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Author Topic: Olimar Talks Games  (Read 704 times)

Olimar12345

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Re: Olimar Talks Games
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2017, 09:36:49 PM »

Hey! Pikmin

Alright, it's time: I completed Hey! Pikmin last night and have so many thoughts that I would like to share about how this game makes me feel.

There will be spoilers about this and other Pikmin games below, so proceed with caution (or just skip to the spoiler-free conclusion section at the bottom).

First of all, lets talk about how the game works. The game is divided into 8 "sectors" each of which include five or so actual levels of gameplay in addition to a boss and several mini game stages. There is a 9th sector, but it only houses the final boss and nothing else. The game is essentially a 2D sidescroller/platformer in which your objectives are to collect lots of "sparklium" (this game's "coins") and make it to the end. You control Olimar who in turn "controls" the Pikmin he encounters, with familiar controls like throwing, switching between colors, and whistling to round them up. You encounter Pikmin (usually in groups of four) on each stage, starting with none and adding to your army as you progress, with a stage cap of 20 Pikmin max. At the end of each stage, any surviving Pikmin are sent to the "Pikmin Park," in which the Pikmin can look for sparklium on their own (at your command), but may never return to the core gameplay. Each stage also houses 2-4 treasures (real world items, reminiscent of Pikmin 2) that count for large amounts of sparklium (also a la Pikmin 2). The object of the game is to collect lots of sparklium and complete all of the levels (more on this in a bit). Also, in case you were wondering, no part of the game is playable in 3D.

About the gameplay: I believe the way it was made is probably the best way you could fit Pikmin concepts into a 2D sidescroller/platformer. The problem is that the concept of controlling an army of individuals does NOT mix with the precision needed for a platformer. Olimar can walk left and right, but the jump is awkwardly combined with a hover mechanic. Pressing this button both jumps and stays airborne, so to execute a simple jump you have to press the jump button twice. Believe it or not, the Pikmin have it much worse. While under your control, the Pikmin can execute three different actions: they can be thrown, work/attack, and follow you endlessly. Lets discuss all three:
-Throwing Pikmin is a series-staple action that for the most part works well in Hey! Pikmin. One thing that doesn't work that well is knowing where the Pikmin will land. Unlike other installments, there isn't an always-visible target showing you where they will land. The is one, but it only shows up when you touch the screen, which is the input for throwing a Pikmin. Well okay, that isn't too bad, but often the combat requires precision hitting of targets/enemies that move (it's hard to explain) and you'll find yourself thinking that you're throwing Pikmin onto an enemy to fight it when you're really throwing them right into the enemy's mouth. One level you'll think you're a pro and then five minutes later you'll be questioning all that you thought you knew. You really have to experience this one to understand fully. Also, the Yellow Pikmin's larger throwing ark seems screwed up.
-Working/attacking is pretty normal for the most part. Like previous entries, sometimes Pikmin will sometimes try to do what they want when you're near something, so you have to watch them carefully because they will get themselves killed. Combat will be discussed separately below.
-Pikmin endlessly follow you in this game, and it's the fucking worst. Anyone whose played a fair amount of Pikmin prior expects to be able to throw a Pikmin and have them sit there until you call them back. Not this time. If you throw a Pikmin and there is no target object/enemy to encounter, they walk right back to you. To loosely quote a song, they'll follow you to their death, and quite literally. For example: in sector 8 some of the stages have platforms that raise and lower into a poisonous liquid that insta-kills everything. I once found myself atop one of these sinking pillars and was trying to throw my Pikmin to safety (knowing that I could hover out of the situation) but the little bastards kept running back, even after the pillar was completely submerged. There were no survivors. (also note how that was one of the last levels and I was still trying to execute series-staple actions. That really never lets up...) Now the developers actually did combat this by including a special plant that, when a Pikmin thrown to, will distract the Pikmin. The problem is that this feature is only really used prominently in one water level and then seemingly disappears. It did not appear in the level from my example. In addition to Pikmin endlessly following you, if you blow your whistle while out of range of a pikmin that's trying to wander towards you, they go apeshit, which usually always leads to their death. They literally run at full speed in one direction until they hit something, in which case they proceed to quickly turn around and repeat. If I was searching for a lost Pikmin this might help me run into them faster, but it would also help them run into anything else faster (death-inducing hazards come to mind). That ultimately doesn't matter though, because stray Pikmin die on their own if left alone for too long (like 10 seconds iirc). That's just great; so not only to normal environmental hazards kill Pikmin (when either encountered intentionally or when Pikmin wander into them like geniuses), now absolutely nothing kills Pikmin just the same. I would like to say I am left speechless but I have so much more to say.

