Backlog Blitz: The games of February 2014

I’m not going to lie — February was rough. Not just for gaming, but my wife and I were in the midst of selling our house and packing up all of our things. Stress was running high, and historically, I like to buy things when I’m stressed. The higher the stress, the bigger the purchase, so I suppose the fact that I kept all of my gaming purchases to just games is impressive. I have yet to indulge in any current-generation consoles or PC upgrades, which is a small miracle for anyone who knows me.

Anyway, February’s purchases and completed games are below. Format, like last time, is Game Title (Platform, Purchase Price, Play Time).

Games purchased (-9, $198.50 spent):

  1. Device 6 (iOS, $4.00)
    Quality, premium mobile games are unfortunately becoming a rarity these days as most developers find it more sustainable to go the more casual and/or free-to-play route. So, when I hear about a game like this, that is neither of those, I take notice.
  2. Bravely Default (3DS, $40.00)
    After enjoying the demo so much in January, buying this was a no-brainer. I had originally purchased the limited edition from, but they sent it to me in a padded mailer, and it got destroyed in transit. They sold out, of course, so I had to replace it with the standard version.
  3. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS, $34.00)
    I’d heard lots of great things about this game, and being a fan of the GameCube original, I finally pulled the trigger.
  4. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS, $35.00)
    I’ve never played any games in this series, and am curious to see what it’s all about. I’m worried that it will turn into a major time-sink!
  5. Danganrompa: Trigger Happy Havoc (PS Vita, $40.00)
    Described as a mix between Persona, Phoenix Wright, and rhythm/music games, that was a combination that sounded too interesting to pass up.
  6. The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC (PS3, $15.00)
    I declared The Last of Us to be the best PS3 game in my last Backlog Blitz update, so picking up the single-player DLC was essential, and as you’ll see below, that was the right thing to do.
  7. The Humble Indie Bundle 11 (PC, $4.50)
    Another great bundle that includes Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, The Swapper, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Guacamelee! Gold Edition, Antichamber, Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine, FEZ, Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians, and Starseed Pilgrim. I have most of these already, but that’s OK. It’s a good cause.
  8. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U, $23.00)
    I’m a big fan of the Super Nintendo series, and absolutely loved Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii. I was sold on this after seeing the first trailer and learning that David Wise was returning to score the soundtrack.
  9. The Room 2 (Android, $3.00)
    The original The Room was terrific (see below), and I have to see where the story goes next!

Games finished (+9, $222.00 value):

  1. Device 6 (iOS, $4.00, 5 hrs.)
    This is an interesting game that is mostly text-based, but makes effective use of sparse imagery and atmospheric sound. Its presentation and the way it has the player interact with it is very original, and the overall production value is nice. I found some of the puzzles to be too weird and obscure, though, and it was over quickly. Still worth checking out. Overall: B
  2. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3, $60.00, 10 hrs.)
    I’d originally beaten this back in 2008, but after finishing The Last of Us in January, I decided to replay this series again. I finished it on Hard, got all 61 Treasures, and came away still impressed with the game’s variety of locales, high energy, and trademark chemistry between the characters. It still looks good for its age, but the animation and texture work are dated, especially compared to Uncharted 2. Overall: A-
  3. 10000000 (Android, $1.00, 5 hrs.)
    What a surprise! This game’s mixture of classic match-3-or-more gameplay with an addictive RPG-like upgrade system make this a must-play. The old-school 8-bit style graphics are fun, and the game’s pacing is spot-on. It can sometimes be a bit confusing to focus on the tile board and the obstacles/enemies you’re facing up top, but you get used to it after a while. It was also over before I knew it, but for a buck, I can’t complain too much. Overall: A-
  4. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3, $60.00, 15 hrs.)
    Next up in my Uncharted playthrough was this one, and it was just as impressive as it was the first time I played it. It’s crazy how much Naughty Dog leveled up between the first game and this one. Like the original, I finished it on Hard this time and got all 101 Treasures, which took some time. This is definitely the best in the series, with amazing set pieces, technology, and vertigo-inducing exploration. Overall: A+
  5. The Room (Android, $1.00, 2 hrs.)
    Like 10000000, this was a pleasant surprise, and it’s a game I’d consider a “show off” piece for phones and tablets. It has terrific puzzle design that feels tactile and rewarding, all wrapped up in some beautiful 3D graphics and a slightly unsettling soundtrack. Be sure to wear headphones! It’s very short, but those few hours are highly satisfying. Overall: A-
  6. Around the World in 80 Days (Android, Free, 10 hrs.)
    This is another match-3-or-more game with various goals and item drops. It’s nicely done with pleasant art and smooth gameplay, and I got pretty far into it, but unfortunately, I ran into a repeatable crash that’s making it impossible for me to get past the China stages. Too bad, because it’s a good game otherwise. It was a Free App of the Day on last year, so it may just be an update issue. Overall: B-
  7. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (PS3, $60.00, 15 hrs.)
    I was pretty tough on this game back in 2011, because it just didn’t feel right. I thought the spirit of the series changed, as characters became more serious, the art style was different, and it just didn’t hit the highs of Uncharted 2. Hearing later that most of the team had been moved off to work on The Last of Us explained things a bit, but that’s a tough pill to swallow when you’re talking about one of Sony’s key PS3 franchises. It’s still a good game, just not a great one. And why they decided to try making Elena sexier is beyond me. Overall: B
  8. The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC (PS3, $15.00, 3 hrs.)
    Amazing. This is how you do single-player story-based DLC. It’s a stunning and very personal chapter that fleshes out a key relationship from the main game’s narrative. It’s short, but a must-play for any fan of The Last of Us. Finished on Survivor with all Trophies. Overall: A
  9. Tomb Raider (PC, $20.00, 25 hrs.)
    I went into this not expecting much, but I walked away completely impressed. Although the game suffers from a lackluster story, some amateurish voice acting, and a comically over-the-top villain, the rest of it is top-notch. The game’s open-world nature makes it a joy to explore, upgrades keep coming at you until the very end, and Lara Croft herself is a vulnerable, three-dimensional personality that you come to care for. Graphics and environments were impressive, and the gunplay was buttery smooth. In many ways, I like this more than most of the Uncharted series. Overall: A

Even though February was tough, I managed to play and finish just as many games as I bought, so I was pretty happy about that. There were some real standouts, and Tomb Raider in particular set me on a course to tackle some other high-profile open-world games, which I would dive into headfirst in March.


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