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waZelda Blog

A trail of biscuits

I wanted to write a blog about the Rayman Legends challenges app, and why I wish other franchises would do something similar.


If Rayman Legends had not been pushed back, it would have been released by now. While I take the delay as a sign that the game is made by a pationate team that want to make the game perfect before releasing it, waiting can be kinda boring. Luckily, I have the challenges app to fill that void with. It's like a little daily treat until the full game eventually comes out.

Here is how it works. The game has the three levels from the demo, plus two daily and two weekly challenges. The objective of each challenge is either go as far as you can, go a certain distance as fast as you can or collect a certain number of lums as fast as you can. You are awarded medals for how well you perform (Diamond if you are in the top percent, gold in the top 20 percent and silver in the top 40 percent).

Now, usually you will find a lot of the same hurdles from challenge to challenge, but in different order and ocasionally new parts will pop up. It probably isn't a big use of resources for the team to make one, yet the challenges always feel unique and the competitive aspect of it makes it as exciting every day.





(So far there are five different challenges levels)

I really love the concept and I wish more game developers would do something similar. For instance - sonsicer the idea of Super Smash Challenge App. Maybe it will be daily, maybe two challenges weekly, whatever. Here is the kind of challenges they could incorporate into that.

1: Target Practice.

Make the usual course with ten targets that you have to smash as fast as possible. Make each challenge designed for one specific character.


2: Creepy Porygon People.

It could be survive as long as possible, kill as many as you can in a minute, kill 30 as fast as possible and so on - just like in the game. It could even be something strange like go as long as possible and neither take nor inflict damade.

3: Race to the (non-existant) finish.

You know, the mini-game with all the doors, except without doors, just trying to get as fast as possible before the time runs out.


4: Homerun Challenge.

Just make it with one specific character at a time.

Basically, there are a lot of mini-games to choose from in the SSB franchise. One reason I think this would be a great idea, is that it would be a really cool way to announce new characters in the game. Make it so that each weekly challenge the last X weeks before release will have a previously unannounced character. That way, people will get some quality time with the character right after its announcement.


Another reason I want developers to do this sort of thing is that on those ocassions where a game is out for months in North America before it reaches Europe I will be a bit less annoyed.

Top 10 games I'm most hyped about.

It is so lovely to feel the need to blog grow back. I did feel like writing a Fire Emblem Awakening review at some point, but then I just kept on playing it instead. Anyways, since I got home from university I've been cheking out the E3 coverage on Nintendo's official E3 site, and here are the 10 games for Nintendo consoles I'm most excited about. Before I start, I would like to mention for the record that since I'm home for my summer break now, there is a chance I'll hang around the blogs. No promises though.

Honerable mention: Duck Tales Remastered


I've been a bit cheaper when it comes to games lately, and chances are I won't get this one, but it's hard not to get hyped by a trailer that has the duck tail theme playing.

Number 10: Bayonetta 2


Main reason it is so low is that almost all the other games on my list are sequels to games I've played. I heard a lot of great stuff about the original Bayonetta, but then I have been burned on overly praised games before *cough* GTA Chinatown *cough*. My biggest concern from what I've seen so far is that the screen will be too crowded. The trailer is pretty sweet though.

Number 9: Zelda: A Link Between World


I'm not as big a fan of ALttP as some of the other Zelda games, nor am I big fan of the artstyle I've seen so far, and all in all, there just hasn't been anything to make me excited about this game yet - although I hope I will be by the time it comes out.

Number 8: The Wonderful 101


It's a new franchise, and I won't be sold on the gameplay until I've tried it. So far, all I can say is I love the artsyle and the crowd morphing idea seems really promising.

Number 7: Pokemon X and Y


The last times I've bought Pokemon games, I have considered skipping one since the franchise doesn't evolve very fast. While I'm not all that excited about the graphical direction of X and Y, when I heard it will have over 700 pokemon I was sold. I for one was not a big fan of Pokemon Black's idea to only include new pokemon. I won't all the pokemon in my pokemon games.

Number 6: Mario and Luigi Dream Team


I thouroughly enjoyed Bowser's Inside Story, but like I mentioned earlier, I might not be buying as many games as before in the future, and unless it brings out something that really attracts my interest, this is on the list of games I might not buy. Luigi's dreams do look pretty crazy though, and I'm all about the crazy dreams.

