Growing up on Nintendo, I never understood what made Sega great. Perhaps the outward appearance as “the house that Sonic built” hid their appeal from me, as I was never one for the blue blur. It wasn’t until much later that I understood Sega’s genius. Behind the in your face badditude of their mascot was a company that took risks. Crazy risks. In a creative sense Nintendo could go toe to toe with Sega, however, Nintendo had the finances to bounce back from any missteps. In retrospect, Sega was incredibly daring, and I make sure to support that side of them to atone for my past ignorance.
My first opportunity came with Feel The Magic, a launch title for the Nintendo DS. For me, it was the launch title. As cool as Super Mario 64 DS was, FTM backed up the weird and wonderful claims my new piece of hardware intended to be. A peek at the game’s manual spoke to this fact.
It’s hard to believe now that something like yelling into your handheld was ever new (or enjoyable), but Feel The Magic brought it to the forefront, all without asking first (the Brain Age series seems so progressive in this respect, as it asked if you were in a quiet spot before forcing you to scream at DS).
This blurb is for those who somehow managed to get through the game without the use of the stylus. It first lets you know why you may be doing terribly, then fills you in on just where the little bit of plastic that will change your life is located.
I’m surprised by how eager I was to make my way through a derelict space station. Despite the somber atmosphere, a narrative that frequently questioned my actions, and an NPC that seemed to despise me, I trudged on. The Swapper manages to shine through all this darkness with an exceptionally fun cloning mechanic, and despite its melancholy ways I managed to walk away with a smile on my face.
The Swapper, a product of Facepalm Games and Curve Studios, puts the titular device in the hands of an unnamed protagonist, who must make use of its cloning abilities to escape the vessel she finds herself aboard. The Swapper acts as a tool to solve the game’s puzzle rooms, earning orbs that allow for the restoration of various warp gates and mechanisms scattered across the space station. Players can create up to four copies of the protagonist, and can take control of each when the situation allows. The clones all move in unison though, so no matter which you’re in control of, the rest all act just the same.
For One Piece: Unlimited World Red, being a piece of garbage is expected. To be halfway decent is rare. But to be great? That’s a damn miracle. While I can’t explain the circumstances that allowed Ganbarion (of Pandora’s Tower fame) to defy expectations, the end result manages to speak for itself. Unlimited World Red is a lot of fun, and best of all, you don’t need to be a card carrying One Piece maniac to enjoy it.
I struggle to find a reason for any writer to use a phrase as faulty as “for fans of (Insert Genre or Franchise Here)“. It displays a clear misunderstanding of just what a review is, passing the buck as the author scrambles to avoid any abuse from a game’s audience.
“Hey, Naruto fans, you can’t be mad at my 5/10 because I said you’re the only ones who could find any enjoyment!”
If this truly is a review, that kind of scapegoating has no place. Why should anyone put up with a bad game just because it’s tied to a license they enjoy? Would anyone suffer through a moldy bacon sandwich because of their attachment to the “sandwich” variety of food?
In the same way, even a positive experience shouldn’t be claimed to be any better if one enjoys the source material. I’m having a great time with One Piece, but know nothing of the anime and manga that spawned it. But as I write my review, I’m not considering how beneficial that knowledge may be. My job is to tell you if the game is good or not. If I tag all these stipulations on it, what’s the point?
It seems as if some writers just don’t know what to make of licensed games. As if the lack of fun is due to these outside influences, and that should the reader enjoy those aspects, the game is suddenly a better product.
We should always treat each other as gamers wanting to play a good game. Why risk the disappointment? If I can get a One Piece fan to play Unlimited World Red and become a gamer, that’s a win. I can’t imagine burning that bridge by encouraging the purchase of something they’d enjoy on purely a superficial level.
I have this compulsion to do whatever I can to support “the little guy”. Not in some noble “I supported Rudy before it was cool” sort of way, my efforts are a bit more…absurd.
While the net worth of a company like Atlus, XSeed and Aksys may be more than I make from a decade’s worth of work, I can’t help but see them as this little fish in a big, dirty, scummy pond. I put this idea in my head that every game may be their last, that if I don’t buy it day one and extol its virtues I could be held responsible for their downfall. And when these companies are the only few willing to publish the Japanese games I crave, another day with XSeed in the world is a blessed one.