Burnout around Monsters and Turtles on Monkey Island

TWO WEEKS TO PAX AUS! I may be a little excited! 😋 One more week of work that’s going to wear me out, but then I am on holiday for 2 weeks. PAX is smack bank in the middle of my leave, and I am looking forward to the break!

Getting things ready for my leave work-wise has meant another week of not as much gaming as I wanted. I didn’t get to start Return to Monkey Island until Thursday night – almost 3 whole days after release! A friend of mine jumped straight in, and it was nice to get the little notes about how much he enjoyed it. Slight spoiler – I certainly am.

So on to what else I did get to play last week!

Roll Player

I decided to sneak in one game of Roll Player before writing up my game entries this week. Firing it up, I was surprised an update flashed up instead of the splash screen. I figured Roll Player is still Early Access, so I waited for the update to complete.

Thirty seconds later, I was pleasantly surprised. The AI multiplayer modes are now in-game! From what I can see, all levels of AI play the same, but the higher the level for more of a head start they receive.

20220926 - Roll PLayer - AI Choices
There are 5 levels of opponents to choose from

What I thought would be a single cheeky solo game turned into an experimental round. I played with two AI opponents at the base level. Everything flowed pretty well, but I will likely turn off the game prompts as they break the flow. I did the same for the Solo game to help pacing as well.

One multiplayer game with AI on a day I was overly tired isn’t the best way to review Roll Player’s new feature. I will say it was fun, but I am 50/50 on if I will play the standard multiplayer with AI or solo more often.

20220926 - Roll PLayer - AI Game
I only played one game, but it’s nice to have the option

I am curious to see how good the tutorial is for someone not already familiar with the rules. If there was anything about Roll Player digital that I would be wary of, that would be it. If this is something you are worried about, there is a great fallback. Watch it Played has a great rules video here and then the digital game becomes intuitive to play.

There is more to come with Roll Player, but not this week.

Burnout 3: Takedown

I am creeping towards finishing all the Burnout 3 events. I only have two events to complete. My biggest ‘win’ for Burnout 3 this week was finishing the Burning Lap in the US Circuit Racer.

This particular even took me the better part of 20 tries. Burning Laps are solo races where you finish a single lap in the quickest time. Do it underneath the first time, get a gold medal – the standard I consider an event finished.

Monday was a particularly frustrating day for me. Trying Burnout 3 on my lunch break seemed like a good idea, and I started on the Burning Lap to give it a go. And I missed out on the gold medal by 0.23 seconds. So guess what I stopped playing for a couple of days?

20220926 - Burnout 3 - Grand Prix Preview Lap finally beaten
When this get this close, the adrenaline spike is real

That said, I did fire up Burnout 3 later in the week. A quick Road Rage was exactly what I felt like, and 40ish more takedowns later I felt pretty good. I had 15 minutes to kill before a meeting, and grabbing a coffee only takes 5. So I tried the Burning Lap again. The difference this time is I beat the gold medal time by almost a second!

It doesn’t sound like much, but a win is a win! At this stage of Burnout 3, you can’t afford a crash to make the times. I did crash once early in the lap but managed to somehow make up the time. I didn’t think I would this time with the crash, but the satisfaction of seeing that medal was real. It was the lift I needed to let me finish my day.

20220926 - Burnout 3 - Almost complete
Coming close to finishing all the events

It might be a bit before I tackle the last two races. The next event is a Grand Prix in the US Circuit Racer, so that’s a dedicated twenty to thirty minutes. Also, I will probably be playing on the GPD Win 3.

The smaller screen and Burnout 3 races don’t always mesh. It’s not that the Win 3 can’t play the game. Everything is moving so fast and you cut things so fine the 5.5″ screen is a slight handicap.

It’s possible, and I will give playing a race or two a shot, but Burnout 3 may be put down for a while. Better backup that save just in case!

Pixeljunk Monsters

Pixeljunk Monsters is a great game that I love coming back to every couple of years. The only downside is a level, even one that I know, is at least 20 minutes of play. I managed a couple of goes last week, and I am coming close to finishing the first island, or the original game.

20220926 - Pixeljunk Monsters - Future Islands
There is still much more game to play

There is one level left to clear, and that is an interesting puzzle that I can’t quite remember. In most levels, you learn the pattern of enemies and can usually build enough to cover mistakes.

This last level of Pixeljunk Monsters is a little unique, as there are only 4 trees on the level. The key to the level is knowing what to build where, and when to quickly replace it for the next wave. I have spent a lot of time on this level in the past. But do you think I can remember the pattern required?

20220926 - Pixeljunk Monsters - One level to rainbow
One huge puzzle level to clear

I also gave the Tiki Hut a visit. These are generally the same levels you have already played but have different goals. For example, finish the first level without letting any towers upgrade. This gives Pixeljunk Monsters another level, including more puzzles to solve.

