Wednesday, February 10, 2016
I call this piece "Welcome Home."
And it's not even a megabyte! Proud, I say. Proud.
After a particularly stressful day, at the end of last week, I couldn't hack slamming myself against NecroDancer's still-mysterious challenge. As a good, proper Roguelike, a huge part of the experience is having no idea why or how enemies or objects are dangerous until they kill you, and while I wanted something mean and meaningful, I didn't want to feel so... challenged, I suppose.
So I started up a new game with Don't Starve: Console Edition on my PS4, turned off the Reign of Giants DLC, and set about wandering the world. I found an edge and ran along it, fleshing out my map, finding a lovely little grassland with a few Beefalo lazily grazing, with a crossroads nestled between two wormholes that spat me out in very different corners of the map.
Satisfied, I set up camp and began searching for swampland, to obtain a few reeds. Then, armed with all the necessities, I assembled a birdcage, caught a crow, and imprisoned it.
There. It took me about three in-game days, and I can survive forever, now.
But part of the lure and romance of Roguelikes is their mystery - the staggering number of things that I'm aware of not knowing - and the awareness that this thing can be bent over it's bass-blasting woofer to have its rhythmically-perfect booty spanked most sharp. So Crypt of the NecroDancer keeps calling me back.
Let's talk for a moment about structure. There are four levels (that I can discern). Each level consists of three to four little randomly-generated dungeons to explore and survive, and then a boss fight. Each dungeon's (time) duration is tied to the length of its associated track - and you can't spend a second longer than the song takes. If you haven't made it to the stairs to descend to the next floor, a trapdoor opens beneath you and - no harm, no foul - you plummet to the next dungeon or boss.
If you listen to the podcast, you'll know that one of the (many, many) things I adore about Galak-Z is how it has compacted an entire adventure game's satisfying loop of exploration, discovery, power-ups, meaningful choice and slick action into tight, hour-long excursions. Because each song is two minutes and thirty seconds to three minutes and ten seconds long, each entire run through a level of NecroDancer will take you between ten and fifteen minutes.
Once you wield the awesome knowledge of its denizens, once you're kitted out a bit and really bopping along to the soundtrack, it is amazing. When you're hopping around a stone golem just beating the crap out of him because you know how he'll want to lead this dance, kicking ass and lashing out with a +2 Spear of Awesome this way and that, Crypt of the NecroDancer is as tense and tactically satisfying as any great action game.
While I don't flatly adore NecroDancer the same way I do Don't Starve or Galak-Z (so far), it's quickly attained "excellent" status. It's up there. It's up there with Nuclear Throne and Rogue Legacy. I'm actually really looking forward to being done blogging for the night so I can get back to it - but that's not what I got up to last night...
Last night, Kayla and I ran some errands - visited my Dad in the hospital - and hit EB Games to pick up my Dying Light: Enhanced Edition preorder. While there, I debated Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, and I have to admit, I cracked. Bought it. It was literally ninety bucks, Canadian.
It's making me re-consider Street Fighter V next week, to be honest. Just for funding purposes.
Sorry, Chamberlain. But we'll see! I'm feeling insanely self-indulgent lately, so that'll probably happen either way.
Anyway, I got home last night with three - count 'em three hot new PS4 games - and for some reason I cannot explain, the one that I fired into the PS4 was Gravity Rush.
Gravity Rush's opening is very linear. It's frustrating, as a (passionate) fan and advocate of the game to have to wade through so much stuff with a leash around my neck when I am just dyyying to point the reticle at the sky and whooosh! Fly!
But wade through I did. I got through the tutorial, saved that ungrateful family's house, met the Useless Cop Guy, repaired the fountain of the puking turtle, puking frog and pissing boy, grabbed the chair, grabbed the desk, fought the enemies, grabbed the bed and assembled my homestead and finally was able to save the game.
Then I snuggled my lady and went to sleep. And man I'd love to spend some time in Dying Light Enhanced Edition. Man, I'd love to see just how hot the graphics are in Naruto 4. But there are things to take care of and precious lives to tend to, and be there for. So I'm going to go stretch out with a loved one and play some NecroDancer on my Vita.
Which, all things considered, is a pretty divine way to spend an evening.