Flingsmash Review

I really love the 5 dollar bargain bin over at Gamestop. I decided to get another 4 Wii games over there, which was a steal. This is the first out of the 4 games that I’ve managed to complete and I can say that it was totally worth the 3 dollars (Slightly less) that I paid for it. It’s not bad and I believe that the game could have been even better if it had Gamecube controller support or had been on the PS3. It’s a fun idea, but it doesn’t work to 100% just yet.

The plot is…intriguing. A kingdom is attacked by a villain by the name of Omminus. This guy means business and his abilities are truly frightening. The royalty is backed into a corner and forced to fight fire with fire. Long ago, a hero saved their people, but he was then locked up for unknown reasons. What if they unleash a monster who’s even worse than Omminus? The King decides to take this risk and he opens the box, unleashing Zip. Can Zip stop Omminus? More importantly…does he want too!? Things could get dicey for the heroes.

The gameplay is your traditional Mario/Sonic 2D experience, but with a big twist. Zip cannot walk or run around as you are always suspended in the air. To move around, you must yank the Wii Remote in a direction and then Zip will charge that way. Waiting a second before charging will allow you to go faster and break stronger blocks. The screen moves on its own so you have to wait until the screen is far enough to continue, but you can’t hang back for too long or you’ll be eaten by a dragon. It’s a delicate art. There are 8 Worlds like in a typical Mario game, but there are only 3 levels and then a boss like the classic Sonic Advance series. (Like I said, it’s similar to both Mario and Sonic!) You need to collect three out of 5 Bronze Medals through the level to complete it and secure the pearl.

Through the levels, you can eat fruits that give you power ups like turning giant or splitting into three different Zips. These abilities are very useful and I highly recommend using them whenever possible. So, that’s essentially the gameplay in a nutshell. Just focus on grabbing those medals and making it to the end of the goal in one piece.

Why didn’t this gameplay ultimately work? The gameplay had a lot of potential, but what most gamers and game developers learned the hard way is that motion controls aren’t ready yet. Thus, the game can get a little difficult as Zip won’t go where you want him to go. The motion plus doesn’t really help and Zip was flying all over the place. Several times I lost a level because he made me miss one of the bronze medals. It’s also a little hard on the wrist and I’m glad that I won’t need to move like that again for a while. I haven’t used the motion controls so extensively since Barrel Blast and Wii Sports. (Both of which did a better job of using it) With a gamecube remote, it would have been a lot of fun to shoot around and it makes for a nice platformer with a little strategy built in. I can safely say that the game would have risen to a solid 7 and matched up against Mario Galaxy. (Mario Galaxy is clearly better, but they would both be 7s all the same) That being said, at least the motion controls make the game a little more difficult.

Zip is the main character and he started out as a great guy. He gets scared very easily and he’s definitely no Link or Megaman when it comes to bravery. Still, he fights for what’s right and you can’t help, but root for the poor guy. One can totally sympathize with him because being locked up for so long must be tough. Unfortunately, that goes out the window at the very end of the game as we find out why he was locked up. It’s a classic hero to zero moment as I lost all of my respect for Zip. Zip’s no hero and now I know why he was so worried against the villains. He’s never had to actually fight such a tough opponent before! It’s all been a lie and nobody was able to figure this out until it was too late.

Omminus is the main villain of the game and he’s pretty cool. He reminds me of one of the Super Paper Mario villains, Dimentio. Their powers are similar as well since Omminus has basic reality warping skills or something similar as he keeps on changing Zip’s physical appearance. That not only takes skills, but guts since nobody wants to mess with Zip. Omminus keeps his cool throughout the game and he’s a fun villain. I wouldn’t say that he’s a very tough villain, but Zip isn’t very powerful either so they couldn’t let the gap get too wide. His final forms are pretty scary and I can imagine people being at the edge of their seats when first fighting him at his best.

The graphics for the game are decent. It definitely doesn’t look bad by any stretch of the imagination, but there is nothing that you will find amazing either. Zip’s facial expressions can be a little intriguing, but that’s intentional. His grin is huge and you can’t help but grin as he goes after the villain. I definitely liked his character design even if I didn’t care for his character. I guess I’d say that the graphics were about average and leave it at that.

The soundtrack for the game is surprisingly brilliant. The boss theme is very catchy and that’s a good thing because it plays for every boss fight including the final one. It’s just fun to listen to and it never gets old. The main theme music for the main menu is great as well. It’s happy without overdoing it and the cheerful theme really makes you want to take the win.

Is there any Replay Value? I’d say that there’s a good amount since you’ll want to play all of the stages until you’ve gotten A ranks in them all. (I’m sure that S ranks will also unlock something) You obtain minigames for this and while I only unlocked one so far, it’s pretty fun. That should already be a good reason for a person to replay the levels and that’s really all you need. There are 32 levels in all and only 28 of them are needed for the A ranks. That may not sound like a lot, but this game will definitely last you for a while.

Overall, Flingsmash is a fun game and I don’t see why it’s already down to 2-3 dollars. I guess it fell under the radar and I’m sure that many people would enjoy it if they happened to come across the game. It’s not your standard platformer and it’s a nice concept, but the Wii remote can zap the fun out of just about anything. It still works, but the Wii Remote prevents Flingsmash from getting to the next level. I recommend getting the game if you don’t mind using the motion controls and the price definitely makes it affordable. I beat the game in 3 hours so don’t expect a long playthrough, but the replay value helps to make up for it. 3 hours of fun for 3 dollars isn’t a bad deal right? I found the game to be a little tedious during Worlds 2 and 3, but the game stepped up after that as the future worlds were a lot more interesting. Zip isn’t that great so you may want to play as the female counterpart. She definitely has more composure. Let me know how you enjoyed this game if you ever give it a shot!

Overall 6/10

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Transformers Rise of The Dark Spark Review

We are nearing the opening of the new Transformers film so excitement is certainly in the air. (Unless you’re a Jetfire fan) Likely to celebrate, Hasbro came out with a time travel game that features the heroes from the films and their older counterparts from the War For Cybertron games. In this game, they are of the same continuity and the Cybertron era merely takes place thousands of years before the current days. It’s nice to see both versions fight on the big screen. I can definitely say that this game holds up against the tough Transformers legacy. This legacy is powerful because all of the Transformers games that I’ve played (Minus Animated) have been awesome. I can safely say that they’ve all been 8s or very strong 7s. Transformers tends to have amazing gameplay and that’s what I expected from this game. Luckily, I was not disappointed!

The plot involves a man machine being by the name of Lockdown. He arrives on Earth and then decides that the Dark Spark will be his. The Autobots don’t know what he intends to do with this power, but they must stop him and put an end to these dangerous plans. Optimus Prime will have the help of his classic pal Bumblebee and the honor bound Drift. The three of them will foil Lockdown’s plans once and for all! Meanwhile, thousands of years ago, the Decepticons learn of the Dark Spark after becoming aware of the existence of the Insecticons. Optimus Prime realizes that if Megatron obtains such power, it could be the end of everything. Prime’s allies in this quest are Sideswipe, Jetfire, and Jazz among others. They face heavier resistance than their future counterparts as Megatron is aided by legendary figures like Starscream, Shockwave, and Soundwave. One Shall Find The Dark Spark and One Shall Fall To The Dark Spark!

Lockdown makes his big appearance in this game. I haven’t really seen him before now so it was interesting to see his personality. He’s definitely a little more..chipper compared to the other villains. That’s not the best word to describe him though. Maybe sarcastic or old? Either way, I can’t say that I’m a fan of Lockdown, but he makes for a decent final boss. His character design is humanoid, which is always good because bosses are much more fun to face off against when they’re your own size. His plan is intriguing and it makes a lot more sense than the average villain plan so I give him props for it. It’s an ingenious way to use the Dark Spark.

