Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What I'm Playing - 3/24

Murdered: Soul Suspect

I loved this game. I had really low expectations going in. Reviews mentioned a terrible stealth aspect, which seemed like the sort of frustrating gating element that makes me give up on a game. In practice, the stealth wasn’t horrifyingly difficult as much as it was just boring and mildly tedious. It was present occasionally but not constantly. That left me pretty free to enjoy the game.

The setting turned out to be very cool. It’s the ghost of the older city superimposed on the present day, lending it the appropriate feeling of inhabiting two places at once. A present-day graveyard has the memory of a plague hospital grafted on top of it. Modern city streets have old buildings collapsed onto the sidewalks. Just as you walk through walls, living humans will walk right through the city’s history, completely unaware.

The plot was enjoyable and the player-solved mysteries were the right balance. With games like Phoenix Wright, there’s sometimes a bit of Adventure Game Logic you need to go through before you can reach the totally obvious conclusion. In Murdered, you tend to reach the conclusion through a small dose of consequence-free trial-and-error, but you can move on as soon as you figure out the answer without needing to get coached through every minor step of logic. Plus, there’s a Sassy Teenage Girl Sidekick and you can possess cats to jump up ledges. The final confrontation was a little anticlimactic, but the joyous reunion promised at the start of the game came through and left me with a nice sense of closure.

Disney Tsum Tsum

I’m not a big fan of Disney cartoons, but that doesn’t stop me from playing Tsum Tsum obsessively. I guess “Tsum Tsum” refers to some new toy line featuring the cute disembodied heads of Disney characters, because the game is a Match-3 featuring those characters heads. Like Marvel Puzzle Quest, you can collect more characters to up your score, and’ as you use those characters they gain XP, boosting your score even more. Unlike almost every match-3, the board is not a strict grid and is a loose collection of circles that shift around and fall unpredictably. It’s a nice change of pace, but by the time you’ve screwed up another match chain because it was ambiguous which pieces are “adjacent” to each other, you’ll probably understand why most games settle for the boring grid.