Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ~ Memory Review

I'm almost sure it was a stealth game.
Solid Snape? Is that funny? What do you want from me?

And now for Miister—you know what? To hell with this I'm sick of this stupid feature
*sound of suitcase closing*
*door opening and closing*
*door opening and closing*
*different footsteps*
*papers shuffling*
And n-now for uh Miister X's th-thoughts about ummmm about the game

"From: To: Re: Memory Review/

It has come to my attention that you may have some information of a sensitive nature about me. But that's OK, because we're pals right? The best of friends! And sometimes good pals know things about each other and they don't say tell the press. It's no big deal. I was err sick for the last few months - no wait it was predictive text, that was it. That's why my messages sounded really rude, err even the voice ones. Point is I've got my thoughts about those games together like you asked. Because we're good friends.

  1. Paper Mario Sticker Star: Met Paper Mario at a party once. He tore a piece of his shoe off so that I'd have something to write his number on. Deeply weird. 5 out of 10
  2. Pilotwings Resort: I've stayed at Wuhu island a few times actually. I always used to hate it when I was playing a round of golf and some fly boy decided to fly his plane around the island because it meant I wasn't allowed to do anything but putting. And the amount of times I'd be woken at the middle of the night by some twat on a hang-glider flying into the wall of the hotel. Real inconsiderate. 0 out of 10
  3. Little King's Story:  I've never played this game. Just one of many similarities between me and the common man. And every one loves the common man right?
  4. Meteos: That's the one with the big evil eye thing right? Yeah, they're all right, the new one with the Nemesis system's especially good. 9 out of 10
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: I err, never actually played this one. That said I'm sure everything you Moustache folks said about it was 100% because you're smart lads. Boy I sure am glad to count such wonderful people as my good friends. Good friends, that's us. Good friends uh... out of ten.
  6. de Blob: Here listen, one time my ex was on de blob and I.... actually that story is better left untold. Point is 10 out of 10
  7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Film reviews? Cool. I thought Azkaban was pretty good. Malfoy got punched. The whole thing hinged on a time paradox. The castle's architecture was kind of interesting. 8 out of 10
  8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Don't really remember much of this one. I don't think Malfoy got punched so 5 out of 10"

Monday, 7 December 2015

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for GBA ~ Memory Review

Let's see.

  1. It was an turn based RPG
  2. The turn based combat was *concentrates really hard* decent
  3. It crashed quite a bit
  4. There was a mini-game where you moved sweets around, in hindsight it was probably a knockoff of Peggle or something but at the time it was the bomb
That's about it.

And now let's see what Miister X had to say about — you know what? These are clearly not about the game at all. We'd fire that intern if it weren't for the fact that we never paid him in the first place.
And he took the piece of paper with our lawyer's number on it with him when he left.

"From: / To: Re: Very interested

Wait, did, did that, did that send. Ah Goddamnit Siri."

Saturday, 5 December 2015

de Blob ~ Memory Review

de Blob eh? More like de Man, de Legend. Old Blobby. de Blobmeister! What is there to say about de Blob? What is there to say? What. Is. There. To. Say. About. de Blob? People have said things about de Blob before, many things, so the question is what will I say now? Seriously what is there to say? This is it. The fabled point where the mists of time and general apathy about the game in question join forces.
What do I remember about de Blob? You played as some sort of paint based anarchist, but rather than spray painting clichés and suggested google searches on road signs you cover entire surfaces with paint. The villains were little black and white star fish in English constabulary hats who served another star fish in a general's hat. They wanted to take all the colour out of the area. You are a beacon of hope in this monotonous grey. I think you had some kind of ground pound attack, or maybe some kind of roll attack with which to cover the streets with their blood. And paint. You did a lot of painting. And jumping. Jumping's one of the two things I remember.
Jumping in the sorry de Blob is carried out by flicking the Wii-mote, this kind of thing was the style at the time. I don't recall how well it was calibrated so we can assume that it wasn't so bad as to send me into fits of rage. I have a hazy recollection that while you did a lot of it, the platforming of de Blob was relatively sedate so I doubt you were ever up against it to make precise jumps. What I do remember is the feeling of doing that motion, awkwardly jutting your wrist and to some extent your arm up when really you'd much rather keep it by your side. There's no dignified way to do this micro spasm and unless you're especially slim shaking your whole body like that and scraping you arm along your side constantly is likely a wobbly reminder that you should cut back on the snacks. Not that this is a bad thing to be reminded about it's just sometimes you want to play a game to put your mind off these things.
Which is shame because as I remember the environments in de Blob were nice, large open spaces that spread out both horizontally and vertically. Mr Blob had some kind of wall jump power that let him ping from surface to surface and there may have been some kind of cannons for especially scenic jumps. The other thing that is clear in my head about de Blob was the soundtrack. Each level started out quiet but as you added colour to the area the music slowly started to build and the mixture of different colours in a particular area affected the kind of instruments used. Each colour corresponded to a different genre of music leading to some bizzare yet likable combinations. Seriously the soundtrack was lovely, look it up!
The restorers of time have inadvertently eroded the eyebrows of the Mona Lisa of my memory so I can't really give a proper verdict of de Blob. At a push I think my thoughts at the time were that the gameplay was nothing special but that the music and style was nice enough to elevate the experience above mediocre. I would highly recommend that you.... read another review before purchasing it.