Optimus Prime gets a large role of course and now you can finally decide which Prime is more likable. The one from the movies or the one from the games. It’s fun because the movie version has had three games while the game version has had two, but they’ve both gotten to appear a lot. I prefer the game version slightly as he seems to be a lot more…intense. He’s in the middle of a war so he’s more serious and it’s great to see him ripping down doors whenever you go through a level. I can easily agree with the many fans of Optimus Prime that he is one of the best characters in the franchise. He takes Megatron on directly (At last!) and he certainly fights pretty well.

This is really the first that I get to see of Drift’s cinematic personality. The mask makes for an interesting twist and it probably takes his character a little too seriously, but I thought that they did a good job with Drift. He still follows his honor code and he’s kept his legendary speed and sword wielding. He’s one of my favorite characters to play as and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing him in the film. This could be the push that he needs to make it into the top 10 most popular Transformers. I hope so since he’s definitely one of the better ones.

Megatron surprisingly gets a small role in this game. He appears at the very end of the past storyline. He does still manage to take on Optimus Prime in a one on one fight, but you wouldn’t become an instant fan of his through this game. He’s not quite as threatening as he was in War For Cybertron. I still like his design in this game, but I would have preferred that they went with a classic G1 appearance of the one from Prime.

Bumblebee’s role is also surprisingly small, but they still manage to give him a lot of hype. He immediately figures out the villain’s plan and then it’s all up to him to save the day. That certainly takes a lot of character, but I wish that he could talk. Remember his epic voice from War For Cybertron? Ah well, I still like his movie design so that’s great to see.

There were naturally many other fighters, but their personalities are more or less what you’d expect. Jetfire seems like a likable character even if his accent can be a little tricky. Starscream is as likable as usual and he still tends to get the best moments. Soundwave actually gets his own level, which will certainly be fun for fans. The insecticons are decently cool in their roles and Shockwave remains as one of the best Decepticons. He’s powerful and he tends to take command when Megatron isn’t around. Cliffjumper is still around, but he continues to lose at every opportunity. I wonder if he’ll ever look really good again.
The gameplay is essentially what you would expect from the other Transformers games, but I shall talk about it in case you haven’t played them. It’s a third person shooter and you typically have to destroy all of the enemy robots. You’re playing as a robot, which can be a little dicey at times, but also epic as well. Believe it or not, the robot genre is probably one of my weakest ones aside from Golf. Games like Armored Core and Gundam have had me stumped in the past. (Albeit, not for long except for Armored Core) Luckily, it’s easy to move your robot around and it just takes a little getting used too at first.

I love third person shooting games and it’s easily one of my favorite genres. I would say that the only genre that I prefer to it is third person fighting like Dragon Ball Z/Dynasty Warriors. Third place would be 2D fighters. This one performs well for the gameplay as everything is smooth. Flying is always fun and it adds that extra dynamic to the game. Who doesn’t want to soar through the skies and defeat all who oppose you? It’s just a blast! I highly recommend using vehicle mode whenever possible since it’s great to just blast away at opponents with your rockets or missiles.

The gameplay is largely the same for all levels, but there are two times where you get to control large characters. Grimlock and Bruticus. Playing as them can be fun since the game essentially turns into a beat em up. You just hack and slash your way through all of the opponents and get to the goal. Two factors to the gameplay that I forgot to mention are the hacks and tech. The tech is essentially an item that activates for a little while 6X EXP, or maybe a little battle droid. The hacks aren’t the gameshark kind, but they make the game more challenging for extra EXP. One way in which this occurs is letting enemies do extra damage so that you can get double EXP. It lasts for the entire level or until you die from the overwhelming power. It’s a nice element to add to the game and it makes it a lot easier to reach level 25.

The game can also be a little difficult at times since the enemies deal a lot of damage. Once the blasts get through your shield, then it’s time to retreat for a while until they replenish. I died a few times through the story and it’s a nice change of pace to have some difficulty. It means that you’ll have to actually plan out your moves a bit instead of charging in and attacking all of the Decepticons.

The game got rid of the multiplayer fighting modes that we had in War For Cybertron and Escalation is all that’s left. (Online co-op story mode is around I suppose) Well, fighting against other players is certainly more fun, but I’ve always liked Escalation Mode so this is cool as well. There are 15 waves and you need to survive them all to secure a nice gold trophy. It was a little easy as my team beat the whole thing in my first try, but maybe they had already been playing for a while so they knew the ropes. I still managed 104 kills in the battle so I definitely contributed my part.

I haven’t gotten all of the trophies yet, but I’m about halfway and I can say that it seems fair enough. The multiplayer trophies aren’t as much of a grind as they were in War For Cybertron. I’ve already gotten just about all of them at this point. They all seem reasonable and a few of them merely involve finding collectibles or blowing up certain objects in a level. It will likely require you to play each level a few times, but that’s not much of a grind since you can accomplish with a few trophies at once as you go through the level. I’m definitely satisfied with these trophies.

The replay value in Transformers is strong thanks to the trophies, but the campaign mode is a little on the short side. It took around 7 hours to complete the 14 levels. Their were more levels than War For Cybertron, but they were also quicker so both games ended up being more or less equal as far as time is concerned. 10 levels is my minimum so with 14, Rise of The Dark Spark is clearly safe from being too short. The levels are pretty engaging and aside from the fact that you can’t skip cutscenes, going through them again shouldn’t feel like a drag. Another element for the replay value is the fact that you need to get all challenges, guns, fighters, and more. Obtaining all of that should take even the most serious gamers quite a bit of time.

The soundtrack is pretty good. There aren’t any really memorable tunes in it, but they’re all good while you’re battling against all of the cons. So, I would likely give it a 3/5. It’s a solid soundtrack, but nothing that you’ll write home about like Super Smash Bros. It’s just how it goes sometimes.

One thing that needs to be mentioned is the audio. It can be a little inconsistent which makes setting it up difficult. The narration is much lower than the sound effects and music, so I lowered those to hear the narration. The problem is that they all lower for cutscenes so I have to choose between too loud gameplay or soft cutscenes. I chose the latter, but the audio could have been a little better.

The graphics for the game are solid and the levels that really stood out for me were the ones in the movie timeline. I actually preferred them because what they lacked in tech, they made up for in scale. You’ve just got to love fighting other robots in such a large city and it’s a lot of fun. The gameplay is definitely the same, but I can safely say that the experience is much different in the movie levels than the game ones. Either way, the graphics are solid for both sections and you shouldn’t have any problem with it.

Surprisingly, I prefer most of the designs from the movie verse. Optimus Prime and Bumblebee simply look a lot more intense. They’re taller and more sleek in their builds. You can tell that they’re hand to hand combatants as the old versions are more boxy. Of course, you can’t top Starscream or Soundwave’s designs so both universes get their wins. The designs are all great in the long run and playing as any of the characters can be fun.

Overall, Rise of The Dark Spark is a great Transformers game and it can certainly hold its own against any of the others. The story was engaging and the game never felt as if it was dragging on. It may have been a little towards the short side, but there is a lot of replay value through the online escalation mode and getting all of the PS3 Trophies. The movie characters felt as if they got the shaft compared to the game ones, but they technically had around the same amount of levels. the game did freeze up twice, but I suppose that it would be hard not too with all of the action that was going on. The game has a pretty epic ending as a certain continuity gets involved, which makes things interesting. It would be awesome to see this character in a possible sequel. There’s no reason not to get this game and I’d say that there is every reason to purchase it right away. The gameplay is just about perfect and you won’t regret buying it. I highly recommend the game to all gamers!

Overall 8/10

White Knight Chronicles International Edition Review

I’m always up for a good RPG. I don’t tend to buy as many of them as your typical action, fighting, or sports game because of how long it takes to beat one. That being said, all of the RPGs that I’ve played lately have been great. The Last Story, Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2, Kingdom Hearts II, etc. I can’t say that I had outrageously high hopes for White Knight Chronicles at first, but this is also part of the RPG style of thinking. I usually don’t really get into it until the plot is underway. Because of this, White Knight Chronicles has been in my backlog for possibly over 2 years. I died instantly in the first level and never went back. Now, I finally got around to going back and completing it. White Knight Chronicles is certainly an RPG that I’d recommend to anyone and it’s one of the best that I’ve experienced.

