Saturday, March 3, 2012

Some More Demo Impressions

Looks familiar...

Since there are still quite a few demos up on the store, thankfully, I decided to grab a couple more for the games that I've had my eye on.  There's still some that I haven't gotten, and some that just aren't on yet (Like the Gravity Rush one, -come on- I know it's not out til June but I want it now without resorting to exploiting the other region stores and the method for grabbing their content without a full reformat), but with the four demos I have (on top of the two games I own), I have plenty of content already, not to mention when some more of the games I own digitally become fully compatible.  And when I get PSN SEN Funbucks next.  As it's been described on the Penny Arcade forums, it's quite easy to trip over wonderful things in the store and find yourself having bought and played them for hours before realizing just what happened.  Not in a "this is too easy to buy what the hell, I didn't want it" way, but in a "This is too easy to buy stuff, God I want everything give it all to me" way.

Regardless, Touch My Katamari has a demo up as of last Tuesday and I am all sorts of grateful since I just want to play the game, get a feel for it, before I decide if I want it or not. all honesty, I think I do.  It's got the same lovely charm, the same level of wackiness, that I grew to expect from Nobi Nobi Boy which was spawned from the same mind, as we know.  And while I would rather still have Nobi Nobi Boy for Vita, Touch My Katamari seems like it'll fit the bill quite nicely in the meantime.  I sort of knew what to do with Katamari anyway, but if I hadn't, there was a handy tutorial included as, well, half the entirety of the demo, so I played that, despite knowing the content already.  It did quite a good job of explaining the finer points of things, especially the new mechanics of stretching the katamari itself.  That simple action proves to be quite useful, despite how simple it sounds.

Then the sole -level- of the demo, pictured above, was quite obviously a simple boys bedroom.  The goal was to make a 15 centimeter Katamari within 2 minutes and anything beyond that was just a self-challenge, I suppose.  It is possibly one of the simplest game concepts I've played, but it works and I can't really describe why.  All I know is that there simply isn't enough in this demo, which I guess is the point, because all I want to do is play more, more, more Katamari.  I want to get back in the level, figure out the best ways to get the objective items (playthings, in the room) and just try and get bigger and bigger Katamaris.  I want to see if I can roll up that swanky looking handheld in my Katamari.  I'm quite surprised at the instinctual -hunger- that the game instills because I pretty much just put it down before I started writing and I find my eyes darting towards it again and again, wondering if I can just maybe glean a little more fun out of that single level of the game.

Dat Texture.

Quite contrary to my experience with Katamari, my time with Modnation Racers was too long if anything.  I spent about twenty minutes messing around with the very limited group of items for both Mod and Kart creation and came up with the above, more or less.  (My Mod ended up having shoes.  Big surprise.)  The Kart I ended up with looked like this which is obviously -very- creative, what with the Christmas Lights on the front.  It was not easy to get to this point of completion as every item requires a touchscreen usage and it's just not all that accurate.  I can't tell you how many times I tapped an option only to have nothing happen, requiring several more touches, pushes and flicks before it registered.  I was less than impressed with the whole experience, as I'm sure you realize by now.

Then I got to the actual racing portion of the game and it was pretty much exactly what I'd feared it would be.  A perfect comparison of the game would be the above image.  Sure, it looks pretty good if you're not looking too close, but the second you actually get in it and look, the poor quality of it springs to the forefront.  The racing is simply....passable.  There's nothing that really makes it shine, nothing that makes it feel interesting and nothing that makes you want to come back to it.  There's no real feel of weight, and I can't quite put my finger on how to use the items I snatch from the middle of the road from spheres and definitely not cubic type things with question marks on them.  In fact, if I try to put my finger on the item I get, the one method of usage you might figure on working, it seems to just convert it into boost energy that I didn't know quite how to use for a few minutes.  In the end, it didn't even matter, as I only came in 4th out of 8, since I discovered that you could, in fact, have up to that many racers in a single match, though not without its downsides.

I'd played the demo before and the only matches I'd done had only 3 AI opponents, both of which races I lost pretty dramatically.  Fourth place both times, so I suppose I can just never break that top three when it counts.  I spent about a full lap in this past race in first, but then some pretty wild slowdown, slowdown I'd never experienced prior to this race with 7 AI opponents, happened I was knocked off my game and dropped down to fifth.  I only managed to pass the fourth place guy in the last stretch, to which I then finished to see my Mod slamming his fists against the steering wheel in frustration.  I could clearly sympathize with him. 

So once again, I have two wildly different experiences with mere chunks of games that the Vita has to offer and I've barely scratched the surface.  Whereas my last two demos were both pretty positive, but for far different reasons, I've finally had an experience I'm not going to remember too fondly.  It had to happen eventually and it doesn't really sour anything but my outlook on the whole of the franchise which wasn't too high anyway.  I think I gave it a fair enough shake, however, having played all three incarnations of it in some fashion.  Hopefully LittleBigPlanet Karting, when it comes out, will have learned from Modnation's mistakes and won't suffer the same short-comings.  I suppose it'll all develop on who is making it, however.  Still, there's hope in my mind!

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