Playstation All Stars Battle Royale Review

ps3-game-playstation-star-battle-royale-r3-sealed-pbbcasio-1211-21-pbbcasio@5
Super Smash Bros is still pretty recent so it was good timing to finally check out Playstation All Stars. This game was Smash’s big rival and there are still many loyal Sony fans who claim that it is better than Super Smash. It certainly has its fans since I’ve come across several online players who are at level 999 and find it hard to see why someone would play it that long. I got to level 27 with Ratchet after an online battle or two plus arcade mode. So, it would take a very long time to reach such a high level. It definitely has its flaws and I’m sure that you are familiar with some of them, but this is still a great game considering that it’s the first in the series. I’m confident that the sequel will be better.

There is no story mode of course, but we do have Arcade Mode so that’s something. Each character gets their own intro and ending as well as a cutscene for when you face your rival. Arcade Mode is usually pretty fun because it’s quick and you can get used to the controls on the fly, but the game actually dropped the ball here. Arcade Mode takes around 30 minutes no matter how good you are because the first 3-4 matches are times. That means that you have to battle for 3 minutes before the victor is decided so that’s already 10+ minutes. Considering that you have to beat the mode with 20 characters, that’s a lot of time. I still plan to complete it with everyone eventually, but you can probably see why I got this review out first. It’s definitely going to be a gradual thing to say the least. They definitely shouldn’t have added timed matches to Arcade Mode and hopefully they know better for future games.

As for the actual gameplay, PS All Stars uses a 2D combat system sort of like Super Smash Bros. Each character has a variety of attacks. You have three different standard attacks and each one has 3-4 variations. Then there are also grabs and you can roll to avoid attacks as it lets you become intangible for an instant. You can link these abilities to create fierce combos. Now, this is not how you beat an opponent. Typically, your moves would deal damage to chip away at a health bar or send the opponent flying off of the screen, but this is where Playstation All Stars decided to get unique. Attacking doesn’t deal any damage, but it does build up your final smash meter. You can charge it to a full bar up to three times. Filling it up will let you use your standard final smash and bringing it to the 3rd level will let you use the ultimate attack. You have to hit an opponent with one of these attacks to get a KO.

This is where the game starts to get pretty unbalanced. How good your final smash is will determine if your character is good or not. Some characters like Toro or Heihachi will have a level 3 Smash that instantly KOs everyone on the field while others like Ratchet and Kratos will have to earn them. It’s typically pretty easy to score KOs with your level 3 attack so it shouldn’t matter very much, but there can be a difference. The pro of Toro’s attack is that it guarantees 3 KOs in a 4 way battle. The con is that it can only get 3. Ratchet’s can go up to 6 in theory, but you could theoretically not get any as well. It’s a tough call and it’s something that you’ll want to consider before picking a character. The game’s roster is infamously unbalanced, but you may not notice unless you play it very competitively. In that case, you may want to stick with Kratos or try some of the DLC characters. Speaking of which….

This game suffers from the on disc DLC problem that Street Fighter X Tekken had. You’ll see a few characters on the menu, but you won’t be able to play as them without dishing out some money to PSN. I’m okay with DLC being around for the game, but I don’t like it to actually be on the menu. Why should I have to see those characters on the screen if I can never play as them? I think that it is in pretty bad taste since the game is trying to force you to buy them to clean up your character selection page. It’s also sad because the game already has a pretty limited character roster. There are 20 characters and almost half of them are joke characters. “Half…is that possible?” Well, let’s look as the real characters vs joke characters although our interpretations of a “joke” character may vary a little.

Real Characters
Ratchet
Jak
Sly
Kratos
Radec
Raiden
Sweet Tooth(Arguable…?)
Nathan Drake
Cole
Evil Cole
Heihachi
Dante
Nariko
Big Daddy

Joke Characters
Fat Princess
Parappa
Spike
Toro
Sackboy
Sir Daniel

Well, maybe that’s not as bad as it looks. This means that 30% of the characters are fall into the joke category, which is high, but not as high as I had feared. That being said, the roster definitely needs to shape up a little. All of the 14 normal characters are cool, but a fighting game in this day and age should have well over 30 characters easily. Even with the joke characters, we’re not quite there yet. The characters are just a little too limited for my case and even more so when you consider the fact that Cole is basically taking up two slots. It’s why people always bash the idea of Microsoft making their own Super Smash. Their characters would be much more limited than Sony or Nintendo and that can be dicey to think about. What Sony should do is add more representatives from each series. Just throwing in a second for each one would greatly increase the character count. I don’t have a problem with the stage count though since it’s of a reasonable size.

For Replay Value, PS All Stars definitely has a lot of options after completing Arcade Mode with everyone. Each character has a combat trial to complete and there are general ones as well. Unlocking everything will take an extremely long amount of time and there are a few hundred goals to achieve as well. I don’t think there are any characters or stages to unlock, which can be disappointing, but getting everyone to level 999 is an adventure that you may want to pursue. Finally, we have the PS3 Trophies which are tried and true. Getting the Platinum is supposed to be pretty easy, but that’s with boosting. Without that, it can be pretty tricky thanks to the fact that you need to find a friend who owns the game for two of them. Getting through a match without dying once can also be pretty tricky. Not impossible of course, but tricky nonetheless. That being said, you can easily get around 40 of the trophies here so that’s a great way to boost your Playstation 3 score.

The graphics are pretty good although I would definitely not call them great. The stills are sharp and the cutscene with your rival during Arcade Mode looks great. The game is polished just about everywhere except the gameplay. That’s the area where the graphics tend to struggle a little bit. Especially in 4 player battles. The screen just zooms out a little too much so that it’s hard to see where everyone is and the character models definitely don’t look great at that point. Super Smash Bros can pull it off so this game just needed a little more work in the graphics department. The game feels pretty futuristic and polished otherwise, which has always been one of the perks of the PS3.

The soundtrack is pretty good for the most part. I didn’t want to pull the Super Smash Bros card again, but it’s not quite at that level in terms of the musical themes in the game. The main menu theme is actually pretty good until the singer yells and everything goes downhill. There is only one lyric in the song I believe and I’m not even sure what it is, but it disrupts the nice theme that had been playing. I have already forgotten all of the stage themes, but I’m sure that they’ll come to me in time. It’s fun to play as Ratchet because I get to hear music from his game when you unleash his Level 3 Final Smash. Those games typically had a decent enough soundtrack.

There’s just something about PS All Stars that makes it hard to take seriously. It’s hard to describe, but this just doesn’t feel like “The Next Big Game.” I’m sure that a lot of work was put into it, but some parts just feel like a cash in. You could never say the same thing about Super Smash Bros and that’s just one of the big problems for this title. It’s a great game, but it won’t be able to make it to the next level without some serious work and improvements in key areas. Again, this isn’t bad for a start, but I will have much higher expectations for the inevitable sequel.

Time to directly compare Super Smash Bros and PS All Stars. I could do a bullet point list, but this battle is a little too clear for that. So, let’s just go through the categories here. We’ll have it face off against Brawl since they were from the same generation. Graphics -Super Smash Bros. Soundtrack- Super Smash Bros. Gameplay- Super Smash Bros. Character Roster- Super Smash Bros. Items- Super Smash Bros. Stages- Super Smash Bros. Story Mode- Super Smash Bros. Replay Value- Super Smash Bros. Am I missing anything? Well, PS All Stars puts up a brave fight so don’t get me wrong, but it really did not stand a chance against Super Smash Bros. I hate to say it, but it will never beat Super Smash at its own game. (Especially if Pac Man, Sonic, and Mega Man are really here to stay) Sony just needs to play to their strength sand make a 3D fighting crossover game instead. Now that would be interesting to compare with Super Smash Bros. Especially since a lot of people are pulling for Nintendo to make the next installment in 3D…much to fans’ horror.