The plot in White Knight Chronicles is surprisingly basic for an RPG. Of course, there are many subplots and other plots introduced to make the game longer, but I am covering the game as a whole so it’s pretty basic from the way that I am discussing it. Leonard, Terry, and Yulie deliver some wine to a castle during a party, but they are late as per usual. That’s when another army attacks and monsters invade the place. They are driven off, but not before the Black Knight murders the King. Much more importantly, the princess is kidnapped and Leonard quickly goes to protect her. The heroes ultimately lose the Princess and now the three of them must team up with a strange man named Eldore to rescue her. The adventure takes them through many areas and there are several plot twists. Seriously, there are about a dozen twists in the final few cutscenes.

The plot is fun enough and the open world feeling of the game makes it all cool. It’s typically sunny out so the game is actually very light hearted despite the calamities and the deaths. We have a subplot where a few guards are sad about this and go on a journey, but this goes nowhere. The end of the game shows that they are still walking so that unsubtlely hints that it would be covered in the sequel. The concept of saving the princess may be pretty old at this point, but it’s still good enough. There is also the fact that Leonard has the power of the White Knight within him and he can transform. There are 5 Knights in the prophecy and the heroes need to make sure that none of them fall into the hands of the villains. Let the games begin!

Leonard is the main character of the game and I can’t say that I really cared for him. He definitely wasn’t a bad character, but he didn’t have much of a personality and it was hard to root for him. Luckily, his worst scene was reversed as there was a plot twist behind it. He wants to rescue Princess Cisna and he’s earnest about it, but he’s more into romance than most leads. I just couldn’t really take him seriously and it got worse when he constantly let the villains get away with murder (literally) and never stops them. Why is Leonard so slow when it counts? (This also applies to the rest of the heroes for the most part)

Kara is introduced at around the middle of the story or perhaps a little earlier. She’s really serious compared to the rest of the cast and she is always exchanging hostility with Eldore. The party members may not always get along, but at least Kara isn’t petty about it. She usually just sticks to glaring as the group goes about their business. She’s skilled with a sword and also comes attached with a sad origin. She’s a good member of the group and definitely more likable than some of the others as she can fight pretty well.

Terry is easily the best character in the game, but that goes without saying. Terry is the avatar that you create and add into the story. Not only was Terry a whole lot stronger than the other heroes, but his design was incredible. He had a beard and he looked as if he was in his 70’s instead of being a teenager. Terry really stole the show for me and he towered over the other characters. It’s just too bad that he couldn’t talk.

Cisna is the main reason as to why the game lasted so long. It’s a classic save the Princess story and Cisna takes it all pretty well. She gets friendly with Leonard a little too quickly I’m afraid, but I suppose that it was inevitable. Cisna vaguely has some abilities, but unfortunately, she doesn’t have any real attack magic. It would have come in handy in so many different scenes, but I suppose that it was just not meant to be. I wasn’t a fan of Cisna, but she wasn’t a bad character either. She just didn’t get enough screen time to actually get a substantial personality

Yulie is one of the main characters, but her role is very minimal. She gets a smaller role because she doesn’t have any big plot twist moments and doesn’t contribute to the plot. She has her own subplot as she’s sad that Leonard is being more distant lately, but there are no time for friendships during war. She is all right, but Yulie really didn’t get much of a personality as the game went on.

Eldore is one of the original members in White Knight Chronicles and he’s around from the start. He always sounds like he’s very tired or just completely bored so I can’t say that he was one of the more likable characters. I really could have done without him and Eldore is always very vague even when he doesn’t have to be. He can fight, but one has to wonder how much help he will be since he’s so advanced in age. Eldore isn’t a bad character, but as with some of the others, he’s not really a good character either.

Caesar joins the group a little later into the story, but he definitely lightens the atmosphere. He’s always talking and his skills are very impressive. He never really backs down when the villains appear and he’s brimming with confidence. Caesar isn’t the best member of the group, but he’s much better than what I had been expecting when he first appeared. He was very useful and he had a strong personality.

Grazel is the main villain and he actually gets introduced pretty late into the story. He is really the only good villain in the entire series who doesn’t hide his identity. He wants to be ruler of all and he’s very direct about this. His abilities are solid and one can understand his motivations. He may not be a villain that I’ll find very memorable in the long run, but he’s infinitely more interesting than most of the other characters. Grazel can also back up his tough talk, which is always an added bonus.

The Black Knight is a mysterious figure who appears throughout the story. After he took out the King, it was safe to say that few could match his incredible power. The Black Knight is one of the few characters who takes the heroes seriously at first and he gives it his all. The Black Knight reminded me a little of Darth Vader. I guess the big question is who’s behind the mask? It’s a question that you will be wondering about as the Black Knight faces off with the heroes from time to time. They never get a break! He’s definitely a pretty solid villain and someone who you can root for.

Belcitane is one of the big villains and he always acts like he’s in charge even if that assumption could be fatal. He’s definitely not likable as he can hardly fight and he’s really just an overweight politician who has gotten in over his head. He’s seriously not my kind of villain and there’s nothing menacing about him. He could have been cut out of the villain and nobody would be any the wiser.

Shapur is the right hand man of Grazel and he doesn’t do a whole lot in this game. I assume that he will do a lot more in the sequel to explain what his purpose is and why he has some interesting powers. Grazel should definitely watch his back whenever Shapur is around. Shapur makes for a cool boss fight design wise even if he wasn’t much of a challenge. I’m definitely waiting for an explanation as to how Shapur could obtain that form because it may have looked cool, but it didn’t make sense. Shapur isn’t really likable, but it’s always good to have more villains.

The gameplay for White Knight Chronicles is very similar to the .Hack series. Essentially, it’s a turn based system like Pokemon, but you can get into big battles of 10 against 3. When it is your turn to attack, you need to be close enough to hit your target or you can also use the turn to heal or transform. You are able to run around during battles and fleeing requires you do run far away from the battle that is taking place. I still prefer the typical RPG (Pokemon) style gameplay, but this one can be very fun as well. I have played the game for over 30 hours and I’m still ready for more. The gameplay doesn’t really get old during combat and you can fight for a long time without getting bored. I plan on getting the trophy for beating 3000 enemies and I likely wouldn’t try if the gameplay wasn’t fun. Outside of combat, you run from area to area and some of the locations can be long. That is really my only complaint and I wish that they could have shrunk the areas a bit. It is simply this large so that you can take your time getting through the levels and it can be fun, but not when you’re in a hurry. Still, the negatives could have been a lot worse so I’d say that this is ok.

In terms of the soundtrack, the game isn’t as good as you may expect. There were no really memorable tunes in the game and even the boss fight themes weren’t that good if they were around at all. I really only recall the minion theme and that’s about it. It’s definitely possible that the game just didn’t have a wide selection of music to play and that’s why I can’t remember them.

White Knight Chronicles’ graphics are not extremely impressive, but they will have to do. We get a few large scale CGI cutscenes that look impressive and get to show off what the game can do when it’s serious. We don’t get a whole lot of them, but they aren’t bad. Most of the cutscenes are really just the gameplay models moving around, which is still good, but not great. The characters aren’t very detailed, but look good enough so that the transformation scenes never get old. This is good because you’ll have to experience them a bunch of times. I do give the animators props in that we get quite a few battles in the cutscenes. They may not look amazing, but I’m still glad to have them. The graphics are certainly bearable and won’t take away from the experience.