And now the latest quote from Miister X which our intern assures us is about de Blob
"From: / To: Re: Very interested
Dear Dr. Layton,
I'm very interested in the service you described, I just have a couple of questions.
I'm something of a public figure so it's is very important to me that your patient records are kept secrets and that I will be able to visit your clinic without being recognised. I'm looking into a number of different providers of this service so I want to know, using your procedure, just how big it can-CRAP THIS IS THOSE MOUSTACHE GUYS AGAIN, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A  dE BLOB BASED PROCEDURE AT ALL IS THERE, GAAAHHHH"

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Dr. Dark Samus' Phabulous Phazon Phormula

It's the new sensation that's sweeping the federation! A scientific miracle from the mind of Dark Samus MD, EoD (Emmisary of doom), the Phabulous Phazon Phormula. GF troopers, space pirates, Roman Catholics you name it, everyone and everything's crazy about this glorious goop!

But what is Phazon? Well it's a powerful mutagen and energy source that you can add to anything to give it a bit more zing, more pep, more of a can do attitude! But unlike aspirin which is made by sketchy scientists, Phazon is isolated from a natural source, giant intergalactic glowing seeds.

So what are you waiting for? Pick up a bottle of Dr. Dark Samus' Phabulous Phazon Phormula from your druggist today!
Phazon is a registered trademark of Dark Samus Chemicals.
Side effects of Phazon include vision problems, insanity and death.
Phazon may contain traces of nuts and sentience.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Official Eye Moustaches Apology (again) and Skyward Sword Review

Hey there purely imaginary readers! It sure has been a while hasn't it?
The next memory review (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword) is finally up. I was going to explain how I was briefly employed in the service industry and while there couldn't access an internet connection that could handle wordpress's editing page but that wouldn't explain the last few weeks. I'm very sorry (or at least I would be if anyone had been even slightly put out by this). I did have time to think of neat stuff so look forward to seeing that some time within the decade.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Meteos Memory Review

Last night at stupid o' clock I posted the latest memory review for the lovely Meteos on Wordpress. Those who played the game may remember it came out in two thousand and five, a whole four years before Little King's Story. This did not occur to me until this morning however. In the latest in a long line of screw ups I completely messed up the review order and in the fact the next two reviews (Skyward Sword and Wii Sports Resort most likely) should have come before Little King's Story.
Please excuse my uselessness,
The other one

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Little King's Story ~ Memory Review

After a number of delays the latest Memory Review (which I deeply regret not calling "From Memory" but here we are) is up on Wordpress. It's a review of the lovely Little King's Story for the Wii and there's some thoughts on Psychonauts and an amateurish attempt at a discussion of how one should review a game (what an endorsement eh? Believe it or not this review was delayed because I was working in sales for a while).
Since it's been a while, the running gimmick (or one of them at least) of quotes from Miister X about the games may have been forgotten (oh the irony). So here's a refresher on the statements that an intern assures me he "got when [he] contacted Miister X about the games".
Paper Mario Sticker Star: "As my client, Miister X made clear when he signed our deal with you, you may use his likeness for a fee, but he wants "nothing to do with your damn blog". He went on to say that he doesn't know what a sticker star is but that if you attempt to obtain another free opinion from him he will "shove a packet of match attack stickers so far down your throat that your intestines will look like a Man U fan's bedroom wall" Please don't call this number again unless you are in a position to make a cash offer. [Dictated but not read]"
Pilotwings Resort: "I believe I made it clear in my last message not to call this agency again unless you're interested in entering into another financial arrangement with Miister X or one of my other clients. You're phone number will now been blocked. Uh. Johnathon, how do hang up, wait no I have"

Monday, 10 August 2015

Psychonauts Hoedown

Only the finest PowerPoint enabled graphics for you Sporadic Reader

I posted the lyrics to a "Whose Line Is It Anyway" style hoedown over on Wordpress because why the hell not? While those guys come up with them on the spot, mine took all day and even I'm not sure how some of it is supposed to go. On a serious note I think it turned out OK and might post more of this kind of nonsense in the future, I've already got the beginnings of ode to Gunpoint à la Tom Jones rattling around in my head. I put it on Wordpress because lately I've been thinking that maybe it's a better fit for what I post which could hardly be called a blog. What does this mean for the Psychonauts review? Hard to say. Through the medium of song I conveyed most of the key points I would have made and it's a well covered game to begin with so unless I find myself with a lot of time to spare I don't really see the value in a full review.

