Tag Archives: PlayStation Plus

2017 Game Review Haiku, #46 – Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom

Stop robots, transform
Camera sucks, limp punches
Press buttons as told

I can’t believe I’m still doing this. I can’t believe I’ll ever stop. These game summaries in chunks of five, seven, and five syllable lines paint pictures in the mind better than any half a dozen descriptive paragraphs I could ever write. Trust me, I’ve tried. Brevity is the place to be. At this point, I’ve done over 200 of these things and have no plans of slowing down. So get ready for another year of haikus. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.

Absolutely nothing special about the platforming and punching in Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom

Everyone’s been talking about collectathons of late with the release of Yooka-Laylee, and I’m a pretty big fan of this…uh, genre. Sub-genre? This style of game. I mean, I like things like Insomniac’s Spyro the Dragon–still working my way slowly through Spyro: Year of the Dragon, somewhere now over 40% complete with plenty more eggs to track down–and Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, which split the difference between action elements and collecting shiny trinkets pretty nicely. Shockingly, I’ve never played Super Mario 64 (or 98% of the Nintendo 64’s library). But, having a list of shiny objects to collect is not the worst thing in the world and, in a lot of ways, can be quite calming and satisfying, even if there’s no larger reward at the end of the task.

I’m also a firm believer of playing bad videogames. Not because I’m a masochist and love them more than good games, but because it is important to see all sides of the industry, from the AAA work that takes hundred of people and years to make to the smaller outputs that certainly needed more time in the oven or someone to step in and fight for or against specific design elements. Some less-than-stellar titles from my past include The Incredibles for PlayStation 2 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One for the Nintendo DS. There’s more, but I’m not going to name ’em.

Naturally, these two paragraphs of buildup is for me to talk to you about a little ol’ thing on the PlayStation 3 called Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom, of which I’m currently working my way through. It was a PlayStation Plus freebie for April 2017. If you, like me, have never heard of this beast before, fear not, for I have a summary of sorts. Invizimals is a Spanish augmented reality video game franchise developed by Novarama and published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. The series, which originally began in 2009 as a video game on the PSP, has since inspired toys, trading cards, comics, and an animated television series telling an interconnected transmedia story.

In Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom, you play as the child hero Hiro, who is sent through a Shadow Gate and into the Invizimals world to form allegiances with the various creatures that he encounters, as well as stop a bunch of evil robots for some reason that I stopped following. The uneventful story is told through in-game cinematics, but the introduction is done in full-motion video with actors, like Brian Blessed, that fans of the show would probably be excited to see. All I’ve been able to gather is that robots are bad and violent animals that attack them are cool. Not sure yet where humans fit into the picture.

Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom‘s gameplay is beyond perfunctory and repetitive. Hiro is able to fuse his teeny tiny body with the various Invizimals he meets, which help to unlock a number of abilities. Such as climbing up vines, swinging over inexplicably large drops, swimming underwater, and teleporting past locked gates. You can switch freely between these Invizimals using a weapon wheel menu, though the game will often automatically transform you into a specific Invizimal when the puzzle or platforming section says so. When given a choice, I’ve been sticking with Ocelotl, mostly because I like how the narrator says his name. There are two main actions: attacking and collecting. The fighting is bare bones, with mashing more than enough to get you through it, and the menus for upgrading don’t provide a lot of context for the abilities you are purchasing. As for collecting, well…there’s a lot to snag–Sparks (2,000 in total), Z-Sparks (13,000 in total), pup idols, dark seeds, and unlockable vault doors. None of it is difficult to gather, but I’ve completed some levels with a few items unscooped, and it’s eating away at my brain.

Some general complaints about Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom include that there are no subtitles or even options to muck around in. You may be able to play with the audio levels, but I can’t remember. There’s also next to no explanation for a number of things, especially the Battle Mode, which, from what I saw, is kind of like a one-on-one Pokemon fight in real time, where you can level up your creature. But to what end? I don’t know. There are also too many quick time events, which instantly warped me back to when I first got my Xbox 360 and only had Kung Fu Panda to play for many days.