One area where White Knight Chronicles excels in is replay value. It’s almost unlimited and you could end up playing this game for months or even a year if you tried to do everything. After completing the story mode, (Which took me 30 hours) you can complete it again. This is recommended because you can get some extremely impressive gear. After that, you are ready to enter the world of 50+ missions. The first few are decently easy once you are at around level 30. After that, the missions get pretty tough. I’ve only completed around 5-6 missions and the rest are mostly beyond me at this point. Without all of the legendary gear that you could have obtained online, it’s very difficult. Still, you can keep on leveling up and rebirthing until you have mastered all roles and have a very impressive fighter at your side. Just doing this will likely take weeks unless you get to some tough missions where you get a whole lot of exp. Just going to the stores and trying to get all of the gear to upgrade them to bind more gear will take hours as you have to keep going back and forth unless you get a checklist. (Highly recommended) Most of the missions can take anywhere from 20-50 minutes and you need to hope that you beat them off the bat. Either way, time is not an issue in this game and you can be certain that you got a lot of content for the price that you paid. (9 dollars in my case)

Of course, another factor involved in replay value are the PS3 Trophies. Unfortunately, this is one of those games where the trophies aren’t really well done. It’s all a matter of perspective of course, but there aren’t enough of them and you should at least get one trophy for completing the game. Completing the game and not getting any story related trophies is a little dicey. I got a decent amount of trophies considering that many of them are really made when considering that you would be in a group. The trophies are just too time consuming and some are borderline impossible at this point. I’m not going to spend the hundreds of hours needed to get the final trophies. It’s just not worth it to me. Of course, that is a lot of replay value so I suppose that it can be seen as a positive.

Overall, this was an excellent game and it was fairly close to getting a 9. Transforming into the Knight form is always fun and it really increases your attack power. The gameplay stays fun throughout the whole game and the plot is nice and light. It’s fun to experience the world and there aren’t many boring moments. There are definitely a few of them scattered around, but nothing too drastic. The heroes can get very annoying as they constantly watch in horror as the villains murder their friends or just let them escape to fight another day. The game ends rather abruptly on a cliffhanger, which is great news for those who plan on buying the sequel. Having such large amounts of replay value is great as well and I definitely recommend this to all RPG fans. You’ll love it and get hooked right away as the plot thickens.

Overall 8/10

Jumper Griffin’s Story Review

It’s games like this that really make me flex my reviewing muscles! It was a really hard decision between giving Jumper a 5 or a 6. I could certainly make some decent arguments to back either decision and I don’t believe in half stars on this site so that wasn’t an option. Let’s look at why I’m thinking about swinging the game either way and we will make a decision by the end. It’s a tough one, but at least Jumper is forcing us to think!

So, has anyone ever watched the film Jumper? I saw it a while back and it was actually quite good. A lot better than I had anticipated and it almost feels like a superhero film that wasn’t from Marvel or DC. I”m always up for some action, but you have to be careful when teleporting is involved. I don’t want this to become a review of the film so let’s get back on topic. The game’s story is….convoluted at best. Now, I don’t mind the fact that the game expects you to have watched the film, but the story should still hold up well on its own. There is a basic plot, but thanks to audio issues (Addressed later on) it can be a little overwhelming.

The main character is…..Griffin! His parents were assassinated when he was a kid and Griffin barely escaped with his life. As he grew up, Griffin learned that he could teleport from place to place and he could go anywhere that he remembered. There was nowhere on the planet that was too far for him. Then, he decided to get revenge on the group that took out his parents. Led by Roland, this group has hundreds of members and Griffin is on his own. (There are other teleporters and this is actually mentioned in the game, (Albeit so briefly that you would only know this if you knew the main character of the film and played close attention) but they aren’t helpful because they keep dying and getting Griffin in trouble. Griffin mainly needs to take out Roland and his two assistants who helped in the act. Finding them is pretty easy since the group is after Griffin. They’ll come to him…and he’ll be ready.

The gameplay for Jumper is pretty basic. You’re thrown into a 3D environment to fight that is similar to any other movie tie in game. As I always mention, it’s a tried and true formula. It’s almost guaranteed to be fun and you know what to expect. Adding in the fact that you could teleport in this game and we may have a winner….right? Well, we may be using a 3D fighting gameplay, but it can consist of a little more button mashing than usual. You teleport by using the right joystick to aim where you want to go and let go, but it is completely useless in a fight. I suppose that it’s good for running away, but your top speed is enough to escape from all minions and bosses with no exceptions.

You could play the game without teleporting and you wouldn’t really notice a difference. (Except for a handful of moments where they force you to use it) The actual hand to hand combat moments may seem impressive because you notice that Griffin is teleporting everywhere. However, it is merely an optical illusion. Teleporting is merely how how Griffin fights the opponents. It’s typically more of a hindrance than a help because you never know where he will appear next. The best way to fight is simply to keep on smashing the square and x buttons until the opponent goes down. It’s not 100% full proof, but if you begin to lose health…just fall back and regroup. I do give the game props with the level designs. They were nice and expansive without feeling as if you were playing the same level over and over again. Each of them were completely different and there was a lot of room to run.

See, your health replenishes itself very quickly in this game. When you consider the fact that Griffin is a fast runner and the arenas are huge during all boss and minion fights…you can’t lose. Sure, you may lose a few times, but you shouldn’t if you play your cards right. Never let your health dip too low and retreat at the first sign of danger. Wait a few seconds to recharge and go fight again. Rinse and repeat until you defeat all of the bosses. The bosses may have had patterns, but I didn’t notice any aside from the final boss so I just kept spamming my attacks until the went down. The final boss is actually the easiest. Hit him when he stabs the ground with his staff. Get away when he tries to attack again and then rinse and repeat. The boss is insanely easy, but it’s all about timing. So, the gameplay is one of the weaker 3D fighters and it is really just hitting two buttons together for the whole game. That being said, it was still decently fun and I ended up beating around 400 enemies before I knew it. The gameplay could have helped the game to get around a 7 if the rest of it had been as good.

The graphics are pretty weak. The character models vaguely represent the characters that you are supposed to see, but there isn’t a whole lot of detail placed into them. The graphics aren’t downright terrible, but I would say that they are sub par. The cutscenes are comic styled panels that don’t look half bad and it beats having cutscenes that are using the gameplay animation. I would have liked moving cutscenes, but it also beats the option of just using live action clips. (Which wouldn’t work anyway since this is Griffin’s Story)

The soundtrack is about as generic as you can get in a game. I walked away remembering absolutely none of the tracks in the game. I would have liked at least one good boss theme, but I suppose that it was too much to hope for this time. Maybe the developers figured that the music wouldn’t be that important or maybe others actually like the soundtrack. Only time will tell.

This is likely the first time that I’ve ever had to address the audio in a game. It’s not the first game of all time to have a problem with this, but I believe that it’s the first game that I’ve reviewed where I’ve encountered this. Nothing is wrong with the sound effects or the music, but the scale is off. During cutscenes, you can barely hear the characters speaking because of how loud the music is. (Or you can say that the voices are too long) It can take away from the scenes because you’re really straining to hear what is going on and you shouldn’t need to put in the effort. We want to hear the witty dialogue. Ah well…maybe next time.

This game also suffers from pretty bad lighting. Like with Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and other older PS2 games. Perhaps it’s just my console, but many of the older PS2 games are really dark. I can fix this by making the TV screen brighter, but it still makes noticing collectibles and such a little harder. It’s not a huge problem, but definitely worth noting.

Finally, I have to say that the game is too short. There are only 5 levels in the game and I beat it in under 5 hours. I’m sure that speed runners could beat it in around half of that time if they skipped cutscenes and ran right through it. 5 Levels is simply unacceptable for any game and 10 is the minimum that I find acceptable. There are a few collectibles scattered around for replay value, but I’m not sure how many of you would actually want to go back to find them. It is nice to include since some replay value beats none, but I can’t say that it will be high on my to do list.

