Run Sackboy Run

Date Completed: February 2016

A few months ago my younger son found Run Sackboy Run on the iPad and decided that it was the greatest game ever made.  He had played it before but for some reason this time around it really clicked.  I knew it was a problem when I logged into the game and found that he’d collected all of the stickers and enough bubbles (which are currency in the in-game-store) to purchase everything but the most expensive items.  He started stealing the iPad when my wife and I weren’t looking and we’d hear the sounds of the game being played from his various hiding places.   He became very good at the game, better than I am in fact.  I think I could still edge him out by applying superior strategy, but he could certainly beat me in raw skill.

Starting out in the Football costume.

I had been holding off of playing LittleBigPlanet 3 until I had collected all of the cross-platform bonus content that was available for it in Run Sackboy Run but my son ended up collecting everything so I didn’t have much work left to do.  Instead I set myself a new goal.  I wanted to see how deep the rabbit hole went.  I knew about the first three levels – The Gardens, Avalonia and The Canyons – but what was further beyond?  I began preparing for an ‘ultimate’ run to determine the answer to this question.

Hearts can periodically be found during a run and can be exchanged for a continue after dying.  Unfortunately each trade-in costs progressively more.  The first trade in costs one, the second costs two, etc.  Collecting hearts is time consuming – it’s rare to encounter hearts in a play-through so I enlisted my older son to help find them. (I didn’t trust my younger boy – he had a habit of spending hearts as soon as he found them).  After many weeks I managed to save up 16 hearts which if you do the math adds up to six continues.  I also waited until I could get the auto-shield upgrade that will automatically save you from your first mistake.  I then played until I had a run that I thought was particularly good and began expending my hearts.

Running in The Canyons

After beating the canyons the game loops around and you start in ‘The Gardens’ again, although at night.  After ‘The Dark Gardens’ comes what the boys called ‘Evil Avalonia’ and finally ‘The Rainy Canyons’.  Even with six continues I was never able to determine what came after the second version of The Canyons.  It’s either because the game becomes infinite at that point, or it was just too dang hard to make any progress.  I did some research on the net but all I was able to determine was that I’d wasted a whole lot of time finding out nothing.

The only other comment I have about this game is that that Vita version is vastly inferior to the iOS version.  I played mostly on the Vita so that I wouldn’t have to compete with the boys for the iPad but the iPad version clearly ran with a much better frame rate and response time.  When my older son was playing on the Vita he regularly complained about the game not jumping when he tapped the screen, which is an experience I had as well.  Neither of us had this issue on the iPad.

Long story short – fun game.  Plus it’s free and can unlock costumes in LittleBitPlanet 3.  Give it a try!

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 6/10
Length: 1-100 hours, depending on your level of OCD
System: iOS / Playstation Vita
Genre: Endless Runner

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Final Fantasy X HD Remaster

Box ArtDate Completed : May 15th, 2015

* SPOILER WARNING! * Do not read if you care about spoilers!

When Final Fantasy X originally came out it was a huge let down for me.  I’ll always remember it as the first ‘Bad’ Final Fantasy game, and the one that marks the transition where the series started turning to Poop.  While my original impression of the game was poor the game has achieved some sort of cultural relevance that over time has tempered my feelings about the game into what I can only describe as ‘somewhat less hostile’.  I even found myself thinking about playing through the game again.  When Square-Enix announced the HD Remaster version it seemed like a good opportunity to give the game a second go.

I thought my wife and kids might enjoy watching me play this game because it plays more like an interactive movie than a traditional game.  I was right about the kids, but my wife’s feelings are summed up with comment “They need pants.” (One of the common clothing choices for characters involves thigh-high socks and bikini bottoms).  Lulu’s dress made of belts and Yuna’s shirtless sleeves in particular received more than their fair share of her scathing remarks.  My wife clearly does not benefit from the years of indoctrination into video game fashion that I have.

After winning a battle I like to celebrate by bending over.

After winning a battle Lulu celebrates by bending over.

My kids really enjoyed watching the game, and my older son kept asking when I was going to allow him to play (Never! You’ll kill my whole party!).  Both of my boys had their favorite characters (My older son preferred Yuna because her eyes were different colors, and my younger boy preferred Tidus because he was fast) and shouted out unsound battle advice that mostly consisted of insisting I swap their favorite character into battle.  Once I caught my older son walking around the house with one pant-leg pulled up as high as it could go saying “Look Dad! I’m Tidus!”

