The Horrible Gamer #008: The British Pinch

The one thing that has always intrigued me about the PlayStation Vita, and this may sound shallow, is the hardware design itself. This is the sexiest portable gaming device available with an even sexier screen. I managed to hold off on purchasing one until very recently, but after I finally upgraded to PlayStation Plus, I quickly succumbed to the next Vita price drop I came across. Free games fill a platform nicely, but really the Vita doesn’t have a killer app, so now what? I’m still figuring that out, but having fun doing it.

Sound Shapes

Beautiful without the sound, brilliant with the sound.

I’ve spent most of my Vita time with two games. First off, Frobisher Says is a charming Warioware-ish experience with a British sensabilities and humor. Not only has it been fun to play, but it’s also a fun way to show off all the control options that the Vita has, namely that back touch screen. Once I tired of Frobisher taunting my lackluster performance, I switched over to Sound Shapes. A music-centric 2D platformer. The platforming itself is pretty standard, but the art style and integration of the music is what sets it a part. Playing the story mode focuses on collecting items that add instruments and notes to the background music, that builds into a full song by the end of the level. Surprisingly enough, you can also create your own levels, which skyrocketed the replayability quite a bit.

Sound Shapes, like a few of my other purchases, is actually playable on the PS3 as well, but there are some experiences that just feel better on a handheld, and that’s where the Vita’s library is definitely growing. Beyond the expanding PSN library, I was also surprised to find out that the Vita already supports streaming game content from the PS3 itself. While the buttons can be a bit sketchy for some games, the fact that I was playing Tokyo Jungle and The Last of Us on my Vita was kind of blowing my mind. Gimmicky, yes, but my first weekend with my new handheld was exceedingly positive.

Finally, I was really happy to finish up a live playthrough of Super Metroid. If I had to guess, it was the first time I had beat the game in at least 6 years, and it is as good as ever. I do remember the bosses being a bit tougher though, only Ridley put up a fight. That doesn’t matter too much though, as I lost all credibility in how I finished the game. Not only did I only end up with slightly over 60% of the items collected (I guessed 85%), but I put on the absolute worst example of how to escape the planet. It’s so bad that it is perfect and something I could never repeat if I tried. I literally took every wrong turn, stumbled at every minor puzzle, forgot all of the bonuses, fell at the exact worst moments, and still had a chance to win until Samus herself intervened and would not allow me to call it a victory until I tried again.

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