Tag Archives: action

Paul’s Preeminent PlayStation Plus Purge – Eat Them!

I like eating. Right now, unfortunately, due to issues related to my colon cancer, I’m not eating as much as I like. That’s a shame, both for me as well as the wonderful recipes my wife puts together. I hope to get back to a place where I can eat and not worry, but until then I guess I’ll just stomp around, destroying buildings and consuming humans for energy. Oh wait, no, that’s not me…that’s Eat Them!

In Eat Them!, you take on the role of disgraced government scientist Dr. Wilder. He has created an array of giant monsters to wreak havoc on the comic-inspired, cel-shaded city streets…because that’s just what you do when you are both disgraced and a scientist. I mean, it’s practically a law. Anyways, these big ol’ beasts eat people for power and destroy everything in their path using heavy-hitting melee weapons, mortars, powerful long-range lasers, and more.

Eat Them! lets you create monsters by plugging together arms, heads, and other pieces you’ve unlocked as you finish missions. After that, you’re tasked with taking out “baddies” across a number of different gameplay modes where you smash, kick, roar, and jump on buildings and vehicles that have earned your ire. Initially, this is a lot of fun and reminds me of the good times we all had with the 1986 arcade classic Rampage. The game has a solid look to it–I mean, I love all things cel-shaded–and it does feel good causing all this destruction, but unfortunately the fun only lasts for so long. The missions begin to feel repetitive rather quickly, and I just didn’t feel like progressing after a short while.

So, see ya in another life, Eat Them!, one where I too can enjoy consumption at the same rate and level as a giant monster.

Oh look, another reoccurring feature for Grinding Down. At least this one has both a purpose and an end goal–to rid myself of my digital collection of PlayStation Plus “freebies” as I look to discontinue the service soon. I got my PlayStation 3 back in January 2013 and have since been downloading just about every game offered up to me monthly thanks to the service’s subscription, but let’s be honest. Many of these games aren’t great, and the PlayStation 3 is long past its time in the limelight for stronger choices. So I’m gonna play ’em, uninstall ’em. Join me on this grand endeavor.

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Resolve an ancient conflict on Wuppo’s quest for a new home

I have way too many games on Steam, and the good bulk of them I have no memory of how they got there. Some were probably freebies, and others cost money or were purchased during a sale. The easiest guess is that many of them came from one of the thousands of gaming bundles I’ve participated in, but the when and where escapes me each and every time I scroll down my list and pause on a name that just seems completely foreign to me. Today, we’re going to talk about Wuppo, a game I have no memory of buying, but I guess I did because…well, it is there, installed on my Steam library, and it looks like a really cute, colorful platformer.

After being kicked out of its apartment home for making another mess via an ice cream cone, one lonely Wum, which is a type of round, featureless creature native to this world, must travel far and wide to find a new place to live. From the metropolitan haven Popocity to the cavernous Bliekopolis, this Wum will discover magical places and encounter strange creatures along the way. Now, this Wum is no traditional hero and only by using its wit and charm, along with the help of a handful of items, can it truly succeed. That’s the main gist of the story, and it’s told through in-game dialogue that is both lively and quite fun to read, reminding me instantly of Pikuniku and Night in the Woods. You’ll also learn more lore by collecting film strips to watch.

Wuppo starts out easy enough, but don’t let its cute aesthetic and bouncy music fool you–the difficulty quickly amps up once you encounter your first boss battle. Fights require a decent amount of precision movement alongside the memorization of enemy patterns, and it doesn’t help that the jump button is on LT, which takes some getting used to, especially if you like double-jumping all the time, which, in this game, is a must. Your main attack consists of firing guns in a setup very similar to your average twin-stick shooter, so you use the stick to both determine the direction and angling of your firing. It takes a little time to get used to, plus you can switch out your gun for other weapons or items to hold, such as a bird that feeds you information at specific points.

Let’s get into the controls a bit more…because they are important. You have controls for basic movement, an action button that does whatever you need in a given context, and a dedicated button just for whistling, which is never necessary, but appreciated nonetheless. Your Wum’s health meter is justified as “happiness,” and you can increase it by making new friends, watching film strips, or eating your favorite food. The game is mostly an adventure platformer, and you’ll be making some large jumps or timed jumps to get to new places. There’s a map you can view, but I honestly didn’t find it satisfying or felt like it grounded me in this world. Maybe I’m just reading it wrong.