Overall, Playstation All Stars Battle Royale is a solid fighting game that is destined to stay hidden in Nintendo’s shadow. The title is a little too long for my taste, but it shall have to do. I am glad that Sony tried to challenge Nintendo with this title and the roster isn’t bad. It definitely needs work, but it’s fun to see these characters meet up in such a unique game. The gameplay actually is a lot of fun. It’s not the kind of game where you’ll put in 100+ hours, but you can definitely pass the time by here. The game just needed more gameplay options for you to play around with. At least there is a lot of content to keep you busy here. The game needs to work a little more in the graphics area as well as add some more songs to the soundtrack. A real story mode would be nice even if those are rare in fighting games like this one. I’ve heard that the online is pretty laggy, but I haven’t experienced that so far. I definitely recommend this game to all fighting fans and just think of it as the next TMNT Smash Up or Cartoon Explosion. The gameplay may be modeled after Super Smash Bros, but it feels more like those other two games. Try to get to level 999 and let me know how long it took you!

Overall 8/10

Mario Kart DS Review

cover_large
This is certainly a title that has been pretty high on my video game list for quite some time now. Mario Kart is just one of those franchises where I want to eventually own all of the games so I had to start somewhere. Now, I’m only missing Mario Kart Advance, Wii U, and 3DS. That’s not so bad, but it could be a while until I get the latest one since the price is going to be very high for a long time. This title does a good job of keeping the Mario Kart DS series near the top of the Mario franchise.

There are 8 cups to complete in this game and the style is similar to Mario Kart Wii. There are four cups filled with all new stages and the other 4 cups consist of old levels from the previous games in the series. I do think that this is a little lazy, but seeing as how most of the old games only had 16 levels anyway, I guess it’s still a fair trade off. It is certainly fun to see the old levels come back with updated graphics of course…not counting Double Dash though since it looks better than this game. Completing all 8 cups can be done pretty quickly, but the game has other features to keep you hooked to the screen for some extra hours.

There are many unlockables to be found in Mario Kart DS like extra characters and items. There’s even an alternate opening/ending screen for the game if you get golds on various tournaments and beat the cups on harder difficulties. These features certainly add to the intensity of the game and there is no ultra long cup to worry about so trying to finish these cups off on 150cc shouldn’t be much of a hassle. Finally, the game also has a mission mode, which is a pretty unique feature for the series. It’s pretty fun and I think they should keep it for future installments as well. The missions help you focus on driving skills like steering and drifting in a fun way. You also get to race against popular bosses and even face off against King Boo. A certain Legend of Zelda villain makes an appearance as well so the missions are pretty great. There are over 50 missions in the game and I ended up playing close to 40 of them before deciding that I should probably take my leave of the title. (The L button was also acting up and some of the missions can be pretty tough to complete without such a crucial button at the ready)

So, the actual game may be pretty short, but the replay value is certainly there. A long time ago the replay value would have been much greater, but the servers were naturally taken down so that gets rid of the Wi-Fi potential. The home console versions always have the option of just racing a friend, which definitely give them an advantage over a portable title. Naturally, the game is still worth it if you are just looking at content since it should certainly tide you over for a few days or maybe even a week depending on how often you play it.

I doubt that I really need to describe the gameplay, but I’ll give it a quick run through anyway. The object of the game is naturally to cross the finish line first, but you will have to get past the other 7 racers to do that. There are many items that you can obtain by going through item blocks and you can use them to get the other racers in trouble or just breeze by them. Anything goes here so be prepared to do a lot of fighting as you power through.

That being said, the second screen can almost be unfair against some of the items. One item has a squid pour ink all over your main screen so that you cannot see, but a new feature of the DS version is that you can look at the race from an aerial view on the bottom. Evidently, the developers forgot to think about this so the squid is now pointless as you can quickly shift views. The aerial view can actually be more efficient in some ways since you can see everything from that point of view so you can turn accordingly. It’s a very useful feature, but I think the ink should affect it as well when someone uses that item. I suppose that it’s just a minor slip up.

The graphics are pretty good for the DS. There are few games on the console that look better than this one and Nintendo has always done a good job of working on the graphics for their sport titles. It’s fun to see how the older stages look on the portable screen and you can clearly tell what is happening at all times. The character models are never too blurry for you to comprehend what is happening and they have held up well against the test of time.

The soundtrack is also one of the better ones that you will see on the console. A lot of the themes are pretty nostalgic and the new ones are pretty good as well. They are suitable for the races and there isn’t really a “bad” theme. They’re all pretty peaceful and soothing, which help you to fight off the long roads when there are no other racers in sight. It’s easy to listen too many times, which is good since you will likely be playing the stages several times to try and unlock everything.

How does this game stack up to the other Mario Kart titles? Well, it naturally loses to Mario Kart Double Dash and Wii. I’m guessing that it likely loses to Mario Kart Wii U and 7 as well so it’s best chance is against the old, old Mario Kart games and the Advance version. It should beat all of those in terms of gameplay, although the older ones for the Super Nintendo and 64 would probably win overall thanks to the multiplayer aspect. That’s not a knock on Mario Kart DS of course, but it’s a racing game and that genre always does best on the home console front since you have people to play it with. Mario Kart Double Dash doesn’t keep a record of your play time on it, but I’m confident that it is my most played game by a long shot with 999+ hours. I played it just about every day for a few years and I still end up playing it now and again. It’s simply the ultimate Mario Kart title, but the DS version is pretty fun as well.

Overall, Mario Kart DS is a very strong racing title and it could be one of the best portable ones that I have played. The controls are sound and the graphics hold up pretty well. The soundtrack makes the stages pretty fun to play since you don’t have to worry about getting bored of hearing the same tracks over and over again. The other portable racing games that I’ve played would probably be games like Sonic Rivals and F Zero. I think this game is probably better than those if we look at them for pure gameplay, but Sonic Rivals’ story mode and longer replay value would ultimately give it the edge. I look forward to seeing how fun Mario Kart 7 is since I’ve only heard good things about that title. I know that Mario Kart DS is old and that just about everyone has already played it, but if you don’t own it yet…I highly recommend checking it out. The online functions are gone, but you can still enjoy some good races. If nothing else, Mario Kart is always a whole lot of fun and it’s the kind of game that you will never get bored of…like Smash Bros!

Overall 7/10

Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing Review

sonic-and-sega-all-stars-racing-playstation-3

It’s time to wrap up the big three racing games that I got for Christmas. Pac Man World Rally was pretty fun, but it could have been better. Mario Kart DS was about as fun as I could have expected, but it’s safe to say that Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing easily took the win here. It’s very fun and I can see why the case is made that it could give Mario Kart a fair challenge. The game is certainly very good and while it may be a stretch to say that it’s better than Mario Kart….it’s getting there.

There is no plot of course and there are 24 courses to play in. They are divided into 6 different cups so that you only have to play 4 courses back to back. Completing the cups can help you obtain trophies and points that you can spend at the shop for more tracks, (For 2 player purposes) characters, and music. There are certainly a lot of things to buy, which can be daunting at first, but earning money in this game is surprisingly easy so that makes it a lot more fun. You can earn about 10000+ points for completing any of the latter cups, which is over 3000 points a stage. That’s definitely not a bad bet.

