What I'm Playing - No. 51
Image source: Zaksheuskaya

What I'm Playing - No. 51

Welcome back to another weekly wrap-up of the games I’ve been playing over the past week!

I’ve kept my writings on Tokyo Dark spoiler-free. The section on Super Mario Odyssey continues to talk about the post-game, so there are post-game content spoilers within. Finally, there are main story Cadence of Hyrule spoilers, and spoilers for Octavo’s story, so watch out for those! Although, the story in Cadence of Hyrule is pretty minimal.

Click a title to skip to that section. Games contained within this post:

Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)

I delved into the post-game content a bit this week, collecting Power Moons that were newly available in the post-game, as well as some of the multitude of Moons I missed the first time around in each world!

newly available post-game

One source of post-game exclusive Power Moons is finding Princess Peach in each world. Back in her castle in the Mushroom Kingdom, the Toads say Peach packed up and left. Well, turns out she decided to go sight-seeing around the world, back to the places Bowser had dragged her through while she was kidnapped, to experience these locales on her own terms! She also gives you a Power Moon when you find her in each world. It’s pretty cool seeing Peach traveling on her own, and wearing an outfit specific to each world!

finding Princess Peach around the world gives you a Power Moon

Also exclusive to the post-game are the newly awakened Moon Rocks in each world. Finding the Moon Rock in a world and giving it a ground pound or throwing Cappy at it activates it, releasing a bunch of new Power Moons in that world and showing their locations on your map! This makes fetching these new Power Moons much easier, though it should be noted that only the Power Moons released by the Moon Rock are added to your map. The original Power Moons in the world still need to be hunted down manually via careful exploration!

Moon Rocks Moon Rock showing their locations on your map

There’s a cool new type of challenge that I believe is part of the group of Power Moons released by activating a Moon Rock: Trace-Walking! The rules are simple, you just need to walk around and trace the given shape on the ground. However, the guide arrows disappear within a second or two after you start walking, and you’ll have to rely on your memory to trace the rest of the shape! I feel like I did pretty poorly on my first one, where the white dots are the path I walked and the blue arrows show the shape I was supposed to walk. However, I still did well enough to earn the Power Moon for that Trace-Walking challenge! Maybe the game is just extra forgiving on your first Trace-Walking challenge!

Trace-Walking I feel like I did pretty poorly on my first one

I got enough Power Moons to reach a new, post-game area: The Dark Side of the Moon. Naturally, I went there right away! Since it’s on the moon, it has reduced gravity like the Moon Kingdom, making your jumps super floaty! There are a lot of rabbits living there, so it seems likely that this is the Broodals home. So far the only thing I’ve seen present here is a Broodal Boss Rush mode, where you have to fight the Broodals one after the other, with seemingly no health pickups during or between the fights. I gave it a try, and beat the first boss with 1 HP remaining, only to instantly die during the second boss fight. I don’t really see myself revisiting the Dark Side of the Moon any time soon if all that’s there is the boss rush mode.

The Dark Side of the Moon a lot of rabbits Broodal Boss Rush

I didn’t stop there though! I kept collecting Power Moons, until finally I reached the 500 Power Moon mark and the Odyssey powered up for what seems like the final time. This allowed me to reach what I think is the final area of the post-game: The Darker Side of the Moon. There’s a pretty sweet party going on here, and when you walk around the partygoers cheer you on and tell you can overcome what’s waiting for you ahead. So…what’s waiting for you on the Darker Side of the Moon?

the Odyssey powered up The Darker Side of the Moon a pretty sweet party going on here

Well, from what I’ve seen so far it’s a long and challenging obstacle course, demanding a level of skill in Mario’s jumping and enemy capturing abilities not seen anywhere else in the game. It’s been a real challenge so far, since there are no checkpoints in the middle. There are a few health pickups in the middle, but you really can’t mess up too many times while challenging the course. I haven’t reached the end yet, but I’m really curious to do so! I can only imagine that Bowser, who was left on the Moon at the end of the main story, has built this sadistic course for Mario, and is waiting to battle him at the end. I will finish the Darker Side of the Moon eventually, I swear!

long and challenging obstacle course capturing abilities I swear

Tokyo Dark (PC)

Following up Danganronpa, I played through the Point-and-Click/Visual Novel hybrid, Tokyo Dark this week!

Tokyo Dark
Tokyo Dark

Tokyo Dark puts you in the shoes of Detective Itō, a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. Her partner vanished 5 days ago without a trace, but now his phone has mysteriously turned back on, allowing the police to get a GPS trace on it. Itō is sent to investigate first, with backup on the way. It’s there that the story begins, and you’re given a chance to get a feel for the gameplay. Primarily, you’ll perform investigations, talking to people and solving puzzles to try and figure on what’s going on, and to learn more about what Itō’s partner was looking into before his disappearance.

Detective Itō Her partner vanished 5 days perform investigations

At the heart of all this is the SPIN system. The game is a little heavy-handed in explaining this, which sort of took me out of the experience a bit during those conversations. Depending on your actions, Itō’s Sanity, Professionalism, Investigation, and Neurosis (SPIN) will increase or decrease. Drinking on the job? Not very professional, but it may help you get closer to other characters, increasing your Investigation.

heavy-handed increase or decrease Drinking on the job

Sanity

Unfortunately, the SPIN system never really amounted to much. Sanity is the probably the most important factor, but its influence on the experience as a whole seems negligible. I didn’t see it, but I know there’s a unique ending you can get by having really low Sanity at a certain point in the game. But other than that…I don’t know that it or any of the other SPIN stats have much of an effect? There seem to be two sets of endings available to you depending on your SPIN stats, but I’m not sure what the stat threshold between the endings is.