Wuppo is pretty hands off. It hardly ever guides you to the next place or quest, leaving it up to you to work out how to progress, which can result in some bits of frustration. Occasionally, there are moments where it is hard to make out specific buttons or levers to pull, as well as what the pathways are, making you feel stuck for no other reason than clarity. Items are placed in your inventory non-ceremoniously, and it’s up to you to figure out how to use them and where to use them, which some players, like Dark Souls fans, might like, but I don’t have time for all that.

Currently, as shown in the picture at the top of this post, I’m trying to find specific items for an altar, which is proving more difficult than I initially imagined. We’ll see if I ever complete this task or just move on to something else. I do like the look and vibe of Wuppo greatly, but it isn’t hooking me too hard besides its playful aesthetic, and there are plenty of other platformers to try out in my Steam/Twitch libraries.

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH: X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse

I love X-Men, and I loved X-Men. I probably don’t love it as hard as I did as a young, lonely child with a wild imagination, but that’s okay. Not everything lasts forever, and that’s why nostalgia exists. Growing up, I had plenty of X-Men action figures, two VHS tapes–namely X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men and X-Men: Night of the Sentinels–that I watched over and over again, to the point of almost burning them up, and, of course, countless collectible cards, ranging from Jim Lee’s X-Men Series 1 to SkyBox’s X-Men Series 2 to X-Men ’95 FLEER ULTRA and even more. If you were at all like me, then you know exactly what I’m talking about; if not, oh well, move along. So it was natural for me to be excited about anything X-Men-related when it came to videogames, which brings us to X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse…for the SNES.

In X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, Charles Xavier sends five of his beloved X-Men to sabotage various operations and structures on the Genosha island complex to liberate mutants in captivity. Further investigation reveals Queen Brood and Tusk are involved in this matter and headed by the titular Apocalypse. After defeating all evil forces on Genosha, Xavier discovers that Magneto intends to destroy Genosha from his space station Avalon. To prepare for the confrontation, Xavier tests the five X-Men in the Danger Room to defeat holograms of Omega Red and Juggernaut. After passing the tests, the X-Men go on separate paths inside Avalon to face and defeat Exodus and then battle against that non-magnanimous Magneto. It’s like a multi-part string of episodes from X-Men: The Animated Series, and I was into it.

Right, so. The player takes control of five X-Men who each have their own objectives, as well as different moves and capabilities activated by certain control combinations. There is a limited number of lives that count for all five X-Men and not one individually. That said, similar to Mega Man, the levels may be played in any order. At the end of each level, you fight a boss, and the next three levels are linear and require each boss level to be defeated. This is followed by two straightforward boss battles in the Danger Room. Finally, only one of the X-Men can be selected, each one going through a different end level. Thankfully, after beating the first five stages, a password can be acquired. The game has health pickups, as well as the option to gain extra lives by collecting three “X” icons hidden throughout each stage. Otherwise, it’s a straightforward action game where you destroy anything and everything in your path, usually with mutant powers.

Here’s who you get to play as in X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse:

  • Beast – Possesses superhuman physical strength, agility, and an ape-like appearance…if, y’know, apes had blue fur.
  • Cyclops – Produces powerful, uncontrollable beams of concussive force from his eyes, forcing him to wear a specialized visor at all times.
  • Gambit – Has the ability to manipulate kinetic energy and charge objects with it. He’s also skilled in card-throwing, as well as hand-to-hand and staff combat.
  • Psylocke – She can use her telepathic powers to form a “psychic knife” from her fist. She’s also an expert martial artist.
  • Wolverine – A gruff mutant possessing superhuman senses, enhanced physical capabilities, adamantium coated bones and claws, and regenerative abilities.

For me, I was sold the instant I knew I could play as Gambit. He was always a favorite of mine growing up, and I still think there is a coolness to the character now, even if I haven’t kept up on any of his storylines. I also enjoyed Beast a great deal, hanging upside-down and punching minions in the face. The pixels were big for X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, almost zoomed in, which meant you didn’t get to see a ton of the environment around you, but you got a nice closeup of Cyclops firing off his laser blast. It definitely helped make these characters seem larger than life, which, for me at that age, they certainly were.

Now, around the same time as this game, there was another X-Men game, but it was for the SEGA Genesis. A system I did not own, but frequently played on at my then-best friend’s house. This was X-Men 2: Clone Wars, and it seemed to be the cooler-looking one of the bunch, much like how Mortal Kombat had blood on the Genesis and sweat drops on the SNES. In this one, you controlled a select few X-Men as they attempted to thwart the alien Phalanx from assimilating all of Earth’s inhabitants to their race. It played differently, and I still can’t pinpoint why I felt like my SNES title was inferior to it, but the feeling remains.

