TGS 2009: Hands-on: Minna no Sukkiri

The latest Hot Shots title from Clap Hanz isn't about golf or tennis. Minna no Sukkiri is more Hot Shots ... baseball! And karate! And ... vegetable fighting! And book sorting! And other things that I didn't get to play in my short demo session! Sukkiri (something like Hot Shots: Refresh) is a minigame collection featuring twelve wildly different games. If the four I played are any indication, the descriptions for all of them would include the phrase "and that's it."
For example, the martial arts game asks players to hit one of the face buttons to hit targets above, below, or to either side of the player character, and that's it. If you've played the bonus stages in Parappa the Rapper 2, you've played it, essentially! At first, objects come in one at a time, but as the difficulty ramps up, you have to hit several buttons in rapid succession to destroy up to four obstacles that have appeared simultaneously. If you take too long, you'll just sort of twirl awkwardly instead of doing an impressive karate-style move.

The baseball game is a home-run derby, and that's it. Your "targeting" is represented by a square -- you can aim your swing by holding a direction on the d-pad or nub, which will place a sort of cursor in a side or corner of that square. Just as the pitcher throws the ball, one area of the target will light up to let you know where to aim. You then swing with the circle button. The game keeps track of your home runs.

The vegetable fighting game is really, really weird. It's Dynasty Warriors starring what looked like a sword-wielding salt shaker, taking on wave after wave of animate vegetables on the kitchen table. The shaker can execute combo attacks by mashing the attack button Occasionally a "boss" enemy, like a giant parsnip, would appear which would require a lot more time to cut into beautiful slices. The entire game seemed to take place in that one area, and there didn't seem to be any end to that single stage. Toward the end, I received a power-up -- a big frying pan that let me smash multiple enemies against the table at once. This power-up never seemed to go away, and nobody could get anywhere near me while I was using it. I just kept smashing hundreds of garlic bulbs, tomatoes, and onions with a giant frying pan. And that's it.

The best game of those I played was the book-sorting, in which you organize volumes on a shelf (and that's it). Multiple volumes of books, in different series, are lined up on a shelf out of order, and the player is challenged to move books around so that the volumes are in numerical order. When you make blocks of correctly-placed books, those blocks move as a unit, making it easier to move the stragglers around. As the difficulty increases, more books are shelved upside down, and more different series share shelf space.

This game seemed like a fresh idea for a puzzle game, but everything else I saw in Minna no Sukkiri seemed entirely inconsequential. If the individual minigames were offered as PSP minis, they would almost certainly go ignored.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.