76 (edited by Mezzopiano 2016-01-01 05:40:10)

Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 31: Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)

It's the end of the month, so I've tried to make this one an important entry. Never Alone is a puzzle-platform game based around the folklore of the Iñupiat people of Alaska, made in collaboration with them. As such, it's not just a game but also a look into that culture.


In this game,  a young girl named Nuna and her arctic fox companion head off on an adventure to discover the source of a blizzard that threatens their way of life. Considering the type of environment the Alaska Native peoples call home, this is a rare case of the whole game taking place in an ice world. On their journey, Nuna and Fox encounter many characters from Iñupiaq stories. Some will help, others will hinder their path.


In order to survive, Nuna and Fox need to work together to overcome the many obstacles in their path. Help comes in the form of friendly spirits that Fox can summon, most of which can be used as platforms by both characters.


You'll also need to use Nuna's bola to break ice, and often you'll need to react quickly to the many threats in the Arctic chasing after you.


There are many types of environments that the two go through in their journey, and naturally, snow and ice are prominent in all of them. Despite this, they do manage to be quite distinct from each other.


In this case, you'll need to avoid the auroras which will try to snatch you away. Death comes swiftly should you make a mistake, but usually you won't be sent back very far. With enough persistence, Nuna and Fox can defeat their foe and find the source of the blizzard together. I actually haven't finished this game yet, mainly due to the aforementioned little room for error.

And, that's all for 2015. See you next year!


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Here we go again~

Day 1: Freezeflame Galaxy (Super Mario Galaxy)

Super Mario Galaxy is Mario… IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE~! It’s weird to think that this game is almost 10 years old now. It’s basically the same as a standard 3D Mario game, except with more stars and planetoids that have their own gravity.


The Freezeflame Galaxy, much like Hailfire Peaks, has both fire and ice elements in it, though it leans slightly toward ice. This is a weirdly common combination. The first mission takes place on the icy half, where Mario has to climb a frozen peak and defeat Baron Brrr.


Along the way he’ll find some ice ball enemies that freeze on contact, ice platforms he can skate across, and cold water that causes damage if he tries to swim in it. This also introduces the Ice Flower powerup, turning Mario into ice and letting him create ice platforms to skate across the water with.

The second mission takes place on the lava side, and reintroduces the Fire Flower which allows Mario to throw fireballs to attack enemies and light torches with. Then for the third mission, you combine both as the hot and cold sides come together.


It concludes with a skate across some floating ice platforms in midair. Some of the platforms are ice while others are lava, but Ice Mario is too cool to be bothered by that and can skate across them regardless.

Also like Hailfire Peaks, the ice and fire versions of the level music are variations on the same theme, and both have a cool, relaxed feeling to them.

Just like last year, I'll be posting these on my Tumblr too.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 2: Azure Snow Land (Rabi-Ribi)

Rabi-Ribi is a game about a bunny girl named Erina, who is accompanied by a pink-haired fairy named Ribbon (not the Kirby 64 one). Together, they team up and do cute bunny girl things with various other cute girls around. More seriously, it's a Metroidvania-type platformer with a bit of Touhou influence.


Erina is here to look for more magic users to help her uncover the mysteries of the Stele, and discover what changed her from a rabbit into a human girl. It's a cheerful snowy place with a little bit of water around. Ribbon complains about the cold here, but not enough for her to actually change out of that skimpy outfit.


Constantly hounding her are assorted fangirls with fake bunny ears who want to capture a real bunny for themselves. Thankfully, they're not too tough, and a good hit with Erina's squeaky hammer or Ribbon's magic can take them down.


Heading further into the tundra brings you to Aurora Palace, a very pretty ice castle. There are more bunnygirls here, plus some lights that are hostile to you for whatever reason.


At the top of the palace you meet Nieve, a girl in a bear costume who wants to play with Erina.


Well, for a given value of "play". It's more like "wants to spam bullet hell attacks at you." She's pretty powerful too, with aurora lasers, homing snowflakes, and beams of icy light among other things. Beat her down enough, and she gives in and agrees to help. She also mentions that her sister Nixie is around, and asks Erina to help find her.


Guess what happens when you do. I lost to her and decided to give it a rest here, because Nieve had given me enough trouble for one day.

Have some music too. The Azure Snow Land theme is cheerful, while the Aurora Palace music is more subdued.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 3: Lake Bresha (Final Fantasy XIII)

Final Fantasy XIII is the thirteenth or something game to have "Final" and "Fantasy" in the title. It's one of the more futuristic-type fantasy titles in the long-running franchise, and the beginning of the Fabula Nova Crystalis ("New Crystal Legend") verse. The setting is split between two worlds, Cocoon and Pulse.


After a fateful duel with the fal'Cie Anima, the building it was housed in was jettisoned into the waters of Lake Bresha. Anima saved itself by freezing the whole lake solid. Oddly enough, the game goes out of its way to never use the word "ice" in this level, instead referring to the lake as "turned to crystal". Well, crystallized water is just ice, so who cares. It's an ice world.


Lightning and her allies have been marked by the fal'Cie, turning them into l'Cie. This grants them the ability to use magic, unlocking the full potential of this game's battle system. It also gives them a Focus: a task that they must complete. If they succeed, they are transformed to crystal. If they fail, then they become the shambling horrors known as Cie'th.


Neither seems like a particularly happy fate. Compounding this is that the group doesn't even know what their Focus truly is. All they have is a vision of a horrifying beast and a name: Ragnarok. Some of the group think that their task is to save Cocoon, while others believe it is to destroy it.


