Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 19, 2021

First Impressions of various Switch games

Let me write these down before I forget. Most were played in January.

Blossom Tales

This game should be right for me since I love Link to the Past. But I did not like this game. I know the game sold very well. Either many people are happy with it or it came out early during the Switch lifecycle.

Got bored and dropped it fast. Why?

Too much text. This seems to be an issue with every indie game. In the games indie games are emulating (8-bit and 16-bit), text was limited for two primary reasons: cartridge space and children-as-gamers. Even a meaty RPG like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy VI has surprising very little text in it (mostly composed of single syllable words).

Reading text is problematic because the player isn’t playing. Also, text doesn’t carry audio-visual strength as, say, a cinematic would which makes it even more annoying. The areas where text does work is when it is expertly refined to fan the flames of imagination (think NES Shadowgate or PC’s Star Control 2). Even then, text is tightly controlled.

Second reason was the controls. They seemed so sloppy. Link to the Past has exact controls which makes the game feel fun.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Blossom Tales art style, but it is an indie game so I overlooked it. But I couldn’t overlook the controls and text. The ‘jokes’ the indie game developers are doing aren’t nearly as entertaining as they think. It all translates to the player not playing when the player should be doing something instead of ‘beholding the screen’. I’d rather just replay Link to the Past.

Blazing Chrome

This game is a Contra 3 inspired game. I love Contra 3. Why don’t I like this game?

Again, I’m not a fan of the controls. I forget exactly why.

I enjoyed the pixel work of Blazing Chrome. But Contra 3 does an excellent job with pacing that I feel Blazing Chrome lacks. Blazing Chrome also seems harder than it should be but that could have been the controls. I got bored with it.

Puyo Puyo Tetris 2

Puyo Puyo Tetris is one of my favorite Switch games (I know it is on many systems). It is almost a perfect game! How does Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 fare?

It is… more of the same. I’m glad the game has a sequel. But you won’t find much ‘new’ in it. It won’t be as fresh as the original Puyo puyo Tetris.

If I was younger, I would put more time into this game. But I am old so I suck at being so fast at the game. Oh well.

The ‘RPG Mode’ was what I was much interested in, but it is essentially the first game’s single player with an overworld map (with lanes more like SMB 3). That didn’t do it for me.

I’m not the biggest fan of the crazy anime faces and voices as I wasn’t in the original. It makes playing single player annoying unfortunately.

What I do LOVE is to watch replays of online players. I like to watch the top games of all these tetronomoes falling perfectly into screen-wide clears. How do these players do that? How do they set up such massive puyo puyo tetris chains?

Puyo Puyo Tetris is to Tetris what Starcraft 2 is to Starcraft. Great if you are a competive player. It’s a great local multiplayer game to boot. But if you already have the first game, you won’t need the second unless you are interested with online play.

Indivisible

This game has beautiful art, and it is an interesting twist on the RPG formula (it is a platformer RPG! Not like Zelda 2, more like the overworld is 2d Metroidvania).

The art is absolutely stunning, and I was genuinely sucked into the game. However, the game’s balance problems emerged which made me turn off the game and walk away. A damn shame.

Developers, please play your own games. If you’re going to make an RPG, you can’t rely on the story or art to save you. Your game has to be fun, by itself, if you were just playing the battles. I know this because I am figuring it out with my own RPG.

Bravely Default II

This is the biggest crash and burn for me. The battle system I’m not the biggest fan of, but I absolutely can’t stand the graphical art and story. They all triggered the ‘burn it with fire’ instincts inside me. Do the Japanese even LIKE this style? Or do they just ignore all that and just focus on the min-maxing battle system? It has to be the latter.

Why did the early Bravely Default games sell well at first then drop like a rock? Bait and switch marketing. The bait was that this is a classic RPG. The reality is that this is the shittiest, sloppiest, full-of-Japanese-tropes story and graphics. It’s not that I did not enjoy this game. I despised it. The game actually makes me hostile to it. Strangely enough, I had the opposite reaction to Octopath Traveler which has the same producer.

The people responsible for Octopath Traveler, Bravely Default, and Project Triangle, please listen to this: your story telling and world building suck. You have no talent for this. The battle systems are why people are playing your game. Octopath’s world is more neutral (some of its stories are all out cringe though, but they are in small doses so it is at least digestible).

I know some will disagree and love Bravely Default 2 graphics and story. And that is good for them. But I’m not one of them. If the company is not happy with Bravely Default 2’s sales, it will be easy to point to why. I think Bravely Default 2 will start out strong in sales then immediately crash.

I think Octopath is the much better direction I’d want RPGs to evolve toward rather than Bravely Default 2.


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