Speaking of which, the trophies in this game are pretty reasonable for the most part. They will take some time since a trophy requires you to get 750000 points, but that’s not a bad grind compared to many other games. It should be pretty easy if you enjoy the game and you may even get it naturally. The only trophies that I don’t care for are the online ones since those are definitely asking for a bit too much. Unless a match is rigged, how are you going to lap someone? That person would have to be playing extremely poorly for that to happen unless we had a stage similar to Baby Park in Mario Kart…and even that is a stretch. There is also a trophy for racing a friend…let’s just say that this can be problematic. On the whole, the trophies are certainly reasonable since most of them are just long. That being said, I likely won’t be getting the Platinum here.

I enjoyed the level designs here a lot and I dare say that they look better than Pac Man World Rally’s as well as the levels in Mario Kart DS. That being said, this mainly applies to the Sonic stages. I don’t care for most of the Monkey Ball or Party Monkey stages and Sonic’s tend to be the best ones. The Haunted Mansions and City levels are also a lot of fun of course and the stages usually have a shortcut or two to spice things up. One short cut is so great that it’s almost impossible to win without it. I think that this is a bit much, but it does force you to learn where it is before you can finish off the cup.

The gameplay is pretty much what you would expect from a racing styled game, but it all handles so smoothly that you will still be impressed. Naturally, you have to make it to the finish line and you use items that you pass by to help you achieve that goal. You can attack other racers or just focus on speeding your way through to the finish line. Drifting is very important here since you get a considerable boost from using this technique. It’s as good as a mushroom from Mario kart or even better since the boost lasts for several seconds. Likewise, performing tricks on the air will give you a similar effect. Technique is important here and while the items do balance things out, it can be the difference between the 1st and 2nd place racers.

Graphically, Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing manages to hit it out of the park once again. Every character design looks flawless and the graphics are definitely PS3 level. Everything is really colorful and it just pops out at you. This applies to everything in the game. From the backgrounds to the items, nothing in this game is lacking in detail or looks out of place. It may just be the best looking racing game that I’ve played, but naturally I have not played Mario Kart 8 yet. Until then, Sonic’s going to have to take the win there.

The soundtrack is also pretty good. I actually found it to be a little too limited at first since the character’s All Star moves always give them their theme. You will likely hear Eggman and Amy’s a lot since they constantly get their super attacks and then any stage from a certain video game where the stages are all in the city always has the exact same theme. It’s a good theme, but I like variety. Of course, that’s when I noticed that I still had over 30 songs to purchase. That ought to help a great deal and I consider the game’s soundtrack to be pretty good with them. I definitely wouldn’t call it excellent though and that’s mainly due to the fact that it takes tunes from many different games. I like just about all of Sonic’s themes, but I definitely don’t care for the party ones or for Monkey Ball. Their themes just don’t work for such a fast and explosive racing game.

How’s the overall value for the game? Well, the 6 cups won’t last you very long since it’s roughly 4 minutes per race with only 24 in the game. So, the game will barely last 90 minutes if you just count that, but there is a whole lot more to do. Trying to get the Platinum Trophy will mean that you’ll definitely have to play it for a few days and let’s not forget about buying everything at the shop. On the way to the Platinum you’ll need to master all of the missions as well and there are a little over 60 of those. I haven’t even touched that mode yet, but you can bet that I’ll certainly be trying it out soon. I always like tackling a good mission!

In the end, does this game beat Mario Kart? That’s very tough to say and especially since I’ve put in a few hours on this game and hundreds on Double Dash. It’s fair to say that this game automatically beats all of the portable Mario Kart titles and all of the other item based racers, but can it really beat the famous Mario Kart titles? It’s just hard to definitively say so. That being said, I don’t believe in ties so I will say that it is slightly better than Mario Kart, at least when you’re playing by yourself. We’ll see if it’s Mario Kart level in multiplayer or not eventually.

Overall, Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing is a great racing title. It really could be one of the best period and it’s a worthy rival to the Mario Kart series. I would just say that it is the best racing game of all time, but we have to consider the racing games without gimmicks and then things get tough once again. I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel since I’ve heard that it’s even better. The gameplay is supposedly pretty different from this one, but I’m okay with that since it still sounds like lot of fun. After all, Transformed is the Sonic title that I’ve heard manages to maybe even defeat Mario Kart 8. It’ll be interesting to see if I agree with that. I recommend this to anyone who likes to enjoy a good racing game and for anyone who especially likes a chaotic racing game. You’re always moving at a very high speed so the excitement never dies down as you race for the Gold!

Overall 8/10

Pac Man World Rally Review

72151_front
For Christmas I decided to go with a racing theme with the video games. From the 6 that I got, 4 of them were in this genre and I managed to get one from the three big video game icons. You’ll find out what the Sonic and Mario games were soon, but Pac Man was the first one that I completed so it made sense to do this one first. It’s pretty fun and you can tell how it was inspired from Mario Kart, but it lacks the latter’s sheer intensity.

There is no plot of course and the goal is to beat all of the tournaments and ultimately unlock all of the racers and items. There are 15 levels in the game and they are divided up into 4 cups. After completing each cup, you will unlock the ultimate cup, which features all 16 races back to back. I have to admit that those gauntlet styled cups have never been my cup of tea. Imagine losing on the 14th or 15th race and having to do it all over again. It’s a pretty scary thought, but it ultimately must be done if you want more characters. To get all characters, you’ll need to beat all of the cups on hard and getting all of the items means eating a certain amount of ghosts in each cup. That definitely helps the replay value aspect since locked content is always fun to unlock.

The actual gameplay is very similar to Mario Kart, but with its own wrinkles and twists. There are 8 racers and the gameplay speed is similar to Double Dash’s. Along the way you’ll see a lot of items and you can use them to blast the person in first with a Paratroopa Blue Ghost or throw some red shells red ghosts. The game didn’t really try all that much with the items since many of them are not subtle knockoffs of Mario Kart. Instead of lightning, we get a lightning cloud here since I suppose that this makes everything okay. The items are still good of course, but they just aren’t original.

Each level has a shortcut that is blocked by a food door. To get past it, you’ll have to find the fruit switch somewhere on the stage and drive through it to unlock the fruit. After that, you must find the actual fruit and then head through the shortcut on the next lap. Typically, the shortcut is well worth the effort as long as you are able to get the fruit while you are driving. You do the same thing with pellets. First, you activate the switches and then you collect as many as possible. Once you have enough you can use your final smash. I have only used Pac Man’s so far, but it’s definitely solid. You get a new theme to play over the stage music and then you drive a little faster as you eat any cars that get in your way. Eating cars is important to unlock items so you’ll want to eat as many as possible. Occasionally an angelic ghost will appear to give you some pellets, but I’m not sure exactly why it comes to help. It seems like there is some sort of meter that triggers this, but I cannot confirm such a notion just yet.

I think that the game could have done a little better with the stage designs. I liked the final cup the most as the Retro Maze was a good idea and we finally got a city level. The thing is..the first three cups are filled with landscapes that simply aren’t very interesting. A game like this should have a lot of bright levels like Mario Kart Double Dash so you can marvel at the graphics as you drive. The city level towards the end is one of the only ones that I can think of which fits this category. Most of the others are fairly bleak and you’ll forget about them very quickly. There may have been an island level or two, but it’s simply not the same.

The graphics certainly aren’t as good as the other racing games on the console (F Zero and Mario Kart) and it definitely doesn’t look like a whole lot of effort was put into this game. The graphics simply aren’t that good and I would compare them to the MnM game, which is pretty bad. The graphics actually did hurt the game a little as it would be more fun with better graphics. Graphics are never the most important factor in a game, but they certainly play a big part in sport titles.

The soundtrack is as forgettable as the stage designs. You’ll naturally remember Pac Man’s sound effects from the Arcade Game and they are included here, but the themes just vanish in the wind. I can’t think of a single theme and I’m sure that I wouldn’t be able too even if I had just finished playing it moments before this review. It’s like elevator music. It’s typically decent while you’re in the elevator, but you end up forgetting it immediately after.