As they progress through the frozen lake, they eventually come across Serah, Lightning's sister and Snow's fiancee. Serah has already fulfilled her Focus, which has trapped her in crystal stasis. Snow tries to free her, but Lightning says they don't have time to spare. They decide to part ways, Snow staying with Serah while Lightning flees.


Lightning knows she needs to move quickly, as the military is hunting her and her friends down. As Pulse l'Cie, they are literally branded as enemies of Cocoon, and the government will stop at nothing to hunt them down.


Of course, with their ability to use weapons and magic RPG-style, they have little trouble breaking through the military blockade.


Eventually, Lightning comes to a ruined city, which allows her a chance to escape. She's not sure where she can go, but she'll find some way to change her fate. Meanwhile, Snow is also assaulted by the military back where he stayed behind. He fights them off, and then a mysterious pair of beings appear: the Shiva sisters, Stiria and Nix.


If he can prove himself against them in this trial, he gains the ability to summon them and have them transform into a cool ice-powered motorcycle.


Unfortunately, you don't get to use this for a long while, as the story follows Lightning's group and it'll be some time before Snow rejoins the party.

Also, I can't talk about an FF game without talking about its music. Lake Bresha's theme is surprisingly upbeat, considering the circumstances.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 4: That Cold Place (Ittle Dew)

Ittle Dew is a small game about an adventurer named... Ittle Dew. While on her travels, she happens across a particular island and, as adventurers are wont to do, decides to explore it in search of adventures, puzzles, loot, and things she can hit with her stick. It bears quite a bit of resemblance to a certain other series about an adventurer who fights puzzles and gains items. It's not Zelda, but... it'll do.


If you can pick up 400 gold from the island's central castle, the friendly shopkeep Itan Carver can sell you, among other things, an ice wand. Well... sort of. Actually he'll just launch you to That Cold Place where the wand is. And yes, the game literally calls it "That Cold Place". After completing a few basic puzzles, the wand is hers.


This cold place appears to be a tomb of some sort, judging by the scenery and the spooky ghost enemies around. The ice rod doesn't work on these guys, but Ittle can whack them with her stick just fine.


Other ghosts you simply have to run from while trying to complete puzzles on the fly. Most of the puzzles here are based around fire and ice. You can use the ice rod to put out fires or freeze pushable blocks, allowing them to slide across spikes. Meanwhile, you can also set your stick on fire to shatter ice blocks and burn flammable objects.


At the exit, Ittle encounters the tomb's guardian, the Lichious Turnip. It attacks her for... some reason. To beat it, you have  to use the ice rod on the walls to make them reflect his magic back at him.


This sets the turnip on fire, allowing you to use the ice rod to cool it off. Repeat the process 3 times and the thing is dead. Or undead. Re-dead? Whatever. The point is that Ittle can move on to more adventures.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 5: Ecopoint: Antarctica (Overwatch)

Overwatch is the fancy new game from Blizzard Entertainment that everyone is always talking about. And of course, with a name like Blizzard, it's only natural that the company would have snowy environments in its games. It's an FPS that plays similarly to Team Fortress 2, but with a more diverse cast of characters who each have their own special abilities. The Ecopoint: Antarctica map is actually one of the newest added to the game, and is specifically for a new duel mode.


Duels here are either 1v1 with randomly selected heroes, or 3v3. For this, I mainly went with the latter since that gave me an opportunity to practice with the hero most fitting for this month, Mei. She's an ice user through and through. Her main weapon is an endothermic blaster that can freeze enemies and shoot long-range icicles.


And she is so. adorable. Seriously, look at her. While I do technically main her, I'm not actually all that good since she's rather difficult to play. Her skillset is more focused around incapacitating enemies and blocking them off than dealing damage, but it's easy to get kills with her icicle gun if you freeze an enemy first, or if you're a really good shot.


In addition to the freeze gun, she has the ability to create ice walls to block off enemies, and to seal herself in a block of ice to become immune to damage and recover health for a brief period. This makes her pretty self-sufficient compared to other heroes, but I didn't exactly feel safe. When her ultimate is charged, she can deploy a weather drone to cover an area in a freezing field. Unfortunately, since the matches here are rather short, I didn't get a chance to use it.


Unlike in the main game, here each team member has only one life per round, and the first team eliminated loses. Usually, if one of your team goes down, the rest will soon follow unless you can pick one of the enemies off. Things didn't go all that well for me, as while I won a few rounds I was often the first to be killed, usually by some stupid thing like forgetting to ice block.


This map is small, but has a lot of nooks and crannies for people to hide in, and attacks can easily come from any direction. It leaves you feeling a bit paranoid. As mentioned above, matches are quick, but tense. Staying in touch with your teammates and working together can mean the difference between victory and defeat.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 6: White Park Zone (Sonic 4: Episode II)

Sonic 4 is a downloadable Sonic game that hearkens back to the glory days of Sonic, when hedgehogs were real hedgehogs who ran through loops like no other, when you could listen to Genesis synth music instead of the lyrical songs most modern Sonic games use, when you could completely break the game balance by using Super Sonic in every area and... wait, what? Sonic has green eyes like in his modern design? Never mind, this game is ruined forever.


More seriously, the second episode of Sonic 4 has a lot of improvements over the first, including updated graphics and the addition of Tails as a following character. The levels are designed with both Sonic and Tails in mind, and they have new abilities where both characters team up. White Park Zone is the second zone of the game. I could have used it for my night level month too, but I decided that that had enough Sonic already.


This is an old amusement park covered in ice and snow. For Act 1, "Snow-Blind Wonderland", you're mainly running through the snowy areas. In some places there are snowdrifts that you have to break through using Sonic and Tails' dual rolling attack.