Overall, Jumper is maybe slightly worse than I had imagined, but I had basically pictured this level of quality when I decided to purchase this game for my birthday. Games based on movies are rarely great, but they are typically fun. If nothing else, the gameplay was pretty fun, but it didn’t last for long. I definitely did expect more than 5 levels. So, the factors that would attribute to a 5/10 rating are the length and audio. The gameplay ultimately helps it to rise up, but a 7 is definitely out of the question. The game also had a glitch, which made me have to die on purpose to make the enemies reappear, but maybe it was a one time thing. I recommend this game if you want a nostalgic blast to the past of movie based video games. It was definitely a fun time. Just be warned that the game is very short. If you want a retro movie based game, check out the original Spider Man game for Gamecube!

Overall 6/10

Green Lantern Rise of The Manhunters Review

This was one of the highest games on my list. I’ve wanted it for ages since it had such easy trophies and it was a superhero tie in. They may not be known to be all stars, but they’ve always been fun for me and the gameplay is guaranteed to be good. It’s a tried and true formula that is very hard to wreck. 3D fighting can be spectacular or it can be good. Very rarely is it ever bad. The game was essentially as good as I expected!

The plot is pretty basic so that the emphasis can be on the action. Hal Jordan is still learning the ropes on how to be a good Green Lantern when the Manhunters attack. Hal realizes that their plan is a little deeper than a simple attack and he is going to have to find out what their ultimate goal is before they destroy OA. Not to mention that there may be someone leaking information to these villains. It’s going to take everything that Hal has and more…but he’s up for the challenge.

The gameplay is what you would expect from a superhero game. It’s essentially a duplicate of the Thor game that came out for the PS3 a while back. The way that they fly to the next area and land is about the same as well so it almost feels like they had the same developers or reused part of the game. (Like how Daniel X and Ultimate Spiderman feel identical for the DS) This is not a bad thing since I know what to expect. You can unlock a lot of different constructs to use in the game. Luckily, most of them are pretty useful so you can keep on switching weapons or just find one that you like and stick to it. The Mech suit and the Gatling Gun are definitely two of the most fun weapons to use.

The graphics are pretty average for Green Lantern. It’s decently low for a PS3 game, but it’s good enough. I’m not expecting Final Fantasy for this game anyway. As long as the graphics aren’t downright terrible like Chaotic…then I’m all set. They really tried to match the character designs to the movie counterparts. I’m pretty cool with that and it is helpful for those who just finished the film. There is a brief fight scene at the end of the game, which was a welcome surprise since we don’t get a whole lot of those in cinematic anymore. I shall skip the soundtrack section because there essentially isn’t one in this game.

The trophies for Green Lantern are a cake walk. It’s definitely one of the easiest platinums that I have (almost) obtained. I should officially have it by the end of the day since I just need to finish two more levels. There are no outrageous trophies that will require a lot of grinding unless you start the game on hard mode. Then you’ll have to replay a lot of levels, but it’s short compared to the kind of grind that you see in Bleach or White Knight Chronicles. One of the great things about having trophies is that it gives Green Lantern some much needed replay value.

After all, Green Lantern barely keeps itself from being too short because it has exactly 10 levels. The ground levels can take a while, but the flying ones are completed very quickly. One of the trophies requires that you buy all of the items and that will likely take a little over 20 levels. So, that means that you’ll basically be playing the game twice and then retrying an extra pair of levels. I am so glad that Green Lantern has a level select since it’s much more efficient to just replay the level that way.

While the gameplay is pretty fun since it’s a classic 3D beat em up; I did have some complaints with it. For one thing, defeating the enemies was a little too time consuming after a while. This is especially noticeable during the second play through as you just want to blast through it, but you have to beat the enemies first. You also can’t turn the camera around, which was an interesting twist. I can’t say that I was very fond of this.

While all of the characters were essentially in character, Hal Jordan could be a ltitle irritating at times. In an attempt to make him hardcore, Hal Jordan constantly says “What the —-” and “How the —-” over and over and over again. It really feels artificial because he is completely overreacting. There’s one cutscene where that is essentially all that he says. When he charges up it is interesting because Hal only says “In Brightest Day…In Blackest Night” before yelling to beware his power. The only problem is that his voice dies down every time when he says the blackest night part so it feels like they tacked in the last part at the end. Hal also suspects that there is a traitor, but he acts as if it’s his idea right after Kilowog voiced these concerns. It isn’t to steal his credit either; it just seems as if Hal forgot that he said that. Anyway, it’s not a terribly large complaint and it shouldn’t affect your gaming enjoyment all that much.

Overall, Green Lantern is a fun game. That’s really the bottom line. It’s not going to be remembered as an all star, but I also won’t remember it as a boring game that I couldn’t wait to finish. The gameplay was solid and the story was interesting enough to keep me occupied. The only reason why one would want to be hesitant of the game is the fact that it only has 10 levels, but that’s not a bad number. It’s the minimum amount of levels that I would consider acceptable…but it is still acceptable. Finding a few scattered collectibles and obtaining the trophies fixes this as well. I definitely recommend this to all gamers who are looking for a nice action game.

Overall 7/10

Chaotic Shadow Warriors Review

Chaotic is a franchise that I never actually got into. It looked pretty interesting, but I just didn’t have time for it. The concept had some similarities to Pokemon and Yugioh and the formula is tried and true. Any toyetic show with monsters is usually a lot of fun so I had to get this game. I’ve owned this game for a long time, but I never really played it until now. I dug up the old game and started playing. It’s a decently fun experience, but there are enough negatives to turn this into a one time play through.

Tom is the main character of the story and he’s isn’t happy when he finds out that something fishy is going on in the Chaotic world. Maxxor is keeping him in the dark, but Tom won’t have that. These Shadow creatures have begun to impersonate the heroes and it would appear that they will stop at nothing short of world domination. Tom’s going to have to get out his old gear and hope that things don’t get Chaotic. (Which is his “epic” catchphrase) The main villain is unknown and it could be anyone, but that won’t stop our Hero as he gets to the bottom of this adventure. He’s going to have to find all 7 of the Mugic pieces in order to save both worlds.

First off, the graphics are pretty bad. Bad is a strong word since it may technically look better than some games that were created decades ago, but I expect more out of the PS3. Everything feels dated and the characters move around a lot. Tom appears as if he’s having a panic attack half of the time and all of the characters appear impatient. They just can’t stop moving! Tom has a yelling match with one of the monsters and the animation makes it pretty humorous. I suppose that it isn’t too bad since it can make you laugh, but I definitely would have liked for it to look as good as Bakugan.

The gameplay is the main chunk of any game so that’s something that you will want to know about. At it’s core; Chaotic plays out like a Pokemon. Turn based combat and the battles can go up to 5 on 5 at a time. There is some strategy involved as you will want to take out some opponents before others for maximum epicness. Health seems to be the most important factor in this game and I just made a team out of the strongest monsters that I had. You’ll typically be okay without using any health items as they will just prolong the battle.

After that, there are more complicated aspects. Chaotic has the element system like in Pokemon so certain attacks will do more or less damage depending on what’s happening. Unfortunately, it’s not as obvious as Pokemon, but Chaotic fans who watched the show will likely understand who they should aim for right away. If not, just look at the number next to the attack and based on whether it’s lower or higher than usual; you’ll know if it’s good to use or not. Either way, you’ll typically just want to use the strongest attack possible. One feature that helps to make the battle easier are commands that are placed on the screen when your creature attacks. Correctly inputting them will add a bit of damage and help to recover AP points. Likewise, you can hold the R2 button and hit X a lot to block an attack and mitigate the damage that you take from it.

From your 5 monsters on the field, only the three in the front can use their attacks. The two in the back are forced to rely on long range spells and Taunts to keep their turns going. You’ll want to stock up on a lot of mugics through the levels or else you’ll have to listen to the taunts all of the time.