Look, I’m just not as into Trophies as I am into popping Achievements, and part of that still has to do with how finicky it is to sync them with your profile and the clunkiness that is trying to quickly view the list as you are playing. But whatever. I’ve completed a few games on the PlayStation 3 to 100%, namely Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Doki-Doki Universve, Dragon Fantasy Book 1, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Kung Fu Rabbit, Machinarium, and rain, but have yet to acquire my first Platinum Trophy. I came close with Prototype 2 (at 91%). Sadly, or rather humorously, Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom might be my first Platinum Trophy. It doesn’t seem difficult to get, just a little bit of time and collecting and we’re at our final destination. So while it may not have been the best freebie in the world, at least it served a purpose…for me and my desire to have digital rewards. I’ll let you know when I hit it.

Not sure if Professor Fitz Quadwrangle’s nephew can solve this Quantum Conundrum

quantum-conundrum-gd-impressions

Here’s the radical truth: every time I scroll past Quantum Conundrum on my interminable list of PlayStation 3 games, most of which were acquired through PlayStation Plus, it scares the crap out of me. Not because it is from the horror genre, where jump scares and messed-up imagery reign queen, but because a song plays the fraction of a second you idle on its name. That song is this song, and, while catchy, it starts so suddenly that, depending on how high I have the volume on my TV, it’s like meditating in a quiet room unexpectedly rocked by a massive explosion. Or maybe I’m being dramatic and just whining about being scared easily. Either way, I want it gone sooner than later.

Again, this is not a horror game. It’s all about puzzles and using your noggin. You play as the non-speaking twelve-year-old nephew of the brilliant and peculiar Professor Fitz Quadwrangle. You’re sent to stay with Quadwrangle, who is unprepared for your arrival and deep in some experiment. Alas, the experiment goes sideways almost immediately, which causes Quadwrangle to become trapped in a pocket dimension. He has no memory of what went wrong before, but is somehow able to watch and communicate you. The results of the experiment leave portions of the Quadwrangle mansion stuck between four dimensions with alternate properties. It’s up to you to restart three separate power generators and bring back Quadwrangle safely.

Quantum Conundrum is a first-person puzzle game, much like Portal. That should come as even less of a surprise when you learn that it was designed by Kim Swift, the project lead on Portal. You’ll notice many more similarities between the two beasts: a wearable device to alter physics in a room, a silly yet omniscient narrator, and lots of buttons to push. By using Quadwrangle’s Interdimensional Shift Device, you can manipulate the objects around you by shifting any given room into one of four different physical “dimensions” at the press of a button. You must use these dimensions in varying ways to solve puzzles throughout the mansion and restore the power. There are four dimensions to mess with, though I only just got up to the third one: fluffy (makes things lighter), heavy (makes things heavier), slow motion (slows down objects in motion), and reverse gravity (self-explanatory). With these varying properties, pieces of furniture or safes become your best tools.

Puzzles aside, the writing is pretty funny. Every time you die, which seems to be most commonly from falling into an endless pit inside this mansion because videogames, you’ll see a darkly snarky death message about something you’ll never get to see now that you no longer exist among the living. There’s also a lot of books with punny titles to examine, as well as amusing paintings on every wall. I especially like the one of the dachshund that stretches across multiple paintings and walls. I do wish that Quadwrangle, as our constant narrator, offered more hints, especially after you spend enough time in a room and can’t figure out what to do next. I solved a couple puzzles already through sheer luck and tossing boxes/switching dimensions until everything lined up perfectly, but I know that technique won’t get me to the end.

At this point, I’ve only fixed the first of three generators in Quantum Conundrum, and I didn’t have to look up any puzzle solutions online. I consider that a great victory as I am–and I’m not afraid to admit this–not the greatest mind to ever walk this spinning planet. However, I do believe this is only because the puzzles start off slow and simple, and the more dimensions you gain access to, the more involved the solutions will become. Couple this with the sometimes wonky physics, like when a box you are carrying suddenly touches a sliver of the wall and freaks out, as well as the less-than-ideal platforming moments, and I’m worried that I won’t ever see Quadwrangle back in the real world. I’ll certainly continue to try, but this mansion might turn out to be more of a prison in disguise.