In others you can find snow streams that cause a snowboard to spontaneously appear beneath your feet, continuing the long tradition of Sonic snowboarding through ice levels.


Act 2, "Sonic Coaster Rails", takes place on a wooden roller coaster track. This one doesn't have as much ice as the previous act, and is pretty high-speed as you run across the coaster paths. Some of the wooden platforms will move and try to crush you, so being quick is essential.


Act 3 is "Labyrinth at Absolute Zero" and is rather different than the first two. This act takes place mainly in icy caves filled with water. Sonic can't swim of course, but Tails can, and he's happy to carry Sonic along. The main threat here, besides drowning, are walrus robots that will freeze big spheres of ice around themselves.


The zone concludes with a high-speed boss fight against Metal Sonic on the coaster tracks. He's not too hard since you get a steady flow of rings as you run, but you need to watch out for the attack where he destroys pieces of the track, since falling off will kill you in the blink of an eye.


Once Metal is dealt with, the zone is finished. The Act 1 and Act 2 themes are cheery, while the Act 3 one is much more somber.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 7: Cavern Zone (Magicmaker)

Magicmaker is a fun little sandbox game where, as the name implies, you're able to craft your own spells. It's got a cute papercraft art style and lots of possibilities for unleashing magical destruction. There are literally millions of combinations available and many different ways to totally break the game. The plot is rather light and silly, and involves you being hired as a wizard security guard for a local magic college.


I actually went and made a bunch of new ice spells specifically for this day. All of them use the Evercold Ice component, which slows enemies and can freeze them completely if applied strongly enough.


This is an icy cavern area, naturally. The maps are randomly generated each time you play, so each run is a little different. Usually you start at the top and have to head down. Enemies around include frozen gargoyles which unfreeze as you approach, giant snowballs that split into smaller snowballs when damaged, and anti-magic crystals that drain your mana. The first spell I'm showing off here is named Crystal Rain, and it summons a barrage of shards that fly every which way and split into more shards. Enemies defeated also drop mana crystals.


Second is Frozen Orb, a small orb that erupts into an explosion of frost on impact. I added fire and lightning components to this too. This level has a lot of destructible ice you can (and usually need to) take out with your spells. The fire from this spell obliterates it in the blink of an eye.


Wand spells are weaker, but have no mana cost. This is quite helpful for when the antimagic crystals have drained all your mana. This one is a beam that freezes enemies and knocks them back. I had intended to use this mainly for getting enemies away from me, but it actually ended up being a powerful weapon as sending enemies flying into the wall deals a lot of damage.


My robe has a few passive effects on it as well, including an ice shield that absorbs damage, and a water shield that reflects projectiles. The hockey stick hovering near my character serves a purpose as well; it increases maximum mana with each kill.


Venture deep enough into the cave, and you can find the horror that lurks within. It's not happy to be awakened, and would like nothing more than to chew up some uppity wizards.


Unfortunately for it, a few casts of Crystal Rain reduced it to dust rather quickly, especially considering the small space for the battlefield. Once it's defeated, the portal back to the school opens, and you're free to return.

84 (edited by Mezzopiano 2016-12-30 22:17:46)

Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 8: Mesos (Owlboy)

Owlboy is the story of a, well, owl boy named Otus, and his adventures in a world in the sky filled with floating cities, ancient owl relics, and sky pirates. It's not exactly a platformer since Otus can fly, but plays rather similarly to one, with some shooter elements as well. Otus is good at flying, but doesn't have much in the way of attacks. Thankfully, you have allies you can carry along who are equipped with their own weapons.


After riding a lava serpent through the upper reaches of the Floating Continent, Otus crash-lands in this snowy place. Mesos is named for the mesosphere, the coldest section of the atmosphere, and certainly looks the part. Shortly after you arrive, you gain a new friend, a spidery fellow named Twig. Unfortunately, this draws the ire of one of your other gunners, Geddy.


Twig used to work with the pirates, and Geddy isn't happy about that. He decides to leave the party, but Otus and the ex-pirate Alphonse welcome Twig to stay with them. While Twig is carried, he can fire webbing pellets that stun enemies, and can use a grapple to dash forward.


The grapple is very necessary here, as there are strong winds that Otus can't fly through on his own. Apart from that, though, there's not much around aside from ice and a few staggered enemies. Combined with the soft music in this area, it really gives off a feeling of emptiness.


Keep going, and you can find Twig's house. Visiting his family reveals that he's not actually a spider, just a stick bug that likes dressing up as one. Twig's father and brother are somewhat happy to see him again, and relieved to find he's not working with the pirates anymore.


Speaking of pirates, you find out that they're making their base here not long after, and this has Twig worried for his family. Otus decides to infiltrate the base and see if he can stop their operation.


You first have to take a detour through the lower levels Strato and Tropos, then come back up to reach the pirate base. A little bit of sneaking around, and you'll find their dreadnought parked here.


Otus, Twig, and Alphonse decide to board it in secret, hoping that they can stop the pirates once and for all.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 9: Ice Cream Factory (Kirby: Planet Robobot)

Kirby: Planet Robobot is what happens when the developers of Kirby look at their series and say "You know what this needs? More giant robots." Thankfully, this turned out to be a pretty good idea, since it combines the excellent gameplay of Triple Deluxe with a more mechanistic setting. Kirby's home planet is invaded by the Haltmann Works Company and their robots, and it's up to him to stop the mechanization of the world.


Most of Overload Ocean is, as the name suggests, watery, but Stage 4 is a detour into a cute little factory that creates ice cream. The Haltmann company at least has good priorities.


