Chaos Blogg 60: WayForward Anniversary

Well here we are yet again with another small milestone, with episode 60. I think I was quicker in getting this one up so hopefully I’m able to keep up this kind of pace while also tackling some other stuff that’s important. This post is also accidentally a celebration of WayForwards 25th anniversary hence the title. You may know these guys for Shantae, Might Switch Force and the Duck Tales remake. They seem to have a good grasp on what they’re doing and I look forward to seeing what they can accomplish in the future (I honestly think they’d be a better fit for the Metroid series than next level games, and they won’t make it look like a low budget late 2000’s cartoon). Anyway enough mild rambling there’s some movies and anime as well for people who are interested, so lets start with some music remixes.

CHAPPiE (movie): 

Something about Chappie caught my attention and I was really looking forward to seeing it without really knowing what to expect. Thankfully it delivered since I was not expecting such a weird and often emotionally taxing movie. Visually it’s similar to this particular directors previous works, there’s a lot of broken and desolate stuff/locations which give the setting of South Africa an almost post-apocalypse vibe. Some characters seem like came out of the 2000’s with their vocabulary and the 80s and 90s with their costumes and style, or at least that’s how it looks to me.

Chappie is set in the near future of 2017 where robotic cops have reduced crime rates drastically, at the same time the inventor is putting his spare time into developing true artificial intelligence. Suffice to say stuff happens which involves quite a few turns and unexpected twists. It was kind of refreshing for me at least since a lot movies have felt a tad predictable as of late (Jupiter Ascending comes to mind), and while unexpected turns aren’t always going to work I didn’t find them jarring here. The acting certainly feels cheesy but in a more intentional way or at least that’s the case with some characters including Hugh Jackman’s Robot Dundee. Visually it’s appealing and the soundtrack is some good shit and suits the visuals and overall tone, I think the composer was Hans Zimmer but if I’m wrong the videos bellow should give the name of the composer.

I feel I could say more about this movie but I also feel giving too much info will spoil the experience which is one I could probably recommend to most people to at least try out. If you don’t want to take the risk rent it at a later date but I feel like it was worthwhile seeing on the big-screen.

Note: The movie does get violent at times, so keep that in mind if you’re squeamish. Some of it comes out of left field.

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (3DS):

This game is freaking fantastic, and I feel it’s one of the best titles on the 3DS and the Wii U. At first the game was a little jarring as not only are the dances gone but so is the item magic bar and many of your attack items. The attack items seemed like an annoying idea but thankfully enemies actually have a chance of dropping some meaning you don’t have to grind and waste currency. The game also removes the overview map must there’s one on the lower screen that follows the player and it functions a little better. This may also be due to the level design itself and the fact this game goes a bit Prime 3 and has you visiting many locations via a menu/vehicle system. This time in a more Zelda/Metroid fashion you gain upgrades that give you more moves for traversal and combat, and these are some pretty neat upgrades that feel very inspired by such classic Nintendo franchises.

The extra mobility without having to do any dancing at all actually allows for some more interesting labyrinth designs and overall the map works well with the items, even if it’s not as interconnected as Risky’s Revenge was. There’s definitely more collectibles this time around in the form of Heart Squids that work almost exactly like Heart Pieces in the Zelda series, and a bunch of special enemies that you need to kill for the best ending. This game feels a lot more complete than it’s predecessor with 5 dungeons and plenty of varied areas to explore. Most of these areas reflect the original Game Boy Colour game but they have a lot more personality this time around. How did this stack up as Metroidvania title? Well I’d say it does a pretty good job maybe on par with Guacamelee but I think more backtracking and secrets could have pushed it over the edge into kreygasmic territory. That means this game just has to settle for excellent (see that’s meant to be funny since excellent is a really good thing, while settling for something is seen a really bad thing. COMEDY).

