 – 03/12/2019
  • Ni No Kuni 2 – 20/09/2019
  • NBA 2K20 – 06/09/2020
  • Call of Cthulu – 08/10/2019
  • Out World
  • DMC 2 – 19/09/2019
  • Vampyr – 29/10/2019

Overall this Nintendo direct was pretty weak. In terms of new game announcements, Outer World was the most interesting and that got no attention. Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Pokemon Sword and Shield got me more hyped definitely. However, there was so much here that I didn’t care for because of my lack of interest for RPG’s. The middle of the show was agonisingly boring and there’s a reason this only got announced the day before.

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Metroid & Vania: L.A. Noire

Welcome to the Platformer where we talk about games in an extremely amateur but fun way! This post is in regards to my Metroid (me) & Vania (girlfriend) series where I introduce my girlfriend to video games! We recently played L.A. Noire.

“I’m sending that dick to prison”

L.A. Noire centres around detective Cole Phelps who, after serving in the military decides to become a police officer, from there he would reach the rank of detective. That’s where we take over. From the beginning, Vania was gripped and enjoyed finding the backstory of Cole. She has much experience with detective and Noire stories which is why I’m showing her this game as I knew with her previous experience she would gravitate towards it. This is a girl who on our third date took me to a murder mystery so I knew she would enjoy that aspect, but what about the game itself? L.A. Noire is primarily a detective game but it’s set in an open world which includes driving and shooting, things she wouldn’t have had much experience with. However, the main selling point is the impressive facial recognition including actors that she recognised which I presumed would give her a sense of comfort.

“Why are you driving according to traffic?”
“I don’t want to crash!”

Metroid & Vania – August 2019

This was surreal but also a little frustrating for me because the rules of the game as we all know as gamers don’t exist, especially in L.A. Noire where there is zero consequence. Yet here Vania was, stopping at a red light, she’d probably signal if she could. This was a result of her having a bit of difficulty with the driving because she would be looking at the map, not the road, then all of a sudden she was rearranging some poor person’s front bumper. Like I said this was fine there were no consequences, and no risk meaning that it quickly became a novelty because you couldn’t get any genuine speed, you crashed a lot, it was tedious. This resulted in us skipping the majority of the driving portions which is possible. However, this had a disadvantage for Vania because she didn’t get enough genuine practice so when an action sequence came up she struggled to complete it (luckily I was there to help out). So the driving in L.A. Noire is a novelty for a newbie a fun change of pace from time to time but forgettable and tedious.

The most unique aspect of L.A. Noire is the realistic facial animation done by using real actors and motion capture to create a faithful recreation of the actors’ expressions.

In-game you must interrogate other characters and based on their answers and facial expression you must determine if they are telling the truth or lying.

This made Vania feel very anxious because normally you can deduce answers from detective games logically but this had a subjective value thus they could tell you what logically is true but might omit some key aspects. This part of detecting was ‘thrilling’ because you can get answers wrong so every response felt important and you could feel the weight of your actions. This is in vast contrast to the driving action sequences where when you fail you have to start the entirety of the level again. This was by far her favourite aspect of the game and of most games she’s played.

Overall Vania gravitated to this game very well because it aligns itself with the rules set in the real world. So she just acted like herself, achieving what us as gamers all want, immersion. Besides certain aspects of detective work such as pointlessly picking up objects that have nothing to do the case, this was as close as she could ever be to being a genuine detective. Better than any movie, tv-show, or board game. She said could play it for about two hours at a time which for a newbie is impressive, the episodic format helps greatly because it pushes you to carry on with your case while at the same time providing a suitable finale to your playtime. As a couple playing together, it was great deducing facial expressions because we would disagree and discuss. I would help her with the driving so this is great to play co-op even with no co-op functionality and she did admit she could play it on her own.

This experience shows me that she is not a fan of fail states so something like Heavy Rain or Papers Please would be superb. However, I don’t want her to just rely on adventure style games for enjoyment.

Next week I will explore one of her childhood favourites with.

The Lion King for SNES

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Super Mario Odyssey is #1

Welcome to the Platformer where we talk about games in an extremely amateur but fun way! This post is in regards to my ultimate video game list where I’m on a journey to discover what my personal favourite game ever is. So, let’s talk about Super Mario Odyssey.