POLISHING OFF: The Unfinished Swan

polishing-off-unfinished-swan

After polishing off Kung Fu Rabbit, I did another quick scan of the items closer to the top of my long, never not growing list of PlayStation Plus titles on the ol’ PlayStation 3, which still, to this day, probably gets the least attention from me. Yup, even my Wii U sees more turning on…granted, that’s mostly for Netflix in bed, but whatevs. I stopped on The Unfinished Swan, which, with its very name alone, demanded I jump back in, balls of paint at the ready, and complete whatever was left to complete. Turns out, not all that much.

It’s weird to realize that The Unfinished Swan is a game I totally played earlier this year, but them’s the facts. By the time credits had rolled, I had done a majority of everything there was to do, save for find all the collectibles, which in this game took the form as balloons hidden in the environment, and launch a blueprint box in the air at two different amounts of height. Anyways, to get those last ones, you first need to find all the balloons, as doing that then gives you access to the sniper rifle–calm down, Call of Duty players, it still only shoots paint and only for non-violent reasons–which helps to knock tossed items higher into the sky.

Honestly, the gathering up of balloons wasn’t as bad as I might have expected. I must have gotten a good chunk of them on my initial playthrough. However, maybe you are like me though–and if so, I’m sorry–and the thought of replaying entire sections of levels you just played to get a specific item or two can seem like too much or not a big barrel of fun, considering it isn’t anything fresh or unexpected. That said, with the help of the “balloon radar,” which fills up as you get closer to a collectible, it wasn’t too bad to find the remainder, except for the levels at the end of the game, which are dark and shrouded in shadows and spiders that only want to hurt you. At one point, I knew a balloon was somewhere nearby, but I had little light at my side and just started tossing paint balls left and right, eventually hitting it–talk about a shot in the dark.

After all that, I took one look at “Minimalist,” a Trophy asking the player to reach the Watchtower from the game’s opening level without throwing more than three paint balls, and an even harder look at a text walkthrough of how to do exactly that before deciding “no thanks” and uninstalled The Unfinished Swan from my PlayStation 3’s hard drive. To me, this swan was more than finished.

Completing a game doesn’t often mean finishing everything there is to do. For many games, long after I’ve given them a haiku review and post of final thoughts, there are still collectibles to find, side quests to complete, things to unlock, challenges to master, and so on. POLISHING OFF is a new regular feature where I dive into these checklist items in hope of finishing the game as fully as possible so that I can then move on to the one hundred and thirty-eight million other games begging for my attention.

 

POLISHING OFF: Kung Fu Rabbit

polishing-off-kung-fu-rabbit

Kung Fu Rabbit is a fun, colorful game that is easy to like and enjoy, but only if you give it a chance. Alas, I’m not sure many will. It’s a dime a dozen these days for indie platformers and, unfortunately, there’s an opinion out there that I don’t share at all that a lot of the smaller indie games handed out as freebies for PlayStation Plus are afterthoughts or unable to stand shoulder to shoulder with the AAA games. That said, I’ve never heard of either of the PS3 titles for October 2016. Regardless, I’m thankful I did play this as I found this rabbit-starring puzzle platformer both amusing and challenging. Perhaps more challenging than I initially expected too, which is why after completing the main groups of levels this time last year, I put it aside, despite only having one more Trophy to unlock.

Well, about a month ago, I unlocked it. Hooray for me. I figured I wouldn’t even bother making a post about it, but then this gave me an idea for a new feature on Grinding Down, as polishing off games is something I do from time to time and would like to do a lot more. Basically, this is me finishing whatever is left in a game that is preventing my broken brain and body from simply deleting the whole thing after beating its main thread. Honestly, I can’t say what made me scroll all the way down again on my long, ever-growing list of PlayStation 3 games, but I just wanted to revisit it and see how difficult it might be to finally unlock the Grand Dragon Trophy, which asks players to…well, the description doesn’t actually say what you are supposed to do:


Grand Dragon
– You finally won. They’re erecting statues in your honour and fans are throwing flower petals before you. You’re pure class.

Sounds like quite a celebration. Jaynestown, but for a small, furry mammal. Anyways, to get this Trophy, you must complete all 60 basic rabbit levels, as well as then complete all 60 hardcore rabbit levels. These are like the normal levels, but with the difficult nudged up a wee bit. Think of the Dark World levels from Super Meat Boy, but with less thrashing guitar riffs and more spitting sound effects. Thankfully, you do not need to collect a certain number of carrots each level, only finish the dang thing, and you can burn all that carrot currency on power-ups to help you reach the end without much trouble. Though there were still some levels I refused to do this on, knowing I could beat them with enough patience and attempts.

