WOTH: Platinum #20 – Lemmings Touch

Ah, lemmings. Those fascinating little creatures, portrayed in the 1958 Walt Disney movie, Wild Wilderness. In it, they were shown to be performing mass suicides, falling to their death from large cliffs. This was originally thought to be an animal impulse based on a balancing out of population explosions. And so through the ages, eventually a video game was born, where you need to get the little lemmings home, preventing them from blindly walking into danger.

Well, it turns out that Disney were liars. Lemmings did not have the propensity to throw their mortal bodies over cliffs, and in fact, the documentary film crew pretty much herded them off (smaller, non-lethal) cliffs themselves.

But hey, no need to discredit the puzzle video games that were born in the wake of this fallacy! And now, I’ve stumbled across the latest iteration, Lemmings Touch for the PS Vita.

As with the many versions before it, you’re tasked with guiding the little lemmings home, by assigning them skills or actions, such as building steps, digging below, or blocking the path against other lemmings. Without these skills, they’d keep walking in one direction and possibly die to to the countless dangers in the world; drowning, getting crushed, and of course, falling off cliffs. In this version, the controls are made easier by allowing you to use the Vita’s touchscreen to give the commands. Very useful when there are 100 lemmings on screen. The quicker you complete a level, with as many lemmings saved as possible, will earn you more stars each level.

This was actually my first real attempt at lemmings; I think I recall having a version on my ancient MS Dos computer, but never really got far. I picked this one up as one of the monthly free games in Playstation Plus, but I still enjoyed the experience.

The 100 levels have a nice and gradual difficulty curve, and you learn new techniques as you go. If you feel stuck, you can always refer to the skills they’ve given you for the level – most of the time, especially towards the harder levels, they give you exactly what you need to get the job done in a particular way. After getting as far as I could with my modest puzzle solving skills, I did need to resort to online guides to perfect the later levels. But the fun in the game is seeing just how far you can get on your own.

A neat little bonus to the game is the customisation feature, allowing you to dress up the little ambitious lemmings. There are trophies tied to customisation, so it’s good that you get to try out each of the game’s aspects. To earn the coin for the costumes, you need to complete various objectives while beating the levels, which can be done at any time. I’m so relieved that they didn’t go the well-traversed microtransaction route, as they easily could have. Unlocking rewards using skill should be the way to go for all games.

Regarding the platinum trophy, most of the trophies are tied to perfecting each of the levels. So get as far as you can on your own, then polish it off with guides if needed,

What’s on your list? Currently playing:

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4)
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (PS4)
  • Borderlands 2 (PS4)
  • Journey (PS4)
  • Arcade Game Series: Galaga (PS4)


Humble Book Review: Bag of Bones

Recently, I counted all the Stephen King novels, short story collections, and non-fiction books. It comes to a grand total of 71. If there’s anyone who can claim they can write like the Devil, it’s King.

With completing Bag of Bones, I’ve now reached 41 books read. I’m on the home stretch! Now, to hope that I can keep up my reading speed with his writing speed…

Stephen King always seems to combine two distinct themes in each of his works; one natural, and one supernatural. In The Stand, it was about rebuilding society after it’s collapse (natural), and the war between omnipotent good vs evil (supernatural). In It, the central characters had to acknowledge their childhood and overcome their fears (natural), facing a powerful entity not from their world (supernatural).

This is no different for Bag of Bones which vaguely divides into two distinct themes: haunting, and conspiracy.

Mike Noonan, a novelist, finds himself unable to continue with his profession with the passing of his wife, Jo. After several years of sickening writer’s block, and nightmares relating to their summer house on Dark Score Lake, he decides to return to this home away from home to alleviate both of these issues.

He stumbles across a young widowed mother, Mattie, fighting a hopeless custody battle over her daughter, Kyra, against her withered yet relentless millionaire step-father, Max Devore. As Mike steps in, he begins to unravel a much larger conspiracy that seems to be connected to his restless summer home.

King needs to be congratulated for being able to tie all of the many mysterious threads together towards the end, because my initial gripe with the book, halfway through, was that I had no idea how everything fit together. He threw a jigsaw puzzle to the ground, and while I assumed the completed picture would be incredible, I resigned myself to the fact that some pieces would have scattered under the couch, or down a few cracks. However, there is an unusually satisfying conclusion in Bag of Bones which answers more questions than you can shake a plastic owl at.

There is a little weird vibe of creepiness, though, with Mike’s pseudo-relationship with the young Mattie even though he is pretty much old enough to be her father. He is aware of this, but sometimes the way it is written, it comes off as creepy uncle-type stuff. The town talks greatly of this, which I suppose mirrors the gossip of real life small towns.

This is a great take on a Gothic style novel, showing a town full of secrets that you really want to unravel. Just don’t expect everything to make sense until towards the very end.