The downside to the gameplay is definitely how long each battle can be. There are a set amount of battles in the game and there are no extra ones to stay and level up. (There is a mild level system where you improve their rank by combining monsters that you’ve scanned, but it’s not the best option) This means that the enemies will typically be weaker than you and you don’t have to worry that much about losing, but they will delay the inevitable. Constant health items will ensure that each battle can take 10+ minutes. That’s a lot of time for a simple battle and eventually you will really get tired of them. I dreaded the battles whenever they came up and that’s never a good sign.

Aside from fighting, there is also a platforming part to the gameplay. You get to play as Tom and explore the world. Look for ruins hidden in the rocks and find all of the mugics while blasting away alien insects. This part was pretty fun and you can’t die so feel free to take a lot of risks. I do wish that Tom could run a little faster and a boss battle in this mode would have been fun, but it was still a fun section. I’m always up for some platforming!

The soundtrack can definitely get annoying pretty quickly. I didn’t care for any of the tunes, but the monster lines during the battle can be tough to watch. They have a very limited vocabulary and they will say the same things over and over again. I do appreciate the fact that nearly all of their lines are puns, but they get old after you’ve heard the same one 20 times over. The monsters will talk when they attack so you can’t go through a battle without hearing the lines about 4-5 times over. Hopefully you are a Huge fan of these lines.

You can’t go through the levels freely once the game is complete so I recommend obtaining all of the collectibles in each level before moving on. This can be toughest before the final boss, but you should be fine as long as you keep an eye on the map. It’s highly rewarding for the trophies and you get the maximum enjoyment for your purchase.

The trophies for the game are decently fair except I don’t care for the online ones. Don’t count on getting the Platinum trophy for this title because getting 50 Ranked wins in such a dead online community will be next to impossible without boosting. I don’t believe in trophy boosting so that was the end of the line for me. I managed to get all of the online trophies except for one that I managed to miss. The trophies aren’t very hard and you’ll do fine as long as you make sure to grab those collectibles!

Overall, Chaotic is a decently fun game. The graphics and soundtrack may be sub par, but the gameplay is decent. If the battles weren’t so long and repetitive; I would likely have given the game a 7. As it stands, the game just doesn’t have enough positives and I do wish that there was a better level up system or a level select. One playthrough is likely all that this game will get for most players, but it’s only 9 dollars so it’s a decent purchase for that price. It took me around two days to complete and that was mainly due to the insanely long battles. That’s a decent length for a game though so the overall length isn’t a negative. If you want a more exciting monster game for PS3, check out Bakugan! (Either game works)

Overall 6/10

James Bond 007 Agent Under Fire Review

Who would have thought that I’d be playing a James Bond game eh? While the films leave much to be desired; the concept is pretty good for a video game. This one is actually a First Person Shooter, which is the first time I’ve played one since Metroid Prime if I recall correctly. It’s not my favorite genre, but as long as it’s better than the Eternal Ring…it should be fine. Let’s see if the game had what it takes!

The plot involves 007…AKA James Bond as he undergoes a mission. See, detailing the plot for anything James Bond related is tough because there are numerous plot twists and changes that occur during the story. You can’t really say who the main villain is without spoiling the character and the history behind it. Either way, it’s not ultimately important because the game doesn’t even have an ending. After you blow up the building (With a big character still inside) the game abruptly ends. I suppose that there is no longer a threat so it can be an “ending” in that sense, but it feels really sudden. The ending just comes out of nowhere and hits you like a flash.

While the plot is forgettable; the cutscenes will stay with you for a while. James Bond continues to make many wisecracks and one liners in these scenes. Some are pretty clever like what he says when one of the villains falls in a vat of acid. Others just remind me why I don’t like James Bond. He can never take his mind off of pleasure. It also leads to his demise more times than not. One of his allies suckers him into going to the base because he put a hologram of a shower with someone inside. Another person hired a lady to jump into a pool and when Bond rushed out to appreciate the view, he got tackled from behind. Bond never seems to learn from these mistakes as he’s back to normal in the next cutscene. The voice acting is pretty good and Bond definitely sounds similar to his voice in the films. There are other characters in the game, but none that are really memorable. This is a James Bond game after all! I could have done without the romance in the story, but it’s James Bond so I was prepared for it.

The FPS gameplay is about what you would expect. It can be a little hard to remember that the C stick moves you horizontally and I fell a few times from it. One can still jump, crouch, and use a lot of gadgets aside from the gun. FPS definitely isn’t my main style, but it could have been worse. Metroid Prime definitely wins with pure gameplay, but Agent Under Fire managed to stay fun through the levels. Aside from the shooting aspects, there are also a pair of levels where you get to drive in a car. Naturally, this was the most fun part of the game. The gameplay was really good for this part and it felt like Need For Speed, but even better. (My problem with Need For Speed is the lack of actual speed) You really got to zoom in these levels and the various weapons on the car made it fun as well.

There are 12 levels in this game. That’s not a whole lot and most of them can be finished in a few minutes. In that sense, it’s definitely a lot shorter than De Blob. (Another short game) It took me two sittings to finish all of the levels, but it was a considerable amount of time because of the later levels. There are rarely check points so if you lose; then you usually have to go back to the beginning. That can be tough after a while because of how long the levels can feel. I definitely could have used more check points in the game. A slight negative would be how vague the game can be at times. It took me a while to figure out that I needed to use my jetpack to get to the final boss and blowing up the ceiling with a rocket launcher that I didn’t even know I owned was another challenge. I randomly got lost a few times as well. Maybe this helps the game to be a more complete experience, but they could have added more details.

Agent Under Fire has a decent amount of replay value. You can keep on playing the levels to get all of the Platinum Medals and unlock a hidden video. I got a bronze and a gold or two, but getting all Platinums sounds pretty difficult. It would be a nice challenge, but one that I don’t really have time for. The game also has a multiplayer mode, which considerably increases its replay value. Nothing like challenging your friends to the FPS that was cool before Call of Duty showed up! I dare say that this one is a lot more fun than Call of Duty. (Haven’t played it, but it’s not my style)

The graphics are a little underwhelming. It has a retro Gamecube feeling, but it’s just too dark. As with the Mummy, you’ll need to increase the brightness settings on your TV if you want to be able to see well. In a game where sharpshooters can be found anywhere; this is pretty critical. I wouldn’t say that the graphics are terrible, but they could be better. I still have fun with them since they’re awkward in a good way. (Like Hotel Mario)

I know that I’ve been giving just about everything a lot of props for the soundtrack lately, but it’s just my good luck that the themes have been so good. James Bond doesn’t disappoint with the fun tracks and we have the classic one from the films, but also a great danger theme. When you run into some minions; the theme will quickly pop up and it’s a very fast theme that’s fitting for battle. It reminds me of some of the themes from the original Spider Man game for Gamecube.

Overall, Agent Under Fire wasn’t a bad game. The car levels were a lot of fun (I wish that there had been more of them!) and the FPS mechanics weren’t bad considering that I’m not usually a big fan of them. The story may not have been memorable, but the cutscenes were pretty fun at times. (Some much more than others. Naturally, I could do without the romance) I definitely recommend this game to all fans of Call of Duty and you should enjoy it if you’re looking forward to a good secret agent story.

Overall 7/10

De Blob Review

De Blob always looked like it would be an intriguing experience. I typically never saw the original game in stores, but the sequel was always around. Luckily, I found this one in Gamestop’s 5 dollar and under bin along with the Casper game. It looked decently fun so I quickly got it and it was worth the 2-3 dollars that I spent. It’s surprisingly fun, but the timer takes away from the experience. It’s time to beautify the world!

The plot involves a corporation known as INKT. They have enslaved the world and taken away all of the color. Everyone must now live in black and white, which is no fun for the city dwellers. What about having fun and getting ready to pwn anyone that tries to get in their way? Unfortunately, that won’t be happening. The heroes are forced to call in the Blob! The Blob has some pretty unique abilities and he’s able to absorb the colors that he touches and then spread them to other objects. It’s up to him to take down the entire army of INKT that has taken over the world. He may be outnumbered over 1000-1, but the Blob has heart as well as allies. Time to rock and roll!

