Game Over: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

January 22, 2011

As 999 was coming out I had some interest, but only some. The buzz was that the game had a deep, compelling story and characters; from that I was instantly intrigued. Unfortunately, as I started to see art work for 999 I began to lose my interest. Considering the hype being that it was a truly mature, Mature rated game, the art direction seemed a bit childish. Hotel Dusk had a much more fitting art style and the reason I bring it up is because it is a similar game. I figured that I would just let the game come out, not sell, price drop and pick it up on the cheap. About a month later the game was still getting talked about, a lot. I was surprised by how much attention 999 was receiving weeks after it’s release. Word was spreading that it was starting to become difficult to find in stores so I looked around. True enough, the GameStop that I work at was the only store anywhere close that still had the game. I decide that I would buy it before it was any more difficult to get a hold of.

And so my voyage began. Instantly I was drawn in to the world of 999. The opening is truly fantastic and it slightly over sold the game to me. One thing besides the storytelling that stood out was the use of sound, something that doesn’t get much attention in DS games. While the use of ambiance is used throughout I did expect it to be more involved based of the first minutes of the game. Environments look nice and the music kept me playing with my headphones on late into the night.

9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors can be broken down to three parts. The first part is the story and the second part is the puzzles. The third part is the ending.

The story; as well as the translation from the original Japanese is all nicely done. There is a lot of text and I only found two instances where there was a typo. The characters within the game build off each other creating a strong cast and their dialog is almost always interesting. I never found myself breezing past the text. There is also a rich mythology surrounding the story that borrows inspiration from the likes of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and the many rumors surrounding the Titanic. I am a sucker for that kind of storytelling. Another key part in the story is your involvement through dialog choices of the character you play as. This directs the path the story will take and how it will inevitably end.

Scattered throughout 999 are environmental puzzles. Rather than having the whole game subjected to keeping track of found items to solve puzzles hours later (as in Hotel Dusk) 999 segments puzzles into single or multiple room area. In these areas you must discover a way to escape by finding objects and clues to solve math problems, visual puzzles and riddles.

After you reach the end of the game you will be left with questions, and you may feel unsatisfied by the turn of events. Don’t worry, this is likely the most important part of the game. 999 is designed to be played through multiple times; with multiple paths to be explored and in doing so you will unravel the mystery of 999. There are more puzzles to solve and new details to learn about the characters. I know by the time I reached the true ending I was glad I took the time to find it, and if any of this sounds interesting to you I think you will be too.



Ni No Kuni

December 12, 2010

On the 9th of December 2010 there will be a game known as Ni No Kuni: The Jet-Black Mage. A game that is one of the last hurrahs for the DS; which will be replaced early next year by the glorious 3DS. It’s a collaboration between one of my favorite animation studios, Studio Ghibli, and the game developer Level 5.

Level 5 seems to be on a role as of late, sure White Knight Chronicles was uninspiring but the Professor Layton series is proving to very popular with it’s multiple games, a movie, and next year a 3DS cross-over game with Phoenix Wright. The 3DS will also be home to some other promising looking games from Level 5, Fantasy Life, Time Travelers, and more in the Professor Layton sixlet. This up and coming game company has managed to grab the attention of the ever illusive Studio Ghibli. The next few years I think we could see Level 5 rise to the ranks of the largest gaming companies.

I get a sort of Mother (Earthbound) vibe from the games combat and the story will great with Ghibli involved. The graphics are great for a DS game, some of the best in game polygon 3D that I have seen on the system. There seems to be a lot of voice acting in the videos I have seen. The game comes with a full book that has lore, a beastery, maps, and direction on how to cast in game spells using the DS touch screen. The spells do things like remove locks form doors and summon monsters to help you in battle. I was also excited to discover that the quite beautiful PS3 game is much more than a prettier version of the same game. It will start of the same but end up having a different story; which means that I can play the DS version for touch screen gameplay and still go through the PS3 version for the more theatrical presentation without having to go though the same exact story again.

On a side note Ni No Kuni along with The Last Guardian is more than enough reason for me to take the plunge into a PS3 whenever one of them decides to come out.

What is in store with Ni No Kuni, perhaps nothing for the United States. I know that Disney has US distributing rights for Studio Ghibli movies and who knows what kind of mess that would cause in the gaming world. I now that Disney has it’s own game publishing department but they have also, in the past, dealt with other companies to publish games for movies and shows. At least with Disney involved I would be assured that the English voice work would be done very well.

I’ll try to keep my hopes up on this one.

Cave Story DSi

November 30, 2010

Let me start off by saying that out of the many great games that have come out this year; for me, Cave Story ranks right up near the top if not the very top (I do understand that it originally was available all the way back in 2004). That said, starting today Cave Story has FREE demo up on the Wii Shop Channel. If you haven’t tried Cave Story go download it now.

Cave Story is also now available on DSiWare now, for 1000 Nintendo points. I have played it for little while, I just fully leveled up my Bubbleline before I stopped playing. It’s great as expected. What could be better than Cave Story you can play easily while on the toilet?


I just beat the Island’s Core only to realize that I failed to take the correct steps to beat the game the way I wanted this time around. Now the question is, do restart a new game on Easy (because I know I can beat the game on Normal already), or do I restart a new game on Normal again?


I decided to go with Normal again. I started an Easy game and just felt bad for myself. I’m back in the Bushlands and I must say I’m not looking forward to going back through the Sands, other than for puppies.


Game Over: Autumn

November 7, 2010

I have been waiting to make this post until I finished just one more game that I have been working on. I have bundled 3 games into this Game Over; where I blurb about games that I have finished.