Returning to the gameplay itself, often you have timed events that are grueling to do while managing all of your Pikmin, and to make it worse the game deceivingly rewards you for completing stages with no Pikmin deaths. So when you're in the first sector and beat an easy stage with no deaths and see that golden Pikmin statue reward for doing so, you start wondering if completing the entire game like this gets you a better ending. Spoiler alert: DOING SO GETS YOU JACK SHIT. You receive the same ending sequence regardless of how perfectly you played the game. Well that's just fucking great. Pikmin games are known to have multiple endings based on completion rates (all three have them), so when I see something that could affect my outcome in any way, you can bet I'd spend the extra time, blood, sweat, and tears to see that reward.

One last thing about gameplay that I have to address is the entirety of sector 8. This area of the game introduces a "new" environmental hazard: poisonous gas. This not-so-original idea seems to be calling back to Pikmin 2 at first glance. The only difference is that these poison gas hazards are Pikmin 2's electricity hazards, i.e. they're insta-death upon contact, unlike for example fire hazards which you can save Pikmin from dying by. Can you believe that there is a whole sector of this stuff and the white Pikmin still never show up? I swear, it's like they're mocking us at this point. It's like, you reintroduce a hazard that was built strategically for a specific type of Pikmin, you pump the gas a little and make it much deadlier, and then you don't include the one Pikmin that can endure it. Also Olimar takes damage to it, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense from within a space suit.

Now let's talk combat. Combat is executed the same way as all other Pikmin games: you throw a pikmin at something and they beat the shit out of it (also you yourself cannot punch in this game, so it's all up to the Pikmin (we're truly doomed)). Like I grazed on a bit above, many enemies require you to hit a specific spot to do damage, and some enemies will flat out kill your Pikmin if you don't hit them in this spot. Basically, this game tries to implement the Mario-esque style that simply touching an enemy is a bad thing, which is not how Pikmin has ever worked (this goes back to the fusion of gameplay styles not working out well). I've lost more Pikmin to the Crumbug (this game's Goomba) than any other enemy. This enemy must be hit from above to kill it (dies in one hit). However, you'll often encounter this enemy from below it (as you ascend a level) which makes it basically a Pikmin black hole of death. Try all you want, unless you smash it from the top it will eat every one of your Pikmin. Often I found myself overshooting it in the throw, which would cause the Pikmin to walk back to me (trying to pass right by the bug) and get themselves eaten without putting up a fight at all. Then when you undershoot it they basically die upon impact (it looks like they're going straight into its mouth). It gives you the feeling that you're essentially feeding the enemy. Another thing that bugged me about this game's combat is that when a Pikmin gets eaten, you expect to be able to save it by killing the enemy quickly (like in all other games). I never did get used to that.

Time to address the game's huge fan let-down: the story. As told leading up to the game's launch, Captain Olimar is returning from a delivery and crash-lands on an entirely new planet that is also inhabited by the Pikmin. Olimar must collect "sparklium" (fuel for his new ship, the S.S. Dolphin II) in order to return home. Right off the bat, the only time this game can occur in the current Pikmin chronology is after the events of Pikmin 3, since the S.S. Dolphin (I) needs to have been sold (intro events to Pikmin 2) and Pikmin 2 and 3 happen simultaneously (for the most part). The major glaring issue comes with the setting: a second Earth-like planet. So lets just say that it's entirely possible that Pikmin and all other life on PNF404 can exist on other oxygen-rich planets. The issue that exists lies with the items you collect; the real world items. These "treasures" date the game by giving us items that we recognize as ordinary household items nowadays. So if these items that you're collecting in ample supply (combined with the man-made structures of the levels) are from a somewhat near to our present time earth, how in the fuck are there two or more planet Earth's existing simultaneously? If this is supposed to be super futuristic in that humans populated other worlds, why are their remains primitive items like wooden toy trains, C batteries, and Gameboy/NES cartridges? Or better yet, bottle caps. Would we still be using glass bottles in a future where we populated other planets? Seems unlikely to me. However, contrary to the glaringly lazy story setup, it is still pretty fun to collect the treasures and feels reminiscent of Pikmin 2 in that regard. That's how great Pikmin 2 was; you could use its treasure hunting concept in a game with zero effort put into the story and it still feels fun.

