The blog of a person....yeah that sounds good.

Monday, February 14, 2011

yeah you're all gonna be in this experimental film and even though I can't explain it

It seems like it was just a few months ago I was ranting about how Taito had run itself into the ground and Square-Enix was helping them do it. And how bubblebobble/bustamove had sucked hardcore for years thanks to half-assed incompetent gimmicky game decisions.

Well as it turns out, Taito (whom I assume only licensed this game and didn't help develop it in any form or fashion)have a new Bubble Bobble / Puzzle Bobble game coming out soon.

Puzzle Bobble Online. How about that? And wow, whoever is in charge of this didn't try to radically redesign the characters or enviroment from how they looked originally!
Behold the adorable trailer:

Even the bubble blowing machine is a 3d recreation of the original machine.

Obviously however, a trailer doesn't mean much unless the gameplay is good. After watching several videos however, I don't think that will be a worry. This entire game appears to be a very robust remake of the VS MODE that was always such a prominent feature in the old games. With the key difference now being that winning a match against others online allows you to purchase random doodlybops to decorate your avatar with.

(i really love how the bubbles jiggle when they hit each other)

This is pretty much exactly what they should have done with this franchise a long time ago. Honestly the last time they truly made Bust-A-Move / Puzzle Bobble better was when they introduced different sized bubbles with this title. That game is long forgotten though and I'm sure none of the very trippy characters that were in it will be appearing in this new more classic-style title.

So yeah I'm pretty happy.
The only thing that would be icing on the cake at this point would be a game-mode in the style of the original bubble bobble before it was a puzzle game where you and some friends get plopped into a randomly generated level with a bunch of enemies and try to kill them all within a certain time period.
But that's pretty much a whole separate game that will never get revisited.

Point is, I'm just happy that Bust-A-Move is back in an online PC format licensed by the original creators and being developed by people who are clearly fans of the originals.

I mean honestly how often does that happen? A game franchise being passed on to another developer who don't try to change it but manage to improve it?

Other than Bionic Commando and Donkey Kong Country Returns I just can't think of any examples.


Speaking of old game franchises coming back from the GREAT BEYOND, a long LONG time ago, Nintendo showed off a trailer to a Kirby game coming out for the Gamecube.
Other than a few meaty screenshots and a trailer, the game was never released. Not soon after, the Gamecube died after a long and difficult battle to remain relevant. And the wii emerged. Nintendo shifted the 'release' of the game to the wii and then quickly shut up about it. No new information came out after that. And it seemed the game was cancelled. The crew behind it and the engine donated to make the new Smash Brothers fighting game. All that remained was this ancient trailer for the game:

Years passed. Nobody cared anymore and it was safe to assume the franchise would remain on the handheld systems (the game boy advanced and DS) to somewhat preserve their 16-32bit charms.
Then last E3, Nintendo showed off "EPIC YARN" a new Kirby game for the wii. A fun wonderful game but also not a challenging game by any stretch of the imagination. Beautiful however with some of the best 2d animation I think has ever been done in a video game. Plus they managed to cram in enough extra crap to do so the game had a decent running time despite it's simplicity.
Logically, everyone assumed that the old Kirby game was shelved and restructured into Epic Yarn and that was that.

Well apparently everyone (including myself) were wrong.
Because but a little bit ago, Nintendo released a NEW trailer for the first game that was meant to come out some time ago. And it's clearly been remade from the ground up. And the gameplay, unlike epic yarn's very kirbydreamland123 style of play, is alot more reminiscent of Kirby Superstar and it's offshoots that we've been getting on the handheld systems the last few years.
Needless to say, I'm very excited for this:

I'm already liking what I see here.
Kirby games can generally be split into two categories:
platform and action.

Kirby's Dreamland series on the NES and GameBoy, Kirby64, Nightmare in Dreamland on the Advanced, Canvas Curse on the DS, and Epic Yarn all count as platformers. Fighting enemies is as simple as eating them and spitting them out. Powers gained from enemies can only be used in one way. Health values on Kirby and enemies are static. These games tend to be alot prettier graphically then their action-oriented counterparts. Goals are always simply to beat a level and get to a boss.

The action-based games however provide much richer gameplay. Kirby Super Star, Super Star Ultra, Air Ride, Amazing Mirror, and Squeak Squad all fall into this category. Generally they are not as "artistic" as their platformer counterparts. In these games, enemies are smarter and can usually take a beating before dying. Generally theres alot more routes through the levels with a bit of time-based puzzles thrown in for good measure. Alot of enemies cant be eaten and need to be avoided or hit with a power. Powers kirby gets usually have a whole list of alternate abilities that they come with.

The action based games usually rely more on humor and story and characters while the platformer ones usually relied more on telling a trippy story that often has some sort of bizarre horrifying finale.

But no Kirby game has ever really been both. It's always lead me to believe that there are two separate teams of developers at Hal Laboratory who make these, which is why the games always seems to alternate.

Hence why this new trailer has made me raise my eyebrows. I'm seeing lots of things that pertain to BOTH styles of Kirby gameplay. As if the two teams have come together to create a glorious amalgamation. Design-wise I'm seeing alot of callbacks to enemies and items from Kirby64 and the original game boy titles. Namely the floating mummies, the big one eyed yellow pit monster, the cappy mushroom enemies, greek-style architecture, spaceship crashed in the desert, and the curlycew logs. Lots of decoration in textures, leaves, grass and such. Plenty of eyecandy in both the background and the extreme foreground. How when kirby spits out a star made of multiple enemies he ate, it's a GIANT star being orbited by smaller ones.
However the gameplay appears to be more akin to the action titles. Powers with several different ways of using them, enemies that require several hits to kill, and kirby having a health bar more in the style of a fighting game.

Whereas Epic Yarn delivered something different, THIS looks like the game longtime fans of this franchise have been waiting for!

So in short: this entire blog post was made because I am happy that two games I've always loved (Kirby and BubbleBobble) are coming back in and looking better then ever.

King Dedede approves.


Oh yeah and the Aquabats have a new album out. They even went on tour with the guys who make Homestarrunner.

Oh and uh Happy Valentines Day I suppose?


nick said...

Awesome. I feel like i've played kirby to absolute death on the various nintendo handhelds.
I've been waiting months for epic yarn to be released in australia, i think only a week or two left.

I think the metroid prime series is another example of a reboot with the right balance of innovation and preservation.

Drattigan said...

It's Drattigan.
Long time no speak.
If you did, could you send it to me?
That'd be the best thing.
Love and love.