Final Fantasy X played exactly like I remembered it.  Similar to the Kingdom Hearts HD remake, this game doesn’t appear to have any meaningful changes other than to bump the resolution of the game up.  The voice acting and character animations are still the same they were in the original and in comparison to the games of today FFX seems particularly awkward.

The biggest problem with FFX are the many parts of the game that simply aren’t fun.  Back in my college days I remember watching my roommate play through the Chocobo Catcher mini-game for DAYS trying to get Tidus’ ultimate weapon.  Several thrown controllers and rage quits later he eventually gave up on trying.  I was lucky when I played through the game for the first time – it only took me three tries.  This time I spent nearly two hours and I had to resort to YouTube videos for tips on how to complete it.  Other irritating side quests include capturing 10 of every monster in the game (Some of which are rare encounters or can kill you before you get a turn), completing the sphere grid for all characters ( which takes a herculean time investment ) or playing Blitzball for Wakka’s weapons or overdrives.  I didn’t find any of these to be fun – only time consuming and frustrating.  There was no sense of accomplishment when I completed them all – only a great sense of relief that I was finally done and I’d never have to do any of them again.

After this scene my roommate in college came running to get me shouting "I think they did it!"

After this scene my roommate in college came running to get me shouting “I think they did it!”

Being the Final Fantasy fan that I am, I decided that I wanted to get the Platinum trophy for this game (The only platinum I had for a Final Fantasy game is for FF XIII-2).  Unfortunately this meant I needed to complete all of the irritating side quests including the ‘Dodge 200 consecutive lightning bolts without saving’ quest which I had never even attempted in the previous release. (It seemed like a lot of trouble for very little benefit).  I read on the internet that it was easier in a dark room so I started locking myself in the closet under the stairs and took regular breaks after 50 dodges.  It took me an entire weekend but even with children, cats (one jumped on my lap at 186 dodges) and other distractions I was able to accomplish it.  I couldn’t have done it without my PS Vita.  If I had tried to do that on the TV with people watching and laughing I simply would not have succeeded.

Before FFX came along being a ‘Final Fantasy’ title meant something.  It meant an over-world map, it meant airships, it meant exploration.  All of these traditional elements were stripped out of FFX and replaced with the FMV cut-scenes that Square-Enix had become known for.  It is impossible to get lost in FFX.  Each map in FFX is a variation on a straight line and is clearly labeled with your current position and where you are supposed to be going.  The Airship has been replaced with a menu that lets you choose where you want to go.

One of the area maps in FFX.

One of the area maps in FFX.

The only other thing I want to mention is that during the final Battle with Yu Yevon when you have to kill all of your Aeons my sons became very upset.  They had grown really attached to our summoned friends and they didn’t understand why we had to kill them.  They asked me for days after the end why Tidus faded away at the end of the game (I don’t know boys, the plot is crazy) and the whole thing about Auron being a ghost really spooked them (get it?).

In spite of all of my complaining I did enjoy playing the game (I put over 100 hours into the game, so I must have liked something, right?).  I probably won’t be playing it again but who knows, maybe in another 10 years I’ll be playing the Ultra HD remake complaining about this game all over again.

Pros

  • FFX in HD
  • Trophy Support

Cons

  • Besides the resolution, not many upgrades.
  • All the mini-games suck.

Is it fun: Yes

Score: 6/10
Length:  ~115 hours
System: Playstation 3, Playstation Vita
Genre: RPG

 

Final Fantasy Dissidia 012 Duodecim

Dissidia_Duodecim_012_Final_FantasyDate Completed : February 22nd, 2015

Holy Stupid Name Batman! Square-Enix has released some games with truly stupid names in the past but the Final Fantasy series has mostly managed reasonably titled games (Unless you count the face that with over 52 games in the series the word ‘Final’ clearly does not apply).  When the original Dissidia game came out I naturally wondered what orifice they pulled the name from, but eventually I shrugged it off and got to playing the game. ‘Final Fantasy : Dissidia 012 Duodecim’ makes it really hard to shrug off the name.  If someone asked me what I was playing I usually responded ‘Final Fantasy Fighting Game’. If I did happen to try and tell someone ( such as my wife ) the full title of the game I was horribly mocked for playing it, as if the title of the game was my fault.