Moving on to the sparklium bit. After you awake from a crash landing, your ship informs you that your fuel is completely empty and you cannot return home without refueling. Luck is on your side tough, because the matter "sparklium" which fuels your ship is found everywhere on this planet (it's like being out of gas but while simultaneously being at a gas station). Basically you need to collect these little golden pellets of sparklium to refuel your ship, and the goal is 30,000 of them (move over, Pikmin 2). Like I mentioned at the beginning, the treasures you find are also composed of this sparklium material, so they hold value in their ability to fuel your ship this time around.

Upon collecting large quantities of sparklium, your ship will upgrade small things such as your health meter and jetpack duration along the way. Upon collecting enough fuel to leave the planet, your ship drops you with the bombshell that you're missing that one super specific ship part that is 100% necessary to leave and that it had been missing the whole time (to be fair though, you can clearly see it getting launched from the ship during the crash scene). That's right, the game literally pulls a Pikmin 3 once you (rather easily) collect the 30,000 sparklium (just for reference, I finished the game with around 55,000 sparklium. getting the 30,000 is very easy to do). So at that point the mission becomes just play all of the levels, because the last one will have the ship part.

The game's music was pretty disappointing to me. Every time I played the game I made an attempt to play in a quiet environment with the volume on full blast to get the full experience. I heard the series' theme a couple times here and there mixed in as motifs to other tracks, but to me it really wasn't all that great like previous installments. My favorite tracks are:
-Sector Selection
-Sector 1
-Sector 5
My suspicions for why I felt this way were confirmed during the credit roll: None of the previous composers returned for this installment. Not one from any previous game. What a disappointment.

The Amiibo functionality is basically split into two functions: you collect some amiibo as treasures in the mini game stages and you can use the Hey! Pikmin amiibo to call in more Pikmin while playing an actual level. The former can be monotonous for the collector to 100% (there's a section in the treasure hoard just for amiibo collecting). Like getting no Pikmin deaths, collecting all the amiibo is just what you do to satisfy your OCD (similar to real life amiibo collecting). The game is compatible with the two pikmin amiibo (the new one and the smash Olimar), all currently released amiibo in the Super Mario and Animal Crossing lines, and all but the newly released trio of the Splatoon line. That's a lot of amiibo to have to buy to complete the amiibo collecting in this game, huh? Well, fret not: buying simply the Pikmin amiibo can solve all of your problems and save you tons of money. When scanning an amiibo to prep the mini games, the pikmin amiibo will randomly select an amiibo you haven't scanned before and place it into the game for you to collect as if you own it. Each of the 8 sectors has a random 4-5 amiibo to obtain if you need to do so. So there's that. As for the second feature, using the amiibo to call for backup Pikmin can also save you when you're in a bind. I can't say I ever used it that much (maybe twice overall) but when you remember that it's a thing it can save you from having to restart a level.

The Piklopedia/Treasure Hoard returns in this game, which is one of the games strongest selling points. There's so much charm in reading Olimar's notes and it helps makes the game feel right at home in the Pikmin universe. The way it displays enemies and treasures is different than it was in Pikmin 2, though. Instead of observing the creatures in their "natural habitat," you get to see the character models in an isolated 3D space where you can view them and their animations from all angles. It's pretty cool and I have to give it props for being different. Personally I think I'd still prefer the way it was in Pikmin 2, but I do like them both. It also has a section for the Pikmin, pellet, and onion models, too (although Olimar's notes on the blue pikmin conflict with other entries...). One thing that irks me is that the onion model both in the Piklopedia and in the Pikmin Park both clearly and distinctly show the colors purple and white (indicating that these Pikmin types are within the onion) while the purple and white Pikmin get left out of the game entirely.

In conclusion, it's an okay little not-very-canon spinoff title just for fun. Serious fans will be left wanting much more and casual newcomers might find it enjoyable as a game to pick up on sale. Obviously I've picked it apart from the perspective of the rest of the series, but despite it's weaknesses in that regard the game is capable of standing on its own. I would rather have had this little spin-off title than had nothing at all until Pikmin 4.


« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 05:41:33 AM by Olimar12345 »
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SlowPokemon

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Re: Olimar Talks Games
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2017, 12:01:11 AM »

This was actually a very informative review since you're a series fan. I was considering this game, because to be totally honest, I've never clicked with a Pikmin game and this seems like the type of casual collecting game I'd be into, like Professor Layton or Yoshi's Woolly World where I can just casually keep playing until I 100% it. I like Pikmin games in aesthetics and I want to love them. I think they're just about the most interesting and unique IP Nintendo has. I just don't find the main series games fun. They stress me out and I find them a little confusing and tedious. I still don't think I'm going to get this at the price it's currently at, but if it goes on sale or (better yet) becomes a Nintendo Select, I'll be tempted to buy it.
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Olimar12345

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Re: Olimar Talks Games
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2017, 04:41:53 AM »

Yeah, the way you put it you would probably enjoy this game. It has a very casual style of gameplay in that you can freely pick it up and put if down (with or without long periods of rest in between). The levels themselves aren't that long, and you could easily play a few levels in each sitting. This sort of gameplay isn't how the rest of the series goes, typically. When it goes on sale I would pick it up if I were you.

Also thanks for the kind words! I hope to do more game-related rambles in the future.
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SlowPokemon

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Re: Olimar Talks Games
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2017, 04:53:25 AM »

Also--is the Pikmin amiibo worth it if I end up getting the game?
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Olimar12345

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Re: Olimar Talks Games
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2017, 05:05:03 AM »

If you've got the smash bros Olimar figure you can use that for the amiibo missions (if you just want to complete each level). It'll also work to call more Pikmin to the field if needed. The only thing I think it doesn't do is it doesn't bring random amiibo in for the minigames, it only brings the amiibo of itself. So if you already have the Olimar amiibo and don't plan to collect amiibo in the game, I'd pass on it. If you don't have the Olimar amiibo and want these functions, I'd get the Pikmin amiibo.
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Olimar12345

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Re: Olimar Talks Games
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2017, 02:39:52 AM »

Cave story local 2-player co-op mode will be available 9/15! A new gif that nicalis posted on twitter shows quote and sue playing the wind fortress level! The curiosity grows!
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Olimar12345

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Re: Olimar Talks Games
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2017, 04:19:20 PM »

Sadly, I have not had the time to coordinate a playthrough of Cave Story 2-Player mode with another person. I did, however, test the feature out, so I’ll split this into two parts.

CS 2.0 (2-P) Part 1

Two-Player Mode
-This mode works for all aspects of the game (story mode, curly story, and all challenges).
-Player 2 can be added or dropped at any time seamlessly. Invite a friend over and continue if they have to run.
-Player 2 sprites for story mode include the various quote reskins for Halloween and Christmas, as well as the easy mode and hard mode skins (or the original one swapped out for whichever sprite player one is). For curly story you can choose from the two quote recolors (no original option), the Christmas curly, or the Halloween curly (aka her dressed as Samus Aran). The challenges offer the same options depending on who player one is in the specific mode (ex. Curly in Machine Gun Challenge, Quote in Sand Pit, etc.).
-More player 2 sprites are unlockable as the game progresses, the first of which being King. 
-Options have added the ability to customize both players' controls scheme separately.
-"Unlock Notifications" on/off toggle (for unlocking new sprites) has been added to the options menu.
-Each player has individual health and air tanks.
-A game over occurs when any one player dies. No curly-style rescues for your player two.
-Opening a door moves both players to the new screen. Either player can do this.
-The screen always keeps player one in the frame somehow (but not always centered). This means that player two has to keep up and also cannot run too far ahead or they leave the screen. If plays two stays off the screen for about three seconds, they poof back to player 1’s position. Their "P2" reticule blinks several times before this happens though. Talking to someone while player two is out of frame instantly teleports them to player one. Collecting an item or activating a cut scene will teleport either player to the one that activated the event.
-Weapon crystal count is collective, meaning that if one player picks it up or loses some, it happens to both players.

New Soundtrack
A newly remixed ost by Ridiculon was also added to this update, making it the first version of Cave Story to come with two new soundtracks instead of just one. Anyway, this remix has a heavy rock influence and in my opinion it can get old after a while. However, it's still nice to have a version that greatly contrasts from the four previous versions. While it isn't quite my cup of tea, I can still appreciate it.

I listened to the whole soundtrack and these are some of the notably cool remixes:
-Wind Fortress
-Living Waterway
-Running Hell (lol is there a version of this that isn't great? (Answer: no))
-Labyrinth Fight
-Cemetery
-Gestation

More coming in part 2
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