Well, sort of. Ice cream is a lot less appealing when giant cones of it are trying to crush you from the background. The floor here is mainly made out of slippery popsicles. Ice Kirby has no problem skating across, but any other ability will have him slipping around.


The giant ice cream cones are pretty easy to avoid if you're paying attention, since they have a long windup time before they fall. Apart from that, you can find lots of Chillies, classic Kirby enemies that grant the Ice ability when inhaled.


This is necessary in some places as there are fire blocks you can cool using an ice or water-based ability. Water Kirby sadly isn't in this game, but Parasol can be used to clear these out too, since it flicks a few drops of water off the umbrella.


Later in the level, Kirby acquires a mech of his own, and it can copy the Ice ability too. Doing so gives it a pair of huge cooling fans that can blow icy wind and freeze enemies. Like with normal Ice Kirby, frozen enemies become ice cubes you can kick to hit other enemies with.


You can freeze other things too, like this ice cream man's head. Return it to his body, and he'll reward you with a few pickups. In some cases you have to carry the heads over heated platforms, so you need to coat it in a protective layer of ice cream first. After a few of those, the level ends, and you're returned to your regularly scheduled ocean area. Also, have some music. Frosty Ice Cream is pretty simple, but catchy.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 10: Iceborn (Warcraft III)

I'm no stranger to showing off mods or custom levels in this month, certainly, and today's entry is one of the most extensive mods I've ever seen. Warcraft III is arguably more famous for its many, many different custom maps and mods that completely change the gameplay style than as an RTS. Two whole genres of games (Tower Defense and MOBA, specifically) pretty much sprouted from maps people made for this game. Well, arguably they started as Starcraft mods, but it's Warcraft 3 that refined them into their current form.


This mod isn't either of those, though; it plays more like an action-RPG. As a newly created Iceborn, a being that can control ice, you are thrust into the world of Frostsky to seek your own advancement in power. With a custom-designed UI, different powers and abilities, music and voice work, and pretty much everything onscreen being imported models, you can hardly even tell this is the same game.


I'll note that these screenshots aren't from me: my PC wasn't being cooperative today. Most are from the Hive Workshop page, where you can also get the map. Anyway, you play this map as the Iceborn, as previously stated. There are quests to do, items to acquire, and enemies to slay with your ice magic. Unfortunately, it's also rather difficult.


Leveling up comes through collecting power spheres rather than killing enemies. One wrong step though, and you can easily be slain. Actually, that's what happened to me when I tried to run through this today, since I ended up getting a bit outnumbered. There's no second chances either; you have to use your saves carefully. This is probably why I've never gotten very far in this map.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 11: World 5 (Yoshi's Woolly World)

Yoshi's Woolly World manages to be a spiritual successor to Yoshi's Island and Kirby's Epic Yarn at the same time. It's got Yoshis, yarn, and adorableness in spades. Gameplay wise, it pretty much plays the same as Yoshi's Island, with a few adjustments. Yoshi can still lick up enemies, and now he throws yarn balls instead of eggs.


Even looking at this place on the world map tells you it's gonna be snowy. And yes, I got a screenshot from every single stage here. This one was a long run.


We start off with "Fluffy Snow, Here We Go" where there are giant snowballs to push around and ice blocks that you can break with them. Later on you find some fire watermelons (firemelons?) that Yoshi can swallow to spit fire, which melts the ice. Getting all of the yarn spools in a level nets you a new Yoshi pattern to play with. After a lot of trial and error, I managed to pick up Alpine Yoshi from this stage.


Second is "Frozen Solid and Chilled". This one introduces ice melons which let you breathe frost to freeze enemies. Frozen enemies can be kicked to hit other enemies, much like in Kirby. There are also a few fish that spit streams of water to send Yoshi flying.


5-3 is "Flying Carpet Cruise" and pretty much exactly what it sounds like. What are flying carpets doing in an ice level? I haven't the slightest clue.


5-4 is the halfway point at "Big Montgomery's Ice Fort". It's got a lot of tilting ice platforms that you slip on, and once you're finished with that, you have a rematch with the midboss Big Montgomery.


To beat him, you have to wait until he pushes up the ice blocks on the floor, then slam down on them to flip him over.


5-5, "A Little Light Snowfall", is a bit of an understatement since the gimmick here is huge snowdrifts that fall when you walk on or attack them. You can also challenge some Shy Guys to snowball yarn ball fights.


5-6 is "Up Shuttlethread Pass". It's almost entirely vertical and centers around these temporary platforms which move all around. It's easy to get lost in too, and you'll set yourself back if not careful.


5-7, "Snowy Mountain Lift Tour", echoes those Mario courses based around lift platforms. There are a lot of bottomless pits here, so you need to stay alert as you jump from lift to lift. It's easier for Yoshi than Mario, since he can swallow the Bullet Bills and flutter jump.


We conclude with 5-8, "Snifberg the Unfeeling's Castle". This castle has icy Snifits that can freeze you, plus big ice blocks that move seemingly of their own will. They can quite easily crush you, so you need to stay on top of things, in some cases literally.


I'm not sure what kind of title "the Unfeeling" is for a boss, but Snifberg himself is actually pretty tough. That big ice block around his head protects him, so you first need to knock him into the spikes on the sides of the arena. It takes three hits to do so, so stocking up on yarn balls is important.