Needless to say, this game loses out to Sonic and Sega’s All Star Racing as well as to the Mario Kart titles. Pac Man World Rally just lacked a few things that it would need to compete with those two like great stages and fun items. The game can still be pretty fun of course, but it’s not the kind of game that you will want to keep on playing for very long. It would just get tedious and the battle mode is really what saves it from the fate of the 6 star game. Duking it out while on cars has always been a novel concept and while this game may not pull it off as well as Mario Kart of Sonic Riders, it’s cool that it still has it as an option. Just be warned that the games can last a while since the stages are rather large.

Overall, Pac Man World Rally is definitely not the ultimate racing game, but it’s pretty fun to play. It’s on the Gamecube, which is great news for the game because it means that it can support 4 player action and that’s always exciting. This is the kind of game that greatly benefits from that option and there are also many battle modes to try out if you don’t want to race. The replay value is definitely enough to keep you playing long after you’ve beaten the 4 cups since those, admittedly do not take all that much time. I definitely recommend checking this game out and you’ll just need to try and get past Pac Man’s insanely high pitched voice when he celebrates. It’s simply not the Pac Man that we are used too.

Overall 7/10

Scribblenauts Review

ScribbleNauts_NDS_ESRB
The portable video game marathon continues with this unique puzzle game. Have you ever thought that you could complete any video game if it could keep up with your imagination? Well, now you can put that to the test since this game allows you to try and think your way out of a situation. There are naturally some limitations, but it does a good job of making you feel like you’re in control.

There isn’t a plot in this game as you just tackle the missions. There are two kinds of missions in the game. They are puzzles and action levels. Each world has 11 stages of each mode, which comes out to 220 stages…wow right? That’s definitely a lot of stages and it’s cool that the developers put in the effort to include so much content in the game. Some levels may just take you a minute, but others could take a solid half an hour easy if you don’t know how to win. The goal of each level is to ultimately attain the Starite whether it be through exploration or giving someone what they want.

The graphics are pretty good. The artistic style is hard to describe, but it works since the characters don’t feel pixelated. They are still using sprites I believe, but they are clean and distinct. There’s no real guesswork here when it comes to figuring out what is happening. I’m definitely satisfied graphically and the soundtrack is decent. I have to say that it is rather forgettable, but you don’t typically play a puzzle game for its music. It’s supposed to really just be soothing so that your mind can totally concentrate on the task at hand.

Tackling the 220 levels will certainly take a while, but the game also has some other features at the ready for replay value. For one thing, you can buy everything at the shop with your well earned cash. You’ll likely have a lot of money left over from completing the levels anyway so you may as well spend it on something good right? Some new tunes are in there, which can be great since finding new music is always fun. You can also replay every level on difficult mode, this means that you have to complete a level 3 times in a row and you cannot re use words. That sounds nearly impossible in some levels, but it’s probably okay if you are familiar with your synonyms and alternate names.

Now, the one thing that can make completing some of these levels tricky..or one of the things anyway, is that your imagination can differ from the developers. The biggest example of this is the bridge. I love bridged and I kept trying to make them work, but they are never useful in this game. That’s because the bridges are absolutely tiny. I don’t think that they end up helping you out in a single level…which can be pretty sad. That’s the classic example, but you will certainly find more as you play the game. To an extent, this can certainly destroy the illusion that the game produces where you control everything thanks to your imagination, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that they put a lot of effort into the title to incorporate all of the words. I can’t imagine how they coded this since it seems like the game should take up a massive amount of data. I know that game developers have their tricks though so they made it work somehow.

Moving can be a little tricky at first due to two factors. One is simply the fact that this game is puzzle oriented first and foremost with platforming being secondary. So, most of the game developing time probably went to the level designs, but the other factor is that you control the main character with the stylus. It’s been a while since I played a game like that and I certainly miss just using the pad. It’s not terrible though and you will get used to it fairly quick, but you should definitely be prepared for some self destructs. It’s almost impossible to go through the game without such an event occurring.

The game’s difficulty level does make it a little too intense for kids though so I would actually say that it is more suitable for older kids. There’s almost no way for a kid to solve some of these puzzles and at the very least it would take them a while. It’s nice of the game to award us with two free levels at the end since they are both just trolling the gamers. You can literally beat a level by walking a few steps at the end. That being said, most gamers will probably be tricked since there is an elaborate level set up. Who could have guessed that you would just have to ignore it and keep on walking right?

Overall, Scribblenauts is a pretty fun game and it’s very unique. It did for puzzle games what De Blob did for platforms. It opened new doors and it’s good to see that the series is still going strong. I haven’t played many puzzle games so I can’t really compare it to much on that front, but it’s definitely a good game. I imagine that I should have the next game relatively soon although the ad of “120 new levels” is a little alarming since this one had almost double that. I’m sure that there is a twist that I am not seeing though. The game can be difficult and the hints are not usually helpful, but this helps you to stretch out your thinking muscles.

Overall 7/10

Wario Land 4 Review

image_57589
This is the first Wario side scroller that I’ve played so far so it was definitely interesting to see how it would stack up against the average Mario or Yoshi title. I can definitely say that it’s not quite as impressive as those, but it’s good to see Nintendo taking a fairly original stance here. This title brings some more strategy into the typical side scrolling genre. It’s more of a miss than a hit, but fun nonetheless.

There isn’t much of a plot since Wario is just out for treasure as per usual. He wanders into a Pyramid and it has many labyrinths full of treasure and danger. Beyond all of the tombs is the legendary Pyramid of Gold. Wario will have to find all of the locks and jewels so that he can gain entry into this wondrous place. Can he handle all of the guardians who stand in his way? There is also a cat that seems to be guiding him somewhere the whole time….hmmmm.

The soundtrack is noticably different from the average Nintendo game. It fits Wario’s character I suppose….but I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of it. The music during the gameplay is not bad, but every level has a timer effect on it (Which I shall talk about in a second) so it drowns out the music for at least half of the level. What we do hear is good though. The cutscenes have odd songs in them though with lyrics that aren’t really pleasing to the ear. I think the game dropped the ball in this area.

The gameplay is pretty smooth. You can move and jump like in Mario and a lot of emphasis is placed on grabbing objects and throwing them with your super strength. One of the new features in this game is a shoulder throw which can let you break through blocks and other objects. Wario can also run fast enough to shatter walls that cannot be broken with a dash. The key difference in this game is that your goal is not to get to the end of the level. It’s actually to find 4 gems and a key that are hidden inside of it and then making it back to the starting point before the level’s timer runs out. There are secret passages to watch out for and you have to really be observant so that you remember where to go. Each level also has a puzzle area where you have to figure out where to go and all the things to do. You can only second guess yourself once after all.

Graphically speaking Wario Land 4 isn’t very impressive, but what Game Boy Advance games were? They were fun portable games to play and we didn’t really care about the graphics back then. They were simply sprites and those can look good or bad depending on how they are used. I don’t think that they look quite as good as your average Mario GBA title, but they’re still not downright bad. On the contrary, the blurriness actually works well for some of the spookier bosses.

Which, I do have to note that some of the boss designs were quite clever. We had a giant Teddy Bear and there’s even a mysterious being who has many faces. It’s pretty intense and it’s a fun way to wrap up the game since it has the abilities of all the previous bosses. I think some games could take notes on this since this is a very good formula to use for the final boss. It makes you think back to all of the old fights to remember how you should go about fighting this thing. One section involving a hammer took me a while since I forgot how to hit myself.