Thursday, 6 August 2015


Some of you1 may have noticed that my plans for a weekly Memory Review2 are starting to seem like a cruel joke. Well there's a few reasons for that. For a few weeks I had a very time consuming job so I barely had time eat and replenish my helium supplies, let alone write a review. When I finished there I found that the game I had planned to review was a tricky one to discuss without simply listing features (WarioWare DIY if you're curious) so I decided to skip that one for now, that cost another few days. The next game on my list was Little King's Story, a game that I'm very fond of and that I have a lot of things to say about, in fact one of those points may well be spun into a separate article. While I was considering all this and writing the review draft, my laptop crashed and only after a week did I find out that there was no way of recovering the files. As well as the LKS draft I lost my notes on a lot of games I'd played recently (Psychonauts, Gunpoint etc.) as well as the most recent copy of my "big pile of ideas" file so future pieces are probably going to take (even) longer to put together, at least for a little while. Thanks for your patience.

1: Let's be honest here. There are none of "you". I'm writing only because I mentioned this blog on a CV and it wouldn't look good to the hiring manager if they looked it up and found that I hadn't kept to a schedule. Incidentally, hello.
2: That name is not getting any catchier is it?

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Memory Review 2: Pilotwings Resort

Memory reviews: A series of highly subjective weekly reviews of games I no longer own, arranged in the order in which I played them, starting with the most recent. These reviews are likely to be shorter than previous reviews, especially later ones and hopefully will capture the points, good and bad, that stood out and stuck with me about the games in question. 
For a more detailed description of this idea, click here.
Previous review: Paper Mario Sticker Star.

Pilotwings Resort was a launch title for the Nintendo 3DS, and together with Steel Diver and Nintendogs and Cats made up Nintendo's first party offerings. It's likely that part of the reasoning behind this was that a game about flight would be well suited to showing off the consoles 3D technology, see "You think in such three dimensional terms" below.
There are three basic vehicle types as well as a flying squirrel type of thing unlocked later on. Advanced versions of each are unlocked as the game goes on. Here we come to the first memory hurdle, how do these different vehicles control? Ummm. The most honest answer I can give is that they control as you would expect them to. The plane moves at speed and maintains its altitude, so the focus is on navigation and turns. The glider requires currents to stay up, I think, so the focus there is on maintaining altitude and covering ground quickly so as not to miss out on high up targets. The jet pack also focuses on altitude and is the slowest of the three, there may have been a fuel mechanic for this one as well as a penalty for hitting the ground too hard. The fact that the exact mechanisms of the game are somewhat unclear in my mind after only a few years says a lot about the functional if forgettable nature of Pilotwings Resort. In addition, the game has some lifespan issues which will be discussed later on. 
Part of the challenge of trying to write a review of Pilotwings Resort from memory is trying to distinguish elements from this game from parts of Wii Sports Resort (an excellent game which I may cover later in this series). Let me explain. Pilotwings Resort is divided into two sections: mission mode and exploration mode. In exploration mode you can use all three vehicles to explore the same tropical islands you explored by plane in Wii Sports Resort in search of secrets and information points. While the text for these points is entertaining and the main island has a number of secret caves and passageways which are a challenge both to find and to navigate, the fact is most players have likely done this before.
This leaves most of the job of justifying the game to the mission mode. Sadly there is a limited number of short missions to play. This is not necessarily a problem in every game; a small number of missions can provide lots of entertainment and replay value either through high score challenges or by introducing some sort of variability to each replay (as in the recent trend of rogue-like games1). Pilotwings Resort falls flat in both these areas. The missions are unchanging, during each replay you fly through the same targets positioned in the same positions, so multiple attempts quickly get repetitive. The game includes a scoring system in which you are scored out of three stars based on your performance. Even on paper, this is obviously a broad and imprecise system. There's no feedback or indications as to why some attempts get two stars rather than three. The witchcraft that determines whether your landing was good is particularly nebulous.
In a game with more courses, a cryptic scoring system would be less of an issue. In such a game, once you've taken off as much time, corrected as many mistakes as you can and tried as many alternate routes as you feel inclined to you can move on and repeat the process in a different level. But because it has only a few courses Resort insists you fixate on getting ill-defined perfect scores in unchanging missions in an already overfamiliar environment if you want to get more than an afternoon out of it. To conclude, personally I found that Pilotwings didn't have enough content to justify the price I paid for it, which may have contributed to the 3DS' initial failure to take off. 