I'm not going to link every single song used in this world, but here, have the Fluffy Snow, Here We Go and Frozen Solid and Chilled themes.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 12: Kur (Axiom Verge)

If Ittle Dew is Not!Zelda, then Axiom Verge is Not!Metroid. This game tells the story of a scientist named Trace who finds himself lost on the alien planet Sudra, and seeks to figure out his purpose in being there and how to return to Earth. It also has quite a bit of surrealism on its side. Gameplay wise, as mentioned above, it's basically a 2D Metroid game without the female protagonist.


Well, this area (named Kur on the map because all the areas on this map have nonsense names) sure looks surreal all right, but not  really icy. If you look closely, you can see a little snow falling in the background.


The higher you go, the more snow there is, until things start looking like a proper ice level. I've already beaten this game, but not completely, so today's adventure was about exploring around and following the classic Metroid-style hunt for additional pickups.


After a quick detour through a small cave, I happened upon a new addition for Trace's Axiom Disruptor: A reflector whose shots bounce off walls.


It might not be the most effective weapon, but it sure is fun to play around with and watch the shots ricochet around.


Also in Trace's arsenal is the Address Scrambler, or the "glitch gun". Hitting enemies or certain objects with this causes them to glitch out. Yes, this game is weird enough that glitches are actually part of a gameplay mechanic. Depending on the enemy, this can alter their AI, lower their defenses, or just change them somehow.


At the top, you can find an entrance to another area called E-Kur-Nah. I opted not to visit there, and instead just tried to explore the map as much as I could. I also happened upon a few story documents and upgrades. I'm not going to try to explain this game's story, because I don't think I could if I tried.

What I will do, though, is link the music. It's called Cellular Skies, and is quite peaceful.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 13: Hoth (Star Wars: Jedi Academy)

Yes, it's another Hoth level. What can I say, there are a lot of Star Wars games and a lot of them revisit key locations from the movies, like Hoth. Star Wars: Dark Forces IV: Jedi Knight III: Jedi Outcast II: Jedi Academy is the last game in the Jedi Knight trilogy, or the Dark Forces Saga. The first three games star the Jedi knight/outcast Kyle Katarn, and this one stars Kyle's student Jaden Korr, who attends a, well, Jedi academy run by Luke Skywalker. This takes place after the original trilogy, so it's been voided by canon since The Force Awakens came out.


When a mysterious Sith cult appears and starts draining Force power from sites, Luke sends his students off to places he visited in his journey to see if the cult has drained those as well. Jaden is sent to Hoth. You'll notice that this game hasn't aged all that well, and in particular the draw distance here is awful. And, as you can see, you have the opportunity to ride a tauntaun.


Shortly after landing, Jaden finds Imperial Remnant Snowtroopers here, so something is clearly amiss. Technically this game can be played as an FPS, but let's be honest, who wants to do that when you have a lightsaber and force powers around? It's not as fancy as The Force Unleashed, but it's still quite easy to cut these guys to ribbons. I also had Force Heal to help keep my health topped off.


You even get to fight a wampa at one point. Why? I don't know, because it's there. And because Luke fought one. Probably. You may notice the "Saving game 'quick'" at the top of the screen in all of these shots. Yeah, for whatever reason the Steam version of this game has the quicksave and screenshot functions mapped to the same key.


As you approach Echo Base, you can even find the remains of the shield generator the Imperials blew up in the movie. The front door is shut, but you can find a secret way in if you look around enough. What do you find in there?


More Snowtroopers! Yaaaaay! After dealing with several rooms of these guys, you come across a cultist who's extracted data from the base's records. Now the cult knows that Luke went to Dagobah to seek out Yoda after leaving this planet. The Force energy that was once here is now gone as well.


In the old hangar Jaden meets the Sith apprentice Alora, who isn't happy about Jaden interfering with her plans. They fight, and after you defeat her, she flees, but says that they will meet again. Mysterious. Still, Jaden got what she came for, so the mission is a success.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 14: Sierra Morena (Guacamelee!)

Guacamelee! (exclamation point included) is a very bright and colorful game. When agave farmer Juan sees El Presidente's Daughter captured by the villainous Carlos Calaca, he attacks but is swiftly defeated. After happening upon a mysterious mask, he dons it to become a true luchador! With help from Tostada, the mask's guardian, he teams up and sets about saving both the worlds of the living and the dead from Calalca's evil. It's one part Metroidvania, one part brawler, and 100% Mexican.


So my Spanish is a bit rusty, but I believe this area's name translates to "Brown Mountain". You'll notice that I prefer playing Tostada over Juan, and that I've also got her in a fancy suit, borrowed from El Diablo himself. This reduces max health but causes your attacks to steal health, which is a totally unfair (in my favor) trade-off.


The theme of this area is wide open spaces. To reach la sierra, you need to have the ability to run up walls with the Goat Climb (it's called that because the guy who teaches you is a goat). You'll put it to use quite a lot here. But then again, a lot of the walls here are slanted specifically to prevent you from using it there. You can't just get a free pass, after all.


Also in this game is the sort of dual-world gameplay you'd see in something like A Link to the Past. In the world of the dead, the mountain looks mostly the same, except the sky is green and the snow floats upward instead of falling down. You can shift worlds at the touch of a button.


And sometimes you need to in order to get past. These vines here only appear in one world, so you'll jump between worlds to avoid them while wallrunning. It requires extremely precise timing to pull this off.


Combat wise, your moves are mostly wrestling moves, naturally. You can pull off suplexes and piledrivers and all kinds of sweet moves. It's also possible to channel the power of your Aztec ancestors and enter Intenso! state for more damage and power.


That said, I didn't actually participate in much combat here, since this area is focused more on the platforming half of the game. Once you get the Goat Fly, which lets you fly off walls in the opposing direction, you can move further up to the summit. Once again, the journey isn't exactly a cakewalk.


