Tag Archives: 4/5

Blue Toad Murder Files: Little Riddle’s Deadly Dilemma – Review

The four detectives players get to play as.

Blue Toad Murder Files in its entirety consists of six episodic downloads wherein one to four players assumes the role of a detective and solves crimes. The first episode, Little Riddle’s Deadly Dilemma is available for free on the PlayStation Network and my friend and I recently played through it.

Developed and published by UK based Relentless Software, Blue Toad Murder Files is a departure from what they’re known for: the Buzz! series. At the same time, they’ve used their experience and crafted a game that is fun with friends, cooperatively or competitively.

Set in a picturesque British village with banal villagers who talk in a nearly foreign tongue, to me (an American) Blue Toad Murder Files seems as British as it gets. But that’s part of the game’s charm. When it comes to detectives, Sherlock Holmes and the work of Agatha Christie are forefront in my mind, never mind that Hercule Poirot is Belgian…

Anyways, my friend and I soon witnessed the mayor of Little Riddle get shot and we began questioning the villagers attempting to find the culprit. Nearly every time we talked with someone they had a puzzle for us. We were supposed to solve these ourselves but we worked cooperatively. The puzzles reminded me of the ones I saw in Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Puzzles didn’t fall into one category and for all twelve of them we were asked to do something different. The difficulty was well paced and we had fun attempting to get the gold medal on each one.

The old lady provides a memorable recurring event.

Blue Toad Murder Files: Little Riddle’s Deadly Dilemma couldn’t be tackled in a free fashion; it was a guided adventure that gave us all the information it had and then tasked us with putting it all together and coming to a conclusion. I loved the setting and the character’s and dug the variety of the puzzles. It took us about an hour to play through and I suspect we might play through the rest. If that’s the case, expect another write-up over the game in full.

4/5

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The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure – Review

One of the best examples of GameCube to Game Boy Advance connectivity I'm sure.

Relationships are hard work. Cooperation is a requirement. If two parties can’t work together, there is no relationship, no way to reach a desired destination. Competition has a place though and no matter the type of relationship, competition will always rear its head. While these concepts can be seen as opposites, managing them is necessary to make any relationship last. Similar to Reese’s with peanut butter and chocolate, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure blended these two concepts together and it’s what I’ll remember most about the game.

Four Swords Adventure looks like A Link to the Past but it features effects only possible on the GameCube.

When my girlfriend and I began playing Four Swords Adventure I didn’t anticipate it would take so long to complete. Even with limited time, we saw it through and completed the game’s nine levels with plenty of healthy competition. Rather than the typical open, but linear format of most Zelda titles, Four Swords Adventure is broken into levels which are comprised of stages. Instead of accruing necessary items and then tackling a dungeon, each stage is a self-contained challenge combining puzzles and action.

Four Swords Adventure’s puzzles derived mostly from utilizing the four Links in a specific way. The puzzles weren’t very challenging, but I remember one in the final level which stumped us good. A lot of the mental work simply required us to position the four Links in a specific stance and then stand on a button or hit switches, not very tough stuff. Boss battles were interesting. The bosses represented a “greatest hits” of sorts, but some were slightly remixed to take advantage of the four Links and the use of the Game Boy Advance.

The game’s use of the GBA was clever, but ultimately its Achilles heel. Instead of controlling our Links with a GameCube controller, we had to plug in a GBA and use it. Whenever we’d enter into a building or a cave or what have you, that person’s Link would then be transferred to the GBA. This allowed each person to explore the screen and its contents individually while not hindering others. To play the game like this, it requires that each person have a GBA and link cable, which makes the game hard to recommend to those who don’t have at least some of these items already. Playing alone just requires a GameCube controller, no extra accessories. Without others though, the game doesn’t really merit a playthrough.

Princess Zelda and the six shrine maidens get captured by Shadow Link who leads Link to the Four Sword. When Link removes the Four Sword from its shrine he is split into four and the evil Vaati is released. As Link rescues the maidens and retrieves four special jewels, Ganon makes his presence known. The game took my girlfriend and me through many villages and we got a lot of back-story through NPCs and Kaepora Gaebora. As mentioned earlier, it was a lengthy game and well suited for bite sized sessions.

My girlfriend and I accomplished our objectives through a variety of ways, like sneaking around.

Link’s quest was familiar; rescue a bunch of something and overcome evil, but there wasn’t a detailed narrative to propel my girlfriend and I forward. Thankfully this driving force was replaced by the unique duality of the gameplay. It’s hard to recommend because of the requirements, but The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure is a noteworthy example of games that blend cooperative and competitive gameplay, a difficult relationship to manage.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure was released on GameCube in the USA on June 7, 2004. It was developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo.

4/5

Links (ha ha):

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure
Nintendo

OutRun Online Arcade – Review

There was a handful of Ferraris to choose from; unfortunately they all performed the same.

OutRun Online Arcade, a downloadable racing game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 won’t be available to purchase soon. It has already been delisted from PlayStation Network and will be delisted from Xbox Live Arcade in December. It’s the most recent release in the long-running racing series, although it’s basically OutRun 2 SP, a previous game in the series. It’s my first experience with the series however and I think it’s a fun racing game that’s not too serious. It was developed by Sumo Digital and published by Sega in April 2009.

OutRun is a series focused on driving Ferraris, and Online Arcade is no exception, which is also why the game is being delisted; Sega’s license with Ferrari is expiring soon. There are a handful of different Ferraris to choose from, but these seem like the most popular lot.

The stages look incredible, but it's hard to get anything more than a glimpse when you're driving so fast.

In the main gameplay mode, OutRun mode, I raced against the clock aiming to reach checkpoints to extend the timer. There are multiple, branching routes to take, another hallmark of the series, and I had to complete five in any order. Before each checkpoint, I had the option of taking a left route or a right route, leading me through different locations; all together totaling fifteen stages. Besides simply finishing, I was aiming for a high score; the faster I completed the mode and the more cars I passed, the better my score.

Besides, OutRun mode there was Time Attack, Continuous Race, and Heart Attack. Time Attack is just as it sounds: a race against the clock, unlike OutRun mode however, there is no traffic. Continuous Race had me racing through all fifteen stages in either OutRun mode or Time Attack mode. Lastly was Heart Attack mode. This was OutRun mode, but I had to do special actions that my passenger would request of me. After each checkpoint, I was graded on how well I did them. And as the title suggests there’s also an online mode, but I was lucky to find two other people online.

The Heart Attack mode added diversity to the package.

OutRun Online Arcade’s roots are in the arcade; as such the gameplay is quick-paced and great for short gameplay sessions. Whenever I played, I played a few races at a time, aiming to get a specific achievement. OutRun Online Arcade doesn’t have a lot of content to offer, seeing everything won’t take long, but I found the achievements to be challenging and provided enough incentive for me to replay the game often, attempting to shave a few more seconds off my best time. I think it’s worth checking out before it is delisted permanently.

4/5