Either way, sorry, X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, for trading you in. I do have a bunch of other X-Men-related games in my collection that remain untouched, shame on me, and I hope to get to them soon, as well as procure a copy of X-Men: Destiny, which might become a rarer thing down the line.

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.

If you play Pikuniku, you’ll get free money (not really)

With a name like Pikuniku, you’d think this game would be harder to explain or some kind of Pokemon offshoot, like Hey You, Pikachu!. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, and that’s not at all a bad thing. Weird, for sure, but weirdly simple, and I’m sitting here smiling just thinking about it. Before you read anything further, I highly suggest you put this game’s soundtrack from Calum Bowen on.

Right, so…Pikuniku is an absurdly wonderful puzzle-exploration game that takes place in a strange but playful world where not everything is as happy as it seems despite all the bright colors and bouncy tunes. You play as a “monster” from a cave and must help out a number of peculiar characters overcome struggles, uncover a deep state conspiracy, and start a fun little revolution in this delightful dystopian adventure. Down with robots, as they say, and don’t let the free money bit fool you; when it comes to money, nothing is ever truly free.

The main thrust of Pikuniku is its platforming, which I can liken to things like Night in the Woods and LittleBigPlanet. A bit floaty, but you can still get to where you need to go and, if not, try jumping on a tree, cloud, or citizen for extra reach. After that, there are several light-hearted puzzles to deal with, but none of them are overly complicated, and the same can be said of the boss fights, which are fun and easy, grandiose even, and that’s all good. I’m not a huge fan of splatformers–I just started to play Celeste, and I don’t see myself getting too far up that mountain–and sometimes I just want to jump around in a relaxing fashion and explore the world leisurely without being chased by some nightmarish monster or having to have super reflexes when it comes to pressing buttons and landing on teeny-tiny platforms.

As the red “beast,” you can run, roll, and kick things, and the animations for all these actions are smooth and hilarious to see happen. Plus, you can put different hats or cosmetics on the main character to change its look and perform specific abilities, such as the watering can hat that lets you water flowers to reach new areas via jump-pads. There are coins to collect, along with trophy statues and small scenes involving bugs, but all these are just that–collectibles. The world is full of fun characters to interact with, ranging from web-spinning spiders to round worms to people that look like they came straight off the pages of the Mr. Men books. The dialogue is goofy and enjoyable, and it is worth chatting with characters just to get a vibe for how they live in this world, and you’ll occasionally get a dialogue choice though it definitely doesn’t make a big difference overall.

Alas, I did not get to try out the co-op mode of Pikuniku, but that’s okay, as I can only imagine it being slightly frustrating considering the somewhat non-precise controls for steering your character and hitting rocks around. But it’s there if you want it. The main story mode is only a few hours long and pretty linear, and I played through it in multiple phases, usually pausing after a boss fight; a part of me wanted to go back and find all the hidden collectibles, but I didn’t get a sense that anything would truly come of it…so I’ll leave those for others to gather up. I wonder how many hats you can get, too.

As it currently stands, Pikuniku is one of my favorite games of the year so far. It’s delightful. It’s quirky and embraces its strangeness, and I love that. Don’t be surprised when it shows up on my end-of-year GOTY list.

2019 Game Review Haiku, #17 – Ego Hearts

Warm paper airplanes
To heat up stone-cold bodies
Banish frigid months

And we’re back with these little haikus of mine. Go on, gobble ’em up. However, if you want to read more of my in-depth thoughts about these games that I’m beating, just search for them by name on Grinding Down. As always, enjoy my videogamey take on Japanese poetry, even if they aren’t instant classics, such as the works of Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, or Kobayashi Issa. Hey, not everyone gets to be that great.

Paul’s Preeminent PlayStation Plus Purge – The Last Guy

I finally gave up on The Walking Dead with the latest season. I was so disappointed in how they ended up handling Rick’s “last” episode, and I just felt like the show was treading water and repeating many of the same scenarios, such as stumbling upon a new group of people that need saving but might not be completely trustworthy. Oh well, it had a good run, and I absolutely love the first season to the point that I’ve re-watched it several times. I also gave up caring about Telltale’s The Walking Dead adventure series after its second season. Again, oh well. Anyways, The Last Guy is about zombies, specifically avoiding ’em, which hopefully explains all the fluff before this sentence.

In The Last Guy, Earth has been struck by a mysterious purple beam of light, and everyone touched by it has turned into a giant zombie. Sucks for them. However, you are the chosen one, and it is up to you to rescue the last survivors on the planet by leading them to safety through zombie-infested streets. With a classic arcade style overhead view, you’ll have to make your way through detailed real-world cities and use your heat vision to find people hiding in buildings. Once collected, you’ll take them to the Escape Zone before time runs out.