“The finest Mario adventure there is”

Super Mario Odyssey is a 3D platformer, to no one’s surprise, where you: jump, explore and invade the minds of innocent creatures to gain control of their bodies. The latter is what sets this Mario adventure apart from the rest because it introduces new gameplay styles, keeping the game moving at a fast pace. This is not the only way it stands apart and is arguably above its brothers galaxy and 64. This is Mario’s finest adventure due to; the effective way it; retains a player’s attention, how it mechanically encourages you to explore, and an aesthetic that makes the experience memorable.

I could not put the game down, I had the urge to save every kingdom, see who I could play as and discover one of the most truly fun experiences I’ve ever had. The game works at such a speed that there is no time to think or take a breath because of the constant introduction of new features. However, the game has to have a strong base and Mario has never controlled more fluidly with the ability to link up different move sets with the introduction of Cappy, a creature from the hat world who follows you around. When he sits on your hand you can throw him, once you throw him you can then jump on your new friend to reach new lengths. So your mind starts to wonder, what if I ground pound to get extra height, then use Cappy to go even higher?

This process of discovering your abilities is like learning how to walk and the feeling of accomplishment is indescribable as you slowly become a platforming god. This feels so exciting because you are never prompted on how to evolve you just do if you’re an inquisitive player. By the end of the game, I was constantly challenging myself to get into harder and harder areas, all of this unnecessary to complete the game but the challenge is there if you want it, giving the game a perfect level of difficulty. By the end, I had such an elaborate skill set, I had to provide the game with my full attention as to not fall into a pit. So if you play Mario Odyssey, be like me! Stubborn, with the willingness to improve.

What would all these fun abilities be without the appropriate incentive? The aim of the game is to collect moons to power up your ship. Unlike previous games, where there were 4 or 5 collectables, Odyssey will have you collecting dozens of moons and dozens more if you are so inclined to keep collecting. This may sound like a lot of collecting and therefore tedious but they are all hidden so well with such variety that the game will have you as the player experimenting with different abilities and exploring under every rock in the world. The game will always reward being clever, challenging players to think laterally and logically resulting in an experience that never tires, even after collecting 400, I still get a rush of joy from finding a moon. For the first time, there are no lives in a Mario platformer. This is a huge, wonderful departure because it means I can explore to my heart’s content and attempt difficult leaps to get one more moon. There is also a fast travel system within the map to quickly get around so every moment of gameplay has a goal and not filled with moments of meandering because these maps aren’t the biggest but getting from one end of the map to the other means you actually see more of it even though you’re skipping the journey. Another mechanic that aids the exploration is the capture ability, because usually, the new character you control has new movement options for example if you’re a frog you can jump extra high or a statue with sunglasses allows you to see hidden paths thus you will take control of every liveable creature because maybe they’ll get you another moon.

Mario Odyssey has so many systems but they all work with fantastic synergy for one simple, explore the world.

This is the most beautiful game on the Nintendo Switch. This is the most beautiful Mario game. This is the most aesthetically impressive 3D platformer there has ever been with the variety in worlds, art styles and character designs. So after making a fun traversal system and designing mechanics to explore the world the last piece of the puzzle is the worlds themselves as Mario Odyssey delivers.

The game starts in a quaint black and white silhouetted world that somehow feels comforting because it doesn’t attack you with any harsh colours which are fantastic for an opener so when you approach the first level with moons to collect (which is dinosaur-themed, like omg) you get the sense of adventure, because it feels new and because the designers were brave enough to take that aspect away from you for a more euphoric experience afterwards.

From then on, every world is memorable by their aesthetic there’s a sand land, which is very normal for a Mario themed level, but they inject some Latino flavour by having things be themed after the day of the dead and as I Latino thought it was enthralling. There’s an ice level with a secret underground base with the cutest creatures where they have races, to a water level with beaches and a general holiday feel. Those are just the standard Mario themed levels, my favourites are the unique world such as a kingdom where forks and spoons reign supreme! An Asian themed level which celebrates Japan’s culture from which this game was created and the absolute best.

New Donk City

New Donk City, a love letter to Mario’s past within a small recreation of new and even though the regularly shaped humans at first seem off-putting, well it’s a strange place it’s meant to. The variety also stemmed from the slight changes in art style like the realistic aesthetic of New Donk city to the colourful pastel colours of the cooking world. It meant every time it was refreshing like starting a new game ready to explore.

The game is wonderful and does not get hampered by length because you make the game as long as you want it to be, so it finishes when you’re finished, it’s perfect. The difficulty is similar and the boss fights have a great curve of difficulty with the final boss facing four rabbits in a mech suit being a surprising yet satisfying test. Even though the story is what we know, Bowser captures Peach, it’s incredibly refreshing the world are a treat to explore and it’s possibly the most fun game ever and will be difficult to topple at #1.