Super Scribblenauts

The original Scribblenuats was a hype machine. Its ambitious premise and sharp art style made it a phenomena before it was even released. Despite some minor issues with the first game; like controls for Maxwell and and many of the Action stages, I really enjoyed Scibblenauts. Sadly I never finished the first game. I had no real intention of playing through all the Action stages and at some point other games distracted me. Once Super Scribblenauts was announced, I traded my old Scribblenauts knowing that if I want to get me some Starites that I would inevitably play the superior version.

But is Super Scribblenauts really all that superior?

Super Scribblenauts has an improved interface, an emphasis on puzzle stages,  improved controls, and the addition of adjectives that can be applied to the nouns; which drastically changes how you can solve puzzles.  The use of adjectives makes for my favorite parts of the whole game; those being the the stages where you must wear and equip objects that will appeal to a group of different people, the stages where you have to place an object between other objects and it must share a quality with those surrounding objects, and the single level where you battle a witch by summoning  monsters that have opposite qualities to the monsters she summons.

I had fun the entire time I was playing Super Scribblenuats but I feel like that time ended too soon. It’s a shame that there wasn’t a mode that took the stage types that I mentioned as being my favorites and mix in a random component to them so that they could be played over and over.

I really enjoyed Super Scribblenauts and I look forward to what 5th Cell has in the works. They just announced an Xbox Live Arcade game called Hybrid. I hope to be posting a blog in the near future on what I think 5th Cell should do with the Scribblenauts game engine.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn

I also recently beat Kirby’s Epic Yarn. It’s a game that anyone could beat if they wanted to. Having a completely accessible game is something Nintendo has being toying around with for some time now. I believe I read somewhere that when Nintendo was working Mother in Japan, Shigeru Miyamoto had noted that he didn’t care for playing RPGs but was interesting in the fact that with enough time you could level up high enough to beat them even if you had little skill. More recently Nintendo has developed the Super Guide, a tool that plays a difficult section of a game for the player so they can continue on past something too difficult for them.

Epic Yarn takes yet another approach to this idea with the inability to die. The security blanket knitted into Kirby’s Epic Yarn did make the game very easy but it did not take away from the game’s fun. I savored every uniquely designed level. I would even get excited to see a clever way traditional and non-traditional stage settings were made with fabrics. That is not to say there was no challenge to the game. Scoring a gold medal in stage would some time be a bit difficult and later challenges offered by your apartment neighbors could get nerve racking. Kirby games aren’t known for being too difficult, but they are almost always fun and this is no exception.

Read my early impressions of Kirby’s Epic Yarn here.

The 4 Warriors of Light

Tonight I finally beat Final Fantasy The 4 Warriors of Light. I like playing  role playing games but it is not often that I finish one. I currently have over 20 RPGs that I have started and never finished. This game won me over quickly with the art style, the music and the initial simplicity and eluded variety. The 4 Warriors of light takes a page from the early console role playing games but delivers with more modern trappings. The story and sense of direction is gained through dialog with towns people  and bosses. The battle system is simple; with a almost perfect automated targeting system, but offers more and more depth with each new class, or crown, unlocked.

Listen to the music or Buy the music

Read my early impressions of The 4 Warriors of Light here.

Now do I continue with The 4 Warriors of Light of do I get back into Dragon Quest 9?


Final Fantasy: The 4 Warriors of Light

October 7, 2010

I have played a few hours of The 4 Warriors of Light. It has been a very enjoyable experience so far. Here are some of my thoughts the few hours in I am.

The score is a great blend retro 8 bit and orchestrated music. The art design is gorgeous and helps set the tone of this so far lighthearted adventure.

I’m glad there isn’t too much build up to the story of the game. It’s simple and throws you into the meat of the game quickly and doesn’t apologize for it.

You save by talking to a character known as The Adventurer. He just happens to be everywhere and he is awesome.

The turned-based battle system is simple but doesn’t keep the game from having difficulty. It uses an auto targeting system that always works so your main focus can be on managing your character’s Action Points.

A cat joins your party as one point.


A New Game Every Week

October 3, 2010

I  have 11 games that I’m picking up in the next two months. This may lead me down the path I so often take of playing a game for a few hours and then never touching it again. Let hope not; there a lot of good games in this list.

Oct 03 Wii Party

Oct 05 Final Fantasy: the 4 Warriors of Light

Oct 12 Medal of Honor, Super Scribblenauts

Oct 17 Kiby’s Epic Yarn

Oct 19 Fallout: New Vegas, Vanquish

Oct 26 Rock Band 3

Nov 07 FlingSmash

Nov 16 Sonic Colors

Nov 21 Donkey Kong Country Reurns


Nintendo Conference 2010

September 29, 2010

The biggest news at the conference probably revolves around the 3DS. Some news that I’m excited about is the announcement of Megaman Legends 3, a vastly improved Tag Mode, handheld Virtual Console (Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, and “Classics”), and the ability to transfer download data like game. The 3DS is coming out February 26th in Japan and sometime in March for Europe and America. It has two colors for launch, Blue an Black. More blue, really?

Other news about Wii and DS games was also released. There is a Rhythm Heaven Title in the works for Wii.

There is also a Fatal Frame shown in Wii games, I’m not sure if will be a remake of Fatal Frame 2, or if it will be a new game. But seeing as how Fatal Frame 4 was never released in the US, I’m not sure how much interest I want to invest in this news.

There is also a new Kirby game coming to DS, and it has you controlling multiple Kirbys. Could be fun.

All the screens and videos can be found HERE, and hopefully there will be news from Nintendo of America soon, like today.