Having dropped over 100 hours into the previous Final Fantasy Dissidia I was looking forward to starting the sequel but a few things kept me from getting started. First – I didn’t want to play another game on my PSP.  I was able to resolve this issue by throwing more money at Square Enix and buying a digital copy of the game for my PS Vita during a Final Fantasy sale on the Playstation store.  Second – 100 hours is a long ass time to play a game.  What finally convinced me to start Duodecim was the discovery that there is an import feature.  The import process was a simple 380 step process that involved multiple virtual machines, memory card readers and a bit of hacking skill but in the end I did get it to work and I was able to import all of my maxed-out characters.

I didn’t realize it until after I was quite a way in to the game but the game is a super set of the original Dissidia. It includes the original game as well as a lengthy prequel.  The game isn’t 100% identical but if you can skip the original Dissidia you won’t be missing anything story wise.  The story follows the eternal conflict between Chaos and Cosmos (Discord and Harmony) and attempts to tie all of the Final Fantasy titles together into a cohesive whole.  It does this by confusing the hell out of you to the point that your brain decides to stop trying to process the story and accepts everything as perfectly sensible.

If I had to choose one word to describe this game it would be POINTS. There are Brave Points (BP), Hit Points (HP), Ability Points (AP), Experience Points (Exp), Kupo Points (KP) and Player Points (PP). While not technically a ‘point’ value, there is also an in game currency called ‘Gil’ which can be used to purchase various types of gear. If you think that sounds a tad bit over-complicated then you and I are in agreement. I couldn’t help but feel that some gleeful accountant with an over fascination of spreadsheets designed the game.

Battles are all one-on-one and your goal is to reduce your opponents HP to 0. You have two types of attacks – Brave attacks and HP attacks. Brave attacks reduce your opponents’ brave points and adds them to yours. HP attacks take your current brave points and inflict equivalent damage to your opponents HP. The normal flow of battle involves attempting to inflict ‘break’ status on your opponent by reducing their Brave points below zero. This awards you a huge bonus of brave points and in many cases means you can win the battle with a single HP attack afterwards.

There are several AI engines of varying difficulty, the most frustrating of which either blocks dodges or reflects every single attack you make.  In once such battle I fired over 30 homing shots at my opponent and every single one missed. I’ve been in battles where my foe was backed into a corner and I blasted them with a huge attack and it missed even though they visually appeared to have no way to dodge. How do you win these battles?  It’s helps to be several dozen levels above your opponent, but if all else fails you can always resort to luck.  Eventually the AI will screw up and you’ll hit it.

Running around the map.

Running around the Over World

 

Cut-scenes were irritatingly frequent and account for a large percentage of my play time through this game. Since I was maxed out on levels, for the first 2/3rds of the game I could get 1-hit kills on all the enemies so the game consisted mostly of cut-scenes and loading screens for me. Conversations between characters tended to be repetitive and waaaaaaaaaay too long. There is a skip feature, which I recommend to any new players. Go ahead and skip – the story doesn’t make sense anyway.

Every button on the PSP (or the PS Vita in my case) is used and then some while playing this game. Many skills such as dodging, summoning and calling an assist character require you to hold a shoulder button while pressing another button. I often found my hand temporarily locked into a ‘claw of doom’ position after playing Duodecim. The controls are impossible to use comfortably. I don’t think the designers put much thought into what sort of controller players would have.

The full history of Final Fantasy outfits is on display in Duodecimo.  Characters from the more recent games retain their original their original appearance (such as Tidus’s one long pant leg and Kuja’s thong / vest / skirt combo) but characters from the more classic titles have been ‘upgraded’ to 3D models.  While I am going to refrain from an extended critique of the fashion choices in this game, I find it interesting to observe that the more evil a woman is in Final Fantasy, the more of her knockers you are likely to see (Which is the opposite of what I believed for most of my adolescence).

Mog

My roommate in college used to say the same thing.

Dissidia is clearly fan service for people like myself who are long time fans of the series and enjoy the mash-ups of characters. The game mechanics are unique and fun, although somewhat flawed. Overall I enjoyed the game, but I really hope they re-think some of the mechanics if they’re going to continue creating Dissidia games (And all signs point to yes).

Pros

  • Unique Fighting game.
  • Includes characters from Final Fantasy I – XIII.