You think in such three dimensional terms

Personally, I'm not interested in 3D films or games. Especially in the case of films I find that the brain can roughly determine from 2D images how close or far away something is from things like size and shadows and so on, so a 3D effect adds little. For me, the most impressive (read actually noticeable) 3D effect in Avatar was the robot dog that kicks the floating ball into the audience before the film started. When you have 3D foreground elements that touch the frame it shatters the illusion of depth, at least for me anyway. A plane/glider/rocketman in the foreground, that does not come into contact with any larger objects (all things going well) exploring an open space is a good fit for showing off the 3D effect.

1: This represents the only time when this blog will attempt to comment on recent trends in videogames. I am sorry for any distress and confusion this has caused.

And now we're proud to present a statement from celebritii Miister X about the game that a hard working intern acquired for us.
"I believe I made it clear in my last message not to call this agency again unless you're interested in entering into another financial arrangement with Miister X or one of my other clients. You're phone number will now been blocked. Uh. Johnathon, how do hang up, wait no I have"

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Memory Review 1: Paper Mario Sticker Star

A key part of the EyeMoustaches mission statement is "reviewing games that came out years ago", an admiral goal definitely not born out of reluctance to spend money on new games. However, as I've mentioned before, within weeks of starting this blog I ran into a serious problem: I could hardly remember some of the games I'd long since sold off, which would make writing a useful review quite challenging.
What's more, it's difficult to trust a reviewer with a small back catalogue. You might be thinking, "this Moustache thing is telling me how good Kid Icarus is, but I can't trust it. I need references, a track record, I need to know it can tell a good game from a bad game. That it didn't just like it because Palutena has a voice like melted cheese.... in a good way (this may not have been your exact wording)".
But where others might see a problem, I see the potential for a series of gimmick articles. I intend to write a number of weekly smaller reviews of these games, with the twist that they'll be arranged in the order of release, from the most recent onward. Each week, you the lucky reader will be taken on a thrilling journey into increasingly foggy memories! Watch with amazement as the flowery prose, coherent arguments and confident statements of facts become short descriptions, half forgotten opinions and hesitant statements of questionable accuracy! Truly exciting stuff!
In addition, to boost the readership, I had an intern/figment of my imagination get some contributions from Miiverse super star Miister X about the games on the list. It may appear as though not many of them relate to the game in question but hii's an artist, operating on another level, so perhaps the true meaning and relevance of his statements is hidden, waiting to be discovered by a greater mind than mine.
So without further adieu, I give the first review in the series: Paper Mario Sticker Star

Paper Mario Sticker Star

Super Paper Mario on the Wii was divisive because it mixed classic Mario with the RPG elements of the Paper Mario series. While I did miss the turn based combat of the previous games, the wit and style of the series lived on. The story, characters and companions carried me through the adjustment to the new combat scheme as well as some of the game's faults (for example: a dependence on backtracking, and the underused rotation mechanic). Sticker Star attempts a different mixture of those two game types and falls flat. It takes the story and minimal dialogue from traditional Mario games (Bowser, of all people, has kidnapped, who'd-have-guessed, Princess Peach) as well as the map structure of Super Mario Bros 3 and World and mixes these elements with the 3D environments, visual style and turn based combat of the Paper Mario series.
Removing the story and character elements takes with it the colourful dust jacket of Paper Mario, revealing the simplistic, functional hardback cover of exploration beneath. In this game your objectives are quite similar to those seen in previous games and as before you are accompanied by a companion who does the talking. However because of the reduced focus on writing these are the least interesting environments in the series. Whereas previous games were set backstage at wrestling matches, in abstract wastelands, nerd fortresses and toyboxs and tasked you with solving murder and stew pot mysteries in this game you explore the forests and rolling hills and forests that are standards of Mario games. Mario's companion, the floating-crown-person-lady, is another staple, specifically the straight-man/woman that Mario partners up with at the start of Paper Mario game who is quickly replaced with someone more interesting (dull companions were also a problem with Super Paper Mario, but as I recall in that game your alternate characters, particularly Bowser picked up the slack). In Sticker Star however, that initial companion accompanies you throughout the game. The crown gives Mario the power to peel off parts of the world and reposition them elsewhere but this ability is never used in an interesting way and does little but facilitate fetch quests.
All that being said, dialogue and setting isn't everything, and on first glance the game's combat appears to have gone back to the series' turn based roots. Closer inspection reveals, however, that slight changes have been made which, at the risk of sounding like everyone who has ever talked about games on the internet ever make everything worse. As mentioned earlier, Mario only has one companion throughout the whole game, so the extra layer of strategy provided by companions is gone, leaving the whole system resting on Mario's wafer then shoulders. In this game, all moves are tied to stickers bought and collected in the world. This change has its merits, different stickers take up more space in Mario's collection than others depending on their power, so some resource management is necessary. For instance, you need to stock up on hammers if you expect to encounter spiky enemies. The most powerful and visually interesting moves are sometimes used to solve puzzles in the environment such as blowing things away with a giant fan, which on paper (PAPER) is an interesting mechanic. In practice though, this means you rarely use these abilities in combat, out of fear that they will be needed to solve a puzzle later on in which case you would have to retreat and buy a new copy. To use the ever fertile toybox metaphor, it's like being given the keys to a toybox, but you can't tell which toys can actually be played with and which ones will be needed to knock over giant bowling pins later on.

