Weekend Play: Temple Run 2, Cart Life

This week has been weird, so I haven’t gotten much time to play any console games. I only just finished DmC Devil May Cry (review forthcoming) and am just sort of past the front door of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, which I assume is the tip of a 60-hour iceberg. So it doesn’t help that one of the games for this Weekend Play is a complex and lengthy simulator, but I guess we all choose our own fates, don’t we? I don’t know what I meant by that, but it sounded cool. Anyways, weekend activate!

Temple Run 2

I liked the first Temple Run. I mean, I didn’t love it like a lot of other people, but it was fun. The problem was that so much of it was just the same thing over and over again. That’s what endless runners are by nature, but Temple Run had a real problem of experiencing everything in the first five seconds and every five seconds after that. Just thinking about how repetitive that game was (and still is) kind of makes me anxious.

Temple Run 2, however, fixes a lot of that. It’s still a lot of the same and borders of being basically a knockoff of itself, but enough little bits and pieces are changed to where I can appreciate it a lot more. For one, the pack of weird angry monkeys is replaced with a giant hulking monkey, a change that drastically alters how much I would actually like to escape (read: a lot). And there are now mine cart sections that, if not mechanically different, at least feel different.

There are also different characters and the need to unlock power-ups, a move that adds a feeling of necessity to buying stuff, a sensation that was almost totally lacking from the first game. Overall, it’s an improvement, if not drastically so. Give it a whirl. It’s free!

Cart Life

I first heard about Cart Life from an episode of Idle Thumbs. These guys know games so well and appreciate nuances so subtle that I sometimes feel like they’re code whisperers. And when they heap praise (or at least severe interest) on something as much as they do with Cart Life, I have to check it out. That and the fact that it was nominated for three awards for this year’s IGF Awards—including the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

The subtitle for Cart Life is “a retail simulator for Windows,” but that betrays the complexity hidden within. It also betrays the fact that more than retail, Cart Life also simulates what it’s like just to be a stranger in a foreign land. It simulates being a dejected social fixture. It simulates so much that I can’t believe it’s all contained within this one game. There’s consumer psychology, economic theory, what I guess could be considered action-y bits, post-modernism, and, most importantly, an inordinate amount of emotion. Definitely check out Cart Life this weekend and many weekends after.

DON’T PLAY Final Fantasy: All The Bravest

For a free-to-play game, Final Fantasy: All The Bravest sure is expensive. It’s $3.99 and still has the gall to have some of the worst (absolute worst) monetization practices I’ve ever seen. Ben Kuchera over at The PA Report sums it all up quite nicely, but let me break down some of the major points for you.

First off, it’s mind-numbingly simple. All you really do is tap as fast as you can over as many dudes as possible. You’re basically paying four dollars for a finger warm-up exercise.

Second, your characters take time to get back. After one hit, they are removed from battle and any subsequent battles. You gain one party member back every three minutes, or you can pay real money to get hourglasses that will get them all back instantly. This game already cost money and it still employs the gross energy tactic of every other F2P game? Fuck. That. Noise.

Third, new characters and new locations cost money, and not an insignificant amount of money. To unlock everything, it would cost you over $45. Throw in the base price of the game and some hourglasses for safety and you’re at a full retail product.

In summation, don’t play Final Fantasy: All The Bravest. At all. Ever. I paid $3.99 that I so dearly wish I could get back not only because it’s a bad game but because that’s $3.99 of encouragement to say, “Hey, good job, Square. I like being conned. Keep it up!” I left it out of the headline and the header image for a reason, and that reason is fuck this game.

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