Cons

  • Flawed mechanics.
  • Long, repetitive cut-scenes.
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 6/10
Length:  ~40 hours
System: PSP / PS Vita
Genre: Fighting / RPG

Final Fantasy VIII

Final_Fantasy_8_ntsc-frontDate Completed: December 16th, 2014

Final Fantasy VIII will always remind me of living in the dormitories back at college with my charismatically grumpy roommate ‘Willy’ ( Name changed to protect his true identity ).  I owned a TV and a Playstation memory card.  Willy owned a  Playstation and a copy of the game.  We were both playing the game at the same time, but I managed to put slightly more time into the game and was always a few steps ahead of where he was, much to his chagrin.  When I beat the game we had the volume cranked up as high as it would go on my 20″ CRT TV, which managed to earn us a visit from the RA’s.  Lucky for us they seemed more amused to find two big burly guys listening to a sappy love song together at full blast than they were concerned about any noise violations.

Willy gave up playing the game after I beat it.  It was fairly anti-climactic after that point.  The game itself is fun to play, but the story is awful.  I think Willy’s friend said it best – It’s like the game designers only created 15 years of history for the world and then built the story around that.  There is no depth to the world whatsoever.  The plot consists of an unlikely series of coincidences, random occurrences and unbelievable events (but even more so than every other Final Fantasy).

It’s not just the plot that sucks.  All of the characters are total losers.  The main character Squall (who my kids recognized as Leon from Kingdom Hearts) is completely unlovable EMO a-hole.  The other five characters were similarly terrible.  Willy especially hated the Selphie character.  He was particularly offended that she was trying to make the word ‘booyaka’ happen.

I started replaying the game over a year ago, well before Bravely Default came out.  I hadn’t played a classic style RPG in  awhile and while the story in FF8 is a lame duck, the mechanics of the game play are quite enjoyable.  It has a lot of content to get through, but I made a good pace through the end of disc 3 (of 4) and then I took a 14 month hiatus from playing so I could avoid the side-quests.  There are several side-quests that must be completed prior to moving on to the disc, and such is the nature of my OCD that I felt compelled to complete them all.  Unfortunately one of those quests is collecting every card in the ‘Triple Triad’ collection, which is a mini game that can be played with many of the NPC’s in Final Fantasy VIII.

The rules for Triple Triad start well enough, but each region you visit has it’s own set of rules.  Horrifyingly, some of these rules make the game nearly impossible to win and completely impossible to enjoy.  To add a little extra insult, some of your card playing opponents play extra slowly, just to make sure you feel the burn.  Worst of all, the rules can be spread between regions ensuring you’ll be banging your head on the wall for hours.

I remember thinking the graphics were amazing at the time, and they still look pretty good, for a 15 year old game.  I’m not sure I’d feel the same if they were blown up to the size of a 50″ TV, but I was playing on a Vita and I found the graphics to have held up quite well.  Some of the animated cut-scenes leave a completely different impression than they did years ago.  The much hyped ballroom dance scene now seems completely unremarkable.

So, the game is still fun, but the story is still crap.  I was in the mood for a RPG, and this pretty much fit the bill.

Pros

  • Fun RPG game mechanics.
  • Lots of content.

Cons

  • Story is so, so bad.
  • Irritating, unlikable characters.
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 7/10
Length:  ~50 hours
System: Playstation Vita (PS1 Originally)
Genre: RPG

Tearaway

Tearaway_boxartDate Completed : November 22nd, 2014

When I was eight years old a kid in my third grade class gained some notoriety for his ability to fold Origami balloons.  He refused to teach me how on the grounds that “Origami is a secret”.  It must be one of the worst kept secrets of all time – a quick trip to the Library at recess was enough to get the instructions for balloons as well as myriads of other interesting things.  I came back to class triumphantly and demonstrated that I too now knew the secret.  His thunder was stolen and I reigned as the new coolest 8 year old.  At least that’s how I like to remember it.

Tearaway isn’t a game about Origami but it does involve a lot of folding paper.  Everything in the game from blades of grass to enemies to waves in the ocean has been modeled with virtual paper.  Various objects in the game can be further enhanced by using an in-game editor to create new paper craft objects of your own.  For example, when you enter the snowy area you create the snowflakes which are seen blowing in the wind.  You can also use the Camera at various points to take pictures of real-world objects that will be used in the game world.

Elk

An Elk that has been textured with a photograph of my wife’s beads.

The game itself follows the adventures of ‘Iota’, a messenger who happens to be made of paper.  Iota is on a quest to deliver the message to mythical creature called a ‘You’ (Don’t worry, I won’t spoil what a ‘You’ is.  You‘ll have to play the game to find out!).  Primarily your goal is to navigate your way through the paper craft world and help Iota deliver the message.

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That’s not a bow on my head, it’s a butterfly!