Okay so I think I’ve established that the gameplay is worth buying for, but if that’s somehow not enough this game is visually stunning with a polished up artstyle which I personally prefer, and the pixel graphics and animations are stunning although the game has rather limited use of 3D. The location variety is another positive and while many staples repeat we do get plenty of new areas, it’s all good though in my book. To continue gushing I’d actually like to complement the story this time around and not just the fantastic comedic writing. The story has more nuances and sub plots than previously, meaning a lot of these characters are fleshed out and I was somewhat invested in the story this time. This series is showing a lot of potential to have a really interesting lore and backstory that given the right pacing could lead to some awesome moments. The music is another fantastic strength this game has, and the composer (Jake Kaufman) is quickly becoming one of my favourites in video game soundtracks, just please listen to this it’s beautiful and gives the game so much more character. This soundtrack just makes me pretty happy and I had a hard time deciding which ones to include in this blogg post. Anyway this’ll be last you see of this on here for a while since the next game is still in production but I’m happy to let all know that these games are worth playing (except maybe the GBC one though).

Note: almost forgot to mention that there’s some gameplay sections that vary things up a bit which do their job without taking too much from the main game (glares at the stupid battle tower).

Tsukimonogatari (Anime):

Damn, monogatari was on a roll and then this happened. It’s likely to get better once again but the creepy fan-service from nisemonogatari is in full force (to be fair there has always been fanservice in the series). Mercifully it’s just one episode of this, but in a four episode arc that’s still a decent chunk of time where not much happens. Of course once the story kicks in it’s interesting, it’s a more of an aftermath story but it also feels like it’s leading up to some sort of conclusion. I will say that I felt like certain lines were repeated far too often but the series is ‘chatty’ in nature so I guess this isn’t unexpected.

Music is about series standard and the same goes for the visuals. Not much else to say, if you’re into the monogatri series or have seen it then you should know whether this is for you or not. If any first timer wants to give it a try go watch Bakemonogatari and see if it’s your thing or not.

Might Switch Force 2 (3DS):

One of the benefits of the WayForward anniversary was the eShop sale where you could grab Pirates Curse and the original Mighty Switch Force along with this fantastic sequel. People this game was on sale for $1.50 which is pretty crazy in my book and caught me off guard. I had the spare change on hand and well here we are. The original MSF was a great puzzle platformer of fast paced nature and carried a theme of cops and robbers, it was pretty great and the game made decent use of 3D. MSF2 changes up the theme to fire fighting as you now have to rescue characters from various disasters and what not. Of course this is pretty much just a premise as the gameplay is mostly the same and the objective is to solve puzzles find the girls and make it to exit while also scoring a good time.

What has changed though is that you now have a hose which shoots water similar to Mario Sunshine but without the need to refill or any of the extra versatility. This is quite a significant change in some ways as you now have fire hazards, mud blocks, fire blocks and hose blocks which create some interesting new puzzles especially when mixed in with the series core block switching gameplay. I thought it was really cool that they made it fresh without having to change what was great about the first game in the series. I did notice that the levels felt more horizontal in design but there’s also more open ended levels and levels of a tower like fashion. The game is pretty short though so unless you’re big on speed running this may not be your thing, however since I’m not into speed running the experience was over fairly quick but I enjoyed solving all the puzzles at my own pace which also includes finding the baby in each level (A reference to the whole “my baby, my baby” from various films). I was also far less frustrated this time around and the skills you develop in the first game transfer over pretty well.

In my eyes less frustration and more collectibles is a good thing especially since MSF had a horrendously painful final level. Upon completion you get a neat upgraded hose that wrecks shit with high pressure water, and if you rescue every baby you’ll unlock the main characters gym clothes as an optional costume. Of course like most WayForward titles this game is a pleasure to the ears with another fantastic soundtrack, that does kind of go into some genres I’m not fond of but never really gets irritating in any capacity. The music is a tad forgettable in comparison to Shantae, DuckTales Remastered and Shovel Knight but it makes the game a real joy to play and really brings energy to the whole thing. The visuals are also still very nice, and in terms of levels, backgrounds and foregrounds I think they’re somewhat improved (I think the 3D may have been better here). The visual style is still cute and upbeat so if you didn’t like the style of the first game I doubt you’d the style here.

