Mahjong, Ponies, Stealth, and Shooting Mans
So, I’d planned to finish Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil last week, which would have been the last non-spin-off entry in the series for me.
Sadly, it turns out that I am not very good at the sort of traditional platforming it asked of me. I got about 80% of the way through and hit a bit with swinging platforms and lava that proved to be a source of endless frustration, so I decided that I would let it go.
It’s a bit embarrassing, as pretty much every review of the game talks about how short and easy it is, but there was just something about the physics and timing that I couldn’t get straight in my head.
So instead I have a mixed bag to talk about, and I’ll just say a little about each.
Pony Island is a hard game to describe because it’s wonderful and weird and I would like everyone to try it unspoiled. Let me try to give you enough to intrigue you without giving too much away:
You are damned to play a retro-styled pony-themed endless runner game for all eternity. If that weren’t bad enough, the game itself is buggy as all get out and you frequently need to stop playing so you can fix problems with the game code. To make things even worse, the game’s programmer is very angry with your successes and will occasionally re-write things himself. Plus, he’s the devil.
I’ve given too much away already. It’s brilliant. Go play it.
Deus Ex Go is, sadly, a little less brilliant. I was a huge fan of the two previous “Go” games – Hitman Go and Lara Croft Go – but this outing had a little less spark to it. It’s still nice to see games that you can just BUY and not need to pay extra for every little feature, so credit to Square-Enix for that, but… meh. It’s a pretty serviceable puzzle game but I’d rather have had more Lara.
Pretty Girls Mahjong Solitaire is exactly what it says on the tin and little expansion should be necessary. You play mahjong solitaire – you may know it as Shanghai – against cute anime-styled opponents, and they change into fetishy outfits when you win. There’s no nudity at all, just a collection of school uniforms and swimsuits and shrine maiden outfits, so you don’t need to feel too much shame, and it has a ridiculously easy set of Steam trophies so you can pad your completion percentage if you care.
Fair warning, one of the characters has a voice that can shatter wine glasses.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is the only game I’ve played recently that actually requires a current generation console, and wow if it isn’t pretty compared to the other things I’ve been playing recently. I have a PS4 Pro, and this makes full use of the 4k display it’s hooked into while staying at or near 60fps at all times. It has the traditional insane production values that characterize any entry in the series, but completely throws any connection to the present day out the window, opting instead to jump ahead a few hundred years so it can have, you know, robots and spaceships and energy gun and all the fun accoutrements of your average sci-fi movie. It does at least draw the line at energy swords and there are none of those.
I play the CoDs for their single-player storylines, and some of them (ahem, Ghosts) have let me down in that regard. This one did not – it’s a really good sci-fi yarn with the Call of Duty name tacked and wouldn’t feel too out of place as a series of Battlestar Galactica episodes, assuming you changed some of the models and hired Sarah Rush to say “launch when ready” during the fighter takeoff bits.
The flight missions, by the way – and the missions that combine flight segments with standard corridor-shooter sequences – were elements of the game I knew were coming from watching the trailer, and I was really expecting to hate them. They instead turned out to be some of my favorite bits of the game and I played through all of the optional ones and wanted more.
Also I got to customize my fighter’s nose art and put a unicorn on it. 10/10 would strafe capital ships from my unicorn death fighter again.
Finally, Idol Mahjong Final Romance 2, a proper mahjong game and not a mahjong solitaire game. This is from the Saturn’s infamous collection of 18+ red label games, so your reward for winning rounds of mahjong is low-resolution pixel nudity.
Also, the final boss cheats like crazy, because this was a port of an arcade game and arcade games are all about separating you from your Y100 coins.
Considering all of the other great mahjong games that came out for the Saturn, nothing really stands out about it, but it has some personal meaning to me because it’s the only mahjong game I’ve actually played a proper sit-down version of, in the basement of an Osaka capsule hotel some few years ago.
One of my dream projects, should I ever be blessed with endless spare time and money, is to somehow get my hands on one of these cabinets and retrofit it with a PC with MAME and ALLLLLL the arcade mahjong games. This will never ever happen, but at least I got to sink a few coins into a proper cabinet once in my life.