The game doesn’t really have any big negatives, but there is naturally a reason why I am only giving it a 6 and not a 7. Most side scrollers automatically get 7 stars so something did hold it back a little. The puzzle route of going through levels may be unique, but I don’t think that it worked out so well. Maybe if this just occurred for some of the levels, but it’s in all of them and sometimes you just want to jump your way to the goal. One of the reasons why Mario is a series that will always be considered elite is that the levels are always fun. Whether you keep losing on an insane long jump or breeze through a world 8 stage in under a minute, you will have fun. The game never feels unfair or intellectually challenging to the point where you’ll need to go watch a Transformers film to feel relaxed again. This game just wasn’t as fun as your average Mario game and that’s because the puzzles made it feel more slow paced than it should have been. I still can’t call them bad per say…the gimmick really wasn’t bad. The game just works better as a fast paced, race to the finish kind of game.

The game’s length is pretty decent. There are roughly 20 levels in all and each one can take 5-10 minutes. For replay value, you can try to get all of the jewels and swirlies along with the maximum number of treasure chests by beating each boss as quickly as possible. This will also allow you to get a longer ending so that’s a decent incentive right? I’m definitely satisfied with the length of this title and it’s worth the big bucks. (Although I got it at a relatively cheap price anyway)

I’ve now played around 3 Wario games and I’ll improve that soon with Wario Land Shake It or Wario World. His series definitely loses out to Mario, Luigi, DK, and Yoshi, but that can always change with one really great game. I haven’t played Super Princess Peach yet so I really can’t comment on that one. The gameplay also seems slightly different from the norm so it’ll be interesting to see how Nintendo switches it up. It’s a little regrettable that none of the Wario supporting characters have ever managed to be popular, but maybe they will someday. The Final boss from this game should seriously appear again because it was just that awesome!

Overall, Wario Land 4 is a pretty fun title. It’s interesting to see Wario play the lead character for once. The ending was a little much, but I can at least admit that I didn’t see it coming. Stay tuned for the after credits scene as well to see what Wario spends his riches on. It certainly fits his character and you have to wonder when he will go on his next treasure trip. I can safely say that I will be buying Wario Land Shake It at some point, but I also wouldn’t expect to see a review for it this year. Bottom line is that I recommend Wario Land 4 is you like side scrollers or if you want to see some strategy in a game. It can be a little slow paced, but it’s ultimately still a pretty fun game. The portable video game marathon continues next with another strategic game!

Overall 6/10

Tenkai Knights Brave Battle Review

679
Looks like it’s time to check out another 3DS game! It’s always a rush when you get to play a new Wii U or 3DS game since they’re part of the current gen. They won’t lose this shine for about 5-8 years so I need to appreciate all of the games while I can. Tenkai Knights is probably one of the greatest new franchises to step out of the great blue along with Buddyfight and Cardfight..depending on if you count Cardfight as recent or not. A video game based on the show was sure to be good. Knowing this…I opened the 3DS and began to plug and play.

The game adapts the first arc of the TV show. Essentially, 4 kids are given lego bricks and told that they can turn into 4 legendary heroes on another planet. They are needed because an evil robot has ammassed a large army and both planets are at risk without help from our heroes. They are glad to join in and quickly find confidence in their new roles. They are the Tenkai Knights and they shall protect all of the worlds!

Their confidence won’t be forgotten as the main character says “I won’t ever give up” whenever you complete a level. There are almost 30 levels in the game and this number gets closer to 50 if you count the side missions. That’s a lot of times to hear his catchphrase so you’ll certainly remember it by the end. I was impressed with the length of the game since I was expecting something closer to 15 levels. The game took me about 6 hours, but I had fun with a lot of the side missions so about 4 hours would probably be closer to the actual campaign length. Keep in mind that the majority of the game is made up of cutscenes as the actual levels are typically short. There are some long ones, but most of them can be finished rather quickly.

The cutscenes are basically just pictures and text. Once in a while you get some actual voice acting for the lines, but it seems like that was added at the last second since it comes very sporadically and it doesn’t mesh well with the music. It’s very hard to hear what they are saying even if you have the game on maximum volume. It’s probably not what you may have expected from the 3DS era, but at least the screencaps are good thanks to the quality animation of the show. It’s not the greatest silver lining, but hey…the cutscenes could be like the opening from Mario Galaxy 2!! These are still passable and the actual plot is very engaging like in the show. It really feels like you’re watching a kids version of the Power Rangers at times. At least, this is how I’ve always pictured a Power Rangers show to be like.

The graphics are pretty pixelated, but they’re decently good. Super Smash Bros and Kid Icarus are easily the best looking 3DS games by a mile. So, it’s probably a little tough on this game since I was playing Super Smash Bros rather recently. The graphics still aren’t bad and they won’t deter you from doing what needs to be done. It’s still fun to use your final smash although the smoke effect is a little lazy since they don’t need to add any explosions that way. I guess I would give the graphics a C-, but the screencaps have the solid animation of the show, which helps.

Brave Battle’s soundtrack is surprisingly good. All of the big characters get their own theme and I actually like most of them. I don’t care for Valorn’s or Venetta’s, but the rest of them are all pretty great. Chooki’s sounds like a classic Mega Man X theme and the Guardians have a cinematic level theme with their opera music that plays. I actually don’t care for Villius’ theme while his two henchmen get a pretty good theme. It’s very overused since it plays constantly, but it’s pretty fun. Naturally, Guren has a pretty good hero theme as well. This aspect of the game was certainly above average and I was not expecting such a good array of songs.

We cannot forget the gameplay though! It’s a side scroller that plays out like Mega Man to an extent, but you typically use a close range weapon like a sword. There are many weapons to choose from though so you can stick with a classic cannon if that’s your preference. The gameplay is definitely comparable to the Naruto Ninja Council games, but if you are not familiar with that series, then think of any GBA cash in title. Especially a super hero type game like Spider Man or the Power Rangers. It’s 2D and there are always playforms, but it’s not a platformer. You are stuck in a limited area and you typically have to beat a boss or clear out some enemies. It’s pretty fun and the controls can be a little iffy when jumping, but you can typically win any level from the ground anyway. Just stick to your strengths and you’ll be just fine.

The health bars are a little odd though as you can beat Dromas, the second final boss in under 10 seconds, but it takes you a few minutes to take out the large cat creature. That boss was definitely a lot of work until I realized that my standard attacks did more damage than my power ones. To spice up the gameplay, you can pick up items that the minions drop. There are two kinds, health items and final smash items. The latter let you destroy all of the enemies on the screen at a time while the health ones replenish your strength. You can also find material that comes from the enemies to build new weapons. The developers may have overdid it with the weapons selection as there must be over 100. I built a whole lot of them, but I’m not even close to getting them all. Unfortunately, the materials that you get are random and it takes quite a while to stockpile what you need to build the weapons that you want. It’s a long grind and not one that I’m about to do, but it’s better to have too many options than too little right?

I have to say that buying some weapons should be a top priority for you. I got one that improved my attack power to 280 and it still didn’t do all that much damage to some of the final minions and bosses. I can’t imagine how long the fights could have taken with a standard blade. Don’t worry about your booster and just pour all of your resources into a good sword and a good shield. Those weapons will never let you down and you’ll be able to go all the way to victory!

Overall, Tenkai Knights Brave Battle is a pretty fun game. The gameplay may not be the greatest example of how to pull off a classic Ninja Council gameplay on the big screen (Relatively speaking) but it’s still a lot of fun. You won’t even notice the time ticking by as you slice up all of the bots. The soundtrack is great and more than makes up for the graphics. The plot is also very engaging and especially intense if you have not seen the TV show yet. The game isn’t very long, but the side missions and obtainable items will certainly extend the overall length. I highly recommend buying this game and getting introduced into the world of the Tenkai Knights! (Maybe we’ll get a sequel to this game.)