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Metroid & Vania: Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4

Me and my girlfriend are gaming as Metroid and Vania as we discover new games to play together. This week we are playing Lego Harry Potter to find laughter and get a little frustrated.

“Do you want to ride my plunger?”

Vania 2019

One of the many, genuine moments of hilarity we shared, as we trampled each-other with a ridable plunger. This is what the lego games (at least before they introduced voice acting) brought to players with the sense of humour a six-year-old. That’s why I chose Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 to start for Vania’s Journey of discovering video games, we’re both big kids and having someone to laugh at the same silly jokes was great. She also loved seeing a universe, the harry potter world, which she adores in a new light and perspective. Sharing inside jokes and we bounced of each-other well creating a buddy act for comedy to entertain ourselves.

Since the story was familiar, it was therefore quite simple to understand the plot but it seemed like there was no real point to paying attention besides the comedy and the cutscenes are few and far between. Aspects of the story got a little fleshed out during gameplay but that’s about it, what the real appeal was seeing beloved characters and set pieces brought to life in lego. Arachnophobia Warning! if you don’t like creepy crawlies look away.

Being able to fight Aragog as a team was incredibly fun. We managed to co-ordinate with each other as one person fought the smaller spiders and the other took on the big boy.

As an avid gamer, I know that I have to become familiar with the ins and outs of every game so that I can use my intuition to figure out how to complete each new level. Gamers learn to interpret and understand each challenge and can guess how to solve it; they speak the ‘secret language’ of the game. When playing Lego Harry Potter, it clear to me that developers designed the game with the knowledge that the majority of gamers ‘speak’ this language. So I know as an experienced gamer that in a lego a game if you are stuck, destroy everything! I’ve developed an intuition therefore i can solve puzzles with no logic, just destroy and build which leads to points of frustration if you’re unaware. We had to get to a higher platform and we could raise ourselves higher through levitation but just not quite make it. Turns out the way to get to a higher place, had nothing to do with the thing already there that elevates your position. Just destroy and rebuild. A similar thing happened to one of my favourite you tubers Dadcubed, he had a similar issue where the water in the environment wasn’t the solution, he had to build a water pump from destroyed bricks…Not the most logical solution.

“This is so frustrating!”

Therefore it wasn’t mentally challenging but annoying, not requiring skill, but persistence. I’m stubborn I will smash three controllers in half to get five stars in a mirror’s edge race but for someone just starting? It doesn’t seem worth it. Luckily I was there and I helped us push through it and comedy swiftly made us move past it.

Overall the simple controls helped her grasp what the different face buttons did and move around a 3D space and thanks to the split-screen feature we could go on and do our own thing which meant she sometimes even progressed the puzzle without me. Only slightly proud. She said that she would only play for an hour as it is essentially the same joke told over and over with no challenge but never the less she enjoyed it, but only because I was there.

My favourite childhood games were the PS1 Harry potter games which I still have, which I’ll definitely have her play in addition to other lego games with a little more freedom like lego city undercover and lego worlds.

Next week time to explore her love of detectives!

L.A Noire


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Ultimate Video Game list (Alpha)

A couple of months ago I decided that I was going to quantifiably, with absolute certainty decide what my favourite games ever were. I’ve always settled on a top 3 but it started getting harder and harder to justify, purely because it’s been so long since I’ve experienced these games. So in the pursuit of personal affirmation, and because of a lack of funds, I decided to replay all the games I own which includes both: games I’ve played and games I have never touched. After I finished a game I put it on the list, gave it a rough rating on my experience and moved on. But I had a yearning to talk and elaborate on my points because as the list grew, and my excel started getting harder to manage, I began realising: what I prioritised, which one of my favourite games I preferred and how a new game without realising could also be one of my new favourites. So this is a way to discuss these ratings and stop weirding out my roommate when I talk to myself about games, so instead I shall write! But first a brief synopsis on what I consider to be a game and what rubs me the right way.

Aesthetic

Graphics to me is a dirty word because no one knows what it means, like I guess fish swimming away from you is graphically impressive but if you’re portraying a photorealistic world, why can I take 100 bullets and still be fine. When praising the game they automatically praise ‘graphics’ because it’s the first thing you see. In the same vein, does that mean an older game has bad graphics even though at the time they were the best they could be? We don’t criticise other mediums in a similar way; was the Mona Lisa not as good because it uses older paint? is Raiders of the Lost Ark not as good because the effects at times look a little silly? No. So aesthetic is how I choose to describe an appearance of a game, is it visually interesting? That way a game like the original crash Bandicoot has no handicap when comparing it to Knack.

