Sunday, February 26, 2012
A Few Demo Impressions
Since I can actually download things, giant things in fact, on my shiny new Vita with no worry, I've finally partaken in something I haven't done in a while in downloading demos and playing them. I'm kind of impressed and afraid of the fact that there's a LiveArea for the actual demo and on each one there seems to be a big spot that says "Buy now!" because that is -way- too easy, and it makes it entirely too tempting for me, despite not having the funds to buy any of them just yet. And even when I do throw in a $20 or so, it's instantly spent on PSP games. Regardless, while there isn't a wide selection of demos currently, there are a few choice ones, so I picked up the two that I was most interested in: Lumines and Rayman Origins. Obviously, the above will indicate to you that Lumines is up first which I'm kind of mixed about.
Lumines is...certainly an experience, I'll grant it that. Everyone who has said "You have to play it to get it" in so many words or more is spot on since I really had no way to anticipate what Lumines had to offer me until I started it. And I don't think I was quite prepared while I was playing it either, so I'm kind of left with a little confusion here as to how to describe it. I think my problem, which is a personal one, not one with the game, is that is that I'm trying to play it like Tetris which makes you lose really fast. I'm kind of not grasping the fact here that you have to really think about it a little more, making squares and rectangles rather than lines, as well as trying to think of how to utilize the few tools they throw your way (randomizer blocks and....something else that sort of takes out all the similar touching blocks) really throws a surprising amount of depth. An amount of depth that I can't just wrap my head around yet.
I'm not sure if there's an actual end-point to the demo, since it seems to be "Voyage Mode" which....I don't know if that ever ends either, aside from if you lose. I know that I've only experienced two backgrounds and songs, with the above being the latter, accompanied by this song which is pretty fitting of the mood set by the Glitter Disco setting, as I called it, when I sent Kaseius the above screen through the Group Messaging app. Which is so goddamn handy, you guys. The level of multi-tasking the Vita allows for absolutely blows my mind again and again, especially so whenever I remember that I can just take a screenshot and use the Vita browser to upload them to Imgur to post here. I'm going to use the -hell- out of that, I already know it, and that's so friggin' awesome.
Rayman Origins was a much more wholly pleasing experience, on the other hand. Lumines wasn't -unpleasant- by any means, so much as it was a bit disorienting for someone who doesn't generally play puzzle games, whereas Rayman was a return to form for Sidescrolling Platformers that I just haven't put too much time into lately. There's LittleBigPlanet, of course, and the Classic Sonic stages of Sonic Generations, but cases could be made for their extra bits to take them out of 'Pure' Platformer status which might not be too out of line. Rayman Origins, at least by the demo, has none of that; it is a platformer from side to side, top to bottom and it is glorious for that. Not only that, but it's an absolute visual treat to look at, not only by the fact that, as you can see above, it's just magnificent looking, but because the framerate is locked down friggin' tight. Or, at least, the demo's is, which is very much appreciated.
There was a genuine moment of hesitation as I loaded up the LiveArea for the demo again and saw that icon for unlocking the full game. I don't have the money, but I have the game downloaded, more or less, so it's just....-there-. Any time I wish and can manage it, I can just flick that, and have access to the entirety of it, which I might just be forced to do if it happens to wind up on sale digitally at some point. While I like Physical media (I even like the little Vita cases, despite the fact that they more or less always only hold a game cart), I might not be able to help myself if the right price comes around. Which I hate, since I've pointed out that if I like a game, I should be willing to throw full price at it, but I just can't afford to do that right now, both because funding is a little low, but because I just don't have time. I haven't even started up Uncharted yet.
Anyways, getting back on topic, there's nothing really negative to be said about Rayman Origins' demo which I find a little surprising. I hadn't given the game a second look during its development when I heard that it went from Download-only title to full retail, but after playing around with it, I'm not too surprised by that anymore. It's charming and old-school at heart, slowly easing you into the mechanics of it all, while also presenting interesting layout to enjoy while you learn. There's no real story because it doesn't need one outside of the fantasticly lovely intro sequence would suggest; the equivalent of having a crotchety old downstairs neighbor causing problems because she thought you were being too loud. Of course, instead of just yelling at people to try and cause you distress, she sends her dark minions up into the world for you to fend off. This is all told without words, without a lead-in and it's perfect the way it is.
Beyond that, it's not too complex, not throwing new or outlandish things at you, but it doesn't need to. With the smooth framerate and the wonderful art, all it needs to do is give you a world of that to traverse, and you're more than happy to do so. Collect the lightning bug things, find relics, don't die. Simple enough, but extraordinarily pleasing thanks to Rayman's presentation and direction. I honestly walked away from the game completely surprised, if that wasn't obvious, and while it's obviously a little moreso with Rayman, both games I talked about here are things I will be constantly be revising by choice, which I'm a little surprised about. If you haven't given them a look, I'd heartily recommend you do so.