What I did forget is that clearing the Tiki Hut gives you rewards. Some are fun, like PSP wallpapers (I am playing the PSP Pixeljunk Monsters Deluxe version). There is concept art, and I am pretty sure some videos as well. It’s been a while, but I will probably try and finish Pixeljunk Monsters again over the next few months.

20220926 - Pixeljunk Monsters - Tiki Hut Challenges
Oh you thought it was just the main levels!

Once I have all of Pixeljunk Monsters done, I might give Pixeljunk Monsters 2 another shot.

Return to Monkey Island

Oh, I have missed the old-school point-and-click adventure games. I have been waiting for Return to Monkey Island since its announcement. And this week, that release date finally arrived. I ended up playing on the Switch, and upfront Return to Monkey Island on Switch is fine. The controls are a little flakey and have some quirks.

I decided to play on Switch because I needed to walk away from the PC for a while. Finding things of interest to interact with is the heart of a point-and-click, but using a controller as a mouse can be frustrating. On the Switch, depending on where you stand there are areas highlighted to select. It works, but the positions are tricky to line up. They can disappear completely once you choose one option. This is my biggest complaint about Return to Monkey Island on Switch. It may also apply to other console releases in the future.

But that is the only downside I have met playing Return to Monkey Island. I am loving the game, and intend to take my time enjoying it.

20220926 - Return to Monkey Island - Melee Island
Welcome back to Melee Island

The first choice of the game is playing in casual or hard mode. I jumped straight into hard mode, for the full Monkey Island experience. After playing for a few hours, I ended up looking up what the difference is.

The short version I found without spoilers – some puzzles are quicker to solve in casual mode. Not easier, only that you don’t need to complete some extra steps. As Return to Monkey Island has an inbuilt hint book, I would suggest playing straight on hard mode.

20220926 - Return to Monkey Island - Finding the map may be different on casual
How you get this map may be different on casual mode

If you have never played the series, I think you will be OK jumping straight in. There is a scrapbook with the highlights like Le Chuck is your rival and Elaine your wife. Other bits and pieces have come out in gameplay that I was aware of. Not enough to be exposition dumps, but enough to let you continue knowing there is backstory.

For example, the joke about explaining Loom will be lost on new players, but it has no impact on gameplay. If you played Monkey Island, you know who I am talking about. If you haven’t, there is enough to let you know that there was joke and don’t stress.

20220926 - Return to Monkey Island - Ask him about Loom
Do you remember Lucasart’s Loom?

I have had a lot of fun playing the game, and I am currently in the third act of the game. Because Return to Monkey Island isn’t a week old, I won’t go into any more detail this week. But if you were curious, I can’t recommend it enough. I am having a ball playing, and have had multiple instances of laughing out loud.

I can’t recommend Return to Monkey Island enough.

20220926 - Return to Monkey Island - Even the preorder joke might go over some players heads
Even the preorder bonus is a deep-cut joke on gaming in general

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003

About a month ago, Konami released the Cowabunga Collection. A series of previous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle games from various platforms. I had a look, and I have a few of the games already in my collection. Especially the NES and Game Boy games. And while setting up my retro games, I wondered why the collection stopped at the Game Boy era though.

I had some fond memories of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003. A simple beat-em-up, sure. But I had good memories. I couldn’t quite remember why they were good memories. Luckily, I have a way to play it again to find out why I enjoyed it all over again.

20220926 - TMNT 2003 - Many familiar enemies are here
Many familiar enemies are here to fight

As I said, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which I will now call TMNT 2003) is a ‘simple’ beat-em-up. The Game Boy Advance was an underappreciated device for its time in a lot of ways, but it still had limits. Simple gameplay doesn’t mean bad though, and TMNT 2003 made sure to play to the console’s strengths.

Each turtle is actually an act in the story, inspired by the 2003 cartoon reboot. Each turtle has 4 stages, one of which includes a different vehicle level. Donatello flies on a glider, Raphael races Casey Jones and Michangelo rides a skateboard. The only level that feels out of place is Leonardo’s section driving a tank in the sewers. It makes sense for the story, and let’s face it – its Leo. Not the most fun turtle of the bunch, so it’s not like the developers had a lot to work with!

But not only are there different levels, but each turtle controls differently as well. Most of the turtles have a type of double jump, except Donatello. He uses his Bo to push himself to higher levels. Raphael has the ability to climb walls with his Sai. Things like that.

20220926 - TMNT 2003 - Raph wall climbing for the hidden crystal
You have to use each turtle’s strengths each level

Once you finish all four turtle stories, assuming you aren’t playing on easy, you then have the final ‘Shredder’ story. Here instead of 4 acts, you play each turtle and their part in the assault of the Foot HQ. I haven’t finished this section yet, but it does take me back.

There are a couple of aspects that were cool for the time, but limited for me at the moment. There is a collectable component in the form of crystals. I can’t remember if collecting them all affects TMNT 2003. But when you complete the story you can also unlock codes. These codes are used for the GameCube Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle game. That was pretty unique for the time.

One way to pump up sales though! Maybe these will be in the Cowabunga Collection 2?

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know! 

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Until next time,

JohnHQLD