As a result, most battles consist of using the staple moves on staple enemies in staple environments to further a staple Mario story filled with bland staple characters. Paper Mario Sticker Star is perhaps an odd game to start this memory review series with because it is not that I've forgotten details of the game over  time but that so little of it was interesting enough to stick(er) in my memory to begin with.


This game

And know the comment from Miister X

"As my client, Miister X made clear when he signed our deal with you, you may use his likeness for a fee, but he wants "nothing to do with your damn blog". He went on to say that he doesn't know what a sticker star is but that if you attempt to obtain another free opinion from him he will "shove a packet of match attack stickers so far down your throat that your intestines will look like a Man U fan's bedroom wall" Please don't call this number again unless you are in a position to make a cash offer. [Dictated but not read]"

Next review: Pilotwings Resort

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Walken Into Darkness

Hey Hollywood
Word on the street is, you guys are in a bit of a bind. You're fast running out of novels and half novels to turn into whole films. What's more, those dastardly vidje-agames snagged Liam Neeson with a contract to make Clash of Clans Superbowl Ads 2, With a Vengeance, 4.0 and A Good Day to Clash Clans, he's minted, he doesn't need Taken anymore. You could say he's been taken *is electrocuted*
Anyhoo, I'd like to take a few minutes of your time to pitch you an original concept for a film. Now, it is currently just a trailer, but here's the thing. Trailers are what make people want to see a film. To succeed, all a film needs to do is include scenes that will impress people in trailer form. Sorry art.
What's more, this film will give some much needed love to one of America's favourite sons, Christopher Walken. Did you see Peter Pan Live. I didn't was it good? Doesn't matter, what's important is that Christopher Walken was the best bit about it. The people love walking Walken. Such love for Chris, which you can capitalise on.
It occurs to me that reading a trailer is probably not the best way to enjoy it, so to help with the atmosphere open Hans Zimmer's page on spotify, that ought to do it.

Walken Into Darkness Trailer
By Ivan Moustaches

Two people fill out a form on a table, they block our view of the bank behind

Hang on, I've written your name instead of mine again.

Hey, how're you, doing. This is. A robbery

Jeez Frank

It's a common mistake.

Give me. All the cash. In the bank.

No it's not, Jeez, why'd I ever marry, hang on, that sounds like.... Christopher Walken?

The man and woman turn around, in doing so allowing us to see the rest of the bank. The balaclava wearing "WALKEN" is talking to a BANK WORKER, a crowd has begun to form, some are taking pictures

I said, all the cash. Now. I gotta fever, and the only prescription, is cash!

Mr. Walken, we can't just give you any more money than what's in your account. However, if you take that mask off I myself will gladly pay you for a photograph.

Little man. If I, don't. Get the money. It's gonna get. Real crazy, in here.

BANK WORKER (still very calm):
How about I pay you for an answering machine message

Sure, here's my. Message

"Walken" takes out a gun and shoots the bank worker.

"WALKEN" addressing the other shocked bank workers:
Come on. Make with the cash, chop chop.

The image resolution becomes grainy, and we transition from looking at the scene in the bank to looking at the same scene on a news show.

Actor Christopher Walken was seen, well, heard, robbing a bank today, critically wounding a bank worker in the process. Authorities are unsure of what drove the star of Balls of Fury to commit such a vicious crime. We now go live to his home.

Walken is surrounded by a swarm of reporters.

Mr, Walken! Chris! Chris! Why'd you do it? Acting not giving you the same kick?

