Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Wii U Round-Up 12

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze -- As noted repeatedly on this site, I'm not a huge fan of platform games. I seem to remember taking a shot at the original Donkey Kong Country on a friend's SNES when it first came out, but other than being initially impressed by the visuals I was unmoved due to the typical run-and-jump affair and pronounced difficulty (as I saw it then).

Having come to appreciate the latest 2D Mario game, I was more open to the latest Donkey Kong Country game. Although not as big a fan of this entry as I was of the Mario games on Wii U, I do appreciate it. Visually, it's quite beautiful and has loads of detail and charm in both settings and character design. Make no mistake though - it may have power-ups for purchase that can help, but this is a serious 2D platformer that lacks any kind of handholding "Luigi walkthrough" like New Super Mario Bros. U. You'll have to have the button-pressing skills and endure frustration if you want to get through this. I'll probably never be a fan of this kind of game generally, but Nintendo definitely knows what they're doing!

Mr. Driller 2 (VC:GBA) -- You cannot beat a Mr. Driller game and this is no exception. The sequel to the original arcade title marks the first time you can play as a character other than Susumo Hori: Anna Hottenmeyer, though the play is the same: run back-and-forth along the giant wall of blocks, drilling down to the target depth whist trying to avoid being crushed by the blocks above you. Great puzzling/platforming fun. I think between my Wii U and my Japanese Wii I must have three Mr. Driller games and they're all great, so get it!

Scram Kitty and His Buddy - On Rails -- An eShop exclusive, this shooter is brutally hard at times, but looks and plays great if you can stick with it. The premise is straightforward enough: rescue the space cats from the space rats by shooting enemies and traversing a closed level riding the walls and collecting your wayward charges. Having your gun stick to walls with a limited "hop" function to help avoid hazards changes things up a bit. Recommended for fans of shooters who want something a little different!

Stick It to the Man -- An adventure game at heart with some basic platforming (largely easier than that found in "The Cave") that sometimes gets in the way of the story, this game echos some of the classic adventure titles from Lucasfilm games in tone and humour. The look is an interesting 2D with a "sticker book" effect (hence the title) where your character has a hand coming out of his head that can take stickers out of the thought balloons of random characters you encounter and put them into the thoughts of others after you read their minds.

The only issue I had was with the Gamepad implementation. This was originally a PC game, controlled with a mouse and keyboard, I imagine. The Gamepad-specific feature is used in "look mode" to find the thoughts of others by pointing it around and checking the screen for people to mind read. In some ways this makes the game easier; in other ways harder. Sometimes characters are grouped together or moving and you only see their brains floating on the screen of the Gamepad, not the surrounding platforms so targeting specific characters can be a challenge occasionally. Definitely not a game-breaker and not as annoying as evading baddies by running around and jumping can prove in later episodes.

It's hard to explain without ruining the thing, but it's funny and weird and worth the modest price in the eShop if you're a fan of the adventure game style and can put up with the odd bit of running away from baddies.