9th February 2024
Hello! Welcome back to our regular feature where we write a little bit about some of the games we’ve been playing over the past few days. This week: thumbs, Game Boys, and Lego GTA.
If you fancy catching up on some of the older editions of What We’ve Been Playing, here’s our archive.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, PS5
Have you ever performed stretches specifically to play a game? I suppose you can’t get away from it in Wii Fit and Ring Fit, but what about in an ordinary kind of game?
I found myself stretching to play Shredder’s Revenge at the weekend. I was mashing the dodge and hit buttons together so ferociously that my thumb muscles were locking up. My movement slowed and I struggled to keep up because of it. It was a bit alarming actually. So, I bent them back a bit and had a good stretch.
It made me wonder about whether anyone else does this, or whether it happens to them? I know: it’s probably because my thumb muscles are so big that they cramp up more easily. It also made me think about Overwatch again, because I used to do a similar thing there. I’d seen a Korean hotshot limber up before playing once so I thought if I did that then I’d be as good as they were. I did; I wasn’t. But it did help!
So my question to you again: does anyone else do this? And if you do, what do you do, and does it help?
Spyro Fusion, Game Boy Advance SP
This weekend I picked up my loyal little Game Boy Advance SP and put in a cartridge that had simultaneously brought me immense joy over my lifetime and caused serious rage: Spyro Fusion. Also known as Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy. And yes, that’s the Cortex from Crash Bandicoot, because this was a crossover between the two late-nineties, early-noughties juggernauts.
Briefly, Spyro Fusion is a platformer for Game Boy Advance where you play through different sets of mini-games over multiple areas in order to open portals. Each time you complete a mini-game, it will increase in difficulty until you’ve completely cleared it. Some are top-down flying missions, whereas others have Spyro driving a 4×4 with a missile launcher on. Naturally.
Nostalgia is always a nice feeling when going back to a game you fondly remember, but I was a little surprised to see that the top-down levels still infuriated me. I expected them to be a breeze now some time had passed — but no. So either my skills haven’t improved, or these levels really are tricky!
Also, I’m sure I missed some levels as a kid, or didn’t pay attention to them, so that was a nice discovery, and I figured out a few new tricks to outsmart enemies too. Maybe I’m not so bad at this game after all.
Modern games are fantastic: some are truly incredible feats of design, ingenuity and imagination. But sometimes I find the most comfort in going back to a series I’ve known for, almost, my entire life.
Lego City Undercover, Switch
LEGO CITY Undercover (2017): Official Trailer
I always appreciate it when a game is fun and accessible for children, while being an utter hoot for parents to play too. Lego City Undercover — or, as I like to call it, baby’s first GTA — is just that. The game is stuffed to the gunnels with wit and interesting mechanics, and honestly, I dore it.
I am currently making my way through Lego City Undercover with my son. Together, we have thwarted many bricky baddies with a little help from a good disguise or two, and a fair amount of car hijacking (but at least Chase McCain is always polite when he turfs the driver out from behind the wheel). It’s been such a laugh gallivanting around with him, both in missions and in the game’s open world. And I don’t want to boast, but I am getting rather good at the parkour-based speed challenges.
Meanwhile, my sweet, innocent, wide-eyed little angel is steadily destroying every possible part of the city he can with a quick swipe here and a casual dive there. If it can be broken, my son will break it. He is like some kind of truffle-hunting-Godzilla-pig for destructible Lego environments (but, you know, also an angelic one).
We have nearly finished the main Lego City Undercover story, but I am sure we will stick around to Hoover up all of the open world collectables when we are done. Then, we will move on to something else. What that will be, I don’t know yet, but whatever it is, it will have some mighty big blocky boots to fill after Lego City Undercover.