I've played this for a few hours (started world 3) and I've been having quite a bit of fun. The game has such a Mario structure it's pretty amazing tbh. Worlds with levels, each world ends in a boss stage/challenge, you collect trophies and Mario coins (there's on in each level) to unlock bonus levels and so on. So far each level is pretty short (though I sometimes have to try to solve them in a few tries in order to get the trophy and the coin) which is nice. I'm worried that the size will grow a lot which I'm not sure is a good idea. Each world seems to introduce a new element - again, very Mario-like - and I'm curious to see what new board elements pop in...
I think I spent about two hours trying to defeat the first (a first?) boss. It's the bird-guy - on the top. And that's it.
Maybe I should be playing on "easy" rather than normal - but, overall I haven't been that impressed with the game. I'm often confused by the art (and perspective) such that I either plunge to my death or miss an exit/path elsewhere.
The world is intriguing and interesting, it's definitely an exploration and slow discovery kind of game - but it really is slow. The progression hints at a lot of things, but those first few hours were super, super slow. You need something like 12 upgrade "thingies" to get an actual upgrade. But, they're shown as being completed 4 at a time. Sigh. That was a disappointment and a waste of time (visiting all the shops because I wasn't sure if I had an upgrade - but was maybe at the wrong upgrade shop).
There's underground dungeons and things that open and unlock - and it's the sort of game whose progression is neither linear nor completely open (zone-based? I get the sense you should be able to complete each large zone independently of the rest) But, it's super easy to second-guess yourself and then waste a ton of time trying to get something in another zone you don't need yet.
Lots if sighing and a fair amount of frustration with that boss - I was getting to the point where he as at 25% health before I'd die... I kind of want to finish that and then quit, but - what's the point really? (there isn't even a trophy in it, the trophies all seemed super out of reach)
I was really annoyed that after having had to clear space on the PS4 HD, I had to then wait overnight for a mandatory update to download and install (I also had to make extra space for that as well!). When games force the update it's because you want to go online and I just wanted to play the campaign.
I've since found out that, AFAIK, there is no campaign. This explains the forced update. I'm not usually one for PVP FPS games - especially for a game that's been out a while since I'll be far behind the curve. I was level 1 and the next lowest was someone who was level 33 or so. Wow. My guess is that levelling up results in more options and in-game advantages, so we'll see how long I stick around.
I only played about 45 minutes - that's a few matches - and was mostly overwhelmed and confused. I didn't know how to use my special abilities, what they were, etc. etc. The experience was "ok" - I get that I need to learn the levels and what not, but I wish there was an empty map mode or something or a tutorial for the characters. There are a LOT of them! (16?)
After poking around in the menus I think I found the "campaign". It seems like each character has a tutorial/story you can play - so I'll be doing that and see how much fun it is.
I finished playing this last weekend, enjoyed it and have an appreciation for a lot of the little things they did. Here's a few...
(a) There's a few moments where the game uses "press the button at the right time" to get you to move forward (there is even a fail state in the game! I died at one point which was a real surprise). They're not quite quicktime events - because you can - to an extent wait to coordinate your button press. They're of the bar with moving cursor, press button when cursor is in certain section of the bar. So, you do a few of these - it's ok. BUT, there is one moment when the event starts and as the player is about to press the button - the whole event is interrupted/cancelled because an NPC acts! It was a genuine surprise and a super cool moment. (an NPC jumped in and stabbed another NPC - I wasn't expecting it, obviously, and they used a dagger I had given them earlier!)
(b)There's an interesting "palate cleanser" in terms of how the story choices happen. Like most games in the genre there's a lot of scenes with two characters and you make choices for your responses and so on. So, the usual walking around locations talking to people there and doing things. BUT, there are moments where (usually when travelling between locations on a map - so, from village to village) you have to read paragraphs and then (sometimes) make choices. So, there's a combination of "choose your own adventure" style choices - read a paragraph make a choice and conversations with characters. I really enjoyed how it gave some variety to the pacing and mode of interaction.
(c) The game is split up into three books, each with 7 chapters. I don't know if this corresponds with the actual novel (3 novels?). But, it was nice to have a sense of roadmap - like how far this was going, what my progress was, how much time I had left, etc. To be fair though, chapters within the each book aren't equal in terms of length and while I felt that some chapters were "too long" I also appreciated those that were shorter. Overall I can't say how long the game is - but perhaps 2-3 hours per book sounds about right?
(d) The game has trophies and I was surprised by how the were distributed across the game. The large majority of them are concentrated in the first book with the last book only having 2 trophies (one is "finish the book"). I was also surprised that the game had "do X" for this trophy and "do the opposite of x" for trophy. I guess I find those annoying (requiring two playthroughs). I guess I'm now curious about what the "game design wisdom" is when it comes to trophies in games - how are trophies distributed over the period of a game's duration? Are there standard patterns that different studios use? Is everyone just coming up with their own strategy? Is there any research/knowledge about trophy design to increase retention, encourage players to finish a game, play longer, etc.?