I went in expecting SPIN to play a much larger role than it did, and while it was a little disappointing, the story in Tokyo Dark did not disappoint! I was hooked until the end. The first ending I saw was pretty grim. It felt wholly wrong, and I feel like it’s probably the worst ending to be honest, even though the choices seemed right at the time. I knew the game had many different endings, and I had to see a few more of them. Finishing the game the first time unlocks New Game+ mode, which has some alternate dialogue with certain characters. New Game+ also has an exclusive ending, which seems to be the canon one. More importantly, finishing the game once unlocks “Broken Memories,” which allows you to have multiple saves instead of being limited to the 1 available to you during the first playthrough.

unlocks alternate dialogue Broken Memories

Having multiple saves made it a lot easier to see more endings, because I could load an earlier save to see what ending a different choice lead to. I still had to replay the game from the beginning to get to that point, which I did in New Game+. On repeat playthroughs, some conversations can be skipped by clicking a newly visible skip button. For some reason, other conversations can’t be skipped though, even if there aren’t any choices to be made in them. When replaying those sections, I just clicked through the dialogue as fast as I could since I’d heard the conversations before.

replay repeat playthroughs those sections

It would have been nice if SPIN had a greater affect on more of the game. It would have been nice to be able to start from whatever chapter I wanted after finishing the game instead of needing to replay from the beginning. Despite these complaints, I did enjoy the game, it’s a good experience. Fair warning though, it’s not a happy game. There are fleeting happy moments, but overall the story is tragic, with some especially heartbreaking endings. Having to replay it from the beginning wasn’t really that inconvenient since it’s pretty short. My first playthrough was only about 4 hours. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a point and click adventure with a horror/mystery flair!

the game finishing the game the game

Cadence of Hyrule - Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda (Switch)

I played through another run of Cadence of Hyrule to try out the latest update, because it adds a new story mode option with a new playable character: Octavo, the villain from the main story!

Octavo villain

I don’t really remember the details of his role in the original story, only that he was the bad guy. Octavo’s story starts with him getting his fortune told, and literally taking his fate into his own hands by stealing the Threads of Fate from the old fortune teller woman. Setting out to change his fate, he begins searching for a champion strong enough to defeat Ganon for him, because he knows Ganon’s return is inevitable.

taking his fate into his own hands searching for a champion

His search for a champion to face Ganon takes him to the same temples you’d visit in the original story, and he fights the same bosses. However, he’s still the one bringing the bosses to life from the magical instruments, and the battle with them is a test of their strength to see if they’re a suitable champion. Naturally, they’re each defeated by Octavo, and in the end he sets off to face Ganon himself.

he fights the same bosses Octavo he sets off to face Ganon himself

Octavo enters a portal to the future to defeat Ganon there. However, he finds something unexpected. Instead of Ganon ruling Hyrule in the future, he finds a future version of himself, but he’s been corrupted by power and turned into the NecroDancer! Wanting to set things right, Octavo defeats his future self, and uses the combined power of his Golden Lute and his future self’s Golden Lute to make it so he never stole the Threads of Fate.

the NecroDancer his future self

Playing as Octavo was a fun time! Unlike the other characters, Octavo doesn’t need to keep finding new weapons to use. He starts the game with the unbreakable Golden Lute, and will keep it throughout the run. It is a pretty good weapon though, damaging 3 tiles around Octavo as he moves. Other than that, the equipment you find seems to be the same as the other characters. Bombs, Bow and Arrow, the usual Zelda gear.

a fun time Golden Lute Zelda gear

Just like Link and Zelda, Octavo also has abilities to find that are unique to him. The Haste and Fireball spells. I honestly forgot to use these most of the time, but they’re pretty cool. Haste lets you move without regard to the beat for several moves, which sounds really powerful and I probably should have used it a lot more. The downside of Haste is that it takes a full magic meter to cast, so its strength is balanced out.

Haste Fireball

One neat detail when playing as Octavo is that a few NPCs you find in the world remember the evil things he did prior to the start of story mode. For instance, a woman in Kakariko Village mentions seeing a strange man with a lute near the crypt. She then realizes that Octavo is that strange man and calls you out on it!

a strange man with a lute Octavo is that strange man

Achievement

A new feature I noticed that wasn’t in the game when I initially played is the in-game Achievement system. Since the Switch doesn’t have global achievement support, developers need to implement achievements themselves if they want them in their games on Switch. I’m not sure which patch added them, but Cadence of Hyrule now has its own set of achievements, which is pretty cool!

Ben

(bsinky)
Ben
The self-proclaimed "Guy with the Backlog", as of this writing his Steam backlog is slowly growing to the point of consuming him. Meanwhile, he spends most of his time trying to catch up on the retro classics he missed, as well as replaying the games he grew up with.

What I'm Playing - No. 91

I played through Super Mario Sunshine and started 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim this week. Continue reading

What I'm Playing - No. 90

Published on September 21, 2020

PS5 Showcase (September 2020)

Published on September 17, 2020