Second Impression (5 hrs in): Something I noticed as I played through this time: I think the narrative changes depending on how you play. I find this to be, on the one hand, fascinating due to the game's simplicity, while, on the other hand, it's incredibly tedious.
See, if the narrative is designed the way that I think it is, then it's almost up to chance on what you'll get. I mean, there's definitely an element of skill to it, but it seems very "hope you know the level design and can plan way ahead."
So that part is a little disappointing. That said, the narrative *is* pretty interesting and it did surprise me when I realzied what exactly was going on. And the story's culmination in the final boss battle was fantastic. It's so simplistic but really rounded out the game in a great way and made it feel complete.
That said, I do have a few other complaints. The last two levels or so seem pretty grueling. There's this part, right before the last boss, that nearly drove me out of my ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ mind. It was harder than the damn final boss. Some bosses are sort of recycled. I say sort of because their difficulty is ramped up. However, thei reappearance in what is basically a "super" form is disappointing and it diminishes the special feelings of the first enconters.
On balance, this game is an interesting take on the side-scrolling shooter. With an engaging story and fun game mechanics that require the player to adjust as they play, Enemy Mind is sure to leave a positive mark on everybody who plays it.
Initial impression (1.4 hrs in): I dig it. Imagine Gradius had a baby with Kirby and you get Enemy Mind. You, as the player, do not control a single, permanent ship. Instead, you hop around from ship to ship, each with a finite amount of health. Once you run out of bullets for a ship, that's it. There's no ammo pickups or anything. You have to literally
jump ship and hop into a new one.
Each ship has a different firing mechanism, effectively replacing the traditional "power up" system. So half of the strategy is knowing when's the right time to use particular ships. However, some models clearly stand out from others, and this style of gameplay lends itself to a certain disadvantage on your first runs, as you don't really know what's coming.
In fact, that's primarily where the challenge lies, at least for me. Do I have a ship that's good for the situation? Sometimes I don't and it's not a big deal because I can still concentrate harder and make do. But on a few other occasions I don't and the difficulty escalates much higher because it's simply not a viable choice in the circumstances. This is probably the game's one downside so far: not every ship is viable in every situation. This it what makes particular ships stand out clearly from the rest, because they have versatility in every situation. You'll find yourself looking for those, a la dominant strategy. However, I do not think this detracts from the game's fun all that much.
So far, so good. I look forward to playing more soon.