At the peak, you can then fly to the Great Temple, where Calaca awaits, and where the fate of both worlds will be decided.

Naturally, the music in this game es muy Mexicano as well. Have a listen to the Sierra Morena theme.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 15: Land of Avalanches (Half Minute Hero: The Second Coming)

On day 30 last year, I showed off the first Half Minute Hero, so it's only fitting that I showcase its sequel for day 30/2. Half Minute Hero: It Only Has Second In The Title For The Pun has all of the same gameplay mechanics as the first. The Time Goddess is back, and this time she's recruited a new, angstier hero to her cause, beating up Evil Lords and saving the world from destruction in 30 seconds.


The Evil Lord in this quest drops an avalanche on the hero (who, like in the first game, I named Forte) right from the start, separating him from his allies. Thankfully, he doesn't lose his equipment last time. More avalanches pass by at regular intervals, and you'll be pushed backward if you're caught in one.


I'm a bit overleveled and overequipped for this, but all that amounts to is just a higher starting level. Forte still needs to get some grinding done in order to defeat the evil lord, and he has to find his lost allies as well. The first step is asking around in the various towns.


One of them mentions a strange snowman they saw. Once you go to it, you can rescue the lost Rina. If you complete a quick sidequest, you can also pick up Magma Armor which gives you immunity to avalanches.


Once you have those, it's off to the Evil Lord's castle.


He doesn't really have any tricks up his sleeve, so beating him is a simple matter of just attacking until he dies.


There's also another quest after this one that takes place in a frozen castle. If you thought those RPG slippery ice puzzles were tough before, wait until you try them with a 30 second time limit. Thankfully there are a lot of Goddess statues here that can reset the clock. Just don't run out of gold!


The castle has three floors, and on the second you meet Forte's rival Yashu. He's not happy to see you, but level grind enough and you can easily swat him aside.


Then you can reach the Evil Lord Lamde at the top. He's tougher than Breeza, but not invincible. Defeat him, and the world is saved once again.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 16: Ice Rink (HuniePop)

HuniePop is the match-3 dating sim that's yet another game that proves you can get something interesting out of mashing up two unrelated genres. You start off as a lonely guy or girl who meets the love fairy Kyu, who sets you up to seduce many different women using your sexy puzzle skills. While this game can get quite lewd, there's no need to worry here since this level is firmly on the SFW side.


Well, sort of. One of the places you can take your dates to is an ice rink, which probably makes this the most "barely qualifying" ice level I've ever done, and I probably wouldn't have included it if it didn't have really nice music. Here I've brought the alien girl Celeste over. She hails from a very cold planet, which is why she's totally okay wearing that shameless Slave Leia bikini here.


Your goal is to meet your date's affection score in a limited amount of moves. The pink Passion tokens raise your multiplier, the cyan Sentiment tokens allow you to use items for bonuses, and the red, orange, green, and blue tokens all raise affection. Each girl has a preference among these, and for Celeste her favorite is Talent (blue) and her least favorite Flirtation (green). You also don't want to match the purple Broken Heart tokens, which will make you suffer a penalty.


Getting through a date successfully requires a lot more strategy and planning than, say, Bejeweled, even if the base gameplay is pretty similar. Every move counts and you want to set up big combos and chains, while staying away from those Broken Hearts. Nabbing extra moves at every opportunity you can is important too.


Unfortunately, since I was playing on the creepily named Alpha Mode, this date didn't go well for me. There's no real penalty for failing a date, and you can just try again tomorrow. Successfully completing dates builds up your relationship level, and each one also unlocks a picture of the girl.


Here's one of the more SFW ones, of Celeste in her starship.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 17: Snowpeak (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)

Twilight Princess is the Legend of Zelda game starring Adult Link that everyone thought they wanted, but when they actually got it they bashed it for being too much not enough too much like Ocarina of Time. More seriously, it was originally released on the Gamecube and Wii 10 years ago (which makes me feel old) and rereleased in HD this year on the Wii U. And with that, what better chance is there to go and revisit one of the series' most extensive ice worlds?


Even getting near Snowpeak tells you it's going to be a very cold place. The first time you visit, there's a huge blizzard and you'll get lost without a way to navigate through it. This comes in the form of the Reekfish scent, which you can learn as Link's wolf form.


The deep snow that appears as you climb up the mountain is difficult for human Link to walk in, but wolf Link can handle it just fine. Along the way up he'll be menaced by White Wolfos, which are more feral-looking than in past games to match Link's own form.


You get a really nice view of things from the top. You can also find one of the howling stones here, which allows Link to learn a new sword technique. Keep heading up and sliding down, and eventually you'll make your way to the Snowpeak Ruins, a frosty old mansion. It's unclear exactly who once lived here, though whoever they are they seem to have an interest in warfare. Now the house is inhabited by two friendly yetis named Yeto and Yeta.


Rather than getting a fire weapon here as is typical for Zelda, you pick up the Ball and Chain, which you can use to smash up ice blocks. When you try to take the Mirror of Twilight shard that Yeta holds, its dark power transforms her into the Twilit Ice Mass Blizzeta. Unfortunately, as far as I know there's no way to rematch bosses in Twilight Princess, so no Blizzeta screenshots for you. Thankfully, once you break her ice shell with the Ball and Chain, she goes back to normal.


Once you beat the dungeon, you can race the yetis down the mountain on a leaf. Link gets to show off his cool snowboarding skills and try to beat them to the mansion's entrance. This can actually be pretty tough, since they're fast and you need to make sure not to fall off the course.


