Posted by: metinahurricane | December 7, 2011

Rool Review — Pachirisu

So sweet it makes me sick.

Well, time to face facts: I’ll never review anything other than Pokemon. Since even before Farfetch’d, I’ve been trying to get the stars to align in such a way that I don’t have to deal with these awful little creatures – and the stars have seen fit to punish me not by simply giving me Pokemon, but by giving me fifth-gen Pokemon. Or fourth-gen, is it? I don’t know what Pachirisu is and I don’t care. The last one I seriously played was Ruby, anyway. [actually the last one you played was a Warlord hack of FireRed]

Yes, my imaginary voices will be keeping me company in this review. It’s the next best thing to a roundtable review! And I’m not roughing it with another one of these infernal critters alone – in fact, I hadn’t planned to do any reviews at all. I’m on hiatus, yeah! What of it? Didn’t you see the 23000 words I recently spewed for you? But then Kibble posts his review, and hell if I’m not overwhelmed by the nostalgia of the whole thing, and whisked away to those idealistic MYM4-days when it was Kibble, Mendez, Warlord, Chris and I…

And so here I am. Like Junahu, I had supposed that opening up the Bunker to everybody meant that the reviews were in something of a public pool – yes, it was us who physically brought them back, but what could possibly bind any one of us to this obligation, but goodwill? It’s not a job, after all, and it can’t be expected that anybody regards it as a job. Any one person, that is. Collectively, though, we give and we take back, and that’s what the review system could become, if we were truly prepared to engage with one another in critical discourse. I like that phrase, so let me say it once more: critical discourse. But enough stalling for time. So much for reminiscences and hopes for the future. [one more time, boys: critical discourse]

PART I – “MYMer REVIEW”

I know what my strengths are. People like MYMer reviews; they like me looking through their whole body of work and considering it en masse. Maybe they just like it when I say lots of things as opposed to just a few things, as is bound to happen when you multiply the movesets discussed (a challenge, then: can I say 23000 words about any one moveset?).

And so we start with you, getocoolaid. I’m kinda glad I ended up with this moveset – much as I was glad to nab the newest LoL or one of the first-ever CBs – because I’ve always found you a tremendously underrated and consistently interesting MYMer. I can’t and won’t speak too much for your MYM 8 showing, as that was my lost contest and outside of a cursory look at Joker I didn’t check any of the sets. And so now I go waddling back and skim them, and already in Blastoise I’m seeing this tendancy toward ignoring classical conventions of how characters are supposed to work (and in this case I mean the traditional game stages of damage racking, then KOing). I’ve said it before, probably many times, with regards to your MYM9 and MYMX movesets – at their best, your movesets frankly feel like unique game modes, something completely other to what Brawl is doing, and defiantly and uncompromisingly so. They’re not unsmash in the same way as Warlord sets, because Warlord sets usually follow this scheme of damage —> KO, usually feel like they’re trying to fit into Brawl, and your best movesets don’t seem to be trying to do that at all! [this subject sounds like it might raise some questions from the peanut gallery, and if the difference between Warlord and geto has not been adequately expressed, I can try harder later – but hopefully you can all see the distinction, if not why I’d get enthusiastic about it]

The obvious set that put this idea into my empty noggin was Tetris. The specifics are both slippery and unimportant – it was a too-ambitious work, but purely distills this concept of creating a game mode rather than a conventional fighter. And it became apparent with Harvey Volodarskii, a set I was inordinately fond of, that it was going to become a trend. Harvey seems half-finished, with any number of missing inputs, but it’s precisely that neutered moveset that forces him to function in a completely alien way. He’s an utterly bizarre character based around moving himself and his opponent around the stage in ways that seem to defy all common sense – with the ultimate goal of trapping them in a magical box, of course. His damage output is seriously meager, with many attacks dealing none at all, instead focusing almost entirely on moving the foe around the stage. It’s a weird and wonderful hidden gem of a set.