If you’re looking for a good fast paced puzzle platformer series that has replay value for speed enthusiasts, the Might Switch Force series is highly recommended especially when it goes on sale. I’d say 2 was my personal favourite by the way.

Run All Night (movie):

Another Liam Neeson action film, he’s been very much type cast into this type of role ever since he did Taken which became a franchise that outlived it’s welcome (still have not seen tak3n). Playing a protective father who kills people Neesons character fits the bill except this time he’s a criminal, a drunk and says quite a lot of filthy things. Perhaps I just haven’t seen enough of his previous movies but it was a nice change for me not to see him in some sort mentor or hero role, and I personally really enjoyed his acting (although I’m not a big fan of some of the crude lines). I hated his character at first and the movie does a good job of developing him into a character with a bit of complexity.

The movie itself gets a bit generic but the premise in the trailer wasn’t something I had seen done before and I leave that up to my personal lack of experience rather than the movie being creative with it’s storyline. I thought the action was handled very well or at the very least well enough, it felt really tense at times and there’s some pretty cool shit that happens. None of it goes what I would call ‘over the top’ but you could easily compare it to the action you’d find in Taken. In terms of soundtrack it’s not one I noticed much during the film itself but listening to it afterwards lead  me to think it was somewhat neat and not quite as generic as I was expecting.

Overall I’d say this is worth renting, but I can’t recommend it at the cinema unless you really want to see an action movie and/or Liam Neeson. There are some moments where I was moved by the movie but that’s more to do with my own issues with my father and the fact Liam Neeson playing such an asshole outclassed him (that may be too personal for this format but fuck it).

Kantai Collection (Anime):

I thought this was going to be complete garbage, and I prepared myself for such an eventuality. Strangely enough this series is passable to decent which I wasn’t expecting from a concept like this. Based a popular japanese game of the same name Kantai Collection also known as Kancolle is about battleships that are actually girls who defend the seas from aliens that like to move by water. Basically it’s naval battles with anime girls which reminded of Girls und Panzer and it’s kind of around that level of quality but lower. For starters the series looks fine for the most part although in battle scenes the 3D stuff can be quite obvious and a little jarring, and they could probably be improved. The soundtrack was unimpressive for the most part since it all kind of blended together for me, however the op and ed are pretty fucking neat and catchy (I’m guessing that videos on this page for them no longer work though since music companies like to be giant turds like that).

First episode was unimpressive but it came into it’s stride afterward finding a nice spot between drama and comedy, in fact it even got sad at one point and there was a sense of danger to the situations around that time. The humour is either hit or miss with some not so funny running gags and plenty of great moments thanks to Kongou. There’s also some character building with the protagonist but the cast ends up far to bloated to be completely flesh out within just 12 episodes. The thing that is kind of disappointing is that this series could’ve gone into a more darker direction with lots more casualties (or at least like 2 or 3 overdoing is just as bad) however they kind of went with a predictable and rushed conclusion that was quite unsatisfying.

As of now though they’re planning a second season which could possibly bring the series into a better position or just end up sinking it completely. In that regards I can’t recommend it just yet but if you’re that interested it’s not the worst thing to watch and I don’t necessarily regret watching it but it’s not top 10 material either.

Okay so that’s it for this Chaos Blogg, you have my thanks for reading this and even more thanks if you left a comment. There won’t be a new video review for a while I think but the next Chaos Blogg shouldn’t be too long either if things go to plan. Here are some pictures as per usual and I hope you all have a great day.

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Chaos Blogg 59: Risky

So yeah this year is moving pretty fast, I’ve been distracted by a bunch of stuff… mainly pokemon but still. This also means my video projects are delayed so sorry that they didn’t show up at all. Anyway I’ve got plenty of stuff here in this Chaos Blogg, including 3 really awesome games, some average to decent movies, and an anime that’s pretty good but requires quite a bit of previous anime viewing.

