March 25: wallet threat level yellow

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The Nintendo 3DS gets a couple of major releases this week. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a nifty adventure/exploration game. I really enjoy the playful haunted house production values, the gradually unfurling gameplay mechanics, and the chaotic ghost wrassling. It helps immensely that I don’t find Luigi as annoying as Mario. I don’t know what my problem is with Mario. Maybe because Luigi is a ridiculous character played for comedy, yet Mario is a ridiculous character played as if he wasn’t ridiculous. Why does that guy annoy me so much? I’ll have to explore that further with my therapist. But since Mario isn’t part of Luigi’s Mansion, it’s that much easier to enjoy.

I’m less fond of the latest Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game, subtitled Gates to Infinity. I’m still mired in the interminable Pokemon exposition, with squealing Pokemon imparting life lessons in colorful unskippable cutscenes. The ratio of squealing Pokemon to mystery dungeon is, at this point, about 3:1. I’m running out of steam. I can’t take it much longer. I know from playing the first Pokemon Mystery Dungeon that there’s going to be a deep and involved dungeon crawl deeper down in here. I just don’t know that I have the endurance to reach it, particularly since there are so many other alternatives for deep and involved dungeon crawls. The first Mystery Dungeon, for instance, which was entirely free of Pokemons.

The Nintendo 3DS release that I’m most enjoying is Harmoknight. I don’t know what to make of that name. It’s clunky at best, and misconstrued as a slur at worst. But this rhythm based game is friendly, colorful, enthusiastic, and carefully perched at the intersection of simple and challenging. I’ve also tried to play a bit of Gaijin Games’ Bit Trip Runner 2 recently, which is similar to Harmoknight, but often more frustrating. Harmoknight feels more cinematic, more catchy, like a bona fide musical crossed with a platformer. Runner 2 is just a straight up platformer that has no compunction about making me do stuff over and over again. Harmoknight is seeing Les Miserables. Bit Trip Runner 2 is reading the Victor Hugo novel.

Xbox Arcade gets a port of Terraria this week. I’ve sampled Terraria on the PC, and I can’t help but feel it would be right at home on the Xbox 360. Electronic Arts is releasing a new Tiger Woods game. I follow just enough sports to know it’s probably a dating sim. Electronic Arts is also releasing a new Army of Two game in case your army of two in the latest Dead Space isn’t enough.

Also Bioshock Infinite is out this week.

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