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    Mar 4th, 2008 at 02:15:50     -    Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS)

    GAMEPLAY
    In my second run of Professor Layton, the same game design plagued my character. However, I was getting more and more frusterated by each puzzle that came up. I almost always had to use at least one hint in order to solve it, which really just makes me, the player, feel more stupid. However, there is a great sense of completion and success whenever I can solve a puzzle without using any hints.

    So far the narrative in Professor Layton has been pretty boring. Some lady lost her cat, and now I'm being forced to chase it. Along the way, I find a bunch of people who have seen it, but will only tell me where the cat is once I solve one of their ridiculous puzzles. I hope the story progresses in a more intense way, or I may not be able to remain optimistic about this game.

    DESIGN
    Design in this game is extremely innovative. The overworld is simple enough I'm sure so that the programmers did not have to much work, but it also makes the gameplay extremely easygoing for the player. Each puzzle has its own unique feel to it, which makes it a lot more like a wario ware game than an actual puzzle game.

    Level design is very mist like. You are given a drawn background and must choose which directiont to go. It has no character movement, other than that, and is given to us in a kind of first person camera mode. This makes the game very easy to navigate, and also easy to find new puzzles.

    Rewards in this game are very minimal so far. There are promises of more luxurious rewards once you progress further into the game, however I have not been able to see any large rewards 2 hours into it. Every now and then, for clicking all over the screen, I find a bonus coin which can be used to give me hints in the game, but it sometimes seems like thats a lame way to give out coins. The game is great so far, as a Nintendo DS game, and works well on the console as something that someone can just pick up and go, but for the long haul, it certainly doesn't pay off.

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    Mar 4th, 2008 at 00:52:50     -    Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS)

    SUMMARY
    Professor Layton and the Curious Village is about the great mind of Professor Layton, who travels with his young apprentice Luke. Together, they have been called to a city to investigate a case by one of the princess-like ladies. As Professor Layton, you are well known as a person who loves to solve puzzles. Your apprentice, Luke, is just learning the basics and would also love to be a puzzle solver. The end result is a game where in order to progress, you solve a variety of puzzles one after the other.

    GAMEPLAY
    Professor Layton is quite the amusing game. Perhaps one of the funniest aspects of it is that the world makes such a big deal out of puzzles. I suppose that since this game revolves around puzzles, it makes sense that it is the primary way to progress...However, if you even want to do mundane tasks such as crossing a river, you must solve a puzzle.

    The characters in this game for very likable. Professor Layton and Luke are fun characters who you root for the entire way through. They meet a wide array of characters and character designs. From the fat and short to the tall and skinny, each character has their own unique look and feel that makes the game seem very open ended. They also each have their own personalities, which brings an added depth to the gameplay design.

    Flow through this game seemed very straightforward. The agents give you a task, and you pursue it. The game tends to give the player hints if they are moving in the wrong direction. This forced game play makes the game linear, but still fun to play.

    Lastly, there are the puzzles. Each one has its own unique way of solving it, and is typically very different than the last. One of the more interesting things about the puzzles, is the game tells you the background story behind a puzzle and whose culture it may be from. This makes the game not only educational, but also informative and interesting.

    So far Professor Layton is proving to be a fun game, and I can't wait to see what adventures lie ahead.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 00:33:19     -    Katamari Damacy (PS2)

    GAMEPLAY

    It is only fitting that as I write this gamelog entry, I listen to the Katamari Damacy soundtrack. Which is what I am doing… The music in Katamari Damacy is amazing! Most of the songs are in Japanese, which doesn’t make too big of a difference, as they are all very catchy. Katamari games have always been known for their music, and the original has a very mixed amount of music that just makes me very happy when I hear it.

    It’s funny. When I booted up this game tonight to finish up my gamelog, my housemates and their friends all came into the room, ready to watch me and this game’s silly antics. They were all familiar with the game, and ready to watch in amazement of just how pure of an idea it is. As we gathered in, we all reminisced about our first times playing this game, and how weird it was to people watching, but how great it was for the player. We agreed that although it may not be a game you can sit down and play for hours on end, it certainly is a game you can come back to over and over again with small game times.

    DESIGN

    When the King of Cosmos sends you to earth to roll up Katamari, he intends for you to roll them up to use as stars. This is how each level is broken up. You are rolling a Katamari per level to create a star, or, in some cases, create a constellation. This is a great level design, as they can say that some stars are brighter and bigger than others, and that is why your Katamari will vary in size.

    One of the more interesting ways of creating conflict in this game is the way your father, the King of Cosmos, treats your player, the prince. He is extremely mean, and almost always disappointed in you. This makes the player want to make their father happy, by constantly trying to make the Katamari as large as possible.

    Dabadaba! I’m so in love with youuuu. I want to roll you up into my life. Lets lump up to make…a single starrr, in the skyyyyy.

    Sorry, need I remind you the music is VERY catchy!!

    Anyways, on to other things. One of the largest complaints I have about Katamari Damacy is that this game is really doing the same thing over and over. There is little variance in its actual gameplay mechanic, making it difficult to play for a long time. Which brings me back to my point in the last paragraph, that this game is not meant to be played hours on end, mostly because it is very repetitive. However, for $20 (its starting price in the US), it was a game I certainly could not turn down, and one that has been a golden “star” in my collection.

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    Feb 20th, 2008 at 14:42:42     -    Katamari Damacy (PS2)

    SUMMARY

    Katamari Damacy stars a prince, whose father, the King of all Cosmos, accidentally destroyed all of the stars in the sky. The King sends you to earth, armed with a device called a Katamari, which has the ability to roll over and attach to itself anything that is smaller than its current size. This is a third person game, using the Playstation 2 controller’s two thumbsticks as its primary control mechanism. The goal of each level is to roll up enough objects into the Katamari so that it reaches a certain size in the time limit given.

    GAMEPLAY

    Where Katamari Damacy excels can be its ultimate downfall with many consumers. Katamari is a game with an oddball storyline and an even more crazy gameplay style. Many normal consumers would be turned off by the silly idea of playing a character who can roll up random objects. I, however, was not. I found the games sense of humor and wacky ideas both refreshing and appealing. This was a game that originally was never intended to be released in the United States, but because of its large popularity at game developer’s conferences, they decided to make it a limited release. Many US Playstation 2 owners were glad they did.

    Perhaps one of my favorite things about Katamari Damacy is its sense of size. In early levels, you begin by rolling up small items: thumb tacs, paper clips, etc. As the game progresses, you slowly work your way up. In my first play session, I got my Katamari to over a meter in the third level, and was rolling up small home animals such as cats and dogs. This sense of how large the world is makes the player more willing to continue to keep at the mundane task at hand.

    Another unique thing about Katamari Damacy is its artstyle. Everything in the game is extremely blocky, a gamble of an artstyle in a world where people prey on games with next gen graphics and flashy effects. However, although simple, its artstyle compliments the games silly gameplay ideas and even more bizarre storyline.

    I have finished the first 3 levels so far and can’t wait to experience more Katamari!

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 20th, 2008 at 18:28:54.

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