Tuesday, December 3, 2019

One & Done: Games Without Sequels - Part Three

After a year's absence, "One & Done" is back, talking about those games that didn't receive sequels of any kind--whether spiritual or straight-out sequels. There could be multiple reasons for this: a game just didn't sell well, isn't marketable anymore, or the creator/development team simply wanted to move on to something else. We have games from a variety of eras on this edition of "One & Done", so sit back, get comfortable, and prepare yourself for a trip down memory lane.

For a look at SPC's previous two editions of "One & Done", check out part one and part two.

Tearaway (PS4, Vita)

Media Molecule became well known for a plethora of PlayStation fans for its work on the LittleBigPlanet series and have gone on to work on an even more ambitious creative gaming suite with Dreams. However, in between these two projects came a game that didn't receive as much buzz by virtue of being on the PlayStation Vita. That game was Tearaway, a charming 3D platformer that utilized the Vita hardware in glorious and ingenious ways. From using the rear touch screen to raise up platforms from below to utilizing the camera to take a picture, thus using the image to colorize a papercraft creature in need of color, Tearaway remains one of the best games to feature the Vita's various knickknacks and tools. A PlayStation 4 version would release--Tearaway Unfolded--adding new content and retooling the controls to work with the PS4's DualShock. Here's hoping that some day Sony brings back Tearaway in some shape or form.

The Bouncer (PS2)

Squaresoft's first game for the PlayStation 2 was little more than a title to get its proverbial feet wet with development on the system, and while the end result, The Bouncer, was gorgeous game for its time, it left a lot to be desired. The main point of contention critics and players of this 3D brawler was that the game was ridiculously short. In fact, the generous helping of cutscenes fattened the length of the game up tremendously, and without those, you were left with a quick romp for a full priced game. Still, The Bouncer was something of a project that I would have loved to have seen expanded upon, fleshed out more, and made into a fuller experience. This obviously did not happen as Square's attention understandably turned to its Final Fantasy games, its cash cow of sorts. That said, there's always a part of me that wonders what could and would have been had The Bouncer been more than a mere tech demo under the guise of a full game.

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. (3DS)

If one were to give an elevator pitch to Intelligent Systems' Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., it could be given as such: "Historic and storybook figures like Abraham Lincoln and the Lion from the Wizard of Oz take on an alien threat in a game with Valkyria Chronicles-like combat." Of course, if one were to give such a pitch, hopefully the person they were giving the pitch to wasn't drinking a cup of coffee, as they would be sure to spit it out in surprise. It's quite an odd premise, but Intelligent Systems managed to make it work with tactical gameplay, focusing on a steam mechanic that is exhausted as players move and attack enemies. Efficiently managing their steam to an effective degree is all the difference between a mission's success and a total failure. Battles were unpredictable and kept players on their toes with their stiff challenge, making for one "One & Done" game that makes this strategy RPG fan lament that we won't be seeing a sequel any time soon.

Dewy's Adventure (Wii)

We conclude this edition of "One & Done" with a trio of Wii titles beginning with Konami's Dewy's Adventure, a delightful fixed camera 3D platformer with a unique control scheme. In Dewy's Adventure, players held the Wii Remote NES controller-style and tilted it forward, backward, leftward and rightward to move the water droplet protagonist through eight worlds of unique challenges and perils. Dewy himself could take on new forms by being frozen or being exposed to heat to solve puzzles and take down enemies that were otherwise invincible in his normal dewdrop form. Dewy's Adventure entered and exited the gaming sphere like morning dew, only to have what little hype it had evaporate into nothingness as many looked past the game. While Konami's other all-new Wii-centered exclusive, Elebits, managed to find enough success for a sequel--though on the Nintendo DS--Dewy's Adventure, unfortunately, did not.

Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure (Wii)

Despite struggling with the motion controls (and sometimes to the point of utter frustration) in this next game on this list, Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure brought with it a charming art style, set of characters, and gorgeous, colorful art style that suited the weak Wii hardware quite well. The game itself was a puzzle adventure game where players needed to find and use tools correctly in order to complete each level, and some of these tools required the use of the Wii Remote's motion and gyro control functionality. Most of the time these worked well, but when they didn't--woo boy! Regardless, part of why I'm devoting three spaces on this edition of "One & Done" to Wii games is because I'm nostalgic for that era of experimental gaming--damning to hell the poorly implemented motion controls that plagued the system notwithstanding. It was an era where we saw some really "out there" ideas and games put forth by big publishers--something in this HD era that is mostly left for indies nowadays (though still appreciated).

We Love Golf! (Wii)

Speaking of Capcom and loosely tied with Zack & Wiki is We Love Golf! Nintendo didn't develop a Mario Golf game for the Wii/DS generation, so instead, its usual golf game partner Camelot turned to Capcom to create We Love Golf! While the assortment of golfers were vanilla and generic as all get out, one could unlock Capcom-inspired costumes from such series like Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Phoenix Wright, and yes, Zack & Wiki. The actual golfing was inspired, and while players didn't swing the Wii Remote like an actual club, a swing motion was required to drive, putt, and otherwise hit the ball through the game's eight 18-hole courses and three unique par 3 courses. I spent so much time with We Love Golf!, and it's a shame that the series didn't continue, though sales show the obvious reason why it didn't. At least we'll always have Mario Golf to look forward to with Camelot and Nintendo.

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