I'm telling you. That. Was not, me. It was, some one. Doing an impression. I gotta distinct voice. A lot of people. Do 'em,
REPORTER (Doing a Walken impression. Badly):
Yeah. They. Are. Great.

Fade to black.

Framed for a crime he didn't commit.

INT: A House - Night
You gotta believe me.

Christopher Walken has one day to clear his name

EXT: A Los Angeles Street - Day

Walken runs through a crowd, wearing a hooded jumper, with the hood up. As he runs, he wipes off the clown make-up he's wearing with a tissue. He is pursued by the police

Or watch his life

INT: The house - Night

This is bad Chris


EXT: Dessert - Night
Walken dives behind a wall, in the distance there is a large explosion


EXT: The Hollywood sign - Day

Walken runs along the top of the Hollywood sign, persued by men in 18th century greatcoats, he looks over his shoulder to see one of the men aiming a gun at him, and jumps, managing to take cover by nestling in the V part of the letter W

EXT: The Walk of Fame
GARY OLDMAN attacks Walken's star with a hatchet, cracking it, symbolising the damage done to Walken's reputation and legend by a crime he was innocent of.


EXT: The roof of a building - Morning

Walken stands on the centre of the roof, turning in a circle with the camera. He looks very dishevelled. He's holding a pistol and has a beard. He yells at the sky, we see he's addressing a News helicopter.
This is. Not what. It looks like. I've been set up. Someone's playing you guys. The guy at the bank. Wasn't me. He's not Walken. I'm Walken.

Oh, you're Walken alright. Walken right into my trap.

Cut to black.

Walken Into Darkness
Starring Peter Pan Live's Christopher Walken


OK, I know the "trailer's all that matters" bit might have rubbed you up the wrong way and even those of you with no artistic inclination at all may have found the lack of basic details confusing, so I've put together some thoughts as to how we can flesh out the film, and maybe blag a few awards while we do it.
1. Difficult parental relationships
If Birdman's any indication, the academy want to see strained relationships between actors and their daughters, which I think could easily be worked in. Picture it, Walken's on the run, he isn't walking anymore, no where to turn when he realises there's only one person he can trust, who the press won't know about. His estranged daughter. Years ago, she grew ashamed of her father, despite Peter Pan Live and moved away, changed her name, and in a final slap in the face, changed her accent. I'm thinking she should have an English accent, but that's mostly because I feel I haven't seen Emily Blunt much in films lately. Edge of Whatnow?
2. The Villain
Kind of at a loss for who this should be, Walken being so loved that the idea of people hating him would surely shatter suspension of disbelief. I'm thinking maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sean Connery, jealous that ol' Chrissy Boy has stolen the title of guy people do impressions of a lot.
3. Your Mom
4. Time
Did you know Boyhood took twelve years to make? Mad. We gotta capitalise on this. If we start filming in May 2003 we should be ready to release in the next quarter. Might take a bit of script rewrite though
5. Secret Society
Point two got me thinking about a new direction for the film. How about our hero discovers he's the victim of a secret cabal of celebrity impressionists plotting world domination? To get to the bottom of the mystery, Walken must use his wiles and pitch perfect Streisand impression to infiltrate the group.
6. More Birdman?
Returning to Birdman for a moment, Mr. Birdman hated critics and was an actor and critics liked the film. Obviously they have issues of some sort. We can make the most of these by, I don't know, having Walken punch Mark Kermode or something. Hell, maybe the villain could be a critic, like Roger Ebert back from the dead, or something less dumb.
7. Birdmanhood
Combining points 1 and 4, how about we take the key trick of both films, the former's use of what resembles one continuous shot and the later's.... I've forgotten which one was the later one..... uh.... Boyhood's filmed over twelve years trick, and make a film in a single take over a twelve year period. It'll be a 105190 hour long masterpiece unlike any film before it. Oscar time!
8. Horses
At some point, Walken must ride a horse somewhere, at breakneck speed I might add, to deliver some kind of warning to someone. Or at least that's what I think it says on this napkin.
9. Just make Birdman

On an unrelated note, I'm ninety percent sure the woman in this is actually Kirsten Dunst. She's aged well. Best wishes, Ivan