Beat both races, and you win a Heart Piece. I opted only to beat the first one, since I'd rather keep my 3-hearts file clean and free from Heart Pieces. Also, the music here is pretty nice too, as is typical for Zelda games. Snowpeak's theme is very somber, while the Snowpeak Ruins and sled race themes are more cheerful.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 18: Exclamation Point (Scribblenauts Unlimited)

Scribblenauts is the series where you solve puzzles by writing anything you want. Scribblenauts U expands the game further by keeping the nouns and adjectives from the first two games, showing that it's much easier to play with a keyboard and mouse than a DS stylus, and introducing the ability to create your own custom objects.


Exclamation Point is a mountain that is named such because this game likes grammar puns. There are a few other icy areas named Pilcrow Peaks and Abian Sea Front with the same idea. Here, your main task is to help a trio of climbers reach the summit.


My original plan was to lift these boulders out of the way using a rocket, but amazingly, the rocket wasn't powerful enough to do it. Instead I used a potion to apply antigravity to them and knock them out of the way.


Then the ice giants sent a sudden snowstorm to impede them. I protected the explorers from the cold with hot cocoa, a parasol, and a Bunsen burner. The next obstacle was a yeti that I had to dispatch non-lethally. I gave it a comfortable couch and it fell off the mountain, so I guess that worked.


To finish it off, I had to place something on the summit that one of them would want. After a lot of trial and error, I settled on a telescope for the astronomer. The mission is complete, and a Starite is awarded.


There are a few other Starites in the general area, like this one where you investigate the disappearance of Santa Claus. At first it seems Jack Frost is to blame, but Santa returns just in time. He turns out to be just fine, thankfully.


Which is good, since another mission is to help him load up his sleigh and head out. I filled it with a few toys, some socks for the naughty children, used a sun to clear out the excess snow, and added "Radiant" to Rudolph to light his way through the fog. Christmas is saved, and you get yet another Starite.

95 (edited by Mezzopiano 2016-12-20 22:53:38)

Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 19: Tatalia (Might and Magic VII)

The Might and Magic series is a rather obscure series of first-person RPGs that have a tendency to appear as a standard fantasy setting at first, but as you get further into the games, more sci-fi elements appear until it becomes clear that you’re in a shared science fiction/fantasy verse. Well, the main reason these games are obscure is because they’re overshadowed by the strategy spinoff, Heroes of Might and Magic. Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor is connected to the Heroes subseries, and takes place in Erathia, the setting of Heroes III.


Most of Tatalia is swampland, but if you follow this path up into the mountains you’ll find it has a snowy section too.


There’s a small village here with weapon and armor shops, plus a few houses. The centerpiece of the town is the Mercenaries’ Guild, which doesn’t welcome visitors. And by “doesn’t welcome visitors”, I mean “the mercenaries living inside will attack you on sight.” You can raid the place for treasures, and this is required for one quest on the light side path. As should be made obvious by my cool red-and-black UI and the fact that I have a lich on my team, I am not on the light side path.


Outside of town, the mountains are swarming with giant trolls. They’re big and strong and look quite menacing, don’t they? Well, not so much actually. It’s more like this fight was totally one-sided in my favor.


They have no form of distance attack, so it’s possible to hang back and pick them off before they reach you. Better yet, if you can fly, they can’t even touch you and you’re free to bombard them with area-effect spells, arrow shots, and lasers. My whole crew is equipped with blaster rifles, and plenty of powerful spells like Implosion, Ice Blast, and Shrapmetal, which easily reduced them to dust.


Another thing you can find here is the lair of the ice dragon, Wromthrax the Heartless. He’s much more powerful than the trolls outside, but he’s also the only enemy in his cave, and can be defeated by a mid-level party without too much trouble.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 20: Void Launch (Starcraft II)

Just about two years ago, I made a post about one of the campaign missions in Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Today we're revisiting that game again, since a lot has been added to it since then. In particular, there are now co-op missions. Two commanders each take the role of a storyline character with their own unique tech trees and specializations. One of the co-op missions revisits the frozen moon of Kaldir.


In particular, this mission is essentially a co-op version of the shuttle interception mission from Heart of the Swarm. Both commanders team up against the fallen Xel'naga Amon, who is using Protoss shuttles to transport something for some reason. The co-op missions are kinda vague on the story content, apart from Amon being a bad guy. The goal is to destroy the shuttles before they can escape through warp conduits. They're flying, so a strong anti-air is important. For me this meant lots of Hydralisks.


This mission actually has a Christmas-themed modifier this week! Gifts spawn randomly on the map and can be picked up by anyone, and when your units kill enemies they get placed on the naughty list and take additional damage for each kill they make. The gift rewards are things like special units, temporary free upgrades, and the like, but if Amon steals them, he gets his own bonus.


Amon's Hybrid units even have little Santa hats. It's weirdly adorable. Anyway, I'm Kerrigan (Zerg) and my ally is Raynor (Terran). Kerrigan's army focuses on the core Zerg units, like Zerglings and Hydralisks, and has Kerrigan herself as a hero unit. The naughty list modifier didn't bother me much because Zerg are pretty expendable anyway, but Kerrigan really suffered from it. Thankfully if she dies, she respawns at your base after a short period.


Raynor's army tends toward Terran infantry units, and he can also summon a special Battlecruiser for emergencies. My forces ended up taking a lot of casualties, but since I'm Zerg, I could respawn quickly, and my ally was thankfully very good at keeping my back. We missed three shuttles, but apart from that, cleared them all out.