Playing Tearaway gives one the impression that it was a requirement that every piece of the Vita’s hardware was used in some way.  The most innovative use of the Vita’s hardware is how the rear-touch panel is used.  In set locations in the game world you can use the back of the Vita to shove your finger into the game world and interact with the environment (If you look closely at the box art you’ll see a finger holding up Iota).  It was quite a surprise for me the first time that happened.

It is impossible to lose the game.  If you fall off the level or are defeated by an enemy Iota quickly re-spawns at the previous checkpoint.  The game is already very easy, and without the threat of death it’s just a matter of taking the time to walk through the levels. It has been pointed out to me that Journey was similar in that respect, and now that I think of it Tearaway has a lot of similarities to Journey without having quite the emotional impact that Journey has.

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One of the many friends you make on your adventure.

My kids enjoyed watching me play Tearaway for short periods but the game wasn’t enough to hold their interest for long. They were mostly interested in ‘helping’ me create paper craft objects with the touch screen, or photo bombing pictures when the cameras were active.

If you look closely you might see my face and the top of my son’s head in the background.

One cool feature is that after taking a photo of certain objects in the game printable plans become available on https://tearaway.me. After finishing the game I printed off two black and white copies of the Iota plan for my boys to color in. I assisted in the Final assembly as it is a bit too complicated for a 5-year-old.

IMG_0784

Papercraft Iota

My final thoughts – I thought the game was too easy. The story was good, but I feel it could have been told in a more emotionally impactful way. The game relies too much on gimmicky interactions (such as a finger through the back panel) and not enough on core game mechanics. The paper craft visual ascetic is unique and interesting. The ability to create custom objects and insert pictures into the game makes each play through the game unique to an individual. There is a lot to like, and a lot that falls a bit shy of greatness. I would play a sequel (which I understand has been announced for the PS4) but I doubt I will play through this title again.

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I am the sunshine, the only sunshine…

PS – Somewhat unexpectedly, it turns out the day that I beat Tearaway was it’s Birthday!

Pros

  • Unique visual ascetics.
  • Makes full use of all the features of the Vita.
  • Bonus ‘Real World’ content unlocks as you play at https://tearaway.me

Cons

  • Not very challenging
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 6/10
Length:  ~3 hours
System: Playstation Vita
Genre: Platform / Exploration

LittleBigPlanet PS VITA

LittleBigPlanet_Vita_BoxartDate Completed : October 11th, 2014

I have been a fan of LittleBigPlanet since the original arrived in 2008. I didn’t have kids at the time so I was able to play the game enough to achieve one of my few Platinum trophies. LittleBigPlanet 2 was a similarly excellent game which my boys enjoyed watching but the LittleBigPlanet PSP game was severely lacking.  I was also concerned for the title because LittleBigPlanet Karting was clearly designed to push the DLC on customers, which was most unwelcome.  I didn’t have high hopes for LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, but the Playstation Vita doesn’t have a lot of choice when it comes to games so I popped it on my Amazon Wish List anyway.

My first impression of the game was that I believed it had crashed.  After launching the title I was in the familiar ‘Pod’ area that lets you select the world and map you want to plan on and none of the buttons worked.  It turns out that you have to TOUCH the world you want to play using the touch screen and traditional controls are completely useless.  I can think of no reason for this design decision except that they wanted the game to function as a tech demo of the Vita’s new capabilities.

Once you get into the game it plays almost exactly like LittleBigPlanet 2, with some Vita specific goodness thrown in.  Objects can now be touchable using either the touch screen, or the touchpad on the back of the Vita.  There are also levels that use the gyroscopes and you must tilt the Vita to move.  None of these additions feel particularly necessary but they did give my kids a chance to interact with the game while I played it.  If my kids were watching me play I’d put them in charge of the touch screen and they would move the objects around for me.

The game itself was very short (only about 6 story mode levels I think) but there were a lot more challenge levels than I expected.  Some of the challenge levels were individual, but quite a few allowed for multiple players (either with hot seat or networked) and some allowed for multiple players at the same time on the same Vita, such as an air hockey mini-game.  My boys and I enjoyed playing that one against each other a lot.

LittleBigPlanet is only partly about the packaged game play though, if you aren’t creating levels you aren’t really playing the game.  Sadly I really don’t have the time to engage in the level design.  I spent many hours creating levels in the first LBP but since my kids were born I really don’t have the time, or the mental energy to spend too much time creating or playing community levels.  That said, the interface looks much improved for level creators.  If I ever get the itch to create a level again I’ll probably try and implement it in this version of the game.