Overall 7/10

Sonic Boom Shattered Crystal Review

SB_Shattered_Crystal_NA_Box_Art
I reviewed the Wii U version of Sonic Boom not too long ago. Despite the bad press it was decently good. It wasn’t great, but it was a fun Sonic game. Now it is time to see how the other half of the Sonic Boom game franchise fared. I can safely say that it held its own against previous portable adventures.

The game starts off with a bang as we see Amy dueling with Lyric. The Reptile manages to get the upper hand when Amy stops fighting to talk to Sonic over the communicator. He wants the Shattered Crystals and nothing will get in his way this time! Sonic quickly gathers up his three trusty allies (Tails, Knuckles, and Sticks) and heads off for his toughest challenge yet!

Timeline wise, this game seems to act as an alternate version to the Wii U title. We fight Shadow again because he is brainwashed and Metal Sonic joins in on the fun too. Amy is kidnapped so there are a decent amount of differences to be found, but many parts will make you think of it as the Wii U game. I give Sega kudos though for giving us a different game instead of a normal port for the 3DS.

The graphics are decent, but they aren’t as impressive as they could be considering that this is a 3DS game. The environments are pretty fun and the gameplay is actually pretty quick, but the camera can keep up. This area may still be a little underwhelming, but it could certainly be a lot worse. Shadow always looks cool no matter how the animation turn out. That being said, there are only 2-3 animated cutscenes in the game. The animation looks pretty good for those, but the rest of the events are all text based, which shows just how limited the budget was. Little thing like the fact that you can’t speed up the slow moving text during a scene will become noticeable over time.

The gameplay is pretty good though and I definitely can’t fault the game there. There are no real glitches to be found and it plays out like most other Sonic portable titles. One difference is that the characters have electro whips so that you can jump over large areas and disarm enemies. I never use it for the latter effect, but it is mandatory for the jumps. I am okay with it, but it is not really necessary. The game could have done just as well for itself with or without the item. Knuckles can dig, Tails can glide, and Sticks can fire a boomerang. These abilities help you progress through the level, but you will still want to play as Sonic for the majority of the game. He is just the most fun to play as!

One mechanic that I felt was utterly pointless was the gate system. You definitely do not need that to be in the game and it is just an excuse to get your stylus out. You simply swipe down to go from area to area, but you could have just done that with the push of a button. It’s not a huge thing, but it just makes you wonder. There are several gates in each level and they can also be found in the stage select menu.

The soundtrack is pretty uninspired and I couldn’t really recall any of them right now. They are pretty decent while you are playing, but that’s about it. I miss the good ole days of Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and Heroes. Now those games had some really good tunes to listen to during the stages. As it stands, Sonic Boom could certainly do worse though.

An interesting thing to note here is that there is only one boss fight in the game. it’s your big battle against Lyric of course and it’s a fun final boss. It doesn’t have the scope that the others typically have, but I was just glad to have a boss fight. It’s a hybrid of a racing level and a boss fight as you chase after Lyric until he turns around to fight. Then you chase him again and repeat the process. My only complaint with the fight would be in how everything is repeated. You do the same things three times in a row so the actual boss fight is around 7 minutes, but it could have been much shorter. He doesn’t even switch his attacks as he can only fire a laser, shoot a rocket, and try to hit you with his claws. Memorize the 3 attacks and you’re all set. If anything, the speed part of the level is the dicey section.

The other “bosses” don’t get to fight you in battle. Instead of confronting Shadow and Metal Sonic, you just race against them and the loser automatically self destructs or flees the scene. I’ll admit that this was more than a little disappointing, but I do like races as well. I just would have liked to have had a race and a boss fight. As mentioned earlier, the game seems to really have a set up that is very fixed. Meaning that each world has the same levels more or less…or the same kind of level. Naturally, we have the race level. There is one per world.

Next up, we have the worm races. 1 of these is featured in every world. These are only about 2 minutes and they feel more like a minigame than anything else. They’re actually pretty fun though and it’s a great way to train your reflexes. Finally, we have the platforming levels. Typically there are 2 of them per world. They’re the longest ones and they can easily take you over 10 minutes to complete the first time around if you’re not careful. They’re pretty good although I prefer the races and the worm rushes.

This is one of those games where you will really want to keep an eye on the collectables. The game forces you to get at least 30 of the 34 Emblems in order to face the final boss. So, you’ve got to get just about all of the crystals and screws to beat the game so you may as well get the final few right? We ended up with just about 100% completion as there are just a few medals left to get. The big secret for doing this is that you get to go to Amy’s house and watch the heroes dance. It’s not exactly as good as the bonuses that you used to get in the Sonic games for all emblems. (Sonic DX all emblems = Metal Sonic; Sonic Adventure 2 Battle all emblems = Green Hill Zone…etc) It almost felt like the game was mocking us..maybe the developers just wanted to have a little fun with that.

So, naturally the collectibles represent some replay value for the game. Getting all of them should buy you a little more time and then you can spend your medals at the shop to get titles and other things. There’s also a few pages of a comic to read that provides us with some backstory for the game. It’s good that these things are here since this would otherwise be one of the shortest Sonic games ever. You can probably beat it in a day or two if you put your mind to it. There are only about 21 levels and since you can beat over half of them in about 2-4 minutes…that’s not a whole lot of play time. The bulk of it will enter once you have to replay all of the levels to find what you need. I recommend seeking them all out with the map right away…so upgrade the map to its fullest potential at your earliest convenience.

Sonic and his friends are in their Boom interpretations so you should know what to expect from the rumors. Sonic is still really fast and confident. I dare say that he is one of the only characters to really not have changed that much in this series. He mocks Shadow a lot, but you can argue that he would have back in the olden days as well. He’s still a very likable character and it’s hard not to root for Sonic. Tails is also true to form and he’s still the genius of the group. His teammates don’t always appreciate this, but Tails isn’t afraid to put them in his place.

The other characters are a little more changed like Knuckles. He has really lost a lot of intelligence so that he could become the punchline for just about every joke. He has trouble forming proper sentences and you probably haven’t seen a character this unintelligent in a very long time. It can be a little painful to watch for longtime Knuckles fans. Since this is practically a parody it’s okay, but I can only imagine that it’s similar to what Pac Man fans felt when they watched the new show. Amy is more independent in this version and they try to hammer that in (See what I did there?) by having her give Lyric a good battle in the intro. She’s actually winning, which is sad for the villain, but she let her guard down, which was a pretty huge mistake in the long run. She seems pretty cool here and her character trope is better than the other allies for me.

Sticks got so much attention before the game came out, but it seems as if the franchise has forgotten about her. The TV show is the only place where she really gets to get some character development as the games try to tell you that you should already be familiar with her character. She’s known as the nutty raccoon in the forest who is paranoid and that’s basically her personality. I like the fact that she’s basically crazy and admits to this, but she really doesn’t add much to the group. We may as well have just stuck with Marine.

Eggman is surprisingly absent from the game. He just doesn’t make it and that’s rather odd. Metal Sonic is here, but he has no character and he’s just obliterated on arrival. Shadow’s role is similar to the Wii U version in the fact that he just attacks the heroes for the lolz, but he actually isn’t doing it out of free will here. He was thoroughly defeated by Lyric earlier so now he is being mind controlled. The heroes save him and he storms off until the very ending where he has his big moment. It’s pretty satisfying for his fans so I’m glad that the game had a strong ending there.

Lyric is still not a likable villain. He’s not bad by any means, but he’s ultimately generic and you have to wonder how he is a threat to Sonic at all. He has a tail to attack people with, but he’s slow and not all that strong. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lyric never appears in any of the games outside of the Boom series. Maybe he’ll be in the next Sega racing game…maybe.

