Save Point

Money can buy everything except “love”, “friendship” and “exp points”.

Atelier Crack and Other Stories December 27, 2009

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.