My copy of Secret of Mana is long since dead, and this makes me very unhappy, because it means I don’t have a copy of the game right now. I know, I could buy it on the Wii’s virtual console (although I’d prefer it on the 3DS – Nintendo’s strict limitations on where you can buy older games is kind of absurd), but at the moment I can’t always justify the cost. But that’s not the point. I miss the game and I would play through it again right now, despite having dozens of newer games to play that I’ve never even beaten once.
Is this partly because of the ways that players gravitate toward the familiar over the novel? Naturally. But there’s something more to it. Some games just feel welcoming, even if you’ve played them countless times before, even if the game’s plot is anything but warm and welcoming. There are games that just feel like a big warm hug, welcoming you back no matter how long you’ve been away.
You’d think that this series would involve more submarines. Exploring the underwater world seems like a natural extension, yet only here and in Final Fantasy VII do you get to slip beneath the waves reliably. Otherwise, the water is an effective barrier to everything you want to do. Ah, well.
You’d also think that having access to a submarine wouldn’t really open up more exploration options, since you can sort of fly right now. Au contraire, dear readers. Unlike most games in the series, airships in Final Fantasy III can’t pass through the majority of mountain ranges, which means that you can’t simply soar everywhere. There are places that are completely inaccessible unless you have a ship that can fly past some low-lying foothills… or a ship that can go under those same mountain ranges. Hmm. I wonder what sort of ship might be able to do that? Oh, right, a submersible airship able to explore strange new lands. Away we go!
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is… well, it’s a cautionary tale about how a bunch of disgusting fans can completely ruin a series by wildly misunderstanding a show’s appeal by trying to deny it to its target audience. But it’s also a charming, sweet, and fun show with a spectacular cast and a lot of wonderful writing. It’s the sort of thing that’s tailor-made for producing a whole lot of great video games, with some episodes seemingly demonstrating exactly what you could do with such a game (there’s a race episode that practically begs for a kart racer).
What we’ve gotten has been… well, a mobile game that does all the things you’d expect a mobile game to do. A CCG that’s pretty fun, but that’s not a video game. Here’s a show fit to burst with all sorts of great characters, tons of opportunities for a game, and yet it sits there without even a simple run-and-bop platformer made. What the heck is holding it back?
The vast majority of games are mediocre. We all know this even as we don’t really think about it. Your game collection is, I’m sure, filled with games that you consider actively good rather than lackluster, and it’s easy to sort of extrapolate outward from that. Most of the games you can find aren’t bad, though, nor are they really all that good. They’re just… there. They work. They’re not worth feeling a great deal of joy or sorrow over. They’re mediocre. Filler. Likely impossible to have any strong emotions about either way, even.
Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory is a game that is mediocre in every way, shape, and form. It is yet another puzzle platformer in which you move from screen to screen and try to figure out how to bypass the game’s obstacles to get to the end. It is also another game that falls victim to the “demo cannot sustain half an hour of play” curse that I get all uppity about, but even with that being said I feel I have a relatively solid grasp of the game from my limited play time. It’s neither bad nor good. It’s just there.