The Swapper (PSVita):

Let’s start things off with one of the best indie games I’ve played in a while. The Swapper is a game you can find on PC, Vita and a bunch of consoles including the Wii U. The Swapper is a sci-fi 2D puzzle platformer that deals with the idea of clones and swapping bodies both in terms of narrative and gameplay. The story is centred around the core mechanic of the game which isn’t as common as you’d think it would be. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone but to give you an impression it’s one that aims to make it’s audience think somewhat and takes some unexpected turns. It’s very mysterious and certainly outdoes the likes of Prometheus (yes I still hate that movie). Although it does get borderline pretentious at some points. The visuals certainly add to this, as this game beautiful and does a fairly good job of distinguishing areas from each other (Also there’s a map and the game is pretty linear so if you get lost it’s 100% your incompetence). I adore most sci-fi aesthetics anyway so I doubt it would surprise anyone that I really enjoyed the visuals. Music wise it’s a mixed bag, some tracks stood out as really beautiful pieces but outside of those few that caught my attention it’s an unremarkable soundtrack that serves atmosphere and story purposes for the most part. It’s not terrible by any means but it leaves quite a bit to be desired.

The most important feature though is the gameplay and this is some of the best puzzle gameplay I’ve seen in a while. It’s no Portal but I felt it was a balanced challenge for the most part with no puzzle feeling too easy and only one puzzle ever feeling to hard. It was possible to be stumped for a few minutes but when those Eureaka moments come it feels amazing. Which isn’t a feeling that’s easy to create. There’s some anti-grav sections that are a tad annoying but they’re a minor complaint and simply change the pace a little. Also if you want to go after achievements you may want to look it up since they’re well hidden areas that only really experimental players are likely to find (maybe idiots with dumb luck as well?). So yeah excluding one annoying puzzle (I’m sure you’ll know which one when you get to it) this game is an absolute joy to play and it’s won me over on both aesthetic and gameplay. I highly recommend this one and I hope you enjoy it.

The Gambler (Movie): 

I’d like to start this by saying, I have not seen the original movie before and I didn’t even know this was a remake until I was already in my seat chugging down popcorn and quickly looking at some movie reviews while waiting for the screen to light up. My opinion on this movie is that it’s fairly average, and it’s highly likely to be unpopular with a lot of people that do see it. In fact if it wasn’t for a realisation I had at the very end of the film I never would have realised the characters true intentions and goals and simply assumed he was a fucking idiot. The protagonist is abrasive, pretentious and all around asshole but he does make for an interesting character, and there’s some interesting ideas here even though a few of them reek of decades long past. Also this movie is mostly talking so if you’re expecting a ton of action well it’s not really here but there are some rather suspenseful scenes that don’t rely on conversation and I felt most invested at these points. Especially the ending which was mostly visuals and music, along with some symbolism that was a bit on the nose but helped put the pieces together.

I don’t know about you but I haven’t thought about a movie like this for quite a long time, where the protagonist is a puzzle as opposed to the plot itself being mysterious. In that regards I think I enjoyed this experience, however it was an overall mediocre movie as I spent a lot of time groaning at the dialogue and the movie just dragged along in an almost repetitive fashion. I think the acting was decent for the most part, and that visuals certainly seemed more representative of older films or at least that’s how it felt to me and this includes costuming as well. There’s a strange clash of modern tech and older style trends but again that may have just been me. Music wise there’s a good soundtrack here but I’ve honestly forgotten most if not all of it, so while it’s unique enough compared to other movies it overall felt forgettable. My recommendation for this movie is to rent it if you are curious after all that I’ve talked about, I’m guessing it’ll only click with some people and to others it may just be pretentious garbage hence why I don’t recommend purchasing a movie ticket for this one. Assuming it’s even still in the cinemas at this point in time.

Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Directors Cut (PC):

I’m so happy that I got to finally play this game, as it never looked like it was heading in my direction. Back in the days of the DSi I constantly saw praise for this game online and it was often compared to Metroid which I was playing a lot of around that time (and had recently been tarnished). So you’d think I’d jump on the chance to play back then right? Well for starters back then I couldn’t afford a DSi, and as the 3DS eShop has shown me I wouldn’t even be able to purchase the game because it was never made available in Australia. Why? well I have no clue, as the game is available in Europe so I’m guessing it didn’t pass the classification board or something stupid. So even with the 3DS I was unable to access such a highly praised piece of DSiware, until this version was released on steam that is. Of course by now it’s been out for over 6 months on Steam but it went completely under my radar and even once I bought the game, it made it’s way to the backlog for a couple of months.