Monday, 26 January 2015


At some point in the past I bemoaned that only playing good games made it difficult to write interesting reviews. The average Eye Moustaches review boils down to "dear Sporadic Reader, you may have heard it said that this game is very good. Well I'm here to tell you that those rumours are in fact completely true, and so reading this review hasn't told you anything professionals haven't already told you". Well having played Contact, I can tell you that I never want to play a bad game again, screw the review quality.
I had a number of ideas of how to approach this review. One was to punctuate every sentence with a different swear words, but the Irish over-reliance on the big F meant I ran out pretty quick. Another was just to upload a copy of the notes I made as I played it, a Gonzo approach that would have let the reader pick through the shattered remains of my psyche. I considered just typing "It's the the combat, stupid" and leaving it at that. One idea that I was particular fond of was to present the review as a network diagram, to illustrate my main point, that Contact's main problem is that none of its admittedly interesting ideas seem to have been considered in terms of they would fit in with the game's other mechanics.
You've probably heard of Contact because of the story. The idea is that you play as you, a person holding a DS who makes "contact" with the Professor, a balding space faring guy in a lab coat. Shortly after this, the Professor is shot down and one of his power cells land nears a child called Terry. The Professor retrieves the cell and instructs Terry to get in the ship, which he does, stranger danger not being a thing in this world. Perhaps not surprisingly, the ship is shot down and then again unsurprisingly, disguises itself as a pirate ship. Terry must retrieve the ship's cells so that he and the Professor can get home. The idea is that you control Terry, whilst communicating with the Professor without Terry's knowledge, while the Professor communicates with Terry over a radio. That's the initial premise, what follows is a confusing story full of vague world building and out of focus overarching plotlines.
The game clearly thinks it is quite clever. According to the website "it's not all high concept artsy stuff" You're right, it's barely even a little high concept. We're told that we play as ourselves, and that we control Terry. But Terry is so bland that that in effect we just control him. He doesn't have any personality or memories prior to his meeting the professor, he knows exactly as much about the situation as we do. The Professor sometimes addresses you personally, but only to comment on the fact that he's addressing you personally. Crucially, when we discover randomn documents that contain info about the Professor or the games antagonists, the CosmoNOTS, there's no indication if Terry already knows this. Other sections of the site seem to think that the idea of player surrogate is incredibly novel. The Professor's character is inconsistent varying from selfish sometimes to showing concern for Terry and compassion for the CosmoNOTS. The antagonists are in a band for some reason and want the crystals again for some reason. Terry kills (or at very least maims) people with weapons like knives, swords and a toy hammer and no-one seems to think this strange or gruesome. In fact, at one point after dispatching a troop of soldiers, there superiors response is to simply say "I'll be filling a report". Other bizzare moments include a CosmoNOT uttering the line "I'm not sure how we're going to stop you" to a small child. I only learned from the website that the second time the ship crashed it was on an unknown planet. There are other problems with the plot, including a number of plot threads that seemed to be left hanging. There's something about clones? A conspiracy on Aegis?
It's possible that these threads were resolved in side quests, I only learned after completing it that there's a number of romance side quests that I was completely unaware of. I'll get back to my problems with the side quests that I was aware of later on, but the most pressing one is that the game's design specifically the combat system, makes it a world that you don't want to explore.
When you make contact with an enemy, if you choose to fight them, you press B and Terry gets into his action stance. He starts to move (even) slower and when the mood strikes him flails at the enemy, or possibly the air. There's no real player control in this system, in theory there's some element of skill to dodging attacks while keeping close to hitting them but in practice a great many of the attacks are homing attacks that can't be dodged so staying away from enemies is ineffective. Combat therefore boils down to standing in front of the enemy while Terry slowly whittles away their health. That is, unless the enemies attack speed causes Terry to flinch constantly or those times where he doesn't seem to attack at all. The website describes menu based systems as tedious and calls its combat system speedy. It's most definitely not speedy, nor is watching Terry slowly knock blocks off an enemy's health bar with no way to affect the outcome in any way satisfying. Confusingly, the game does have menu based combat, special attacks which require xp to use, which happen as soon as you select a target and an attack (except for those times when the game laughs at your foolish notion of the player being in control of a game and cancels the attack somehow) and the use of these attacks to make an effective hit is the closest Contact's combat comes to being fun. What's most perplexing about Contact is that the war of attrition that is its combat system doesn't seem to have been designed with the game in mind, a clear example of this is the food system.
Terry can purchase food in shops and collect it from the remains of dead enemies which can either be eaten there and then or cooked up by Terry (but only when he's wearing his chef's outfit, because why should you enjoy a game right?). These cooking sections are fantastic example of the tedious menus decried by the games own website. What Terry can and cannot cook seems to depend on his cooking stats as well as what recipes he holds and figuring this out involves combining foods to see what you can combine at that particular time. As an extra bit of spit in the soup, cooking will often fail through no fault of yours, wasting your ingredients. Different foods restore health and provide different stat boosts. There's an interesting mechanic whereby Terry can only eat so much before he gets full, but with the massive loss of health necessitated by the combat system this means that the only viable option is to stock up on the dull-but-effective-without-being-filling-potions. In my experience, Terry fills up after two or three of the interesting dishes and death quickly follows.
Cooking is one of the skills Terry can use, but only when he's dressed appropriately. the only place he can change clothes is in the ship, which means that when you disembark you need to be wearing the correct one for anything you might encounter. A definite low point in a section on Aegis is a room with tiles which correspond to game stats. Only if you're high enough in the relevant stats can you activate the tiles and unlock the doors. This requires multiple trips back and forth from the ship to the room so that you can have the right costume on. Even the indispensable GameFAQs walkthrough which appears to have been written by someone with Stockholm syndromes describes this section sarcastically.
Another skill is the shadow thief costume which allows you to pick locks. Throughout the game you encounter locked chests and doors and about midway through it becomes possible to acquire the means to pick (more on that later) locks. Like the combat and the cooking, lock picking is not an interactive experience. You approach the chest or door, hold A and a meter appears on screen and starts to fill up. Sometimes Terry fails and must start again, sometimes he does not. The more locks he picks the more locks he can pick. At no point do you have control over this procedure. This is a recurring problem with Contact, you improve your skills throughout the game, but these improvements are always a case of Terry getting better at something, rather than you the player improving or becoming more experienced at playing the game.
The map to the island containing the thief's costume is hidden in a secret room, specifically, one of those rooms which can only be accessed by pressing up against the walls and hoping for a doorway concealed by the games camera. These kind of hidden rooms are acceptable for hidden secrets, but are a core part of how the levels are designed in this game.
Finding the thief's costume is an optional side quest and as I understand it, the game has a number of them. I say this because while I've nothing against side quests (even that side quest that used to beat me up as a kid and call me "Gay moustaches") the world of Contact is such a chore to navigate that doing anything other than the main quests would be too much of an ordeal. A combination of so many factors, such as Terry's arthritic walking speed, repetitive environments and the possibility that you might need to warp back to the ship to change costumes rob you of any desire to explore. In addition, many of the quests seem vague or involve buying certain (almost unanimously expensive) objects often from one particular store. Fun times for sure.

