Friday, June 27, 2014

1001 Spikes is COMPLETE!  

 Movies: Breaking news! Guillermo Del Toro has just announced that Pacific Rim is officially getting a sequel. (And more comics. And an animated series!) I am soooooooooooo stoked!  Bring on the Jaegers!!


Triumphs: So I just finished 1001 Spikes (Vita) a few minutes ago…

Wow, what a crushingly-hard, patience testing, self-esteem erasing game. In most levels, death comes in less than a fraction of a second, and pixel-perfect performance is required to progress through tough spots over and over again. I’m trying to think of a game I’ve played that was harder, but I’m not sure anything was. The Extreme levels in Trials or some of the rough patches in Super Meat Boy come to mind, but it’s possible 1001 Spikes tops them. Either way, this was some hard shit.

It’s a fantastic game, though. It’s made with the precision of a Swiss watch, and the challenges are always fair if you know what you’re doing. Fair definitely does not equate to being easy, but I can only think of one spot in this 15-to-20 hour experience where I felt like maybe the developer was pulling a fast one. Quick reflexes and quick thinking are required for success, but it’s all according to formula -- there aren’t any secrets or tricks here.

If you’re the sort of gamer who doesn’t shy away from a brutal challenge, 1001 Spikes gets my highest recommendations, for sure. For those who are curious, here are my stats:

Total playtime – 18 hours, 28 minutes.

Total deaths – 1177.

Average deaths per level – About 19.

Most deaths in a level – 149 deaths in 4-3. Runner up – 132 in 10-4.

Lives remaining at game’s end – 798

Also, major, major props go to @MikeSuskie and @Boiteabebelles for letting me lean on them when times were hard. They had good advice when I needed it, and sometimes it was just enough to know that someone else out there felt my pain. And joy.

Games: In other games news, it seems like a whole pile of things popped up out of nowhere, and I went from having not enough to play to having too much. It's a good problem to have, to be sure, but it's tough to find enough time to cover everything that deserves it.

Here are some quick mentions…

Ultra Street Fighter IV. (PS3/360) It's an add-on to the core game that brings four new characters and a bunch of other stuff. It's been a long time since I played Street Fighter with any proficiency so it's hard for me to pick up on all of the nuances, but Poison and Elena have been added to the roster, and in my book that's a big plus.

Z-Run. (Vita) This is a small game made by a small team that’s an auto-runner similar to Temple Run or One Epic Knight on iOS, except that it feels a little richer thanks to having actual controls. Basically, you play as a survivor trying to hoof his way out of the apocalypse, so you're dodging obstacles and whacking the undead. Or jump-kicking. Jump taking the undead works too. This one is a great idea, but it seems like it needs a little more time in the oven. Still, enjoying it in short bursts.

Blue Estate. (PS4) This is an on-rails shooter based on a comic book I'm never heard of, but it's a pretty interesting -- not only does it work well with the PS4 controller’s motion functions,  it also looks great and it's got a lot more of a story than you might expect. Also, whoo boy, is this one for the grown-ups. It’s got loads of salty language and one of the main characters is a stripper named Cherry Popz, so I'll let you fill in the rest.

Besides those, there've been a few other things that I would’ve liked to get to -- Shovel Knight, Battle Princess of Arcadias, the State of Decay: Lifeline expansion and the X-Blaze: Code Embryo visual novel among others, but there are only so many hours in the day and I don't have enough time for what I’ve already got. Still, some of these might be worth looking into if you have availability on your own personal gaming agenda…


NIS America is happy to announce that Fairy Fencer F will be available for digital and physical release for the PlayStation®3 in North America on September 23 and in Europe on September 26!

Developed by COMPILE HEART, Fairy Fencer F is a turn-based RPG that features character art by Tsunako (Hyperdimension Neptunia series), as well as concept art by Yoshitaka Amano and music by Nobuo Uematsu who are both renowned for their work on the classic Final Fantasy series.

Key Features:

Robust Combat System – Witness the next evolution of Hyperdimension Neptunia's battle engine! Move your characters in a fully 3-D environment as you link combos in thrilling turn-based combat! Exploit enemy weaknesses to trigger Avalanche Attacks and watch your party gang up on opponents! Send your enemies sky high with Launch Attacks, then follow up with an Air Attack to send them crashing back to Earth! And if fights get really tense, simply transform into your upgraded Fury Form and really bring the pain!

Untold Levels of Customization – Use the Furies you collect to give your characters powerful abilities, or use them to customize dungeons to your exact specifications! Need a little more "oomph!" in your swing? We've got a Shaping Effect for that! Want some extra experience points after battle? We've got a Shaping Effect for that too! But what if you're a masochist who wants everyone—allies and enemy alike—to deal DOUBLE damage? Oh, you best believe we've got a Shaping Effect for that!

Artistic Pedigree – Enjoy the dulcet tones of renowned composer Nobuo Uematsu, the composer for many of the Final Fantasy titles. With character designs by Tsunako (Hyperdimension Neptunia) and Yoshitaka Amano (Final Fantasy I-VI), the line between cute and menacing has never been more blurred!

What next?

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