Overall, Sonic Boom Shattered Crystal was a pretty fun game. I’d say that the game was a little better than the Wii U version. It felt more like a traditional Sonic game and it stayed fast paced from start to finish. Shadow looked a lot better here as well, which is a plus and the moral at the end was pretty intense. Sticks finally put two and two together and she came up with the logical outcome. The gameplay is pretty tight and it definitely doesn’t shame the Sonic name. I highly recommend checking this title out and don’t trust the rumors that it is super buggy and glitchy. The Wii U version had a little trouble with that, but it was also exaggerated on that account. The only reason why you may want to be wary of getting this game is the short length, but the game has already had a price reduction in several places so it’s certainly worth the price. Even at 40, a short, but fun game is always worth it. Take the plunge and pick this game up while it’s still new. You won’t regret it!

Overall 7/10

Super Smash Bros Wii U Review

super_smash_bros_wii_u_cover
It’s been a week since Super Smash Bros came out so I think that I’ve had enough time to play it to post this review. I’ve thrown in about 25 hours so far and I’m pretty confident that it will double that by Christmas. I knew what to expect for the most part since the 3DS version is pretty similar, but they did make sure to leave a lot of content for the Wii U version that is unique for the series. It’s everything that I could have wanted and more! The Wii U may have been in need of games earlier, but I think we finally have enough games available where you could say that it has games. I do like having the covers since they really stand out and feel new. This one is no exception and it’s great to see Samus in the cover since she does look cooler than Mario and Link….just sayin.

There are many things to do in this game once you turn it on. It can be a little intimidating at first when you look at the modes. We have Classic, All Star, Home Run Contest, Smash Tour, Target Blast, Around 6 different Multi Man modes, Online Battles, Event Mode, Trophy Rush, etc. You’ll be playing all of these modes quite a bit as you try to complete the 140 challenges in the game. As of this writing, I have completed 121 of them so there are only 19 to go. I still have all 5 hammers, which should help out later, but I have a feeling that beating these 19 will be a lot tougher than the previous challenges. Three of them in particular will be difficult and/or long. Beat Classic on level 7 with everyone, (Long) Beat All Star on Hard with everyone, (Hard) and Beat Classic on level 9 without losing a life. (Definitely hard. I’m going to need Ganondorf or Marth and a great healing item)

I’m sure that you are familiar with many of these modes, but I’ll quickly provide an overview of them. All Star Mode pits you against all of the fighters in the game and you get 4 healing items to use sparingly throughout the 6 battles. Classic Mode is 7 battles long and you can pick which battle to jump in from a selection of 3-4. Typically, you’ll want to go for 1 one 1 battles in the higher difficulties. Target Blast has you break targets using bombs. It’s an intriguing take on the mode, but I really miss the classic Target Smash. Now that was fun!

Home Run Contest is unchanged and it’s fun to see how far you can shoot the Sandbag. The Multi Man modes are fun to try to take on 100 of them or to challenge the Cruel Smash. Event Mode features a lot of themed matches that are pretty fun and a great way to earn some much needed cash. There are a lot of events to be played in single player mode as well as multiplayer. Trophy Rush is a good way to earn trophies since you’ll typically get 30+ and at first most of them will be new. After a while you’ll only get a few new ones each time, but it’s probably still the most efficient way to complete your collection.

Smash Tour probably got the most hype since this is the mode that is replacing Story Mode. Naturally, it’s not even 1/100th as good as Subspace, but it’s a decent mode. You are on a board like Mario Party and you go through the turns as you move around. You collect fighters and items during this time and if you crash into another player, then a battle starts. Most of the battles have themes. In one, there may be only Pokeballs appearing and another one could be filled with hammers. It’s pretty decent, but I’m just not really a fan. Smash Tour can only go down to 15 turns and it still feels like a while thanks to the constant battles and item usage. I would mostly steer clear of it entirely, but there’s still a challenge that I need to obtain in this mode.

Master/Crazy Orders is a pretty great mode and particularly because it really helps you earn equipment, money, and CDs. Master Orders presents you with a single challenge and it costs money to jump into it. If you win, you’ll earn something and losing will have you forfeit your cash. Crazy Orders is similar, but you keep on going until you lose like in a survival mode. You can end the gauntlet at anytime by challenging Crazy Hand and winning. Losing means that you will lost a good portion of the items that you had obtained up to that point so you really do not want to lose!

The graphics are very good and they live up to the Super Smash Bros legacy. Melee was one of the best looking Gamecube games and Brawl looked very good on the Wii. (Although I didn’t like the grittier art style as much) The Wii U version looks more like an HD version of Melee and that’s great. The attacks all pop out and the animations are wonderful. It’s no stretch to say that it’s the best looking Wii U game so far (Edging out Mario Kart 8 for now) and it is certainly “Next Gen.”

The soundtrack is very good as well. The new Final Destination theme is probably my favorite out of the new tunes. There are so many that you will likely continue to hear new themes long after you’ve played each level a few times. There are just so many to choose from. It’s why I like that the game has an option to decide which songs will typically play in a level. It lets you choose the best ones to fit the high speed tone of the gameplay.

One criticism that I would have with the game is the gold system. The old games had money as well, but nobody took it seriously because there was nothing to do with it after a while. On the other side, I think this one has too many modes that rely on gold. The main one that I don’t like it to apply too is Classic Mode. I like trying out Level 9 for fun, but now it costs 2200 Gold to play. You’ll probably have enough money to spare if you’ve been doing well in other modes, but sometimes you simply won’t have enough money and that’s definitely not cool. Level 9 should definitely be free to play on Classic Mode.

Naturally, there is basically an infinite amount of replay value to be found here. Completing each mode with each character will take a whole lot of time and we can’t forget about collecting all clothing, trophies, and CDs as well. You can possibly finish all of that in about a month or two if you try really hard, but it will typically take the average player much longer than that. After that, you’re ready to have fun playing Smash matches offline with friends or in ranked battles online.

Super Smash Bros is still the only video game series that I get on opening day. It’s simply because it’s a model of excellence and it’s still guaranteed to have some of the best video games ever. I’m pretty glad that I went for it right away since the Adaptors are starting to be sold out all over the place. It makes sense though since playing with a GC controller is really the best way to play. It’s still the ultimate controller and I don’t see that going away anytime soon.

It occurs to me that I haven’t actually described the gameplay. An average match plays out like a Street Fighter kind of gameplay, but you have to hit your opponent off the screen by dealing them a lot of damage instead of draining away their health bar. Each character has his/her strengths and weaknesses and some just don’t match up well against others. For example, you don’t wan to use Mega Man against Mario or Ganondorf against Little Mac. Of course, you can beat any character with any other as long as you are a good enough player. It’s certainly a game of skill that requires a lot of concentration. Alternately, you can also throw in items and make it a chaotic battle that will still be a whole lot of fun. Items definitely add to the appeal and the stages themselves can work against you as well.

My favorite new stage is probably the one from Game and Wario. The lady who tries to KO you with a sudden glance is pretty tough and it can be hard to react at times. Naturally, the Boxing Ring is a pretty great stage as well since it’s really made for close quarters combat. The only thing that I wish they could have done was to not include the part that is outside the ring. Just having a boxing ring in the middle would have really been perfect. Star Fox has some great stages as well and the one where you jump from ship to ship is very impressive visually. It should also be noted that Yoshi’s yarn stage can be pretty tricky and getting caught on the ground with Little Mac can be fatal.