In MYM 9, Joker Remix followed, but despite a strange central mechanic, he was a fairly conventional straightman set. Everything after Harvey, actually, is tricky to pinpoint, because you gave in to proofreading and such – so when people tell me that most of the ideas in Man Ray & Dirty Bubble came from others, I say “Okay, sure – but you look at geto’s earlier sets and you see this sort of manic creativity and willingness to throw out the rulebook that was too easily dismissed as noobish incompetence.” [I don’t actually say that – instead, I say something like “Bah!” because I like the set and I’ll be damned if you guys pull a Dutchman on it]

The rest is more recent and fluctuates from odd to full-on avant-garde (I’m thinking Bad Girl and Doopliss, respectively). The former, although tame like Joker, introduces this cool subtheme in your MYMX work of minions following in the tracks of the controllable character – often with disasterous consequences for them. What is this, an RPG? Doopliss is a set that I really like to defend from charges of total inanity. It seems pretty clear to me, gameplay-wise, even if it’s muddled characterization-wise: Doopliss only has about a third of a moveset, giving him all the more incentive to steal the opponent’s full moveset; and once he does so, it’s that opponent who is neutered into having only a third of the moveset. As a concept, it’s almost poetic, although I see why it would summon up charges of laziness. Quite a few geto sets walk the thin line between artistically and cleverly dropping certain attacks and frantically running out of ideas toward the set’s latter end. I’m not one to speculate on intent and “the truth”. My subjective truth is good enough for me. [what’s that quote? something about rejecting one reality, substituting another?]

And then there was Bobbery, who would play out as some sort of high-stakes explosive chess game via his crew and even himself, spending most of his game time employed in the same sort of hustle n’ bustle as Harvey, albeit with a very different mood about it – moving his pieces into their right place. The flow of his game – and I’m not using the word flow in the way we usually do; maybe I could borrow DM’s definition of a character’s momentum – is full of starts and stops, and he doesn’t seem to approach combat at all like most characters, with his almost complete lack of close-range fight options. It’s a very strange moveset, and in a good way when approached from the right angle.

Last was Man Ray & Dirty Bubble, which I maintain is a brilliantly characterized piece of work, and under layers of thick, messy move interactions suggested and edited in by any number of proofreaders is a very cool playstyle concept that’s some sort of mesh of cagefight (and don’t I like this genre, having taken a stab at it in Kamek), advanced survival tactic, and mobility option in the vein of Harvey’s boxes. As a two-in-one, the duo seems woefully incompetent, tripping over and outright pummelling one another as an ingrained part of their gameplay. And since their playstyle is so sprawling and complex, any player would very likely experience precisely that sort of incompetence and accidental backfiring in the struggle to master them. It’s a very impressive piece of work, if you ask me, for all of its nitty-gritty issues. We’re talking concept here, remember, not execution. [concept over execution, when we should be talking about both, yes, yes, Junahu – but there are many MYMers out there that obsess over the latter at the expense of the former, and I’m going to be the bloody exception if they’ll all permit it]

And that, gentlemen, brings us to the present day. Everybody have their pants on their heads? All done running into walls? Let’s see what happens when geto steps back for a while, watches, ponders, strokes his goatee, and only then comes back into the fray to make a moveset.

PART II – ROOL READS YOUR RRRROVESET
or: Scooby Dooby DOOOOOO! 

  • Pachirisu is a challenge right off the bat. We’ve had Pikachu, and Pichu, and in MYM we’ve seen a more-or-less definitive Plusle and Minun. At least, Mendez said it was definitive, and even with all the time that’s gone by I feel like it belongs in any serious MYM canon. [except the definitive roster, which YOU could have tried to argue it into!]. Point is, the electric rodent is an old trope, and refreshing it is not the easiest thing in the world.
  • I’m so tempted to criticize the FSpec for being a tacky effect, but I feel like including a funny squeaky sound effect if the foe hits Pachirisu while afflicted would make it pretty clear and no worse than a simple poisoning. The key is that it doesn’t talk about how the foe feels, only the physical status effect they undergo. And they’re not forced to behave a certain way, eg forced to run a platform away, or to remain within two platforms, or what-have-you.
  • Untraditional grab indeed! I’ve never seen anything quite like this, and it ties in beautifully with his propulsive first jump. Now to see how this spastic movement-fiend ties together with the aggression-nullifying darling of the specials…

…and then I got too into it and forgot to look for nitpicks. Damn it. It’s a good sign, I guess? It means that the moveset was exciting, patently readable? This organization shamelessly lifts Clefable‘s, and Junahu in general, but then again it’s more of an homage than a simple copy-paste. There’s something new and fresh and breezy and vigorous about it, and it really does help the set to hum right along, as does the oh-so-light detail and the startling simplicity. [but at this point we should close this chapter and open a new one, like so:]