Number 5. Super Mario 3D World


Super Mario 3D Land was a great game and I'm sure World will be able to compete, though it gives a bit of that "I know exactly what I'm getting into" feeling that makes me less hyped about it than other games. I'm not sure how I feel about the cat suit. As sweet as it looks, I love it when in Mario games I can do something faster than the regular intended way, like get up somewhere I wasn't supposed to or completely bypass a section with skill use of long jump and Tanooki suit. The cat suit lets you climb walls, making most places somewhere you're supposed to reach, and maybe taking some of that joy away from me.

Number 4: Super Mario Bros


(Wow, it's hard to find a picture on google search that is not fans making their own roster pictures)

At first I thought having Wii Fit Trainer as a character was stupid. Then I saw the trailer and realized it was hilarious. As with my number 5 pic, this is a game I will definitely buy and most likely enjoy to no end. Still, so far there are few innovations to peak my hype.

Number 3: Pikmin 3


I have always been one to value gameplay over graphics, but man this game looks pretty. I haven't played either of the first games, but the styIe is charming, the gameplay looks good and I'm more than ready to get familiar with another Miyamoto franchise.

Number 2. Rayman Legends


There are several reasons why I'm hyped about Rayman Legends. One is that Origins was a blast. As a skilled player of platform games I love how Origins incorporated speedrunning by awarding you lums for beating a level in little time. And besides that, the level of game design, lighthearted mood and just overall quality was more than enough to rival Nintendo's best 2D platformers. Another reason is that I'm currently enjoying Rayman Legens challenge app with its two daily and two weekly courses where one competes to get far, get there quickly or collect lums quickly. It feels really good those days I manage to achieve a diamond cup (which only the top 1 percent gets - told you I'm a skilled at platformers) it feels awesome. Only reason it didn't win.



(Actual title: Mario Kart 8)

I've been hoping for a new F-Zero game ever E3 for a while now and I could not be more excited. Mario Kart 7 is the best game in the franchise so far, and putting F-Zero elements on top of that just seems like a winning combination. Also worth mentioning is that it looks gorgeus. I have high hopes for this game, to say the least.

Why some other games are not on the list:

Donkey Kong Country Freeze - Nothing new so far and I had mixed feelings about the first one.

Wind Waker HD - There are some hints that it might be more than a graphics update, but nothing major revealed yet.

New Super Luigi U - I have not found the motivation to finish NSMBU, and that's sad

Wii Party U - Not very excited about a party game.

New title by Monolith Software - It doesn't even have a title yet, so I'm not excited.

Zelda video in Minecraft

Guess who is alive, and whose level is now the answer to the ultimate question about Life, Universe and Everything.

I still don't know if I'll be active, but I finally found a way to record and upload the video of all the Zelda art I made in Minecraft. I don't know how to embed it, but here is the link.

A straight line through Zelda history

EDIT: Making an attempt at embeding. Why does it show up when I'm editing, but not when I press submit?

Future inactivity

It struck me the other day when I thought about reviewing Assassin's Creed II that I felt like I should review it and yet I really didn't want it. I have had that feeling a lot lately so I finally came to a conclusion. Out of all the things I don't want to do, but feel like I should I'm going to focus on the things that I actually should do, like studying for exams and such. So for the unforseeable future I will not be reviewing games and I probably won't be very active on my blog at all. I'm sure I'll miss it and come back at some point, but I don't know.

I can almost guarantee that there'll be no blog until my exams are done mid-June and after that I think I'll prioritize catching up with The Writer's Lounge over blogging.

Anyway, considering I won't be blogging much, I will leave you with the rest of the Zelda fan art I made in Minecraft.









Bonus: Since most of the ST Zelda's hair is one layer behind her, I took a picture before finishing it, just because I thought she looked really cute with short hair.


A weird phenomenon

Recently I downloaded my copy of Saint's Row 2 for my new computer and I think I messed up by not having internet connection when I booted it up and then not reading the error message. So it did not get to synch with the Steam cloud and thus my save file disappeared.

On the bright side, that is a good reason to start playing through the game again and I think I'll make that my main game from now on since I've finished both Assassin's Creed 2 and AC Brotherhood (I gotta review those soon).

Anyway, one thing I noticed is that the game for some reason is messed up, in that it moves at I'd say somewhere between 50 and 100 percent higher speed than it is supposed to, which means that even on casual the game is pretty hard because the enemies move so fast. It also makes it really hard to drive. So right now I've just played through all the prologue missions and I'm ready to start on the different gang arcs. I'm wondering hw hard it will get when I get to the later chapters.

Take that, ghosts!