Shantae: Riskys Revenge is an amazing game, there’s no doubt in my mind that this game had earned its praise back in the day. In fact it fixes almost all the problems I had with the original GBC game. The hit boxes are functional and everything felt so much more responsive, I felt that when I go hit it was my fault and not the game being a dick. There’s now a map system which is mediocre but far more functional than the previous entry. There’s no more instant death when falling into pits or spikes, so there’s no need for lives system and the game has you relying on save points instead (a metroivania troupe). The dancing is heavily improved and simplified although the removal of the warp dances didn’t suit my taste. There’s also far less grinding and instead of regular items there are magic items which run off a magic bar and are viable to use more often. However to access most of these powers you need to collect Magic Jars which have pretty much replaced all the collectables from the previous games. It’s an interesting idea but it also means there is a shortage of Heart Containers for some reason. Hell they even poke fun at their own directional error (the whole east and west mix up) from the first game, which was nice a touch.

Top the improved gameplay off with an amazing visual style that made my jaw drop even though I was viewing it on my computer and some extremely beautiful music that makes the previous ost look lacking and you have what could easily be one of my favourite games. That is if it wasn’t so damn short. It took me under 9 hours to complete the game and while that may not seem so bad when you notice the lack of dances, dungeons and areas in general it feels more like the first half of a game as opposed to a complete experience. It feels like such a waste as other games which can be completed far faster on average like Super Metroid have a lot more content and power up variety. Hell you can spend ages in your first playthrough of Super Metroid and even then it’s highly likely you’ll miss something. Riskys Revenge though just feels like half a game and that’s so disappointing since it also ticks so many of the right boxes, but even the first game had more content. It’s like only receiving half of your burger/pizza it’s so delicious while it lasts but the experience is over too soon and you’re left wanting more.

Overall though I will still recommend this game, especially if it goes on sale, it’s got a lot of replayability and while it lasts it’s an amazing experience. I mean just listen to this soundtrack it’s outstanding. Oh and the whole forest and town sections having layers you can switch between is beautiful, it just adds to the visual appeal and I think that may be one thing I’ll miss if it has been removed in the sequel. Aaaand speaking of that sequel lets hope it’s longer than what was on offer here.

Jupiter Ascending (Movie):

Made by the creators of The Matrix movies this film goes to show that can certainly do nice visuals and aesthetics but also shows that they just take interesting stories and concepts and somehow manage to make them somewhat bland. The second Matrix movie has to be one of the most pointless things I’ve ever seen, and thank goodness this movie doesn’t reach that level. Not by any means bad Jupiter Ascending is a sci-fi fantasy movie that had some potential. The story has some really interesting elements involving space enterprises and space aristocracy. Of course these ideas have probably presented themselves before (I’m thinking hitch hikers guide to the galaxy) but perhaps without fantasy leanings. The plot itself though is rather drawn out and takes a while to get to the point, in fact there’s some action sequences that go on a bit too long. Good news though is that the characterisation and acting is at least decent and characters actually have some backstory. It’s visually amazing in 3D and I’m not sure how translates onto a 2D screen but I’m assuming the difference is negligible, either way it doesn’t quite make up for its mediocrity to be worth the cinema ticket. Soundtrack wise it’s not awful and it does have its moments but it is far too forgettable.

Honestly this movie just isn’t interesting enough for me to keep typing. I suggest checking it out on DVD/BluRay or whatever cheapest option you have but I don’t think it’ll be anyone’s priority. Maybe if you’re really curious you could check out the trailers and stuff to see if you like the visuals?

