Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
I wanted to finish up Returns first before diving into this game, but I decide, screw it, I'll just fire this puppy up anyway. And man, am I ever glad I did. As much as I enjoyed Returns, I think I have to say at Tropical Freeze is the better game. I do wish I wasn't regulated to DK in single player but the added abilities of the other Kongs grant me are a tremendous asset, even if I have grown far too dependent on them. Having Dixie's twirling hair for extra hang time makes me realize how much I've missed her. Cranky Kong long sits on the sidelines and while I do miss his hilarious chatter, he does a great Scrooge McDuck pogocane impression.
The levels are a marvel to look at. Once could argue that from a visual standpoint that it's only a touched up version of Returns, but Tropical Freeze's environments are still nonetheless jaw dropping. The Lion King inspired level in World 2 had me stopping to take in the scenery on multiple occasions.
The difficulty is on par with Returns from what I've played thus far. I'm a little ways into World 3 and I dread anytime I have to jump on a mine cart. There was one level in world 1, I believe where the level was being created as I was riding the mine cart. Collecting KONG letters in mine cart levels are the worst because you almost always have to flirt with death to get one or more of them.
I cannot praise the music enough in Tropical Freeze. As I said in the latest version of Favorite Tunes, I liked Kenji Yamamoto's work on Returns but I am LOVING the compositions David Wise wrote for Tropical Freeze. I didn't mind screwing up my first attempt on World 1's boss because it allowed me to hear that rocking battle theme one more time. Nintendo will probably release a soundtrack for Tropical Freeze for Club Nintendo members. In Japan, of course.
If I were to compare the three platformers I've been playing on the Wii U thus far between Super Mario 3D World, New Super Mario Bros. U and Tropical Freeze, I'd have to say that 3D World is the best of the lot, but Tropical Freeze is still a solid romp. Whenever I'm at work, I can't wait to finish up so I can go home and plow through a few levels, which for me, is an indicator that you've got a game that is more than just good.
Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)
I picked this up around Christmas time in 2012. I have no idea why I waited so long to start playing this as it really is a shinning example of why the 3DS is the best thing to be gaming on right now. Being a game developed by Masahiro Sakurai, Uprising has controls that only use a few buttons and as a result, is super simple to play. For the most part. In the air, the game controls so fluidly. On the ground, the controls aren't terrible by any means but Pit doesn't move with the same grace he as most characters in third person action games. Turning pit around can be a pain at times, especially when under attack by enemies from behind.
Only four chapters in and I am already loving the characters and voice work in this game. Pit is a brave, if brash, naive hero under the guidance of Paluntena, who, despite her goddess status, isn't above having fun at Pit's expense. Getting Cree Summer to voice Medusa? The casting director is a genius.
Uprising also has plenty of nods to the games that came before it. The Grim Reaper, one of the most annoying foes from the first Kid Icarus returns and acts just as he did in the original game, going insane upon being attacked. Even the music that plays when striking the Grim Reaper plays, much to my great annoyance.
Code of Princess (3DS)
Another game that I had sitting on the shelf, unopened for quite some time. But this one didn't stay sealed for a year or more, so, hey, that's something, right? Right? I've never played the original Guardian Heroes but from what I hear, this game can be seen as a spiritual successor to it. There are loads of characters but my favorites are Solange and Ali. Solange for her strength and Ali for her speed. Speaking of the characters, the lot is in this game are a very likable bunch. Despite her less than modest attire, Solange is herself a very humble, kindhearted princess. The voice work is also very well done and has me looking forward to the dialogue in between battles just to see how the characters will interact with each other.
Still Playing: Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS), Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)