Well, I’ve been dead to the world lately!
As for games, I’ve mostly been playing Atelier Annie, a DS game known affectionately by my family as Atelier Crack because I play so much. It’s a resort development sim game with the Atelier alchemy engine as a major part of the development. I tried very hard to get the best ending without looking in any FAQs– and by “very hard”, I mean “thirty playthroughs hard”. Normally I’m not one to fast-forward through dialogue, but the game can be played in a few hours if you do. Unfortunately, it’s only possible to trigger the best ending, or even the normal ending, by coincidentally visiting a particular location in a particular month– the game gives no clue about this trigger point, and I had no reason to visit at that time, so I missed it every playthrough. It was easy enough to get the best ending once I gave in and looked it up, but I may never have stumbled across it otherwise. I think that’s bad game design. But not to worry; the game has seven different endings, so there’s plenty to figure out on one’s own. There’s also the addictive compulsion towards 100% data completion, from which I am one rare drop away.
A lament to Nintendo: I bought Super Mario World for the GBA because I was nostalgic for the original, which I learnt to play like a pro with my eyes closed when I was ten. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the controls; on the DS I had to hold my hand at a wrist-spraining angle just to accelerate and jump. I suppose this isn’t anyone’s fault because the buttons were remapped for the GBA, which didn’t have as many buttons as a SNES; but it’s made a choppy, barely-playable mess of a game that played like warm butter in its original configuration. The result is an insult to the gorgeous playability of the original. I wish they would re-release it for the DS with its proper control configuration. At least, I am glad they added a few bonus coins– it’s just like the original but with some extra bits that make me think, “Aha, that wasn’t there before…”
I’ve also been playing N+ for the DS. It’s a great deal of fun, although the lack of background music is a small disappointment. The difficulty of the levels is highly variable: some are ludicrously easy, and some are rather hard; since it’s meant to be a time trial game, experienced gamers will probably enjoy alternating between the two.
You all know, dear readers, that I’m in love with Mana Khemia 1 and have played it four times so far, right? In case I haven’t mentioned it yet, I adore that game. The sequel, on the other hand, does not even deserve to exist.