It’s a new month and that means its time for a new batch of Playstation Plus reviews! Quick disclaimer, I cannot review Anna as my PS3 decided to die a few days ago but I can review everything else! Starting with the sequel to one of the most delightful games of last generation, LittleBigPlanet 3!
The LittleBigPlanet series is about the adorable and customizable Sackboy as he platforms his way across a magical world made up of everyday objects and populated by evil machines and strange puppets. All the while accompanied by the charming British narration of Stephen Fry. That starts out the same here but part way through the opening narration is hijacked by the obviously evil light bulb creature Newton who tricks you into unleashing Titans that want to absorb all of the worlds imagination or something. In response you must awaken 3 heroes to help combat the evil before all is lost.
So, there’s a bit more plot than is common in the standard platformer. However, it helps that this story complements the gameplay. Each hero you free has a different ability. The dog like Oddsock can run fast and wall jump, Toggle can grow large and heavy or light and small, and Swoop can fly. You’ll need all three to solve a variety of puzzles in strange creative worlds. However, to stay relevant the default Sackboy is given a variety of tools such as a vacuum cannon or a teleportation device. While they provide interesting puzzles, the constant shuffling of items does take away from the purity of the platforming. And though the game is usually pretty good at telling you how to proceed, there were many moments throughout were things could have ben clearer, or simply glitched out making it difficult to proceed. That being said the platforming is still great, the characters lovable and endlessly customizable, and there are more fan levels than you could play in a lifetime. Making it well worth the plus cost. 4/5
I’ve already reviewed Not a Hero on the site (Here’s the link) but the jist is this. Teleporting amoral mayoral candidate Bunny Lord needs to win the election to save the world in 2048 and the quickest way to win voters is by killing crime literally and metaphorically. So with his campaign management team of killers and psychopaths each with their owns weapons and abilities you’ll shoot, stab and explode your way through a wave of Yakuza, drug dealers, and police SWAT teams who are definitely corrupt so it’s ok to kill them. The pixely graphics, quick and intense action, and insane writing and situations make this one of the most fast paced and entertaining games under Developer Digital’s belt. 4/5
The next is Ninja Senki DX, a love letter to the NES era of platformer but particularly the Ninja Gaiden series. You are a ninja who can double jump, has ninja stars, and only two lives to make it through several levels of difficult but fair challenges. You have a generous life bar of 5 hits which is refilled when you get enough coins and the stages are full of a variety of enemies lifted from Japanese culture. Though you only have 2 lives, if you lose them you only have to redo the level rather than the entire game, and the save point system is reasonably generous. Not my favorite NES style game but a solid recreation which is able to use the best parts of the era and mitigate the most frustrating parts that have not aged well. 3.75/5.
Starwhal is a local multiplayer game where you and up to 3 friends fight to the death as Narwhals as you flop around a variety of brightly lit arenas attempting to stab each other in the heart with your tusks. Though any attempt to keep local coop a thing should be respected, the seeming complete lack of online multiplayer is bizarre. The controls are very loose, with a low gravity setting and the speed is always full throttle. So the fun comes from how frustratingly tricky the controls are since you are using some of the most unwieldy beasts imaginable. Unfortunately, intentionally frustrating is still frustrating. And though there is clearly a skill to it, most victories will be based on luck more than anything. This is especially noticeable in the obstacle course and target sections, which require precision in an imprecise game. So while potentially fun with some hidden depth, I didn’t care to struggle through the sloppy controls to find it. 3/5.
The final game Torquel is a unique puzzle platformer. You’re a man in a hat trapped in a box, which shoots out lengths of rectangles corresponding with the control buttons on your controller. For example, the square button on a Playstation controller shoots the rectangle out of the left side, while the x shoots the rectangle out the bottom. However, the trick comes from the fact that you will be rotating your square so suddenly the x button side is facing right and will shoot the rectangle that way. It leads to some solid puzzles involving your standard lava, spikes and antigravity fields. However, unless you’re a 12th level intellect it is almost impossible to keep track of what direction each side is in most of the time. Which while leading to some great comedic moments can make it a slog to get through. Add to that the complete lack of context or any real plot aside from you have a daughter and the game misses a little something to be completely engaging or overlook the frustrating aspects of the gameplay. 3/5