I'll finish with a point that I saw recently on the game's metacritic page, which I thought too good not to include: An RPG that dares to be different, plot-wise, but still starts you off fighting worms and skellingtons in cobwebby old dungeons ~ NGamer. Contact is far too smug, too sure of itself, so caught up in the cleverness of its not tremendously well thought out ideas for its own good.

Friday, 9 January 2015

One Year of Eyemoustaches

Today is the one year anniversary of Eyemoustaches, and I'm still undecided as to whether I should capitalise the "m".
What a year it's been for games! Big games were released, there were some duds as well as some surprising hits and many people who play games had to ask themselves whether the "gamer" identity was one they wanted to associate themselves with. Also, Kevin Spacey was in Call of Duty. What's that about? He has an Oscar! It's almost as if this is becoming a respected artistic medium1. For our part, we here at Eyemoustaches covered none of that. Instead, we focused on the games that mattered, two or three years ago. Games like Super Mario 3D Land which would have faded into obscurity had Eyemoustaches not bravely championed it.
But that's not the only fond memory of the year. There's been laugh(s), failed attempt at insights, Miister X's Adventures in Redacted finally... stopped, inconsistent reviewing styles and an overabundance of self indulgent, narcissistic self criticism in place of anything that would mean anything to the reader.
And in return we've received so much recognition! Watchmen with Space Animals has an 81 upvote percentage on reddit and was read viewed a staggering 1155 times! And I suspect that only a third of those were me getting the url so I could post links to it. My only concern is that having achieved such success so early on, that the rest of my content, no matter how undoubtedly fantastic it is, will never live up it, in a similar way to how Orson Welles never quite escaped the shadow cast by Citizen Kane2. Also, I've been eating a lot over Christmas, so the Orson Wellles comparison is even more relevant. In other news, a whole five of my tweets received some kind of recognition. Five! That's mental, my granny (who is naturally on the ball with social media) tells me that usually takes five years. I even got a response from such big wheels at the internet factory as the avast lady, although I can't seem to find it, so it may have been a dream.
Who knows what else the coming year will bring? Maybe Matthew McConaughey's people will get back to me about my Matthew McConaughPlays Let's Play series. Maybe I'll review a game that people don't already know is good, the sky's the limit.

Happy New Year
The other one


1: Feels somehow wrong to say that whilst still talking about Call of Duty
2: Technically the Eyemoustaches Citizen Kane is 3 Games That Deserve Sequels but that ruins the analogy.