There's also a side objective where you protect scientists as they examine Xel'naga ruins. This wasn't too hard to deal with, since I'd just park a bunch of Hydralisks by their ship while I waited for them to finish. Unfortunately, things can turn icky if a shuttle is flying by at the same time, which they usually are. Still, I managed to protect all three without any trouble.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 21: Snow World (Castle Crashers)

Castle Crashers is a classic-style side-scrolling beat-em-up. A team of four magic-using knights comes together to crash some castles and save some princesses from assorted bad guys. The red knight uses lightning magic, the orange one uses fire, the green one uses poison, and the blue one uses ice. Guess which one I like playing?


On the world map we can see we have a snowy plain area, a shop, an arena, and an ice castle.


Heading out to the plains has you met by a bunch of snowball-throwing bandits. These guys are actually really tough, or maybe I'm just bad at this game. I like to think it's the latter, though. Once you break their ice fortifications, they join in the melee. My skillset is focused mainly around magic so I could use my own ice spells to deal damage and freeze them solid.


That said, I still had to backtrack to the shop for potions a lot. After you finally get past the snowball blockade, you can run to the ice castle, which is the home of an evil wizard.


For his boss fight he'll teleport around, laugh at you, and summon icicles from the ceiling to drop on you, or ones from below that can freeze you. He's not too tough, but it requires a lot of persistence to take him down.


Once you finally do, you save the captured princess and get a kiss from her.


There's also the ice arena, where you can face off against waves of the snowball guys.


Why are there cats on the side? I have no idea. This game is weird.

Also, the music for the snowy areas is called Winterbliss, and it is really good. Go listen to it.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 22: Snowfall Lake (Tadpole Treble)

Today's is a quick one since I've been busy with birthday stuff most of the day. Tadpole Treble is a small game about a newborn tadpole named Baton, who embarks on a musical adventure to return to her home pond. It's sort of a rhythm game where all the levels are designed to look like a musical score, and most of the obstacles you avoid correspond to notes in the music.


On her way downstream, Baton passes through this wintry-looking lake. There's snow and ice on top in some places, and she can slide along them if she times her jumps right.


Apart from that, it seems like just a normal stage. The fact that it's cold outside doesn't seem to impact anything...


...well, at first. Later in the level you encounter water that's too cold for Baton to swim in, and if she stays there too long she'll take damage. It's not that big an issue since there are a lot of health pickups in this stage.


That's normally a good thing, but ends up being a hassle since for this stage's challenge fly you have to avoid them all. You'll also need to avoid obstacles since if you take damage, you won't be healing it back.


I didn't rank that high when I ran through here, but I got the challenge fly on my second run, so I consider it a success. Also, have the music. It's not a lyrical song like Midnight Bayou, but it's still pretty nice.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 23: Winter (Proteus)

Proteus is a relax button game where you wander around and explore a randomly-generated island. The soundtrack is reactive, based on what you encounter. Your adventure around the island starts off in spring at dawn, and each night you can find a portal of stars in a stone circle that takes you to the next season, starting with spring, summer, fall, and finally...


The best season. Winter starts off at night, though dawn comes soon after your arrival. It's always overcast and most of the trees on the islands have lost their leaves. Unlike the prior three seasons, the island feels empty and devoid of life.


The music is very soft here, adding to the feeling. You're not likely to find anything moving around out here.


Even the coast is covered in ice as far as the eye can see.


At midday, you'll start seeing snow fall from the clouds above. It makes things look (and sound) a little more cheery.


This continues until sunset. Once night falls, rather than being taken back to spring as you may expect, you start levitating into the air.


Once you break through the cloud layer, you can see a brilliant aurora in the sky. You continue floating upward until you can no longer see the island below you, and then the game ends. It's probably symbolic or something, but I'm not going to write an essay about it.


Re: Mezzo's Obligatory Ice Level Month

Day 24: Crystal Caverns (Epic Battle Fantasy 4)

The Epic Battle Fantasy series is apparently a flash game franchise that eventually broke into a full-fledged purchaseable game with the fourth installment. I actually picked this up quite recently, so I don't know too much about it. But there are epics, and battles, and fantasy. Four heroes named Anna, Matt, Natalie, and Lance come together to fight monsters and get treasure, and maybe save the world too.


After Greenwood Village's sacred jewel goes missing, Anna decides to check the nearby Whitefall Town to see if its jewel has been stolen as well, and to catch the thief if it is. The other three get dragged along because, well, they have nothing better to do anyway. To reach Whitefall, they need to pass through this cave system.


It's pretty frosty in here, and as is typical for most RPGs, the enemies all tend to be ice-based. Fire attacks and skills come in quite handy in this case. I also have Natalie and Matt in Santa outfits that add additional ice resistance. Thankfully, this isn't one of those barbaric RPGs that uses random encounters, so you can kinda take things at your own pace.


Also worth noting is that a lot of enemies can freeze your party members. This is one of the most debilitating status effects, since you can't act and you'll take extra damage from attacks until you break free.


The cutscenes use this really cute papercraft art style. In here you can find a candle which you can use to light torches. It's heplful for lighting your way through the dark caves, and usually lighting all the torches in a room will make a chest or something similar appear.


There are lots of rooms with puzzles and enemies, and even a few alternate paths that lead to a lava cave (I opted not to visit those.). Once you near the end, things get a little less icy and a little more crystally, and you find the boss.


This guy is actually kind of a pain, since you have to deal with both his changing weaknesses and his summons. He dishes out quite a lot of damage too. After he's defeated, the group makes their way to the snowy Whitefall Town to see if they can find the sacred jewel.


Well. So much for that, then? Also, the music for the caves is very pretty and crystal-y too.