Mechanics

Mechanics is a very direct term, nothing subjective just what systems does the game have in play to aid in your enjoyment or in certain cases, hinder it. This aspect will not be elevated if it was innovative however it turns out that games that innovate a certain mechanic usually do it great, the score will affect that. After all if the ability to tackle a main objective in any order has always been fun, adding additional objectives just increases game length, and intentionally making things difficult so you have to grind is horrendous. Anything with a loot box gets a 0.

Fun Feel

This is the portion when you realise why I’m not a professional writer (or reviewer) because why would I include something as intangible as this? Well it’s because I am willing to forgive so much of a game if it is simply fun. Fun is why I started playing games. Fun is what I want. Writing is going to help me understand my knowledge and taste. Is travelling at the speed of sound going through loop da loops (scientists please come up with better name I sound like a child) or screaming weeee as I fly a plane under a bridge. These moments stick with me and I look for it in every game.

World / Lore / Story

World / Lore / Story

Let’s get something straight, stories in video games are atrocious. The average quality is so beyond low that when there is a story that is competently told, everyone loses their collective minds and I find this disheartening because games aren’t movies, stories shouldn’t have the same weight. They aren’t books either where length is important, a long book isn’t automatically great and neither is a great game. Games can tell stories in many ways, which are all unique to a point, because us as players can investigate, travel and explore vast worlds. We can be told stories in the environment in journal entries, if someone is dead in a cupboard he might have left a note that expands your view on the world, sometimes the main plot can still be crap though. A lot of RPG’s fill their stories with deep lore where you can discover a vast history between two fictional species that fascinates you, sometimes the main plot can still be crap though. Games at this point have told thousands of stories, but not really because if I have to avenge one more person I will take up knitting again. There are those rare occasions however when a games writer understands the medium and actually has the gameplay influence the experience. These are what I like to call golden moments because, it’s an experience that no other medium can even come close to achieving. They are so few and far between in games that I absolutely fall in love when they do happen. I understand it’s a colossal task to have that much integration within a studio but one studio is guarding the knowledge on a perfect video game story.

Emotion

This just relates to my personal connection to the game, if you needed further proof that this is not an objective view on video games. Is it it making me frustrated? Do I then get a feeling of elation and joy? Does it take me cry or feel disgusted in myself? A bad feeling doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a negative towards the game because at least it got me to care. I hate spending my time on something and feeling empty, games are meant to do the opposite for me

Length and Difficulty

The ruiners of games, you could be having a great time, the time of your life! Then… is that the credits? Or is a boss impossible to get past meaning you can’t progress? These two factors are so important and I feel like in video game discussion they are not mentioned for one simple fact. People do not finish games so they judge the game on the first few hours, (which is ludicrous) again you’re not going to judge another medium in portions so why should you do it to games. If we want game to be considered seriously we must look at each individual game as an entire piece of art, not a toy to pick up and put down.

In the end this is all good and fun not very serious so please follow me in my journey as I discover the best, and sometimes the worst, video games ever made.

First up to bat next week:

Super Mario Odyssey


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Tutorial

We’ll see how many readers are interested in my ramblings! This is a little guide of what to expect on my page!

Ultimate Video Game List (Alpha)

Video game lists are the Jim Belushi of video game journalism in our community. There are thousands at this point, but none written by me. So this focuses on my journey of replaying all the games I own and quantifying their quality to determine what my favourite game in the world is. So not space invaders.

The list will be updated weekly starting with Super Mario Odyssey!

Metroid and Vania

It’s time to try to truly get my girlfriend into the world of video games which she’s always enjoyed being the wonderful nerd she is. However Mario Kart is not acceptable as the best game ever (sorry). So it’s time to start playing together with Lego Harry Potter years 1-4.

8-BitB Blog

Honestly, I like the name. However, I do actually want to look into some gaming related history, this won’t cover things life why Sony started producing games or the video game crash because these things are already very well documented by far talented people. So ever wondered what animals Darth Vader turns into for a menacing final boss? Stick with me to find out.

Field of View

News round up every Friday! (Prepare for extreme bias)

I hope you enjoy The Platfromer! Please share and comment on future posts to start a discussion!


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