YES WE CAN HAS! (aaangyl) wrote,

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// Professor Layton and the Curious Village. /

~2PM Sunday: Buy Professor Layton!
~4:30PM Sunday: Get home
~6PM Sunday: Decide to "just try it out"
~9PM Sunday: Realize I've made a major strategic methodology error*, but decide not to start over to fix it.
12:30AM Monday: DS batteries die; sleep

~8PM Monday: Ok, let me just see if I can finish this chapter...
~2AM Tuesday: DS batteries die; sleep, dream of puzzles

~3PM Tuesday: Oh hey I just figured out how to solve that one I was stuck on...
~6PM Tuesday: I think I just beat the game
~6:30PM Tuesday: Hey, BONUS PUZZLES!
9PM Tuesday: 2 (I think) puzzles left to finish everything that offers points. Just under 5000 picarats (points)

* The error and my point count are vaguely related - the error was that I'd submit a guess rather than buying a hint to make the guess into a sure thing, and I'd guess rather than wander off to another location in the game. I think I might be up 50-100pts if I hadn't done that. Please note, though, I'm not a serious puzzle-head and I very rarely encountered a problem (except the river-crossing school) where I already knew the formula to find the right/best answer. I think this is what made the game so fun - I really did get to sit there and puzzle things out.

I really impressively suck at number-matrix and land division problems. There's a lot of uphill and paperwork involved in any of those for me. (It really stood out to me how very handicapped I functioned at those. I wonder what I could train in my brain to help that? You're gonna say sudoku and I'm going to beat you with something rusty.) I'm awesome at statistic-based puzzles (usually cards), and almost as awesome at geometry-based puzzles and chess-queen puzzles. For some unknown reason I Blinked almost all of the pitcher and weight problems and solved them lightning quick in the least possible moves. I'll try to solve things with math even when it's not necessary, and my explanations tended to be kinda negative space equivalents to their explanations ("he was counting all Xs" they say when I'd been thinking "he's taking the max total and subtracting Y") and I usually saw "the trick to it" before I actually got all the numbers or whatever moved in to the right places, as opposed to having a solution emerge before me from my scribbles.

I have been developing immense affection for the DS as a puzzle game platform. The ability to basically have a 'scratch sheet' right there on my game, for taking notes (Zelda) or doing math or drawing diagrams or whatever, is really a huge win for me. HOWEVER care must explored on the part of the developers to avoid things like the MATCHSTICK DOG where the "correct solution" is conceptual, but the actual execution could reasonably be quite varied. There are few things more frustrating than knowing you have the correct conceptual answer, but losing maxpoints AGAIN and AGAIN while you fumble around to match the specific thing the system wants. (If we followed the historic trail of this frustration long enough, we'd eventually wind up back at one of the reasons I didn't like taking part in the education system, despite the fact that I tended to test well.) This didn't happen just in the dog, but also in some of the outline the shape problems. Also in some cases I had "stylus typos" and hit "submit" instead of "clear" with a CLEARLY incomplete solution, and it took it and deducted me anyway. That's probably more my issue than the dev's issue, but it might have been nice to be able to turn on an "are you sure this is your answer?" option for puzzles with that type of solution entry.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this game. I liked that it included puzzles that actually made me feel like I was thinking, and I'm still enjoying the dopamine buzz of the set of increasingly difficult endgame and bonus puzzles I ripped through this evening. The minimal plot was just right, the graphics were better than I expected or would have required, and there was a good mix of puzzles needed to progress the plot as well as optional puzzles that didn't impact the plot progression. The stylus, for me, makes things that encourage/require deep exploration more pleasant - the traditional method of walking characters to things and clicking on them got tedious fast, but tapping around the screen in search of 'hidden' things didn't feel like it hindered me much at all. I also like the fact that it includes a place to put in a password you'll obtain IN THE NEXT GAME to unlock more stuff. I haven't tried the weekly game downloads yet 'cuz the DS doesn't want to like my network security, but that's a great value-add.

[EDIT: Final score 5138. I'm cool with that.]
Tags: games, reviews

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