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Wii U):

Captain Toad is the best thing to come out of the recent Mario 3D series. You know those games that don’t control well and don’t understand the idea of cameras. Well this spin-off manages to do both of these things, of course you are moving at a slower pace most of the time but some levels show it’s not impossible to have had this type of control in 3D World as they have dashpads. When this game was first announced I was sceptical. While fun the captain toad mini-games in 3D world were a little bland and a little boring, it was hard to visualise this mini-game becoming something meaningful and charming. Yet somehow Nintendo did it, they turned a mini-game into a charming spin-off that has quite a bit of variety.

First of all this game is beautiful and another pleasant showing of HD Nintendo, it was pleasant on my eyes and that’s probably helped by the art style that feels like 3D World but slightly polished and for lack of a better word cuter. Heck this game even looks nice on the gamepad and I’d say it’s the perfect game to lie down and relax with. Also this game brings some elements back from older titles such as Super Mario Bros. 2 and Donkey Kong, which include turnips, shy guys and ladders. Also there’s finally a new antagonist to the series who very much seems reminiscent of SMB2 along several stages that carry a similar aesthetic. It’s a nice touch that throws back to older games while also being fresh. Music wise it’s nice, most of it is relaxing, some of it is intense and some of it is a little annoying which is a shame since the soundtrack is mostly the same as Mario 3D Worlds excellent soundtrack but they don’t really use/remix the best music pieces from that game.

Gameplay wise Captain Toads: Treasure Tracker is a puzzle-platformer, it’s not a particularly challenging one but if you’re going for all the optional objectives and gems then there are some challenging moments. There weren’t too many points where I felt like it was the games fault that I missed something, and I never felt frustrated until the game decided to change things up for its final bonus level which is a randomly generated maze of bullshit that brings back the clone chasing from 3D Land. Captain Toad is no where near fast enough for this type of gameplay and it becomes stale pretty quickly. Luckily the rest of the game sticks to it’s strengths and there’s no real reward for completing the maze of bullshit anyway. Of course while the core gameplay resembles that of the mini-game but with more depth, they’ve also added some extra types of gameplay to vary things up without frustrating the player. There are several stages that involve stealth elements, some repeated “Boss Fights”, a Pickaxe power up that acts like the Donkey Kong hammer, Double Cherries, and most notably rail shooter sections that involve turnips. Combine that with a somewhat wide variety of stage gimmicks and themes and you have a game that feels like it has a surprise around most corners, which is nice since this is a game under the Mario franchise and it’s not always like this. Of course if you’ve played 3D World you will see a lot of returning elements and that may be considered a negative but honestly I found those elements more enjoyable in this game then I did in 3D World. Enough rambling, Captain Toad is a game I highly recommend to Wii U owners. You could say it’s a bit too short for it’s price (but it feels complete) but I can easily recommend this over 3D World any day and this was an extremely unexpected gem.

Hanamonogatari (Anime):

I’m sure most of you not skipping over this have at least seen some Monogatari but I’d like to recap just in case. The Monogatari series is an anime with a somewhat quirky art style and a overarching story that actually has substantial character arcs. Unfortunately it also plagued with fan service which while not always a terrible thing, often enters weird territory. Thankfully the worst of it was in Nisemonogatari and since then the series has grown in quality and Hanamonogatari is a fine example of that. This entry focuses on Kanbaru a reoccurring side character that hadn’t taken a centre role since Bakemonogatari where she was introduced. This time she’s the protagonist and I’m glad to the see this series viewing things from other perspectives than Kyomi. We’re also introduced to a new character and the story focuses on the rivalry between the two. There’s far more depth to it than that but I think it’s best not spoil the specifics for those who have yet to see it. The story is perhaps the saddest in the series so far for me and I mean that in a positive way. Visually it’s still impressive, and the soundtrack is also up to standard. Overall if you are into anime then Monogatari is worth your time at some point, or at the very least worth a try because after a bump in the road this series has become a good place for interesting characters and dialogue, along with visual appeal.

Thanks again for checking out this blog, I’ve kind of dropped the ball on a couple of these but that’s just the way it is. Okay now while slowly slip into sleep, please enjoy these images and perhaps leave a comment. Note: There’ll be some videos this month so stay tuned.

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