Friday, July 22, 2016

Metroid Prime Blast Ball Released

Out of nowhere Nintendo released Metroid Prime Blast Ball to the public yesterday and I'm having a blast with this game (pun intended)! I discovered it last night and it was so fun and addicting that I stayed up until 7AM, which is quite unusual for me.

And this is great advertisement for Federation Force. Despite being a Metroid fan I wasn't really excited about it (understandably) and didn't even have this on my radar at the moment, but Blast Ball plays so well that I might give it a chance now. The fact that I'm almost exclusively playing on my New 3DS right now, also helps, but it's a good move from Nintendo's end.

At least Nintendo of Europe's end. The way I understood it for North America is that there the game is only a demo and if you want to keep playing, you have to buy Federation Force. In Europe it seems to be a standalone game, where they completely separated both titles. And I prefer this, because Blast Ball makes perfect sense as a small download title that you can play in between, without swapping any cartridges. In this form I will play it certainly a lot more, because it's quick and easy to access. And since I like Blast Ball so much, I still might give Federation Force a go now.

The gameplay itself is very simple, but hard to master. I guess, most people will compare it to Rocket League, but as an old Unreal Tournament fan it feels more similar to the Death Ball mod for Unreal Tournament 200x, only more grounded. And these matches can get very intense and exciting, where scoring a goal feels really satisfying. I especially like, how the goals get smaller after every score, because this makes it easier to catch up for the losing team, which result in more suspense for the overall match.

It could use some more fine tuning, though. The blaster runs out too quickly for my taste. I understand, why there's a limit, but I once too often couldn't score a goal, just because my blaster was on cooldown. And it's not like the small blasts are that great, it's just limiting and a way to have you charge as long as possible. And the ejection power-up is way too overpowered, the game probably would be better without it. A Missile Pack power-up would have been nice instead, where you get three fast and strong shots without charging.

There is some other stuff that needs to be improved as well...

  • The 3D is horrible. I already think that the 3D in Majora's Mask 3D looks too flat, but Blast Ball has like two layers. Even some paper fold book gives you more depth. It's like with the Wii U GamePad. The closer we get to the NX, the more Nintendo seems to abandon the 3D effect, instead of endorsing it. I still keep the 3D on, because it helps with judging the battlefield. It would just be better, if it had some real depth to it.
  • There is no online friend mode. You can only play with random people and that's completely stupid. Last night I was skyping with a friend and we both played the game sharing commentaries, but we couldn't play it together, which was really disappointing. This needs to be added.
  • There is no black list. Probably the most important feature from Tri Force Heroes isn't as desperately needed here, but I still saw people playing goal keeper for the enemy team or just trying to be "funny" in creative ways. And then I should be able to say "Squadala! You're off!"
  • When joining a new game, you might get many error messages first. Probably similar issues to Tri Force Heroes here.
  • Inactive players stay on too long. One team might be stuck with a player, who does nothing, or games can't start at all, because the host is idle. This in combination with the constant error messages can make it quite difficult to find a game.

But I do like the international aspect with the pre-set voice recordings in multiple languages. You can even alter the pitch, where the high and low pitch voices sound really funny. "Gooood joooob!" But you also get the foreign speak, where it shows you the translated message in the HUD, which gives you a nice sense of playing with people all over the world. Tri Force Heroes certainly didn't offer this...

I also like the "Indigo vs. Gold" theme over the traditional "Blue vs. Red" and the visual readability of them game is very well done. Even when switching sides I never have any orientation issues. Only the health meter could work better, because it flashes red, whenever you get hit, even if it is minor damage. It stays red, if you're in danger, but these flashes make you also believe that you're in danger for a split second, which is confusing. They just should add red effects around the crosshairs instead.

Well, if they fix some of these issues and keep the game up for free, I will certainly keep playing it for quite a while. Look out for "Tourian".

No comments: