Monday, September 27, 2010

Minecraft, Layton Reviews

Took a week of vacation at home; sigh, yes, a “staycation.” Amongst other things I managed to play a few computer games:


I've spent a ton of time playing this game. Rock, Paper, Shotgun ran a play diary which convinced me it was worth shelling out for in its alpha state. I have not been disappointed.

Here's a fan-made trailer for the game:

Minecraft (in survival mode) drops you into an infinite, randomly-generated world. Your immediate goal is to survive the nights, when various monsters come out. Once you have your basic safety assured, though, you are free to explore, dig mines for rare materials, and construct grandiose architecture. The game's in alpha and has been built by one man so far. Due to its increasing popularity he is hiring help though.

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

Just finished this third game in the Layton series of puzzle games. It's as charming as ever; the production levels are steadily rising as the series progresses, with more voice acting and more beautiful animated movies than I remember in the previous installments.

A Layton game strings together a big collection of brain teasers with a barely-related story in which Professor Layton and his boy sidekick Luke solve mysteries. In this case they have received a message from someone claiming to be Luke from ten years in the future, requesting aid. Layton's lost love also comes into the tale; she was a scientist who died in a mysterious laboratory explosion ten years prior.

If you get stuck you can spend hint coins for increasingly specific tips. If you've played the previous Laytons, I think they've dialed back the puzzle difficulty quite a bit here. I don't mind too much; I was fairly frustrated in a few places in the first game.

A couple other games I've been playing but haven't finished:

Zak and Wiki: Quest for Barbaro's Treasure

A point-and-click adventure game for the Wii platform. Kind of fun. I'm playing through it a little bit at a time with my four-year-old.

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

I am generally pretty burnt out on Japanese role-playing games. This one seems like it's quite charming, despite having a very, very traditional battle system. I'm trying to save my JRPG stamina for the Ghibli-co-produced ones coming out next year so I don't know if I will finish this one.

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