Hmm. So, while doing some research and fact-checking for this post, I stumbled across this forum thread claiming that you only needed to finish world 7’s hardcore rabbit levels for this to pop. Whoops. I did them all. That’s okay, as I probably would have felt incomplete afterwards, but that trick is out there is you are looking for an even faster means to the end.

With this accomplished, Kung Fu Rabbit is ready to retire to the dojo…for the rest of its days. I mean, universal evil has been vanquished. Also, I’ve played all the levels, unlocked every Trophy, listened to its martial arts sound effects numerous times, squirmed uncomfortably whenever a section devoted to the spitting enemies appeared, and collected all the carrots that I deemed worthy of collecting. That’s it for this rabbit.

Completing a game doesn’t often mean finishing everything there is to do. For many games, long after I’ve given them a haiku review and post of final thoughts, there are still collectibles to find, side quests to complete, things to unlock, challenges to master, and so on. POLISHING OFF is a new regular feature where I dive into these checklist items in hope of finishing the game as fully as possible so that I can then move on to the one hundred and thirty-eight million other games begging for my attention.

Natural ability and magnetism only get you so far in Teslagrad

teslagrad_screenshots_0008

I’m not officially committing to anything here, as committing to tasks in the past has not worked out phenomenally, but 2016 is hopefully going to be the year that I actually make a dent in my PlayStation Plus backlog instead of simply day-dreaming about doing so. That said, my digital collections on the PC and Xbox 360/One also continue to expand daily, proving to be strong competition for my attention. Regardless of that, I’d like to think we’re off to a decent start so far, with Rain and The Unfinished Swan already getting played and put away for good. I suspect I’ll be going after the smaller indie titles first than, say, that copy of Batman: Arkham City that scares me to even start.

Y’know, like these little critters:

  • Quantum Conundrum
  • Closure
  • Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut
  • Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark
  • Stealth Inc 2: Clone of Thrones
  • Puppeteer
  • Vessel
  • Unmechanical: Extended
  • Chariot
  • …and even more that I’m forgetting to list!

Also, looking at that list of names all together really hits home that many of these smaller titles blend together in my brain. I don’t know the difference between Vessel and Closure at this point. So we’re not starting with either of them.

Well, this is probably only amusingly strange to me, but check this out. At the beginning of 2016, as mentioned before, I played a game called Rain, which is about these little children being chased by monsters through some nameless Eastern European town as it rains like crazy. Flash-forward a month or so, and I’m giving Teslagrad a chance, which is a game from the funnily enough named studio Rain Games. It also opens in a similar fashion, with a young boy running from the king’s angry-looking guards in the Kingdom of Elektropia as the weather takes a turn for wetter pastures. Eventually, the boy ends up inside a maze-like tower, where he’ll discover special powers, as well as the rich history behind the kingdom’s many conflicts.

Let’s see. Teslagrad is a colorful, 2D puzzle-platformer. Magnetism and electromagnetic powers are the key to solving many of the game’s puzzles and finding new paths to take through the mystical tower. So far, the game features minimal combat segments, though I did fight a massively mechanical owl with a cage for a body in a boss-like fashion. Instead, it’s mostly about electric-based puzzle sections and precise platforming and teleporting. Yes, teleporting…though you can only dash forward a small distance and not through every substance in front of you. The tower can be explored in a non-linear way  though I wish there was more direction or sign-posting to confirm you are making progress and not simply wandering or revisiting areas in uncertainty.

Here’s what I’m totally into when it comes to Teslagrad. The art style betrays you, because the colorful characters and environments quickly become menacing and frustrating, all without changing their look. Honestly, I went into this game fairly blind and assumed it was an adventure game of sorts, not one that relied heavily on quick reflexes and using your noggin to move platforms to and fro. This is a good thing, as it is fun, once in a while, to be deceived. Solving a tough puzzle is satisfying, but figuring things out occasionally requires simply trial and error tactics. Ultimately, it requires timing and patience. Every now and then you’ll stumble into a cinematic cutscene, which is presented within a mini theater using cute cutouts and minimal animation.

