Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Cursed Crunch

I polished off Curse: the Eye of Isis tonight. While it was never going to set the world on fire, it's a solid enough game. It's kind of like a survival horror game, but without much of the horror. Or the survival. What they've really taken from the genre is the fixed camera angles (and the rubbish controls). You control one of two characters at various points through your adventure - they're functionally identical, so it doesn't really make any difference which you have. It's set in a slightly steampunk (only in terms of a couple of the weapons) Victorian era, moving from the British Museum to a boat, and then on to Egypt. Only three locations, so it's quite a short game, but there's plenty to keep you occupied. It was obviously meant for consoles, so the controls are abysmal, with the mouse spinning your round like a mad thing while you try and awkwardly move around. You get used to them, but even at the end of the game I was still running into obstacles by mistake and losing my bearings because the fixed camera meant I couldn't see my character when behind a pillar. Luckily, when you draw your weapon you have a fixed lock on, so you don't actually need to aim, or it would have been much harder. Combat is annoying enough as it is (and I played on Easy), with your character moving so sluggishly and having to stop all the time to reload. I think the developers recognised this and there's plenty of healing items to go around. The game follows plenty of the genre conceits with reanimating corpses, jump scares, and a magical shopkeeper (Abdul, who serves as your guide) who just happens to appear whenever you need him, and also acts as your means to save the game. There's also a bit of inventory management, but it's nothing like as onerous as the RE games. You can just offload any items that you don't need onto Abdul and he'll keep them in his inventory ready for you to take them back if you ever find that you do need them. You can also juggle items between your two characters' inventories, but I only found it useful a couple of times. The story starts interestingly, but soon loses its way and becomes irrelevant. There are a few boss battles, but they're not too difficult, and the final boss is laughably easy. The one big bad guy who I thought I'd be fighting (who would have been the only boss with a ranged weapon) ended up being taken care of in a cut-scene, which was a bit disappointing. So, yeah, nothing to write home about, but solid enough.

Next up on the randometer is...Pulstar! It's an old Neo Geo shoot-em-up that I know nothing about. Could be fun. I'm also slowly moving forwards in Fallout 3, side-questing my way through the wasteland. I haven't really made any progress on the main story yet, still just feeling around the edges.

In PS3 news, It's Critter Crunch's turn to join the Done pile. Critter Crunch is actually a really fun game, but it came out at a time when PSN seemed to be flooded with similar feeling puzzle games. I guess developers were thinking what they could make for Sony's new (at the time) service that would be quick to make and a small download size, but still look next-gen. The answer that a lot of them came up with was puzzle games. Trash Panic was one, this is another, and the next game in the PS3 list - Numblast - is yet another. Puzzle games are fine and dandy, but they never really scratch my completionist itch - there's never really an ending as such, other than completing the requisite number of puzzles. To its credit, Critter Crunch looks absolutely gorgeous, with an extremely vibrant and beautifully animated cartoon style. The basic game consists of differently sized critters climbing down the vines above you, and you have to clear them all before they reach the bottom. You clear them by feeding the smaller critters to the bigger critters, and creating chains of popping animals. You can only feed one-size-smaller animals to each critter, so there's a bit of vine management required where you move around bigger creatures trying to get the smallest ones to feed to the medium critters so you can feed them to the biggest ones. you also have to pay attention to critter colour, as you can only make chains from critters of the same colour, even if they're the same size. There are a few other special abilities and types of critter, but it never gets too overwhelming. Overall, as I say, it's a great fun game, with a learning curve that felt a lot more natural to me when I played it this time around to when I originally played it. Oh, and you can vomit rainbows to feed your kids. Did I forget to mention that? If I did have tons of time, then this is the kind of game that I might well dive back into for a short blast every now and then, but as it is...nah. Onwards!

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