Sunday, March 6, 2011

ZHP on PSP, and the Hunt for iPod Games  

The weekend turned out to be a lot busier than I had bargained on it being, so I ended up not getting very much done. Sadly, my to-do list is still pretty substantial. I'm also feeling more tired than I usually am Monday through Friday, so I think maybe I'm doing this weekend thing all wrong…


Games: I'd been hearing some chatter about the recent roguelike dungeon crawler from NIS called ZHP: Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman (PSP) and I finally managed to lay hands on a copy. I'm a fan of the genre when it's done well and word on it had been fairly positive, so I had my fingers crossed.

Final verdict: mixed.

I played it for about a day and only got to the third tier of levels, so  I just scratched the surface of the game. However, my general impressions of the play mechanics were very positive. Anyone who's ever played a roguelike will grasp things immediately, and the small tweaks to the standard formula were appreciated. Under normal circumstances, I think I probably would have been inclined to sink some time into this game, BUT I sent it back to GameFly before the sun set.

The reason? The story and characters.

NIS is famous for the irreverent style and wacky personalities in its titles, but I have to say that although I found the original Disgaea to be literally laugh-out-loud hilarious, every game they've put out since then has rubbed me the wrong way. The writing consistently misses the mark, jokes fall flat, characters are pulled from grating anime stereotypes, and the plots don't usually interest or involve me enough to get me to buy into whatever quest I'm supposed to be on.

I don't care how good a game is -- if the plot, characters, cutscenes and general concept are bad, I find it extremely difficult to continue playing.

Sadly, ZHP’s cerebral elements were quite offputting. Not quite as offensively toxic as Valkyria Chronicles 2’s perhaps, but bad enough to instantly turn me off and cause me to focus my attention elsewhere. It's really a shame since I can recognize that the core of the game was solid, but there are just too many titles demanding attention to justify spending time with one that actively pushes me away with its infantile stupidity.


Games: The wife just got an iPod touch as a gift yesterday, so we've been catching up with what we've been missing out on in the mobile scene. I haven't been doing much more than looking over her shoulder, but Tiny Wings and Thief Lupin both looked fairly interesting.

yes, Infinity Blade really looks like this.
The wife also spent some time with Infinity Blade, and that looked pretty damned amazing, at least graphically.

After hitting up the folks on Twitter, I came up with this list of titles that I should check out:

Game Dev Story
Space Miner
100 Rogues
the Doom RPG
Dead Space
Superbrothers Sword & Sorcery

It's a good start, but I'm still looking for more input. If you can think of any other excellent ones that are worthy of a look, I'd love to hear about them. Drop me a line and let me know if there are some must-play gems out there that aren't on this list!


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4 comments: to “ ZHP on PSP, and the Hunt for iPod Games

  • Matt Brandon


    On the iPod I'm loving Galaxy on Fire 2. It's Elite but with better graphics and pretty good space combat system. Set the controls to accelerometer and it's great. The voice acting is a bit cheesy though.


    I must have missed your tweet asking for Touch recommends.

    Solipskier is pretty ace and nice and cheap.

    Papa Sangre is an absolute must. It's not a conventional game, at all and I think it requires a newer iPod touch. But, it's based on using sound to play, rather than vision.

    League of Evil is a great, but rock hard platformer in the same vein as Super Meat Boy.

    Gravity Guy is a sweet platformer that reminds me of VVVVVV in that you tap the screen to invert gravity as the dude runs. So you have to dodge obstacles, etc.

    Hot Springs Story is the second game from the devs of Game Dev Story. Just as addictive and a little more like Theme Hospital.

    Lastly is a game I haven't had that much time with, but am enjoying. Sword of Fargoal, which is a roguelike based on an old C64 game. It's a great game, BUT the control system takes a while to get the grips of because you have to swipe the character to move him.

    Those are my main rec's as you've mentioned others I would back :)

  • Zolos


    I don't play much on the iphone but here's a couple i do enjoy:

    1. Neuroshima Hex - It's a turn based tile laying strategy (board)game. 4 different armies each with its own characteristics. Love this game.

    2. Drop 7 tetris style puzzle game


    Agreed with Matt, Galaxy on Fire 2 is a brilliant must-have, and I think the voice acting is clever rather than stupid. The original Galaxy on Fire game is free and is decent in its own right as a simplified version of the sequel.

    If you like that kind of Star Wars type action, also look into Trench Run, Venger, Star Rangers, and Star Battalion. iOS is the only place where this kind of game is being made.

    Along similar lines, Skies of Glory is brilliant multiplayer WW2 dogfighting fun.

    If you don't end up liking Tiny Wings, then you have no soul.

    Quickie RPG-type games I'm enjoying: Dungeon Raid, Sword & Poker, Rogue Touch. I heartily agree with the Sword of Fargoal recommendation as well.

    Longer games worth a shot:

    Aralon (or its predecessor, Ravensword), which is like a tiny version of Oblivion.

    Sacred Odyssey or the Dungeon Hunter games (slick Gameloft clones of other popular games. I personally also like Eternal Legacy)

    Pocket Legends (if you like MMO type stuff)

    Across Age (Zelda 2D-ish)

    I could go on and on, but there's more than several months worth of gameplay in everyone's recommendations already. Have fun!