Now for the stuff that is both driving me mad and further away from the game, to the point that I suspect I might walk away from this if things don’t improve in my next session. It’s a little too open, with next to no hints pointing you in the right direction, other than up the tower. The map is mostly useless, represented as simply large colored squares and rectangles that do not tell you much about the space or if there are any collectibles left in there to grab.

I actually think I’m nearing the end of Teslagrad, having just taken down the third boss of five total. Oleg took many, many tries, probably somewhere in the thirties. Alas, there is nothing too puzzle-tricky about the boss fights. There’s a pattern to each that’s easy to see, but it must be carried out hair-width precision three times. The repetition does not result in excitement, but rather frustration, as one tiny mistake will cost you the entire encounter. I don’t plan on getting all the scroll collectibles, despite each one being tied to a Trophy unlock, so perhaps I’ll just grit and bear it and head down as straight a path as possible to the last two bosses. If I’m successful, you’ll know it by the birth of a new haiku.

This is my kingdom, where splatting globs of paint rules

gd final impressions unfinished swan

I shouldn’t have waited almost four years to play Giant Sparrow’s The Unfinished Swan. Nor should I have waited to play it since downloading it for “free” back in May 2015 as part of being a PlayStation Plus subscriber. I mean, it’s a short thing, an experience completely capable of devouring within a few hours, which I did recently on my day off thanks to all them presidents and whales.

For some reason, in my mind, I had paired this with Antichamber, which I’ve not played, but what seems like a lengthy and somewhat obtuse puzzle game. One I definitely want to try, but worry I don’t have the brain capacity to handle right now. Both also have amazing styles, where color is king, but thankfully the puzzles in The Unfinished Swan won’t melt your mind. Instead, you’ll find childlike glee and fascination in a straightforward, yet somewhat depressing story about magical and imaginary beings and lands.

The Unfinished Swan tells the touching tale of a young boy named Monroe, who travels through one of his deceased mother’s paintings to reach a mysterious fairytale-like realm, chasing after the titular farm animal. As Monroe makes his way forward, he’ll learn about the king of this world, who is no super saint and will leave you a bit conflicted by the time credits roll. Actually, credits don’t roll per se, but rather unfold as you play through them, and it’s fantastic, right up there with other playable credits, like in Vanquish.

The game is split into a few main chapters (and epilogue), each with its own look and mechanics. Clearly, the first chapter is The Unfinished Swan‘s most effective, opening to stark whiteness, with your only tool being tossing globs of black paint to reveal the world around you. You can use as little or as much paint as you want, and I found myself unable to not fill in the edges of the world to ensure I missed nothing. This is, in fact, only a slice of the game, with the other chapters relying on similar, but not identical mechanics revolving around tossing substances at things. Some work better than others; for instance, I disliked directing and climbing vines, and found getting stuck–and hurt–in the encroaching darkness to be strangely off-putting when compared to everything else up to that point, which never really threw danger in your face.

Naturally, color is used effectively from section to section. Golden crowns and orange footprints (gooseprints?) help direct you early on in The Unfinished Swan when you’re unsure where to go, and massive black-and-white city is fascinating to behold from afar. I constantly had the urge to jump into a spaceship and zip through it like in Race the Sun, but that’s probably just me. Later on, you’ll travel to another dimension where everything is blue, like unrolled blueprints, or desperately follow after a ball of light to not only survive the monsters stalking after you, but see where you need to go next.

Other than progressing forward linearly, there are balloons to collect, and these collectibles act as currency to buy power-ups, like being about to shoot paint in a hose-like fashion, and other goodies, like concept art. Do yourself a favor and buy the “balloon radar” toy as soon as possible, which will alert you as you get near a collectible. That said, I did not get all the balloons on my first playthrough, but similar to Rain, you can pop back into a chapter easily to find what you missed. Thankfully, not similar to Rain, these balloons are obtainable on your first go, so I only have a few left to snag. Mostly in the last main chapter, as there was a time pressure element at hand that caused me to ignore everything around me unless it served to get Monroe to safety.

