Monday, May 26, 2014

Things No One Cares About: Kirby Triple Deluxe

Kirby as a franchise is just something which I never was drawn into, despite numerous attempts. I played Kirby's Dreamland as a little girl and could never beat King Dedede due to my own idiocy. It didn't really endear Kirby to me and, over time, I forgot about that little puffball. I finally gave Kirby Super Star a shot a few years ago and was sort of baffled by the whole mess. I've since come back to it and do enjoy the game but not to the extent that some do. My attempts thus far to get into the franchise have resulted in a double failure. Luckily this won't turn in to a triple failure because Kirby Triple Deluxe is an awesome game.

Kirby Triple Deluxe is Kirby's first 3DS exclusive outing and the game that sold me on the franchise. My main problem with the Kirby games I had played is they lacked a sense of direction,mostly Super Star. I was going along and events were happening with what seemed like little input my part. I really didn't feel like I was accomplishing anything, so I wasn't compelled to go on. Triple Deluxe has a clear sense of flow. Where as Dreamland or Super Star just sort of throws you in, here there is a bit of context as to what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. I'm not saying that this is like the best Kirby ever or Super Star is bad,it's just Triple Deluxe is the first one that clicked.

The plot follows Kirby trying to rescue his somewhat friend King Dedede from a weird spider wizard. It's nothing special in terms of video game narratives but adds a simple charm to the game that is endearing. It does get a bit tedious near the end when we have to sit and listen to the Big Bad's plan. It's a tad bit weird that every other scene has been a nice bit of telling through action then this text bombardment comes flying in.

The game play is what you've come to expect from a normal Kirby game. Suck up enemies to gain their power and use said power to kick some butt. They've added a few new abilities such as the Archer or Bell but the star of the show is the Hyper Nova ability. Kirby will find an item in certain levels that boosts his inhaling power to insane levels. This is used to solve puzzles and suck up large items such as trees and wreaking balls There is nothing more cathartic then going through a levels destroying everything in your path.

The game favors the mechanic of going back and forth between the foreground and background to take advantage of the 3-D effects. They do use it in creative ways such as racing an enemy in the background, so you can cut him off and get his item. It's a nice little way to shake up a bit of a tired concept. The bosses of the game also take advantage of this feature and will slip between the layers for different attacks. Unfortunately they can't be hit while doing those actions but it's only annoying during one boss.

The other 3DS feature worked in is the gyro sensor which is used to aim cannons and move various objects. The cool thing is that if you sort of mess up the rotations the game lets you easily reset the tilt function to a more favorable position. This is the only part of the game that feels gimmicky, but it never gets in the way of the fun and matches your tilting fairly accurately. It is a good use of the technology, if a bit useless.

The game is fairly easy, unless you are grabbing all the collectable sun stones, which makes the game moderately difficult. However, I am not saying that this is a knock against the game. It is meant to be accessible for people new to video games. It doesn't mean that more experienced gamers won't like it, if this genre of game is your bag. The game is one that you feel good about playing it because of the fun factor. Those looking for a bit more of a challenge can find it in the game's alternate modes.

The game hosts five other games in addition to the story mode. The Arena is Kirby's version of a boss rush with the ability to choose any copy power. Dedede Tour is more of a speed run through the main game playing as King Dedede. Kirby Fighters a Super Smash Bros style fighter where you choose which ability you want to fight with and go at it. It has a local multiplayer but lacks any sort of online function, which is sort of a missed opportunity. The final mode is a short rhythm game staring Dedede again. You time your button presses to jump higher and score points. It's nothing special but still fun and probably my favorite of the alternate modes.

I only have one real gripe against the game and that is key chain collection. The game has 256 different key chains modeled after various characters and locations from past Kirby games. Every stage has a rare key chain hidden within in addiction to common key chains. The problem I have with this is that you don't know what the common key chain will be till you end the level,they are random as to what you receive and it's possible to get duplicates. They aren't required to beat the game but make getting 100% completion a grind.

Kirby Triple Deluxe is some of the most adorable fun you'll have. It's the kind of game you play after a bad day to feel better about life,and I couldn't stop smiling when I played it. It's a definite must have for fans and potential fans of Kirby.