The gameplay is very unique and it’s actually a lot of fun. As the Blob, you just have to roll around and bang into things to paint them. I’d have fun coloring in all of the buildings and freeing the citizens, but you can also hit billboards and small objects. (Trees for example) Along the way, there are also a bunch of missions to get into and some of them are mandatory to complete the level. They are broken down into different kinds of missions. Green missions mean that you have to color in objects with certain paints. They’re the most difficult ones in my opinion and I usually avoided them. After all…I already painted the buildings; why do it in another color? Blue missions require you to run after the flares and get to the goal line. It’s basically a race against time. Orange missions are combat. Just take out the enemies. Finally, grayish/yellow missions mean that you’re going to take down a big enemy strong hold or building. Those require a lot of points so it can be a tough job, but it’s rewarding to see such a big transformation.

Fighting against the enemies can be a little uneventful. Just shake the wii remote and take them down! This works for every kind of enemy. Some of more defense than others, but it’s always the same formula. So, De Blob revolves around running, jumping, and swinging the Wii Remote around. I’l admit that it really made me miss the Gamecube remote. This game would work so much better with that control scheme. (Luckily, the sequel is on the PS3!) My wrist was hurting by the time I finished the game from all of the jumping. I don’t know how I made it through Barrel Blast. (Although I still plan on purchasing it someday)

While I did enjoy the gameplay; there was one factor that really took away from the experience. The timer that was in each level. This meant that you couldn’t take your time and finish every mission in the area. The worst part is that you have to start from scratch if you complete it. I was expecting to be able to go back into the level to have fun (Because I believe that you can do this in the sequel) but the levels go back to scratch. There is a free roam mode, but there’s nothing to do there since it doesn’t affect your completion% or have any big statistics. That was my big flaw with the gameplay and it means that you may not want to bother going through the levels again. Imagine spending over an hour on one level to get the 100% and then the timer runs out. Game Over!

One of the game’s weak points was definitely the Story Mode. None of the characters are particularly likable and the graphics are pretty underwhelming for the cutscenes. The worst part is that it’s just not interesting. The story is pretty much a parody, but they could have still made the characters fun to root for. I can’t say that I’m confident in the sequel’s chances for a solid cinematic experience.

The graphics for the gameplay are still average at best. They aren’t bad, but they could be much better and I’ve seen Gamecube games that could give it a run for its money. (The better Gamecube games crush this one in graphics of course…) The soundtrack is very good. It’s not monumental, but it fits the tone of the game. The music is typically very refreshing and it works subtly in the background. Aside from a terrible lyrical song that played in one of the moods for Blob, the rest of the pieces that I heard were solid.

There are 10 levels in the game and each one takes around 30 minutes to complete. If you decide to complete all of the missions in the 10 levels, then you can possibly double that time. 10 levels is the bare minimum to what I would call acceptable length so the game does well on that account. For replay value, this game does have a multiplayer mode, but I haven’t tried it yet, which is why I didn’t review that part. This game will last long enough to be considered a good purchase. (Unlike Casper’s 15 minute game)

Overall, this game is fun to try out. Considering that it’s under 3 dollars, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to give it a shot! Painting objects may sound boring, but it can actually be pretty interesting and you are helping to reclaim the world from the INKT army. The characters are all Sonic rip offs, but they’re not terrible. They just aren’t likable. De Blob could be the game for you and now you can claim that you know which two colors turn into green when mixed!

Overall 7/10

Casper Scare School Spooky Sports Day Review

I had never heard of this game until I saw it in the 5 and under bin at my local gamestop. I was hooked once I noticed the friendly ghost on the cover, but I checked the back of the cover to make sure that it would be fun. I saw a screenshot of a soccer game and I ignored everything else as I dashed to the cashier! (Along with two other Wii games) Unfortunately, the game is not tremendously fun and it wouldn’t be worth paying 30 bucks for. (Luckily, I got it for under 2 so it wasn’t a bad buy considering the price)

Okay…not tremendously fun is probably an exaggeration. It almost sounds positive that way right? Casper does have some endearing moments in the game, but it’s really not that good. This is due to a lack of replay value and the fact that the game is almost empty. You can beat the game twice in around an hour or less. I ended up beating it twice so that I could have 100% unlocked everything in the game. (You unlock a character for beating the inverted story mode) The booklet claims that there is a plot, but if it’s not in the game…then it’s not going in the review. The actual game has no story mode!

When you boot up the game…it’s empty. There isn’t anything on the screen….until you get past the title screen. Once there, you have the main mode, which has 7 minigames in it. That’s it….there is nothing else. There’s no multiplayer mode or any other place to do something. These are the 7 minigames that will take up all of your time in the game. If you get bored of them…then it’s game over. The game keeps track of your high score so I suppose that you can keep trying to beat them, but the games aren’t quite That fun. After you beat every minigame once, you get to play them again, but in a happier setting. Once you beat those, you now have the final character and you have done everything that there is to do. Ah well….let’s talk about the games!

Frog Lab is my least favorite so we’ll have it start off. You basically have to drop frogs in jars and stop kids from stealing them as your partner takes them to safety. It’s simple enough and you shouldn’t have a problem winning on your first try after leaving the room for a water break. You have so much time that it’s scary! There just wasn’t anything enjoyable about this minigame and it’s incredibly basic.

Skateboarding was all right, but not very fun either. You have to launch with your skateboard and then memorize a pattern of buttons from the Wii remote and quickly tap them in. Don’t worry about remembering the correct buttons because you can just keep on hitting them all until you got the right ones. You get unlimited tries until you hit the ground and that’s plenty of time to get all of the commands until you’re nearing the end. I like memorization and it’s a good game in theory, but also extremely easy and parts of this minigame just feel too slow. You have to watch Casper launch into the air quite a lot by the end.

Goal Creeper isn’t bad and it actually takes some skill. You have to go up to a soccer ball and then follow the line on the screen with your wii remote to hit the goal keeper. Yellow balls are worth 3X the points of regular ones so just ignore the regular ones entirely and you’re guaranteed to win by a landslide. Overall, this was definitely a good minigame, but you’ll probably get bored of it after a few tries since the computer doesn’t provide you with a challenge.

Gymnastics didn’t feel like it worked as it should have. You have to shake the wii remote as soon as a circle is approaching another circle. (Think of Dance Dance Revolution and how you have to step at exactly the right moment) You don’t need the circles to be too close before you shake and they’ll usually give you the points, but the game is tricky about this. Sometimes it will work and other times it won’t. It’s pretty easy and you’ll get the hang of it, but the mechanics felt unfinished. It’s also repetitive as you do a few jumps and head back to the beginning…over and over and over again.

Keepy Uppies involves a soccer ball that Casper kicks into the air. From there it is vertical Flappy Bird, but without the pipes to bang into! Just tap on a bird as you pass him and he’ll launch you up even further. Grab the points from the sky and keep on going. It’s the easiest game in the batch and it’s almost impossible to lose. You must really be trying to lose if you lose this round. Just wave your Wii remote around and keep pressing A everywhere. You’ll never hit the ground and you’ll get all of the points. There isn’t any challenge in this game so it’s not a whole lot of fun.

The Dragon Egg Spoon Race is decently fun. You have to point with your wii remote to make sure that you keep the egg balanced on your spoon as you run to the goal and jump over obstacles. It’s simple, but it can still be hard not to drop the egg since the meter can be a little dicey and the character is very wobbly. Even if you drop the egg, you’ll probably beat the opponents pretty easily so you don’t really need to worry about it.

People Chase is the best minigame from the batch. It’s a track and field match and you have to run for the goal line. There are boosters that amp up your speed and you need to jump over rocks from time to time. Dodging the snails is a must and you have to watch out for other players trying to get in your way. It’s another easy minigame and it’s very short as you can beat it in under a minute, but it was fun. It’s easily my favorite!