I started playing the game a long, long, long but I kept putting it down and forgetting about it.  The 3DS has had several fantastic titles such as Bravely Default and A Link Between Worlds that took precedence and combined with tendonitis, a new born and moving to a new home LittleBigPlanet was never a priority.  Why not?  While technically the game is as good if not better than previous LittleBigPlanet games it somehow lacks the charm of the original game.  The music wasn’t as memorable, the characters weren’t as lovable, and the story mode is short.  It seems that they are hoping for fans to get more involved in the community levels, and creation aspect of the game which I simply do not have the desire for at this time.

I don’t want to sound too complain-ey though.  It’s a great little game, and it was fun to play, even if it didn’t quite manage to re-kindle my feelings of love for the original title.  If you’re the type who is likely to get involved in creating and playing community levels, or if you’re just another sad Vita owner looking for something to play, this game is for you.

Pros

  • New Touch Controls
  • Touch Screen based Level Designer

Cons

  • Short Story Mode
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 8/10
Length:  ~6 hours
System: Playstation Vita
Genre: Puzzle / Platformer

 

When Vikings Attack!

Date Completed : February 7th, 2013

“A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine” – A Medieval Prayer for deliverance from Vikings

When Viking's Attack!

Vikings are awesome. Vikings are cooler than almost anything I can think of including ninjas, snow cones and brand new socks.  The best way to get me to buy anything is to either slap a ‘Final Fantasy’ label on it or make it vaguely related to Vikings.  Playstation’s Blog was publicizing the game heavily and they even ran a character design contest which I entered (and lost).

I was a little disappointed to find out the game has you fighting against the Vikings.  The game takes place in an alternate reality1970’s Great Britain during an invasion of (surprise) Vikings.  You play as the British citizens trying to repel the Viking hoards with whatever objects you can find to throw at them that aren’t permanently nailed down.  There is one button to throw the object you are holding and another button that performs a ‘quick-dash’ that can both steal an object from enemy vikings and help you avoid incoming attacks.  It is also possible to rotate the object you are carrying using the R/L buttons but I didn’t use this option except in rare cases.  After finishing the game I read online that spinning objects over your head can make them harder for enemy groups to catch but I don’t recall the tutorial mentioning this…that would have been nice to know.

Vikings Fleeing

Vikings running from a Phone Booth.

Game play is chaotic.  The goal is to knock out the groups of enemy vikings and to keep your group of civilians alive.  Your group of civilians is pitted against two groups of Viking invaders who are frantically picking up objects and throwing them at each other.  It’s difficult to keep your eyes on all of the action and I was often smacked by something I hadn’t been paying attention to.  Items like bombs periodically show up which can end a group of Vikings quickly.  There are also ‘super citizens’ which can make your group faster or stronger but in practice I found that they died fairly quickly and any benefits were short lived.7258894232_9eaa171125_oThe art style of the game is cartoony and family friendly so even though the game is fairly violent I let my boys watch as we played.  I told them we were scaring the Vikings out of town instead of committing genocide and they seemed to accept my explanation.  By the end of the game they had decided that Vikings are scary and it took some explaining to convince them that Vikings are in fact, totally awesome.

When Vikings Attack! is the first game I’ve purchased that has PS3 / PS Vita Cross Play capabilities.  The basic gist of it is if you purchase the game you get it on both platforms.  Using the Playstation Plus cloud saves my progress is synchronized between the platforms.  I played about a third of the levels on the Vita and the remaining levels on the PS3.  It’s nice to have the cross play feature available but the game is obviously meant to be on a larger screen.  When the action zoomed out on the Vita it was extremely hard to tell what was going on.  This is definitely a game that needs to be on the largest screen possible.

Single player is short and simple.  I suspect that multiplayer would be a lot of fun but that would other people to play the game with and I don’t know anyone else who owns the game.  I could have tried the random online matches but I thought it would be best if I avoided situations where I might use curse words in front of my kids.  The released an expansion ‘When Vikings Relax‘ a few days ago but I haven’t dropped the $4 on it yet.  I’ll probably pick it up eventually but right now I have other priorities.

Pros

  • Vikings!
  • Cross PS3 / Vita Play.

Cons

  • Best played on a large screen.
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 6/10
Length:  4 hours
System: Playstation 3 / Playstation Vita
Genre: Action