Tag Archives: puzzle platformer

2017 Game Review Haiku, #87 – Drop Alive

A drop of water
Switch from liquid, solid, gas
Not the tightest jumps

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.

Advertisements

2017 Game Review Haiku, #76 – Runbow

Colors disguise ground
Find your path, dash, double jump
If not, try again

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.

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.

2017 Game Review Haiku, #7 – Dungeon of Zolthan

2017-gd-games-completed-dungeon-of-zolthan

Upgrade your powers
Jump twice, dash, fire away
I’m no speedrunner

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.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #76 – Even the Ocean

ss_6f59b993950aa718d0eabae5873e6bd2182652fe

Here comes the flood, world
Check your balances–light, dark
Heed Aliph’s 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.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #67 – Mr. Mothball

2016-gd-games-completed-mr-mothman-capture

You, Mr. Mothball
Jump, collect the blue trinkets
Sorry, don’t know why

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.

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.