Fox has been my go to character since the very first Smash Bros, but that’s finally changed in this game. Little Mac is just too cool to pass up and I love playing as him. You’re always on the offensive while playing as the boxer and you just can’t beat that. Fox is probably still my second best fighter and I would put Mario as my third. Although, I do have a lot more fun playing as Marth than Fox or Mario so I throw him in whenever possible. Ganondorf is my best player for Classic Mode though since he was the only guy I could beat Level 9 with on the 3DS and so far he’s one of two characters who I’ve beaten level 9 with on the Wii U version. (Marth being the other fighter) He’s slow, but his attacks really pack a punch!

I also think that Nintendo really outdid themselves with the A.I. here. It’s simply fantastic as the level 9 computers can really give you a good fight now. I’d say that they are a considerable step up from the previous titles. It really makes completing Classic Mode on level 9 more of a treat. Also, it can’t be forgotten that the Wii U version has an extra form to the Master Core while on level 9. (8 as well I believe) The Core turns into a rather large fortress and you have to go through it without losing whatever life/lives you have left. There are enemies to slow you down and touching the lava while weakened enough will instantly obliterate you. I’ve lost there several times since it’s utterly brutal for Little Mac and still dangerous for most fighters. A quick and speedy fighter like Marth or Lucario is ideal here, but it’s tough to get them past the final bosses at times. I’ve fought the Master Hand/Dog/Sword/Man/Copy combo so many times that it’s a little easier now, but you still can’t really perfect the copy part since it’s so unpredictable. Beating the game with everyone on level 9 would have certainly been brutal so I’m glad that there is no challenge for that. Level 7 should definitely be doable.

I’m still not a fan of the whole custom characters concept, but it certainly comes in handy for Classic Mode. It’s almost been amped up so much just so that it could force you to use the items. Some items heal you over time, which is pretty crucial and there are three different attributes. Attack, Defense, and Speed. Increasing one of them will decrease the other so finding the right balance is key if you are to get through the gauntlet.

I aim to have all 140 challenges completed by Christmas, but it’ll certainly be a tough trial so we shall see. I should at least be pretty close by then so that I can really focus on my other titles. I wouldn’t expect to see another video game review in the very near future, but others will surely come up soon. One scenario that I could foresee is 138/140 challenges completed with the Beat Classic and All Star with everyone being the final two. That just seems like so much of a grind at the moment.

Overall, Super Smash Bros has always been a revolutionary video game series and this one keeps up its reputation as a really flawless series. I don’t really have any serious complaints for this title and the only reason that it is not a 10 is because I believe that only one game should ever have a perfect in my lifetime. Since the spot is taken, it’ll have to settle for a 9, but it’s definitely a really high one. I’ll be playing this game for years and years and I won’t stop playing it every week until the servers inevitably go down. After that, it’ll be time for offline fun that will still never end. The price tag is pretty steep, but I highly recommend getting it as soon as possible since the enjoyment is certainly worth it!

Overall 10/10

Actually, Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3, which was the original 10 on the blog has been leapfrogged by Madden 13/2004 and Super Smash Bros Wii U/Melee. Now, The Wii U version is the greatest game of all time. It’ll be tough to top…extremely tough!

Digimon All Star Rumble Review

2688191-0586239610-71NBU
After all these years, Digimon has finally gotten itself another fighting game. I had a lot of fun back in the day playing Rumble Arena 2 and I just barely missed out on the original one. This is essentially the Rumble Arena 3 that we’ve been waiting for all these years and it’s definitely worth it. The game didn’t get a whole lot of publicity before it came out so hopefully the sales are still strong since this could be the start of a new series!

The game actually has a small plot. It’s not much of a story, but it certainly beats not having one. Essentially, a tournament is starting and a lot of Digimon want to enter it to win. They don’t know exactly why they want to enter…it’s almost like it’s destiny! They follow their primal instincts and quickly get ready for the fight of their life, but is there something more to this tournament? Then you pick the fighter that you want to play as and you’re set. I naturally played the game with Agumon the first time around, but I’ll beat it with everyone at some point for that shiny Platinum trophy!

The roster is pretty small considering that it’s a PS3 game. I think they definitely could have doubled or tripled the character selection, but with a limited budget I suppose that it would have been difficult. What would have helped is if they let some of the Mega Level Digimon be playable from the Get Go. I have unlocked all of the characters except for 3 starters and I do not have access to nearly any of the alternate Mega Digimon. Those will likely pop up along the way in the Story Mode paths. Counting all of those figures, the roster looks a lot better.

The gameplay is like Rumble Arena, but it’s in 3D. I suppose that you can picture Naruto Ninja Storm as an example. It’s a 3D playing field and you have your standard attacks, power attacks, and your projectiles. You can mix and match to make various combos and the goal is typically to defeat your opponent. (Although other modes feature games like capturing the flag so vary up the action) Once your meter is charged you can transform into an immensely powerful Mega Digimon. Once you’re in that form, you’re basically ready to rock and roll!

There are also items of course and they can really change the course of a battle. One of the items makes a twister form around the player. Another one lets you turn the opponent into a ball of living slime and the best item in the game allows you to instantly Digivolve. You cannot begin to compare that to any of the other items because it is so great. A thunderbolt is probably the second best item as it does some serious damage and it also stuns the opponent. It’s like a double effect for the price of one!

Surprisingly, the game actually goes up to 4 players. I don’t know many people who actually have 4 remotes, but it’s great that we are actually given the option. It’s certainly something to consider and I do have 3 remotes over here so at least I can go almost all the way. Every fighting game gets more and more fun as you increase the amount of players. It’s just common video game logic! Things get more chaotic and it will definitely test your mastery over the game.

The computer A.I. is decent, but it’s not great. You should be able to crush the hard difficulty level with ease after a handful of battles. Ah well, that’s not so bad since we have multiplayer mode and the computer is not downright easy either. I’m sure that a case can be made for it being just right.

The graphics are very bright and it works pretty well for the game. It may not be the most stylish game, but you would never mistake it for a last gen title. All of the character models are sharp and they really stand out no matter which stage you are on. I’m satisfied with the amount of stages as well as there are around 10-12 of them. Some of them even have gimmicks like a fog that will damage your fighter if you go near it.

The soundtrack is pretty nonexistent. I suppose that it would have been pretty tough to have had a pretty memorable one alongside everything else, but it certainly would not have hurt. There aren’t any real battle themes either, which is odd considering that it is a fighting game. How awesome would it have been to have had the Digimon theme song for the first few seasons included during the battles? That would have definitely been a lot of fun!

Surprisingly, there is no online capabilities in this game. I’m fine with that since it’s not the kind of game where I would play online a whole lot, (Madden and Smash Bros are really where I have fun online. Other than that, I typically stay local) but it’s still pretty surprising. Maybe they just didn’t think that enough people would be playing it right away to warrant a purchase of a few servers to run it on.

Some of the trophies are a bit of a grind, but none of them are really that hard. Waiting for the 50 hours to show up on your PS3 may be the toughest part or collecting the Digi cards, but it’s only a matter of time. The toughest trophy to get skill wise is probably beating the game with every character, but I’m sure that you’re up to the task. I only need 13 trophies left so that should be a breeze.

Overall, Digimon All Star Rumble is a solid addition to the Digimon franchise. The campaign mode is very short, but the multiplayer mode makes up for it. This gives it infinite replay value and that’s more than enough for you to be content. While the character roster may be pretty limited we do get fan favorites like Agumon and Guilmon. Old timers may be disappointed that some of the Season 1 stars were cut out, but maybe they’ll make the sequel. I’m sure that they would since a sequel would likely fill out the rest of the spots for the main characters from season 1 and season 3. No guarantees on season 2 of course, but those guys likely wouldn’t be missed quite as much. This is definitely a title worth obtaining if you want some solid action!

Overall 8/10