Welcome to the first in a new segment, “What’s In Geddy’s Hand?” the ambiguously named installment where I tell you about the handheld games that have been keeping me occupied, entertained, and most importantly, distracted from my real-life obligations.
As I’ve mentioned before, my playing style is usually playing one large game at a time, with a couple of smaller games, or “side pieces, ” orbiting around it, like moons around a planet. Assuming moons do that. Just like with stocks, it’s always good to diversify your gaming, and having some smaller games that are easy to pick up and put down helps me not get burned out with larger games.
A certain new and fancy device has taken over gaming blogs lately including the one you’re reading now, and I decided what I really want to do is take a break from reporting on that particular system and talk about some other things I’m playing at the moment. Even though that new system is shiny and awesome, there are lots of games I’m playing on my other handhelds. Unfortunately a lot of those games don’t warrant their own post as I don’t have all that much to say about them, so I thought I’d whip up some mini-reviews for this segment.
Let’s dive into it in the form of a March re-cap!
As gorgeous as it is ominous, this little gem broke out onto the indie scene a couple of years ago, and was recently published in physical form for the PSVita, thanks to the guys over at LimitedRunGames. I grabbed this because I love platformer puzzlers and the graphics looked super creepy, which is right up my alley. Evidently the artwork was literally hand-crafted with clay models and “everyday materials,” and it shows with the smooth polish the whole game has.
The game is a narrative-driven puzzler set in space, where you are attempting to escape a destroyed space station whilst uncovering the secrets of the very tool you wield, which the game borrows its name from. The Swapper’s mechanics are quite simple, use the left trigger to clone yourself into another human being, and the right to swap your soul into that shell, giving you control of that copy. I’m probably 2 hours into this game, as I don’t have much patience to play puzzle games for that long, but the puzzles are very rewarding when you finally hit that “a-HA!” moment. Recommended and available on practically every platform.
Freedom Wars takes place in the distant future, where the remaining members of civilization are living underground, most of whom are imprisoned in little cities known as Panopticons. Whew, that was a mouthful. You assume the role of a prisoner who must work off his prison sentence by helping your respective Panopticon. Think of it a little bit like The Hunger Games, except that you are working towards the “greater good,” that is, your own city-state. The more missions you complete, the more entitlements you earn
The gameplay feels super-fluid and grabbed me right away. It makes you want to play it, a rare trait that I swear gets more elusive by the minute. I bit the bullet and picked this one up despite not being very interested by Let’s Plays, but it feels great so far and the fact that you can measure and see the number of years you work off of your sentence makes you feel progress. You’re literally fighting for your own freedom. You could say.. it’s a Freedom War.
By the way, your prison sentence starts at 200,000 years and constantly fluctuates as you complete missions, as well as when you screw up. No joke, I just got +10 years for trying to sleep laying down.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd
I’ve been playing this game for ages it feels like, it’s definitely a completionist nightmare. Unlocking everything is, I assume, the end goal, but really I’m just having fun playing it once in a while. I don’t play it much, but whenever I do, it’s long hour and a half sprints, because I just adore the Japanese-pop soundtrack. Catchy is an understatement.
In case you don’t know of Hatsune Miku, you’re exactly where I was before randomly buying this game. It’s a rhythm game (think Guitar Hero, but with a controller) built with insane Japanese-pop and anime and unlockable revealing outfits and Asian schoolgirls and.. ya know, just watch a video of the gameplay. If this sound and gameplay doesn’t get your feet tapping and want to play immediately, it probably isn’t for you. Otherwise, just go buy it now, it’s amazing. There’s even a demo on the Playstation Store, but it really won’t do it justice.
As you play and get better, you unlock outfits and, really, a completely absurd amount of collectibles to decorate the rooms of all the singers in the game. It’s got so much content I’ll probably never buy another game in the series because I’ll never possibly finish this one.
Below is a video of my favorite track in the game, Blackjack, played in Extreme mode. Here’s my second favorite song, which I listened to while writing this.
I picked this one up after reading a review over at A Lady & Gaming, and I’ve loved it so far. It’s not so much a game as a collection generator, as it essentially turns your 3DS into a beacon to sniff out WiFi signals, and turns them into treasures. It’s fun to see how many WiFi networks you can pick up and all of the weird stuff you can find, but other than that it’s definitely not a “game” in the class sense. More like a passive experiment, if that makes sense. Still glad I picked it up because I love this kind of stuff, I just personally am glad I only spent $5 on it.
Very cool concept that I think could easily be implemented into a 3DS game and given more purpose for those treasures! I work in a large city and so I was able to uncover thousands of treasures in just three days of walking a few blocks with my 3DS active in my backpack. You can close the lid and the game will still run, so it’s just so easy to bring around with you. Overall, cool little hidden gem, and great for the folks who are obsessed with collecting.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
I was glancing over my Wall O’ Gaming the other day, as I often do when I feel like my life needs pondering, and I was admiring my 3DS games and how I’ve played through or at least “sufficiently finished” all of them. However, one of them stuck out. I never finished New Super Mario Bros. 2! Gah!
As I’m not currently in the middle of playing anything on the 3DS, aside from passively treasure hunting, I brought along NSMB2 and was able to beat it within a single commute. It turns out I was already three levels away from the final level! I can now proudly say I am satisfied with finishing my 3DS collection which is a pretty great feeling to have.
Toilet Gaming aka iPhone
The Room Three
Does anyone remember The Room from a couple of years ago? It’s a point-and-click game originally released only on iOS back in 2012, followed closely by The Room Two that following year. I played both of these and loved them, and only recently learned that there was a third installment released at the tail-end of 2015. I bought it and loaded it up immediately, as these games are super convenient to have in a portable fashion and loads of fun in short bursts.
What stood out about the first game that set it apart from competitor titles was how the three-dimensional puzzles were so intricate. Not much is set up in way of the plot, for any game in the series, mind you. Rather, there are notes left scattered about to give you a vague idea of where you are and why you should keep solving puzzles. It’s very eerie but not a horror game in any way – the focus is on you discovering the intricacies of each puzzle. Each device that you reverse-engineer is more complex than the last, and the feeling of finally getting that last latch open, or finding that hidden code and completing a puzzle to unlock a door is downright euphoric.
All of The Room games are incredible, and I recommend doing all three in order. You can still buy them in a package deal on iOS, I believe.
And that’s about all I’ve got going on at the moment! Still working hard on my mini-three-parter that I’m crazy excited about.
What little “side pieces” have you all been playing lately? A few smaller games to break the monotony and give yourself options, or do you usually focus on one or two game at a time? Let me know in the comments!