PART III – DELIBERATIONS

Simplicity! What a thing to find in a geto moveset. That shouldn’t imply that your sets are incapable of doing what they do without complex attacks – the alien simplicity of a Harvey or a Doopliss should disprove that straight off – but to find that simplicity extending to the playstyle catches me off guard. In this case, maybe the word “familiarity” would serve better. Pachirisu would not be so hard to adapt to for somebody just switching to using him for the first time. He’s no extraterrestrial.

But my interpretation of your body of work doesn’t quite go out the window. What’s crucial here is Sweet Kiss, and Berry, two attacks strictly designed to turn opponents’ attacks on Pachirisu into nothing at all. Because Pachirisu doesn’t fight like most aggressive characters: he only fights while the foe is unable to fight back. That sounds harsh for such a cutesy, sunshine n’ lollipops character, but then again his style of play is so frantic, so energetic, and so bouncy (for lack of a better word) that it seems more like he’s bringing the foe down to his level of treating the fight as a romp in the bouncy castle than that he’s weakening the foe before strongarming them.

I’m especially thinking of the aerials and the grabgame here, both quite masterful sections that make Pachirisu supremely persistent, needling and, well, playful. For each attack that he tosses out with the intent to deal out damage, he throws out two for the purpose of controlling his distance from the foe. If we’re still dealing with mobility here, somehow, as we were in Harvey (or, if you shield your eyes from the sun, in Bobbery, in Bad Girl, in Man Ray & Dirty Bubble, and even and especially in Tetris, a character definition of mobility!), it’s not so bizarre anymore. We’re most definitely playing a recognizable game of Brawl here, even if it’s littered with these little typically getoesque flourishes, like Sweet Kiss as a centerpiece to nevertheless make Pachirisu’s game flow differently from any other character’s.

It’s probably clear by this point that I find a lot to be enthusiastic about here. I think it’s also clear that I love your sets when they’re way out-there – it’s something you do very well, and criticism be damned. Any suggestions I would want to make, then, suggest themselves at this point, and reflect my personal preference rather than what will generally be regarded as good setmaking. [the electric fields seem to come so close to being as unique a centerpiece as Harvey’s boxes… the aerials might have downplayed the damage aspect and more exclusively focused on mobility… Sweet Kiss is such good stuff, but it’s not given as much attention as I’d want it to…]

But the bottom line: it’s a smash-feasible geto moveset that doesn’t quite compromise your unique setmaking disposition (as I’ve observed it, anyway). I’m not here to ask it to be something that it isn’t.

PART IV – IN WHICH I BELLYACHE ABOUT DAVE AND YOU NOW USING MY PHRASE “IN WHICH XXX” TO DESCRIBE BLOODY EVERYTHING JUST BECAUSE YOU SAW IT IN MY FARFETCH’D REVIEW

But seriously this is the part where I talk about what others thought. These late reviews have that ideological problem, don’t they? Others have had their say already, so how can I say anything new? Well, what I have that they didn’t is the compilation of their comments, of course. Kibble most cleverly realized that I was onto something here! It’s one of my sleekest ideas.

A common theme in the complaints – smashbot’s, Akiak’s – is Pachirisu’s similarity to Pikachu. This, I think, we can all agree was a deliberate choice. You can’t make an electric rodent moveset without recalling Pikachu to your readers and your players, and don’t make me get Junahu in here to talk about expectations and how their recalling Pikachu should be ratified in some way rather than punished. Of course, he’d be the first to laud a subversion of those expectations, and Pachirisu hacks into that by exposing the ineffectiveness of those old familiar moves – until you Sweet Kiss them, that is. There’s some sort of comment there, something about the naivete of Pikachu’s gameplay, and Sakurai’s expectation that we accept that gameplay as effective simply because it’s in Smash. There I go, reading too much into it again. But in any case and putting the mumbo-jumbo aside, I think it’s conceptually proper to have marked resemblances to Pikachu in a set like this, provided they’re turned to a different goal.