The Last Guy is played from a top-down perspective of a city that has been overrun by giant zombie-esque monsters. Also, when I say top-down, I mean it…we’re up high, as high as a bird or a plane, so everything is teeny tiny below. As the titular last guy, you can dash, manipulate the line of people following behind you, and use thermal imaging to find survivors hiding inside of buildings. There are over 12 playable locations, including cities from North America, Europe, and Asia, and what’s really neat is that The Last Guy uses high-resolution satellite imagery from Google Earth to render these map. Each city also features a leaderboard for overall score and counters that record the number of people rescued. There are four VIPs in each city to find, which, when rescued, add bonus points to the final score and unlock additional bonus stages; however, I only played the first three levels and never found anyone, so I stink.

The Last Guy seems perfectly fine, but it didn’t hook me hard. Sure, it feels good to dump a ton of people into the Escape Zone, but then you just go back out and do it over and over again until time runs out. The zombies don’t seem too hard to avoid early on, and there are several power-ups on the map to help with your stamina or even warping you around. Getting three stars at each location definitely looks like a challenge, but it’s not one I’m going to go after. When it comes to zombies and zombie-related crises, nowadays, I’m all about keeping my distance.

Oh look, another reoccurring feature for Grinding Down. At least this one has both a purpose and an end goal–to rid myself of my digital collection of PlayStation Plus “freebies” as I look to discontinue the service soon. I got my PlayStation 3 back in January 2013 and have since been downloading just about every game offered up to me monthly thanks to the service’s subscription, but let’s be honest. Many of these games aren’t great, and the PlayStation 3 is long past its time in the limelight for stronger choices. So I’m gonna play ’em, uninstall ’em. Join me on this grand endeavor.

Paul’s Preeminent PlayStation Plus Purge – Dyad

I don’t know how to immediately describe Dyad. I played it, I got three stars on some objectives, I did what I was told to do, and yet–I am lacking the words to describe the overall experience. Or maybe experience is the perfect word for it. It’s a thing you experience, from its visuals to its sounds to the way it feels to zip forward and backward in a futuristic tunnel-landscape that continuously throws shapes and colors and hazards at you, all while keeping the momentum somehow frantically chill. I really don’t understand, but that’s okay. Some things in life are meant to be mysterious or undefined, and that’s that.

Here, I’ll use some words stolen from Dyad‘s Steam page: experience a mind-bending, psychedelic sensory overload. Blast through a reactive audio-visual tube creating a harmonious synthesis of color and sound as you hook, graze, and lance enemies to master Dyad‘s 27 unique levels. Sure, that’s a better description than I could ever come up with and, at the same time, is still difficult to parse. Also, I only played through the first eight levels, under the menu strangely titled 2.76 TeV. Again, I’m dumbfounded or I’m just plain dumb to whatever this game is trying to communicate–you tell me. Also, please don’t actually call me dumb, I’m feeling extra sensitive lately.

Dyad basically is its own language. A language of drugs, of violence, of premium, utopian bliss. There are terms for everything you do, such as hooking enemy pairs, lancing enemies, grazing, and so on. They mean things, specific actions. Many of the missions task you with doing a certain amount of these actions or simply racing through a number of sectors, with these actions earning you points throughout. The more points the better, obviously. The goal is always to do what the mission says while also hitting three stars, because getting those opens up trophy and remix versions of the level. The trophy missions are naturally tied to unlocking an actual Trophy, while the remixes are more about…well, mixing things up. As if the standard space-flight down the tube wasn’t zany enough.

I have another game similar to Dyad on my soon-to-play PlayStation Plus purging list, but it is only similar in that it is also described as a drugs game–Hohokum. I don’t do recreational drugs, just ZzzQuil and whatever my oncologist is giving me for my cancer, but those drugs don’t have the same effect as the ones people probably like doing before playing games of this nature. I once got super drunk and had a really fun time playing against bots in Red Faction II‘s multiplayer mode, but that’s probably about it for me and my wild side.

Dyad is certainly right for someone, just not me.

Oh look, another reoccurring feature for Grinding Down. At least this one has both a purpose and an end goal–to rid myself of my digital collection of PlayStation Plus “freebies” as I look to discontinue the service soon. I got my PlayStation 3 back in January 2013 and have since been downloading just about every game offered up to me monthly thanks to the service’s subscription, but let’s be honest. Many of these games aren’t great, and the PlayStation 3 is long past its time in the limelight for stronger choices. So I’m gonna play ’em, uninstall ’em. Join me on this grand endeavor.