Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Adam: My experience with Monster Hunter is very limited, so I can’t speak on any major changes made. I was impressed with the methodical gameplay though, it seems like it could really reward planning in the full game as each piece of equipment offers such varied strategy and execution. For example, we were put up against a large velociraptor-like enemy and while we did decently, only dying once and rarely losing sight of the enemy, we didn’t manage to take it out in the allotted time. It’s unfortunate that this was only a demo so we were unable to go back and re-think our strategy. It reminded me a little of Dark Souls, with my character being a slow, lumbering man, though he was mercifully able to jump down cliffs to better traverse the map. There was also a great mechanic that allowed me to charge my weapons, a sword and shield, and combine them into a giant axe that delivered a devastating combo of attacks. Seán: I played about a hundred or so hours of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on the 3DS, up to the point where I was average at the game and had some grasp of the more advanced methods. One of the things that put me off of 3 was the lack of online multiplayer in the 3DS version, something that is going to save 4 for me. After all, the friends that slay together, stay together. I had a go at one of the new weapons – the insect glaive – which is both a glaive and a weapon that fires insects. It also allows you to catapult yourself into the air, land on a monster, and then stab it in its stupid face/back/body. With many, many attempts at mounting the Great Jaggi we were facing, I did manage to do it once. It was spectacular and then I fell off because I didn’t do something right. The insecty part of the weapon let me fire off a scent at an enemy before releasing a flying insect to collect the scent, fight, and then return the scent to me as a buff. I didn’t really manage to get the intricacies down to a T, so I managed to get some buffs but wasn’t fully aware of what they all were. There are also some vertical elements to the landscape – which we were told were very important as you could climb things and jump off of things; but my ineptitude for the series after such a prolonged period meant that this all really didn’t seem to affect how I played or offer anything tactical to my playstyle. All it really did was let me make a few jumps that looked pretty cool and climb up a wall which took a little bit too long considering we were chasing a monster. It’s still Monster Hunter 3DS as you knew it, this time with online multiplayer, so it’s worth it even if you get it just for that. I’m sure the rest will take a lot of learning for me to really notice the impact verticality has on the game, but it’ll be at least another 50+ hours of it before I get an inkling as to what it may be. Moon Chronicles
Adam: Moon Chronicle is a 3DS remake of the DS cult classic first-person shooter Moon. Aiming is wonderfully responsive thanks to the touch screen, creating really natural movement. I really enjoyed the puzzle and level design, especially when I had to use a small robot to get through narrow areas to open up new paths. It was very reminiscent of Metroid Prime, in fact. My only complaint would perhaps be the actual shooting. The gun swung all over the place when I shot, and I couldn’t really tell whether or not I was hitting any of the floating enemy orbs until they blew up. It became frustrating during combat, a real shame considering every other element was great. Seán: I loved Metroid Prime: Hunters. I think FPS games suit the stylus really well and I’m not bad at aiming with one. That said, Moon Chronicles has lots of small flying enemies, so I did miss quite a few shots. The fact that weapons mostly don’t have finite ammo is pretty great in that regard. It’s a shooter with interesting weapons and equipment, a great control scheme, and lots of story. It does also have save points so you might have to give it a break occasionally, just so you don’t wear yourself down if you die a few times. It’s because of that that I didn’t get too far, as I played a fair few minutes; but after replaying the same section once and then dying a second time, I didn’t want to go through it again. The moral of the story is: save your game when you make any progress. It has the same sort of exploration as Metroidvania, where sections of the map will be locked off until you defeat the bad guy/get the weapon/find the equipment that lets you progress. It means lots of hauling yourself from one place to the next and back again but, with so few FPSs that follow that formula, it’s nice to get another one in the genre again, especially for the 3DS. Siesta Fiesta
Adam: Siesta Fiesta is the polar opposite of the other two games: A cute aesthetic over a simple but intense puzzle game. I controlled a bed in which a man slept as a ball bounced off the poor bugger’s belly and up into slowly moving blocks. I could do two things: Move the bed around to better place the ball’s attacks, and increase the strength of said ball’s bounces. Though the level I played was fairly basic, the game’s ruthless charm more than made up for it. I could easily play this while in bed myself, and let it drift me off into my own Siesta Fiesta. Or I could challenge myself to increase my score. It’s a very versatile game in that way. Seán: One of my favourite games that I played at the event. Basically a side scrolling Breakout game with pretty art and an importance for twitch reflexes. The demo was in fact the whole game, so every level was unlocked. There were a hell of a lot of levels to choose from but I began with one early level, one early Boss, the the last level and final Boss. Playing through in that order, the only times that I dropped the ball was on the final Boss. It’s exactly the type of game that I could easily lose myself in. Bouncing a ball against blocks, watching it ricochet off and speedily trying to move the bed to bounce it yet again. I find it immensely satisfying and the use of stylus to touch screen is a far better system than controller or mouse in my opinion; as you are directing the exact position of the bed rather than just moving it side to side with vague inputs. What sets it apart though is the boss battles. The first one had a swinging piece of meat which you had to use as a pendulum to entice crocodiles to open their mouths. Once their jaws were open, you smash them up big time. It was nice to knock teeth out but it took a while to get the meat swinging correctly. Also the developers are looking at a sub £5 price tag, and considering the sheer amount of levels that are in the game, I can safely say that I’ll be picking it up on release.