While I usually ignore games that tell you you might want to take a break, I do try to keep my video game playing at pretty resonable lengths. Well, yesterday I drastically failed at that and played Mario Kart 7 for almost 5 hours straight, after which my thumbs kinda hurt. And it wasn't even multiplayer, I was just playing time trial.

You know how MK 7 has one easy and one difficult staff ghost? Well, before yesterday I had beaten all the easy staff ghosts and ten of the hard ones. Now I have beaten 22 out of the 32 hard ghosts. The easiest one to beat was on Wuhu Mountain Loop. Using the glitch I managed to beat the staff ghosts by more than 25 seconds with a time of 1:13:791. The most difficult one (of the ones I still did manage to beat) was Bowser's Castle which I played for about an hour before I did it. Actually,it was mostly because I tried several times to do a short-cut that involved a jump that could potensially go into lava. Turns out going the usual way and do lots of power turns was actually both faster and easier.



The Point in Restoring

There is a topic I've been meaning to talk about, which would have come up in some reviews I've written if GameSpot had acknowledged the existance of those games. I've realized GS probably never will put up sites for 3DS virtual console games, so I guess there is no reason to wait any longer.

I want to talk about restore points, as they are called in 3DS games or save state as they are more generally called. Save state means the ability to save at any moment in time and return to that exact moment when you load it. Some games have this feature from the start, but it is most commonly found in emulators or in the case f the 3DS, on old games released for download.

I'll look at some of the VC games I've played and tell you how I felt the restore points changed the experience.

Super Mario Land.


The thing with this game is that the controls feel a lot like Super Mario Bros (the first one), or perhaps a bit worse. I tend to get frustrated with the controls, particularly when I die and feel like it wasn't my own fault. Playing this game without Restore points I would have probably stopped playing it very soon in lack of patience with it. Using restore points enabled me to get through the game reasonably quick and without getting too frustrated and I'm glad I did because the last stage is a lot of fun.

Link's Awakening DX.


I love Link's Awakening, but I have to admit there are some bad decisions in the design. In one particular dungeon it is possible to mess it up so that you can't beat the game and if you don't know that and save afterwards there is nothing left to do but delete that save file. One good way to solve this is to use the in-game save system to save at the start of eavh dungeon and then use restore points to save during the dungeons. There is also one boss in the game that can punch you right back to the dungeon entrance, which could have become really annoying if I didn't use restore points to save at the start of the boss fight.

Dr. Wiley's Revenge.


My issue with old-school Mega Man games is that I don't have patience for them. Getting to the boss is hard enough and then the boss itself is even harder, meaning there'd be plenty of time between failing to beat a boss and getting to try again. It doesn't feel like I get enough training with the actual boss to improve much from time to time. With Restore points I got to save before each boss and have unlimited attempts at beating them. They were still challenging and fun to play against, it just saved me the hassle of going through the levels over and over again in between. I ended up beating the game in two and a half hours.

Game and Watch Gallery.


One could argue that restore points make games easier, but in some cases they just make them challenging in a different way. With most Game and Watch games the biggest challenge is constantly staying focused over a long period of time. I never really reached the hardest parts because I'd usually make three mistakes before I got there. Using restore points in the middle of the game meant I could get that far. With it the games get to a point when even playing it with restore points is a challenge because you hardly get enough breathing space to pause and save and you have to be careful not to save in a situation where you will just die once you reload. It is a really intense experience and honestly more fun than I thought I'd have with a Game and Watch game.

Super Mario Bros.


I recently replayed it with Restore Points and it gave me a chance to try out all the things I wouldn't take a chance one when playing it the regular way. My lives suddenly weren't that valuable anymore so on manny stages I tried the strategy of running full speed the whole way. On some courses it was possible and on some of them really challenging and fun. I particularly liked the level with the jumping fish.

In addition to all those things it is convenient to save with restore points before you quit the game. It is basically like closing the system, except that if you want you can play other games in between and still start excactly where you were when you go back to it. I think the RP feature gives more options for how to play a game and I'm all in favor of it. I'm really hoping Zelda II comes out in the e shop soon because I'd like to finally beat that game.





It Starts with a Kick.


I have recently started checking out kickstarter - after the success of Double Fine and all that, and I thought it was time I made a blog about the projects I'm backing so far.

Grey - The lost Technology



This game sold me with the line:

The game will play like a 2.5D semi-top down view action/adventure game ? Think Legend of Zelda.

I started backing it when it was 80 percent on its way towards the goal and by now it has passed its goal by 20 percent.