Till Next Time:Stay Positive

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Things No One Cares About: Rohan Kishibe Won't Move

Hirohiko Araki is best known for his long running manga  Jojo's Bizarre Adventure,of which I dedicated and entire month to. When I first did that little stunt I had only read up to the third major arc,Stardust Crusaders,and had not experienced the unbridled pleasure of Diamond is Unbreakable.This part introduced the character of Rohan Kishibe,an eccentric manga-ka.Araki loves this character and says that if he himself had a Stand it'd be Kishibe's Heaven's Door. He has even given Rohan multiple spin-offs dealing with his escapades,including today's feature:Rohan Kishibe Won't Move.

Rohan Kishibe Won't Move is a series of short stories involving the titular character as he gets into odd situations while researching topics for his manga protects. The first story ran in Shonen jump in 1997 with the rest being published in a few different magazines between 2008 and 2013. The stories range from tales of suspense to the horrors of real estate. They are interesting little stories that let us see more of Rohan as a character and the weird things that go on in the Jojo universe.

The first two stories,At a Confessional and Mutsukabezaka,use Rohan as more of a framing device for the stories. Both are fun little thrill rides that give me that Twilight Zone vibe albeit with a much lighter tone. At a Confessional is probably the better of the two for its climax that elevates catching popcorn in your mouth into a fight to stay alive. I won't say much more about it as not to spoil the hilarious twist ending.

The second story is by no means bad,being just as weird as its predecessor but has a scene that really bugs me. Near the middle of the story,the female lead kills her lower class lover by accident.. The problem is that he keeps on bleeding form a rather small wound. However she has to hide him as her father and arranged fiance are coming. She starts hiding his possessions and then for no reason strips down to her underwear. Then proceeds to stay that way till she hides the body and this scene goes on for awhile. I think she might have got blood on her dress but her dress looks the same from the time she sees her boyfriend till she takes the dress off. The series has had fan service before but it was never this obvious or drawn out. Which is a shame because we do get to see a bit of how weird Rohan can be and the rest of the story is enjoyable if a bit vague.

The third story,The Millionaire's Village, has Rohan confront his greatest foe:good manners. The story stars Rohan and another editor of his as he accompanies her to a buy a home in a remote village. Here we're shown a more caring side of Rohan as he does fight to win back his editor's life after losing her due to the village’s strict upholding of good manners. While you could read his care as more selfish ,i.e if she dies he'll be in big trouble,it comes of to me as a bit of genuine concern on Rohan's part.

The fourth and final of more story driven parts is Poaching Reef and brings back minor character Tonio Trussardi. It's funny to see Rohan just going along with the plot even though he points out how silly it is. The story is the two go poaching for rare albacore so that Tonio can possibly cure his dying fiance. Not much to it,the plan gets botched and then Rohan unbotches it. The story does bring up a weird detail in that the place the men go to poach belongs to Josuke's family. Josuke appears at the end and doesn't seem to mind that the men poached from his family's waters. The issue sort of goes with the “just roll” with it tone of the story,so I don't mind too much.

The last story is Rohan goes to Gucci. It ran as a pseudo-advertisement manga in the magazine Spur and is fairly pointless. The stories before it gave us a look at Rohan as a eccentric man who has a selfish streak but can be a good person. Here he's just a generic jerk to a random desk clerk at Gucci,a fashion company, and then spouts adverts. The mess is in full color but that just makes it look unappealingly gaudy in a way the series tends to avoid. The panels are disjointed,and one character just disappears with no warning,taking Rohan's wallet with her. Interestingly enough this story is the only one to feature a stand besides Kishibe's. The rest of the stories attribute the weird events to nature or demons. It doesn’t make them weaker by any means but I find it odd I guess. Maybe it was for the better as the Stand introduced here is just silly. A boring attempt to advertise for a brand the author favors.

In the end,four pretty good stories and one poor advertisement for a brand I probably can't afford. The stories are enjoyable and feel like solid Jojo stories despite the lack of Stands.

Till Next Time:Stay Positive