I played this over two weekends figuring that, as a smaller indie title it wouldn't take too long (or that I'd bounce off because it was too hard or something like that).
I really didn't like the feel of the controls - things didn't feel all that responsive and the dodge/roll didn't feel effective, the strong attack took takes too long to little (perceived) additional effect, etc. And toggling between the different special abilities was really annoying in moments of stress - i really would have liked to map the powers to other buttons in addition to the regular switch from one power to another. Once you have more than three, it becomes a chore to quickly go from the healing ability to, say, the thor ability.
BUT, I LOVED the art. The game is essentially fancy boss fights with beautifully animated hand drawn bosses (think old school disney or Don Bluth style) OR "not too challenging" exploration of cool environments. Here's what I thought was most interesting:
a) Most of the game is narrated in a scandinavian/nordic language. (I'm not sure which, to be honest - my first hunch was Norwegian, but maybe it's Icelandic?). This was such an interesting experience. I very rarely play a game in a language I don't speak, and even if I do it's usually one of a select few (e.g. it's Japanese). I don't know why I enjoyed this part of the game, but kudos to the devs for NOT having the narrator speak in English. Yes, there were subtitles, but with the whole Nordic theme, it just made the experience better.
b) The bosses were hard. Hard, as in it took multiple attempts. BUT, I enjoyed the fact that there were two curves at play with (pretty much) all the bosses. First, there's the "me getting better at what I need to do for this fight" curve. Second, was the "learn what the boss does and how it operates". This one was learning it's attack patterns and then figuring out what the best/good strategy for each boss was. I really enjoyed this part (except Odin, because I tried something - it didn't work, then read online that you could do it, and discovered the timing was really odd, and was only then able to take out Odin and finish the game).
c) Before you fight the final boss (Odin) you walk past a hallway full of busts of...real people. I don't know if it's game devs or Kickstarter super-funders? Anyways, there were lots of them. It was neat, weird, a bit unsettling. Also, so many dudes!
d) The game uses the camera really well to create moments of awe (panning back to reveal a faraway vista), but also communicate gameplay - in the Odin fight the camera pans back when one of his spears is approaching you. It's subtle in many places, but well done. Some of the boss fights got a bit tougher because of this (camera pans back really far, you're really small, and you need to dodge even smaller things) like the electricity during the lightning boss fight.
I played this over the course of several weekends to much enjoyment. I had heard good things, but I was again pleasantly surprised even though it took me a bit to get a handle on the feel of the shooting.
A few of the more surprising things (to me):
a. There's so much world building that it's really quite impressive. Most of it happens through little notes, letters, newspaper clippings, etc. you find in the environment. Since the game takes place in the 60s, these things fill in the gaps between the regular end of the war (mid 40s) up until the in-game present. You don't find them in chronological order and also, as an added touch, you occasionally run into new clippings that reflect/comment on things you've been up to as a player (e.g. prisoners break out, which is something you just did)
b. There's an amazing scene in the game that takes place on a train. You're disguised (as in, not fighting/shooting) and a high-ranking Nazi officer and her protege/close colleague force you to sit down and quiz you. They're basically of the opinion that they can tell if you're aryan or not based on some questions (and your response/reaction to them). Obviously it's a bad idea to be found out to not be nazi/aryan in this context. It's incredibly tense and interesting as a player as you try to figure out what the correct (most aryan?) answers are - when there really isn't anything to go off from - and the questions seem rather innocuous as well. I think this was by far my favorite moment in the game.
c. The game has an interesting progression system in which you can permanently unlock perks/buffs/bonuses for performing specific kinds of actions. I unlocked a few "by luck" - but then noticed what they required and it was interesting to try to adapt my play style in order to unlock a few more (they're also connected to trophies, which is a clever additional incentive). So, they really want to encourage you to play stealthy, direct, use grenades, etc. It often happens to me that I don't like/understand a certain item/weapon and so I never use it - being able to "get by" otherwise. Here I was explicitly incentivized to try out new things and I enjoyed that. I was playing on a difficulty level that made it really hard (for me) to engage succesfully with a lot of the run'n gun style - but once I lowered the difficulty (towards the end of the game) I was able to get more of these down.
d. After finishing the game I went into some older levels to pick up missing collectibles and that sort of stuff. I purposefully set the game to the lowest difficulty and it was AMAZING. By this point I was really comfortable with the shooting and such, and being able to run through levels taking out enemies quickly and efficiently was really rewarding. I basically got the most out of my learned skills and the super easy difficulty.
e. I was surprised by the hub area (safehouse) and all the different characters - I was neat to see how much work went into making them more interesting than I expected. I mean, the game is still either a really well-produced B-movie action flick or, perhaps like a Tarantino movie? (I haven't watched Inglorious Bastards in a while, but it has a bit of that vibe).
f. So many different and wildly varied locations! Submarine, weird underwater Jewish temple(?), Lunar base, sewers, prison, etc. I just couldn't believe how zany and wild the game kept on getting in terms of the locations and how different they all felt (experientially).
I guess the big question now is should I go ahead and play the other (more newer) games at this point? New Colossus and the other one...Youngblood? So tempted, but also I have so many other games on the list...
OOoh, this one has been a pleasant surprise. I think I'd describe it as a puzzle game in which you manipulate elements in the world to get characters who automatically move around in it to the end (while also picking up required items along the way).
I completed the entire first "world" - and I was surprised that the puzzles weren't necessarily super easy/straightforward. I guess I was expecting less difficulty due to the (imagined) target audience?
I started the 2nd world and the difficulty ramped up a fair amount as new characters (that have different abilities/effects) also kicked in. I got a bit lost here, but mostly because the levels are much larger and you have to pan around to see them all. There are also some new interactive elements (elevators) that you also need to figure out.
It's a surprisingly solid design - I liked how it extends the "usual" puzzle games in which you set everything up and then watch it go (hopefully correctly) with some minor interactive elements (you have to tap on a button to launch a minion up, or to open/close a door/floor).
I really wanted to enjoy this but I simply had too much trouble with the controls and my lack of understanding what I was supposed to do. I died at the first(?) boss, wasn't able to revive and then the game started all over - including all the cut-scene style introduction with the different Iron Man characters chit-chatting. That's when I decided I was "out".
To clarify on the controls - most DS games either required touch-screen or had it as optional, so - two control systems in place at the same time, choose which one you like. Here, as far as I could tell, I had to use both (which is complicated with me being left-handed) and they didn't seem to work all that much.
When you die, there is a cool little mini-game wherein you can "revive" yourself. It has something to do with aligning 3 circles (iron man's energy thingie in his chest), but I beat the first one by random chance and couldn't figure out the 2nd one - or the 2nd time it happened. Sigh.