Happy holidays! We hope your Black Friday was merry and the turkey tasted good. Our staff is in a coma of our own, but it's not because of any poultry. As we march towards the season of giving, let's unwrap our weekly pair of gaming impressions with Professor Layton and the Curious Village and The Perfect Sniper.
Editor's Note: We're still recovering from last month's marathon of Coverage Club articles. This full month of features not only let us talk on a bunch of overlooked games from 2018 and beyond, but it also introduced a new type of Coverage Club article that's more of a full preview. While we'll still have traditional Coverage Club pieces (like the one we're introing now), you'll also see longer takes on games based on a good chunk of playtime. It all depends on the game we're writing about, as we want to make sure that every game gets its proper due.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village
Covered by Courtney Ehrenhoflerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP0Rmm0iM-g
I’m a fan of Professor Layton games, but I’m also not a fan of mobile games. So with these conflicting interests in mind, I picked up the mobile port of Professor Layton and the Curious Village and decided to give it a whirl. It was Black Friday pricing, I could resist.
Curious Village was the game that got me into the Professor Layton series in the first place, and I do have a soft spot in my heart for it. It’s a solid classic, with good puzzles and a solid gameplay base. Future games improve on this as they go along but follow the same basic patterns. Despite it being 11 years old as of the release of this port, it still holds up quite well.
My greatest trepidation was the fact that it was going from two rectangular DS screens in the original to just one screen. I’ve seen DS games transfer poorly to other systems for this very reason. Thankfully, Curious Village plays in the portrait orientation, one of those rare times that everything translates correctly.
The two halves of the screen display what each half of the DS screen would have. All cutscenes are displayed in either orientation and have the option to change at any time. There was some tweaking of the aspect ratios but nothing so far has been grossly disproportionate. My greatest complaint about the port is that my fingers are much bigger than a DS stylus, which makes it more difficult to write notes or memos on the screen, which is sometimes needed to help figure out puzzles.
The graphics are excellent, they are all in HD now and there are a few new cutscenes added here and there. The game still oozes the quaint and quirky old English village details and makes it easier to spy where wayward hint coins might be located. Disclaimer, however, that my phone screen is bigger than my DS screen, so I’m seeing those effects as well.
The only gameplay change that was made was the addition of puzzle solving charms. I’m not sure what they are or what they do, but they’re hiding throughout your surroundings like the hint coins are, and the game has promised me that I will know what they’re for eventually. They don’t really fit the overall aesthetic of Professor Layton and feel a bit out of place. Luckily, they are easy enough to ignore if you choose to.
Perhaps the best part of this new version of Curious Village is that it includes all of the bonus puzzles that were released over WiFi after the original game came out. Those puzzles have unfortunately been taken off of the Nintendo servers by now, but Curious Village HD includes every single one of them. In fact, this inclusion was what drew me to the title in the first place. For puzzle fanatics, that’s worth the price of admission on that alone.
Overall, Professor Layton and the Curious Village HD is thus far a good example of how to do mobile game ports right. It’s got enough new tweaks and add-ons to make it worthwhile for those who already own the DS version of the game, and it has the Professor Layton puzzle charm to attract newcomers.
TechRaptor covered Professor Layton and the Curious Village on Android with a copy purchased by the reviewer.
The Perfect Sniper
Covered by Samuel Guglielmohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Q4wD3mX2jk
Hey, you know what we haven’t had a chance to cover in Coverage Club yet? VR games. PlayStation VR has a ton of really weird and simple games available on the platform. I was looking for a chance to use my PSVR Aim again, so I decided to grab a simple looking sniper game. Is The Perfect Sniper also the perfect game, or is it a crapshoot?
For the most part, the plot doesn’t actually matter. You play as a hitman hired to help clean up the town. Along the way, you’ll be shooting some random gang members, a politician for some reason, and a banker or two. Before long I actively forgot who the characters were, why I was doing anything, or what the point of the game was. It’s impressively, and aggressively, generic.
Most levels will place you on top of a building and task you with shooting a specific target. At first, this is easy: line up the shot and pull the trigger. It’s actually really fun using the sniper rifle at first. There’s a good sense of feedback, and watching someone ragdoll dramatically is always worth a laugh. Eventually, you get objectives to go with it. You’ll have to pick out specific targets from crowds and time your shot with thunder. One level even has you shooting the supports to a crane so you can drop a piano on a guy.
While these may sound like fun change-ups, most of them aren’t. Some levels give you far too little info to determine who you should be shooting. One level wanted me to shoot an angry guy at a party, but honestly, everyone looked angry. So I just shot people one by one and restarted the level over and over until I happened upon the right guy. Another wanted me to shoot a woman driving by in a car. However, she moves so fast that I only hit her because of pure dumb luck. It doesn’t make for entertaining scenarios and just makes The Perfect Sniper frustrating.
Occasionally you’ll get a more action-packed level where you’re in the back of a speeding van and need to shoot at cars as they chase you. I’m not actually sure it was possible to die during these levels, as they were hilariously easy. They really don't fit in The Perfect Sniper, feeling like a strange afterthought. It’s just weird to get an AK-47 that can only fire a single bullet at a time. Thankfully there’s only a couple of these in the game.
Really, there’s not much to say about The Perfect Sniper. It’s a rather generic game. It's at its absolute best when you’re just sniping, but even its absolute best doesn’t claw above “okay”. It’s a video game, it exists. Unless you’re completely desperate for a VR FPS, there are way better and more interesting games to play.
TechRaptor covered The Perfect Sniper on PlayStation VR using a copy purchased by the player. The game is also available on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.