It’s said if you want to get better at something to keep at it. Which honesty I don’t believe most days. Looking at people with skills far greater then I. It seems impossible to catch up to them. And when I ask who they sold their soul to obtain the skills they have they say “No I just kept at it until people seemed to like my stuff.” Until they tell me where to meet the devil I guess I have to believe them. Now I don’t have the energy today to write anything with a direct point. So here’s some mumblings that don’t deserve full on pieces.
Super Mario 3D Land.
Mario….. is fantastic. Which like duh of course Mario is good. But after Odyssey which I walked away a bit lukewarm on. I had some doubts. Mario 3D land in case you don’t know is the 3Ds 3d Mario game. But unlike the other 3D Mario games this one has the structure of a 2D Mario game. Its level based. There’s a timer every level. Castles/Airships at the end of a world. It’s a Mario game you know what I’m getting at. Which at first glance seems like a step back.
Mario 64 has you exploring a whole castle. Then you go into levels that have multiple objectives, and secrets. Mario 3D land has short levels that you can beat in a couple of minutes. Most of them are pretty linear. Each level has 3 star coins to find that adds something extra. But relativity simple stuff. Which again may seem like a step back. But to me that’s the greatest thing about it. It’s a Mario game with no fat. Just the bits I like.
3D land is a game with short challenging platforming challenges. And that’s probably my favorite part of Mario Games. Where I have 8 blocks that are rotating, and I’m just playing on instinct. If for a second if I actually think about what I’m doing I’m going to fumble it up. It’s so satisfying. The first 4 worlds are a little boring but I mean it’s a Mario game. It should have some on ramping before it gets hard. I know after Odyssey were probably not going to get another game like this or 3D world. But I really hope we do.
Dragon Ball Fighters Z
FUCK! I LOVE DRAGON BALL. Ok I have this problem where I need to go into something with context if something came before it. And watching gameplay videos for Fighters Z I felt like I couldn’t go in unless I had some understanding of Dragon Ball. So I read the first volume. Then less a month later I finished all 42 volumes. Now in a little under two months I’m 15 episodes away from being caught up on super. I’ve fallen very deep in the Yamcha hole and I never want to leave.
Anyway the game is great. Frieza super when he goesdown replicating the end of the Goku fight. Vegeta basic moves having a gut punch. That game is clearly made by people who love Dragon Ball. The game is amazing without all of that to. But it’s so satisfying to see all of Trunks weird hand movements in his level 1 super. Or one of Tiens level 3 supers being Chaoz sacrificing himself. Besides all the fan service it’s the best fighting game I played in years.
The on ramping that game does by letting you mash out basic combos. It may seem cheap but it helps players have fun without spending a couple of hours practicing timing. Because as you play you end up learning. Like you end up learning how to deny those basic combos. You develop you own strategy and then when they go to lab they have basic concepts down. That game makes it fun for anyone to play. But also it’s still early but the skill ceiling seems high. Also the game is just fun to watch even if you don’t know what’s going on. Fighters Z is going to be big. It has something for everyone who is interested in fighting games, wants to be inserted, or whos just a Dragon Ball fan.
Into the Breach.
We compare video games to chess a lot. Too much honesty. I think the one comparison I really like is chess compared to fighting games to be honest. Because it’s a good way to explain why fighting games are so amazing to some people. With that out of the way Into the Breach reminds me of chess in a lot of way. I’m a novice in chess but I understand a little. Like one aspect of chess that always stands out to me is the give and take. Like I’ll give you my bishop in exchange for a rook or something to that effect. It’s about thinking 3 moves ahead and tradeoffs.
Except Into the Breach gives you like 7 different chess sets that each have their own give and take. The Rustling Hulks create smoke around the field. That can negate enemy attacks but also put you in a bind if you don’t think ahead. The Hazzard ones where they damage themselves while attacking but gain health by killing. Each squad has its own give and take that keeps the game fresh. Besides from the squad give and take the game is full of it in each run. Which Pilot do you pick? The one who negates one damage or the one who gives you an extra reset? How do you choose to upgrade you robot? Do I sacrifice a Pilot to save a building? I know Give and take is nothing new to procedural generated games but Into the Breach really made that clear to me.
I’m sure whatever Subset games does next will be interesting. But after FTL and now Into the Breach I hope they keep with their low Entry to High Skill ceiling structure. Into the breach does a great job of getting you into the game. Like there’s a lot going on when it gets tough but the base mechanics of that game are pretty simple like chess. So now I’m every writer comparing video games to chess.
This was fun. I liked getting basic thoughts down without flooding my Twitter with threads or else having to write a big piece. Its good practice and I’ll probably keep doing this bimonthly. Also it helps me think about bigger topics I want to write about. Like I wrote something about We Know the Devil that ended up being big enough for its own piece so maybe look forward to that. Anyway hopefully next time I’ll play more games not from 2017 to write about.