Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Impressions: Yoshi's Crafted World, Daemon X Machina, and Tetris99

Not only did last week's Nintendo Direct come with a bunch of announcements, but it also brought us two new game demos and a surprise free game! Here are my impressions of each:

Yoshi’s Crafted World Demo
Having had such a good time playing through Good Feel’s other craft-based platformers, Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Yoshi’s Wooly World, we downloaded and played the Crafted World demo the moment it became available.
  • The attention to detail put into the papercraft style of this game is pretty remarkable. I like that passing along the backsides of cardboard structures revealed labels, barcodes, and stamps from the boxes that were presumably used to build these things.
  • This Yoshi game very prominently features Yoshi’s dog, Poochy. The only thing cuter than Mario’s pet is a pet of that pet. I approve!
  • The level design is more three-dimensional than previous Yoshi games. While this has some interesting gameplay implications, I found that it did make it a little harder to aim eggs and determine which items were in the same plane as Yoshi versus the background or foreground.
  • Like I’ve come to expect with the early parts of other Yoshi games, the challenge comes from finding secrets/collectibles in this level. Some of the later levels shown in the preview at the end of the demo, however, appear to offer more robust platforming challenges, however.
My wife and I ended up playing through the demo several times, so it’s a safe bet that we’ll be getting the full game. (I’m already on the lookout for pre-order bonuses.)

Daemon X Machina Demo
I was pretty excited to try this one since I’ve enjoyed other mecha games in the past. Unfortunately, this one did not demo well for me.
  • I was surprised to find that the mech has nearly unlimited flight capabilities right off the bat (in most games, mechs can briefly boost into the air and full flight is unlocked later if at all). The transition between air and ground combat felt a little awkward to me, with the air movement feeling kind of sluggish. Thus, I preferred to keep my mech on the ground whenever possible. Even on land, the controls felt a little off.
  • The simple geometric shapes and high-contrast colors are a good way of giving the game a distinct look while also working around the hardware limitations of the Switch. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it.
  • There is far more dialog (with voice acting) than I expected in this game. It seemed to be of reasonably good quality and could prove to be interesting in the full game, but for a demo, I have a hard time getting invested in story/characters and would prefer to get right to the action.
  • Mechs can be customized with different parts and weapons. I think much of the appeal of the game will come from configuring your ideal robot. Yet within the demo, I found it difficult to discern what each weapon and upgrade did, so I ended up sticking to the default loadout.
  • The levels in the demo are structured as central hubs, such as a small city, that must be cleared of existing enemies or defending from incoming enemies. I generally prefer mech games in which the mission structure involves making forward progress (i.e. fighting my way from Point A to Point B). I’m hoping the full game offers more varied level structure, because I could see what’s shown in the demo getting repetitive.
  • The demo is quite long, I spent over an hour with it and still haven’t played the last mission that it offers.
Overall, I came away from Daemon X Machina with mixed feelings. I think there’s still potential for a compelling mecha action game here (something I’ve been wanting), but the demo just didn’t grab me. I’ll be keeping an eye on reviews and may end up playing through the demo a second time to see if my feelings change.

Tetris 99
Unlike the other two downloads that coincided with this Direct, Tetris99 is a full game that was released for free to subscribers of the Nintendo Online service. This game's release also marks Nintendo's entry into the trendy Battle Royale genre.
  • The basic gameplay is classic Tetris, it looks and feels as sharp as ever but doesn't add much to the puzzle mechanics.
  • Tetris99's twist is the aforementioned Battle Royale aspect. Each round features 99 players all trying to clear lines and launch garbage blocks at their rivals to clutter their boards.
  • Apparently, there's a way to specifically target individual rival players with the garbage blocks, but I was struggling simply to stay alive, so I wasn't able to figure it out during my initial session.
  • Since I'm not much of a competetive gamer, the defining feature of this game for me was the excellent techno cover of the Tetris theme that plays as you compete. The longer your survive, the more the music builds in intensity which really adds to the sense of tension.
Tetris99 was a really pleasant surprise! I don't think I'll be putting a lot of time into it, but it's a nice thing to have on the Switch for when I'm in the mood for a quick game.

Note: Images from Nintendo.co.uk

1 comment:

  1. Totally spot-on about Tetris 99!

    I couldn't put my finger on what about Daemon X Machina's controls felt off, but air-sluggishness and a lack of forward progression might just be it. I love its potential for customization, but the demo doesn't convince me that it has the longevity or variety to take advantage of that?