The Grid - Playing card deck



So basically just a really cool looking card deck. It had already reached its goal by the time I started backing it and I basically did just because I want one.

Legend of the Time Star:



Now this one is looking more like it will be a struggle to reach the goal. It currently has 9000 and needs 57500 with 19 days left to go. It was basically the music that sold me on this one.

Pinkerton Road Studio:



This one has several projects by the same studio and you can choose between several options like just the first game, Moebius or everything the studio produces during a cycle. Basically they are dark, mystery adventure games. The studio that produces the art seems really talented. The project is looking like it will reach its goal, having reached 90 percent with two weeks left to go. It was 23 000 dollars away from the goal when I checked less than a day ago and is only 20 000 away now.

In general I'm intrigued by the potensial of kickstarter. The way most big titles are published involve people with no clue about games, just about making money having a lot of influence. I hope kickstarter will give smaller developers a chance to make games acording to their own vision. I also hope it gives studios like BioWare something to fall back on if they ever find they need to break away from EA. I'm sure they have enough fans to raise money for whatever game they want to make.





Review (118): Dear Esther

Dear Esther:


Score: 6.0/10
Difficulty: Very easy
Time spent: 10 hours or less
CIassification: Boring

Unique? Yes
Fun? Not really
Worth playing? Maybe...

The game loads and waZelda pushes the W button to go forwards. He is on a beach and there is a house nearby. As he enters, a flashlight is turned on. He starts trying out different buttons on the keyboard. There is no action button, nor a jump button. There is not even a sprint button. The only way to interact with the world is to move the camera with the mouse and walk with W, A, S and D.

"Well, that's how you tell an artsy game from the rest," he thinks to himself.

WaZelda starts walking up the hill and all of a sudden a British voice comes through his headphones. He talks about the eremite, whoever he might be, just as waZelda is discovering a cave, presumably the home of the eremite.

The voice definitely has a personality. WaZelda imagines the narrator sitting in an old armchair. His hair is brown and unruly, his glasses large. His face makes him appear older than he really is. He looks tired, tired of life and the universe.


WaZelda presses on and soon falls down from the patch and onto the beach again. The path before him often split into two, but always come back again. From time to time the rusty voice appears again, mostly leaving him confused and uncertain what is going on. The island seems empty and while the signs that someone was there ones are many, there is little suggesting that someone is there currently.

The voice of the narrator is the only company waZelda has and he finds himself not paying enough attention to the word, or at least not making sense of them. The landscape has its charm, but quickly becomes a lot of the same.

Then it happens. WaZelda lay eyes on a red light far into the distance. What could it be? Is it an emergency signal? Is there actually someone else on this island? WaZelda presses onwards more determined now than ever.


Soon he comes close enough to see that the red light isn't a signal, but a piece of electricity coming from a building at the top of a hill. Still waZelda can feel the determination burning within him. He wants to reach that red light at some point. He can't go towards it at the moment, so he follows the linear path forwards and soon enters the caves.

The caves are magnificent. He often finds himself stopping just to look at all the details. He often comes across drawings of nerves and atoms. Some of the atoms have a structure that is familiar to him, like the hexagonal shapes of sugars.


"I wonder if these would make sense to chemists and biologists," he thinks to himself.

Suddenly waZelda finds himself on the bottom of an ocean. He sees pieces of a highway, though how it ended up under water he has no idea.

"That was weird," he thinks when he gets back up on land.

WaZelda becomes aware that the general lack of excitement in the game makes it so he suddenly starts getting excited by the smallest things. Every single lit candle he comes across is a pleasant surprised and when he finds an old black and white photo in a frame it is amazing. It is as if the game has tricked him into lowering his standards such that everything becomes a positive.

WaZelda walks along a beach feeling quite lost. He hasn't even managed to figure out whether the narrator is supposed to be the character he is playing or if the character is Esther, reading notes that the narrator has left behind. There are suddenly so many candles that they start losing their appeal and waZelda is getting more bored than ever.


Then there it is. WaZelda finds himself at the bottom of the hill leading up to the red light. In that moment he realizes that he will get to go to the light and it will be the end of the game. His excitement fills up again as he makes his way towards the top of the hill. He reaches the red eyes and the game ends in a way he would never expect.

WaZelda leans back in his chair. While he isn't left with a clear sense of what was going on, the game did give a particular mood and atmosphere. It simply had a distinct vibe to it. WaZelda isn't sure if he would call Dear Esther a good game - or even a game to be honest, but as he exits to desktop he does not regret purchasing the game, although he has no desire ever to play it again.