Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Never did like camping much

Did some nephew-sitting while Ling and June took a girls' night out. The Wii played a big part in helping me out. How did we use to get by without such an invaluably useful device? Anyway, in preparation for that big event, I went shopping for a game or two that would keep two rambunctious young 'uns occupied. "Space Camp", anyone?

Good thing I previewed SC before I tried it out on them. First off, SC isn't exactly catered to my age preference (right, anyone who suggests "Parcheesi" gets their head bashed in with my walking stick!), but even putting myself in the mind of an 8 year-old the game would have bored me to tears. Actually, it's more like work than a game. Even the in-game mentor, Jim, admits at the start that it's going to take "back-breaking work" to complete the story.

Ah, the story: the player's somewhat customizeable character attends Space Camp and for the lack of other buttons to press accidentally launches him/herself to the moon. Survivability is no issue. The player has unlimited resources to complete a series of tasks in order to get home.

The main complication is that the two main resources, Energy and Metal, are locked into moon rocks which we have to mine for in pre-designated locations on the map. And they just keep replenishing -- well, yeah, it's a big moon for one little kid. With a flick of the wiimote or via a mini-Grabber game we accumulate a pile of moon rocks for processing. We can also kick piles of moon dust to find these resources too.

Step two is to process these rocks through another mini-game to extract either Energy or Metal from them. Energy converts into rocket fuel for which we need to get home; Metal we need to fabricate into tools that help us open doors to new places for exploration as the game progresses. They also help to open locked containers of unique collectible items that fill up our inventory, which I think is intended as the reward system of the game.

Yes, completist that I am, I most anally hunted down every single collectible comprising unique SC patches, and various designs and colours of clothing and headgear the well-dressed astronaut should be wearing on a moon-jaunt.

Wii games are often a collection of mini-games, but in this case, they tend to be the same three or four mini-games over and over again. the only discernable variation is in the three difficulty levels which aren't all that difficult even for an 8 year old. The only one that drove me insane was the Meteoroid defense game at the highest difficulty level -- my reflexes aren't what they used to be -- so accomplishing that task was quite a triumph (stop sniggering, remember my walking stick?).

The nephews didn't get to play SC after all, 'cos I decided they wouldn't have found it any fun. They're the "Ravin' Rabbids" sort, and that kept them entertained all night. Hey, whoever said an evening with me had to be educational?

No comments: