When you play Peggle, there is a finite puzzle to solve in each level. No additional pegs will crop up to assail your dwindling supply of balls, you will not rush ahead to the next level with the same number of balls you began play with, there are no carryover elements from one stage to the next. You clear the puzzle as it’s presented to you and that’s enough.
When you play Lumines, this isn’t the case. The game starts, and it keeps going until you screw up. That’s the long and short of it. The challenge will just continue for as long as you play. And while both games are fundamentally puzzle games, one of them is a game wherein each level should be played to completion, while the other is an ongoing process. And there are some interesting differences between a challenge that just runs forever and one that exists in a contained space.
The downside of taking breaks between installments of this game is that when you have a game so thoroughly built upon making an extended project out of your characters, you occasionally… forget what you were doing with your characters. Luckily, it usually just takes a few minutes of glancing at abilities to figure out what I was doing again with character abilities.
With the plot? Not so much, since we have unfortunately slipped into a mire wherein we are going in a seemingly random direction for no reason beyond the fact that there’s stuff in that direction or something and I guess we can go that way or something? We seem to have nicely stepped away from our ostensible goal of finding the Earth Crystal, that’s not great. So it’s off to the Desert of Shifting Sands, because that’s close on the map and we haven’t been there yet, so why not?
I was excited for the launch of the Combiner Wars subline for Transformers, because I really like giant robots that transform and I really like when those giant transforming robots themselves transform into combined robots. But I was also apprehensive, because I had a pretty strong feeling that it was going to mean a whole bunch of the same thing we see every time. And sure enough, we have another Optimus Prime, and the first two combiners are the Aerialbots and the Stunticons.
This was not altogether surprising. As we prepare for another Spider-man movie that yet again sets the clock back to the earliest stories, it’s worth asking the question of why we keep feeling the need to retell these stories until we’re all blue in the face. It’s not that there’s a problem with remaking things; I quite like when someone takes something familiar and puts a new twist on it. I am, however, less thrilled when that “new twist” is just an update in the time of release.
The problem with any sort of endless game is that you have to provide a reason why people are going to keep playing. You need to offer something, well, unique.
It’d be unfair to say that Dollar Dash is a bad game. As games go, it’s pretty well functional. I might argue that it’s on the lower side of functional, but that’s not the point and it doesn’t really help or hurt the game on the balance. The problem it has isn’t about whether or not it works.
No, the problem is that it’s a game with the barest form of a game beyond the expectation of having multiple players beating the snot out of one another on a regular basis. Its single-player offering is perfunctory, there to train you and help you unlock things for the online experience, and that online experience is reliant on people deciding that they’d rather play this game as opposed to the countless entries doing the same thing, only better. It’s surplus to requirements, and it offers little to compel the player to care.