And n88 lamented the lack of focus. Indeed the playstyle is a bit more diffuse than we’re used to seeing in geto sets, and more generally in MYM these days. Whether the emphasis on projectiles contributes to Pachirisu’s hit-and-run playstyle, and his tendancy to keep away or flee until the foe has been cutesy-fied, I leave to his future readers. It’s a case to be made, and I probably would, but it suggests itself, so much like my “criticisms”, I won’t bore you with its execution. [concept, not execution, see! critical discourse! unh! insular! quintessential! Diddy Kong! Sukapon!]

PART V – TENTATIVE CONCLUSIONS

The “MYMer review” sure lengthened this review. Well, call it padding. And after all, this might be the last review you see from me in a while. [you still owe Daddy a review, you moron, and now not only will it not be a nice, easy, minimalistic Pumpkinhead, it’ll probably be a dizzyingly intricate Ra’s Al-Ghul, if the gossip is true – AND he’ll be expecting an “MYMer review”]

Pachirisu, like Farfetch’d and Shelmet, is a small set. It’s not showboating, nor is it trying to break the barrel (I think I just fused two unrelated analogies into one nonsensical Super Saiyan) – it’s slight, but achieves much in its humbleness and simplicity. These aren’t terms that I generally associate with geto sets, but neither are they a bad thing. It’s a very apt demonstration of a certain versatility and adaptability on your part, which are crucial qualities for any MYMer. I don’t just mean in terms of approach to playstyle, either – the very writing and presentation are here very different from, say, that of Man Ray & Dirty Bubble, more suited to the sort of set this is.

And I would certainly never say that being small is a bad thing. Big movesets can win big, sure, but they can also very often lose big, whereas small movesets… how to put it…? Junahu’s said it more succinctly than I could, anyway, and what could be more fitting than to let somebody else have the last word in another one of my blathering sessions?  So let me quote him, circa MYM5:

I think there will always be room for simple, well thought out movesets like Ekans.

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Responses

  1. In which Geto gushes over his review:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to review this, Rool!

    I find the MYMer review to be my favorite part of this here article, mostly because, well, I suppose I’ve never really thought about what othersthink about my rather…indy career. I certainly wasn’t expecting it and it certainly brought some smiles with the rather amazing analyzations. And this may just be my ego talking (or lack thereof), but there seems to be a lot of negetive comments about my sets, and it certainly is nice to receive this much…praise(?) in one place.

    Onto the review of the set itself, it’s no lie that I wanted, after using these “big” concepts and ending up with slightly murky (yet I will fight tooth and nail to defend that they are well-characterized) sets. It was also on my mind to create sort of a fan letter to Emolga, which was (looking back) possibly my favorite set of the last few contests. In fact, the whole organization was supposed to be sort of a homage to the overly well stylized Junahu movesets as of late. I suppose another thing to note is that this is the first time since Joker (#1) that I haven’t had any of those nasty writers blockeffects, and that I feel that this is by far the best thing I’ve produced in MYM (besides the immortal Bot Daddy Smash Smash nickname, of course)

    Well, okay, now to more thanks:
    I’m really glad you enjoyed the set, Rool, really, it means a lot. Actually, I guess I want to thank you for being my biggest fan(?) over the past year or so, and always having that strange habit of looking deeply into things and making me wish I had thought of that during the actual writing. It’s been awesome, Rool. Awesome indeed.

    *sinks back into darkness to stroke goatee, as Rool fades into the blackness that is MYM hiatus.*.

    • You’re very welcome, man! Movesets are, in a way, kinda like art – we do things that we’re not consciously, deliberately doing, but that we nevertheless intended on some level or other and sometimes need others to point out for us later down the line. At least, that’s been my experience.

      I totally forgot about Emolga while reviewing this, which is weird because I too consider it one of my favourites of the last few contests. Oh well.

      Anyway, glad you enjoyed the review and regarding your movesets, the pleasure is literally all mine.

  2. Something I missed earlier: You mentioned how it rips it’s organization straight from Clefable. I actually find that hilarious, because I gadent even read Clefable until about a week after posting Pachi. Weird, huh?

    Anyway, sorry for bothering. Enjoy your hiatus…thing.

  3. Haha, oh Rool, you know I expect nothing less than a full ranking in article format come time for my review. And it won’t be Pumpkinhead, but something wholly more up your alley! Mark the day, man.


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