What you may have noticed from all of the minigames was that they weren’t challenging. Most of them were actually fun and they would have been more enjoyable if there was a two player option. Battling a real opponent in those games would have been great. At least add a hard mode or something to make things interesting! As it stands, you don’t want to keep on playing those games over and over again because it’s just too easy. You can keep track of your score, but there isn’t much in the way of incentives. You’re not going to unlock anything so you may as well have fun in Mario Party.

I feel obliged to mention the graphics and soundtrack even if we don’t really have much in the way of music. The main theme for the game isn’t bad, but it’s not memorable in the slightest and you’ll forget it very quickly. The graphics are sub par and you can tell that they didn’t put a lot of effort into making sure that everything looked good. Casper actually looks pretty creepy with that grin he’s constantly keeping in place. The rest of the characters are pretty unimaginative. These graphics could be surpassed on the PS1 and feel as if they’re from a free computer game from a long time ago.

Overall, I can’t recommend this game with a clear conscience. 7 Minigames can only last so long and there is nothing to do after you play them. This game wouldn’t even be good as a rental since you can beat it in around 20-30 minutes. There’s no Story Mode or any other modes to play so you’re sunk. It’s still hard to believe that a game can be this empty, but I guess that’s how it goes. I definitely don’t regret buying this game since I got it for under 2. Plus it gave me a chance to review the game and try it out. I’m always happy to try out a game unless it’s truly terrible and unplayable. (I hope Balls of Fury isn’t that bad but I had to put it down after one level. I shall review it if I ever get around to beating it) Instead of getting this game, just buy Wii Sports. You’ll be better off and you can spend the two dollars on a bottle of water with a slice of pizza.

Overall 4/10

Spiderman Edge of Time Review

Edge of Time is another video game that I’ve had my eye on for a very long time. I greatly enjoyed Shattered Dimensions and while I’ve heard that this one is not even comparable..I knew that it would still be good. I’m pleased to say that the game is definitely a lot of fun and it’s worth buying.

The plot is pretty sad for Peter Parker since he is destined to die. Spiderman 2099 is going to need to alter the timeline to save him, but will there be consequences to his actions? Someone is messing up the time stream and both of the Spidermen need to find out who the culprit is. The answer may shock long time fans and amuse people who’ve never heard of Marvel before. Either way, the plot is solid and you’ll definitely enjoy it!

I definitely prefer this story to the one that was in Shattered Dimensions. For one thing, this game has more actual cutscenes as opposed to moving stills. You really feel the danger when Anti Venom gets involved and the beginning of the game is very epic. Seeing Spiderman 2099 take on Anti Venom was also pretty awesome. The start of the game is easily the best part and the rest is still good…just not as epic. There are three acts in the game, which results in around 15 levels. Acts 1 and 3 are great, but Act 2 isn’t quite as exciting. Less stakes and less danger, but that makes sense since the middle is usually the low moment for just about any game.

One factor that may hurt your experience is the portrayal of the two Spidermen. They’re constantly arguing and both of them come across as being unnecessarily mean to each other. Spiderman 2099 yells out pretty much all of his lines and he likes to insult Peter. Peter is quick to take some shots at Spiderman 2099 as well and while he doesn’t yell as much, he’s always very snippy. They just did not seem to be in character and I can’t imagine Spiderman acting like that. He even gives up at one point and resigns himself to oblivion. Finally, Peter was pretty overconfident during his fight with Anti Venom, which was okay….but letting down his guard is not cool.

Gameplay wise, this game tries to be the same as Shattered Dimensions. We still have the free fall levels and Spiderman’s gameplay is what you would expect. That being said, it’s not quite as smooth as Shattered Dimensions. I had to get used to this during the first few levels, but it’s great by the end of the game. I’m inclined to prefer Shattered Dimension’s fighting style, but this game is still solid in that aspect. The Spider Sense can’t stay on like in the last game so you can only use it as a short burst. Meanwhile, you can automatically dodge all attacks as long as you hold L2 while in Spiderman mode. It’s cool to watch, but it makes his fights extremely easy. The enemies cannot hurt you at all in that form, no matter what attacks they may try. Yes…that includes bosses! Spiderman 2099 doesn’t have that ability, but he can fire clones made out of energy which help you fight and it’s just as useful. All of the enemies will immediately go after the clone so you can get some free hits off of them.

Web slinging is the biggest negative compared to other Spiderman games. It’s hard to gain altitude and you constantly have to let go and just do a classic third jump. Unlike Shattered Dimensions, you can’t infinitely jump so you have to pause and swing around for a sec before continuing. It’s not a terribly long process, but it really wasn’t needed. They shouldn’t have altered the web slinging process! Defeating enemies can be a little tedious during the beginning of the game because the health bars on these minions are pretty large. It takes a lot of hits to finally bring them down, so I recommend upgrading your attack power right away. While the gameplay may not be as good as Shattered Dimensions, it’s still in 3D and we still get a lot of action. I would give the combat an 8/10, which is great!

One slight negative for the game is the lack of bosses. We get to fight Black Cat, Anti Venom and the final pair of bosses. That’s not as many bosses as I would like in a game. Throwing in some more would have definitely helped the game and it would have also lengthened the story. The game may be under 10 hours in length, but we have the Web Challenges to keep you busy. There are over 60 of them (Significantly less than Shattered Dimensions) and they are simple enough. The Free falling challenges can give you some mild trouble.

My biggest negative with the game is the level designs. Yes, even more so than the fact that you can’t skip many cutscenes. You never get to set foot outside, which is very sad. What happened to swinging across buildings? That’s typically one of my favorite parts about playing a Spider Man game and I was sad to see it go. There may be around 15 levels, but some of the designs actually appeared to be copied from each other. After a while, you’ll feel like you keep going to the same rooms and labyrinths. The bland level designs can take away from the fun and the scenery just isn’t fun to look at. It’s basically always night time. I really hope that they never cut out NYC from another big Spiderman game because that definitely hurts the experience.

The Graphics aren’t terribly impressive. It’s definitely using a different style than Shattered Dimensions, but the graphics during gameplay are pretty good. The ones that I was not impressed with were the scenes that took place in the cutscenes. At one point, Peter has his big scene and he takes off the mask…only to look nothing like Peter Parker. I had to wince at the design and the graphics did not really look like a PS3 game. It felt like I was looking at Madden character models. Either way, the game doesn’t have a whole lot of cutscenes and the gameplay graphics definitely suffice.

The trophies in this game are considerably easier than Shattered Dimension’s. You have fewer things to do and long challenges like getting all of the Golden Spiders have become pretty simple. Your Spider Sense will tingle if you’re near a spider and the game did a very good job with it. You can obtain just about every Gold Spider through a normal play through. I don’t have the Platinum yet, but I just have three trophies left so I should be getting it pretty soon. You don’t need to worry about any “unfair” trophies so that could help you decide to pick up this game.

I can’t say much for the soundtrack. It defeats Shattered Dimensions in this aspect, but it’s pretty close. I really like the main menu theme for Edge of Time and the epic music that occurred during the Anti Venom moments were also pretty intense. Beyond that, the rest of the music was pretty forgettable and we didn’t have much in the way of boss themes.

Overall, this was a very good Spider Man game. It may have lacked Shattered Dimension’s combat mastery, but the epic story line made up for it. The gameplay is solid and the graphics are good enough. The game isn’t terribly long and you can complete it in under 10 hours. That being said, the replay value will help you out and it’s definitely worth the current price. (Around 15-20) I guess this means that I need to go and pick up the Amazing Spider Man game for PS3 at some point, but I doubt that it will be able to beat this one. Still….we shall see! I recommend this game to all action fans and to anyone who is a fan of Spiderman.

Overall 8/10