So, I really liked The Unfinished Swan. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, based on only knowing how that first chapter played out from some Internet coverage, but that’s okay. In this day and age, it’s nice to not have everything about everything known to you beforehand. Also, more games need a button you can repeatedly press to have the main character call out for someone, anyone, à la Luigi’s Mansion. Despite nobody ever answering poor, lonely Monroe, I continued to push the button every few minutes, to ground myself and him in this world, to make noise.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #14 – The Unfinished Swan

2016 gd games completed the unfinished swan

See the world through paint
Casual shooter plus vines
Short, but sweet story

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

Rain’s filled with rain, but also monsters and unsettling experiences

gd final thoughts rain ps3

The afternoon after 2015 became 2016, and the world was completely different/the same, something inside me stirred and demanded that I at least complete one game on this very first day of the new year. Like a ceremonial ship launching, of setting out to sea and beginning an unfamiliar voyage. I can’t really explain compulsions like this; surely you don’t want to have convince me why you grabbed that Snickers bar while in the check-out line at the market when you weren’t even hungry.

Anyways, I felt like I had been ignoring my PlayStation 3 these last few months since Fallout 4 came out and I got an Xbox One, so I powered it on and began to scroll down my lengthy list of games. A handful of which I purchased, with the majority being downloaded “freebies” for being a PlayStation Plus subscriber. It’s a hodgepodge of big and small games, and I stopped on Rain, an atmospheric platforming adventure game based around precipitation. I only wish it had been raining in real life as I played, in one single session, but it was a cold, quiet winter afternoon outside. A digital rain soundtrack had to suffice, plus the purring of two cats on my couch.

Rain is set in a nameless Western European-inspired city, in an invisible world revealed only by never-ending falling rain. You play as a little boy who finds himself lost amongst the rain-slicked cobblestone streets and chasing after a young girl. She herself is being pursued, for reasons not immediately known, by ethereal monstrous beasts hidden in the rain. For half of the game, you are simply trying to make contact with this girl, always ending up a few steps behind her with some roadblock in the way; the second half of the game sees the two kids working in tandem to defeat these monsters and the Unknown–a leader amongst all the baddies–and make their way home. The story itself is minimal and actually hard to decipher by the end, told only in blatant text on the screen. It kind of becomes a tale of literal light versus dark, health versus sickness, familiarity versus foreign, but I’m sure there are other ways to interpret things.

The twist to Rain‘s mechanics of hiding from monsters and using the environment to solve platform puzzles is that the little boy becomes visible to the monsters when standing in the open rain. If he finds shelter under a roof, he is invisible. This creates some stealth sequences, which are honestly full of tension as you creep past the monster, only able to see the light splashes in a puddle or wet footprints the little boy leaves behind on the ground as a clue to where he is. Yup, when you are invisible, you are invisible. It can be daunting at first, but you’ll get used to it over time and learn how to control somebody you can’t see. Other than that, you’ll do some running away, you’ll push and pull items to make new platforms, and you’ll work with the little girl to lift her to unreachable ledges.

One aspect of Rain that I actively disliked and even began rolling my eyes and muttering under my breath at is that the Unknown, that stalking, leader of the rain baddies that chases after you from chapter one, just kept coming back from the dead. Every time you think you’ve stopped it and can safely resume your journey, it rises from the grave with an ominous soundtrack in tow. This happens even two or three times during the game’s ending, which is already far too long as is and not very clear on what these little ghost kids were up to. Lastly, and this might be a minor complaint or a major complaint depending on your feelings towards collecting things as you play, but Rain‘s collectibles are only available after you complete the game. I went back via chapter select and got a few, but they really aren’t even worth collecting unless you want the three Trophies associated with nabbing them all.

From a concept perspective, Rain is really cool. It has style, a gorgeous soundtrack peppered with piano and accordion, and a lot of potential, but it doesn’t really deliver. The puzzles are at first neat and interesting, but they repeat in every chapter and often don’t do much with other elements, like the muddy water that makes you visible even when out of the rain. The game itself is fairly short, around three to four hours to finish, but poorly paced. I did enjoy staring at the imaginative, spindly monsters one could possibly picture emerging from the mist in…well, Stephen King’s The Mist. When compared with the likes of other short, narrative-centric experiences like Journey, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and Botanicula, this could have been so much more.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #1 – Rain

2016 gd games completed Rain PS3

Puzzles in the rain
Hide from the Unknown, seek light
Ending is too long

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.